Your Guide to Writing the Perfect Referral Text Message

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The Perfect Referral Text Message

Looking to elevate your marketing game and bring in new customers? Well, look no further, because referral text messaging is just the right marketing strategy for you.

In the competitive world of business and marketing, effective advertising is essential in distinguishing your brand from its competitors and garnering a loyal customer base. 

With the rapid digitalization of business operations and the rise of social media, unique marketing strategies have been abundant. 

While new marketing schemes like influencer endorsement, affiliate marketing, content creation, and podcasting, all enjoy varying degrees of success, they may not form a strong, lasting connection with the customer.

Instead, you see hugely successful businesses like Tesla, Uber, and Airbnb relying on heavily personalized advertising schemes such as referral text messaging. 

Referral marketing campaigns have been a standard in marketing for a long time. With the introduction of SMS marketing, many businesses are upping their referral marketing efforts. A successful referral can go a long way in strengthening and maintaining a successful business, and text messaging makes introducing referral programs easy.

In this article, we will walk you through the ins and outs of referral messaging, as well as give you useful tips on crafting a strong referral message.

What is a referral text message?

Referral text messages are a type of referral marketing campaign that uses SMS text messages to reach a target audience.

Referral marketing programs are based on the idea of getting your customers to promote your business by referring it to their friends and family. For example, when a family member is looking for a new dentist, you may refer your friend to your dentist. This type of marketing strategy is especially effective, because people generally trust the recommendations of their friends and family. In fact, ninety-two percent of people follow the recommendations of their peers above anything else.

In referral text messaging, the company creates a text with a link that is designed to introduce their business to new customers and incentivizes your customers to actively recommend your product or service.

Previous customers who are satisfied with your business can then simply circulate this text message to people they know, an approach which is known as refer a friend advertising. 

This strategy allows companies to use the word of mouth approach to benefit from free advertising, all while having the ability to design a well-crafted referral message that can be shared to potential customers.

Why should your business use referral text messages for marketing?

Referral messages are one of the most important marketing strategies you will need to master if you want your business to do well.

What makes a referral text message so much more significant than other advertising schemes is its effectiveness in gaining more customers through a referred lead.

A good referral message can retain old customers while also drawing in new ones. This is primarily because the SMS text messages this strategy uses to communicate are extremely convenient for customers.

Customers are shown to prefer communication through SMS text messages, as compared to phone calls or emails, with data showing that 75% of customers want businesses to contact them through text messages. Businesses that communicate with their customers via SMS are more likely to receive a response, with data indicating that 95% of text messages are seen and replied to in under three minutes of being received. Customers are also ten times more likely to use coupons they receive through text messages, as compared to those received through emails or other platforms.

Encouraging your customers to refer more friends and family to your product or service through referral messaging is more likely to provide quality leads than other forms of referral marketing.

This, coupled with the fact that referral text messages do not incur large costs upon businesses, makes them a cost-effective and profitable marketing strategy.

What are the components of a referral text message?

Now that we have established what is meant by a referral text message, and why it is such a useful marketing strategy, it is time to learn about the key elements that make up a referral message.

1.  Your company logo

This is one of the primary things you need to focus on when preparing your referral message. When a current customer refers your business to someone they know, one of the first things a potential customer will come across is your logo. This is why it is essential that you make a good impression and grab their attention from the get-go.

Your company logo is essentially an introduction to your brand and serves to leave the recipient of your referral text with a memory of your company.

The logo also gives you space to be creative and work on expressing your company’s image as creatively as you can so that customers are curious to learn more about your products and the services you offer.

2.  A friend mention

The friend mention works off of being the most convincing part of a referral text message--the referral part.

People trust recommendations from their friends and family more than any other type of advertising. This is why, when you craft a referral message, it is important for your text to feature the name of the customer who is recommending your business to their friends.

You can even go an extra step and add in the word ‘friend’, to push home the fact that your company has been vetted by someone close to the person receiving your referral text. Make joining the group of referred friends exciting.

3.  Your referral offer

Now you need to focus on reeling in the recipient of your referral message and convincing them to give your business a try.

Your referral offer should be lucrative and tempting, something that convinces the recipient of your message to click on a referral link or enter a referral code and make their first purchase. This could include offering them a referral discount on their first order, offering free delivery, or putting up a buy one get one free deal for their first transaction.

4.  An introduction to your brand

Now that you have showcased your logo and offered your referral message recipients a deal they can’t refuse, you need to introduce your company.

Your company’s introduction is an introduction to your brand, what you sell, what you stand for, and how you are different from top brands. In short, this is the place to condense your brand and present it to your referrals’ recipients in a convincing manner.

5.  A call to action

Your call to action (CTA) is the final part of your referral text message. At this point, you have introduced your brand, earned your referral recipient’s trust by mentioning their friend (or the person who referred them to you), and presented your referral offer.

All that is left to do is give your referral recipient a nudge towards making their first purchase and becoming a customer.

The call to action is your last chance to leave a strong impression and ensure that your referral message is a success. 

An effective CTA comes off strong without seeming forceful. You want it to be straight to the point, clear, and comprehensive. It also helps to give your recipients the last reminder of your referral offers.

How can you create an effective referral text message?

Being well-versed in the essential elements of referral messages is important when you begin to write your message, but to create one that successfully converts a recipient to a customer, you need to know how to flawlessly tie together all those components.

Here we have shared some of the tips and tricks you can use to come up with a referral text message that recipients can’t say no to.

1.  Keep your referral text message concise

One of the most important things you need to have in mind when coming up with a catchy referral text message is to keep your text concise and clear. 

A Boomerang survey determined that messages between 50 to 125 words had response rates that were above 50%.

Your message needs to be able to immediately grab the recipient’s attention and convince them to make their first purchase, all while ensuring that your text isn’t too wordy.

2.  Align your referral text message to the brand image your business is aiming to create

An effective referral text message imprints your company’s image in the recipient’s mind and makes them want to learn more about the products or services you offer.

To do this, you need to come up with a unified brand image, which you can promote throughout your message. This includes picking a color scheme, a logo, a symbol, and a tone that can be characterized by your company brand.

Aligning your referral message to your brand image will help forge a personal connection between you and your recipients, as they now have characteristics they can associate with your company. This type of connection is more likely to convince a recipient to become a customer.

3.  Come up with a catchy logo

We’ve mentioned that a logo is one of the key components of a referral text message, but what you need to realize is that to create an effective referral message, your logo needs to be catchy and convincing.

Your logo is also another opportunity for you to build a brand that customers can relate to. This is why it is important to spend some time coming up with a logo that feels just right.

4.  Incorporate catchy images and designs in your referral text message

Your referral text message is your space to be creative and fun while introducing your brand to potential customers. Plain text seems boring and dry, so adding images and designs that help build up an image for your company is a great way to come up with a unique referral text.

You could even add a gif or a small video to showcase your brand’s personality and set yourself apart from your competitors.

5.  Personalize your referral text message

Personalizing your referral text messages is another great way to make them more appealing to the recipient.

You can do this by adding the name of the customer recommending your services to their friend. You can even build on that and pen your entire message to sound like it's actually written by their friend, to make it more engaging for your recipient.

Remember, recipients are more likely to be open to suggestions made by their friends, so your referral message needs to highlight the fact that it’s based on a friend’s recommendation.


Referral text messaging is a marketing strategy that is used by some of the biggest companies across the world.

What makes referral messages so effective is the fact that they are recommendations from your existing customers to their friends and family but are designed entirely according to your company’s marketing team.

This allows your customer recommendations to be portrayed authentically but also gives you the leverage to design your message to fit your company’s image.

In today’s competitive day and age, successful advertising is the key to generating a dedicated customer base. Referral messages are some of the most personal and unique forms of advertising you can use to enhance your marketing strategy and draw in new customers.

Throughout this article, we have discussed the importance of referral text messaging and the benefits it can bring to your company. We have also learned what the essential elements are when composing a successful referral message.

You are now equipped with the knowledge and tools to start implementing a successful referral program that can launch your business to greater heights.

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