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8 Examples of Telecom Referral Marketing

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In the hyper-competitive industry of internet, cellular and cable giants, there’s no room for static interference or feedback when it comes to standing out from the crowd.

Big telecoms, MVNOs, and single service providers are all taking advantage of their customer’s advocacy and turning to referral programs to enjoy a strong, steady stream of engaged users.

If you’re already focused on providing exceptional service and the best product experience for your customers, it’s in your best interest to leverage the advocacy of your satisfied users to drive growth. When customers are presented with an endless choice of competing options, trustworthy recommendations from friends and family go a long way in swaying their decision.

To help you get inspired, keep reading for eight examples of referral programs from established and emerging telecom brands, plus quick tips you can apply to your own program.

1 - Koodo

This is a screenshot of KOODO telecom referral program landing page. On the left side, there is text and on the right side, there are images of peanut butter toast and jelly toast symbolizing friendship. The text says "friends that stick together save together" and includes a call to action as well as more text explaining how to benefit from the referral program.

Koodo is a Canadian wireless service provider started by parent company Telus. They’re known for not requiring fixed term contracts and focus on offering flexible plans, targeted at a younger demographic.

Referral Program Setup: Refer a friend to Koodo and you’ll both receive $50 off your phone bills, in the form of a $10 credit for 5 months, once the friend’s new plan is activated. Existing customers can earn up to $300 in referral credits each year.

What we like about it:

- By spreading out the $50 reward over five months, customers have a good reason to remain with Koodo for longer in order to collect their full reward, giving Koodo more opportunities to build brand loyalty and retention.

- Making the rewards conditional upon the referred friend being an active customer for 90 days is an important way to prevent program fraud and successfully activate new customers - a noticeable trend throughout most of these programs.

2 - Mint Mobile

This is an infographic from Mint Mobile explaining how to receive a free year of service by referring five friends. The infographic includes visuals of animals, such as foxes, owls, and beavers, instead of people. It also includes text explaining that for each friend referred, the referrer receives a credit of $25 for the first friend, $30 for the second friend, and so on. When the referrer brings five referrals, they will receive a $100 credit, which equals a free year of service.

Mint Mobile is a wireless provider aiming to deliver affordable, premium wireless direct-to-consumer. They offer 3, 6 and 12-month plan options with no binding contracts, and operate online only.

Referral Program Setup: For every friend you refer to Mint, you earn an increasing renewal credit starting at $25, and your friend earns a $15 renewal credit. Once you’ve referred 5 friends, you’ll have earned a total of $240 in renewal credits which is enough to pay for an entire year of Mint’s 10GB/month plan.

What we like about it:

- The simple tagline of “Get a Free Year” quickly communicates the benefits and why you should participate, while the entertaining graphics make it easy to understand.

- Offering an increasing reward with reach referral keeps the momentum going for a user to reach the top tier and achieve the end goal.

- When the reward is for a renewal credit as opposed to the customer’s next monthly bill, it makes the user more likely to renew with Mint Mobile as it’s the only provider with which their credits can be redeemed.

3 - RingCentral

This is a screenshot from the Ring Central referral landing page. On the left side, there is text, and on the right side, there is an image of a man in a cafe with headphones on and business attire, looking at his phone and smiling. The text on the left says "Connect the world, collect $100" as a title and has a subtitle saying "Share RingCentral with your network and get $100 for everyone who signs up". There is also a submission form that asks for participants' personal information and a call to action to enroll in this telecom referral program.

RingCentral is a cloud-based communications platform for businesses offering enterprise-grade voice, fax, text, online meetings, conferencing, and collaboration tools.

Referral Program Setup: Refer a friend to RingCentral and receive a $100 gift card for everyone who signs up.

What we like about it:

- As a communications platform for businesses, the reward of a $100 gift card encourages all types of employees to refer RingCentral to other companies. If the reward was for a discount on their monthly bill, the employees who don’t pay the bills wouldn’t see as much value in participating.

- The ability for RingCentral users to enroll in the referral program on their own instead of having to go through their company’s account makes it easy for anyone to participate, ultimately exposing RingCentral to more new user opportunities.

The image shows a green background with a text title on the right side saying "Download the SaaSquatch Platform Overview". The subtitle says "Discover the features that let you engage and grow your customer base" and a call to action saying "Read Now". On the left side, there are three screenshots of the platform overview document that are SaaSquatch branded.

4 - Xfinity

The image depicts three women sitting on a couch with devices, smiling and looking at each other, symbolizing friendship and sharing between friends. At the top of the image, there is an icon labeled "Refer a Friend" with a text that reads "Share the love. Get rewarded with Refer-a-Friend. You could earn up to $175 when each friend signs up for XFINITY." In the asterisk, it is mentioned that there is a limited $500 Visa prepaid card reward per calendar year. The image includes a blue call-to-action button that says "Get Started".

Xfinity is a provider of consumer digital cable TV, high speed internet and home phone services under parent corporation Comcast.

Referral Program Setup: Refer a friend to Xfinity and earn up to $175 in Visa Prepaid Cards for each friend depending on how many services they sign up for. Referred users can also receive up to $100.

What we like about it:

- Xfinity uses a tiered rewards system to offer different rewards depending on which services the referred friend signs up for (ie. TV, Internet), giving existing users a much higher incentive to advocate for multiple Xfinity services.

The image shows three Visa prepaid cards branded with XFINITY logo. The first card has a $50 value and a text above it that says "Refer new customers who sign up for one service and earn $50." The second card has a value of $150 and a text above it that says "Refer new customers who sign up for two or more XFINITY services and earn $150." There is a plus sign in light gray between the two cards, and next to it, there is a third card with a $25 value. Above the third card, there is a text that says "Refer new and existing customers who switch to XFINITY mobile." Below the cards, there is a text that says "Eligible services: XFINITY Internet 25 Mbps download speed or above, XFINITY TV with X1, XFINITY Home, and XFINITY Voice.”

- A total of $500 in potential referral rewards is a generous amount to offer per customer, and can also be an enticing opportunity for new customers.

5 - Fizz

The background of the image consists of pink and dark green colors, and the green color forms a wave-like pattern. The left side of the image features a dark-colored human with red hair. The human's legs are covered with overalls that resemble the legs of a horse or zebra. The zebra or horse color is green, and they are fist-bumping a creature whose top body looks like that of a horse or zebra. The horse or zebra is also green and has human-like legs. The right side of the creature's body resembles the color of the person's hair wearing the overalls. This probably symbolizes an equal relationship/friendship. Additionally, the right side of the image contains text that reads "Invite your friends to Fizz" and further explains how to participate in their telecom referral program.

Fizz is a mobile services and home internet ⁠provider focusing on simple, cost-effective plans with no fixed contracts. The company operates online only, and offers plenty of opportunities for users to earn rewards and save money.

Referral Program Setup: Send your referral code to friends and you’ll both earn a $25 bonus applied to your next bill once a referred friend has made their second monthly payment. Customers can refer an unlimited amount of friends to rack up the cost savings and even make their plan completely free!

What we like about it:

- Fizz does an excellent job of describing the referral program benefits not just for their current customers, but for new users who can also start earning once they become a customer. Most referral program promotion is geared towards existing users, as that’s where the referral starts, but referral opportunities can also be important for new users.

- The Fizz referral program is part of their overall rewards program which lends itself to a great example of lifecycle marketing. Customers can earn points and badges to reach new reward levels, and earn perks like plan upgrades, free mobile data, and dollar rebates.

6 - Telus

The image depicts a white background with text on the left side that says "Bring your friends to Telus and earn a reward." There is a subtext that explains how to participate in the program. On the right side, there is a chest full of money, and some coins are spilling out. Behind the chest, there is a green plant, and two yellow fish are floating next to it.

Telus Mobility is a division of Telus Communications, and is one of Canada’s largest wireless carriers. Well-known Telus subsidiary mobile brands include Koodo and Public Mobile.

Referral Program Setup: Refer a friend to Telus and earn a $50 Amazon gift card, for up to $250 per year. Referred friends also receive a $50 bill credit when they activate their phones.

What we like about it:

- Similar to Xfinity, referring customers get an additional $50 reward for each product their friend signs up for such as internet, home phone, mobility, or home security, which helps encourage customer acquisition in all facets of the business.

- Telus adds that every friend you refer helps support their TELUS Mobility for Good program, which provides free phones and data plans to youth transitioning out of foster care.

What would make it even better:

- Existing customers need to read the fine print to learn that their $50 reward comes in the form of an Amazon gift card. Clearly explaining the reward as such instead of referring to it simply as a “$50 reward” would help manage expectations and lower confusion.

7 - Visible

On the left side of the image, there is a text that explains how users can earn $5 for each friend they refer to Visible. On the right side, there is an illustration of two cartoonish figures, where the first figure is in front of a gate and the second figure is behind it. The gate symbolizes the referral process. The first figure is facing the viewer, while the second figure is listening, representing the act of sharing or referring.

Visible is an MVNO based in the US offering wireless service on the Verizon network. They offer a single plan at a standard price of $40/month which includes unlimited data, plus multiple ways to bring your monthly cost down, either by inviting a friend or joining a “party” that acts similar to a friends and family plan.

Referral Program Setup: Every time you refer a friend to Visible, they’ll pay $25 for their first month, and you’ll receive a month for $5. You can earn a total of 12 referral credits per year.

What we like about it:

- The benefits of their referral program are prominently featured on almost every page, making customer referrals a top component of their marketing strategy instead of keeping it hidden on the website where no one will find it.

- Instead of advertising the reward as a discount, Visible clearly states that your monthly plan is $5 when you invite a friend. This saves customers from having to calculate the benefit themselves and is an obvious benefit.

8 - Cricket Wireless

On the left side, there is an illustration of a green cucumber-shaped figure using a phone. The figure is inside a speech bubble and is tapping on something on the phone. On the right side, there is text that explains how to participate in Cricket Wireless' referral program.

Founded in 1999, Cricket Wireless is an American wireless service provider now owned by AT&T.

Referral Program Setup: Refer a friend to Cricket and you’ll both earn a $25 account credit once the referred friend has been an active customer for 60 days. Customers can earn up to $250 in credits per year.

What we like about it:

- Cricket places a fun spin on their referral program by writing and animating an entire music video about it! Entitled “Anyone Can Be a Friend”, the video explains how the program works and adds some entertainment.

- While the rewards are not awarded immediately when the new customer signs up, waiting 60 days ensures proper activation of the new customer to both keep the referral program ROI in check and increase customer lifetime value.

Quick tips for a customer referral program in the telecom industry:

Successfully activate the referred customer

When long-term commitment is critical to success in your industry, it’s in your best interest to activate the new user before giving out a reward.

Notice how most (if not all) successful telecom referral programs distribute rewards only once the new customer has been active with the service provider for a certain length of time. This helps maintain a positive referral program ROI, and gives you time to build a positive relationship with the new user.

When there is also a reward for the existing customer who made the referral, they’ll be more willing to help encourage the new user to stay.

Try building retention into the reward structure

While there is no evidence to discourage giving advocates their entire reward at once (such as a $50 credit), some of the brands above distribute the reward over a period of time, such as a $10 credit for 5 months.

Not only does this act as an incentive to invite new users, but encourages both advocates and referred friends to keep their accounts active for longer in order to reap the full reward that they can’t fully benefit from if they were to switch providers.

Don’t be afraid to put your program front and center

Many modern telecom brands are prominently highlighting their referral program as part of the service offering, like in this home page banner on Visible’s website:

The image on the left shows a diverse group of people standing in a semicircle. They are of different ages and backgrounds, with one person pointing, two people using binoculars, and another person using a phone camera. In the center of the group, there is an older woman with wavy hair, funky glasses, and a yellow raincoat holding a phone with a blue background featuring a white smiley face. The image is promoting Visible, a telecom company's referral program. On the right side of the image, there is text explaining how to participate in the referral program.

While referral programs are typically marketed to existing customers as a way to earn rewards, this takes it a step further and showcases the benefits to new users who are evaluating the service. The presence of opportunities to save can act as a powerful acquisition tool in itself.

Summing Up

This wraps up our list of a few telecom brands taking advantage of customer referral programs to grow their networks and extend customer lifetimes.

Do you have a referral program that you think should be added to this list? Let us know by tweeting us!


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