Here's How to Increase Your Referral Traffic (Tips from 42 Marketers) | Databox Blog (2023)

74% of marketers say that their company has a deliberate strategy for increasing referral traffic.

Here's How to Increase Your Referral Traffic (Tips from 42 Marketers) | Databox Blog (1)

When we dug into the quantitative data behind our research, we learned something interesting – while referral traffic does tend to convert at a higher percentage in comparison to other channels (organic, direct, etc.), it’s not as dramatic a difference as most would think.

To get a baseline, we polled marketers to find out what their overall visit-to-lead conversion rate was…

Here's How to Increase Your Referral Traffic (Tips from 42 Marketers) | Databox Blog (2)

Then, we asked those same marketers to share their visit-to-lead conversion rate from referral traffic alone…

Here's How to Increase Your Referral Traffic (Tips from 42 Marketers) | Databox Blog (3)

The biggest difference was in the segment reporting a 2-5% visit-to-lead conversion rate.

This segment saw 64% growth when comparing referral traffic to overall traffic. However, perspective is everything here – a seemingly small increase, from 2-5%, can yield big returns on overall leads and sales for any business. The more traffic a website is generating, the greater impact that growth is having.

Obviously, there’s value in referral as a channel. Not only does it convert better, but it’s a credibility booster, too.

Like most effective marketing tactics, referral traffic is driven by merit.

Sure, there are companies out there that buy links, but in order to build a sustainable referral strategy, there needs to be a deliberate focus on quality and relationships.

So, how do you do it?

We asked dozens of marketers to share what’s worked for them. Here’s what we learned.

Guest Posting

“The best way to get referral traffic is to focus on guest posting on websites that have serious traffic in your niche,” says Tim Brown, owner of Hook Agency. “Instead of guest posting just for SEO, guest post for pure traffic.”

“One post that I worked with a ghostwriter on was on a popular startup blog and drove more traffic and leads than the 20 other guest posts I had done previously,” Brown adds. “Some sites just have the type of audience that will actually follow through or are actually ‘shopping’ or looking for a solution. It’s about the audience the blog has, but it’s also the angle of the post –is the article high intent? If you can achieve a marriage of these two concepts you can really drive referral traffic and leads.”

Ian Revling, brand strategist at Evolve Digital Labs, stresses the importance of research. “If you want [guest posting] to truly work, you’ve got to do your research and write guest blogs that leverage the power of long-tail keywords.”

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“This allows you tonarrow your content’s focus and speak to a specific audience,” adds Revling. “When you’re creating content it’s a must for your strategists and copywriters to focus on user intent and to try to build links that truly enhance your potential customer’s user experience.”

But don’t start guest posting everywhere you can just yet.

PR&Prose‘s Lauren Gilmore says “Dumping articles on irrelevant blogs won’t increase your referral traffic.”

“Guest blogging should be strategic,” said Gilmore. “You need to spend time and effort to identify industry blogs that publish content on topics similar to yours. Then, build relationships with those publishers to become a go-to contributor.”

It’s a long-term process. But it can work.

(In addition to guest posting on relevant sites, Kobe Digital manager Arya Bina recommends posting on a variety ofdifferent sites. So spread out your pitches.)

So how do you actually go about guest posting? How do you make it happen?

PostcardMania founder Joy Gendusa shares her workflow:

  1. Figure out what you want to write about (stick to something you know and will be considered an authority on)
  2. Find magazines and blogs/websites that cover your subject and are read by your target audience.
  3. Give the website a browse to see how you might contribute.
  4. Browse the About Us and Contact Us page to find an email address for someone who handles content.(Author’s note: is another great option for finding contact information.)
  5. Email them and pitch your idea for a guest post or guest article.
  6. Follow up until you receive feedback (good or bad).

Laura Cabrera from Outcry.ioalso gave advice on finding places to guest post. “The goal is to have a few sites where you’re a consistent contributor,” she says.

“To find these sites in your space that accept guest posts, you can simply Google: “[your niche] ‘write for us.'” Be prepared to offer some topic ideas that you think the prospective website would like and link back to your site from your author bio.”

Many people focus their efforts on high-authority sites for “link juice,” says Ben Taylor of HomeWorkingClub. But, guest posting can actually get you a solid amount of referral traffic, too.

“Marketers are so fixated with link building that they forget that the best links generate traffic as well as “link juice”, said Taylor. “By guest posting more mindfully and by targeting the right sites, guest posts can bring you a new audience.”

Marketers are also fixated on the A-listers, but Jx Tan, principal consultant at Momentum Digital, says there’s value in lesser-known partners, too.

“Guest blogging with complementary partners is a lesser-known but highly effective way to enhance B2B referral traffic,” said Tan. “But you have to understand that the objective has to be providing unique takeaways that will add value to both of your audiences, and that referral traffic is just a by-product of this strategy.”

PRO TIP: How Are People Finding Your Website?

You can monitor acquisition metrics in Google Analytics like traffic by source, sessions by social network, top paid keywords by sessions, sessions by organic traffic, bounce rate, and more, to quickly identify how are people finding your website, what your most profitable traffic sources are, and how successful specific marketing campaigns are in attracting website visitors.

Keep in mind though, the amount of channels, dimensions, and demographics you can sort by in GA is one of the easiest things you can overcomplicate.

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To better understand how your website performs in terms of acquisition and conversion, we built this Google Analytics dashboard template that contains all the essential metrics for understanding how successful you are at attracting visitors from different channels.

With this Google Analytics Acquisition Snapshot dashboard, you can quickly identify how users arrive at your website, and details such as:

  • How many website users are coming from each channel? (sessions by traffic source, sessions by social network)
  • What is their behavior like? (bounce rate, % new sessions)
  • Which keywords bring in the most traffic to your website? (sessions by organic keywords and top paid keywords by session)

And more…

You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.

To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple steps:

Step 1: Get the template

Step 2: Connect your Google Analytics account with Databox.

Step 3: Watch your dashboard populate in seconds.

Get the template free

Commenting on Blog Posts

“Leaving thoughtful or insightful comments on industry or influencer blogs is one of the most overlooked referral strategies we’ve come across,” says Colibri Digital Marketing‘s Andrew McLoughlin.

“So long as you’ve sufficiently acquainted yourself with the blog you’ll be commenting on, and so long as that blog is under the direct control of its author, your comment can become the first step toward a dialogue, a referral, or a partnership,” adds McLoughlin.

McLoughlin points out that writing a comment is much faster than writing a blog post. So you can use this strategy to create more interactions than you would through guest posting or cold emailing.

Creating Link-Worthy Content

Rick Ramos, CMO of HealthJoy, says that in his experience there are two types of content that are more likely to provide value and get picked up by larger publications: studies/surveys and infographics.

“This type of content is very time consuming to create, but the results are amazing. If it’s unique enough and talks to a broad industry, it can be picked up by some pretty large publications,” said Ramos.

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You can also use roundup articles to great effect, says SEO Hacker‘s Sean Si. “This allows us to be able to link other websites for users to find, along with being able to promote our website.”

It’s important to remember that just creating content isn’t enough. You have to promote it too, according to Dario Sipos of DWR. His company uses videos in their content marketing, but they place a strong emphasis on effective promotion to get referral links.

To stand out, it’s worth looking into less common types of content. Infographics grab people’s attention, but they’re all over the place now. Kent Lewis, founder of Anvil Media, suggests trying a podcast. “Podcasting offers a unique opportunity to generate inbound links via consistently compelling content,” he says.

By combining that with competitive benchmarking, you can put out better content than your competitors.

And remember, says David Pagotto, founder of SIXGUN: referral traffic is about relationships. “Referral traffic suggests a relationship with the website linking to you, whether it be through a paid sponsorship or mutual respect for a blog post on your website. The key here is the relationship.”

“The best way to increase referral traffic is to actively seek out opportunities to build relationships with website owners in your niche, sponsor events or meaningful causes and put a content marketing plan in place that includes an outreach and amplification strategy,” adds Pagotto.

Connecting on Forums and Q&A Sites

“If you can find an active forum related to your niche and build a presence on there as a valued member, it can become an incredible source of referral traffic,” says Max Robinson, founder of FishTankBank.

“The great thing about most forums is that the threads don’t expire—if you post a link on there to your site, it could potentially drive traffic for years to come.”

Adds Robinson: “One method that I use is to find threads on these forums which are ranking in Google for competitive terms, then post a link in the thread, further increasing the chances that it could drive valuable referral traffic.”

ASPLI‘s Steve Pritchard emphasizes the importance of providing good information on Q&A sites. “The topics you provide answers to will obviously need to be relevant to the industry your company is in, otherwise, you won’t be seen as a credible source.”

As is the case with almost any marketing, you’ll need to provide value. “The key,” says Pritchard, “is to make sure you are being genuinely helpful to the users for them to visit your website—you don’t want to appear spammy. For example, if you are an insurance company, start by providing insights to users who are asking questions about their policies or are unsure about which types of insurance they need. You can then provide a link within your answer to a piece of content on your website which is related to the question being asked.”

“Make sure you do some screening; answer questions which have been viewed by a lot of people but not had many answers, this will make sure you don’t get lost in the noise,” adds Pritchard.

We also had a very interesting tip on getting referral traffic from forums and Q&A sites from Jim Milan, communications and organic search manager at Auto Accessories Garage. Instead of just engaging on forums, you can also sponsor them.

“For example, we at Auto Accessories Garage sponsor forums like and As part of the sponsorship package, we receive sponsorship button links on these sites, which generates referral traffic to our site.”

Milan’s company also posts information and ads on some of those forums to drive more traffic. “The traffic from these sites is often highly qualified,” which is a huge bonus.


Many marketers mentioned Quora, possibly the most popular Q&A site around.

Valli Vishnubhotla with Market Inspector, points out that nearly every industry is represented. “[T]here isn’t a niche that you cannot find on Quora these days.”

Of course, you’ll need to provide value to readers.

“I search for questions that people have asked relating to fashion, music festivals, online gaming, and other topics related to our brands,” says INTO THE AM hiring manager Darren Schreher.

“Then, I provide an in-depth, insightful answer that is beneficial to those reading. I’m able to include supporting links in my answers, which entices curious readers to click and find out more.”

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“Quora or other industry-specific forums are excellent opportunities to respond directly to your target audiences’ questions and pain points by providing links to relevant content on your site, said Jennifer Lux, growth strategist at LyntonWeb.“Not to mention, you’ll also receive an inbound link from what is most likely a highly relevant source. Just make sure to optimize the pages you link to for conversion, so that visitor doesn’t just get the answer to his or her question, but converts on a relevant offer and becomes a referral lead as well.”

If you answer the right questions and point readers to the right pages, you can get very well-qualified leads. “On certain relevant Quora answers that feature AND CO, we have an almost 13% conversion rate,” says Sophie McAulay, growth and content strategist at AND CO.

Getting Active on Social Media

Like forums, social media can be a great place to address customer pain points.

It won’t happen overnight, but you can build a solid following, says Blake Aylott of Shape & Skin Medical. “[W]hen we post about specials for the month a lot of people visit our site through the link in our bio.”

Instagram is big for iHeartRaves too, says digital marketing strategist Brandon Chopp. Instead of posting specials, though, Chopp emphasized connecting with influencers:

“We measure our return on investment based on the number of impressions we receive, how much referral traffic we get, and of course, how many sales come as a result of the campaign.”

(Chopp also recommends Tomoson for finding influencers to work with your brand.)

Of course, before you can recruit an influencer to your cause, you’ll need to build a relationship. Ketan Kapoor, co-founder of Mettl, recommends the following tactics:

  • Ask for their input and insights on an industry report
  • Invite them to relevant webinars
  • Break the ice during even meetings
  • Retweet their tweets
  • Comment on their blog posts
  • Chat with them in forums

Once you’ve built a connection, you can subtly pitch your product or service.

Reviews and Testimonials

Positive reviews and great testimonials are great for overcoming buyer nervousness about your product or service. But they can also be a source of referral traffic.

“[S]ee where your competitors have been reviewed and then pitch something similar,” says Josh Spilker, content manager at ClickUp. “This may require you to provide a free trial or product samples, but it’s generally worth the traffic and the comparison to your competitor.”

If you’re not sure where to find these opportunities, Spilker recommends tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs to find links to your competitors’ sites.

Heartland Funding‘s Don Wede uses testimonials for the same reason. “On our website, we useextensive testimonials as a source of referrals and credibility.”

And Heartland takes advantage of multiple media: written testimonials both with and without images and video testimonials have proven effective.

Establish Your Brand

“To increase your referral traffic you must first increase your brand authority,” according to Tim Absalikov, co-founder of Lasting Trend. How do you do that? In addition to guest blogging and building relationships with influencers, Absalikov recommends going offline.

“Speak at local events or even sponsor some local events. It doesn’t have to be anything big and fancy – a few hundred dollars can go a long way with smart planning.”

Jomel Alos, online PR lead at Spiralytics, agrees. “Though it takes a lot of time and resources,” he says, “once you are already considered as an expert, other websites will naturally use your content as a reference and link back to your site.”

Remember to Provide Value

Consumers are getting increasingly savvy to marketing tactics. But other marketers can content creators are especially so. You’ll need to provide value that they can pass along to their readers if you want referral traffic.

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It may be through offering great content they can share with their readers. Or exclusive products to interview. It might even be, as SIA Enterprises‘ Syed Irfan Ajmal suggests, a product giveaway.

By providing that value and creating a real relationship, you’re more likely to generate the links and influence you need to boost your referral traffic.

Have you made an effort to increase your referral traffic? Which methods did you try? Which worked best for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


How do I increase my referral traffic? ›

How to increase referral traffic
  1. Social referrals, for a large amount of referral traffic. ...
  2. Guest-blogging, to partner with experts. ...
  3. Influencer relationships, to reach a new audience. ...
  4. Industry press, to build brand authority. ...
  5. Affiliate marketing, to better reach your target audience.
Jul 21, 2022

What are examples of referral traffic? ›

Any time a person ends up on your website by clicking on a link from another site or social media, Google Analytics considers that visitor a referral. Some ways you can accrue additional referral traffic could include: Being mentioned on review sites. Commenting on social media or blog posts.

How can I increase my referral traffic on Facebook? ›

The Facebook Referral Traffic Funnel
  1. Update your page information.
  2. Use post teasers.
  3. Ask a question or solicit feedback.
  4. Create Facebook Messenger links.
  5. Host a Giveaway.
  6. Place Links In Image Captions.
  7. Go Live.
  8. Place Static HTML.
Feb 5, 2019

What are the best sources of referral traffic? ›

Social media sites are some of the most valuable sources of referral traffic today. Studies show that up to 89% of marketers see social media generating more exposure for their company. Additionally, efforts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and more helped to increase traffic for 75% of organizations.

What is referral traffic in marketing? ›

Referral traffic refers to visits to your site from links that appear on a different site. Referral traffic is essential and should be measured when managing a link building strategy, for example.

What is a referral traffic? ›

Referral traffic is the segment of traffic that arrives on your website through another source, like through a link on another domain.

What is referral traffic from Facebook? ›

Google Analytics reports website traffic that comes from Facebook as referral traffic, which means that a visitor landed on your website after clicking an inbound link from another website. Your website visitors that came from Instagram, Twitter and Yelp are more examples of referral traffic.

How do I get clicks on referral links? ›

Here are some ideas for getting more clicks on your affiliate links:
  1. Underline your hyperlinks on your site. ...
  2. Add affiliate links in your navigation menus. ...
  3. Create beautiful “discount” pages with affiliate links and promote those pages throughout your website. ...
  4. Create high-converting banner ads on your site.

What is a successful referral process? ›

Providing Effective Referrals Training Guide

Identify referral needs. Speak directly to the referral provider (as appropriate) Provide a verbal and/or written handoff (with the person's consent) Manage difficult situations. Follow up with the client about the referral.

What are the top 5 ways to increase traffic to any website? ›

Try the following approaches to learn how to increase website traffic.
  • Optimize your content with keywords. ...
  • Create targeted landing pages. ...
  • Craft engaging, high-quality content. ...
  • Use digital ads to promote your site. ...
  • Boost your local search reputation. ...
  • Send emails that link to your website.

What is a successful referral? ›

Successful Referral means a Lead or Referral that has resulted in a successful Loan to a Borrower, or investment in a Loan by an Investor, after an Application has been completed and published on the Website; Sample 1.

What are the three types of referrals? ›

Here's a breakdown of the three main types of referrals your business might encounter as you grow:
  • Experience-Based Referrals. This is the first type of referral that comes to mind for most marketers when looking to drive new business. ...
  • Reputation-Based Referrals. ...
  • Specialization-Based Referrals.
Jun 26, 2017

What six steps should you follow when making a referral? ›

Page 3: Six Stages in the Pre-Referral Process
  1. Stage 1: Initial concern regarding a student's progress.
  2. Stage 2: Information gathering.
  3. Stage 3: Information sharing and team discussion.
  4. Stage 4: Discussion of possible strategies.
  5. Stage 5: Implementation and monitoring of strategies.
  6. Stage 6: Evaluation and decision making.

What is a good referral traffic percentage? ›

A referral rate is the number of referred purchases as a percentage of the number of your total purchases. The global average referral rate is 2.3% while the electronics and gadgets industry has the highest referral rate of 3.4%. A 2% referral rate is considered a good referral rate for any industry.

What are the benefits of referral marketing? ›

What are the benefits of referral marketing?
  • You'll target a more precise audience. ...
  • You'll gain high-value, trusting customers. ...
  • You'll be able to measure customer satisfaction. ...
  • You'll extend your market reach. ...
  • You'll increase brand awareness. ...
  • You'll be able to identify loyal customers. ...
  • You'll increase conversion rate.
Jun 2, 2022

How do you promote referral marketing? ›

10 Ways to Promote your Referral Program
  1. 1 – Make it easy to find when users log in. ...
  2. 2 – Create an explainer page. ...
  3. 3 – Write a blog post announcement. ...
  4. 4 – Use email marketing. ...
  5. 5 – Promote it on social media. ...
  6. 6 – Ask at the right time with in-app triggers. ...
  7. 7 – Promote it throughout your app. ...
  8. 8 – Use custom email signatures.

What is the formula for referral traffic? ›

Referral Traffic Formula

Just divide the traffic coming from other sites to the total traffic and then multiplying that number by 100. The result will be a ratio. By comparing this ratio to the earlier ones, you can get an idea of what comes next.

What are the two ways of referral? ›

Abstract. Background: A two-way referral system is an organized two-way relationship between a health care provider or physician in a health care facility at one level of the health care system and another health care provider or physician in a health care facility at the same or higher level of the health care system.

Why am I getting referral traffic from my own website? ›

In general, self-referrals indicate that there are Analytics implementation problems on your site. If you're receiving self-referrals, that may mean that traffic to your site is being attributed incorrectly, or that your session count is inaccurate.

What is referral traffic vs social traffic? ›

In Google Analytics, referral traffic comes to your website from another recommended website. On the contrary, the social traffic reaches your website through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Does Facebook give referral bonuses? ›

You can receive up to 3 referral rewards as the friends and family you shared the offer with make purchases on Facebook. Unused offers will expire after 14 days.

How do you get paid for referrals? ›

20 successful referral program examples
  1. GetResponse – $30 account credit per referral.
  2. Hostinger – 20% commission.
  3. Dropbox – Up to 32 GB per referral.
  4. Fiverr – Up to $100 per referral.
  5. Chase Bank – $50 per referral.
  6. SoFi – between $50 and $500 per referral.
  7. TurboTax – $25 per referral.
  8. Wise – $50 per three referrals.
Mar 7, 2023

Do you get paid for affiliate link clicks? ›

When you place a clickable link with a specified affiliate code embedded into it on your website, blog, or social media, you'll get paid for each visitor that clicks on the link and completes a sale. This is known as pay per click (PPC) advertising and it's a popular way to generate revenue from websites and content.

How do you get paid for clicks on links? ›

Advertising networks such as Google AdSense are some of the easiest ways to make money with pay-per-click. Website owners only register with an advertising network and place the code provided by them on their website. Google AdSense is one of the best choices, but it requires approval once you register.

What is a good referral traffic rate? ›

A referral rate is the number of referred purchases as a percentage of the number of your total purchases. The global average referral rate is 2.3% while the electronics and gadgets industry has the highest referral rate of 3.4%. A 2% referral rate is considered a good referral rate for any industry.

How do I get people to click on my referral link? ›

Send the link in a personalized email to friends and family members that you think may need the product or service first. These are the people that will most likely check it out and make a purchase. Share your referral link on social media. You may want to share them in groups that have a similar interest.

How do I get more people to use my employee referral program? ›

How to make your employee referral program effective:
  1. Explain job requirements.
  2. Keep employees updated.
  3. Acknowledge good referrers.
  4. Offer a mix of monetary and non-monetary incentives.
  5. Enhance user experience in your job application process.
  6. Experiment with referral tactics.

What is the best paid traffic? ›

The best paid traffic sources for affiliate marketing include Google Ads, social media ads, mobile advertising, video ads, and more, which offer different ad formats, reach opportunities, and analytics features.

How do I make a referral message? ›

How To Write A Referral Letter
  1. Start with a salutation.
  2. Explain your relationship with the candidate. ...
  3. Include information on the person you're writing about. ...
  4. Reiterate your referral. ...
  5. Finish with a signature. ...
  6. Your relation to the referee. ...
  7. Their work and specific skills. ...
  8. How they differ from other candidates.
Oct 7, 2022

How do I get more clicks on my links? ›

Radio content doesn't work for TV. TV content doesn't work for social media. Social content doesn't work for print.
2. Create Platform Specific Web Content
  1. Play On Emotions. ...
  2. Use Subtitles For Video. ...
  3. A/B Test. ...
  4. Size Matters. ...
  5. Keep Mobile in Mind. ...
  6. Rethink the Call to Action. ...
  7. Watch Your Timings.
Feb 12, 2020

What makes a good employee referral? ›

Offer a mix of incentives

Your employee referral program should offer some sort of incentive, whether it's a financial incentive, a non-financial incentive or a combination of both. For example, instead of a referral bonus, you could offer gifts or extra time off.


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