Creating a SaaS Referral Program: Inspiring Examples and Proven Strategies

Are you looking to build a SaaS referral program? Then keep reading! We've got some tips and tricks for you, plus a secret weapon to make the referral process really easy.


If you're looking for a referral solution specifically for Stripe - then head over to our Stripe referral program help guide.


Referral Factory offers the ONLY no-code integration directly with Stripe. It's designed specifically for SaaS businesses like you! 


At Referral Factory, we believe that every single business in the world should have a referral program. A SaaS business is no exception!

That is why we created customer referral program templates explicitly designed for SaaS companies. It's our goal to make the referral process simpler and faster, helping SaaS businesses like yours to build, launch, and run a successful referral program πŸ‘  

We know it can be overwhelming to start creating your own SaaS referral program, especially if you have never made one. To help you encourage existing customers to participate in your referral programs, we wrote this guide on how to build an engaging customer referral program for your SaaS business.

Here's a mystery box for you: When you get to the end, we'll share our SaaS referral program template with you. Sounds cool, right?

In This Guide πŸ‘‡ 

1. The Benefits of a SaaS Referral Program

2. Planning Your SaaS Referral Program

3. Building your Referral Program

4. How To Issue Referral Links Automatically To Every User That Logs Into Your SaaS Platform

5. How To Market Your Referral Program Better, and Get More Referrals

6. How To Qualify Your Referrals When They Convert

7. How To Track Who Referred Who, And See Who Needs To Be Rewarded

8. 5 Saas Referral Program Examples That You Can Use As Your Own


Laptop showing a saas referral program analytics tab

1. The Benefits of a SaaS Referral Program

Lower Your CPA

Referral marketing turns your existing users into a new marketing channel. It's a performance marketing channel where you only pay AFTER a user/lead/customer has converted. Essentially, successful referral programs lower customer acquisition costs, giving you more value for your expenses. Instead of pricey ad placements, your sales team can get creative with your referral or loyalty program.

Increase Your Conversion Rates

Referred customers are 2x more likely to convert than new customers acquired through paid marketing channels. Why? This is because referrals from friends are trusted more than any other source.

Get More High-Value Customers

Users that a friend has referred are more valuable. In fact, referred users spend 13.2% more on average than other users. Moreover, there is an increased customer retention among users coming from SaaS referral programs, which provides you with a higher customer lifetime value.

Person planning their saas referral program making notes on paper with highlighter

2. Planning Your SaaS Referral Program

The key to building a successful referral program begins with a clear plan. Start by setting goals, decide on a reward or referral bonus, determine how you want your referral program to work, create the right messaging, and think about launching your campaign. The referral program template for SaaS businesses already considers all of this for you.

Here are four tips to consider when planning your own SaaS referral program: 

Implement a Double-Sided Referral Program

Offering an incentive to new users increases the likelihood of them converting. The incentive does not have to be a discount or something monetary. It could be something that you already offer with your software, such as a free trial or exceptional customer support. 

Make it Easy for Users to Refer

The easier it is for users to refer, the more likely they are to refer. Software such as Referral Factory allows users to share their unique referral link directly with their friends via a social channel they choose by tapping a single button. Needless to say, you need to pick the right referral tool for your SaaS product while also optimizing your referral landing page.

Reward in Your Own Currency

Offering a discount on subscriptions is a great way to increase retention because users will have to continue using your software to get their reward. Through your referral or loyalty program, some of the rewards you can offer could be a free upgrade or a free subscription for the next monthly billing cycle.

Optimize your Referral Landing Page

Whether it's a link coming from social media or other channels like emails, people should see accurate, up-to-date information when they click on your referral landing page. Your existing users and potential new customers should come away thinking it's worth their time to engage in your SaaS referral program.


πŸ’‘ Pro Tip: This is an excellent guide to read before you get started -How To Create A Referral Program – 8 Steps You Can Follow


Group of people planning a saas referral program in a boardroom

3. Building Your Referral Program


With Referral Factory, there are two options for you to build your SaaS referral program. 


Option 1 (Do it yourself) - You can use a referral program template that has been designed by our referral program experts. You can use the features Referral Factory has to customize, launch, and promote your referral program. You can learn how our drag-and-drop campaign builder works by watching our demo video below.


Option 2 (Let us do it for you) - If you don’t have the time, the patience, or the know-how to build your own referral program you can hire a Referral Factory campaign manager to do the work for you. This means you pay for your subscription fee monthly, and you hire a certified expert from our team to design, build, and automate your referral program as per your requirements. This service is often used by companies who don’t have their own resource to do this themselves.

Regardless of the option you choose, this article will help you πŸ“– How To Create A Referral Program – 8 Steps You Can Follow πŸ“–

4. How to Issue Referral Links Automatically To Every User That Logs Into Your SaaS Platform


Referral Factory offers several no-code options to issue referral links to your current customers. These include syncing your campaign with your CRM and using our widget or pop-up to surface links in a logged-in environment.

Read more about generating referral links via your CRM

Read more about how to install the widget for your logged-in environment

Read more about how to install the pop-up for your logged-in environment

You can connect to the Referral Factory API if you want a more advanced solution. This referral tool helps you automatically issue referral links to every user or account owner who logs into your SaaS platform. See the example below to discover how this unique tool can streamline your SaaS referral program.


Screenshot showing Referral Factory's refer to earn saas referral program embedded into the software's dashboard

Our API has a function to β€œCreate a new user.” It allows you to add a new user to your referral campaign while that user registers or logs into your website.

You can also call back that user's referral link to surface in your own SaaS platform. 

Here is an example code that you can use to add users to your campaign:

curl "" \
-H "Authorization: Bearer your_access_key" \
-d "campaign_id=1&&first_name=John&"

Every time you β€˜add a user' via API, you will get a response that looks like this. This is the users' referral link, and they can share messages that you can surface inside your own platform.

Essentially, this is a quick and easy for them to SHARE their referral link with their friends! 

"data": {
"campaign_id": 1,
"qualified": false,
"first_name": "John",
"email": "",
"sharing": [
"social": "facebook",
"url": "{random-code}/socials/facebook"
"social": "sms",
"url": "{random-code}/socials/sms"
"code": 201,
"message": "User successfully added."

You can add share buttons inside your users' dashboards so that they can quickly share their links with friends. If you do an API integration with Referral Factory, you will have a lot more flexibility to show things inside your platform, including the following:

  • A user referral link and share buttons (can call this from the API)
  • A user analytics showing their reach, referrals, and referrals converted  (can call this from the API)
  • A leaderboard of top referrers  (can call this data from the API and sort it how you see fit)
  • And much more! 

Here is an example of some referral templates where we used our API to surface users' links inside their dashboards. Look at how easy it is for them to share their links!

Screenshots of 3 mobile phone screens with saas referral program referral links and how they would look when shared


Airbnb also had a lot of success placing their users' referral links inside their accounts making it easier to share.

Airbnb's saas referral program showing a referral link inside the Airbnb dashboard

Four young trendy consumers sitting at a cafe with their mobile devices and laptops, hopefully browsing saas referral programs

5. How To Market Your Referral Program Better and Get More Referrals

Once you have built your campaign either from scratch or by using one of our prebuilt referral program templates, the next thing you need to do is promote it. Whether you utilize the gravity of social media channels or build an email marketing campaign, the key is to engage with your target audience base.

Referral marketing is an ongoing process β€” the more people know about it, the more referrals you'll get. In fact, referral programs that perform the best are ones that are frequently marketed.

Here are our top three tips that you can implement to market your SaaS referral program. 

  • Add users' referral links inside their dashboard to make it easier for them to refer friends.
  • Prompt users to refer a friend after they post positive feedback on online reviews.
  • Add a referral widget to your website.

Read this article to find out more ways to get users referring fast.

6. How To Qualify Your Referrals When They Convert


Referral Factory gives you the flexibility to choose what counts as a conversion. It could be when a user signs up for a free trial when they pay for their first subscription or after they have paid for a subscription without requesting a refund. 

You can use our API to send referred users directly into your platform and then create a rule that pings Referral Factory as soon as that user performs an action on your platform that counts as a conversion.

Our system tracks that converted referral back to the person who initiated the referral and assigns it to their Converted Referral column. This makes it really easy for you to keep an eye on successful referrals.


Screenshot of the User tab in Referral Factory's dashboard showing referrals converted. Being able to track conversion makes running a saas referral program a breeze


If you use a CRM to track users when they sign up and when they convert, then you could also use Zapier, Webhooks, or any of our CRM integrations to automate this process for you. 

For additional reference, you can look at this article highlighting the different ways to qualify referrals.

Again, you define what counts as a conversion. It is possible to qualify referrals when they convert, regardless of which of our referral program templates you choose.


Two people working on a piece of paper between two laptops thinking about how to track who referred who for their saas referral program

7. How To Track Who Referred Who and See Who Needs To Be Rewarded


Referral Factory makes it incredibly easy to track successful referrals, so you know who needs to be rewarded and when. This helps you accurately give rewards to the right people, whether cash incentives, a discount coupon, or even a free premium plan for a specific period.

You can track your users' referrals in two ways:

From Your Users Tab

This no-code option lets you easily view who referred whom and which referrals successfully converted.

By Calling Your Data From the API

This option will require some coding, but you can use the API to call back all the data from your dashboard and surface it in your platform. This way, you can see which users have made referrals and which have converted.

You could also surface your users' information in their own account or portal so they can also see how many referrals they have made.

From the screenshot below, we can see that Arman signed up and was referred by Lus.

Screenshot of the Users tab inside Referral Factory's dashboard showing how to track referrals for your saas referral program


This screenshot shows you how to identify referrers who need to be rewarded. From here, we can see that Jess has 10 referrals. A referred user is someone who joins your referral program. In other words, they are qualified leads or customers.

We can also see that of the 10 referrals that Jess has made, 6 of them have converted. This means Jess needs to be issued 6 rewards.


Screenshot of the users tab inside Referral Factory's dashboard showing referrals converted for a saas referral program


You can also sort your users by how many referrals they have made. This makes it really easy to identify those power users who are bringing in the most leads for your platform. In the screenshot above, Jess is one of the power referrers for this campaign. 


8. 5 Saas Referral Program Examples That You Can Use As Your Own


Our referral experts designed our referral program templates to help you launch your referral program faster and make sure that all the right tactics are built into the heart of your referral program.

Search our referral program templates library to find the SaaS template that suits you best. In the meantime, you can view a sneak preview here.

For your additional reference, we also listed out some of the best referral programs we've seen from prominent brands. Take a look at them below.


Trello's referral program is one of the best we've ever seen. As one of the most prominent B2B SaaS platforms around, Trello streamlines the working process for both personal and professional tasks.

This is why they have a diverse customer base, and their brilliant referral program drives even more growth. When you successfully refer a friend to Trello, you'll get 1 free month of Trello Gold, which is the platform's paid plan.

Most importantly, the referred user will also get 1 free month of Trello Gold, making it easier for current users to get referrals using their custom link.

πŸ‘‰ You can use Trello's referral program as a template for your very own SaaS referral program here


As one of the B2B SaaS companies that offers file hosting services, the Dropbox referral program is something to be recommended. In this SaaS referral program, a qualified referral will earn both parties an additional 500MB in storage space.

And wait, there's more: you can rack up the referrals because Dropbox allows you to earn up to 16GB in free storage. If you're using Dropbox on your mobile devices, this heap of additional storage is such a lifesaver.

It's a simple, straightforward referral program, but it did lead to a massive 3900% growth for the platform. Dropbox succeeded in giving out a reward that directly addresses the needs of its customers, which resulted in increased brand recognition.

πŸ‘‰ You can use Dropbox's referral program as a template for your very own SaaS referral program here


In today's age of digital multimedia, Canva stands at the top as a dynamic graphic design platform. They also have one of the best SaaS referral programs around, mainly because it speaks to the direct needs of their users.

Canva's referral program allows both parties to earn a Canva Credit, which they could use to get free premium photos, icons, and illustrations. This is one of the SaaS referral examples that are simple but very effective.

πŸ‘‰ You can use Canva's referral program as a template for your very own SaaS referral program here

Like Trello, is a project management and collaboration platform that you can use on multiple devices. But what differentiates from the field is that they offer two referral programs.

There is the first option where you can become a partner or expert. Then, there's the lower-scale option of sharing your unique referral code to get a referral successfully. The first option could get you big commissions or a SaaS referral fee, while the latter will earn you discounts on your current plan.

Indeed, put forth a SaaS referral program that connects to different niches within their customer base. This isn't something that many SaaS companies do, but excelled in it.


If you're doing email marketing to get new customers, Mailchimp is one of the best tools for it. What's even more interesting is how your referrals can help Mailchimp's customer acquisition process.

Mailchimp's referral program works by offering $30 credits that current users can use for their next monthly billing cycle. It's not much, but it works.



If you haven't launched your referral campaign yet β€” get started with a SaaS referral template now and start getting referrals πŸš€