The Referral Playbook To Get 35% More Typeform Responses In Just 30 Minutes

If you’ve ever put together a survey, you know Typeform really have their shit together.

This week, I’m helping my wife with her Cake My Bake customer development survey. She’s trying to reach bakers and get them to complete a survey.

The goal is to drive qualified Facebook Ads traffic to her Typeform using a Sweepstakes offer. You fill the survey and get an entry.

We locked the budget at $500, with $250 of it going to the prize. Aiming for 200 responses and a completion rate of 30%, she’ll need 650+ visits to fill her quota. She’s comfortable with a cost of $2.50 per complete survey, but I think the sweepstakes offer should deliver stronger performance — plus, it opens up a great way to activate the following she’s been building on Instagram.

Her budget of $250 would require a CPC of about $0.38 — which isn’t bad, but definitely not great. If she doesn’t get the cold audience targeting right, she’ll completely miss her mark.

A really useful tool in this circumstance would be to add referral functionality in the backend: when a user completes the survey, to have them refer additional visitors in exchange for more entries. That way, the referral program artificially deflates the cost of acquisition by organically bringing in additional survey entries.

Ideally I’d send them to a separate landing page, but that creates far too much effort.

So I came up with a smart workaround and hacked together a pretty good referral mechanism.

Step 1: Set up a typeform account

Make sure to go to www.typeform.com, not typeform.io — the latter is the API website. If you don’t have a Pro account – get one. It might be $35/mo, but you’ll come across as an amateur if your survey doesn’t contain any logic, ends abruptly or doesn’t follow up with your respondents.

You can always cancel after your survey is over, but in my experience Typeform comes in super handy for a variety of use cases (think: Stripe integration)

Step 2: Create your Typeform survey and make sure to ask for an email address

Create a typeform survey with an email field

You might be running a survey for a variety of reasons, from asking for a Net Promoter Score to Customer Development (like in this case) or even to sell.

Just make sure you ask for an email if the survey respondents are going to be cold traffic, otherwise the cost your incur to buy the traffic (or the energy and manpower spent) will go to waste. Always optimize for lead capture.

With the email in place, we’re going to start actually implementing the barebones for the referral program.

Using Typeform’s Zapier integration, we’re going to set up a Mailchimp zap which creates a new list subscriber everytime someone completes a Typeform submission.

Step 3: Set up a Mailchimp list & merge tag

You’ll need a Mailchimp account — you can do this with another email service provider as long as there’s a Zapier integration for it and as long as the ESP has merge tag functionality. That’s going to be a key factor.

Once you’re set up, create a dedicated list for your survey respondents.

When your list is ready, access the Merge Tags page for it. You can navigate to it by returning to the Lists dashboard, choosing your list’s Settings and then List Fields and *|MERGE|* Tags.

In Mailchimp, access the list settings of your list

Click on the Merge Tag link to access your merge tags.

Create the marge tag for the referrer's email

This merge tag will be used to keep track of Referrer emails on Google Analytics. Later on, we’ll create an autoresponder which uses the referrer’s email in the link back to the survey.

With Mailchimp ready to go, return to Typeform to set up the Zap.

Step 4: Create a Zap: Mailchimp subscriber each time a Typeform submission is completed

In your Typeform’s Configure tab, navigate to the Integrations in the sub menu. We’ll be setting up the zap directly from Typeform.

You’ll notice Typeform suggests a few “popular zaps”. Lucky for us, we’re using one on the list. Choose the Zap to create Mailchimp subscribers from Typeform entries.

Select from the popular zaps to create a subscriber for each Typeform entry

When you click on “Use this Zap”, a new window should pop up. Click on “Create this Zap”

Create the zap

Log into your Zapier account until you get to the Typeform Trigger. You can Continue from there.

Click on continue

You’ll need to select a Typeform account. If you’ve never added one, simply choose to “Connect a New Account”. For this to work, you’ll need your Typeform account’s API key.

Typeform API Key

You can find it by following this link.

Once the account is added, make sure to test the connection is good, then continue.

Test the account to make sure the connection is good.

The next step is to actually select the survey you’ll be setting up a Zap for.

Keep the string of text next to the name of your Typeform survey

You’ll notice a string of text next to the name of your survey. Keep this handy. It’ll be useful later for identifying your survey traffic on Google Analytics.

You’ll be required to test the Typeform by fetching an existing entry. That means you need to make sure that you’ve filled out your own survey at least once. Ensure the email field isn’t empty!

Once you’re good there, click on Fetch & Continue. When you see the notice for the successful test, it’s time move on to defining the actual Zap.

We’ll be using the Create > Add/Update Subscriber function since it helps us put people into a Mailchimp list — as long as there’s an email field–and it isn’t empty, it will work.

Select your Mailchimp account in the next step. Once again, if you haven’t yet, connect your Mailchimp account. This one is just a login sequence, so you won’t need to create a new API key in your Mailchimp account.

On the following window, you’ll be asked to Set Up Mailchimp Subscriber. Basically, this is the template that Zapier will use to move information from Typeform into Mailchimp.

What this means for us is that you’ll want to identify the question you created in your survey which asks the user for its email. In my survey, that question sounds like “Thanks for answering, enter your email below”.

If you’ve got many questions in your survey, you’ll need to scroll down through each of them. In the “Subscriber Email” field, click on the button to expand the select box and choose the question.

Choose the email question after clicking on the expand button

Be careful on this page. Remember the merge tag we set up?

If you click on “Show advanced options” you’ll expand the option needed to link the merge tag.

Do NOT add the email question in the Advanced Options

Do not add the merge tag to the Referrer Email field. This will confuse Zap and you don’t need to do this.

We’re only going to be using the Merge tag in our email template when setting up our referral URL. Once you’re done, click on Continue.

We’re nearly there!

You might run into an error screen. Make sure you followed the steps properly.

You might run into this screen. If that happens, make sure you’ve got at least one response to the survey, and don’t use the email field more than once in the template.

If everything is kosher, you’ll see a clear “Test Mailchimp” page. Otherwise, you might see a field highlighted in red. If that happens, go back to previous steps and follow them to the letter. 🙂

At this point, the zap should be set up. You might find a short delay between the moment the survey is completed and the subscriber is created. Don’t panic.

Step 5: Setup the Mailchimp email template

Before working on the automation, create a simple email template. It can be as simple or as pretty as you like. Sometimes, text-only works best. In this case, I set up something on-brand.

There are two main elements to play with here, both of which rely on the merge tag we set up earlier:

  1. Creating a “personal referral link”; and
  2. Prepopulating social sharing icons for the user with their referral link.

Setting up #1 is simple — link to your survey and add a link parameter (?r=) at the end of the link. I chose r= because it’s simple, but you can get as creative with this as you like. You’ll be referencing this r= later on in Google Analytics when you segment your traffic.

It will be crystal clear how many conversions came from which referrers, as you’ll see the email of your referrers directly in the ?r= part of the link the referred users came from.

Add the referrer email merge tag to the link in the email.

For #2, you’ll want to set up pre-populated sharing links. For this specific email, I just set it up with Twitter and Facebook. Feel free to add more if you like. I suggest using a service like ShareLinkGenerator to quickly spin up the URLs you need.

Just make sure to add the ?r=*|REF_EMAIL|* part so that the person receiving the email has a link with their own email as the referrence.

Step 6: Setup the Mailchimp autoresponder

Once the Zap is done and the template is ready, we’re going to go back to Mailchimp to set up the autoresponder to be sent for the referral invitation.

This is the part where choosing a different email service provider might cause some difficulty. If there’s a Zap for it though, you should be clear to go.

Log into your Mailchimp account and navigate to the Automation tab. Note this is a premium feature. Pretty sure Mailchimp is $10/mo.

Scroll down the list of automations until you find date-based options. They’re in pink. You want to set up an automation based on “list added date”.

Choose the automation based on the date the subscriber was added to the list.

Add the automation and call it something descriptive like “Referral Request.”

You’ll want to set up at least one email using the template you set up. Write basic copy that compels your referrer to share your offer out. I decided to set up a second reminder email to be sent 3 days after completing the survey just to add an extra nudge.

There’s much to gain from experimenting how much more benefit can be had from adding more email reminders. The folks at MaitreApp.co have proven this works.

Set up the email autoresponder

Step 7: Use Google Analytics to keep track of your referrals

I won’t get into the nitty-gritty of using Analytics this time around, but if you’ve set up your link parameters correctly, you’ll start seeing the traffic coming in with their respective referral emails. Let me know in the comments below if you have trouble doing it and I’ll happily add an extra section below.

You'll see the referrer email in the link in Google Analyics