Main Elements of Affiliate Marketing Contract: Rules and Policies

Affiliate marketing contract is one of the cornerstones of any affiliate program. To say that it’s important would be to say nothing. It’s a must-have component for every affiliate marketing campaign.

Whether you call it an affiliate program’s Operating Agreement, Terms of Service, Affiliate Policy, Contract, Terms and Conditions… in essence we’re talking about one and the same thing — the document that spells out the Rules and Policies of an affiliate program.

It’s a contract between the brand and affiliate marketers that it accepts into its affiliate program.

There are two main elements to it: Rules and Policies. Let’s look into what they really are and how they differ.

I. Affiliate Program Policies

Policies outline how things are done in your affiliate program. There will be both such broad policies as a Payment Policy and a Promotional Policy, as well as much more specific ones: like your Attribution Policy and a Policy about Self-Referred Sales (or buying through your own affiliate links).

II. Affiliate Program Rules

Rules, on the other hand, spell out what’s okay and what’s not okay for affiliates to do. Examples of rules would be: your Paid Search Restrictions and Email Marketing Rules, Coupon Code Rules and Rules on Disclosures.

To make things more vivid (and more usable) for you, here we have a template of an Affiliate Program Agreement which are most welcome to use, adapting it to your affiliate program’s specifics and your brand’s requirements.

Speaking of advertisers (aka “merchants” or brands) specifically, there are 2 things I want to underscore, before I let you go:

1. Don’t Fly Without an Agreement

Affiliate marketing contractThere are affiliate programs out there that run without an Affiliate Program Agreement in place. That’s never a good idea, and definitely an oversight on the affiliate manager‘s part. When nothing is prohibited, everything is implicitly allowed. Remember: the moment you launch an affiliate program and start recruiting affiliates into it, you’re opening the door to something that may end up ugly if the program has no rules. After all, you are entrusting affiliates with your most valuable asset — your brand. Are you sure that you do not need a contract that governs how they may market you?

2. Police and Enforce Compliance

Affiliate agreement complianceHaving an Affiliate Program Agreement there is important. However, it never guarantees affiliate compliance with it (and, in part, because many affiliates won’t even read it). What this affiliate marketing contract does, though, it gives you a foundation to police and enforce compliance with the agreement. Yet, compliance policing is something that you have to do on top of having that agreement in place.

Once again, you may find the link to a template right here. And, should you have any follow-up questions, feel free to post them under this post (and I’ll be happy to personally tackle each and every one of them).

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