Building a Referral Program for Your Online Course

June 7, 2023

What is a referral program?

A referral program is a marketing strategy that encourages people to refer others to your product or service. A referral program can be implemented in many different ways, but it's typically used as a way to build trust with customers by rewarding them for bringing new users into the fold.

In this article, we'll explain what a referral program is and how it works, and then show you how you can use one for your online course!

What is a referral program for an online course?

A referral program is a marketing strategy that rewards customers for referring new customers to a business. It's a great way to grow your customer base, increase the lifetime value of your existing customers, and generate more sales.

You might be wondering why you should have one in the first place if you already have enough students enrolling on their own. Well, even though people might sign up without any incentives or promotions from you (which is great!), having an incentive can make all the difference in how many people actually complete their coursework and become loyal customers who stay with you long term.

How do I start a referral program for my online course?

If you're interested in starting a referral program for your online course, there are a few things to consider. For example:

  • What are the rewards?
  • How will participants refer to others?
  • How do I get the word out about my referral program?

Create a compelling offer to motivate your customers to refer their friends.

When it comes to creating an effective offer, there are two main things you need to think about:

  • What's valuable to your customers?
  • How can you help them achieve their goals?

Create a reward system to entice the people who bring you new customers.

Once you have your referral program in place, it's time to start building your list of referrals. The best way to do this is by creating a reward system that gives people incentives for referring new customers. You can use this reward program as part of the course or as an additional product or service.

It's important that your rewards be meaningful but not so expensive that they're out of reach for most people. If someone refers 10 friends and gets $100 worth of gift cards from Amazon, then their total payout will be $1,000 ($100 x 10). That seems like a lot! But if those same friends purchase $10 worth of products from Amazon each month (which isn't hard), then their total earnings would only amount to $120/year ($10 x 12 months).

Promote your referral program.

Now that you've built your referral program, it's time to promote it! There are many different ways to do this. Here are some ideas:

  • Use social media. Post about your new referral program on Facebook and Twitter. Make sure people know why they should refer their friends, what they'll get in return, or what's in it for them (e.g., $50 off their next course purchase). You can also offer exclusive discounts or bonuses if someone signs up through another student's referral link.
  • Use email marketing campaigns as part of an ongoing strategy for keeping in touch with past students after they take the course (and even before). For example: "I'm excited about my new course on [topic]! To help me spread the word about this awesome resource, sign up here!" Or "Want [reward]? Refer a friend!" Then include links where people can share their unique code via email or social media platforms like Facebook Messenger so others can easily find out more information about exactly how much money could be saved by signing up now instead later when prices go up again next month!

A well-executed referral program will help you create more demand for your product, without having to spend extra dollars on marketing or advertising.

Referral programs are a marketing strategy that can be used to create more demand for your product, without having to spend extra dollars on marketing or advertising.

Referral programs work by incentivising customers with rewards when they refer their friends and family members. The idea behind this is simple: if you're happy with the service you receive from someone, chances are good that others will be too! In other words, referrals help spread word-of-mouth marketing like wildfire through social media networks like Facebook or Twitter, and beyond.

FAQs on building a referral program

Curious about setting up a referral program for your online course? Here are answers to frequently asked questions that will guide you in building an effective referral program to expand the reach of your online course and attract new participants.

How can a referral program benefit my online course and attract new students?

A referral program is a great way to build your audience and grow your business. It's also one of the most effective ways to get new customers.

If you have an online course, then you know that marketing can be difficult when it comes down to attracting new students. With a referral program in place, however, you'll be able to reach more people who are interested in what you're offering by leveraging their networks (and yours). In this post we'll talk about how building an effective referral program for your online course can help bring in more students, and some tips on how best practice this strategy!

What type of incentives or rewards should I offer to participants who refer others to my online course?

  • Referral program incentives: Some of the most popular types of referral program incentives include gift cards and coupons. Gift certificates, cash, discounts and prizes are also effective rewards for participants who refer others to your online course.
  • Referral program rewards: If you choose to give out prizes as part of your referral program, be sure they are relevant to the topic or theme of your course so that they can be used as teaching tools in class discussions or assignments. For example, if you were offering a prize related to writing skills then it might be an idea to have the winner write some kind of blog post about their experiences using the prize at home!

How can I create a streamlined and user-friendly referral process for participants?

When it comes to creating a referral program, there are two main steps:

  • How can I make it easy for participants to refer to their friends?
  • What rewards should I offer participants who successfully refer their friends?

What strategies can I use to encourage my current students to refer others to my online course?

To encourage referrals, you'll need to put in some effort. Here are some strategies:

  • Use email, social media and other marketing channels to promote your referral program.
  • Make sure that the reward is worth the effort. Your students will only refer if they know they can get something out of it, and they want that something to be valuable enough for them (and their friends) to go through all the trouble of filling out a form and submitting it.

What promotional materials should I provide to participants to support their referral efforts?

The promotional materials you provide to participants should make it easy for them to refer friends and redeem rewards.

  • Provide an email template that's easy for participants to customise, with an eye-catching subject line and a clear call to action (e.g., "Refer a friend now").
  • Make sure the referral link is easy to find on your site so that people can easily share it with others via email, social media or other channels they use frequently.
  • Make sure participants can see how many referrals they've made at any given time so they'll know when they've reached the next level of rewards eligibility (for example: "You have earned 10% off! You have five more friends left before earning another 5% off.") This will encourage further engagement by giving them something concretely measurable by which they can gauge their success, and keep coming back again and again!


If you're going to build a referral program for your online course, it's important to keep in mind that this is not just about getting more students. It's also about improving the quality of those students by making sure they are a good fit for what you offer. You can do this by making sure they have an interest in what they're signing up for and ensuring that they understand what kind of experience they will have when joining your program.

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