Getting Started with Referral Program
This article covers key concepts of Voucherify referral campaigns. You'll see the workflow in both single and double-sided referral programs.
- Referral programs overview
- Key concepts:
- Referral workflow
Here are the key definitions you need to grasp to understand how referral campaigns work.
The owner of the referral code. Referrer can't redeem his/her code, can only share it with others. To assign a referral code to a customer, you need to invoke a publication.
The referred customer who performed a conversion event (custom event or referral code redemption) by using a referral code.
The conversion event defines an action that converts a new customer to a referee. It can be a custom event passed using the API or the referral code redemption. Once Voucherify recognizes a new conversion event, the related customer is marked as referred, and the code owner receives another successful referral.
Custom events are actions taken by customers that you track in your application or website and pass to Voucherify using our API.
Redemption in referral campaigns is a single usage of a referral code. If referees are rewarded with a discount, it'll be added to their order during the referral code redemption.
All campaigns and promotions are created in the Campaign Manager. You can open the Campaign Manager by clicking the plus in the Campaigns and Vouchers dashboard menu.
Double-sided referral programs reward both referrers and referred customers.
Single-sided referral program rewards only referrers. Referees don't receive any reward.
Validation rules in referral campaigns can be assigned to referral codes. They limit referral code redemption to predefined conditions based on customer or order-related attributes. They also enable you to set a campaign budget and additional redemption limits.
Referee reward needs to be set in a double-sided referral campaign. If you choose to reward referees with a discount, it'll be assigned to a referral code. Besides discounts, you can reward referees with gift credits or loyalty points.
It can be a coupon code, gift credits, or loyalty points. The reward is published to the referral code owner (referrer) once a new customer is referred and the referrer meets all rewarding criteria. Referrers are always rewarded for the same referee's action defined by the conversion event.
There are two types of built-in notifications you can configure when creating a referral program. The first type sends a message to the new referrer every time you publish (assign) a referral code from the campaign. The second type sends messages to referees every time they perform a conversion event and note a successful referral.
The publication is an action of assigning a unique referral code to a particular customer (referrer).
Optional campaign mode ensuring that each customer can own only one referral code from the campaign.
Optional campaign mode ensuring the app will automatically generate new referral codes when needed and the initial batch runs out.
Tier settings define when and how referrers are rewarded. You can add many tiers to a single program and build a multi-level rewarding schema. Referrer's reward can be triggered by a particular number of conversion events and additional criteria that referrers need to match.
The Distribution Manager enables you to set up a distribution workflow. It comes down to defining message details such as audience, message trigger, purpose, and channel. To open the Manager, go to the Distributions tab in your dashboard and click on the plus in the top-right corner.
The referral link is a URL address with a referral code that links to a customer touchpoint that converts new customers into referred customers. Voucherify offers referral links that direct to a dedicated landing page with a signup form for referees.
Referral landing pages
Voucherify landing pages are simple out-of-the-box websites connected to your account. There are two types of landing pages that you can use in a referral campaign. The first type publishes and displays referral codes to referrers. The second type lets invited customers sign up with a referral code and invoke a successful conversion event.
Referral programs overview
To create a referral campaign, you need to open the Campaign Manager and configure the referral workflow. It comes down to the following steps:
- General program settings:
- Campaign timeframe.
- Type (single or double-sided).
- Conversion event (redemption or custom event).
- Notifications for referrers and referees.
- Metadata (custom attributes attached to a campaign and referral codes).
- Referral codes with validation rules
- Referrer settings:
- Referral tiers with rewarding criteria, rewards, and tier-specific notifications.
- Referee settings:
- Referee reward.
After creating a referral campaign in Voucherify, you can publish and share referral codes with referrers. Then, referrers can share the assigned codes with others to invite them to join the program.
Depending on the chosen conversion event, the invited customer becomes a referee after performing a predefined custom event or redeeming a referral code. Conversion event always relates to a customer triggering the conversion (referee) and a referral code (referrer). Based on the data provided with the conversion event, a new customer is marked as referred, and the referrer is rewarded. If there are any additional rewarding criteria for referrers, they are checked before triggering the reward.
When it comes to the referee reward (double-sided referral campaign), discounts are attached to referral codes and applied to the order when redeeming the referral code. If referees get gift credits or loyalty points, they are added after a successful conversion event.
Single and double-sided programs
Set in the Campaign Manager > Incentive Workflow
Single-sided referral campaign rewards only referrers. In a double-sided campaign, both referrers and invited customers are rewarded.
|Single-sided program||Double-sided program|
Rewards for the referrers are triggered when all rewarding conditions defined in the tier are met. When it comes to referees, the moment the reward is triggered depends on the chosen conversion event. Read on to learn more.
The conversion event defines an action that converts a customer to a referee. Each referral program can have only one conversion event. There are two types to choose between:
- Referral code redemption – when a customer successfully redeems a referral code, s/he is marked as refereed.
- Custom event – an action that your customers perform on your website/application sent to Voucherify API.
Referral code redemption
In this scenario, a successful redemption of a referral code triggers a reward for the referee (in double-sided campaigns) and notes another successful referral on the referrer's account.
- The referrer shares the referral code with a new customer.
- The invited customer redeems the referral code on your website or application.
- In a double-sided program*, both referrer and referee are rewarded:
- New loyalty points/gift credits are assigned to the referee's account or, if a discount is the reward, it is applied to the referee's order during the referral code redemption.
- Voucherify notes another successful referral and assigns the reward to the referrer (reward redemption).
*In a single-sided campaign, only the referrer is rewarded (3b).
Voucherify ensures the referrer cannot redeem his/her own code. Using validation rules, you can add more redemption limits to referral codes. We recommend a default redemption limit – each new customer can make only one redemption in a referral campaign. As a result, each redemption of referral codes comes from a different referee.
If you choose a custom event to convert new customers, Voucherify will count a successful referral after receiving an API call with a predefined custom event. In this scenario, redemptions of referral code enable referees to apply the discount (if assigned) but don't trigger reward for referrers.
- The referrer shares a referral code with a new customer.
- Invited customer performs a custom event with a referral code on your website or application.
- After the custom event referrer and referee (in a double-sided program) are rewarded:
- New loyalty points or gift credits are assigned to the referee's account after s/he performs a custom event.
- Voucherify notes another successful referral and assigns a reward to the referrer (reward redemption).
- If a referee's reward is a discount code, it is applied to the referee's order during the referral code redemption.
*In a single-sided campaign, only the referrer is rewarded (3b).
How to pass custom events to Voucherify?
Each custom event carries information about a customer who performed the action and a referral code. Thanks to the referral code, Voucherify identifies referrers and counts new referrals after the referee triggers the custom event.
To add more information about the event, use metadata. The metadata object stores custom attributes in key/value pairs.
Passing a custom event to Voucherify comes down to invoking track custom event endpoint. You can read more about custom events in this API reference.
If you choose a double-sided campaign, you need to define the referee reward. It can be:
- A discount (amount, percentage, unit, free shipping, fixed price).
- Gift card credits.
- Loyalty points.
If you choose to reward referees with a discount, it'll be assigned to the referral code and applied to the referee's order when redeeming the referral code.
Credits and points
When you reward new customers with points or credits, they will be added to the referee account after a successful conversion event.
First, choose a gift card campaign or a loyalty program from existing campaigns. Next, you can define the number of credits/points added to the customer's gift/loyalty card.
If a customer doesn't have a loyalty card or gift card from chosen campaign assigned to their profile yet, it'll be published to them before adding new points/credits. If a referee already has a gift card or loyalty card from the chosen campaign, credits/points will be added to the already published card.
Below the referee reward, you can add validation rules. They will limit redemptions of referral codes. By default, the Campaign Manager adds a validation rule that limits referral codes redemptions to once per customer per campaign. You can edit default rules to model more advanced scenarios with the customer and order-related attributes. For example, you can set a minimum order amount to redeem the referral code or define what items are required in the cart to redeem the code.
Tier is a level of referral campaign that has its own criteria for rewarding referrers, rewards for referrers, and notifications. Tier settings relate to the referrers. Creating tiers lets you build a multi-level rewarding schema where the number of referred customers and additional rewarding criteria (advanced filters) decide which reward is made available to the referrer.
For example, you can reward a referrer for each successful referral with a 10% discount, and by using the second tier, you can trigger an extra reward for every 5th, 10th, and 15th referred customer.
Creating a tier is a three-step process:
Step 1: Define when referrers are rewarded
You have two options:
- Reward referrer every time Voucherify notes a new successful referral with his/her referral code (custom event or referral code redemption).
- Reward referrer when Voucherify notes a particular number of successful referrals with his/her referral code.
This mode can be extended with Advanced Filters that define additional criteria for referrers. Added filters create a customer segment that the referrer needs to enter to note a successful referral.
For example, on the screen above, you can see that to fulfill the rewarding criteria, the referrers need to meet to following requirements:
- Refer 5 customers.
- Have metadata attribute paid_bill set to true.
Step 2: Add reward(s)
In the second step, you need to build a list of rewards assigned to the referrer when all conditions defined in the first step are met. You can search for existing rewards in the rewards catalog using the magnifying glass. If you didn't prepare referrer rewards beforehand, you can click on the plus and add them on the spot. To learn how to create a rewards catalog, visit this guide.
Before going to the third step, make sure the reward(s) are confirmed and listed in the Tier Rewards Catalog.
Step 3: Compose notifications (optional)
When all rewarding criteria are met, and a reward is assigned to the referrer, Voucherify triggers a message composed in tier notifications. Depending on the chosen channel, messages can get to referrers, external applications, or be delivered via webhooks.
Creating tier notification is a two-step process:
- Select required marketing consents or disable consent verification.
- Choose a channel(s) and design a message template.
Besides tier notifications, you can schedule program notifications sent to referrers and referees. You can create the following types of notifications:
- A message with a referral code to a referrer.
- A message to a referee triggered after a successful referral.
The aim of built-in notifications to referrers is to deliver their referral codes.
To send a message, you need to set up notifications in the Campaign Manager and publish the code to the referrer. Code publication is a trigger that pushes notifications outside Voucherify.
Notifications configured in the Campaign Manager are noted in the Distributions tab in your dashboard. You can read more about available channels and notifications in this guide.
The aim of built-in notifications to referees is to notify them about a successful referral.
Using a built-in editor or connected applications, you can welcome new customers with a personalized message.
Note that all variables related to vouchers will be populated only in referrer notifications.
Metadata in the Campaign Manager is a space for custom attributes you'd like to attach to the referral campaign and referral codes. Later on, you can use these attributes for reporting and tracking purposes.
For example, you can filter out campaigns with the given metadata when listing campaigns using the Qualification API.
Referral links can be managed in two ways. If you use the Voucherify landing page as your signup point, you can generate ready-to-go referral links using the dashboard only. You can learn how to do it in this guide.
However, if you want to direct customers to an external URL (to a custom signup form on your website/application), you need to develop a referral link structure that combines your URL with a referral code variable. With this approach, you need to ensure that the referral code from the link will land in your signup form.
Referral landing pages
Landing pages created in the dashboard are connected to your account out-of-the-box. You can use them to publish and share referral codes and let new customers sign up with a referral code (or referral link).
To publish and share referral codes, use the Enroll in a referral program template. Go here to learn more.
To create a signup form for customers with referral codes (and referral links), use the Successful referral template. Read this guide to learn more.
Referral workflow summary:
- Create referrer rewards (Learn more).
- Create a referral program (Go to the step-by-step tutorial).
- Invite referrers.
- Track conversion events.
- Trigger rewards.
- Monitor performance.
Once you created rewards and a referral campaign, you need to invite referrers by publishing and sending them their referral codes.
How to invite referrers?
Voucherify offers you many ways to reach your referral audience:
- Distribution Manager (email, SMS, push notifications, 3rd party applications).
- Referral notifications triggered by code publication.
- Custom integration with the API.
- Dedicated referral landing pages.
- Web widget on your website.
Regardless of the chosen channel, inviting referrers is a two-step process:
- Publishing referral codes to referrers.
- Sending published codes to referrers.
The Distribution Manager and Landing Pages let you publish and deliver codes at the same time.
Referral codes publication
Before referees can join the workflow, referral codes need to be assigned to referrers via publication. Thanks to the publications, Voucherify recognizes who noted successful referrals and protects codes from fraud. When a referral code is published to a customer, he/she is listed in the Referrers tab in the referral program dashboard.
There are many ways of publishing codes to customers. All the methods are listed in this short guide.
Let's go through all the channels you can use to deliver referral codes to your customers (referrers).
Distributions publish codes and push messages with codes outside Voucherify.
If you want to engage only a particular part of your audience, you can use multi-channel delivery based on customer segments or changes in order status. The Distribution Manager allows you to send referral codes in response to predefined actions like joining a segment, order paid, and many more. As a result, a message with a referral code is triggered automatically by a client-side action. The code is published and sent using channels defined in the distribution setup. The Distribution Manager supports emails, SMS, webhooks, and many built-in integrations.
While designing an email or SMS template, you can use variables populated with customer data to deliver personalized messages alongside referral codes and referral links.
Read more about the Distribution Manager.
You need to publish a referral code to trigger a notification.
Notifications are publication-based distribution triggered by assigning a referral code to a customer.
Codes are sent in a predefined message in response to their publication. It means that when you publish a referral code using the API or a different method, Voucherify will send a message with a published code. Likewise, you can use various channels like email, SMS, webhooks, and more.
Custom integration with Voucherify API
There is a dedicated endpoint in Voucherify API that publishes codes from a campaign. You can integrate your customer touch points with the publication API and perform publications on your website/application. This way, Voucherify provides a backend for publishing referral codes to referrers, leaving the frontend part on your side. It's up to you how your system will store or display the code to a referrer. Nevertheless, the integration ensures that the details of each publication will be noted in your Voucherify dashboard.
You can read more about the integration overview in this guide.
For example, the Distribution Manager lets you deliver webhooks with referral codes to external tools. Once the webhook with the referral code is sent, you can use the attached details to deliver referral codes via external APIs.
There are two types of landing pages useful in referral campaigns. The first type publishes and displays referral codes to end customers (referrers). The second type enables new customers (referees) to sign up with referral codes. Read more.
To publish and share codes with referrers, go to the Landing Pages menu and click on the plus in the top-right corner. Create a new landing page and share its URL with customers.
As a result, customers can visit the link and request a unique referral code by filling out the form. Submitting the form invokes a code publication and shows the code to a new referrer. All publication and customer details are noted in the dashboard.
Landing page and distribution
If you set up the landing page and the publication-based distribution, codes displayed on the landing page will be automatically sent to referrers.
Distributions provide many channels, including email, SMS, webhooks, and built-in integrations.
Read more about web widgets in our Developer Hub.
Track conversion events
When your campaign is live and referral codes are already assigned to referrers, you can track conversions in real-time. Click on the campaign name and scroll down to the Top 5 referrers. The list shows the most active customers and the number of referred clients.
For more details, go to the Customers view and click Find and apply filters.
Using built-in filters, you can list and export customers with a particular number of referred customers. Moreover, filters can be used as criteria for grouping customers into segments.
When exporting customers to a CSV file, you can add a column with the number of referred customers.
You can list referees by going to the campaign dashboard > Referees tab.
If a conversion event is a dedicated custom event, you can export referees using filters in the Customers view. Assuming each referee need to invoke the event at least once, you can list them using the following query:
Voucherify also lets you track each customer individually. Click on a customer's name and go to the Activity tab. Using filters, you can list customer's activities performed within a particular campaign.
Track triggered rewards
When the referrer meets the rewarding criteria, Voucherify triggers the reward redemption. As a result, depending on the scheduled rewards:
- New gift credits or loyalty points are assigned to the referrer's account.
- Or a new discount code is published to a referrer.
To get an overview of all triggered rewards, click on the campaign name and go to the Rewards redemptions tab. The reward state shows if the process of redeeming the reward and assigning it to the referrer is completed.
When it comes to material rewards, you need to manually confirm when you assign a reward and complete rewarding the referrer.
Monitor program performance
Voucherify tracks and updates your campaign metrics in real-time. You can monitor results on many levels including the overall campaign performance and the individual customer activity.
Each published code is automatically assigned to a customer's profile in the Voucherify dashboard. Ultimately, when customers use their codes, redemptions are attached to the unique ID, particular customer, and channel. The Redemptions history in the referral program dashboard lists every redemption attempt. You can also list all activities of a customer within your referral campaign by using the dashboard or API. Go here to learn more about tracking your referral campaign.