In this article
Are you struggling to grow your email list? Referral marketing might just be the secret weapon you need!
You can tap into the influence and trust of your existing subscribers and customers to attract new subscribers to your list. This is the power of social proof and word-of-mouth. The best part is, you’re more likely to convert your new subscribers into loyal customers. This is because they share common interests with your current subscribers.
That said, in this article, you’ll learn practical tips to grow your email list using a referral strategy. So, whether you're looking to grow an email list from scratch or boost the growth of a current one, this article is for you. Let’s dive in!
What is Referral Marketing?
Referral marketing is a marketing strategy that relies on the power of social proof to attract new customers. Simply put, the process involves incentivizing your current customers and subscribers to refer their friends, family, or colleagues to your brand.
Referral marketing can take many forms, such as a referral program, affiliate marketing, or influencer marketing. Each of these forms, however, shares one thing in common: they encourage people to share a company’s product information and become active participants in the marketing process of growing an email list.
Referral campaigns are highly effective because they leverage the trust and credibility your existing customers have built with their network. People are more likely to trust and act on a recommendation from friends and family than on a random brand ad or marketing message.
Secondly, it’s a win-win strategy for both the company and its customers—the company grows its email list using a referral, and the customers get rewards or discounts.
What is an Email List?
An email list is a collection of the email addresses of people who have opted in to receive communications from your business. These people can be existing customers, prospects, or anyone who has shown interest in your products or services.
Besides the email addresses, your email list can include personal details like names, locations, and gender.
An email list is a critical component of email marketing for ecommerce, SaaS, B2B, and other types of businesses. It allows you to build a relationship with subscribers over time. With those email addresses, you can share newsletters, promotional offers, and other types of content to engage and nurture subscribers.
To get the most out of your email marketing list, you require a high-quality email subscriber list with active addresses that interact with your emails. Use a good email finder tool like Voila Norbert to confirm that you still have the correct and active email addresses on your list.
Then, to track the level of interaction you're getting from your email list, monitor key email marketing performance indicators. These include open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates.
3 Ways to Grow Your Email List with Referral Marketing
Now that you understand email marketing and referral marketing, the question is, how do you grow your email list with referral marketing? Here are three ways:
- Ask Your Subscribers
The simplest way to grow your email list using a referral marketing strategy is to ask your existing subscribers to refer to their networks. With this strategy, you simply bank on your subscribers’ brand loyalty. You don’t offer incentives.
To get started, just create and send an email to your current email list. Remember, you’re not offering any rewards. So, your copy needs to be really good to get your subscribers to take your desired action. Check out the example below:
Betterment, an American financial advisory company, uses humor to get subscribers to click on that Refer a Friend button.
Make sure you personalize your message, too. Address your subscribers by name and refer to their previous interactions with your brand. These strategies will add a personal touch that makes subscribers feel valued. This way, they’ll be more likely to refer your brand to their friends and family.
Also, include a call-to-action (CTA). Ensure the CTA uses relevant text and is prominently placed, as in the example above.
2. Add a Forward Link to Your Other Marketing Emails
There’s another way you can grow your email list using a referral marketing strategy: add a forward link to your other marketing emails. A forward link allows subscribers to easily forward your email to their network. They don’t have to leave the email page to find the link or keep confirming they’re using the correct link.
The good thing about this strategy is that your subscribers get to choose which email to forward to their networks. It’s safe to assume this is the email that is more likely to pique the recipients’ interest. That means you increase your chances of them subscribing to your mailing list.
Once your subscribers click on the link you provide, they should be directed to a tab where they fill out their network’s name and email address and click on “submit.” Some of the opt-in invite forms will also include the option to add a personal message.
To get the most from a forward link, ensure the anchor text you use for your link is clear and concise enough to communicate the purpose to your subscribers. For instance, use phrases like "Share this email" or "Forward to a friend.”
Also, make sure your forward link is visible and easy to find in your email. Place it at the top or bottom of the email. Or you can use a button or icon to make it stand out, as shown below.
If you place your forward link at the bottom of your email, consider including a simple message that encourages most email subscribers to share your email. For example, you could include a line that says, "Enjoyed this email? Forward it to a friend!"
Quite a number of email service providers will allow you to add a forward link at the bottom of your email. So consider this when choosing the provider to use.
3. Set Up a Formal Referral Program
Setting up a formal referral program is a highly effective way to grow your email list. Subscribers refer their network to your email list in exchange for rewards. These rewards include exclusive content, invites to exclusive in-person events, freebies, and discounts.
For example, you could offer a 10% off discount code to both the referrer and the referred for every successful referral. You could also provide additional referral incentives for multiple referrals.
To set up an email referral program, choose a referral program software solution that is easy to use. It should also have the features you are looking for. These features include automated reward fulfillment, pre-populated email templates, auto-generated referral codes or custom links, and performance reports.
ReferralCandy is an example of a great software solution you can use to power your email referral program.
Once you’ve chosen the tool, decide on the rewards you’ll offer your email subscribers and their referrals. Ensure the rewards are compelling enough and affordable for your business at the same time.
Then, you can generate unique referral links for subscribers. Don’t forget to create a landing page with your signup form, and set up reward fulfillment.
Promote your referral email program to your current email list, as shown below:
In your email, highlight the rewards at stake so they’re the first things your recipients see. Also, make sure you lay down the instructions for joining the program.
Promote your referral program on social media channels and through other forms of marketing as well.
Finally, remember to track your successful referrals and the general performance of your program on your software. Use the data to optimize your program and make the required adjustments.
Referral marketing is a great way to grow a healthy email list. By leveraging the trust your current subscribers and customers have in your company, you can attract new subscribers. These are people you can also convert into loyal customers.
To start growing your email list using a referral email marketing strategy, follow one or more of the strategies you learned from this article. You can ask your existing subscribers to encourage their networks to sign up for your email list. Also, add a forward link in your other marketing emails. Finally, set up a formal referral program with relevant incentives for both the referrer and the referred.
Implement these tips now and reap the best results. Good luck!