How to build a newsletter referral program with Ghost

How to build a newsletter referral program with Ghost

The headline of the article gives away its contents.

This piece serves both as an announcement and a tutorial for the integration of Ghost with The Newsletter Referral.​- our referral marketing template that allows you to build your referral programs directly inside your newsletters.

The Newsletter Referral is really simple to set up and use; you have to:

  1. Create your Viral Loops campaign using the template.
  2. Customize your campaign.
  3. Connect the campaign with one of the supported email platforms.
  4. Turn your readers into ambassadors, get more email subscribers, and build a stronger community through word-of-mouth.

By connecting your Ghost account with The Newsletter Referral, you can:

  • Build referral programs that run entirely from inside your newsletter emails without any coding.
  • Create beautiful referral widgets for your emails.
  • Automatically reward your most loyal readers.
  • Generate unique referral links for your subscribers.
  • Keep your Ghost account in sync with your referral programs.

This article will guide you through connecting your Ghost account with The Newsletter Referral template and building your newsletter referral programs.

Do you want your campaign to be successful?
Read our actionable guide on newsletter referral programs.

If you don’t have time to read the tutorial, you can always watch the video version:

How to build a newsletter referral program with Ghost

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

Integrating Ghost with Viral Loops and starting your newsletter referral program couldn’t be easier; there are only four steps:

  1. Create a newsletter referral campaign in Viral Loops.
  2. Create and embed your referral widgets
  3. Connect Ghost with Viral Loops.
  4. Sync your existing Ghost subscribers with your Viral Loops campaign.

Creating your newsletter referral program.

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

Choose platform

  1. Provide the name of your newsletter.
  2. Set up your rewards and milestones.


  1. Edit, customize, and embed your widgets in a Ghost page.
  2. Create an invitee page for collecting email using Viral Loops pages.

Here’s an example of how your “Email Widget” could look like.

email widget_ghost

Connecting a Ghost account list with your referral program.

After customizing your campaign, you’ll need to connect Viral Loops with your Ghost account.

To do that, you’ll need the Admin API Key and the API URL from your Ghost account. To find them:

  1. Login to your Ghost account.
  2. Go to “Settings” → “Integrations”
  3. Click on “Add custom integration”
  4. Name it.

Copy what you need from Ghost, go back to your Viral Loops campaign, and paste.

Admin API key and API URL


Keep the “Automatically add new Ghost members to Viral Loops” enabled so that everybody subscribing to your newsletter organically, automatically participates in your referral campaign.

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

Automatically add Ghost subscribers to Viral Loops

Once you’re all set up, click on “Connect”

Select the “Import” tab, and import your existing Ghost subscribers in your Viral Loops campaign.

Import in Viral Loops

Add a referral widget inside your newsletters.

In this last step, you have a few options:

  • Add referrals in your emails.
  • Give everyone a referral link.
  • Integrations.
  • Do a test.

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 Ghost account.
  4. Create a new Post
  5. Click on the “+” sign on the left of the text editor, and paste the script.

Html code in Ghost

Before you go.

That was it!

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

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

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