aircall saas referral program examples

Top 13 SaaS Referral Program Examples to Get You Inspired

Referral programs are an excellent way to engage with your existing customers and reward them for their loyalty and proactiveness in sharing your service with others. However, the type of programs and how they are structured may differ between industries. Today, we will be looking at 13 awesome SaaS referral program examples that you can get some inspiration from.

saas referral program examples

But before we dive right into our examples, let’s find out what exactly this term means:

What is a SaaS Referral Program?

A SaaS referral program is a strategy that Software-as-a-Service companies use to bring new customers by rewarding their existing ones every time they share the service. Common SaaS referral program examples include free subscription months, discounts, cash back, unlocked features or upgrades and more.

15 SaaS Referral Program Examples

And now that we have cleared this out, we are ready to take a look at our examples:

1. Siteground

siteground referral program examples

  • Reward for new customers: 3 months free hosting + 1 free website migration
  • Reward for existing customers: free hosting

First on our list of SaaS referral program examples is Siteground’s special fall edition. They decided to encourage their customers to spread the word by offering an enticing reward – 3 months of free hosting and a free website migration. For each referral, the customer would also get free hosting added to their account.

I personally loved the idea behind this referral program, and the gift for newly invited users is very generous. If I was them, however, I would also try to make the reward for existing customers a little bit more incentivizing. For example, an additional website if the customer is on the cheapest plan, or some extra web space for the most expensive plans.

2. Mailchimp

  • Reward for new customers: a $30 bill credit when they sign up for a paid plan
  • Reward for existing customers: a $30 bill credit

Next on our list of awesome SaaS referral program examples is this one from Mailchimp. The way it works is the following: if you are a customer, you can use your Mailchimp referral badge in email signatures, sign up forms, etc. If a person clicks on your badge and ends up subscribing to a paid plan, both you and the referred customer receive a $30 bill credit.

You can then use this $30 bill credit to save up on your paid plan with Mailchimp. At the end of the month, the accumulated credits are automatically applied towards the next monthly bill.

I thought this program was great. On one hand, it gives both customers the same reward, which means that none of them will feel like they are receiving less than the other. On another, it seems like an excellent way to save up some money on Mailchimp’s service. Who doesn’t love to save money?

3. Dropbox

dropbox - saas referral program examples

  • Reward for new customers: up to 16 GB of extra storage space
  • Reward for existing customers: up to 16 GB of extra storage space

Of course, we can’t talk about awesome SaaS referral program examples without mentioning one of the most successful programs of all time – Dropbox. According to Viral Loops, the company managed to achieve a 3900% user growth in just 15 months, which is absolutely outstanding.

What makes this program so successful? First, both referred and referring customers get from 500 MB to up to 16 GB of extra storage space in the cloud, which is the main product of the company. They can even get up to 32 GB per referral for Dropbox Plus and Professionals.

Second, the offer is actually quite rewarding as opposed to many other SaaS referral program examples. Users who use the free Dropbox account only get 2 GB of storage. This program actually allows them to get up to 8 times more! Which is definitely a deal.

4. SquareUp

saas referral program examples - square up

  • Reward for new customers: credits on processing fees up to $1,000 in sales over the next 6 months
  • Reward for existing customers: credits on processing fees up to $1,000 in sales over the next 6 months + $20 off a Square Contactless + Chip Reader

We continue our list of SaaS referral program examples with Square, an American financial services and digital payments company based in San Francisco, California. Square allows businesses to accept in-person and online payments.

The reward that the company offers to its existing customers is great. Being able to process $1,000 for free can definitely save you up some money on credit card transactions, especially if you can pile this amount up with multiple referrals.

Another thing that draws my attention is that there is one extra reward for existing customers – having the possibility to get $20 off a Square Contactless + Chip reader, the original price of which is $49.

While companies should always make sure that the incentives are as equally as attractive for both referring and referred customers, sometimes they tend to offer more to referrals. As a result, rewards are less incentivizing for existing customers, and they are less inclined to recommend the service to others. So, I kind of like the approach that Square has with their program.

5. Twilio

saas referral program examples twilio

  • Reward for new customers: $10 to spend with Twilio
  • Reward for existing customers: $10 in their Twilio account for each referral

If you are not familiar with the company, Twilio is a cloud communications platform that allows developers to enable and embed channels like voice, text, chat, video and email into their software.

I really love the simplicity of Twilio’s referral program, I would say that this is one of the most straightforward SaaS referral program examples on our list. It can be summed up in one sentence – “give $10, get $10”.

As they say it themselves:

Depending on the country where you’re sending… that’s over 1250 SMS messages… or 1,000 free voice minutes…. or over 12,000 chats. And that’s just for 1 referral!

Which is a quite promising reward for both new and existing customers. The company has also prepared very clear and detailed guidelines on how to use their referral program.

6. Asana

  • Reward for new customers: a gift card of 10% of the annual plan amount they purchase
  • Reward for existing customers: a gift card of 10% of the annual plan amount they purchase for each referral

Next, we have a referral program from Asana, a web and mobile application for team organization and management.

The company has done a beautiful job with the copywriting on their referral page, using attention-grabbing phrases such as “give the gift of Asana” and “a referral from you means everything to us”, which creates an emotional response from the existing customer.

From my research, I discovered that this discount only applies to the annual plan. If this is true, the reward doesn’t sound so incentivizing as the SaaS referral program examples that we say beforehand.

The main reason why is that many people prefer to pay monthly instead of yearly, so existing customers would only qualify for the discount if the referral actually decides to sign up for an annual plan. It makes the whole process a bit more difficult and not necessarily worth the effort.

On the good side, their landing page and the way they are promoting the program is awesome, and it can easily get you excited.

7. AirCall

aircall referral program

  • Reward for new customers: nothing (/unknown)
  • Reward for existing customers: $100 for a high-quality lead and $200 for a customer

Our list of awesome SaaS referral program examples continues with AirCall, a cloud-based call center software for sales and support teams. They offer existing customers the opportunity to earn up to $300 for new referrals.

The way their program works is simple. If someone requests a demo using the customer’s referral link, AirCall pays out $100 if the company is a good fit, and $200 if they end up becoming a paying customer as well.

What really draws the attention here is that there is no mention of new customers receiving anything as a reward, which is typically not the case for referral programs. I would understand it if the services of the company don’t have standard SaaS prices, but in this case they do, starting from $30 per month per user.

So, I wonder what the reasoning behind it is.  The reason why I am putting this on our list of SaaS referral program examples is that the reward for existing customers is undoubtedly very attractive.

8. Canva

SaaS referral program examples: Canva

  • Reward for new customers: credits for premium elements
  • Reward for existing customers: credits for premium elements

Next, we continue with my go-to graphic design platform Canva. Canva offers over +600 000 templates, +100 million stock photos and videos, as well as plenty of cool design types and elements to unleash your creativity. However, not all of them are free – to use the premium ones, you could either upgrade to a paid plan (affiliate link) or purchase them separately.

From this perspective, Canva has come up with a great idea to give people the opportunity to use premium elements without actually paying for them. Existing users can recommend Canva to friends with their unique referral link, and both will get a credit for a premium element on the platform. 

The referral process is very simple and easy to use. Although the program itself could be a little bit more rewarding (maybe 3 credits instead of 1?) I still think that it’s an excellent way to spread the word organically.

Disclaimer: if you click on my affiliate link for Canva and end up purchasing a paid subscription, I will get a small commission from it. Of course, you are not obligated to purchase by any means. I absolutely love Canva and I would highly recommend you to try it even if you stay on the free version.

9. Zendesk

saas referral program examples - zendesk

SaaS referral program examples: Zendesk

  • Reward for new customers: nothing (/unknown)
  • Reward for existing customers: a bottle of the 2014 Chris Ringland Reservation Shiraz

Our list of SaaS referral program examples continues with Zendesk, a customer service software and sales CRM. As opposed to the rest of examples in this article, this company has a very unique approach when it comes to referrals.

Users who recommend a potential client for a 20-minute discovery meeting will receive a bottle of the 2014 Chris Ringland Reservation Shiraz – a red wine that retails for $35 approximately. Definitely an interesting reward that has nothing to do with the product itself.

On another hand, is it incentivizing enough for customers to actually make the extra effort to refer? Should the reward be a discount on the service instead? What do you guys think? Please let me know in the comments below if you think it’s original and/or effective, or it doesn’t actually sound that interesting.

Maybe some clients would find an extra month of free Zendesk much more attractive.

10. Hotjar

saas referral program examples - hotjar

SaaS referral program examples: Hotjar

  • Reward for new customers: nothing (/unknown)
  • Reward for existing customers: merchandising

Another company that has an interesting approach towards referrals is Hotjar. To give you a brief background, the company offers a suit of analytics tools such as heatmaps, session recordings, surveys and more to assist businesses in the gathering of qualitative data.

How does their referral program work? Instead of offering discounts or rewards related to saving money with their product, they have decided on a different strategy. And that is – using the referral links to track progress for all members each month. At the end of the month, they give the following prizes:

  • A free Lifetime Hotjar Business account for the top referrer (which would otherwise be $112 per month);
  • A free Hotjar hoodie for the top 5 runner-ups;
  • Anyone who refers 5 valid friends will receive our official Hotjar t-shirt.

Definitely a fun way to get people excited about Hotjar, but again – is it actually enough to be worth the effort? Please, let me know your opinions in the comments below! I think it’s always nice to see different approaches and strategies so we can compare and decide on the best one.

11. Leapsome

SaaS referral program examples: LeapSome

  • Reward for new customers: 10% discount on Leapsome subscription for the first year
  • Reward for existing customers: 10% discount on Leapsome subscription or a $200 Amazon gift card

We continue our list of SaaS referral program examples with Leapsome, a performance management and engagement software for businesses of all sizes. The company has a very incentivizing and nicely structured program.

The way it works is the following. If the referred friend becomes a customer, the person who recommended it will receive up to 10% off their Leapsome subscription. However, if the one who referred isn’t a Leapsome customer, they will get a $200 Amazon gift card instead. The new customer gets a 10% discount on their first year.

What I really love about this particular program is that they are not forcing the referring users to be Leapsome customers. In other words, you can recommend friends and potential clients without having to be client yourself, which is very nice as they are not obligating you to pay to be able to do that. And you can earn some extra money through Amazon gift cards as well.

12. Pipedrive

pipedrive

SaaS referral program examples: Pipedrive

  • Reward for new customers: extra two weeks on their trial period – a total of 30 days
  • Reward for existing customers: a variety of rewards depending on the situation

Pipedrive is a cloud-based sales CRM and pipeline management software that’s currently powering over 95,000 companies. I liked their approach to referral programs – their program has a very interesting structure, and rewards for new customers have nothing to do with rewards for existing ones.

Users who get invited to Pipedrive get two extra weeks on their free trial period, making it in total 30 days to try out the product.

The customers who brought these referrals, on another hand, will enjoy a variety of different rewards depending on the context:

  • A Pipedrive-branded coffee mug or notebook for sharing their Pipedrive link five times;
  • $10 credit to the account for having three friends sign up for Pipedrive;
  • Or a $100 gift card for every paid subscription through PayPal, debit card or Amazon gift card.

I like that they give different types of rewards depending on the effort that the user has made. While merchandising is nice, definitely a lot more people would actually prefer credits or gift cards that can help them earn money or save money.

13. CoSchedule

saas referral program examples coschedule

SaaS referral program examples: CoSchedule

  • Reward for new customers: nothing / unknown
  • Reward for existing customers: a variety of rewards depending on the situation

Last on our list of SaaS program referral examples is this one from CoSchedule, a set of Marketing tools that helps companies organize all of their Marketing activities in one place.

Their program is pretty straightforward. If you share your customer referral link, each new sign up will get you 10% off your CoSchedule subscription. From what I understood, you will get the discount for every month that this customer has maintained their subscription as well.

On another hand, I didn’t find anything about new customers and whether they receive a reward as well. In case they don’t, this would definitely be less incentivizing in the long run as less people would be inclined to sign up.

And that was all from me for today! Thank you for taking the time to read my article on the most awesome SaaS referral program examples, and I hope to see you in the next one! In the meantime, don’t hesitate to leave me any questions or doubts in the comments below.

Do you want to learn more about Marketing in the SaaS industry? You may want to read the following articles:


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animitevabg
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