Referral Program: Getting set up, sharing, and monitoring

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The beehiiv Referral Program is an organic way for you to continuously market to engaged audiences by offering rewards to your subscribers as incentives for referring your newsletter to others. The best part is, once you set it up, it’s fully automated and all you have to do is review the results and fulfill the rewards. 

Before diving in, please review this quick glossary of terms:

  • Referrals are any subscribers who sign up to your newsletter from a subscriber referral link associated with your publication.
  • Milestones are represented by the number of referrals needed to unlock the reward for that milestone.
  • Rewards are the gifts received by your subscribers for meeting each milestone. 

Watch and learn: How to create a referral program in beehiiv

This video covers getting started with your Referral Program including, adding your rewards and setting their milestones, creating a Milestone Email, selecting the look of your referral card, and adding your referral block to a post. These directions are also written out below. 


How to set up your Referral Program 

When initially setting up your Referral Program, you’ll need to create the rewards and then set the milestones for those rewards (both are done using the + New Referral button). Once your Referral Program is active, you can monitor it easily from your dashboard, as explained in the next section.

  1. From the left panel in your account, go to Grow > Referral Program.

  2. To add a reward or a milestone, click on the + New Referral button found in the top right corner.

  3. You’ll be brought to a new reward form that is broken into 3 steps. Start by setting up the new reward and deciding the number of referrals your subscribers will need to hit in order to reach that milestone and earn the reward.

    In Step 1: Set Up Reward, you’ll be able to:
  • Enter the Reward Name (required). 

  • Select the Reward Type from the dropdown menu (required).
    • Physical is best used when sending a physical product like a t-shirt or merchandise.  
      • We’ve partnered with Slingshot so you can dropship products to your readers without dealing with inventory.
    • Promo Code is best used when including a discount or trial code for someone to redeem. 
    • Digital is best used when sending a file, URL, or digital access to something like a virtual course, ebook, or PDF. 
  • Under Referrals Needed for Milestone (required), enter the number of referrals a subscriber needs to have to unlock this specific reward. 

  • Enter a Description (required) of your reward so subscribers know what it is. 

  • Add a Disclaimer for the reward. (Optional)  

  • Include a Prefixed Article with the reward. (Optional) 
    • This is used as a descriptor of your reward and can help differentiate it. 
    • Any text you add to this field will auto-populate in an example directly below, showing what it may look like on your referral card. 
  • Add an Image for the reward. (Optional) 
  1. When you have entered in all of the required info, the Continue button will go from gray to black. Review your selections and then click on the Continue button.

  2. For Step 2: Set Up Milestone Email, you’ll create the email that will be sent to subscribers who achieve the specific milestone. The setup process is similar to creating any other post in beehiiv.

    Add a Subject Line (required) and any Preview Text (optional). In the Content area (required), simply start writing or type / to access the post editor that you are familiar with.

  3. Once you've created your email, you'll be able to toggle on the Send Email After Review option that is found above the Subject Line. Turning this on allows you to manually review referrals as they come in. Otherwise, by default, this email will be sent out as soon as someone achieves a milestone.

  4. After drafting the Milestone Email, be sure to use the Preview option to view the email that will be sent to your subscribers. Then when satisfied, click on the Continue button.

  5. In Step 3: Additional Settings, you can autofill achievements by toggling the option on or off. This is useful when your Milestone Email contains the actual milestone reward.

    Once you're done, click on the Save button and you'll be brought back to the Referral Program overview page.

Monitoring your Referral Program

After you have created some rewards and milestones, the Referral Program dashboard is where you can monitor the progress of everything.

Up top, you’ll see 3 boxes with your current stats for Subscribers with referrals, Total readers referred, and Referrals per subscriber.

Overview Tab 

Below your current stats, on the Overview tab you’ll see a list of all of the rewards that have been added. Each reward also shows whether it gets auto fulfilled, what type of reward it is, and its milestone number. 

Click on the 3-dots for any of the rewards to reveal options for Edit, Delete, and Manage Promo Codes.


Fulfillment Tab

The Fulfillment tab is where you can see all of your subscribers who have reached milestones and have redeemed their rewards.

You can search and sort through your rewards and milestones as well as click on Download Referrals to save a CSV file of the data to your device. 

Click on Actions for any of the listings to reveal options for Manage Referrals, Mark as Ignored, and Mark as Pending.


Configuration Tab

The Configuration tab is where you can set the look of the actual referral block as it will appear in posts.

Under Referral Block Configuration, you can toggle on or off the Referral Program. Turning it off will exclude the referral block from all of your posts. If you have it turned on, be sure to also add an Email Description, which will be displayed in the referral block within your posts.


Under Referral Template Shown in Post, click the arrows to choose from a handful of templates, all of which will display your milestone rewards differently.

  • Default: Shows basic text, a sharing button, and their unique sharing link.  
  • Upcoming Milestone Only: Shows default content, and a preview of an upcoming milestone. 
  • Reward Program Only: Shows up to 3 upcoming rewards and their unique sharing link.  
  • Upcoming Milestones and Reward Program: Shows default content, the next milestone, and up to 3 upcoming rewards.

Above the template options, you can also add an Email Description, which will be displayed in the referral block within your posts.


How to add your referral block to your post

Once you’ve set up your Referral Program and configured your referral block, you can easily add your referral block to any of your posts directly from the post editor.

From an open post, start to type /Referral Program to access the block in the editor and place it in your post accordingly. Then be sure to Preview your post to see your Referral Program block designed to your publication settings. 

Note that the information you see in the block and what each of your subscribers see will differ depending on how many referrals they have, but each will also include their unique referral link.


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