There are a million reasons for companies to integrate referral marketing into their strategies. One of them has to do with attaining a new, loyal audience. According to a study by the University of Pennsylvania and Goethe University Frankfurt, new customers brought in by existing ones are more profitable and stay longer with a company than other “newcomers”.

However, this article is not for marketers who already know the benefits of word-of-mouth initiatives.

It’s for everyone looking for additional income sources. Be you a photographer, blogger, or designer, you can learn how to find a referral program that suits your lifestyle and become a successful affiliate in a short time.

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What is referral marketing? 

Referral marketing is a form of word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing. And the key referral concept feature is that the initiative comes from the company, not from a customer.

Let’s take a simple example. Organic WOM marketing is when you advise your friend to buy the same shoes as yours because you enjoy wearing them. The shoe manufacturer did not ask you for a recommendation and will not reward you for it. In most cases, they will not even know that it was you who brought a new customer to the store.

Referral marketing works in a similar way. Here, people also recommend products they are happy with and generate new sales for companies. The key difference is that these are companies that offer to do so and track the results.

Moreover, if the invited person makes a purchase, an affiliate will receive a reward. For example, Testa offers $300 for each Solar Roof or Solar Panel referral. And Dropbox rewards affiliates with free additional storage.

With Depositphotos, you can generate hundreds of dollars in just a month

Joining Referral Programs in 2022


Dropbox provides you with up to 32 GB of extra storage for inviting friends to join the platform.


Referral programs by types

Modern referral marketing is online-based. The internet has made it easy to track invitations and conversions. Social networks, in turn, are a perfect tool to share recommendations in clicks.

This is how it works: you share a purchase invitation with friends, visit a website, or register on a certain platform using your invitation link or promo code. When your friend takes the required action, you receive a reward.

Referral programs offer different rewards:

In rare cases, referral programs are based on promo exchange. For example, if you share links to a charity project with your friend, and your friend becomes a donor, the charity fund may mention you at the next public event and strengthen your reputation.

Bloggers can share each other’s recommendations on their accounts to expand their audience. This is called cross-promotion.

Joining Referral Programs in 2022


Google rewards you $8—23 per invited user who started Google Workspace plans.


Receiving referral program rewards

The conditions for receiving a referral reward may differ.

As usual, you will receive the bonus once, when the invited person makes their first purchase. But there are also more “beneficial” programs. For example, our Referral Program partners receive bonuses from their friends’ purchases for 3 years.

To become an affiliate, you need to be a registered user of the service you are going to “promote”. Often, shortly after you sign up (or make your first purchase), companies start introducing their referral program to you through push notifications and letters.

Large brands do not always actively promote their referral programs among customers, as they already have a lot of information to share with them. However, you can find referral program sections on their websites.

Study the conditions of the program and pay attention to details. Important questions you need to clarify:

  • What needs to be done to get a referral reward
  • How to use your referral bonus

Here’s an example using the Depositphotos Referral Program.

First, you need to invite a friend to become a client of the platform using your referral link. When this person makes their first purchase, you receive a 40% cash reward to your referral account. All other purchases made by this person for 3 years will bring you a 15% commission.

These bonuses can be cashed out in amounts of $50 or more using PayPal, Skrill, or Payoneer accounts.

Joining Referral Programs in 2022

On Depositphotos, you get a 40% cash reward for your referral’s first purchase and 15% from their further purchases for the next 3 years.


Who can benefit from referral programs? Find out if it’s you! 

Bloggers often share personalized promo codes and recommend products they are very pleased with. Why? Because influencer marketing perfectly matches referral marketing.

First, it allows opinion leaders to use their influence on an audience to earn more. The more followers they convert into buyers, the more money they get. In turn, the results are easy to measure, so brands do not skimp on commission payments.

A referral program is always profitable since participation in it is free and does not require much time. But not everyone is able to turn it into a gold mine. If you belong to any of these categories, you definitely need to try referral programs:

  • Bloggers, influencers, lecturers, and experts
  • Professionals, whose work is appreciated by clients
  • Members of a professional or thematic community

Referral programs are launched by a variety of brands. It is also essential to be realistic in assessing your audience, especially in terms of whether they will follow your recommendation or not. If the product is not likely to be relevant—don’t waste your time recommending it.

For example, if your social circle consists of vegetarians, it makes no sense to send them links to companies that deliver meat. However, if you are an SMM expert and often meet colleagues online and at conferences, why not tell them about Depositphotos, where they can buy licensed content for future publications.

Joining Referral Programs in 2022


Payoneer pays up to $25 per referral after they transfer $1,000 to their account.


How to earn even more: Tips & Ideas

The main thing to learn about referral campaigns is that the results depend on trust, the relevance of your advice, and your social circle. Here are some tips to increase your chances of success:

#1 Share relevant recommendations 

Don’t waste your time recommending products to people who can’t really benefit from them. If you know your family, friends, and colleagues well, invite them to use services that will help them.

#2 Remind people of your invitation

Each of us has a lot to do. In addition, we are constantly distracted by social networks, news, and urgent tasks. It’s normal that sometimes people forget that you invited them to use a service. If you are sure that your friend will be happy with the product you recommend, feel free to remind them of your invitation.

More on this topic: Networking Tips for Introverted Creatives.

#3 Explain why you recommend it

To prevent your friends from perceiving your referral invitation as advertising, explain why you are inviting them. For example, share your positive experience with a product or service. In addition, some programs (like the one by Hunter) offer bonuses for both newcomers and affiliates.

Joining Referral Programs in 2022


On Hunter, clients can send a 20% discount to their friends and get a $15 discount on the client’s next purchase.

#4 Share invitations with newcomers

Referral programs work well with bloggers and influencers, that is, those people who have a wide and specific audience that tends to expand. Having a large audience is always a plus, whether you’re a photographer, designer, or marketer. Work to expand your circle of influence and regularly share your referral invitations with old and new followers.

If you’re interested in gaining more subscribers, check out this article: 6 Tips to Find Your Target Audience.

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Wrapping up 

Finding alternative and additional ways to earn money for creatives is a hot topic nowadays. A good way to earn passive income is from referral programs. Some of them (for example, Referral Program by Depositphotos) not only offer rewards for first purchases but also allow you to make commissions in the following years.

In addition, referral program participation only requires you to register on the company’s website. It’s totally free. So why not start referring and earning now? Share your first referral link and track your progress on Depositphotos.


Don’t miss out on other thematic materials: 

Referral Program Updates: 40% for Newcomers and 3 Years of Bonuses

How to Sell More Stock Photos: 9 Things to Avoid for Better Results 

How to Profit From Travel Photography: Interview with Mikhail Dudarev

Selling Stock Footage: Everything You Need To Know

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