How to Create a Successful Referral Program with MailChimp?

Whether it’s to draw attention to your referral program or show gratitude for a purchase, emails set the point of contact between businesses and customers, paving the way for long-term relationships. The best part! It’s all automated.

Abdul Wahab

Abdul Wahab

· 7 min read
How to Create a Successful Referral Program with MailChimp?

Even though the race for dominance in markets gets competitive with each passing year, it’s not to say that businesses lack the infrastructure to compete against others. Compared to the start of the century, marketers are in a better position to reach and impact mass audiences in their favor.

Social media is booming, referral marketing is getting mainstream, and email marketing - which many regarded as obsolete - remains one of the most effective ways to engage with an audience.

Whether it’s to draw attention to your referral program or show gratitude for a purchase, emails set the point of contact between businesses and customers, paving the way for long-term relationships. The best part! It’s all automated.

With MailChimp, you don’t need to dedicate entire sales teams to curate and send your referral messages. The platform automates your email marketing campaigns from drafting catchy emails to dispatching them according to a set schedule so you can task your workforce on what needs doing. Find out how MailChimp can play a pivotal role in gearing your referral campaign to success.

What is MailChimp?

MailChimp is a popular email marketing and automation platform that has been enabling businesses to set up and manage their email campaigns since 2001. The platform is perfectly suited to help businesses create and send targeted emails to their existing subscribers and build lasting customer relationships.

MailChimp website homepage.
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For businesses running referral marketing campaigns, MailChimp automates day-to-day operations like sending referral invitations, reminders, and updates to your existing customer base or email list.

How a MailChimp Referral Program Works?

With most components of a referral campaign going automated, if you’re still relying on human interference to draw customers you need to update.

Every business fundamentally relies on two assets: a loyal customer base and a robust communication platform like MailChimp designed to help promote its offerings. Once you set up a referral program with Prefinery, your existing customers become your prime prospects for referrals.

MailChimp referral program's webpage on Prefinery
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To turn them into loyal advocates, all you need is to run a timely, systematic email campaign that presents your referral offer at proper intervals. MailChimp makes it so you can build up pre-launch hype for your program, prepare your audience in advance, and send them reminder emails on the launch day.

Put in some more effort to sync your Prefinery program with MailChimp, to set up an even simpler signup process for your existing customers.

Customers who are currently added to your email list won’t be required to manually insert their emails on the landing page while registering as an advocate. Not to mention, you can easily access or monitor the performance of your program in encouraging customers to your side.

Benefits of Connecting Your Referral Program with MailChimp

MailChimp is a robust email marketing platform, teeming with benefits for startups and businesses aiming to leverage positive word of mouth from their existing customers. Here’s how connecting your program with MailChimp can assist your business:

  • Manage Email List: To kickstart your referral program, you can leverage your existing email subscriber base by syncing it with MailChimp to gather new prospects.
  • Curate Impressive Email Campaigns: With MailChimp's intuitive email campaign builder, you can design referral emails that are visually appealing and on-brand.
  • Automate Email Campaign Automation is a key feature of MailChimp that can streamline and enhance your marketing efforts that can be triggered at specific instances.
  • Personalize Emails: Despite a massive collection of email templates, MailChimp allows customization to tailor each email to your business objectives.

How to Create a Referral Marketing Program with MailChimp?

Leveraging MailChimp to set up, promote, and manage your program can significantly boost your referral rate, as long as you follow the right steps. Here’s how you can set up a referral marketing program with MailChimp:

  • Outline Goals and Incentives: Before you begin, clarify your objectives. Identify what you want to achieve with the program and determine your incentives accordingly. If you want to acquire and retain customers, introduce tiered rewards to keep referrers aboard.
  • Create a MailChimp Account: If you’re not already familiar with MailChimp, sign up for an account. Make sure you have an email list ready of customers who have subscribed to your newsletter.
  • Design Promotion Materials: Redefine your outlook ahead of the program launch. Stop relying on the website homepage, rather create a dedicated referral landing page. Use eye-catching graphics to call to attention (signing up for your program.)
  • Integrate MailChimp with Your Landing Page: For seamless operations, your landing page must be integrated with MailChimp to capture participant email addresses right away without having to manually insert them on the MailChimp dashboard.
  • Craft compelling Referral Emails: Emails are your first line of contact with your customers. Craft emails that prompt prospects to click them open and educate them about your program structure in a way that propels them to take action.
  • Set Up Automation: With MailChimp, you can set up automated email sequences to promote your program through welcome emails, referral invitations, and regular reminders to raise awareness.
  • Monitor and Optimize: Track metrics like referral click-through rates, conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI) through a live dashboard that integrates your referral software and MailChimp.

Recruit Your MailChimp Subscribers as Advocates

Before you start targeting fresh leads, consider recruiting your brand advocates from your email subscriber base already registered with MailChimp.

Review your MailChimp report to shortlist subscribers who are highly engaged with your emails, frequently open them, click on embedded links, and even make purchases. These individuals are ideal candidates to become your brand ambassadors.

Segment potential advocates from the list and tailor your communication specific to this group. Draft a compelling narrative around your campaign and use MailChimp to send personalized invitations highlighting the benefits for referrers, early access to products, and brand recognition, enticing customers to participate.

Develop exclusive content for your top performers including behind-the-scenes updates and sneak peeks of upcoming products to make them feel valued.

How to Track Referrals in MailChimp?

The potential of word-of-mouth marketing has magnified in recent years thanks to organic lead generation and revenue growth. However, it’s important to monitor your performance to ensure your strategy is on the right track. MailChimp clients usually track new referrals by following one of the two methods:

Ask existing customers to refer their social contacts, and then employ the campaign’s reporting tools to check how many people joined through the referral link.

Assign unique referral links for each person participating in your program, and then insert a query string for each referral link. By tracking the number of clicks made on each link, marketers can determine how effective a referral campaign is.

Prefinery & MailChimp Integrations: Automate Your Referral Campaign

It takes weeks and even months to manually design and set up a referral campaign - a luxury most SaaS and eCommerce startups cannot afford.

Instead of draining valuable human and capital resources on crafting a referral strategy, businesses rely on referral software like Prefinery to automate operations. Whether you want to set up pre-launch waiting lists or post-launch referral campaigns, Prefinery will continue to get you more leads on autopilot.

Streamline management enables marketers to direct their efforts on more important tasks. Nevertheless, a partnership with a reliable email marketing platform is important to accomplish that, and the following integration tools will help you establish that.


Prefinery's integration with MailChimp via Zapier.
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Zapier is an online automation tool that allows you to connect apps and services to automate and streamline workflows between them. It uses a "trigger-action" system, where an event in one app (the trigger) can automatically cause an action in another app.

Zapier features several supported triggers & actions, allowing marketers to pick and choose a trigger and its relative action based on the overall campaign objectives. Learn more about Prefinery + MailChimp integration through Zapier.

Zapier’s supported triggers and actions for Prefinery users.
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If you're using Prefinery to manage waitlists or beta tests for your campaign, Zapier can automate the process of updating your MailChimp email lists. For instance, when someone joins your waitlist or gains access to your launch event, Zapier can automatically add or update their information in your MailChimp list.

Pabbly Connect

Pabbly Connect is an online integration platform that connects multiple web applications together allowing marketers to streamline workflows between them. As a Prefinery user, Pabbly connection lets integrate with MailChimp in three simple steps.

Step 1: Click on the Create Workflow button on your dashboard.

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Step 2: Select applications you wish to integrate together.

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Step 3: Activate the workflow automation node, and you’re good to go.

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You can direct Pabbly Connect to send email notifications through MailChimp based on specific triggers in Prefinery. For example, when a user submits a certain number of referrals in your program, an automated email can be sent through MailChimp to congratulate them and provide further instructions or rewards.

Closing Note

Despite the growing reliance on other channels, email marketing is still alive and kicking as the most effective communication channel between businesses and customers.

As a Prefinery user, promoting your referral program via MailChimp can significantly your conversion rate, customer lifetime value, and a higher return on investment. The key is to find the right integration tool to streamline all referral workflow and supervise incoming referrals at all times.


How can I automate my referral program in MailChimp?

MailChimp offers various automation features to streamline referral marketing. You can set up automated email sequences, including welcome emails, referral invitations, email reminders, and reward notifications after a successful referral.

What types of incentives work best for a referral program in MailChimp?

While it depends on the genre of business you’re running but most common referral incentives include discounts, free products, and credit rewards. Whatever you offer, make sure it sparks the audience’s interest and compels them to participate in your program.

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