There are numerous things that you need to think about with your affiliate program.
How do you get affiliates to join? What incentives can you offer to promote your products and how will you pay them? In amongst all of this we have an affiliate contract or affiliate agreement as it is known as.
This is an important legal document that is often overlooked.
In this short guide we are going to show you what an affiliate agreement is, how you go about creating one and why they are so necessary to have in place. It might not be the most exiting part of affiliate marketing however an affiliate program agreement is vital to ensure everything is kept above board.
What is an affiliation agreement?
If you have ever been an affiliate yourself then you will have to agree to an affiliate agreement at some point.
This is an agreement between an advertiser and an affiliate (also known as the publisher at times) that defines the whole working relationship. So, it covers thing such as pay out and commission, what methods are acceptable and what isn’t as well as the responsibility for each party. For example, using black hat and spam methods to gain clicks and conversions are usually not allowed and violate the affiliate agreement.
It is a legal document that has to be agreed to by each party become they can begin working with each other.
Why do you need an affiliate marketing agreement?
An affiliate agreement is like any other legal document – it needs to be in place so that each party knows what their roles and responsibilities are.
For example, if the agreement states that the commission rate for an affiliate who markets and then converts someone to buy your product is 20% then that is what you are required to pay. This is providing they haven’t broken any terms of the agreement in the process. Essentially it protects you because if an affiliate uses black hat or spam tactics then, if you can prove this, you don’t need to pay them as they signed an agreement stating that this is against your terms of service. It also protects affiliates because they then get paid what they are legally owed.
How to create a simple affiliate agreement?
This all sounds a bit daunting.
There are many affiliate marketing contract templates out there than you can use and just edit bits here and there to suit your business. That being said, there are a number of things that have to be in your agreement as well as areas to address.
Things to include in your agreement
Some of these things may sound obvious however not putting them into your agreement can spell trouble down the line.
You need to ensure that you have things such as the circumstances which the agreement can be terminated, the responsibilities and terms that you as the affiliate program and the affiliate need to adhere to. In addition to this, ownership of intellectual property, commission rates and if they can be negotiated, what promotional methods are allowed and what happens if your program ceases operating all need to be included in the affiliate agreement.
These are the basics and there is a lot more than needs to be covered to ensure that you create a solid contract between yourself and your affiliates.
Issues to address in your agreement
Aside from the actual content in your agreement, there are some topics that need to be addressed.
Things such as expected commission amounts, regularity of payment, minimum payment thresholds, use of adware, where affiliate links can be displayed and trademark regulations, are all important. They should be clearly defined within the agreement.
Create an FAQ
How many times do you download software or sign up to a website and simply hit ‘agree’ when presented with a lengthy agreement? Probably a lot. We all do it.
A good idea is to create an FAQ and have it prominently displayed on your affiliate program website. Put in the answers to questions that people will want to find out about and write it in a clear and concise manner because most people don’t want to read through pages and pages of a long legal document.
An affiliate sales agreement is necessary
Having an affiliate marketing contract is vital to kept both your business and your affiliates protected.
It should clearly set out what the relationship is, payment procedures, who owns what as well as what things are banned under the agreement from a marketing perspective.
They might not be the most exciting part of affiliate marketing but they are necessary.
Doing business without one not only leaves you exposed but can have negative ramifications for you and your affiliate program.