Best Referral Program Incentives (Updated Mar 2023)

You may already know how incentives can help you encourage more people to promote your business. But you may not know what particular incentive you can give away. In this article, you’ll learn ten effective referral incentives that you can include in your program.

Discount Code

One of the best types of referral incentives that you can give away is the discount code. It is quite easy to generate. If you are running an eCommerce website, you need to set a code up inside your platform. From there, you can now add this as a reward in your referral program. 


If all else fails, you can always give away some cash. While this may not be the most attractive option for referral program incentives, it remains to be one of the most effective. It is the secret behind the growth of a company like PayPal. It started as a business that promotes its referral program to give away free cash for every signup. And it is enough to motivate its audience to start promoting the program to other people. It is the incentive behind the billions of users that PayPal has today. 

Free Item

You don’t have to study the best Shopify course to know that you have to constantly deal with your inventory products if you run an eCommerce website. Because of this situation, there will always be instances where some items will be left. So how do you get rid of them? Instead of simply giving them away, you can give them away as a referral incentive. Since the items may only be available in limited amounts, it is a great way to introduce the scarcity tactic and get referrers to sign up for your program. 

Free Trial

There may be some products that may not work as well with having a typical referral program. Take a software or online platform, for example. These solutions don’t have tangible products that they can give away. Because of their situation, they are better off giving away a free trial of their services. You may see huge businesses employ this tactic. They will usually have an open problem with their services. But this trial is often extended once the prospect signs up for their referral program. You may want to give away free trials this way if you sell software or an online solution.

Item Demonstration

For products such as cosmetics and food products, you may want to give away product samples or demos. These products may not be the same size as the real products, but it gives your audience a taste of what you can give them. You can give away these samples as incentives in your referral program. You can then ask them to shoulder the shipping costs to have the samples shipped to their doorstep.

Giving away samples can be good for your business, for it gives a selection of your products and services. By doing this, your audience will have an idea of how it feels to buy from you, plus the prospect will also be able to experience your products. 

Entry to a Contest

A creative incentive is to give your referrals an entry to a contest with high ticket items when participating in your referral program. A referral program is effective because it gathers contact information from participants. But you can make it more interesting, instead of asking them to share contact details one time. You can ask them to keep on promoting your brand to the people in their circle. When they do this, they will have more chances of winning the high ticket prices in your contest.

Limited Edition Items

Run a different type of business where every product is special, and you cannot give away a discount code. You can give away limited edition items to the people who managed to get the most referrals in your business. When you do this tactic, it will motivate your referrers to continue promoting your business. The best part is you make the rewards exclusive – it means that only the best people can get access to it, which makes it more special in your referrers’ eyes. 

Limited Time Discount Code

You may see that eCommerce businesses like to implement a limited time discount code. This is quite similar to the discount code tactic, only that it has a time element. The time element employs the scarcity tactic that you can see in guides that teaches how to promote a Shopify store. The user has to buy from you soon, or the discount code will expire. It is a great way to encourage people to take action at the soonest time possible. 

Limited Time Freebie

You can also employ the scarcity time tactic in your freebie. If you saw that you have items that you can give away as freebies, you’ll find that they are often available in limited amounts. On top of the number, you can also employ a time limit so that your referrers start taking action right away. It means that if they don’t make the time cut, they may not get access to the reward. 

Exclusive Access

If you are selling an online course or online content, this article’s other incentives may not apply to your business. While you can give them a free trial, it is still better if you have exclusive access. It is where you will have content that is only available to those people who participated in your referral campaign. As you can see, it is an effective way to invite people into your referral program without being too pushy. The reward in itself will draw them to your program. 

I hope this article has given you enough ideas. You don’t have to complicate the process over. Websites like Drum Set Lab and Hunting Bow Lab have launched their programs and then tested their incentives along the way. It may be best to launch it and then wait for feedback after. This way you’ll know what works and what doesn’t. 

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