A 5-Step Guide to Making Money with Referral Programs

Learn how referral, partner, and affiliate programs can help marketers earn extra cash and attract more customers to their businesses.

By Dana Kilroy ・3 min read
Agency Tips
ShortStack Tips & Tricks

Referral, partner and affiliate programs are a great way for marketers to make a little extra cash or even a living.  In fact, affiliate marketers earn an average of $51,639 per year. These programs are also the perfect way for businesses to attract more eyes to their product.Both programs bring new customers to your business through advocates of your product. At ShortStack, our referral program offers up 15% commission for each person who signs up for our service through a special referral link. And there are a lot of businesses out there that offer some great paybacks to their referrers.However, before you go in and try and make a boatload of cash by referring products, there are a few best practices you should keep in mind so that you'll actually see success.

1. Refer People to Products You're Passionate About

There are a lot of great products out there that offer referral incentives, but you're more likely to profit from referrals if you're recommending products you're passionate about.Here's what one of our longstanding referrers has to say about how he chooses products and tools to write and talk about:"I only recommend a product if I use and love it. And I use and love ShortStack. It's made my life easier." - Jon Loomer, a ShortStack partner. The more often you use the products you're planning to refer, the more materials and resources you'll have at your disposal to share with your audience.It's also a good idea to research what is required of you before you sign up for a referral program. Some businesses may require that you post a certain amount of times, run certain ads/banners, etc. At ShortStack our partner program is no pressure, and it's completely up to you how often you do or don't talk about the platform.

2. Sign-Up and Find your URL

In order to reap the rewards, sign up and grab your URL stat! Here's a step-by-step look at how to sign up for ShortStack's partner program and finding your unique referral URL.

Step 1: Head to and click Join Now.

Step 2: Fill out the partner application.

Step 3: Once your application is approved, go to to log in to your ShortStack partner program account with PartnerStack.

Step 4: Confirm that you agree with the program terms and conditions.

Step 5: Click Links [] on the left side of your screen, then scroll down to find your unique referral URL.

Step 6: Use your URL whenever you link to ShortStack.

Step 7: Use logos and images we provide on your blog, website and social media to increase referrals. In your dashboard, ShortStack logos can be found under Resources

3. Create Valuable Articles and other Resources for Your Audience

While putting a logo on a service or tool you're referring on your website will drive some referral traffic, providing your audience with valuable resources can educate and lead them to tools that can help them with their jobs.Consider the products and services you promote as part of your content marketing.It's best if you can avoid a hard-sell and instead subtly recommend products and services that fit in with what you're writing about.

For example, one of our partners is Jon Loomer, the Facebook Ad expert. Since Jon's specialty is Facebook advertising, he's constantly writing articles about how marketers can be better at Facebook. When he has a chance to mention that ShortStack can help in that process, he does..All it takes is one great article and you'll be sending referral traffic for years to come.

4. Use the Company's Blog to Find Valuable Stats, Best Practices and Resources to Share

Creating consistently valuable content can be difficult. On the ShortStack blog we've found a comfortable balance that includes original content, guest posts, and infographics from third parties. One of the best ways to find inspiration for your blog posts is to read the blogs of your favorite products -- the ones you're recommending! Why? The company's blog is where you'll find valuable resources that you can link to and share with your audience.

5. Use the Product and Share Your Experience

Use the product or service you are recommending, then share your experience with your audience. For example, if you're an agency and you create a two-week giveaway, chances are the readers of your blog would love to see your process and hear about your results.Referral programs are a great way to make some "extra" cash. If you're already talking about your favorite tools and products, see if the companies that offer a reward for recommending your friends.If you're inspired to check out ShortStack's Partner Program go ahead and sign up here. Furthermore, check out our partner guide for a comprehensive overview of our program. If you have further questions you can email

About the author

By Dana Kilroy ・3 min read

Dana Sullivan Kilroy is a communications professional with more than 20 years of experience delivering compelling content. Her work has appeared in national, award-winning publications and sites, including: The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Fast Company, Inc.

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