But first, I want to make sure we’re all on the same page: This blog post is about using the built-in Infusionsoft Referral Partner Program to track sales driven by your affiliates, so that you can pay them a commission.
Still with me?
How the Infusionsoft Referral Tracking Works
The Referral Partner section of Infusionsoft is pretty robust, and I’m just going to focus on how the technical tracking piece works – but if you want to learn how the other features work, or you want to set up a partner program for your business, check out Greg’s Referral Pod course.
Now then – let’s get into it:
- A tracking link is sent to the contact by the affiliate
- Contact clicks the link
- A cookie tied to your Infusionsoft app name domain is set (your app name domain is something like xy123.infusionsoft.com)
- The cookie gets read by Infusionsoft. Since that cookie can only be read by a script living on that domain, there are only a few ways this can happen:
- Infusionsoft Web Form Submission
- Infusionsoft Order Form Submission
- Infusionsoft Shopping Cart Submission
- A little known and little documented feature (more on this in a sec)
- Once the cookie is read and the contact is created, Infusionsoft will associate that contact with the appropriate Affiliate (the one that sent the link in step 1)
- When an order comes in via the Infusionsoft Order Forms, Shopping Cart, or is manually entered for that contact (and is within the tracking time window) the affiliate will earn credit based on the commission program(s) in which they are enrolled
Note: The order record has to be in Infusionsoft for a commission to be calculated.
Okay, did you follow all that?
This begs the question “What if I’m not using Infusionsoft’s order forms or web forms or shopping cart?”
What if I use a third-party checkout system?
If you’re using something else for those things then the Affiliate information for the order would need to be set via the API.
Since cookie’s can only be read by a script living on the domain or subdomain (this isn’t an Infusionsoft limitation, btw, it’s just how cookies work), Infusionsoft would need to be able to read the cookie and send the information along.
What do I do about it?
There is a little known and not-so-well-documented feature in Infusionsoft that will return the ID of the affiliate based on the cookie set on the device (computer, phone, etc) the contact is using. This article explains how you can use that feature.
Update: Here’s a video explainer of how you can track referrals for third-party cart systems:
So, if you’re using something other than Infusionsoft to process orders, then the integration that passes the details to Infusionsoft would need to also get the affiliate for the contact from the script referenced above, and set the affiliate for the order.
Most of the standard integrations don’t do this – I happen to know that my WooCommerce plugin does, but if you’re using an integration to add orders to Infusionsoft you’ll probably want to check before you launch a partner program.
Affiliate: An affiliate is an individual who has enrolled in your partner program because they want to earn commission by promoting your products or services, also known as a Referral Partner.
Commission Program: A commission program defines how and when commission can be earned by the partners who are enrolled in that particular program. You can define a default commission percentage, or establish unique override commissions on a per product basis.
Clawbacks: A “clawback” is the recovery of commission that was calculated or distributed in error, as in the case of a refund request.
Ledger: The Referral Partner Ledger, or “ledger” keeps track of the commissions earned by your partners so that when it’s time to distribute payments you have a clear record of who has earned what.
Partner Tiers: Infusionsoft’s referral partner module offers the ability to support a partner program with multiple tiers – meaning that your partners could recruit other partners, and then earn commissions as a parent affiliate for those they’re recruited.
Promotional Resources: To help your partners be successful Infusionsoft allows you to create promotional resources to educate your partners, or that they can use to promote your products. The resource types available are links, banners, and promotional pages.
Referral Partner: These are the individuals who are enrolled in your partner program – also known as affiliates. All referral partners must have a corresponding contact record – but all contacts are not necessarily going to be referral partners.
Referral Partner Center: To support your partners Infusionsoft offers a portal where your partners can log in and access their links, view their existing commissions, or consume training or resources you’ve created for them. Using the referral partner center is optional, but can be a good way to encourage partner engagement.
Tracking Links: Tracking links, or redirect links, are the links that your partners will use to send traffic to your website and landing pages. When these links are clicked they initiate the cookie on the contact’s device, report information back to Infusionsoft, and resolve to the URL you defined as you were setting the link up (usually an opt-in or check-out page).
Uh, I think I need this…
If you’re interested in launching a referral partner program for yourself, or just want to understand that part of the software better – start with the free trial of the Referral Pod.