· 6 min read · referral-marketing

Morning Brew's Meteoric Rise: The Power of a Robust Referral System

Morning Brew, a free daily newsletter, has become synonymous with insightful business news and entertainment. This media powerhouse, delivered straight to your inbox, boasts a subscriber base of millions. But what drove this explosive growth? Let’s explore the crucial role of their referral program, “Share the Brew.”

The Humble Beginnings

Morning Brew Intro Image

In 2015, Morning Brew started as a passionate initiative by a team of two. Fast forward to today, they’ve grown to nearly 300 employees and have diversified their content into nine niche newsletters, including offerings like IT Brew and Marketing Brew. They’ve also expanded into other forms of media with four podcasts, three education programs, and a merchandise store. From its inception to a whopping $75 million deal, Morning Brew’s journey has been nothing short of phenomenal.

The Ambassador Era

The spark for Morning Brew’s growth can be traced back to its ambassador program. Early evangelists would talk about Morning Brew during lectures and collect emails by hand. This grassroots effort laid the foundation, bringing in the first 10,000 subscribers. It created the initial buzz, setting the stage for the ensuing viral growth.

“Share the Brew” - The Game Changer

Launched in 2017, the referral program was instrumental in scaling from 100,000 to a staggering 4.5 million subscribers. In its early days, a whopping 80% of the newsletter’s growth was attributed to referrals. Fast forward to recent times, and this program still drives nearly 30% of their growth. On some days, they’ve recorded over 1,000 referrals. Talk about impact!

The referral program wasn’t just a makeshift attempt but a well-thought-out strategy. Recognizing the importance of genuine referrals, Morning Brew implemented a double-opt-in by 2019, ensuring that only legitimate referrals counted. The results? An impressive conversion rate exceeding 85%.

Tyler Denk, a member of Morning Brew, sheds light on their strategic approach. They meticulously worked on viral coefficient calculations, leveraging the network effect to its full potential. This involved subscribers referring others, who in turn would refer even more individuals, creating a ripple effect of growth.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

  • In 2019 alone, they grew from $3 million to $13 million in revenue.
  • By early 2022, revenues touched $36 million, escalating to $50 million by the year’s end.
  • The referral program remains a cornerstone of their growth strategy, with a predicted revenue growth of 66% on the horizon.
  • A glimpse into the data from 2019 reveals:
    • 225,000 subscribers shared at least one referral.
    • 80,000 subscribers made 3+ referrals.
    • Referrals continue to constitute 30% of their growth.
    • Peak performance recorded 1,000+ referrals in a single day.

In Conclusion

Morning Brew’s success story is a testament to the potency of a well-orchestrated referral program. They’ve demonstrated that with the right strategy, it’s possible to harness the power of word of mouth and achieve exponential growth. For brands and businesses eyeing growth, “Share the Brew” stands as a shining example of how to nail referral marketing.


Published by

Celi Rivas

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