The marketing genius behind Robinhood’s free stock promo.

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Before you dive into this article, I’ve got a gift for you. Well, both of us, actually. It’s a free share of stock over at Robinhood (you can claim it, here).

For those not privy, Robinhood is responsible for perhaps the single grandest innovation in investing in the past decade…

Commission-free trading.

Before Robinhood, investors would spend thousands and thousands of dollars each year just on the commissions that come with buying and selling stocks.

While this was very doable for investors with semi-deep pockets… for college-age kids and millennials who didn’t have thousands to bet, the commissions could really put a hurting on the money they had set aside to invest in the stock market.

So, Robinhood came into the scene in 2013 with a badass mobile app that allowed anyone and everyone to trade directly from their smartphones… for free.

I vividly remember being a college kid at the University of Southern Indiana when Robinhood was first catching fire and finding the app so easy that I would literally buy and sell stocks in the middle of class with a few swipes of my thumb.

While I have since made a little bit of dough in the stock market, I owe much of my success to Robinhood for making the process of investing both simple and approachable early on.

However, as I got into marketing and copywriting, my obsession with Robinhood sky-rocketed to totally new heights…

One for all and all for one.

While much of Robinhood’s dominance in online trading can be attributed to the badass product that they built, we can’t overlook their marketing which I would define as nothing short of genius.

First and foremost, they’ve done something clever as hell in their “one for one” campaign where they offer customers the following…

Invite a friend to join Robinhood and we will give both of you a free share of stock.

Not only did this incentivize users to spread the word but it harnessed the power of an oftentimes overlooked rule of marketing…

Your customers are your best marketers.

In addition to the Stranger Than Fiction newsletter and both my copywriting and freelancing guide, I run a full-time freelance creative writing business called, Honey Copy.

Anytime a freelancer comes to me and asks me about how to generate more business, my first piece of advice is that they go back to their current customers and ask (politely of course) for referrals.

There is a reason word of mouth, customer reviews and referrals are such a powerful marketing tactic… because people listen to their friends, family and folks they respect.

This is the brilliance behind Robinhood’s one for one campaign. They’re growing their business through their active users, encouraging them to spread the word (on a product they already love) with a free stock incentive.

And, by doing this, they’ve turned their most loyal customers into a killer team of marketers… for pennies on the dollar.

But, I digress.

By Cole Schafer.

Stranger than fiction by Honey Copy is a curation of stories about bat shit crazy marketing ideas that have made brands some serious cheddar. If this story made your mouth water, why not let me tell you when I write the next one?

Originally published at on March 31, 2020.

Written by

I write pretty words and sometimes sell things.

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