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Creating Customer Referral Programs with Gift Cards

Posted, by Deborah Merkin
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Are you wondering how to incorporate referral rewards into your 2024 marketing plans? If executed well, these programs can be powerful to start in the first quarter. The key to a strong customer referral program is the right rewards for your advocates, whether they're customers or employees who are promoting your brand.  

Gift cards are uniquely compelling program rewards due to their budget flexibility, wide range of brands, ease of distribution, and security for the sender. Read on for everything you need to know about building a successful gift card referral program.  

What are customer referral programs?  

Customer referral programs use your existing customers to evangelize your brand and expand your customer base. Referral rewards, such as gift cards, can be used to reward the referring customer, the referred customer, or both. This way, existing customers are incentivized to recommend your brand and new customers are motivated to sign up. 

Referral programs are a low-cost way to organically expand your brand’s reach without expensive advertising or field marketing tactics. The small incentives are enough to get customers talking about your brand and recommending you to their friends. A gift card referral program specifically uses gift cards as incentives. Referral gift cards ensure each reward feels personal and impactful to the recipient and provides security on the investment to the brand sending the reward.  

The advantage of gift card referral programs 

 Gift cards are compelling rewards in many situations, but they are uniquely suited to customer referrals for a variety of reasons. Gift cards make great customer referral rewards because they:  

  • Are easy to deliver regardless of location: Gift cards can be sent digitally via email or SMS, making delivery seamless regardless of location. This guarantees recipients are rewarded quickly and easily.  
  • Feel like free money: Gift cards carry a memorable quality that cash doesn’t. They can’t be used to pay a bill or for daily costs. They are brand specific and create a unique experience for the recipient that they won’t soon forget.  
  • Are easier to send and more secure than cash: Gift cards are logistically easier to send to referrers or new customers via digital channels, are they are more secure than putting a check in the mail.  
  • Guarantee a desired brand experience: All gift cards can be targeted to your audience by providing brand-specific cards that cater to the recipient’s demographic. However, with innovative card options like the Engage2Reward™ Choice Card, the brand choice lays with the recipient themselves. Choice Cards allow recipients to choose from over 250 brands, ensuring their gift card is valuable and personal.   


Maximizing the impact of referral gift cards  

Return on investment is key to achieving the business objectives of a gift card referral program. To ensure ROI, we suggest taking a few steps to maximize the impact on the reward recipients:  

  • Provide choice for the reward: Rewards are only as good as their perceived value to the recipient. Offering a variety of brands as gift card referral rewards increases the likelihood that the recipient will find the reward valuable and be motivated to refer your brand again and again.  
  • Ensure the reward is claimed: When rewarding a customer for a referral, it is critical that they are not only given a reward, but that the reward is claimed. By using platforms like Engage2Reward, you can track when a customer has opened the link to download their gift card or put it in their digital wallet. If they haven't opened the link, you can use the opportunity to remind them of their reward and stay connected throughout the process. This is a great way to maintain the relationship with your brand advocates and ensure your reward is enjoyed. 

Powering your referral program with the Engage2Reward™ Gift Card Ordering Platform 

When choosing a gift card vendor to power your gift card referral program, it’s important to find the right fit. The Engage2Reward Platform offers flexibility to meet your program budget and over brands for your recipients to choose from. The Engage2Reward Platform also offers digital and physical cards, allowing you to reward program participants the best way for your business.  

In addition to these features, the Engage2Reward Choice Card provides the ultimate gift card flexibility. This innovative reward option allows your team to provide a gift card value to the reward recipient, which they can then allocate to any of the 250+ brands available to them. This takes the pressure off your program administrators to provide meaningful gifts and puts power in your recipients’ hands to pick the reward that works for them. 

Referral programs are powerful business growth tools. With the right rewards in place, like referral gift cards, these programs can take your business to the next level by rewarding and incentivizing loyal customers.

Contact our team today to elevate and streamline your referral program with the Engage2Reward Platform.

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