How to get more email list subscribers with SparkLoop and RightMessage

We’re big fans of SparkLoop.

They’re a relatively new product that helps you incentivize your subscribers to recommend your email list.

Audience-first business owners like James Clear have been adding thousands of new subscribers per week to their email list just by including a call-to-action at the bottom of every newsletter:

James Clear's Referral CTA

SparkLoop handles tracking people who share your email link.

In James’ case, if 3 people end up joining his email list because of your recommendation, you’re added to his “Secret Newsletter.” Other customers have used SparkLoop to gift subscribers coupon codes, free products, and more depending on how many referrals they send.

(Quick disclaimer: We’re not financially compensated by or related to SparkLoop in any way. We’re friends with their team, and we really like their product.)

How to use SparkLoop and RightMessage to create an On-Site Referral Funnel

Here’s a bit about how SparkLoop technically works:

SparkLoop, when paired with an email service provider like ConvertKit, MailChimp, or ActiveCampaign, gives each of your subscribers a unique URL that they can send to friends and social media followers.

This URL, when clicked on, will then attribute any new subscribers who come from that link back to the sharer. This allows for any subscriber to become a referrer for your email list – and be rewarded whenever they send you a new subscriber.

Subscribers who refer new subscribers will have a counter incremented on their contact record whenever someone successfully joins. And once a threshold is crossed (i.e. 3 subscribers referred), you can then do whatever you want with them – like add them to a secret newsletter.

This data is all stored as custom fields on your subscriber records.

Goal: To promote your SparkLoop Referral CTAs throughout your website

Until now, SparkLoop customers have been using their email marketing software’s templating to add Referral CTAs throughout the emails they send their subscribers.

While this is all good and well, email isn’t the only way audiences interact with brands. Your subscribers are also on your website – they’re reading your latest blog posts, digging through your archives, or browsing through your products and services.

If the goal is to optimize for referrals, wouldn’t it make sense to have SparkLoop-powered Referral CTAs both in your emails and across your website?

James Clear's email to website

Here’s a straightforward set up that I’ll be showing you how to create:

  • If someone is anonymous, we want them to join our email list.
  • If this anonymous visitor was referred by someone, we’d like to personalize our opt-in form. “Join James Clear + 10,000 others by joining our newsletter…”
  • If the visitor is an existing subscriber to our email list we want to incentivize them to share this article with their network.

To begin, you’re going to create a new CTA Funnel in Message (or edit an existing funnel.)

The first thing we want to do is check to see if the visitor is already a subscriber to our email list.

RightMessage split by yes/no

If yes, then we’ll promote our Referral CTA.

If no, then we’ll show our standard newsletter opt-in form.

After setting up our RightMessage Offers...

Let’s go a step further… if someone’s sent us more than 5 subscribers, we’ll roll out the red carpet by thanking them and giving them a 10% coupon.

Show a special offer to super referrers

Step 2: Personalize your Referral CTA

Because RightMessage has access to the unique custom field data of subscribers on your website, we can set up a simple RightMessage Offer that adds each visiting subscriber’s personal referral link to a standard “Share This” button.

Referral CTA

Set up an Offer that says whatever you want it to say – “Get access to the Secret Newsletter!” – and then set the URL of that offer to use the custom field that SparkLoop sets.

Referral CTA URL with Liquid

If you use ConvertKit, this would be: {{ convertkit.customFields.rh_reflink }} (Check out the Learning Center to see how to reference custom fields for your email marketing app.)

Now anyone who clicks this link will be sent to your SparkLoop Referral Hub, where they’ll be able to see how many people they’ve referred and more.

Supercharge your Offer: It’s easy to show how many people they’ve already referred directly on your RightMessage-powered Referral CTA! Just include the appropriate Liquid, like {{ convertkit.customFields.rh_totref }}, somewhere in your offer.

Now your subscribers will also see how many people they’ve already referred you – right on your website!

Referral CTA showing the total number of referred subscribers

Step 3: Name drop your promoters (optional)

If you have power promoters who are sending you a lot of traffic, you might want to name drop them on your opt-in forms.

While SparkLoop doesn’t include the plaintext name of the referrer in referral URLs, it does include their referrer ID.

We’ll use RightMessage’s segmentation engine to automatically identify key affiliates based on their referrer ID, and then we’ll use that to personalize your opt-in forms.

First, we need to set up a Segment Group for all your major promoters.

Promoters Segment Group in RightMessage

This will automatically match traffic into segments that you can use to personalize your website based on the rh_ref URL parameter that SparkLoop uses.

Then we’re going to change the way you describe your newsletter opt-in if the current visitor came from one of these promoters:

To do this, select the text you want to change – like “Join 10,000+ others” – and select the “Personalize” button that appears.

Now you’ll be able to easily rewrite this content depending on the promoter:

Promoter personalization

Imagine clicking on a link that Marie Forleo shared on Facebook and seeing this!

Personalize Marie Forleo opt-in form

Step 4: Publish!

You’re all set. Now just create the widgets that will show these CTAs (i.e. an end-of-blog-post embed or a slide up toaster) and publish.

Why this works

To go back to the James Clear example, if you look at his website as a subscriber you see… the email newsletter opt-in form.

His weekly newsletters are full of links to his website. And when a reader clicks on one of these links, they’re faced with a number of opt-in forms… asking for their email address. A giant opportunity is being missed out on here. These are readers who have already joined James’ email list – there’s zero need for them to ever see another opt-in form!

James Clear's opt-in form

And James’ is by no means alone here. Most audience-based websites (unfortunately) do this.

By setting up a simple On-Site Referral Funnel, you’re able to optimize for what makes sense:

  • New here? Join our email list.
  • Already on our email list? Will you share us with your friends (…so more people can join our email list?)
It's easy to create an On-Site Referral Funnel like this with RightMessage + SparkLoop
Check out an interactive example of this funnel in action!

To get your SparkLoop account, head here.

Also, if you have a ConvertKit Creator Pro account, your SparkLoop account is free. Thanks, ConvertKit!