Tesla remains one of the most exemplary brands that have launched a successful referral program. Although the electric car company discontinued its flagship referral program in February 2019, it re-introduced the program with new incentives.
Even with a $0 marketing budget, the company, worth approximately $208 billion, managed to gain a reported $24.6 billion in revenue in 2019. So how did Tesla achieve this without a hefty marketing budget? Its popular previous and revamped referral program certainly played a huge role.
In this post, we’ll delve into why the Tesla program has seen tremendous success, how it worked, as well as its benefits and drawbacks.
How does the program work?
Tesla owners can earn rewards when their friends and family use their unique referral links to order other eligible Tesla products. As of 2021, the eligible products for the referral program includes orders for Solar Roof and Solar Panels. To earn referral rewards, family and friends must place an order for a Solar Roof or Solar Panels through a referral link. However, after an order is placed, referrals cannot be added. Again, the rewards can only be given after the energy system receives permission to operate on the grid from a customer’s utility.
When a friend or family member orders through a customer’s referral link, they can earn $500 for purchasing a Solar Roof and $300 for buying a Solar Panel. The customer or referrer will also earn $500 for each Solar Roof referral and $300 for every Solar panel referral which uses their link.
Tesla owners can share their referral links after downloading the Tesla app. With the app, they can also track the status of their rewards in the Loot Box.
To be eligible for the referral program benefits, a customer must be at least 18 years old and not be an employee, representative, affiliate, or partner of Tesla.
The Tesla Referral Program has undergone several changes over the years, resulting in changes in eligible rewards. From September 18, 2021, vehicle products became ineligible for Referral rewards. Before that, Tesla awarded several benefits to customers who referred to their vehicle products.
In the previous reward program, both referrals and referrers were eligible to earn 1,000 miles of free Supercharging for ordered products such as Tesla’s Model S, Model 3, Model X, and Model Y.
When a customer ordered for a Tesla Model S, Model X and Model Y between May 2019 and September 2019 through a referral link, the referrer was eligible for a chance to win a Model Y monthly or a Roadster supercar quarterly per referral, and an additional 2,000 miles of free Supercharging. The referred customer would also win 2,000 miles of free Supercharging. Between April 2019 and May 2019, the rewards were even more significant for the same model of Tesla vehicle products above. Referred Customers could earn 5,000 miles of free Supercharging. Referrers were eligible to win 5,000 miles of free Supercharging and had five chances to win a Model Y monthly or Roadster supercar quarterly per referral.
What are the good things about the program?
High Reward Value
One of the most attractive features of Tesla’s referral program is how valuable its referral rewards are. Despite several changes, Tesla maintained a reputation for rewarding its program members with high-value offers. Since the brand serves high-end customers, its strategy of rewarding them with unique and valuable offers is perfect for maintaining customer loyalty. In addition, both the car and cash rewards are so useful that customers will be eager to engage in the referral program to stand a chance of winning either of these.
Another reason Tesla’s referral program has been widely successful is because of how much focus the brand has placed on its individual customers. Unlike several other car brands that run on millions of dollars worth of marketing and advertising budgets to get new customers, Tesla does the complete opposite. Tesla focuses on giving their customers value through their referral program, and their customers are proud and eager to spread the word about their products to their circles. New referrals and visitors alike can see the value of purchasing from the brand through the benefits at their disposal, and this is what propels loyalty towards Tesla. How else could a brand earn such success with a $0 marketing budget? The key is to put customers first, and they will do the marketing for you.
Easy to Understand
One more fantastic attribute of the Tesla Referral Program is how simple it is to understand. The company takes a great deal of effort to explain all the benefits and rewards of purchasing each product on its support page. They even go to the extent of making all the information on their previous referral programs available to avoid any confusion about the current rewards customers should expect to gain. The information provided is clear enough, and customers can easily understand the exact actions they need to take to earn their referral rewards.
How could they have made their rewards program more attractive?
While the Tesla referral program is truly an exemplary one, especially in the vehicle production industry, there are still certain areas the company could have improved to make it more attractive to its customers.
Tesla could make the most apparent improvement to its referral program by restoring rewards, particularly from its previous programs, as they were no-brainers. For instance, restoring bonuses on ordered vehicles would increase patronage and boost membership for the referral program. However, considering the cost implications on the company, this is likely not feasible.
Hence, Tesla could make its current referral program more attractive by increasing awareness. The mere fact that many rewards from the previous programs have been cut out could cause a reduction in referral program membership. Tesla can resolve this misconception by letting their customers see the value in the current referral program and how purchasing Solar panels and Solar Roofs can be of great benefit on a larger scale.