Why Creative Design is Essential for Referral Marketing Success

Design plays an essential role in referral marketing. You will not be able to convince your prospects to sign up unless you visually tell them what to do. In this age, where images and videos dominate the content arena, it is even harder to get your prospects’ attention unless you have a visual ad. This is the reason why you should incorporate creative design into your referral marketing plan.

Why You Need Creative Design in Your Referral Program

Creative design plays a vital role in referral programs. Here are some reasons why you need to improve it. 

Having a Creative Intuitive Design is Hard to Miss

When you promote a product or a program to your customers, it is crucial to do so with creative design. Design is for more than visual pleasure. It is also for catching attention. You’ll know it when you view ads. The ad that is better designed usually get more clicks and engagements. This is because design plays a vital role in marketing. Brands will not pay thousands of dollars for design if it does not help them.

You Convert Customers When They Are On The Verge of Buying

Customers go through a thinking process when they buy. First, they observe. They look at your sales copy and look at the details of the product. From here, they decide on their form of action. Design can help push your customers to your desired direction. Aside from the fact that it pops on the computer or mobile screen, it also stimulates mental retention. With a good design, your marketing message ‘sticks’ and your prospects remember you when they already want to buy. Of course, the design is not the only factor at play here. It is essential that you also have an attractive product or service, but the design will give that final boost that you need to get that sale.

It Improves Your Brand Retention

Brand marketing can be quite tricky if you don’t know where to begin. While you may master the basics of brand marketing, you’ll find that it can still be difficult to be remembered if you don’t use the power of design. You have to remember that you are not the only one who is promoting your brand. Thousands of business owners are doing it as well. You can only stand out and be remembered if you have a design that pops. As mentioned, design helps your business be remembered right when the customer is ready to buy.

It Improves Customer Trust

Having a professionally designed website and marketing materials shows your prospects that you are serious. In effect, they will also take you seriously. It builds trust. Prospects would appreciate brands that go out of their way to meticulously design every aspect of their website and marketing materials for it shows that they care about their customers. With increased trust, your customers will be far more likely to sign up for your referral program.

It is Easier to Ask for Referrals

What is easier? Manually typing your ad copy or pasting a poster or banner for your promotions? I am sure you will prefer the latter. While sharing images may not be good for SEO or search engine optimization, it is still preferred when it comes to advertising. As mentioned, advertising is all about standing out and being remembered, and design can help you do that. With the design, you’ll have graphical marketing materials that are easier to share. Your prospects can do it too as they share your banners on different social media channels.

Brands That Used Creative Design to Their Benefit

If you want to know how creative design can help your business, you need to look at the different brands that managed to use it well. Here are some of them.


Airbnb is a resource sharing platform for lodging and homestays. It sells because it encapsulates locales and turns them into experiences. How is the brand able to do this? It can do it through creative design. The homes listed on their site are categorized by the experiences, and these experiences use icons for their category title. Also, they ensure that homeowners upload high-quality images of their properties. This way, the prospects can review the property and decide if it is to their liking.

Airbnb also focused a lot on their referral marketing program. They did not use referral marketing software to set it up. They hired someone to create a custom referral program for them. This unique referral program allowed them to track referrals and referrers quickly. Aside from this, they implemented an import system so that users can easily refer their family and friends in one click. This will allow them to import all contacts and emails to Airbnb. Airbnb does all this with a visual representation of their referral program. They show the users what they will get if they join the program.


You’ll know dropbox from its blue icon. It is a storage system in the cloud so that you can access your files even if they are not in your desktop computer or external hard drive. They promise to provide secure storage that can be accessed across multiple devices;

What stands out in Dropbox is their referral program. You can see this prominently on their front page. The promotion banner has a beautiful blue vector image that shows what you can get when you sign up. It is simple, but the reward is so attractive that users sign up. It is so effective that Dropbox managed to drive down their cost-per-lead with the simple implementation of their referral program. Dropbox is known for its referral program for it is one of the pioneers of the idea. While others struggle in manual promotions, Dropbox is letting their customers promote them. This is easier, and it is far more effective in getting new subscribers and sales.


Another groundbreaking business that was born in recent years is Uber. This is a ride-sharing app that has grown to include other services like food delivery, bike-sharing, and others. Uber has worked not only in crafting their referral program but also in creating marketing materials for it. They implemented a referral program where they rewarded both the referrer and the friend. They give out free rides and give the drivers some incentives. This allowed them to grow as a platform.

What makes Uber unique is that they solved an existing problem with a creative solution. Unlike traditional businesses whose aim is to look for a current product or service that they can provide, Uber crafted its own function. From here, they also listened to the needs of their customers and created their referral program based on that.


Need a form for your business? Whether it is for surveys or quizzes, Typeform can help you. What makes their referral program unique is they give their services for free once the referrer reaches a certain threshold. If the referrer can get ten paying customers, he will get a free PRO account for life. Also, they only open the program to specific customers. Only PRO users can get access to the program. They did this to qualify the users based on their needs. There is an assumption that a PRO user also wants an opportunity to get the account for life. This is a unique and creative way to implement a referral program. This is because it acts like a contest. The users are only able to qualify for the reward once they meet a certain number of referrals. 


Email marketing is a very effective way to get more sales. But it is only as valid as how well your receivers are responding to your emails. You can only do this with some email tracking. YesWare offers just that. However, there’s a limit. Users can only track a limited number of events. If they want to increase that, they need to get referrals. YesWare gives 100 free tracking events for each reference. What makes it interesting is how they designed their referral forms. Their referral forms can come prefilled with information. With this, they can input contact information and hit send. The platform will then generate the invite on its own.  

How to Improve the Design of Your Referral Program

Design is not just for graphical elements. It can also refer to the layout and structure of your referral program. Here are some tips on how you can improve the overall design of your referral page.

  1. Start with a Catchy Headline

While you should include the reward right in your referral program title, that doesn’t mean that you should be less creative with it. It is not only crucial that the images pop. It is also vital that your words pop out as well. This way, your prospects can easily remember your referral program.

You’ll know you have a catchy headline if your customers are intrigued. You can put this headline on a pop-up, an announcement bar or banner and your prospects will click. If you don’t know how to craft your headlines, be sure to study the compelling headline in your paper writers niche. You may want to add numbers and clearly explain what they will get when they join your referral program.

  1. Highlight The Benefits

Referral programs are just about as useful as their rewards are attractive. If a referral program doesn’t have a valid bonus, it will most likely fail. You need to give the prospect a reason to sign up, and you can do this by highlighting the benefits of your program. You can do this through images. You can change the formatting of the words for your rewards so that your prospects can easily see them.

  1. Improve The Experience 

How can you show that the reward is worth getting? You need to demonstrate it through images. More than changing the font and the style of the text, you should support it with pictures. These images should show how it feels to attain the reward. So if you are giving away free products, have a picture of the product. If it is a service, focus on how the prospect will feel if they buy it. It is all about demonstrating the experience so that the customer can feel it even before they buy it.

  1. Design Your Thank You Page

You can also integrate your referral marketing program with your Thank You Page. When a customer buys from you, they are usually redirected to a page where you thank them for their purchase. This is the perfect time to ask them for referrals. This is because they have just bought from you and are excited to try your products and services. They may want a discount on their future purchases by referring more people to your website. This works both in the marketing and design perspective. Just ensure that you are also crafting your Thank you page in the same way that you would create your referral landing page.

Want to Create Your Referral program?

Creating your referral program is easy. There is now software that can you can install on any platform. Ecommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce have their own referral software. This allows starting businesses like Best Hunting Bow Labs to gain marketing traction in their audience. It is perfect for brand new businesses without lists and customers. You get to promote your brand and get more people to your website at a fraction of the cost.

Just remember that design plays a vital role in your referral program. You need to capture your audience with colorful and popping images and communicate your rewards effectively. Through this, you can easily attain referral marketing success. The design builds trust in your audience. It also allows your brand to be remembered easily. Plus, the strategy is used by successful brands. There is a reason why these brands have grown so much. The secret to their growth is referral marketing with creative design.


Birbahadur Singh Kathayat is an entrepreneur and online marketing consultant. He is founder of the online marketing company LBSWebsoft. He has 15 years of work experience in digital marketing and helping small business. He advises several startups and established companies in India and other countries. You can follow him online at Google+ or @bskathayat.

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