Winning opt-ins is a fundamental part of email marketing, because the consent of as many users as possible to receive marketing emails is crucial for the success of your email marketing measures. One possibility for winning opt-ins is the referral. If your users relish certain topics or offers it is very likely, that their friends and contacts take an interest in them, too. A personal referral, for example via social media, feels very authentic.


Recommendation link in the newsletter

Provide a recommendation link at the end of the newsletter so that your users can easily recommend the newsletter to their friends.

Tip: Measure how many clicks the newsletter received via referrals to identify evangelists and opinion leaders among your users. recommendation



1. Newsletter

Users enter e-mail addresses in a form and can then recommend the newsletter or e-mail campaign to their contacts. Such recommendations from personal contacts are usually more effective and credible than messages from companies.

But beware: sending referrals via email has legal pitfalls. Do not forward the recommended e-mail directly, but only an invitation to view it on behalf of the recommender.

Tip: Include a registration form directly on the view page of the recommended mailing.


Send-to-a-friend with registration

2. Single elements

Instad of recommending complete newsletters, the recommendation can also refer to individual content or offers.

Tip: Focus the recommendation on special promotions such as service alerts, VIP events, breaking news or discounts.


Send-to-a-friend at Mango

3. Incentivized

Encourage referrals through incentives. You can create an additional incentive by staggering the value of the incentive according to the number of new registrations gained. Discounts, vouchers, etc. can be sent as a “gift” with the referral.

Example: “Recommend us and your friend and you will each receive a €5 voucher!”


Incentivized recommendation at maude


Win-with-a-friend: incentivized

Win-with-a-friend raffles also encourage referrals. Various concepts are possible, including in combination with a game (gamification). The principle: for every participant won, the team’s chances of winning increase.


Win-with-a-friend at ModCloth



1. In the newsletter

By integrating share-with-your-network (SWYN) buttons into a newsletter, the newsletter can be shared to a social network with one simple click.

Ideally, the newsletter spreads further in the networks of the users’ contacts.

Incentives for referrals are also possible here.

Tip: Measure how many clicks have come to the newsletter via referrals in order to recognize evangelists and opinion leaders among your users.

2.Single elements

Point out targeted recommendations of individual actions instead of just having the entire mailing shared. Targeted incentives and social media-appropriate information such as special highlights, events or status information always work better.

3. Lifecycle-events

Social media thrives on entertainment and self-expression. Also use life-cycle events, like order confirmations, to drive referrals on social media.




Bonus: identification of new contacts

Content shared on social media is usually clicked on by contacts who are still unknown to you. Therefore, the target page should offer a direct registration option if possible. Or you can display a registration page before forwarding the click to the target page. This works especially well in B2B, for example with links to downloads. The trick is to distinguish between contacts who are already known and those who are still unknown, so that only the latter are prompted to register.