At MeetEdgar, we help small businesses automate their social media posting so they can spend more time on the personal and business interactions that really matter. With Tapfiliate, Zapier, and our other third-party tools, we’re able to do the same for our referral marketing.
The Tapfiliate/Zapier combo has allowed us, even as a startup, to have an affiliate program that keeps us in constant contact with our affiliates and rewards them in unique fun ways. Through numerous Zapier automations we’ve been able to scale our affiliate marketing program, and still have time to focus on ways to make the program better, instead of wasting time on boring management tasks.
One of our three core values has always been “Value for Value” (we make sure that the people responsible for our success are treated the way they deserve), and one way that we’ve acted on this in the past is by rewarding customers who did things like participating in live webinars or refering new customers to us. It was just something we did casually, but not something we advertised nor something performed systematically.
What we found is that the customers who love MeetEdgar really love MeetEdgar, and many of these customers have been with us for years. We also found that the people referred to us were both more likely to convert and more likely to also stick around for a long time. That’s when we started looking into a more formalized affiliate/referral program that didn’t rely on us spotting random acts of customer kindness.
We knew from the beginning that we wanted to retain our personal touch and sincere gratitude for these customers, but to do so at scale would require us to automate all the pieces we could.
Onboarding Our Octopals
It all starts with onboarding our Octopals (“Octopals” are our affiliates - a callback to our octopus mascot, Edgar). We only allow active customers into the program, so it’s important for us to have our own webpage describing the terms of the program and expected behavior for applicants. This page is also home to our application form which collects information like the affiliate’s address (so we can send fun swag) and pushes submissions to Zapier.
Through Zapier we’re able to route the information we collect to Intercom for our customer experience team, update the subscriber record in MailChimp for marketing, and add all customer-provided details to Tapfiliate to create a new affiliate profile.
Tapfiliate webhooks allow us to trigger Zaps based on a variety of events. In the case of an affiliate signup, after an affiliate is successfully added and approved for our program, we shorten their affiliate link with our Rebrandly account, immediately send a custom welcome email through Mandrill, and then also send a handwritten welcome note through Handwrytten. We also take the opportunity to add their shortened affiliate link to Intercom and MailChimp.
All of this happens without any intervention on our part.
We do additionally create an Asana task to check in on things later, but that doesn’t hold up the affiliate onboarding process in the slightest. So, if you’re really excited to get a friend signed up for MeetEdgar, you can become an affiliate in literally5 minutes.
Training and Treating the Triumphant
Beyond onboarding, the integration of Tapfiliate, Zapier, and all our third-party tools allows us to respond quickly and at scale to affiliate/referral actions.
For each successful referral purchase we update the affiliate’s information in MailChimp and Intercom to include the number of successful referrals they’ve made. It’s helpful to have this information when we want to do things like letting them know about upcoming promotions or requesting testimonials from our most active affiliates. Again, this all goes back to “Value for Value”. We always want to make sure the people engaged in our success are rewarded!
We also use data like the monthly referral count to build a special newsletter with the affiliate’s custom referral link, their number of referrals, and news about app updates (to get them excited about new features that they can talk about when referring their friends).
Of course, this information is also handy when we want to send congratulatory emails to affiliates and trigger swag rewards through Printfection. Every referral results in a confirmation that their link was used, and every few successful referrals results in swag in their mailbox.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t include our most superfluous (and my favorite) integration. All of this work-related automation is great, but if you’re looking to have a little celebratory fun, that’s easy too.
By catching a commission hook from Tapfiliate in Zapier, you can pass successful referral purchases on to IFTTT. From there you can configure your Hue lights to strobe, start playing “One More Time” on your Google Home, and tell your Nest thermostat to drop the room temperature, all in preparation for the coming dance party. (Note: This configuration works best if you have a home office, but to be honest nothing livens up a coworking space like blasting Daft Punk every time you add a new referral).
While all these Zaps, workflows, and flashing lights may seem daunting, the benefit to a small business or startup is that they only need to be set up once. After that, you’re able to do all the fun things a much larger business would do for its affiliates without the overhead and manual tasks. Now when we step in it’s to have unique conversations with our top affiliates or to run promos for bonus rewards. The end result is a program that we, our affiliates, and our referrals all enjoy.