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Newsletter referral + Zapier
Newsletter referral + Zapier

In this article, you’ll learn how to connect an email subscriber list with The Newsletter Referral template and using zapier

Fivos Stergiannis avatar
Written by Fivos Stergiannis
Updated over a week ago

In this article, you’ll learn how to connect an email subscriber list with The Newsletter Referral template and build your newsletter referral programs using Zapier.

By connecting your favorite email platform with The Newsletter Referral, via Zapier you can:

  • Build referral programs that run entirely from inside your newsletter emails.

  • Automatically reward your most loyal readers.

  • Generate unique referral links for your subscribers.

  • Use merge tags for personalized email marketing campaigns.

  • Keep your subscriber lists in sync with your referral programs.

Sounds cool right?! is!

BTW, If you don’t have time to read the tutorial, you can always watch the video version:

Now, below are also the detailed instructions:

Firstly, start by creating your newsletter referral program.

  1. Create a Viral Loops campaign using The Newsletter Referral template.

  2. Select any of the available email platforms (it doesn’t matter which) and then click on the “Continue” button.

choose ActiveCampaign platform

  1. Give a name to your campaign.

  2. Set up the number of milestones and the number of successful referrals for each milestone.

  1. Edit and customize your widgets and pages.

Here’s an example of how your “Sharing Page” could look like.

Secondly, add custom contact fields to your email platform.

⚡ This is a critical step. Please don’t skip!

Why do you need custom contact fields in your email platform?

You’ll need those fields for Zapier to pass information from your Viral Loops campaign to your email platform.

If you don’t know how to add custom fields to your email platform, read the documents below:

You can add as many custom fields as you like, but we’re going to stick with only one for this tutorial.

Go to your email platform, and add a field named “Participant Sharing URL.”


Most of the email platforms provide a merge tag for personalization for every field in a contact list. After creating your custom field, make sure to write down its respective merge tag.

Now, let’s connect your email platform with Viral Loops.

Connecting your email platform with your referral program via Zapier

After customizing your Vira Loops campaign, you’ll reach the ‘Finish’ step of the campaign’s wizard.

Copy the ‘Campaign secret API token,’ as shown below:

campaign secret API token

Thirdly, Create your zap

It’s time to create a new Zap in Zapier:

  1. Go to your Zapier account.

  2. Create a new Zap.

  3. Set ‘Viral Loops’ as the trigger app.

  4. Choose ‘New Participant’ as the trigger event.

  5. Connect your Viral Loops campaign with Zapier using the ‘Campaign secret API token.’

  6. Test your trigger.

  7. Set your email platform as the action app.

  8. Choose the desired action on your email platform— most of the time, it’s something like ‘Create or update contact.’

  9. Connect your email platform— Zapier provides instructions for doing it.

  10. Set up the information that Zapier will pass from your Viral Loops campaign to your email platform. These are the proposed fields you need to connect: Email address. First Name.Participant Sharing URL (the custom field you created in your email platform).

  11. Test the action.

  12. If it works, turn on the Zap you just created.

Important tip: If you’re looking to build more personalized experiences, we advise that you add more custom fields like ‘Total Referral count,’ but for those fields to update in real-time, you’ll have to create more Zaps with your Zapier account.

Syncing your list’s existing subscribers with your referral program.

If you want your existing subscribers to get assigned a unique referral URL:

  1. Go to your email platform account, and export your list of subscribers.

  2. Go to your Viral Loops campaign’s dashboard.

Important: If you import your contacts in Viral Loops, Zapier will recognize them as new participants and send the information back to your email platform.

Add a referral program inside your newsletters.

Lastly, embed the newsletter referral inside your newsletter.

It’s time to embed your newsletter referral program inside your newsletters. To do so, you’ll need three things:

  1. Your ‘Sharing Page URL’ from your Viral Loops campaign.

  2. The email address merges tag from your email platform.

  3. The piece of code provided below.

💾 Custom Code:

(Sharing Page URL)?email=(email address merge tag)&autoDetect=1

Replace the ‘(Sharing Page URL)‘ with the link found in the ‘Sharing Page’ in your Viral Loops campaign’s wizard.

[image sharing page step]

Also, replace the ‘(email address merge tag)‘ with the email merge tag provided by your email platform.

Example using ConvertKit:

Since you created this custom link, it’s time to use it inside your email platform.

To add your referral program inside your newsletters:

  1. Create a new campaign on your email platform.

  2. Write the body of your email.

  3. Add a separate section inside your email.

  4. Add a button, and paste the custom link you created earlier.

test broadcast for referrals on ConvertKit

If your email platform doesn’t support buttons, you can have the same results by putting your custom link on an anchor text.

When you send your campaign, everybody that clicks on the attached button will automatically be included in your referral campaign and share their unique URL with their network.

That's it!! You are set to go, congratulations!!

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