Customer Referral Program

A web and app based referral program to earn $100 when you refer a friend to Thimble.




Thimble sells flexible, short-term business insurance for the gig economy, with policies available by the hour, day, or week, up to a full year for growing businesses reaching the next level. Policies can be purchased in seconds via the web or app, with the ability to modify, pause, or cancel instantly whether work slows down or hiring picks up. This innovative product-offering in a truly archaic industry earned Thimble the 1st place spot on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, in the "Small and Mighty" category.

Project Background

Creating a customer referral program in the insurance industry involves endless restrictions and limitations. Before defining the program I had to work with our insurance team to compile the rules and regulations of all 50 states, only to find that offering this program in half of them would be a massive success.

Country wide regulations state that only licensed professionals can be incentivized or compensated for the sale of an insurance policy. Then at a state level there are regulations regarding who can and cannot be paid, how much they can be paid, the timeframe over which limits apply, or whether you can do this at all. After building various models and spreadsheets, I identified the least common denominator and defined the program. The Thimble Referral Program would offer a $25 gift card per-referral in 25 states, limited to $50 per calendar year, when a referee becomes an active Thimble user.

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6% of eligible Thimble customers made a referral, providing a 400% return on spend.

I worked with our UX team to design the flow of referring a friend, our Director of CRM to coordinate announcement emails and drip campaigns, and our legal team to create compliant terms and conditions. I created a technical brief for our engineering team to create unique tracking links and attribution logic, define the triggers for a successful referral as well as fraud triggers, and provided instructions to integrate with the Tremendous API to fulfill gift cards.

We have received a 400% return on spend from the referral program. We continually optimized for engagement by adding additional in-app placements, quarterly email blasts, and began filing to offer the program in additional states with stricter regulations. Over 5% of eligible customers have made a referral, and 68% of payouts result in a sale.

Product Marketing the Referral Program in the Post-Purchase Experience: Immediately after purchasing a policy from Thimble, our Success screen advertises the referral program to build awareness.

The referral program dashboard shows the total you can earn, which is unique by the state the insurance policy was purchased in based on filings and approvals. It keeps a running total of your rewards, with a "Redeem" flow once you've earned enough to cash out a gift card.

Revenue earned / money spent: While some months are better than others, we have never spent more money on our referral program than the premium (revenue) we earn. Our best month delivered more than a 1000% return on spend.