What should I offer my subscribers as referral benefits?


Subscriber referrals are a simple way to grow your audience by rewarding subscribers for spreading the word about your publication. To make it more compelling for your subscribers, consider offering custom benefits tailored to your publication.

Some questions to think about in determining the best benefits for your referral program:

  • Consider offering rewards similar to how you monetize:

    • For folks close to buying a subscription, how do you encourage them to get over the hump?

    • How do you tie in the rewards to your other products (eBooks, courses, events, community features) in a way that makes it easy to run the referral program in the background?

  • Consider the value your audience gets from your publication and how to use referral rewards to amplify it:

    • If it’s for unique insight on a topic, offer extra in-depth content.

    • If it’s for more of “you”, offer a way to connect with you, like a coffee chat over Zoom.

    • If it’s for access to a community, offer a way to connect with other folks, like an invite to an exclusive Discord / Slack group.

Building on the above, here are a few categories of rewards with specific examples.

  • Discount for your products:

    • Free month / year for paid subscriptions.

    • Discount for paid subscriptions.

    • Discount on cohort-based or on-demand courses.

    • Access to exclusive merch or discount to your store.

    • For job boards, free job post (for employers) or prioritized access (for candidates).

  • Extra content

    • Embed an eBook, PDF, image, video, or other special content; this can be a great way to keep it simple with a nice “thank you” note.

    • Access to an exclusive (or “secret”) newsletter.

    • Access to archive of paid-only content, maybe in a different format (e.g., Kindle version of your archive).

  • Access and community

    • Coffee chats over Zoom (book with Calendly link or something similar).

    • Access to exclusive Discord or Slack group.

    • Get certain posts before everyone else.

    • Suggest topics for future posts.

    • Callout top referrers in the newsletter or on a “wall of fame” page.

    • Early access to conference or event tickets.