How To Setup And Manage A Referral Program

If you are planning to launch a referral marketing campaign in your website, you’ll need referral software. These softwares takes the grunt work away from having a referral campaign. Instead of having you manually list all of your affiliates and reward them for every referral they bring (like what most multi-level marketers do), you get to sign up affiliates, give them a referral ID and reward them on auto.

How can you do this? You can do it with referral software. However, you should not buy the first software that you find.

After all, each software has their pros and cons. Today, I will show you how to buy the right referral marketing software for your website.

How to Buy the Best Referral Software

Every referral marketing software is different. But more than anything, you should look for the following features.

Automatic Signups

You’ll need a platform where your affiliates can sign up and this must be done automatically. You don’t want to gather subscribers only to manually encode them as affiliates. That will just take too much time. Instead, you need a referral software that has manual encoding as well as automatic signups. This way, prospects are immediately sign up as affiliates.

Exclusive Affiliate Dashboard

Aside from an automatic signup system, your affiliates also need an exclusive affiliate dashboard. This is where they can retrieve your creatives or promotion materials. Aside from this, this is also the place where they can get their unique tracking ID along with tracking their referrals and sales.

So go for a referral software that offers an exclusive dashboard to your affiliates.

Discount Code Implementation

Referral campaigns work because of rewards. Since your customers will get a reward for referring people into your website, they are much more compelled to promote your brand to other people. However, this can only be done if there is a certain mechanism in the referral software that allows it.

Take the discount code implementation for instance. With this feature, you can easily give away discount codes in exchange for referrals. Since this is built inside the software, you can also use it for other options.

You can reward new subscribers or give away exclusive discount codes for certain people.

PRO TIP: Did you know that you can use discount codes to get influencers to promote you? As long as you provide a product or service that they are primarily interested in, you can provide a discount code in their name and ask them to promote it. It is that easy.

Why will this encourage them to promote you? Well, they’ll do it for two things. First, they’ll do it because they authentically like your product. Second, they may do it because the code has their name on it. That’s an extra ego boost for them and their brand.

Must Support Contests

What’s the quickest way to get more traffic into your website? One method is to host a contest. Contests are effective because they generate more than traffic, they generate word-of-mouth promotions.

Take a simple iPhone X contest for example. On the surface, it may look like an ordinary contest. But look closely and you’ll find that it works simply because a lot of people promote it.

How do contests generate word-of-mouth marketing? It’s simple. They simply integrate the actions into their mechanics. They have the freedom to set the requirements for the qualifications of the contestants after all.

So if they like more comments or views, they just ask the prospects to do that. And the rest is history. This is the reason why contest support is very important in referral marketing software.

You need a software that allows you to host a referral marketing campaign. But you also need the freedom to tailor that campaign into a contest if you need to. With contest support, you’ll be able to do this and more.

Who knows? With the right idea, you may get thousands of new prospects overnight.

Gives You a Customizable Funnel

Referral softwares are quite helpful. They help you in managing all of your affiliate signups and helps you to automatically pay them based on their performance. But they can be quite irritating when all your software does is churn out the same affiliate page for everyone that is using it. Certainly, you don’t want your site to go into Google oblivion just because of duplicate content.

With this need, you’ll need a highly customizable funnel. Not only will you need the freedom to set your rewards and alter the content of the funnel. You need to be able to alter the entire page itself.

And this doesn’t only apply to the affiliate signup page. All pages must be customizable including your Thank You page. The general idea is to choose referral software that has this feature.

It is not just for duplicate content. It can do a lot for your brand as well. With customized pages, your funnel will not look like your competitor’s. Instead, your funnel will be uniquely yours.

Tons of Reward Options

There are different types of rewards that you can give away in a referral campaign. This can range from cash, discount codes, free items and others. However, you will only be able to do this if there are enough reward options. So be sure to check the available reward options before buying a referral software.

Different Rewards for Different Items

Also, it is not just the type of reward that is important. You also need to check where the reward applies. If it applies to all items, then that is not attractive.

Think about it. If you have implemented a 20% reward, all items regardless of their price will immediately have this. With this, you need an option where you can set different rewards for different items.

This way, you’ll be able to adjust the percentages or amounts of money accordingly.

Multi-Level Option

With most referral campaigns, recruitment of referrals is usually done in one level. This is when the referrer recruits the referral. But what if the referral recruits more referrals? Will that be counted?

It can be counted if the referral software offers multi-level support. It operates similar to a multi-level marketing company. Each signup is counted as a downline.

People in the upper levels earn from those on the lower levels. Why is this attractive? Well, it gives a greater reward than the immediate reward that your affiliate will get for referring someone.

With this, they will be more encouraged to recruit more people. This is because the more the recruit, the more chances they have to earn.

Email Marketing Option

Why does email marketing continue to perform well regardless of all the new marketing methods that came out? This because of the personal element in emails. While there are now advertisement emails, email continues to be a very personal medium.

It feels as if someone is personally sending you updates on a particular brand. With this, you’ll need referral software that has this option. With this, you no longer need to integrate another autoresponder into your system.

You just need to activate the email marketing option and you can easily send updates to all of your referrals and affiliates. Email marketing is the only marketing method on the Internet that generates revenue overnight. If you have enough targeted people in your list, you can expect to make thousands of dollars from a single email.

Of course, this can only happen if you have properly nurtured your relationship with your subscribers. So look for an email marketing option in your referral software. You don’t want to miss out on this money making opportunity.

Social Sharing Option

Similarly, social media engagement is on the rise. Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest and Instagram have millions of users all over the world. Some businesses have thrived in using these media alone.

In fact, some business owners claim that they would not have earned the money that they have now if not for social media. Also, you need a system that can help you promote your referral campaign online. Having a referral campaign is not enough. You need to know how to promote it.

Else, it will just be an empty campaign without any referrals. With this, you’ll need referral software with a social sharing option. You need this so that you can easily share your contest or campaign online.

And it doesn’t stop there. You should also be able to share it into your social media pages. This way, you can just boost the post and promote your campaigns through paid advertising.

API Access

Sometimes, you’ll want to customize a software to your liking. This is not surprising. While there are softwares that has the functionalities that meet your needs, they just don’t fit your website like a glove.

With this, you’ll need a coder who can tweak the referral software to reflect your needs. But you can only do this if the software allows API access. This means that you can retrieve the code to have it altered by the developer.

If this is something that you are interested in, be sure to check if API access is activated before you buy any referral software.

Risk Free Trial

I have a secret. I hate softwares that don’t have free trials. It’s one of my pet peeves.

I hate it when I cannot see how the software works before I buy it. With this, I always go for softwares that have risk free trials. Note that I included the word ‘risk free’.

This means that I don’t like trials that ask for my credit card number or my PayPal email. It is just way too risky especially if I don’t like the software in the first place. For this, you should look at two things.

You should look for a trial that allows you to download a limited version of the referral software without asking for your payment details. Then, you should also look for an online demo where you can test drive the software without the need for signups or payment. Only in doing this can you decide if the software is right for you.

Affordable Price

You may have found the perfect software. But if you cannot afford it, it is all in vain. With this, you should make it a habit to check the prices of your referral softwares before you check anything.

From here, you can decide if the software is right for you.What price range should you choose? The answer to this question depends on your budget.

Ideally, you’ll want to stretch your money and get more features for every buck you spend. But that may not always be ideal considering the limits that softwares impose on their plans. So check the price but also check the plan. Be sure that the features and limits work for you before you buy.

Reliable Customer Service

Also, make it a habit to read customer feedback. You’ll need more than the testimonials posted in the website of the company. You also need to look at independent websites such as Facebook, Yelp and Google plus to have an accurate picture of how the company serves its customers.

Ideally, you’ll need a company that doesn’t desert their customers after the sale. You need them to be there for you especially in the installation of the software. Remember that you are buying a software.

You’ll often need assistance to make it work. So you need a company that is willing to work with you in that area.


Lastly, you’ll need a software that has multiple integrations. More than the amount of integrations, you should look at the softwares that you are already working with. Have a rundown of all the softwares that you are using.

List your payment software, your shopping cart and your content management system. From here, look for a referral software that is already compatible with the softwares that you are using. So that’s my list of features that you should look for when buying a referral software. Hope it helps. Also, checkout what we have about the best shopify courses.

5 Response to "How To Setup And Manage A Referral Program"

  1. Comment From Shelby Montes

    Not everyone knows how important and effective referral software are. They should read this to understand it more.

  2. Comment From Dylan Furtsburg

    Really great article, this one is worth sharing because it’s easy to read but offers a lot.

  3. Comment From Gylian Henders

    I want to understand API Access more, I wish you make an article about it.

  4. Comment From Joey Krook

    I don’t know why people think referral software is a scam. They should read this indeed!

  5. Comment From Loraine Colby

    I’m so thankful for my referral software! It really does work wonders.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *