How to create unique referral codes and urls

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Let’s go all the way back to WTF NO CODE DROP #1 and assume you’re pulling in a lot of sign ups. Sure, you’ll have setup a few acquisition channels that’re performing well enough but the best new signups come from within your users’ networks.

Friends of friends are friends, y’know? So, to let your friends tell their friends about you, let’s slap together a referral system.

This one’s a bit of a throwback for me. It’s one of the first things I built after watching and re-watching the Automate All The Things double feature –

I have to admit.. this takes me back 😎


The stage has been set – we’re looking to setup a simple Airtable-based system the automatically creates unique referral codes and URLs whenever an email address appears in a record.

What you do with each unique code and the URL is totally up to you. You can include it in emails that are sent to your users or your can add it to your EMS like I did when I was falling out of love with Mailchimp.

Nowadays, a modern EMS like beehiiv comes with a whole referral system baked into it from the jump.

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Getting back to the core of it all, there’s one thing worth keeping very front-of-mind:

Wherever your referred users go, you must make sure to pass the referral code from the URL to your signup form.

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The simplest way to get this going is to lean on a front-end solution that already passes URL parameters into input fields. In this case, we’ll be using Airtable’s forms for that.

You can use other tools like which also handles that or your can add a little Javascript to something like Webflow if you feel the need to customize things.

Just remember, at it’s core you’re looking to:

  1. capture email addresses

  2. assign a unique ID as a referral code for that email address

  3. generate unique signup links that use the referral codes


Like I mention above, things can get advanced depending on the front-end solution you’re using. If you go fully custom, then you can do some pretty cool stuff like incentivized referral targets and automated referral emails for your users.

But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.

Let’s just pull it all together.

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