What Is A Referral Link? Plus How To Create Them And More

It’s simpler than you think: a referral link is a special web link that keeps track of who recommended a business, often used to reward people for telling others about it.

In referral programs, businesses give each of their existing customers a unique referral link to share with their network. When someone clicks on the referral link and visits the business’s website or fills out a form, the business knows that the new customer came because of the person who shared the link.

This helps businesses see which referrers are bringing in new business. They use this information to thank those who are helping them grow, usually by giving them a reward.

So, referral links help businesses track who’s spreading the word and reward them for it. It’s a simple but effective way for businesses to grow their customer base through referrals.

referral link example

Have you considered generating a unique referral link for each of your customers?

This method of promoting your brand through existing customers can have a huge impact on your bottom line. And the best part? It’s easy to get started. All you need to do is build your own referral program, create referral links for all your customers, and ask them to spread the word!

In this article, we’ll share everything you need to know about referral links and how to make a referral link (similar to a referral code) for each of your customers , fans, employees of whoever. This allows you to tap into the power of word-of-mouth marketing by asking them to refer their friends. Generating referral links is easier than you think, all you need is access to a no-code referral software tool like Referral Factory and you’ll be building referral programs in no time 😄

But first, let’s talk about why referrals are so important..

When someone recommends your business to their friends or family, it’s like getting a stamp of approval. People are much more likely to trust a recommendation from someone they know than an advertisement from a company. And when new customers come to you through referrals, they often have a higher lifetime value than those who come from other sources.

Essentially, you just need to generate a unique link that your customers can share with their friends. This link will take their friends to a landing page where they get introduced to your brand, and in many cases get offered something special to become a customer of yours too.

When the friend of your customer (referrer) fills in their information on the link and then continues on to make a purchase, book a demo, subscribe, or take whatever action you deem to be a converted referral, the referrer gets a reward. This could be a voucher, cash, a discount, a free product, or anything else.

Congrats. You just got a new referral!

new referred leads notification referral factory

Here are some examples of what the person sees when they click on a referral link.

referral link example referral factory tracking referrals e-learning
referral link example referral factory tracking referrals community crypto

Brands can have one or multiple referral programs. They can also use different tracking methods like referral codes or a unique referral link.

Let’s look at the different ways you can create these referral links.

One way to create a referral link is to use referral software like Referral Factory. This no-code solution makes it easy to set up a referral program for your business, and even easier to create a unique referral link for each of your customers or affiliates. Your customers can either register to refer or you can upload your customers to your referral program, or you can sync your CRM contacts to your referral program, or you can add your customers to your program via Zapier or API.

how to create referral links

When it comes time to reward your customers for successfully referring new business your way, you can either issue your own rewards or opt to use one of the 200+ gift card and cash options offered through Referral Factory. This referral program software will also handle all the tracking for your referral program, allowing you to see who referred who, which of your referrals converted, and who your top referrers are (everything ties back to the referral code inside their unique referral link).

You can see all of this in one simple-to-understand analytics dashboard.

referral link tracking analytics marketing software

If you want to create a referral link without using referral software, it is possible it just takes a few more steps and you should be an advanced technical marketer to try this method. This method is more recommended for marketers who want to create multiple referral programs at scale, and need tight control of the design and technical aspects. Here are the steps 👇

1. Build your customer referral program: Work with your developers to create all the pages for your referral program, share options, email notifications, user tracking, and more – you’ll need to invest sufficient time getting this ready as everything is created from scratch. You’ll need to also create your referral code base logic and generate the html pages for your referral link pages.

2. Assign a unique referral link for each of your customers: your developers should have built a system that auto generate a URL for each customer, you then use a URL shortener (such as bit.ly) to create a unique link or (using a referral code) that customers can easily share with their friends.

3. Add unique GTM tracking parameters to each user’s link: To track the success of your referral program, you’ll want to add tracking parameters to each individual link. You’ll also then need to set up specific goals on your Google Analytics that track what a conversion for your referral program is. This will allow you to see how many clicks and conversions each referral link is generating. It’s important to note that these tracking params are simply connecting tracking an event, you will still need to tie each event to the referral code of a user.

4. Offer a reward: To incentivize your customers to share your referral link, offer them a reward for each successful referral. This could be a discount, free product, or other incentive that makes them excited to spread the word about your business. You’ll need to issue these manually if you aren’t using referral software that automates the process.

If you choose to code a referral link or referral code system on your own, be prepared to invest a significant amount of time and resources. Building a successful referral program from scratch requires extensive development and testing, which can be time-consuming and costly. It does allow you to imagine absolutely anything and create it, so there are positives to that approach too, but we only advise this method if you are looking to build a complex referral program that is hard to create using off-the-shelf referral software.

Creating a referral link for all your customers is a simple but powerful way to grow your business. Whether you use a referral program software or create a link on your own, make sure to promote it to your customers and encourage them to share it with their friends. When a customer refers their friends and family to your business, it’s a testament to the quality of your products and services. They are essentially vouching for your brand, which can be a powerful marketing tool 📣

When it comes to setting up a referral program, there are a few different options to consider. Make sure you do your research find the best refer a friend program strategy for your business!

One popular method is to use referral codes, which are unique codes that customers can share with their friends to earn rewards. However, there is a better option available: referral links.

Referral links work by providing each of your referrers with a dedicated landing page to invite their friends to your business. This landing page is customized specifically for the referrer, making it easier for them to promote your business and track their referrals. These landing pages also allow you to create ‘offers’ that your customers can share with their friends to accept or unlock.

Referral link > page > offer


Page > offer > referral code

Here are some examples of this:

referral link example invitation page what the friend sees
referral link example invitation page refer a friend

Compared to referral codes, referral links offer several advantages. For one, they provide a more streamlined experience for both referrers and their friends. Referrers don’t have to worry about remembering and sharing a code, and their friends can simply click on the referral link to visit your site and make a purchase.

In addition, referral links make it easier to track and reward successful referrals. With a dedicated landing page for each referrer, you can easily monitor how many referrals they’ve made and what referral rewards they’re eligible for. Using a referral code cannot give you these kinds of benefits.

Another reason it’s a smarter choice to use referral links over referral codes is so that you can see the exact reach of each person’s referral links. Tracking codes is almost impossible as you only know a code has been shared once the person that was referred uses the code on checkout. But with a referral link you can track these metrics for each referrer: reach, referrals, and converted referrals.

referral link tracking user breakdown reach analytics referrals software

As you can see, referral codes might be easy for people to share, but they lack the tracking abilities you need to really scale your word-of-mouth efforts.

Overall, using a referral link for each person is a smart choice for any business looking to grow through word-of-mouth marketing. By providing your customers with an easy way to share their a referral link for your business, you can essentially generate new referred leads that arrive at your business already trusting your brand.

Trust is the currency of every referral

trust referral marketing refer a friend

Trust is the foundation of any successful business relationship. Without trust, customers are unlikely to return to your business or recommend you to their friends and family. In fact, according to a study by Edelman, “75% of consumers make decisions or overcome concerns about brands based on conversations with peers.”

The reason for this is simple: when someone recommends your business to a friend, they are putting their own reputation on the line. They wouldn’t recommend your business if they didn’t trust you and believe that their friend would have a positive experience. Sharing a referral link ain’t no joke 🤪

By launching a referral program and prompting people to share a referral link, you can generate leads that already trust your brand because they were referred by a trusted source. These leads are more likely to make a purchase from your business and become loyal customers. In fact, another study by Deloitte found that “customers acquired through referrals have a 37% higher retention rate.”

By leveraging the power of referrals, you can build a strong foundation of trust for your brand. This can lead to more referrals, higher retention rates, more brand awareness, and ultimately, more revenue to fuel the growth of your business.

Creating referral links (or a referral code) for your customers is not just about generating new referred leads, it’s also about building trust with your customers and their networks. By providing your customers with a simple and effective way to refer their friends to your business, you can generate more leads that already trust your brand and are more likely to become loyal customers.

So, don’t overlook the power of referrals – they may just be the most valuable form of marketing that your business will try this year!

Yes, you can use the same method to make referral links for customers, affiliates, or employees that might want to refer their friends to your business too. The beauty about building a referral program is that you can use it to manage the referral process for more than one type of referrer. In fact, using referral software to create affiliate links can be a very cost-effective solution because you can run referral programs targeted at different types of advocates from the same place! You can generate referral codes in bulk, and set up comprehensive tracking of each users referral link.

You can invite influencers and brand ambassadors to join your referral program – as it will streamline the tracking process so that you can see how many referrals they generate, and how many of those referrals convert.

create referral links for customers affiliate links employee referrals influencer tracking

Referrals often happen largely in dark social environments, this is because users send their referral links to their friends directly, not via public social media channels. Data from Referral Factory shows that the most popular channels users share their a referral link on is:

track referrers sharing referral links social media

Sharing their referral links is a crucial step for your customers to take if they want to actively refer business your way, and get rewarded for doing so.

Here are some tips you can give to your customers about how to share their referral links:

  • When sharing your referral link, it’s important to provide some context around why someone should use it. Explain the benefits of your product or service and how it can help the person you’re sharing it with. Don’t be afraid to get personal and share your own experience using the product or service.
  • Another effective way to share your referral link is through word-of-mouth. Talk to your friends, family, and colleagues about your business and ask them to share your referral link with their own networks.
  • Share your referral link across all your social media channels – by using social media, you can spread the word about our business to all of your followers, and ultimately drive more referrals in exchange for rewards. So, get creative, be personal, and start sharing your referral link today!

Remember that your customers are just as new to referral marketing as you are, so take the time to educate and help them be successful. Try skip the jargon too, ask them to spread the word not their referral codes!

When they win, you win 👏

Yes, there can be potential pitfalls when creating a referral link. One of the biggest pitfalls is not properly tracking and attributing referrals. This can lead to confusion and frustration for both the person making the referral and the business receiving it. It’s important to use reliable referral program software to ensure that all referrals are tracked accurately and fairly.

Below we’ve aggregated a list of tools you can use to generate referral links or referral codes for your program — these tools are ranked by review scores on independent platforms. 

referral link generators referral marketing software compared by reviews comparison table ranking

Another potential pitfall is not providing clear instructions or incentives for making referrals. People are more likely to refer others if they know exactly what to do and what they’ll get in return. Make sure to clearly outline the referral process and any rewards or incentives offered for successful referrals – and remember that you must offer referral rewards that people actually want.

The old golf shirts from 2017 that are sitting in your stock room are not going to motivate anyone to share a referral code!

Lastly, it’s important to avoid spamming or overly aggressive tactics when promoting your referral program to your customers. While it’s important to get the word out about your referral program, bombarding people with constant reminders or unsolicited messages can be a major turn-off and can demotivate people to the point where they will never refer your business. People have to feel confident before they will share a referral link, so it’s important to ensure your house is in order before asking people to share referral codes.

Instead, focus on promoting your program in a respectful and targeted way, such as by offering it to existing customers who may be more likely to refer others. We’ve written a whole guide that shares all the ways you can actively promote your referral program to your customers in a safe and engaging way. Getting people to share their referral codes or referral links in key to pulling off a successful referral program!

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