Refer a friend schemes

Refer a Friend

What is refer a friend?

Refer a friend is a strategy used in referral marketing to encourage a brand’s existing customers to recommend it to their family and friends. Customers share a referral code with their friends and earn a reward when they sign up. The idea is that you rate the brand’s products or services so much that you want to tell others about it. And they trust your judgement because they know you.

Would you feel like telling your close contacts about a product or service you’d used? And would you be more likely to tell them if you knew you’d get something in return? According to research, more than 50% of people say they’re likely to give a referral if they’ve been offered a direct incentive, social recognition, or access to an exclusive loyalty program.

When it comes to incentives, which are the main factor in refer a friend marketing, surprisingly they’re not always that important. The University of Chicago found that non-cash incentives are 24% more effective at encouraging referrals than cash incentives. Similarly, the American Marketing Association found that while offering a reward increases the likelihood of referrals, the size of the reward doesn’t matter.

What is a referral code?

A referral code is a special word or number given to you to share with others. They use that code to sign up to the brand you told them about. Once they do that, you should receive an incentive in the form of cash, credit, or vouchers. 

The referral code is usually unique to you so that its usage can be tracked properly. And you rewarded accordingly.

It’s easy to share a referral code if you only have a couple. You can keep track of which referral code belongs to which brand and share it. However, what happens if referring a friend becomes a side hustle? You might have lots of active referral codes, all at once. And you may choose to build a social following and share them there too. So how can you keep track of all of your referral codes?

ReferPage is a free resource for people who have lots of referral codes to share. It works like this: you make a referral page and add all of your referral codes to it. You can then generate a unique link which means that you only have one thing to share. Once you’ve done that, it’s easy to add the link to your referral page to your social bios, website, or directly with your contacts. Get a referral code from a brand you value, add it to your ReferPage, and then share your unique ReferPage link.

How does refer a friend marketing work?

With refer-a-friend marketing, you earn rewards for recommending a brand’s products or services. The idea is that you spread the word about something you love and encourage people you know to sign up too. Although it perhaps falls under the same umbrella as pyramid schemes, it doesn’t have the same negative connotations.

  • Buy a product or use a service. For this example, let’s use Deliveroo. Visit their app or website to order some food online and get it delivered. To order, you’ll probably have to sign up/open an account with Deliveroo.
  • If you’re happy with the service, look out for a referral code to share with friends and family. You’ll usually find this by logging into your Deliveroo profile or account settings.
  • Tell your friends and family about it!
  • If one of them uses Deliveroo and enters your referral code during the sign up process, you will receive a reward. The type of reward depends on the brand. For example, you could receive cash, credit, discounts, or vouchers.

Make sure you’re happy with the type of reward offered, before you share your refer a friend code. Be aware that cash won’t always be an option.

Referral marketing works because it relies on trust. If you are genuinely impressed with something you’ve used, it makes sense that you’d want to tell people about it. And the people you’re most likely to tell, are those you know well. If they trust your judgement, they’re more likely to be influenced to try it themselves. In fact, 84% of people trust recommendations from people they know and 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family. These stats come from research carried out by conversion rate optimisation specialist, Invesp.

Refer a friend v affiliate marketing

As we talked about earlier, refer-a-friend is a strategy used in referral marketing. What other types of marketing have you heard of? Affiliate marketing is quite similar to referral marketing, in that it requires someone to tell someone else about a brand and encourage them to sign up. Let’s look at both of these in a bit more detail:

Referral marketing rewards current customers for inviting their friends/family to try a product or service. With affiliate marketing, third-party brand advocates send new customers to a business in return for a flat fee. You can find out more about affiliate marketing here.

The two types of marketing are quite similar in that they both reward people for promoting a business’ offering to others. And because of the level of trust involved, they are both more likely to attract loyal, longer-term customers. This is especially true of referral marketing.

One of the main differences between the two strategies is that you probably won’t need to submit a website for review with refer-a-friend. With affiliate marketing, businesses usually want to check the quality of your content and popularity levels, etc. It’s a form of quality control because you are representing their brand in a way. 

Relationship with the audience and customer loyalty

With referral marketing, the relationship between affiliate and customer is usually a close one. It relies on recommendations from friends to friends. Telling people you have an existing relationship with about a brand that you know and love. Therefore, the level of trust is high. It’s a good way to build a strong customer base. Create an audience from your existing contacts. And because recommendations come from friends, the level of customer loyalty is high too.

However, with affiliate marketing you don’t necessarily have to know your audience beforehand. Instead, they might follow you on social media or read your blog. An affiliate marketer could be an influencer, a celebrity, or a blogger, or own an online business. The relationship is there – as is the level of trust – but it’s not a pre-existing one. That means that there’s a higher possibility of customers leaving after one interaction. 

Types of Rewards

Both referral and affiliate marketing are rewards-based strategies. That means that the referrer or affiliate will receive something in exchange for promoting a brand and encouraging sales. The type of reward offered depends on the brand you’re representing. In refer a friend marketing, you could receive cash, discounts, or free products. Affiliates usually receive a commission of the sales they are responsible for bringing in. It’s worth checking what’s on offer first to make sure you’ll be getting something you want.

Ease of sharing

For referral programs, you’ll usually be given either a code(word) or a link. Both are relatively easy to share, although remember that links can’t be shared in things like Instagram captions. They can be typed, but won’t be clickable. A referral code is much easier to share via word of mouth which is perfect when telling friends and family about a brand. Because affiliate marketing predominantly takes place online, a unique URL can easily be added to long form copy, such as blog posts. This makes sharing quite easy. However, a link can be a bit of a mouthful if you’re trying to share verbally. Depending on the length and complexity of the URL. This is something to think about when deciding whether you want to do referral or affiliate marketing.

Best refer a friend schemes

Food box refer a friend schemes

Over the last few years, there’s been an increase in the number of companies offering meal kits delivered to your door. Usually, you choose from a number of recipes and the ingredients are delivered pre-measured. It cuts down on stress, waste, and time. If you enjoy it, you’ll find a refer a friend code to share with your friends. All offers are correct at time of writing, but make sure you check first.


There’s currently an offer to get 50% off your 1st box and 35% off your next 3. Which is fantastic for new customers. However, when someone you refer signs up using your referral code, you’ll both receive £20 credit.


As a new customer, you will receive a 50% discount on the first box you buy. Then, if you recommend Gousto to a friend and they join and order, you’ll get £15 credit. On top of that, the person you refer gets 30-50% off their first box. Something for everyone. 


allplants is a vegan-only meal kit. When you refer a friend and they become a customer, you both get £20 off your next box.


Huel is a dietician-approved meal-replacement shake. When you refer someone, they’ll save £10 on their first order over £40, and you’ll get £10 off your next order over £40 too.

Food delivery service: refer a friend schemes


There are two ways to make money from Deliveroo by referring a friend. If someone signs up using your referral code, you’ll get £10 off across your first 4 deliveries from Deliveroo (£2.50 a time). You need to have ordered a certain number of times before you get an invite link. As a Rider (delivery driver), you will receive a £50 referral fee when the person you recommended completes 30 deliveries.

Just Eat

Just Eat don’t really have a referral code for customers but they do for courier referrals. For example, if someone you refer completes 15 deliveries within 90 days of their sign-up date, you’ll receive your £100 and they’ll get £50, too.

Uber Eats

Here’s another food delivery service that’s most likely operating in your area. Again, you need to be a customer yourself in order to get a referral code. Once you share your code with a new user (who’s never used the app before) you’ll get a £10 discount off your next order. They’ll also receive a discount.

Cashback website: refer a friend schemes


TopCashback is probably the UK’s biggest cashback site. Their referral scheme is called “Tell-a-friend”, so use your unique code to invite your friends and family to join. Once they’ve earned their first £10 cashback, you’ll receive upto £30 free cashback.


Swagbucks members earn rewards for completing online surveys or buying via their affiliate sites. Reward points are collected as Swag Bucks or SBs which are then swapped for cash or gift cards. When you refer someone and they use your code to sign up, you get 300SB + 10% of their SB for as long as they have a Swagbucks account.


Cashback site Quidco offers £5 for every ‘successful’ referral you send to them. Once your referral has signed up using your link and earned £5 cashback, you’ll receive your payment.

Car rental: Refer a friend schemes


London-based ZipCar offers car and van hire on a ‘Flex’ or ‘Roundtrip’ basis. With their referral scheme, you earn £15 driving credit when you introduce a friend to the service. Once approved, they’ll receive the same.


This is a peer-to-peer car sharing service. Receive £5 credit when you refer a friend and if they hire out their car, you’ll also get £30 credit.

Enterprise Car Club

With Enterprise Car Club, your name is your pass. Just tell friends and family to enter your full name when they sign up and you’ll both receive £20 in driving credit.

Energy: refer a friend schemes


Bulb provides 100% renewable electricity from solar, wind, and hydro and their gas is 100% carbon neutral too. They claim to be over £350 per year cheaper than the UK’s top 6 providers. Refer a friend to Bulb and you’ll both get £50 credit if they switch their gas and electricity, using your referral link. If they only switch their electricity, you’ll still get £25 credit.

Octopus Energy

Octopus Energy customers can share their referral link and earn £50 for every referral.


Refer a friend to SSE and if they sign up you’ll get up to £70 to share between the two of you. If someone uses your referral link to join, you’ll both receive £35.

TV and media: refer a friend schemes

BT Broadband

A bit of a different one from BT Broadband. Sign up and share your unique link with friends and family. Once they’ve joined and their broadband has been installed, you’ll both receive a £50 Amazon gift card. As opposed to cash or credit.

Sky TV

When you introduce a friend to Sky TV and they sign up using your link, you’ll both receive a prepaid £75 MasterCard.

Virgin Media Broadband

Refer your friends and family to Virgin Media and if they successfully place an order using your unique link or code, you’ll both receive a cash reward of up to £50.

Banking: refer a friend schemes


Skrill is a digital wallet offering online payment and money transfer services. Get 10% of your friend’’s fee payments when they open a Skrill account using your link.


Curve is a mobile wallet that collects all your payment cards into one place. This is more of an affiliate marketing offer than referral marketing, but it’s still worth taking a look if you want to make money online. To be eligible for any reward, the person you refer must sign up using your unique referral link and make at least 1 purchase on their Curve card. The current reward is 1% cashback on any purchases you make on the Curve card for a period of 30 days after they join.


Get £5 when a friend signs up to PayPal using your referral link and spend at least £5. They’ll need to verify the mobile number linked to their PayPal account and link their bank account too.

Mobile phones: refer a friend schemes

Three Mobile

You could earn up to £80 when you recommend one of Three’s eligible products or services to a friend and they place an order. Just do the normal things, as in make sure you’re an existing customer and share your unique link.


giffgaff is a mobile phone sim company which uses a community hub to offer customer support. With their refer a friend program, you can earn a £10 bonus credit for each friend that joins.

Virgin Mobile

Similar to the Virgin Media offer, you could get up to £50 from this referral scheme. Recommend something like Virgin’s pay monthly SIM-only contracts or pay monthly mobile phones and you’ll be rewarded when their device is delivered.

Tell your friends about OddsMonkey

Matched betting site OddsMonkey offers a fantastic referral scheme. Referring a friend is the easiest way to earn even more on top of your matched betting profits. You’ll receive £20 for every friend that signs up to an OddsMonkey Premium account via your personalised link. As a Premium member yourself, you’ll have access to your own referral control panel where you can view live data on how many Premium accounts have signed up using your link.

If you’re not yet matched betting with OddsMonkey, now’s a great time to find out more. Matched betting helps you unlock profit from the free promotional bets offered by bookmakers. Because you bet on and cover all potential outcomes, the only way you can lose money is if you make a mistake. Check out our ‘What is matched betting?’ guide to find out what you need to do to get started.

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