How to Create CTAs that Drive User Referrals and Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Creating effective call-to-action (CTA) buttons is an essential aspect of digital marketing. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore how to design CTAs that encourage user referrals and word-of-mouth marketing, ultimately helping your business grow. By understanding the strategies and best practices for crafting compelling CTAs, you can boost your referral rates and increase your brand’s visibility.

1. The Power of Referrals and Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Before diving into the specifics of creating CTAs for user referrals, it’s important to understand the value of referrals and word-of-mouth marketing. For starters, referrals from satisfied customers can significantly impact your business’s growth. In fact, referred customers are more likely to make a purchase, have a higher lifetime value, and exhibit greater loyalty than non-referred customers.

Additionally, word-of-mouth marketing is incredibly powerful. People are more likely to trust recommendations from friends and family than traditional advertising. Thus, creating CTAs that encourage users to share your products or services with their network can have a significant impact on your bottom line.

2. CTA Best Practices for User Referrals

To craft CTAs that drive user referrals and word-of-mouth marketing, consider the following best practices:

Clearly Communicate the Value Proposition

Your CTA should clearly communicate the value proposition of referring others. Explain the benefits users will receive by referring friends, such as discounts, rewards, or exclusive content. By highlighting these incentives, you can encourage more users to share your offerings with their network.

Keep it Simple

Simplicity is key when it comes to creating effective CTAs. Avoid using jargon or complex language, and instead, opt for clear, concise copy that’s easy to understand. This will make it more likely for users to take action and share your products or services.

Use Actionable Language

To motivate users to take action, use strong, actionable language in your CTA copy. Words like “share,” “refer,” “invite,” and “spread the word” are clear and direct, making it easy for users to understand what you want them to do.

Leverage Social Proof

Social proof is a powerful psychological principle that can be leveraged in your CTAs. By showcasing the number of users who have already referred others or testimonials from satisfied customers, you can build trust and credibility, making users more likely to refer your products or services.

3. Crafting CTAs for Different Marketing Channels

Depending on your marketing channels, the approach to crafting CTAs for user referrals may vary. Here are some tips for creating effective CTAs on different platforms:

Email Marketing

For email marketing campaigns, place your referral CTA prominently within the email. Use an eye-catching button or banner that stands out from the rest of the content. Additionally, consider adding a postscript (P.S.) at the end of the email to remind users about the referral program and its benefits.

Social Media

On social media, create visually appealing graphics that highlight your referral program. Use your brand’s colors, fonts, and imagery to maintain consistency and make your CTA stand out. Don’t forget to include a clear call-to-action in the caption, along with relevant hashtags to increase visibility.


Add a referral CTA to your website’s homepage or other high-traffic pages. Consider using a sticky banner, pop-up, or dedicated landing page to promote your referral program. Ensure the CTA is easily visible and accessible, so users don’t have to search for it.

In-App or In-Product

If you have a mobile app or software product, incorporate referral CTAs within the user interface. This can be done through in-app messages, push notifications, or by adding a dedicated section in the app or product menu. Make sure the CTA is contextually relevant and doesn’t disrupt the user experience.

4. A/B Testing Your Referral CTAs

To optimize the performance of your referral CTAs, it’s essential to test different variations to see what works best. A/B testing, also known as split testing, involves creating two or more versions of a CTA and comparing their performance. By analyzing the results, you can determine which variation is more effective and make data-driven decisions to improve your CTAs.

Some elements to test in your referral CTAs include:

  • CTA copy: Experiment with different headlines, value propositions, and action words to see which combination drives the most referrals.
  • CTA design: Test various colors, button sizes, and font styles to identify the most attention-grabbing and visually appealing design.
  • CTA placement: Try different locations for your CTAs, such as above or below the fold, in the header or footer, or within the content, to determine the most effective placement.
  • Timing: Experiment with when your referral CTAs are displayed, such as after a purchase, during onboarding, or at specific user milestones.

Remember to test one variable at a time, so you can accurately attribute any changes in performance to the specific element being tested.

5. Measuring the Success of Your Referral CTAs

To ensure your referral CTAs are driving the desired results, it’s crucial to track their performance and analyze the data. Some key metrics to monitor include:

  • Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of users who click on your CTA compared to the total number of users who see it. A high CTR indicates that your CTA is effectively capturing users’ attention and compelling them to take action.
  • Conversion rate: The percentage of users who complete the desired action (e.g., referring a friend) after clicking on your CTA. A high conversion rate suggests that your CTA is successfully motivating users to refer others.
  • Referral rate: The number of new customers acquired through referrals divided by the total number of customers. This metric helps you understand the overall impact of your referral CTAs on your customer base and business growth.
  • Lifetime value (LTV) of referred customers: Compare the LTV of referred customers to non-referred customers to determine the long-term value of your referral CTAs.

By closely monitoring these metrics, you can identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to enhance your referral CTAs’ effectiveness.


Creating CTAs that drive user referrals and word-of-mouth marketing is an essential component of a successful marketing strategy. By following best practices, crafting CTAs for different marketing channels, testing and optimizing your CTAs, and measuring their success, you can increase referrals, boost brand visibility, and ultimately grow your business.

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