The advertiser’s affiliate program description page is frequently the first place from which a prospective affiliate learns about the program. It is also the main place to which an affiliate turns to when looking for affiliate program details and conditions.
There are different ways to word the text and the lay out the page, but the structure of every affiliate program description should always cover the main elements/data that affiliates care about. I believe that we can boil these elements down to five pillars.
- Merchant description with link to website
- Commission structure (and clear breakdown into tiers/levels if any exist)
- Information on cookie life
- Availability of data feed for e-tailers, and multiple landing pages for service advertisers
- Information on tools or any other competitive advantages (e.g.: anti-parasite policy, tracking of affiliate-referred phone orders, custom on-demand creatives and/or landing pages, easy-to-import data feed solutions, widgets, performance bonuses, etc.)
- Any restrictions and/or special terms that affiliates should know about from the very outset (e.g.: “trademark bidding and/or usage of trademarks in domain names is prohibited”, or “coupon sales receive lower commission”, etc) [added to the list on 10/20/09 per this comment]
I also recommend staying within a 250 words limit for your main affiliate program description page. If you have more than that to say, break the information down into separate sections, and build an affiliates.merchantname.com (or similar) website that would aim at helping affiliates understand how your program works, and how exactly they can get involved. Here are just a few examples of such mini-sites:
It is also a good idea to have an accompanying blog where you would keep affiliates up-to-date on the news about your affiliate program.
See also my earlier “5 Common Problems in Affiliate Program Descriptions” post.