Referral emails can generate word-of-mouth recommendations from your sphere of influence among prospective customers who may be a good fit. Having existing customers refer their peers to try your products or services is a great and effective way to increase your pool of prospects who are more likely to convert than reaching out to cold lead.
Download these seven free referral templates and use them to foster word-of-mouth referrals from various network sources.
1. Client Referral Template for Asking Friends & Family
Those closest to you personally, such as friends and family, often want to see your business grow and succeed. This makes them ideal promoters of your products and services.
When requesting referrals from any source, provide context to the scope of your business. Describe what an excellent referral looks like and list specific reasons to recommend your company, products, or services.
2. Referral Email Sample for Professional Colleagues
A professional colleague is anyone in your network who you know through work, events, and professional organizations. They aren’t necessarily someone who is part of a business complementary to yours or a competitor―we offer a referral email template for this type of contact later in the article. This template is virtually identical to the one for friends and family because the messaging doesn’t need to change—there is just a slight difference in the title and the opening to make it more formal.
3. Referral Email Template for Business Partners
As a strategy that benefits both parties, businesses with complementary products or services are one of the best sources to request referrals from. Find out which are your best centers of influence for getting leads in our article on the best lead generation referral sources by industry.
Since this likely will be a recurring exchange, your call to action will typically include asking for a phone call or meeting. At this meeting, you can discuss what type of referral would be a good fit for your companies and the process you’ll use to make or exchange referred leads.
Pro tip: Providing a scheduling portal link is more efficient than back-and-forth emails. Platforms like Calendly simplify the process. By simply clicking a link in your email, the recipient can choose the time and communication channel most convenient for them. Both parties can even see mutual availabilities if they both have Calendly accounts.
4. Referral Program Email Template Promoting Customer Incentives & Rewards
This type of referral email is slightly less personal, but can be sent to many people at once. It should promote sales of your products or services using a loyalty or rewards program that offers incentives to referrers, referees, or both.
Reward programs with incentives are frequently used to generate word-of-mouth referrals by retail and ecommerce businesses, but can also be leveraged by many other types of companies. Use the customer referral email template below to send to your pool of customers.
Pro tip: Increase customer retention and referrals with referral rewards tools like ReferralCandy. ReferralCandy lets you create and manage loyalty and referral rewards programs as well as customer relationships―all in one platform. You can choose to give rewards in the form of money, cash, or online gift vouchers.
5. Email Asking Current Clients or Customers for Referrals
A simple lead generation method involves directly asking for referrals from people or businesses that have already purchased from you. For the most part, a referral request email template for your customers reminds them that you are always happy to receive referrals and appreciate them. But only send this type of request to customers who are satisfied with your business.
To determine the best customers to reach out to, you can use customer surveys to measure satisfaction levels to get what’s known as a net promoter score (NPS). An NPS is a market research method that categorizes customers into three main groups: detractor, passive, or promoter. The idea is to reach out to those who are rated as “promoters” as they are highly satisfied and likely to recommend your business.
Pro tip: Customer relationship management (CRM) systems like HubSpot let you design and store referral email templates so your entire team can use them. The templates can be automatically personalized based on current customer data stored in the CRM database, making it easy to send referral email requests in bulk that still feel personal to the recipient.
6. Email Template for Asking Members of Your Networking Groups for Referrals
Use a sales referral email template when reaching out to members of your professional networking organizations, such as your Chamber of Commerce or leadshare groups. Leadshare groups are organizations where business owners or representatives meet monthly to network and exchange leads. There is a cap of one member per industry vertical, per group, which gives each member exclusivity on referrals.
Members are held accountable using a point system for making referrals, bringing guests to meetings, and having one-on-one meetings with other members. Since it’s assumed the members already know what your business does, your focus here is to detail what an ideal customer looks like and how they can submit a referral.
7. Referral Request Template for Competitors
You might be thinking: “Why would competitors send me referrals?” However, there may be times when a competitor finds they cannot or don’t want to take on a particular client, but would still like to assist by recommending a trusted competitor. In such cases, having a business-to-business (B2B) referral email template comes in handy.
To develop these referral sources, take time to establish friendly relationships with those you’re in competition with and talk about the types of referrals you might want to exchange. Just because you are competitors doesn’t mean you can’t have an amicable relationship with them. There’s often more than enough business to go around and sometimes a competitor is a better fit for a prospect—which only shows you have the customer’s best interest at heart.
Best Practices on How to Write a Referral Email
Referral emails should be written in a simple, straightforward manner—but must still pack a punch of information and creativity. Below we share some essential aspects to include when writing your referral template emails to make it effective and easy for your peers and contacts to share them with their network.
- Use an interesting headline: Using interesting headlines is one of the most effective ways to increase your email open rate. You can highlight the request in the headline itself and even include an incentive (more on this in our last tip).
- Keep it short and simple: No one wants to read a lengthy email, so keep it simple. Get straight to the point and explain the reason for the email and what you’re asking for.
- Highlight the “why”: Make it easy for your referees to convince their peers to try your products and services by properly justifying the “why.” An easy way to do this is to underscore your brand’s unique selling proposition.
- Give an incentive: Entice your peers and contacts by offering a token of appreciation for connecting you with potential leads. It could be as simple as a discount on their next purchase on your website or prizes from referral tools like ReferralCandy.
Stats About Referral Leads & Referral Emails
While there isn’t any data that specifically tells the story about emailing and referral marketing in conjunction, both referral-based lead generation and using email as a communication tool have independently proved vital and effective to many businesses. Some key stats include:
- Referred customers are 3x more likely to refer their friends to your brand.
- Referred customers spend 5% to 25% more on their first order.
- 64% of small businesses use email marketing to reach customers.
- Across all industries, the average email open rate is 21%.
Implementing an effective referral marketing strategy is an essential component of sales management. By using these business referral request templates to learn how to write a referral email, you can create opportunities to generate leads from a broad range of sources within your personal and professional sphere of influence.