How To Use Psychology To Boost ‘Refer-A-Friend’ Programs


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Your customers are a powerful asset in more ways than one. With the right strategies and tactics, you can influence your customers to help grow your business. Refer-a-friend programs or customer referral strategies can work as a key part of your marketing strategies. Using it has many benefits.

  • Your existing users help increase sales by bringing in more customers
  • You can leverage the power of social proof
  • It’s possible to create a positive relationship with your audience by giving them the opportunity to earn an income

Refer-a-friend programs as a digital marketing strategy need to become a priority with any business. You can improve the success and effectiveness of your program by using psychological techniques to make it more compelling. Let’s explore how psychology can help your refer-a-friend programs become more compelling.

Social proof

Building a relationship and gaining the trust of your audience can be a long and challenging journey. To shorten the time taken to build trust, the best technique a business can use is to create social proof.

Social proof is the psychological concept that describes how people are more willing to do something when they see that other people are doing the same activity. It’s like choosing the restaurant that’s full over one that’s emptier because you believe that the busy restaurant must be better.

You can boost your refer-a-friend program by highlighting success stories from other customers. Share details on your referral information pages about how your users have gained an online income. Providing specific and real proof of the success of your referral programs will motivate more people to sign up. They’ll also share content and products links more when they see that there are tangible rewards.

You can also ask for testimonials or showcase stories to create social proof. According to marketers, customer testimonials and case studies are the most effective content marketing tactics you can use to boost your social proof and in turn, more referral sign-ups.


The fear of missing out or FOMO is an effective technique that compels people to take immediate action. It works by creating a feeling of scarcity and that a person can miss the chance to buy your product for a great price.

You can boost your referral program by sending out an email informing your users about an increase in a commission rate or a reward for a fixed time period. Offer your users special discounts and codes that they can use to create referrals. For example, create a weekend offer that’s available from Friday to Sunday night.

It’s especially helpful to create FOMO-based referral programs during the holiday season. People make holiday purchases and are looking for great offers. By making use of the spirit of the season and leveraging FOMO, you’ll help improve your referral rates online.

Instant Gratification

Research shows that people are more likely to choose rewards that they can receive right away over ones that appear after a delay. This is true even if the delayed reward is greater and more satisfying. For refer-a-friend programs, this means that you’ll see greater interactions if you create immediate rewards.

Another way to cater to people’s preference for instant gratification is to create simple referral processes. Ensure that you make the process of signing up and making referrals simple and easy. The path to taking action should not have too many steps or you’ll lose steam and your customer’s interest.

Let’s look at ways to create immediate rewards and an uncomplicated referral path.

  • Create a call-to-action to refer a product in a prominent place
  • Offer an immediate reward such as a discount on the next purchase. You can also gamify your referral program by creating badges and points
  • Make your terms and conditions easy to understand and simple. People are more likely to sign up and share your product if they easily understand how the process works. Complicated technical details and large text can put people off
  • Make codes simple. Create discount coupons and codes that are easy to remember and make sense.
  • Ensure that it’s easy to share. Add share buttons and link generators that create and track affiliate links to make referrals easy. It’s also helpful to create pre-written email templates, social media posts, and more to help your users share content

Your audience’s preference for instant gratification is a helpful psychological tool that you can leverage. By making it easy to share content and offering immediate rewards, you’ll be more likely to see a boost in referrals.

Enable Greater Social Capital

People care about their image online and their relationships with other people. Your referral program needs to ensure that it enhances their social capital. Social capital refers to the network of relationships a person has that allows for the smooth functioning of a group. In terms of boosting customer referrals, this means that users need to see how your program enhances their social capital.

It’s vital to create a referral program that builds your user’s image in the eyes of their peers. Referring your brand and your product should strengthen a person’s social capital at best, or leave it neutral. Your users will not share content or product recommendations if they believe that doing so will lower the strength of their connections with other people.

Focus on branding your product well, creating helpful content with blog posts, and providing high-quality products.

There’s a social risk involved where your users can get a negative association from recommending poor offers. Take steps to ensure that your customer service, refund processes, and website user-experience are all in good shape. Build a strong customer experience for your users and their connections.

When you enhance people’s social connections by enabling good referrals, you’ll increase the chances of getting shared online more.

Use Psychology to Boost Referrals

Building a relationship and creating trust can take time. It’s often necessary to create a membership site to build a community where people are willing to refer your brand and products to others.
However, you can build a relationship and grow your business at the same time. A great strategy is to combine psychological concepts with a refer-a-friend program. Use the tips given here and give your referral strategies a boost. You’ll grow your business and create happy customers too.

Syed Balkhi
Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site. With over 10 years of experience, he’s the leading WordPress expert in the industry. You can learn more about Syed and his portfolio of companies by following him on his social media networks.


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