Why Copywriting Is Crucial in Referral Marketing

by Rebecca Hey

Why Copywriting Is Crucial in Referral Marketing

Copywriting is becoming paramount in referral marketing. You may have developed an irresistible referral program and awesome rewards but, if consumers don't understand the way your program works, they won't join it. 

To put it into perspective, since you're active in eCommerce, you can't communicate with prospects face-to-face. You have to convince them through written words. So, effective and actionable copywriting is a must-have to increase conversions and the members of your referral programs. 

Above all, your copy should clarify what your program entails and sell it to customers so that they, in turn, will refer your brand to others.

What Is Referral Marketing?

At the most basic level, referral marketing is a marketing technique that attempts to expand a company's consumer base through recommendations (i.e., referrals). However, contrary to traditional forms of marketing, such as word of mouth, referral marketing is directed and developed by dedicated marketers or business owners. 

The point of a referral program is to encourage current consumers through incentives, namely discounts or offers, to refer a service or product to other prospects by sharing referral links on social media or via referral emails. 

This form of marketing is one of the most affordable for companies looking to develop their customer base and reach new prospects. 

Why Should Your Company Use Referral Marketing?

Referral marketing isn’t as simple as it may sound, since it requires rewards to entice consumers. That said, as a marketing strategy, its benefits outweigh the negatives and the effort marketers put in. The most common benefits of referral marketing are the following:

High Level of Trust

If you want to increase conversions, building a high level of trust with your prospective customers is the way to go. Yet, creating trust around your brand is considered one of the most significant challenges in marketing. The best way to overcome this is to invest in referrals (e.g., personal recommendations). Some find referrals more effective than advertising, as customers who purchase a product or service through a referral from family or friends seem more loyal. So, to acquire high-value consumers, consider investing in a referral program or software. 

Increase Sales Conversions

Referral marketing is vital when it comes to conversion rates. When an existing consumer refers your brand, services, or products to a prospect, the latter is more likely to buy something when they land on your website or store page because they are already convinced your products are what they need. On top of this, social referrals and active engagement on social media platforms  help you build a reputation while, at the same time, encouraging prospects to convert. 

Increase Consumer Engagement

Referral marketing is mainly used alongside other marketing strategies, including email and social media marketing. Thanks to referral marketing programs, you can communicate with your existing and potential customers to increase engagement. This allows you to build powerful relationships with prospects and boost your online reach and presence. Note that referral marketing lets you engage with customers and identify new leads on social networks. 

Quick and Easy Implementation

Referral programs are easy and quick to implement as all you need to do is use designated referral software. But, while using such a program is straightforward, you also need to create appealing, dynamic, and actionable copy that convinces consumers to convert and make a purchase. You won't see an increase in your revenue if prospects aren't enticed to buy your goods.

How Copywriting Works for Each Part of the Referral Marketing Process

The referral marketing process has many parts a successful marketer needs to consider before investing in it. For example, there's referral marketing for emails, landing pages, social media posts, and so on. Yet, as previously mentioned, the chances of conversion remain low without high-end copywriting. 

Sure, it might be easier than ever before to launch and run a business, but that doesn't mean the competition is less fierce. On the contrary, competition is everywhere in the digital age. So, to use referral marketing for competitive advantage, you have to write copy that makes you stand out from the crowd. 

Let's look at each part of the referral marketing process, its purpose, and how to produce killer copy that guarantees a return on investment (ROI). 


Writing referral emails that prompt customers to take action by getting them to share is tough but not impossible, especially if you aren't an expert copywriter. 

You'll want to start with rewards that are worth your audience's effort, for starters. So, don't be nervous about offering bonuses and other incentives because people are up to four times more likely to purchase after a referral. Sending an email to existing consumers suggesting they spread the word about your referral program and reward system is a smart choice. 

Here's where copywriting comes in. Aim to have an attention-getting subject line in your email to ensure consumers will open it. Once they do so, your offer needs to stand out and be lucrative enough for sharing. Try to offer discounts or free rewards so that customers can recommend your brand without a second thought. 

How to Write

Begin with a stunning first impression, as first impressions are always important. Sending out visually striking and eye-catching emails with an enthusiastic tone entices consumers to keep reading. Similarly, keep your style and expressions on par with your target audience and brand identity. If your consumers are young adults, you wouldn't want to address them as if they were pensioners. 

Next, you'll want to present the benefits of referrals. For better chances of conversions and sharing, present your reward as a win-win situation, where both the receiver and the person they're going to refer to your brand win something. 

Remember to keep the email short and personal and without excessive punctuation so it doesn't look spammy. Last but not least, featuring a call to action (CTA) button that takes prospects to the next step is recommended, too. 

Referral Widgets

A referral widget is an integral part of referral marketing. Essentially, it's a panel placed on a website that lets consumers sign up for a referral program and share a brand with their close ones. Even though most refer to it as a referral widget, they mean a popup that you can embed on any webpage. 

In other words, a referral widget is a sign-up point consumers use to join your referral marketing program. If it isn't written in actionable language, doesn’t offer clear benefits, and is tricky for consumers to use, you won't have access to new leads. 

How to Write

There's no trick when writing a referral widget. Using an eye-catching CTA is a must, as it's your way of catching customers' eyes, directing them and convincing them to keep the widget open and learn more about your referral program. 

It helps to also show the widget at the right time—otherwise, it won't be successful. You need to know when your customers will be more open to engaging with it. Having it as a popup redirect after checkout is a good idea, as is also including the widget in a link after consumers make the purchase. On top of this, user experience is critical so make sure sharing the widget is easy.

Post-purchase Popups

A referral program post-purchase popup is similar to a referral widget. It encourages consumers to refer family or friends to your company. These pop ups, though, aren't unique. They're similar to others that fall into several categories, such as:

  • Welcome: When someone visits a website, the welcome popup appears to inform them about an ongoing sale or offer. OK, but isn’t this annoying? Well, no, because it provides value to consumers.

  • Urgency: These can be welcome, post-purchase, or exit popups because they inform prospects about limited-time offers.

  • Scroll: After a visitor has scrolled through a specific portion of a webpage, the scroll popups will appear. Like timed popups, these target visitors genuinely interested in your offerings and brand. 

  • Click: These appear after visitors click on a web page's prompt, such as a CTA button. Usually, they contain offers and discounts or access to exclusive content. They appear only if the user actively triggers them. 

  • Social media: These encourage web page visitors to follow or share your brand on socials. The most successful social media pop ups provide users with compelling reasons to interact with a company’s social accounts. 

How to Write

As with other referral marketing prompts, you need to ensure that your popups offer value to prospects or paying consumers. This could be a discount or gift. Next, making your goals obvious with high-end copywriting is advised, too. Your CTA button should be compelling and engaging—using short but powerful sentences never hurt any marketer. 

Social Media Posts


There’s no doubt, referral marketing and social media blend seamlessly together in today's digital world. In fact, the better you integrate social media in your referral marketing program, the higher the chances of conversions.

 Why do social media and referral marketing work together? Here are a few reasons: 

  • Social media increases social proof: People copy what others do as a rule of thumb. So, when they see that their friends like and share a brand on their social media profiles they are immediately interested in learning more about it. Hence, offering the option to visitors or converted prospects to share your referral programs on socials is a fantastic way to build social proof.

  • Simplified marketing program promotion: With social media, it's easier than ever to promote your services. As prospects see what you post online, when you share your referral program, they'll see it. On top of that, when someone shares your post or mentions your brand, even more people see your program and gain insight into it. 

  • Brand impressions: Let's clarify something: When customers share your brand on their social media profiles, it creates impressions, and you get free advertising. This is great as it takes pressure off your marketing budget.

  • Your brand can become viral: Again, this is a form of advertising. For your posts to go viral, you need to share meaningful information and a referral program that offers value to users. 

Think of it this way: People share, copy, and post on social media. So, aim your referral program to be amongst these shares. 

How to Write

Apart from using standardized copywriting techniques, such as actionable and snappy writing, there's no special magic involved in writing social media posts or advertisements. That said, there are parts of your social media efforts you'd need to optimize if you want people to join your referral program. 

You'd want to make sure that your program is easy to access and share. To do this, you can offer social share buttons, so sharing is easy and enticing. Next, try to make your messaging clear and not too heavy, as it may make your brand seem spammy. Using compelling images might make users more inclined to share your referral program, so ensure a high-quality image accompanies what you're sharing. 

If you want, you can even shout out the top referrers. This way, others will want to join the shout-outs, increasing your chances of conversions. Besides, most people enjoy public praise. 

Referral Links 

Before we break down how to generate referral links, we must understand what a referral link is. 

A referral link, commonly known as an affiliate link, is the URL that lets a business promote services, products, or website content. Such a link contains an ID that tracks the way prospects arrive at a webpage. This ID is generated when a prospect converts after making a purchase and becomes a paying customer. Then, the affiliate website is given a commission. 

When consumers join a referral marketing program, they're assigned an invite link or personal referral link. This link is shared with friends or family members who may benefit from your business' services or products. So, when a referral converts, the link shows the conversion was successful. Then, a reward is sent to the referring consumer. 

Never underestimate the power of referral links. Not only do they make the referral process more accessible, but they also ensure you stay true to the promises of your referral program by rewarding consumers for their referrals automatically. 

How to Generate a Referral Link 

If you're into marketing campaigns, you can generate referral links in 3 ways:

  1. You can attach the affiliate ID to the URL and give it to the affiliate websites.

  2. You can choose to add the affiliate ID on your own in your product pages or URL.

  3. Your affiliates can generate their links manually. To do this, they must paste the address of the page you want prospects to land on into the Page URL area. 

Remember that the affiliates you're partnering with can share your links via social media or emails (e.g., email marketing). This process consists of a vanity URL and code that tracks the number of shares. When prospects click on your links they are redirected to the landing page you chose, where they can find coupons, offers, or other discounts.

Copywriting Tips


Before sharing the most significant copywriting tips, you need to remember that everyone can write copy. 

Plain but Dynamic Writing

As mentioned above, trying to connect with prospects using complicated language or overly wordy sentences is a no-no in marketing. Speaking formerly or opting for complex words may seem classy but it leaves consumers feeling disconnected. So, avoid this by writing short, snappy, and direct sentences and phrases. 

Yes, it's tough, especially if you're a high-end brand and want to keep up appearances. Nevertheless, writing copy that's easy to understand and accessible is a must if you're going to succeed. 

Speak in Your Voice

If you try to copy (see the pun?) the voice of another brand, you'll end up alienating your consumers. 


Because prospects want to see your own character and brand. If they wanted to support your competitor, they would've done so. 

At the same time, not using a monotonous voice but rather writing playful and thoughtful copy can make the difference when it comes to conversions. Hence, strive to be unique and different from competitors. 

Be Active

If prospects find you passive, without energy or vibrancy, they won't convert. You need to show power through your copy—and to do this, you must avoid the passive voice. 

So, if you want your referral marketing copywriting to thrive, aim for accessible, engaging, and active content—content that prompts prospects to engage and convert. 


Skyrocketing your referral marketing requires time and effort. But, at least, as the article showed, you don't always need to invest too much. Using good copy that keeps visitors engaged with your brand and prompts them to join your referral programs helps you attract new customers and maintain existing ones. 

So, stop wasting time. Use conversion copywriting to entice prospects to convert to get ahead in your industry and beat the competition.

Rebecca Hey

Co-Founder at Strategically.co

Rebecca Hey is a master wordsmith and co-founder of Strategically Digital Marketing Ltd., an acclaimed UK-based content writing agency. She solves content problems with a data-backed content strategy, expert writing, and meticulous editing. She also loves cats!