The Ultimate Referral Marketing Checklist for SaaS


So, you want to launch a referral program for your SaaS company. Congratulations — that's a fantastic way to accelerate growth. But, before you sit back and watch the leads (and customers) roll in, one more important step is ensuring you get the most out of referral marketing.

After all, a referral program is only as good as its strategy.

We've put together this comprehensive questionnaire checklist to help ensure your SaaS referral program is firing on all cylinders. Use it to review your existing program or as a guide when designing a new one.

This checklist breaks down the process into eight sections:

  1. Direction: What goals and objectives will your referral program achieve?
  2. Design: What elements must be in place for your referral program to function correctly?
  3. Incentives: What rewards will you offer participants, and how will you deliver them?
  4. Messaging: What language will you use to communicate the program to potential participants?
  5. Promotion: How will you spread the word about your referral program?
  6. Management: Who will be responsible for managing the program, and how will they do it?
  7. Measurement: How will you track progress and success?
  8. Tech stack: What software and tools will you need to support your referral program?

Editor's note: The list is extensive, so we've turned it into a downloadable PDF. Print it out, or keep it open in another tab as you work through this process.

Why Do You Need a Referral Marketing Checklist?

Referral marketing can be chaotic and challenging to manage. 

A checklist helps ensure you have your ducks in a row before launching your program.

You must understand what you want to accomplish, your target audience, and how they will benefit from referring.

A well-designed checklist allows you to keep track of all the critical aspects of your program and ensure you’re on the right path to success.

Besides, who doesn’t love a good checklist?

Ultimately, your referral program can be a powerful source of leads and customers—but only if it’s done right.

So, let’s get into the details.

1. Direction

A referral program without direction is like a ship without a rudder — it's sure to lose its way. Before you launch your referral program, answer the following questions:

  • Goals: Do you have tangible, measurable goals for your referral program?
  • KPIs: Do you have Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure progress toward your goals?
  • Key results: Do you have milestones and targets for each key result?
  • Audience: Is your referral program designed with a specific target audience in mind?
  • Benchmarks: Have you set standards for successful referral program performance?
Questions to ask to define the direction of a referral marketing program

2. Design

The design of your referral program will determine how well it functions.

By design, we mean everything from the user experience (UX) to the technical implementation. All the elements need to work together seamlessly to create a positive experience for participants.

Many referral programs fail because they're not designed with the user in mind. Asking the following questions will help you avoid common design pitfalls:

  • User experience: Is the process of referring straightforward to understand?
  • CTA: Is there a clear call-to-action (CTA) for referral program participants?
  • Process: Do referral program participants know what and how to do it?
  • Journey: Have you mapped out the customer journey for referral program participants?
  • Workflow: Is the workflow for referring simple and efficient?
  • Tracking: Can referral program participants track their progress and activity?
  • Flow: Is the overall referral experience smooth and seamless?
Questions to ask to optimize the design of your referral program

3. Incentives

The right incentive can be a powerful motivator — but only if appropriately targeted. For example, an offer of cash might work well for some referral program participants. In contrast, others might prefer a discount or a free product.

It's essential to understand what motivates your target audience and design your incentives accordingly. The following questions will help you choose the right incentives for your referral program:

  • Types of incentives: What kind of incentive will best fit your target audience?
  • Reward structure: How will rewards be structured and delivered?
  • Timing: When will rewards be delivered — immediately or after a specific action is taken?
  • Frequency: How often will rewards be given?
  • Referral limit: Will there be a limit on the number of referrals a person can make?
  • Attractiveness:  Will the incentive be attractive enough to motivate your target audience?
Questions to ask to design better incentives for your referral program

4. Messaging

Your message is how you communicate your referral program to potential participants, from the initial CTA to the final thank-you message. So, your messaging needs to be clear, concise, and on-brand.

Without strong messaging, your referral program will struggle to get off the ground. The following questions will help you create messaging that resonates with your target audience:

  • Brand: How does your referral program fit with your brand identity?
  • Positioning: How will you position your referral program in the market?
  • Benefits: What are the key benefits of participating in your referral program?
  • Features: What are the key features of your referral program?
  • Value proposition: What is the value proposition of your referral program?
  • Elevator pitch: Can you describe your referral program in a short, snappy sentence?
Questions to ask to develop a more attractive messaging for your referral program

5. Promotion

Your referral program won't work if no one knows about it.

That's why promotion is an integral part of a successful referral program.

After you think about your messaging, it's time to start thinking about how you'll promote your referral program.

When planning your promotion strategy, consider the following:

  • Channels: Which channels will you use to promote your referral program?
  • Tactics: What specific tactics will you use to promote your referral program on each channel?
  • Budget: How much money are you willing to spend on promotion?
  • Timing: When will you start promoting your referral program?
  • Frequency: How often will you promote your referral program?
  • Analysis: How will you measure the success of your promotion efforts?
Questions to ask to better promote your referral program

6. Management

The management process is how you keep your referral program running smoothly.

It includes everything from tracking referrals to troubleshooting technical issues. It also involves constantly monitoring your referral program to identify opportunities for improvement.

To make sure your referral program is appropriately managed, ask:

  • Team: Who will be responsible for managing your referral program?
  • Platform: What software platform will you use to manage your referral program?
  • Tracking: How will you track referrals?
  • Reporting: How will you generate reports on referral activity?
  • Alerts: What system will you use to alert you of referral activity?
  • Notifications: How will you notify referral program participants of activity?
  • Issues: What process will you use to troubleshoot referral program issues?
  • Partner portal: Will you create a partner portal for referral program participants?
Questions to ask to ensure your referral program runs smoothly

7. Measurement

The measurement process is how you assess the success of your referral program.

It includes everything from setting goals to analyzing data.

To make sure your referral program is measured correctly, ask:

  • Frequency: How often will you measure the success of your referral program?
  • Methodology: From all data sources, how will you determine which metrics to track for success?
  • Data sources: What data sources will you use to measure the success of your referral program?
  • Analysis: How will you analyze the data you collect?
  • Visualization: How will you visualize the information you collect?
  • Cohorts: How will you group referral program participants for analysis?
  • Comparisons: How will you compare the performance of your referral program over time?
  • Roles: Who will be responsible for measuring the success of your referral program?
Questions to ask to measure the success of your referral program

8. Tech stack

Steve Jobs once said that computers are like bicycles for the mind. Following that logic, the software you use to manage your referral program is like the bike frame. It needs to be strong and sturdy, but it also needs to be lightweight and easy to use.

When choosing the tech stack for your referral program, consider the following:

  • Ease of use: How easily can your team use the software?
  • Flexibility: How flexible is the software? Can it be customized to fit your needs?
  • API: Does your chosen solution offer an API? If so, how easy is it to use?
  • Security: Is the software secure? How do you know?
  • Support: Is there someone you can contact if you have questions or need help?
  • Pricing: How much does the software cost? Does the value exceed the cost?
  • Features: Does your chosen solution offers all the features you need, including partner management, marketplaces, analytics, and more?
Questions to ask to ensure you have the right technology to run your referral program

Referral Marketing FAQs

A referral marketing checklist can only take you so far. To make sure you've got all your bases covered, here are some referral marketing FAQs to consider:

How do I create a successful referral program?

There's no single "right" way to create a successful referral program, but some key elements can help ensure success. These include:

  • A well-defined goal
  • An easy-to-understand referral process
  • Compelling incentive
  • An adequate system of management and measurement
  • A tech stack that makes it easy to manage the program

How do you create a referral marketing strategy?

There are several steps to creating a successful referral marketing strategy. 

These include researching your target market, defining your goals, selecting the right platform, creating compelling incentives, and analyzing data to maximize the effectiveness of your program.

A solid strategy also involves engaging existing customers, building relationships with potential referral sources, and developing creative approaches to spread the word about your program.

What is an example of referral marketing?

Dropbox's famous referral program is one of the best-known examples of referral marketing. 

The company offered users additional storage space if they invited their friends to sign up for the service. Dropbox also sent personalized referral emails and created a landing page with referral incentives. 

Ultimately, the program was so successful that it helped Dropbox go from 100,000 users to 4 million.

The One Thing Your Referral Program Must Do

Answering the questions above will ensure your program is comprehensive, but there's one more thing it must do: drive results.

Without results, your referral program is just a good idea.

Here's where Rediuts comes into play.

Reditus helps you drive results by making it easy to launch and manage a successful referral program.

So, why don't we quickly explore what Reditus brings to the table to help you build, launch, and optimize your SaaS partner program?

Let's start with the basics.

What is Reditus?

Reditus is a SaaS partner management platform that helps you recruit, onboard, and manage partners in one central location.

Reditus' homepage screenshot

Reditus is designed to save you time and money by automating manual tasks and giving you the data-driven insights you need to make informed decisions.

With Reditus, you can:

  • Create a partner portal
  • Track and measure partner performance
  • Automate partner communications
  • Calculate commissions and payouts
  • Analyze data to improve your program

Besides, you get access to a public marketplace where you can find new partners on autopilot. 

All you need is to set up your profile, and Reditus will match you with the best-fit partners for your business.

Besides, our team of experts is always here to help you get the most out of your Reditus account. This way, you can focus on your business while we take care of the technicalities.

If you're looking for a trustworthy solution to help you build and manage a successful SaaS partner program, Reditus might be a good fit for you.

Joran Hofman
Meet the author
Joran Hofman
Back in 2020 I was an affiliate for 80+ SaaS tools and I was generating an average of 30k in organic visits each month with my site. Due to the issues I experienced with the current affiliate management software tools, it never resulted in the passive income I was hoping for. Many clunky affiliate management tools lost me probably more than $20,000+ in affiliate revenue. So I decided to build my own software with a high focus on the affiliates, as in the end, they generate more money for SaaS companies.
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