· 4 min read · referral-marketing

Smart Referral Rewards: The Morning Brew Approach

Morning Brew has achieved meteoric success in its newsletter growth, and a significant part of that can be credited to its innovative referral rewards system. Here’s a breakdown of their strategy and what you might learn from it.

Content is King, But Rewards Rule

Morning Brew Intro Image

At its core, Morning Brew focused on delivering stellar content with a touch of sass, ensuring readers would naturally want to share. But to truly drive engagement, they complemented their content with enticing referral rewards.

The Tiered Approach

Morning Brew smartly employed a tiered reward system. As subscribers make more referrals, they unlock greater rewards. Rather than giving away extravagant prizes, they focused on rewards that resonated with their brand and would be cherished by their loyal readers—mainly branded merchandise. Such rewards not only deepen a subscriber’s affinity to the brand but also make them a walking advertisement.

Unlocking the Rewards: A Closer Look

Morning Brew Reward Tiers

  1. Visibility: A visual tracker showcases potential rewards and the referrals needed for each, keeping users informed and engaged.
  2. Starting Small: Initial rewards are affordable bulk items like totes, stickers, and notebooks. For instance, a sticker can cost as little as 20 cents in bulk.
  3. Intrigue with Mystery: At 7 referrals, subscribers receive a mystery box, adding an element of surprise.
  4. High-Quality Wearables: Their clothing rewards like t-shirts, joggers, and crewnecks are not just branded, but also of top quality.
  5. Epic Rewards for Super Advocates: For 1,000 referrals, a subscriber could get a complete work-from-home makeover with the latest tech.
  6. Evolving Rewards: While many rewards remain consistent, Morning Brew occasionally shakes things up. Earlier rewards, for instance, included an exclusive Sunday newsletter and a trip to their HQ.

The reward system isn’t just about gifting items, but about converting casual readers into passionate brand advocates.

Strategies to Emulate

When considering a tiered reward system:

  • Reward & Reach: The reward must be enticing, and the goal to achieve it should feel attainable.
  • Spacing & Motivation: If after 5 referrals a subscriber is close to the next reward, it feels achievable and motivates them to refer more.
  • Branded Merch: A cost-effective way for free platforms like newsletters to incentivize users. Plus, it’s free advertising!

Special Giveaways for the Extra Push

Occasionally, Morning Brew employs flash giveaways to supercharge referrals. These are not your average prizes but high-value items like a MacBook Pro or Airpods Max. Every referral made offers a chance to win, with bonuses that double entries after hitting a certain number.

However, while such giveaways can attract a large number of referrals, quality can be a concern. To tackle this, Morning Brew employs a double-opt-in system, ensuring only genuine referrals are counted.

Strategies from Giveaways that you can learn from

  • Offer High-Value Prizes: The allure of a top-tier reward can significantly boost engagement.
  • Double Rewards: Consider doubling entries after a certain threshold to encourage more referrals.

In conclusion, Morning Brew’s referral system is a masterclass in understanding audience motivation and leveraging it for growth. Whether it’s the tiered reward system or the occasional flash giveaway, the principles remain the same: offer value, build trust, and ensure every referral feels worthwhile.

Published by

Celi Rivas

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