How to Grow Your Email List Using a Referral Program [Just Like the Morning Brew]


A referral program can help you grow your email list exponentially. 

This is how the Morning Brew, a popular business newsletter, gets over 1,000 new subscribers every day — and grew its newsletter from 100,000 to 1.5 million subscribers in 18 months

The referral program they use is called a milestone referral system — and we’re going to show you how to do it, too.

In a nutshell, a milestone referral system is when your subscribers get different types of rewards when different milestones are achieved. 

Here’s how the Morning Brew’s referral program works:

  1. Each subscriber gets a unique referral link.
  2. If someone signs up using a subscriber’s referral link, this subscriber will have one referred contact. 
  3. When a subscriber achieves a specific number of referrals, the Morning Brew will send them their prize.

Here are some other examples of awesome SendFox customers using a referral program just like the Morning Brew:


Hoopsfix is the go-to website for your daily fix of British basketball.

To reward their dedicated audience and grow it even more, they’ve started using referrals. 

Here’s the referral blurb that their subscribers see in the footer of their emails: 

Hoopsfix referral footer

Hoopsfix also created a referral hub that their subscribers can access to keep track of their referrals and continue to promote the newsletter.  

Hoopsfix referral hub

The referral hub also has a leaderboard and a list of prizes.

referral hub leaderboard

If you’re not sure what prizes to give out, you can get some inspiration from Hoopsfix:

  • 5 referrals get you a shoutout on social media
  • With 10 referrals you get an early access ticket
  • With 50 referrals you win an exclusive Hoospfix t-shirt

Want to receive Hoopsfix’s 3-Point Thursday newsletter? Sign-up here

Dr. Tammy Lenski

Dr. Tammy is impressive! She’s a professional mediator, executive coach, conflict resolution speaker, and teacher. 

To grow her email list, she is also using referrals. Dr. Tammy is offering one prize for three referrals which is an exclusive newsletter. In SendFox, you can set up as many or as few prizes as you like for referrals.

Check out her referral footer for inspiration:

referral footer

Dr. Tammy also has a beautiful and on-brand referral hub:  

Dr. Tammy's referral hub2
Dr. Tammy's referral hub

Learn more about road-tested conflict resolution tools by signing-up to Dr. Tammy’s newsletter here.

The Aloha Press

The fun and entertaining golf newsletter, The Aloha Press, is using a referral system to promote their newsletter and reward their biggest advocates. 

At the bottom of their emails, they have not only added a referral blurb but also all the prizes that their subscribers can get through referrals. 

The Aloha Press referral footer

Rewarding your most loyal subscribers with cool merch for referrals, will not only help you grow your audience but also increase brand awareness.

Check out The Aloha Press’ newsletters and sign-up to their mailing list here.

Now that you know how and why a referral system will help you grow your email list,  we’re going to show you how to use SendFox’s built-in features to make your OWN referral system.

Setting up Your Referral Program With SendFox:

1.Sign-up to SendFox (Psst it takes less than a minute!):

Login to SendFox
SendFox login page

2. Go to your Account Settings and click Referrals Campaign.

SendFox account settings
Account settings within SendFox.

3. Enable the “Promote Referral in all email footers”.

Subscriber referral settings
Subscriber referrals page in SendFox.

4. In section 1, fill out the title and blurb that you want to include in your email footer.

Subscriber referral program
Section 1 of SendFox’s subscriber referrals page.

5. In section 2, you can customize your referral hub by choosing the color and title of the page. You can also include your logo.

Customize your referral hub
Section 2 of SendFox’s subscriber referrals page.

6. In part 3, choose the prizes you want to give out and select how many referrals your subscribers need to get for each prize.

Referral Prizes
Section 3 of SendFox’s subscriber referrals page.

And that’s all you need to do to set up your referral program just like the Morning Brew. Easy-peasy!

Create A Referral Program TODAY

To recap, a referral program is a GREAT way to grow your mailing list and reward your most loyal subscribers.

In SendFox, you can easily recreate the Morning Brew’s referral system by creating your own referral hub and automatically adding a footer to your emails with each subscriber’s unique sign-up link.

For best results, give away prizes that are related to your brand to increase brand awareness.

Get the lifetime deal for SendFox here – the best place for content creators to grow their audience.

9 thoughts on “How to Grow Your Email List Using a Referral Program [Just Like the Morning Brew]”

  1. Is this new? I asked Noah about this exact thing in Office Hours a few weeks ago and he pushed me towards KingSumo which wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. This is pretty close to perfect (I’ll know more once I get in and start using it)!

    This is so awesome and will save me some work! Thank you 🙂

      1. Definitely need this to be on a per-list basis. Lots of people use SendFox with multiple brands, so having rewards sadly does not work for us, because you will end up with mixed brand messaging.

        It would be great to be able to set up multiple referral campaigns and attach them to lists individually, much like choosing the “send from” address.

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