ConvertKit Referral Integration Viral Loops

How to build a newsletter referral program with ConvertKit

This is an announcement and a tutorial for the integration of ConvertKit with The Newsletter Referral—our referral marketing template that allows you to build your referral programs directly inside your newsletters. The Newsletter Referral is simple to set up and use; you have to:

  1. First, create your Viral Loops campaign using The Newsletter Referral template.
  2. Customize your campaign and embed the referral widgets—or do it through Viral Loops pages.
  3. Connect the campaign with ConvertKit.
  4. Turn your readers into ambassadors, reward them, get more email subscribers, and build a stronger community through word-of-mouth.

By connecting The Newsletter Referral with ConvertKit, you can:

  • Give a unique sharing link to every member of your existing ConvertKit subscribers.
  • Capture referred participants from the Viral Loops Invitee Page and add them to ConvertKit automatically.
  • Sync new ConvertKit members to Viral Loops, so every new subscriber gets their unique link.

Building a newsletter referral program with ConvertKit and The Newsletter Referral.

You can connect the two apps and set your referral campaign live in less than 10 minutes in four steps:

  1. First, create a newsletter referral campaign in Viral Loops.
  2. Create and embed your referral widgets (or use Viral Loops Pages)
  3. Connect ConvertKit with Viral Loops and import existing audience.
  4. Embed the Email Widget inside your newsletters.

Creating your newsletter referral program.

  1. Create a Viral Loops campaign using The Newsletter Referral template.
  2. Select ConvertKit as your platform and then press the “Continue” button.

ConvertKit Viral Loops integration

  1. Name your campaign.
  2. Set up your rewards and milestones and decide if your participants get a milestone email—an email once they reach that milestone which you can fully customize.Need help choosing rewards? Here’s a guide to help you.Viral Loops ConvertKit integration Milestones referral program
  3. Customize your Email Widget—the element you can embed in your newsletter to inform your readers about your referral program. You can embed this at the end of the campaign builder.Here’s an example of what your Email Widget could look like.
    ConvertKit Viral Loops integration email widget
  4. Customize and embed your Referral Dashboard widgets in your website or use Viral Loops Pages—customizable landing pages to promote your campaign and capture participants.

    An example Referral Dashboard 
    with Viral Loops pages:
    Viral Loops Page referral dashboard example
  1. Create an Invitee Page to collect referred members by embedding the widgets in your website or using Viral Loops Pages. New subscribers collected through your Viral Loops campaign will be automatically added to your ConvertKit audience.

Connect ConvertKit with your referral program.

After customizing your campaign, it’s time to connect your Viral Loops campaign with your ConvertKit account.

To do that, you need two things—the API Key and the API Secret from your ConvertKit account. How to find them:

  1. Log in to your ConvertKit account
  2. Open the dropdown menu next to your profile image (top-right of the screen)
  3. Go to “Settings” → “Advanced” → API section
  4. Copy the API Key, click “Show” to reveal and copy the API Secret
  5. Paste the keys into the corresponding fields of the Viral Loops campaign builder.
  6. Click “Select a form” and choose your desired form or landing page to connect with your campaign.
  7. Click “Connect”.

ConvertKit Viral Loops integration API connection


If you want new, organic ConvertKit subscribers to be automatically enrolled in your referral program, turn on the option “Add new subscribers to Viral Loops

It is crucial because in case a participant sends an invitation to another existing subscriber, it will be classified as a successful referral—you don’t want that.

ConvertKit Viral Loops integration option

If you want to create unique sharing links for your existing members, click the Import tab and add them to the campaign. This also prevents current members from signing up as referrals (i.e., by following a sharing link)

Add a referral widget inside your newsletters.

In this last step, you have a few more options:

  • First, add referrals in your emails (embedding the referral widget).
  • Give everyone a referral link (same as the Import step).
  • Add integrations with other tools.
  • Finally, do a test of the whole campaign.

To add a referral widget inside your newsletters:

  1. Click the Show me how button next to the ‘Add referrals in your emails’ option.
  2. Click Copy to clipboard to copy the script.
  3. Go to your ConvertKit account.
  4. Create a new Broadcast, Sequence, Template, or any email.
  5. Click on the + sign in the text editor, add an HTML Blockand paste the script.
    ConvertKit HTML block


The widget may look broken on the editor, but that is not the case. The widget should appear correctly in the final email. Check it by clicking “Preview” or sending a test email to yourself.

Before you go.

That was it!

Starting today, you can have a referral program that runs directly from inside your newsletter emails sent via ConvertKit and reward your most loyal readers for inviting their friends.

It’s effortless, and it takes only a few minutes to get your campaign live.

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