23 May

Subject lines for referral email campaigns

Build eye-catching referral emails
Table of contents
  1. Key elements of effective referral email subject lines
  2. Referral email content
  3. Examples of effective referral email subject lines
  4. Wrapping up
Key elements of effective referral email subject lines

Referral emails are a cornerstone of effective marketing strategies, especially for small businesses. In fact, 82% of Americans always confirm a product before proceeding with their purchase, which demonstrates the importance of trusted recommendations. This trust is reflected in the fact that 52.2% of small businesses in the US report referrals as their most effective marketing tool. Furthermore, 78% of business owners who use referral programs say that the customers gained through recommendations are more loyal than those secured via other methods. 

Referral emails therefore play a big role in not only acquiring new customers but also building long-term customer loyalty. In this article, we’re going to look at ways to create effective referral emails. We’ve also included ready-made email templates from Stripo to help you build a top-notch referral email campaign.  

Key elements of effective referral email subject lines


Oleksii Petukhov
Affiliate Manager at Stripo

One common mistake in writing email subject lines is to make them too generic. Many people also forget to use pre-header text, use too many words, include spammy words, overuse all caps or special characters, misuse emojis, or mislead the recipient. To avoid these issues, make sure your subject lines are specific and honest to reflect the actual content of your email. Here’s how to improve your subject lines and increase your open rates:

  1. Always make sure your subject line accurately reflects your email’s content.
  2. Customize subject lines to be specific and relevant to your recipients.
  3. Avoid all caps and excessive special characters, and include only one emoji per subject line to complement your message.
  4. Keep the combined length of your subject line and pre-header under 100 characters.
  5. Avoid words known to trigger spam filters, which are easily found online.

Also, while AI chatbots are a good source of inspiration, avoid using their suggestions word-for-word in emails. AI chatbot phrasing is often too wordy and generic. Your readers may easily identify it, which will reduce their desire to read the email.

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The importance of your target audience

When crafting email subject lines, it’s crucial to tailor the tone and content to fit your business and target audience. This customization is where personalization truly shines.

  1. Adjust the tone based on who your audience is. Younger audiences may appreciate a fun, casual style, while professionals could prefer a more straightforward, business-like tone.
  2. The type of business you run should guide the language you use. For example, a tech startup may opt for modern, jargon-heavy language, whereas a luxury brand could choose a more refined and elegant tone.
  3. Be mindful of cultural nuances and sensitivities, especially if your audience is from diverse locations. This will ensure that your message resonates well without offending or alienating anyone.
  4. Let the nature of your product or service dictate your subject line style. For limited-time offers, use urgent, action-driven subject lines. For educational products, opt for informative, feature-focused subject lines.

Trends in referral email subject lines

Some key trends in email subject headings are worth noting:

  1. Personalization: Including the recipient’s name or specific details in the subject line makes the email feel more personal and can significantly increase open rates.
  2. AI-generated text: Leveraging AI to develop subject lines is a rising trend. AI tools can analyze data to determine the most compelling subject lines for specific audiences and thus enhance the likelihood of email opens.
  3. Emojis: Emojis can make your email stand out visually, but it’s crucial to ensure they’re relevant to the content.
  4. Clarity: Clear and concise subject lines are best — they help recipients quickly understand the message.
  5. Curiosity: Crafting subject lines that spark curiosity, such as “Guess what you’ll get for referring a friend?” can lead to higher open rates.
  6. Urgency: Phrases like “Act now” or “Limited time” prompt quick action and are ideal for referral promotions.

An email with news for Stripo affiliates

(Source: email by Stripo)

And don’t forget to make sure your emails are well-written. With the Stripo editor, you can easily check your text for errors using the built-in GenAI tool. This tool helps improve your email by correcting grammar, shortening or expanding the text, translating content, and even adjusting the tone of your message.

(Source: Stripo editor)

Referral email content


Nazar Nosanenko
Lead SEO at Stripo

Referral email campaigns can improve behavioral factors and increase referral and brand traffic, which is very important for the SEO promotion of your website. Here are some tips for the content of your referral emails:

  1. Include logos, slogans, and other brand elements in your referral emails to increase brand recognition. The more people remember your brand, the more likely you are to increase branded searches.
  2. Include clear and compelling calls to action that will motivate email recipients to visit your website or share referral links. For example, “Share with a friend and get a 20% discount on your next purchase!”
  3. Include links to interesting and useful articles, blogs, or videos on your website in your emails. This can increase the time users spend on your website and the number of pages they view.
  4. Encourage recipients to interact with your site by, for example, leaving a review, subscribing to your newsletters, or registering for a webinar. This can improve behavioral factors and increase referral traffic.

Examples of effective referral email subject lines

1. Subject lines for referral emails about benefits

  • Refer a friend, get $25 off — Minted.
  • Refer a friend, get 💸CASH 💸 — Brass.
  • Need Some Extra Summer Cash? 💵 — Symco, Inc.
  • Earn 20% as a Cubebrush Affiliate — Cubebrush.
  • Get $5 of credit for each friend you refer — Postable.
  • 🤝 Spread Comfort, Earn Rewards! — Plufl.

An email with a referral program from Plufl


2. Subject lines for referral emails about community and friendship

  • Welcome to the Ever-Pretty Loyalty Community! — Ever Pretty.
  • Golf Is Better Together! — PlayMoreGolf.
  • Invite a friend over to Our Place 🫂 — Our Place.

A referral email from Brass


3. Subject lines for referral emails about appreciation

  • You mean a lot to us — Harry's.
  • Something special for our Loyalty members — Come Back Daily.
  • We’ve Got Something Special for You! —  US Polo Association.
  • Launching Today: Partnero's Newsletter Referral Program! — Partnero.

An email with a referral offer from Partnero

(Source: Email from Partnero)

Wrapping up

In this article, we’ve explored the key elements that make referral email subject lines effective, the impact of tailoring the tone and content of your referral email to your target audience, and the latest trends in referral emails. We’ve also provided examples of successful referral email subject lines and discussed the importance of well-crafted email content.

Remember that every email you send is an opportunity to build stronger relationships and grow your business. Start building professional referral emails, customize your content to resonate with your audience, and stay on track with the latest trends with Stripo.

Build eye-catching referral emails with Stripo
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