7 Financial Industry Referral Marketing Examples


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In order to acquire, retain and improve customer experience, referral campaigns are estimated to be in use with as many as 30% of all North American financial institutions. Since the bottom line is top of mind for every company involved in financial services, it’s no wonder that most successful companies have chosen to take advantage of referral marketing. 

The reason why is a matter of numbers. Research conducted by Wharton Business School shows that referred customers are 18% more likely to stay with a bank and generate 16% more lifetime value than non-referred customers. The value is clear. Financial groups need only ensure that the cost of acquisition (referral reward) is lower than the value generated by the customer (profit) to make a referral program worthwhile. As well, this isn’t a hard sell for chief players in global financial markets.

Read on for seven prime financial industry referral marketing examples maximizing the revenue and the utility between themselves and users. In analyzing specific uses of channel strategies from landing pages, websites, email and FAQ sections, we’ll develop a sense of just how referral programs humanize a traditionally impersonal industry and the elements that allow them to flourish between users.

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#1 Tangerine – Website


As the central hub of the brand entity, website presence should be a bright spot for visitors. The most immediate effect of Tangerine’s nearly monochrome website is a bold sense of confidence and energy. Using color theory to communicate the good things to come, the inset copy immediately pops out to visitors.

The messaging is clear and direct: reciprocal rewards for both parties, means cash in hand. Starting the page with dollar signs and digits keeps the design layout readable, with smaller print beneath the details. Clarity and transparency are key aspects in the financial realm and Tangerine does well to transmit the whole picture right away so visitors feel secure and open to bringing their friends along for the fun.

The design is simple and the altruistic benefits are apparent, but the company takes it a step further for readers and provides standard black on white text as well. This way, everyone’s on the same page with use of this separate block of copy. Doing this provides an opportunity to reaffirm the difference of “forward banking” and distinguish the brand among its competitors.

#2 Wealthfront – Email



Effective email outreach is a fundamental piece of any optimized referral marketing program, one that requires both good aesthetics and pinpoint word choice. Wealthfront, a money management service, has their email copy for list subscribers and finely tuned to reduce drag. All users need to do is enter the recipient’s email address and away goes the referral. The company earns extra points for greasing the wheels for the whole process, effectively eliminating the effort required to invite, while simultaneously maximizing the likelihood of new conversions. Bright, evenly matched CTA buttons anchor the page at both top and bottom, eagerly awaiting the user’s click.

Any opportunity to personalize marketing is a must-take, and there’s no better place to start than the headline. Consumers make time to read recommendations from friends – this is the foundation of social proof – and Wealthfront greets with a familiar name to good effect.

Writing in a personal, friendly first person tone, the brand speaks on behalf of Aaron and lays out the value proposition in powerful testimonial form. The rewards to the reader and the sender hinge upon the language of “free,” using this potent word to relate just how much financial gain await both friends. Here’s one example where 1+1 = more than the sum of it’s parts. This is the functional reality of all referral programs, beneficial for both customers and businesses.

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#3 Questrade – Landing Page


Stock trading platform Questrade uses great visual aids on their landing page to encourage conversions. A first look shows happy faces and friends, a tactic which promotes trust and engagement for visitors because humans are hard-wired to like pictures of other humans.

Compelled from the first chunk of copy to share the wealth with friends, the following headline dives into what’s in it for us. Bold black letters and beige tones align in the graphic at the bottom, which vividly depicts the money to be had by referring others.


The orderly and trustworthy design hierarchy continues as we scroll down, detailing how exactly both parties receive value from expanding the Questrade family. The overall impression of the layout is upwardly-mobile dollar signs, free money with service and instructions on how to get a piece. Skin-tone icons soothe worries and pair well with enthusiastic green call to actions (CTAs) to relate the growth potential and renewing aspects of the brand’s service.

Call to action language is all business: active verbs for driving action. When it comes to bank accounts, explanations precede conversions, but Questrade reimagines how to best communicate their brand – and leaves it’s mark in the mind of the viewer.

#4 Wealthfront – FAQ


At first an unassuming place for a rewards program, Wealthfront uses consumer psychology brilliantly when placing their “Invite Program” in the view of those with concerns. This helps placate the worries of any unsure readers, placing a ready incentive nearby once solutions have been achieved. Readers searching for answers and detail-oriented insights find themselves in a position of personal gain – and benefit their supporting social circle – by signing up with a buddy.

The Wealthfront aesthetic is sparse. There’s not much beyond a cheery, rounded black font upon a white background, blue links and the green logo and CTA at the top. Keeping the design focused upon basic content, speeds users through the ask and answer dynamic. The goal is linear movement from queries to answers to conversions, without distracting images.

The “Send an Invite” link is colored blue to indicate this is by nature a relaxed, calm, assured process. To stand out against all that reading, the CTA copy is perfect with three actionable words.

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#5 American Express – Landing Page

6-american-express-referral-marketing-exampleThis American Express referral landing page uses strong visual cues, but arranges them quite differently than Questrade above. The dual-block layout divides users attention at first, effectively segmenting visitors from the easy login box and directs them towards rewards. In effective 1-2-3 steps, the credit company guides users through simple steps to take after reading: login, refer (made easy with Facebook) and earn. In psychology, this predictive storyboarding technique is referred to as self-affirmation, an element used here to create immediate relevance with users.

The “Continue” CTA is a different color, enthusiastic and joyous yellow, setting it apart from the copy and; therefore, only for use after the trustworthy blue text has been read. Design hierarchies like this are a crucial piece of web design, encompassing size, color, spacing, text and the psychology behind how we read and react to pieces of information in relation to another.


As we scroll down, up come the great referral benefits. Each option a hallmark icon which permeates popular advertising culture, a visual cue of authenticity that’s accompanied by the rewards details. The copy here is bold to accentuate the points available, providing a quick-scan list of appealing rewards to those proceeding to login and invite friends.

As always, financial transactions require a significant amount of fine print. American Express makes short work of providing the “Footnotes,” a clever flip of the language that’s easily overlooked and doesn’t impede the flow of imagination, but remains obvious to those needing clarification.

#6 Chase Bank – Email


Chase makes good use of mobile email here, communicating personalized value and reciprocal referral benefits on a first name basis. Because customers know the full process before beginning to convert, the list form is effective again. It’s great for laying out basic actions that add up to more money for both Ian and his friends. From the active earning and money promised from the subject and headline and throughout the copy, Chase is consistent and effective in its messaging.

The blue headlines are sandwiched between dual-action “Invite Friends Now” CTAs, making it easier to capture user attentions and a conversion, while intentions and emotions are fresh in readers’ minds. The use of title case lettering is a pleasant detail worth replicating, and a design aspect worth addressing in mobile optimized referral programs. Within the confines of mobile devices, the little things become the big things.

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#7 Robinhood – FAQ/Mobile


In their push to move towards a service modification, Robinhood Instant, the trading service makes a simple proposition to customers: Invite friends to save time and get money faster. Unique in their referral rewards, Robinhood nestles their mobile update option within the help center where customers in search of the next level of service will be directed. This is a brilliant tactic for converting users to the upcoming mobile app experience and simultaneously targeting new customers.


The FAQ area is mostly text, as the company needs to be clear about what they’re offering. The invite call to action stands out sharply, awaiting a click for anyone appropriately excited about the new level of service.


The mobile account summary implies the scarcity and value of Robinhood Instant by assigning the user a spot in line. Only by inviting more people can they move up the chain and receive the service faster – a terrific psychological twist to motivate its customers.


Big and exciting against the secretive black background, the social share CTAs ensure multiple invites are as easy as they are tantalizing. One-click invites through email and social channels are pre-filled content that require one final click before being sent. This tactic is great for acquiring new customers, retaining the old and driving engagement via UX creativity.

Summing Up

This has been a list of seven relevant examples from financial companies using referral programs to improve customer revenue. Promoting their programs across landing pages, email and FAQ sections, these companies illustrate how to incorporate great design, exact copy and user psychology together for increased referral conversions.

Investing in overall UX is a surefire way to retain ideal customers and improve their engagement. Indeed, only happy customers will refer friends or family to your product or service, so referral programs make a great hallmark of businesses on top of their brand image … and earn more revenue from customer engagement overall.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Brandon Gains
Brandon Gains is the VP of Marketing at Referral SaaSquatch. He uses a mix of data, design and development to work on the growth of our company. You can connect with him via email brandon at referralsaasquatch.com or on twitter @brandongains


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