3 Key Elements to Build a Strong (and Legal) Affiliate Marketing Program

3 Ways New Privacy Concerns Will Affect Fashion Companies
May 17, 2018
How Supreme Court Online Sales Tax Ruling Applies to Your Business
June 29, 2018

3 Key Elements to Build a Strong (and Legal) Affiliate Marketing Program

We love talking about marketing here on the Law on the Runway blog. We’ve seen over the last couple of years different methods of marketing gain in popularity with online bloggers. One of the most subtle, but widely used ones is affiliate marketing. If you sell products or services online, building an affiliate marketing program could be a good way to get exposure for your business. However, as with any other marketing campaign, you need to make your foundation is strong and that you will maintain a certain amount of control over it. Here are 3 key elements to build a solid affiliate marketing program.

Please use this as general information, not as legal advice. If you have any questions regarding affiliate marketing, please consult an attorney.

1)     Affiliate marketing contract

One of the core elements of any good affiliate marketing program is its terms. You absolutely need to put them in writing, not only to protect yourself, but also to have a document your affiliates can refer to when needed. Such a document should contain standard clauses such as a termination clause, a compensation clause, and payment terms, but also more affiliate marketing specific concepts such as what qualifies as an affiliate lead and what action is required from those leads in order for the affiliate marketing program member to get paid. Clarifying these aspects will help the program run a lot more smoothly and will allow everyone to be on the same page.

2)     FTC Regulations

We’ve often discussed FTC regulations on this blog (you can check out this post about FTC guidelinesas well as these ones about video bloggingand influencer marketing campaign agreements). Once again, disclosure is extremely important in marketing in general and certainly is when it comes to affiliate marketing. The people who will be adhering to your program need to follow FTC guidelines and be transparent regarding the existence of affiliate links on their blog, video descriptions, or social media platforms. This means, amongst other things, using clear and visible statements to showcase the material relationship between you and the affiliate program member, but also mentioning the use of affiliate links in the member’s website’s privacy policy/terms and conditions, for instance.

In order to make sure your affiliate program members respect these guidelines, the terms of your program should include following FTC rules as an obligation.

3)     Content

It’s really important to keep in mind that your affiliate marketing program members will most likely want to use visuals if they mention your products in a blog post for instance. In order to help your program members, you might want to provide them with a set of visuals they can use, such as trademarks and product shots.

Also, the same way you should ask your program members to be FTC compliant, you should ensure they do not infringe any third-party rights while discussing your services or products. Intellectual property clauses should therefore be included in your affiliate marketing contract in order to limit your liability if any mistakes were to be made by your affiliate marketing program members.

As with all Law on the Runway posts, please use this as general information, not as legal advice. If you have any questions regarding affiliate marketing, you may email hello@lawontheruway.com.