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We explore how we built our no-code newsletter referral and rewards program in a couple of hours using Printful.

By Rebekah Radice

5 min read

Back in the day, starting a tech-enabled business was like trying to launch a rocket with one astronaut. Developers were the key to success. For non-technical founders, it was like trying to herd cats. The dependency was often a bottleneck to growth.

Hey Rebekah—a tech-enabled startup—is built with mostly no code systems. That was a conscious choice we made after assessing our internal resources. We wanted to ensure that the bulk of the team could do the things they needed to without being at the mercy of our grumpy technical resources.

Reducing reader acquisition costs

It's no secret that word-of-mouth marketing is the holy grail of acquisition. So our growth strategy revolves around WOM. We're lucky because we have an existing community of over 300,000 who are huge fans of Rebekah.

Then, there's new acquisition. By default, we know we're going to run ads soon. Typically, just the ad-spend CAC for Instagram or Facebook will range from $1.50-$2.50 per conversion. Anywhere between 50-75% of that outside the US.

However, there's a huge difference in the quality of conversions between WOM and an ad-based referral. According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations. Think about it, most of you are reading Hey Rebekah today because someone you know recommended it, or Ambreen/Rebekah have guilted you into it.

A woman with a cool Hey Rebekah beanie cap

Hooked by Triggers, actions, and rewards

We use internal and external triggers to delight our readers everyday. So now, if we ask them to spread the word, what could we do to reward them?

After some research, benchmarking, and insider tips from our heroes at Morning Brew, we decided on:

  1. Swag, like cheesy stickers and hideous hats
  2. Early/exclusive access to Hey Rebekah programs like our Community Circle, Courses, and live in-person events. Whoops, this stuff may have been a secret.

Now for some math. Everything we do for our readers is free. Always will be. So we had to figure out costs and get some figures to estimate value. The trick here is to try and assess the value of a WOM referral in comparison to paid acquisition. Remember, a WOM will typically compound in its ROI. It's a referral that keeps on referring.

Using these numbers, we determined:

  • The reward
  • How many referrals associated to the reward
  • The cost of the reward
  • Our CAC or RAC

How we built our no-code rewards fulfillment

Our friends at Beehiiv—the driving force behind the scenes—made asking for Referrals easy. They also made referral tracking and management a piece of cake.

But then there's fulfillment. We'll go into a lot more detail on this in our upcoming playbook, but at a high level here's what you need to know:

Anyone can build a no-code ecommerce operation in a few hours and start selling $#!t anywhere in the world.

Where do we get the jaw-dropping inventory for our Swag? Printful. An on-demand production and fulfillment platform. It costs us $9 a month. They have a huge catalog of stuff to choose from.

For our store front, we chose Shopify. It integrates directly to Printful. There's a one-time configuration to get past, but nothing crazy.

We chose their free theme Craft and applied some basic styles to match our Webflow site. It took us under an hour going slow. By the way, Shopify costs us $19 a month.

To manage the fulfillment of coupon codes that readers use to redeem their reward, we used the Bulk Discount Code Bot on Shopify. It created 80,000 unique codes for our products in about 15 minutes and cost $19.

The no-code rewards workflow

  1. Mshamsher refers a few readers
  2. They hit a milestone and Beehiiv initiates the reward
  3. They get an email with the reward code they can use on our store front
  4. Delighted and eyes-popping, they redeem the reward and complete the free checkout
  5. Printful produces the reward on-demand and sends it out, notifying us and Mshamsher that their cool swag is on the way
  6. Mshamsher receives the cheesy stickers and plasters them all over his wife's laptop

Pretty cool, high-tech, no-code global fulfillment. It even includes real-time tracking. If you've ever wanted to steal like an artist and start your own business, there's no better time than now! What are you waiting for?

Rebekah Radice

About Rebekah Radice

Rebekah Radice, co-founder of BRIL.LA, has traded narcissism for purpose. When not driving growth, you'll find her tricking family into thinking she's Emeril Lagasse - likely covered in marinara. The spotlight was fun, but impact is better. These days she's using 20+ years of brand brilliance for good.