Referral programs, webhooks, campaign monitoring - February newsletter

We’re really proud to announce a massive update to Voucherify. Here are a few highlights: 

  • Referral programs
  • Webhooks
  • Campaign performance monitoring
  • Offline coupon tracking with the mobile app
  • Visual code importer
  • Multiple auth keys per project

Also, we’ll soon be releasing a public roadmap. You’ll be able to see where our focus is at any moment and comment or submit your requests. Watch out for our email! Meanwhile, enjoy the read!

Referral programs

We’ve launched a new type of referral campaign in beta. The basic workflow is as follows: 

  • Define what the rewards are for the referrer and the person referred
  • Define when the referrer gets the reward
  • Define the action when the referrer actually gets the reward, so far these are the possibilities: webhook callout, sms (Twilio) or email (coming soon).

We’ve been putting our effort into making reward schemes flexible, e.g. you can now use customer segments to define under what circumstances a reward should be triggered for a referrer. Learn more about creating referral campaigns by going thru our “Refer 10 friends to get a $100 gift card” tutorial.

Webhooks

As mentioned above, we’ve introduced webhooks to expand the integration possibilities of your coupon infrastructure. For now, you can configure the following 2 webhooks:

  • Referral program webhook (described in the first section)
  • Redemption webhook - invoked when a redemption is made. Voucherify lets you select which redemption statuses should trigger the callout. Learn how to configure your endpoint.

Campaign performance monitoring

The new module gives you an overview of all campaigns effectiveness much more quickly than with the use of Vouchers view or fetching data manually with the API.

Offline coupon tracking - Voucherify App

Download the Android or iOS app, log in to your account and voila! - from now on you can verify and redeem both text-based coupons and QR codes right in your store.

Visual code importer

This new wizard will streamline the data import by helping you map data into custom fields.

Multiple auth keys per project

The new update also brings a new extension to the authorization module. Now you can add (and revoke) any multiple access keys you want to share with your partners. It works for both application and client keys.

And much more

  • Vouchers, Redemption, Segment, and Validation rules filters got a new look.
  • You can create “only once per customer” campaigns without the fuss.
  • Customer profile stores more details about your shoppers e.g. coupon redemption history, geolocation, birthday etc. Use them to create even more specific segments.
  • If one of your campaigns is coming to an end and you think it might be a good idea to extend, you’ll be happy to learn about the “Add vouchers to this campaign” feature!

 

We didn’t forget about developers either:

  • Check out the updated SDKs.
  • The logs view has been equipped with a basic audit trail.
  • We added Twilio integration as part of a referral program. An update is coming soon.

Enterprise plan

Finally, we’ve become ready to help you with mission critical projects. Need a custom integration or a better throughput? Get in touch with one of our technical account managers to talk about everything you are interested in:


Rapid experiments in API-first referral marketing

Have you been aching lately to give referral marketing a go? Or maybe you know that your products and services are being recommended, but you’d like to have access to more information about what’s going on and promote them further?

We completely understand. According to research, such as that done by the guys at Hinge as described in their fantastic book “Inside the Buyer’s Brain” (grab it for free upon registration), it quickly becomes apparent that referrals deserve more of your attention. To quote:

“We wanted to understand how buyers go about searching for the help they need. Where do they look when they want to find a new firm? In our research, we heard the same response again and again: More than 70% of buyers ask a friend or colleague for a recommendation.” (emphasis added)

Extole, who are experts in referral marketing, also make it quite clear in their 2015 book “Referral Marketing Best Practices”:

“Referral marketing is one of your most effective options. It's the third channel alongside SEO and SEM, and it reaches people who those channels can’t. Instead of waiting for people to search for your brand, it proactively reaches high-quality potential customers through people they trust: their friends who already know about you.
Referred customers have higher NPS scores than customers who come through other channels, along with high LTVs. They’re also more likely to share referrals themselves, which means a referral marketing creates a self-sustaining flywheel effect.” (emphasis added)

One year on, in their 2016 publication “Referral Marketing Best Practices”, they nail it down with plain and powerful numbers which emerged from the findings of their research:

“Referred customers are:
- 18% less likely to churn
- 25% more profitable
- 20% higher AOV each year
- 25% higher LTV”

What’s more, it’s not like monitoring referrals efficiency is a new phenomenon. Just take a look at this 2012 article from eMarketer, one of the first things you’ll see is this graph:

Referrals. Kicking butt since (at least) 2012.

Referrals. Kicking butt since (at least) 2012.

And if that’s not enough, you don’t need to search far and wide to find examples of successful referral campaigns, top companies run them all the time.

All in all, the message is clear and universal for businesses of all shapes and sizes: referral marketing is one of the most effective marketing techniques. If you’re not running a referral campaign right now, I urge you to run some experiments right away.

In this post, we’ll show you how to achieve great referrals; you’ll see how a simple referral program can be introduced into your environment without overburdening your developers, thanks to an API-first approach to marketing campaign implementation.

Disclaimer: throughout this post, we will be reviewing our own product: Voucherify, as well as its latest referral campaign features.

What should a referral campaign look like and how would you implement it?

A basic referral campaign you might want to start with could be just a simple formula, such as “recommend 10 friends and you both get 25% off the next purchase”.

To do this, you need to put a mechanism in place that will help you identify customers of yours who bring in new customers – the Referrers – as well as those new customers that the Referrers brought in – the Referees. Then, once you have this information, the mechanism needs to provide both groups with 25% discount vouchers.

For this to work, you will need individual referral codes for your existing customers. You send these codes out to your customers and they give them away to their friends, who will then enter the codes upon making a purchase. As soon as you receive an order with one of the codes, you will be able to catch the referral and reward both the Referrer and the Referee as planned.

At this point you may face a dilemma: You’re most likely already running an environment that covers your e-commerce, CRM, and marketing channels - and you’d like to have referrals integrated into it. But on the other hand, it’s hard to justify putting too much development effort into what is basically just an experiment, and this one sounds like it could easily get tricky during development due to multiple integration points.

Thankfully, you can skip the headache using Voucherify; it not only provides you and your team with a way to run a referral experiment quickly but also to do this in a way that is already integrated into your environment, without any development heavy lifting. Here’s how.

Roll up your sleeves and get to work…

To start, Voucherify comes with a nice web GUI that you can use to set up a referral campaign.

Campaign type selection, the first one of a couple of clicks

Campaign type selection, the first one of a couple of clicks

Once you go into Campaigns and add a new “Referral program”, you can specify the details in just a few steps.

First, you define how to reward your Referees. Here, you can choose from the many types of incentives Voucherify works with, such as vouchers, coupons or gift cards. For the sake of this example, we’ll choose a simple 25% discount voucher.

25_percent_off_discount

Next, you get to choose what the codes that you’re going to send out to your referrers will look like. Each of these codes is essentially a bunch of letters and numbers and you can use any mixture of fixed characters here, as well as placeholders for characters that Voucherify will automatically generate for you to distinguish individual codes and achieve the required fine-grained tracking of referrals.

Next, you are given the option to specify under what circumstances your referees are rewarded. For instance, you may want to reward only new customers who place an order for $100 or more – a very handy option if you plan on devising a more nuanced campaign. In this example, however, we’ll skip this step, as we have planned for no such limitations.

Finally, you are given the chance to introduce similar limitations on rewards granted to referrers. You can specify to which customer segment (newly created or previously configured) you’d like to distribute referral codes – and what type of rewards the referrers are to receive in return for their successful referrals. In our example, we chose to distribute the codes to everyone who has attracted 10 new customers, and a 25% discount voucher was the reward offered.

 

All that’s left to do then is… roll it out, with a little help from your developers.

At this point, you are ready to run the campaign. To do this, you’ll need three things:

Firstly, you’ll need your ensure your customer data is present in Voucherify; so that it knows who to distribute the codes to. You can import customer data on your own, using a bog-standard CSV file. Any CRM you are working with can export a list for you in this format which means getting your hands on the data should be hassle-free. The only thing you’ll need to make sure of is that the data contains everything that Voucherify needs to work with. This is easily achievable with the use of Excel, especially as everything you need to do is carefully described in Voucherify docs.

If you have more development time for this, there’s also a convenient API that you can use to reflect your customer data in Voucherify and keep it consistent with your CRM. This approach has the benefit of scale and pays off quickly when you start working with more referral experiments, keeping your total experiment cost low.

Having migrated the customer data, you’ll need to put something into place that will validate the codes upon checkout: a way for your customers to enter a referral code, and then a bit of code that will pass that code on to Voucherify.

Voucherify makes this much easier than it seems, it’s designed for plug and play. For a web-based checkout, it provides a ready-made widget that your devs can embed in no time that will handle all the necessary input and backend interaction and send back a signal when a code is validated. For other channels, there is a well-documented API your devs can work with that makes it just as simple.

This, again, will only have to be done once. All referral campaigns that you run afterwards can reuse the integration that your devs put into place at this point.

Finally, you’ll need to send out the codes. This is specific to the channels that you work with. Voucherify provides a good API for generating the codes and sending them out, e.g. using MailChimp. Some code work will be necessary here, but once again, we’ve made sure to keep it brief for your devs – and, as usual, once you have publishing infrastructure in place, you can reuse it later.

And that’s it! All that’s left to do is sit back, relax, munch on some popcorn and await the results.

Discover how well it works

Ok, so the codes are out. Now you’ll want to know if people are actually using them as well as how many new customers the campaign is generating.

If you fancy carrying out a quick experiment like the one in our example, Voucherify’s got you covered. In addition to the mechanism for collecting referrals, it also provides you with a dashboard that you can use to visualize and analyze them.  All you need to do is go to the “Campaigns” tab, select your referral campaign and check out the redemption history. This will give you a comprehensive view of all customers that have used your referral codes as well as details of their transactions.

monitoring.png

If you’re looking for a speedy means by which to check if your campaign is gaining traction, there’s no need to look any further. Still, should you wish to analyze the data in more detail, you can always make use of the built-in data export functionality which presents you with all the campaign history data and can be used either in Excel or your BI environment.

…and react when it doesn’t

Once you take a closer look at the data, you may find that not all of your referral sources are equal. Regardless of your target group, it is not impossible, or even uncommon, to find sources of poor quality referrals. For example, some users may repeatedly bring in new customers who make low-value purchases just to get a discount voucher.

Clearly, this kind of behavior can significantly harm the efficiency of your campaign but don’t despair! You’re armed with a weapon with which you can fight back.

With Voucherify, you can protect your campaign by blocking customers that you suspect are trying to exploit it. All you need to do is invalidate their referral codes. I’m sure you’ll agree that it doesn’t get any simpler than that.

In summary

In this post, we’ve shown you how to run a basic experiment for a referral campaign. Voucherify will make it easy for you to run it as a one-off, but where it becomes really powerful is for keeping multiple campaigns in sync across promotions and business environments.

The key to unlocking this power is integration with your existing environment of CRM, distribution tools, etc. This is especially important when you are already running a tailored environment that allows you to experiment with marketing campaigns and scale them quickly and cheaply.

Voucherify is designed with an API first mindset, exactly for the purpose of lightweight and seamless integration into such environments. This guarantees that not only will you find it helpful, but also the developers on your team will appreciate the time savings, and those savings will quickly start accumulating into a much lower total cost of running and maintaining referral campaigns.

There’s more!

In the next post, we will continue on the topic of referral campaigns, focusing on the finer details of integration and getting the most out of the API. Make sure to check it out.

Voucherify is, however, not just a tool for referral campaigns. It will do voucher, coupon, and gift card campaigns. It will allow you to reuse the rewards you define, such as coupons or gift cards, across campaigns. And, most importantly, it will give you low-level API-first access to everything it supports, so that you can integrate it into any kind of software environment and support any marketing scenario.  Make sure to check out all the functionality we offer, there’s plenty to choose from.


Building a solid coupon infrastructure

Robert Glazer from Acceleration Partners wrote a stellar article on how to modernize your coupon strategy. He underlines the significance of coupons as part of a digital marketing strategy and shares many invaluable insights about coupon best practices. It’s a must-read for any company that wants to launch coupon campaigns, especially through the network of coupon sites.

In this article, we’d like to decompose his advice and examine how to implement each tip from an IT perspective. Disclaimer: we’re going to use our coupon API in the proposed solutions.

Controlling coupon partners

Robert suggests being cautious when it comes to coupon partners. His advice is to regularly check if they are sticking to the agreed promotion guidelines, e.g. is the deal being displayed in the right place and at the right time. This type of monitoring is probably hard to replace with software, at least with a limited budget. But with Voucherify, you can automate at least some aspects.

(If you’re not familiar with Voucherify yet, I’d suggest reading creating advance coupon campaigns part 1 to properly grasp the idea of how it cleverly automates coupon promotions.)

Voucherify gives you the ability to control your partners in a more detailed and data-driven way.

Firstly, you can create separate coupon campaigns for each partner/marketing channel. In this way, if something good or bad happens to one of the promotions, you’ll be able to figure out the attribution right away. If you need more deals for the same partner, you can create a campaign for each deal and still group them by partner with categories. What you get is a greater level of granularity while still having a clear-cut view on individual partners.

And because each campaign can have different parameters, including discount type, expiration date, or number of possible redemptions, you can launch completely isolated experiments with each of your vendors.

Mapping different marketing channels with separate campaigns is an excellent first step towards building your monitoring infrastructure. Once you know which coupon campaign belongs to which partner/deal, you can closely observe the number of redemptions and ultimately calculate ROI.

Campaign monitoring features also let you disable any coupon with a single click when something goes wrong, e.g. your coupons are misused.

Finally, you can, in fact, make manual checking easier by using the description field; you can store any contract information which your partner has to fulfil, plus, you can paste a link to a deal page so you can check it super quickly.

It’s also worth highlighting that Voucherify can easily work with multiple vendors when it comes to separate redemption gateways. Imagine you’d like to have 3 different checkout pages handled by different vendors. You want to isolate them in a way that vendor A cannot redeem or list coupons that belong to vendor B and vice versa. With Projects and separate API keys you get it all out of the box.

Right oversight in one place

We’ve designed Voucherify in such a way that it shows which coupon campaigns work and which don’t and this is supported by hard numbers. To give you oversight of all our couponing tactics we have equipped your marketing team with:

  • Dashboard - operating on a selected timeframe and showing you several useful charts including total number of redemptions or a list of the most recent redemptions with their status. A nice quick way to get a bird’s eye overview of your deals.
  • Coupon browser -  a powerful viewer to inspect each and every coupon campaign’s performance. Thanks to extensive filtering capabilities you can list and sort coupons by:
    • Discount type,
    • Category,
    • Activity status,
    • Start date,
    • Number of redemptions.

This view also gives you the ability to manage the lifecycle of the coupon, e.g. you can see the details of every coupon code, edit its details, or even disable and delete it at any point in time.

You can learn more about the effectiveness of monitoring coupon campaigns in our articles about Redemptions tracking and calculating coupon ROI and Effortless bulk unique coupon campaigns. 

Coupon compliance monitoring

So, how do you avoid the kinds of non-permissible behavior Robert warns of? Once again, we cannot exclude manual checking completely, but here are a few mechanisms that can help you control coupon compliance with fewer clicks:

  • Failed redemptions monitoring - this section not only groups the failed redemptions, but it also shows the reason for the failure. Imagine that you’re seeing a ‘failed because the coupon has expired’ message time after time. In this case, we may suspect that one of your partners hasn’t updated your deal. What’s more, you can prevent such a situation by allowing your partner to list the up-to-date collection of coupons you want to share with them. This is easily achievable with our API.
  • Redemption limit - you can cap the redemption number when creating a campaign. In this way, you ensure that the promotion won’t kill your stock. You can also use it to increase user engagement by running promotions similar to: “$20 off for the first 200 shoppers with the code ACME2017”.
  • Real-time deactivation - Finally, in cases of fraud, you can disable a particular coupon (or the whole campaign of unique codes), so the customers won’t be able to get any discount when trying to redeem it.

And the good thing is, due to having separate campaigns, you can apply different levels of precaution for different channels.

Investing in relationships

In the next paragraph, Robert recommends creating frequent unique promotions for specific coupon sites. Coupon deal sites highly appreciate exclusive deals and they often reward such promotions with better ad placement. As you may have figured out, offering exclusive deals is available out of the box with Voucherify; it can be achieved in 2 ways:

  • Offering fixed code, public coupons with a prefix indicating a partner e.g. groupon-ACMEPROMO
  • Creating bulk unique coupons that are then pushed out to customers by your partner. This is a more secure option but it might also be trickier to distribute.

Reward scheme

The next question is how to build your reward scheme based on coupons and your marketing goals. Robert proposes a structure consisting of 3 levels: new customer acquisition, awareness, and conversion. Let’s find out how we can model this with Voucherify:

  • Conversion - this is a no-brainer. Just count the number of redemptions.
  • New customer acquisition - this one would require more time if it weren’t for Voucherify’s customer segments. With the built-in ‘new customer’ segment, you can monitor the incoming traffic. You can also build other segments with a plethora of filters.
  • Awareness - in one paragraph, Roberts suggests building a separate landing page for each deal. Along similar lines, we pass coupon codes in the URL so that you can match the pageviews count with a corresponding coupon campaign in Google Analytics or other trackers.

Having all these metrics in place, you can easily structure your commission scheme. Bear in mind that this is just one of many possible ways of performance monitoring. You can monitor more parameters (e.g. cart size) that influence the way you reward your partners. And the API-first approach lets you model even the most demanding scenarios.

Tracking results and incrementality

We hope we have convinced you that running modern coupon campaigns in the way Robert describes can be much easier with Voucherify. Building a solid coupon infrastructure that allows for multiple experiments and detailed ROI monitoring doesn’t require all those developer months anymore.

Wait, there’s more! In the second part of the article, Roberts shows you how to take your promotion tactics to the next level. Voucherify is a perfect fit too. Want to learn how? Watch out for the next post.


Cart size discount offers

Now that we’ve learned how to launch offers for specific customer segments and specific products, we can discover how to run cart-level discounts. Why should we do this? Because it has proved to be an effective upselling incentive, encouraging shoppers to spend more and ultimately to increase your average order size.

Let’s start with what is a cart-level discount in Voucherify? It’s an offer based on the total value of a shopping cart. In particular, Voucherify lets you define a discount based on 2 cart criteria:

  • A total dollar value
  • A total product quantity

Here’s how you can use them.

Dynamic price widget

Before we jump into the discount creator, I’d like to draw your attention to the visual aspect of in cart promotions. Upselling works best if customers immediately see how much they can save. Thus, it’s important to take into account the dynamic price recalculation when designing the coupon redemption process. Voucherify makes it easier by providing a JavaScript widget which visualizes the savings!

What is it and how does it help me? Once integrated into your web checkout page, the widget connects to Voucherify to validate the coupon code provided by a shopper. Not only does it validate the coupon, it also calculates the discounted prices right away.

The important thing is that the coupon validation isn’t equal to the coupon redemption. The customer might validate the code and thus see the new price a number of times before they decide to purchase. The redemption is made when they actually buy something.

You can play around with the voucherify.js widget showcase here.
 

Other benefits of the widget:

  • the layout can be completely redesigned,
  • the validation workflow is super flexible - e.g. you can refresh the price once a customer adds items to an order; no additional button pressing is necessary,
  • works with every discount type supported by Voucherify,
  • It takes care of security by using a separate authentication channel and preventing brute-force attacks,
  • It’s free and open source.

Dollar value promotions

Now let’s get back to cart size deals. To create a dollar value promotion, you need to run the campaign wizard. As you might know from the previous articles, all the limiting parameters can be tuned in the 4th step. In this case, you should tick the Order section and scroll down to the ‘total amount’ field. When you open the drop-down list, you’ll see you can define an amount-based offer with 4 operators:

  • Exactly
  • More than
  • Less than
  • In the range of

Imagine the campaign you’re seeing on the picture above is launched and the coupons have been pushed out to customers. When a customer provides a coupon code on the checkout page, Voucherify’s rule engine checks if the order size (dollar amount) is more than 200. If it’s not true, the coupon won’t be redeemed and Voucherify will respond with a reason why (which should then be translated to your customers).

Product quantity promotions

The quantity campaign works in a similar way. Voucherify won’t allow coupon code redemption unless there is a given number of items in the order. One thing worth mentioning here, though is it rarely makes sense to base the discount on the number of order items in general. You’d rather have a value-based offer that targets a particular product. This is possible with Voucherify by combining multiple criteria; you’ve probably noticed this already when we showed you product specific campaigns. See the example below:

New rules = new possibilities

With cart-level rules, you can tap into new effective incentives that might improve your up- and cross-selling tactics, for example:

  • Buy one get one free
  • Buy X get Y
  • Product bundles
  • Spend over X and get free shipping
  • And more.

If you’re not sure how to model your discount campaign, drop us a line using live chat and we’ll schedule a free demo to show you the many possibilities.

See other articles in the creating advanced coupon campaigns series.


3 easy to implement tips for better blog analytics

Recently, we decided to approach our blog analytics in a more data-driven manner. We’ve sure been using Google Analytics to measure page views for a long time, and yet we suspected there’s still room for improvement. After digging for a while on the web we soon realized that with a little effort, we can step up a gear. Here are the 3 straightforward things that streamlined our blog analytics. 

Enable SPAM filters

Nowadays, referral spam is becoming more and more of a serious problem, doing needless damage to your statistics. In our case, it accounted for 20% of the traffic and that’s a magnitude that is hard to ignore. Insights that you take from such corrupted data will probably lead to counterproductive blog tactics. 

How to find out if you’re affected? If you see things like ‘see-your-website-here.com’ or more cleverly disguised versions like ‘Lifehacкer.com’ (notice ‘к’ instead of ‘k’) in the referral section, you have a problem. 

To fight against this, you can add filters that cut the unwanted traffic out. This is not a perfect solution, though. Spammers are coming up with new spam vectors, so you should update your filter list all the time.

Fortunately, the guys from Stijlbreuk have released a free tool - https://referrerspamblocker.com, which can help you out; within just a couple of minutes, it automatically adds over 400 spam filters. This is done only for the view you select, so you can be sure they don’t cut out more than is necessary.

The automation comes at a small price, though - you need to authorize the application to access your GA account. Here’s how it works:

(Hint: you should create a new view for any filters so that you always have an unfiltered base to compare to.)

 

Once applied, you should stop seeing the majority of spammers. But we’re not quite there yet: you should also filter language spam out, see this video tutorial: 

 

And… the ghost referral spam too: 

https://megalytic.com/blog/how-to-filter-out-fake-referrals-and-other-google-analytics-spam

Filter yours and your team’s visits out

This might be a bit of a problem, especially when you’re starting off and your blog doesn’t have that many visitors. To do so, you can again leverage the power of filters. You can start with an IP filter but this can sometimes not be enough for some reason. Read Jon’s article to learn more ways about how to cope with the internal traffic. 

Figure out what works

In fact, defining the key success metrics for your blog is your primary task and should be one of the first steps when creating a content strategy. Unfortunately, that’s a tricky one as there’s no silver bullet answer here. It always depends on your business goals and the development stage of your company. However, there’s a couple of supporting metrics that should be helpful for any type of blog.

  • Top posts (pageviews) and top referrers / UTMs - to get a general overview of what kind of posts to spend time on and to learn what promotion channels work best for you.  
  • Conversions - which posts generated the most signups for your product (tracking pixel necessary, here’s the tutorial)
  • Newsletter conversions - which posts generated the most signups for your newsletter (same as above with minor changes)
  • Landing page conversions - how many readers went from a post to a particular landing page. This one can be measured by setting a custom goal in the admin panel. In the picture below, we create a goal for the post to home page flow. When applied, you can see the number of goal completions in the last column of the Behavior -> Site Content -> Landing Pages view.
  • Finding high traffic - high bounce rate and high traffic - low conversion posts - This should allow you to turn on necessary remedial actions. Here’s a nice matrix from Hiten that suggests what to improve depending on the data you’re observing.
  • Finding the posts with the highest returning visitors ratio - this metric lets you understand which topics yield the best engagement and, perhaps, which features you should iterate on.

Hint: you can create an additional view that includes only blog-related traffic. To do so: 

  1. Create a new view
  2. Configure a filter similarly to the one you can see below
  3. Apply the filter to the blog view from the 1st point 

What’s your tip?

That’s it. We hope you find these basic tweaks helpful. If you know any similar low-hanging fruit for helping to get better insights from blog data, don’t hesitate to share it in the comments below.