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Referral Programs Starter Guide

  • How to grow your business with highly-converting referral program?
  • What limits to use and how to build an effective referral flow?
  • See the best practices and examples of refer-a-friend programs done the right way.
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How to Create a Referral Program with Klaviyo?
Anna Dawal
Anna Dawal
September 18, 2023
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How to Create a Referral Program with Klaviyo?

Referrals can be a game-changer for your business, but creating a successful referral program requires careful planning and effective communication

Modern customers count on a personalized approach to engage with brands, and with Klaviyo and Voucherify as your allies, you will discover how to tailor your referral program to meet these expectations and enjoy much higher referral rates.

In this blog post, I will show you how to leverage Voucherify and Klaviyo to build an omnichannel referral program.

{{Referral Programs Starter Guide}}

How to use Klaviyo for referrals?

Klaviyo helps brands collect and use customer data to send targeted and effective messages, helping them better engage with their audience. 

Klaviyo offers plenty of features to supercharge a referral campaign:

1. Email campaigns

Craft personalized referral emails that go beyond just using the recipient's name. For instance, reference their recent purchases, highlight products they've shown interest in, and suggest friends who might also like those products based on their browsing history.

Klaviyo dashboard: Personalize you email messages so they match your referral campaign goals

2. List segmentation

Segment your email list to target customers who have not referred anyone yet. Send them a reminder email with an incentive, for example, a discount code, to encourage them to share your brand with friends.

Klaviyo dashboard: Customize the recipient list of your referral campaign emails

3. Workflow automation

Set up an automated workflow that triggers a referral email to be sent immediately after a customer successfully refers a friend. This referral email can include a personalized thank-you message for the referral, details about the reward they've earned, and clear instructions on how to redeem or share their unique referral code with additional friends.

4. A/B testing

Improve distribution with tests for subject lines, content, and timing. For example, test "Refer a Friend and Get Rewarded!" against "Share the Love: Refer Friends for Exclusive Discounts" and see what gives you the best results.

5. Multi-channel support

Enable SMS marketing alongside email for your referral program. For example, send a brief SMS notification immediately after a successful referral, informing the customer about their earned reward.

Klaviyo dashboard: Create a referral campaign with SMS notifications

6. Analytics

Use detailed performance data to track which referral emails drive the most engagement. For example, analyze open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates to identify the most effective email content and timing.

Klaviyo dashboard: Analytic metrics that can be used for referral program campaigns

Why use Voucherify and Klaviyo for referral programs?

Klaviyo is a customer engagement platform, and while it can be a valuable tool for certain aspects of running a referral program, it does not provide all the features needed to carry out a referral campaign on its own.

Here are some limitations of referral programs on the part of Klaviyo’s referral plugins:

  1. Klaviyo's plugins do not extensively support custom event triggers for referral program interactions, making it difficult to track and validate specific referral actions.
  2. As referral programs grow, Klaviyo's connectors may not be able to handle large amounts of referral-related data.
  3. Implementing tiered referral rewards based on specific criteria can be challenging with Klaviyo's plugins.
  4. Some of Klaviyo's plugins lack advanced personalization options, like generating unique, one-time-use coupon codes for rewards, which could result in a less personalized experience for advocates and invited friends.

But do not worry – while Klaviyo is a versatile platform for email marketing, it just needs a little help when it comes to running engaging refer-a-friend campaigns: here enters Voucherify with all its referral features.

1. Custom event triggers

Voucherify allows for custom referral triggers – for instance, a referred friend has to complete a user profile or make the first order worth more than $60 for the referral to be marked as successful.

Voucherify dashboard: Choosing conversion event while establishing a Klaviyo referral program

 2. Scalability at its finest

Voucherify, through its robust APIs, enables efficient data synchronization and workflow management with other systems, for example, CDP platforms, which are invaluable for effective customer data management.

Voucherify's APIs provide a means to significantly reduce development time and integrate your referral program into different stages of the user journey. This includes sharing referral codes with advocates after purchases or within specific app views.

Moreover, these APIs facilitate efficient data synchronization and workflow management with other systems, such as CDP platforms, to enhance the management of customer data.

3. Conditional reward rules

Voucherify allows full control over when referral rewards are granted. You can create rules based on specific criteria, for example: 

  • Minimum purchase amounts (e.g., $20).
  • Product restrictions (e.g., product X is excluded from the referral offer).
  • Audience (e.g., only loyalty members can become advocates).
  • Or time-based conditions (e.g., the referral code is only valid between X and Y days). 
Voucherify dashboard: Referral campaign validation rules set-up

4. Referral levels

Voucherify succeeds at managing varying award levels in your referral campaign, depending on the engagement level of your advocates. 

For example, you can set it up so that if a customer refers one friend, they receive a $10 discount, but if they refer three friends, they earn a substantial $50 discount for successful referrals.

Voucherify dashboard: Create referral tiers

These features are accessible through APIs, providing precise control over reward management processes and reducing technical aspects of managing multiple reward scenarios.

Why choose API-first architecture?

Voucherify and Klaviyo both offer granular APIs – this approach streamlines integration efforts, ensuring that both platforms work together properly. With an API-first connection, data can flow between Voucherify referral APIs and Klaviyo's email APIs to orchestrate the complete refer-a-friend campaign with just two platforms.

While we provide a ready-made Klaviyo plugin, this API flexibility allows you to create customized, more advanced referral scenarios, for example:

  • Referral link shares.
  • Referral progress messages.
  • Referral shares reminders.
  • Referral completed ‘thank you’ emails.
  • Referral redemption created notifications.

How to connect Voucherify and Klaviyo for successful referral distribution?

To create a referral program with email distribution, you need to connect Voucherify and Klaviyo via API.

This connection enables data transfer, enabling Klaviyo to send personalized messages to potential advocates and invited friends containing essential referral information, like unique referral codes and referral rewards managed by Voucherify.

Once you have connected the two platforms via the API, select Klaviyo as your distribution channel when configuring referral tiers within the Voucherify referral campaign.

For the integration to work properly, you need to map Voucherify fields to Klaviyo – for instance, set the name of the referral code to "referral_klaviyo." This is how the property will be named in Klaviyo.

Voucherify dashboard: Use Klaviyo as referral distribution channel

Learn more: Create a Referral Program

Upon assigning a referral code to a customer, observe how this information automatically transfers to Klaviyo.

Remember: For that to happen, the Customer ID and External ID should be the same.

When viewing customer details in Klaviyo, you will also find the referral code readily available.

Klaviyo dashboard – field mapping example

Learn more: Set up Klaviyo Integration with Voucherify

Importantly, you do not have to send referral codes to your customers only in the alphanumeric form, as Voucherify also automatically generates QR and barcodes with every referral code created. 

Voucherify dashboard: QR and barcode automatically generated for every referral code

You can send the codes via email and if your referral program is to work offline as well, the referred friend can simply scan the code at checkout while visiting the brick-and-mortar store.

The depicted data flow above enables the distribution of referral codes to potential advocates through personalized email campaigns managed by Klaviyo. 

Remember: This is only an exemplary setup, and after connecting Voucherify and Klaviyo, you can customize the type of information sent to Klaviyo, allowing for a fully customized distribution of various referral details.

In the same way, as presented above, you can also support Klaviyo distribution for your referral rewards defined in Voucherify, for example, discount codes. 

How Munhowen integrated Voucherify and Klaviyo?

Munhowen, the largest beverage wholesaler in Luxembourg, leverages Klaviyo and Voucherify integration to run promo campaigns. They use the integration to share promo codes via Klaviyo emails.

Munhowen integrated Klaviyo with Voucherify through custom middleware and webhooks, allowing them to send promo codes and other information accessible via Voucherify APIs, such as loyalty card id, loyalty status, or points balance.

Le Club Drinx Munhoven: Tiered loyalty program email distribution feature by Klaviyo can also be used for referral campaigns




In today's competitive ecommerce business landscape, a well-structured referral program can be your key to long-term success. By leveraging referrals, you can expand your customer base and boost brand credibility. 

Integrating Klaviyo's marketing automation with Voucherify's referral software streamlines the development process due to API-first architecture.


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