Happy customers can be some of your best advocates to bring in new customers. In a previous blog post, we looked at referral processes you can use to contact your customers’ friends and family. In this post, I’m going to show you a simple form that allows customers to refer their friends but also provides you with options for handling their future contact, segmentation and reporting.

Note: Please keep in mind that you must adhere to any email marketing or privacy regulations that apply to where your company is based and the location of your recipients. For example, CASL has specific requirements for referral programs. And referrals may work if you are using Legitimate Interest under GDPR, but would not work if you are using Consent as your legal basis. As always, you should consult with your in-house legal advisor prior to implementing the suggestions shown here. The content covered in this blog post is intended for ClickDimensions customers who utilize our opt-out subscription management method.

Items Needed

Custom fields on the contact/lead entity, campaign field (such as Source Campaign) also on the contact/lead entity, a static marketing list and a ClickDimensions form.

Prepping the Lead/Contact Entity

First, you will want to determine which entity your referrals should be created as. For today’s example, I’m using leads because leads are the more transient of the two entities. But if you primarily use leads for marketing or recordkeeping and don’t use contacts as much, you may wish to use contacts here. It’s up to you and how you wish to keep your recipients organized.

Since we are using leads, we are going to add some custom fields to the lead entity to record the information of the person who referred the friend. These will be simple text fields that you can add anywhere.

The bottom two fields are for retaining the name and email of the individual who referred their friend to us. We will use that information later on.

The Source Campaign field at the top already existed in my environment so I decided to leverage it here since it works in tandem with the CRM campaign entity. Of course, you can opt to not associate what we’re doing with a campaign or use a custom field to do so.

Note: These fields do not need to be on the contact entity unless you intend to map your form to there as well.

Creating the Form

Now that our entity is ready, we can create our form. It’s going to be split into two main sections with the first section containing the fields for the friend’s information. The second section holds the fields for the referrer’s information.

All four of these fields are required because we need to make sure we can contact the correct friend but also record and be able to share with that friend who referred them. Remember, as communication regulations change globally, we need to do our due diligence to correctly record incoming leads and contacts.

Each field will be mapped to its corresponding field on the lead record – including those fields we created earlier.

You will also notice that I placed a hidden field at the bottom. This field updates the Source Campaign field on the lead record with the Friend Referral campaign I set up in CRM. This allows us to associate the leads as originating from a referral. You may find this helpful for tracking the referrals, running reports and more.

With our form set up, we are technically ready to share it in our emails, social media or other communications to allow contacts to refer their friends. However, if you would like some additional steps you can take with this for further nurturing or tracking, keep reading.

Optional Setup

Nurturing these leads is helpful for a few reasons. First, you can contact them to see if they are interested in opting in to your emails—that is really important, as we have discussed before. Second, you can include nurturing steps that help you keep track of these individuals. This is very useful for when you need to clean your lists or suppress all referrals who haven’t opted in.

Below is an example of a campaign automation that can help with both of the above nurturing goals.

What happens is that as soon as the form is submitted, the lead is added to a marketing list designated for just friend referrals. This list runs on the lead entity only as we are classifying new visitors (unknown email addresses) as leads. Doing so allows for any contacts already in your system to just bypass this step as they can’t be added to a lead marketing list.

After this step, the participant reaches a decision node which checks for whether this is a brand-new lead or an existing lead or contact.

Note: You can learn more in this blog post about the logic behind this type of decision node setup.

Once a participant has been verified as a new lead by this decision node, we will send them an email.

The email will let the friend know who referred them and how they can opt in or out of our emails. Based on whether they opt in, the participants can then be added to our regular marketing list(s). For opt outs, you can leave them on the friend referral marketing list and use that as a suppression list on email sends in order to keep those individuals from accidentally being sent mail they don’t wish to receive.

See it in action

So, if Diana wants to refer her friend Steve to us, she could fill out the form.

Steve’s lead record is then created with the information that we mapped from the form.

Now when he receives the email, he is able to see who referred him and how he can opt out, if he so chooses.

You will also notice that there are two places where Steve can opt out. The first link leads to a subscription page that allows for personalizing his list preferences, the second is a global unsubscribe should he decide that he doesn’t want any of our emails. Having both options available is a best practice in email marketing but also a requirement under some laws. You don’t want to have your referrals immediately added to active, ongoing email campaigns.

Tip: This email is a great place to include a link to your archived emails.

At this point in the campaign automation, Steve will take one of two different paths. If he does not submit the subscription page linked to in the above email, then he will remain on the Forward to a Friend marketing list and we will suppress him from future sends. This is the negative path in our campaign automation.

Or, if he does subscribe to any of our newsletters on the subscription page, we will add him to the appropriate marketing list and remove him from the Forward to a Friend list. This is the positive path in our campaign automation.

Once you have this (or a similar process) set up, you’re ready to engage with and track your referrals.

Happy Marketing!