Your affiliate signup form, the form a affiliate partner/publisher must fill out in order to be considered in your affiliate program, Is the starting point with your relationship to them as a merchant/advertiser.

Often times, depending on who’s in charge in the company, what affiliate platform the program is run on (perhaps a myriad of other factors) and so on: There isn’t a clear answer on what you need to collect from affiliates upfront prior to this consideration.

Given our knowledge of working on many programs in the past and present, of which, have had anywhere from an email address and a name field to long, multi-step form: Our goal is to find the balance; one that converts the right kind of affiliates for your program reguarly but also gives you (the merchant/advertiser/affiliate manager) enough information to know how the affiliate is going to promote. So, Let’s get to it!

The Long form vs. short form double-edged sword:

SaaS Affiliate Program Form

There is often an initial emphasis, on behalf of you the merchant/advertiser, to collect ALL the information upfront. More data captured, the more we can do with – right?

The opposite might be true as well – if we only collect two or so fields, won’t we be missing valuable information that allows us (as a merchant) to understand how they intend to promote?

That is why we select a balance: Only capture what is truly needed upfront in order for them to promote.  A form with 5-7 fields is ideal in striking this balance. But what are the specific fields to use?

The Affiliate Program Signup Form Fields you should have:

Below, are the form fields we believe should be the tenants of every affiliate program signup form (in order of importance) – and why:

  • Email Address – first and foremost. If they don’t complete other actions in your panel/affiliate platform, there is really no effective way to communicate with them beyond an email address. Equally, if they don’t finish the affiliate signup form – you can capture them and setup re-abandonment campaigns (more info on this to come in future posts).
  • Full Name –  Not only for Terms and Conditions acceptance but also so you can personalize any emails and future communication to them.
  • How they plan to promote your products/platform/brand – This should be an open-ended question. You can derive a lot from a potential affiliate partner’s own words on how they plan to promote your services. This is really important. I only find a small number of merchants actually ask this question, and even less merchants that don’t actively do anything with this information.
  • Website (URL) – Some might argue, having a website is not technically a prerequisite to promoting a specific product or service. However, we have seen a huge correlation; 93% of the mid to top level affiliates we work with, have a website.  This also allows you to gleam more data from their website on how they have promoted other products and services in the past.
  • Self-identifying questions – Each affiliate is different, but often can be correlated to a certain category. What do I mean by this? Popular categories really depend on the type of business, but here are just a few: Coupon site, Media Publisher, Blogger, Loyalty site/Rewards, marketing agency, and Digital Marketer/Coach. These categories can be a selection box which will allow you to segment your affiliates and send communication that is important to them(vs. generic affiliate program information).

What about Terms and Conditions? Yes – active acceptance by each affiliate partner is crucial in your program. More information on this on our post, “5 Things You Should Have in your Affiliate Welcome Email”.

But what about Tax Info (for U.S. Publishers)? Shouldn’t I collect upfront?

SaaS Affiliate Program Tax

This goes without saying: The Up Foundry is not and can not provide legal or tax counsel to you or your business. Prior to acting on any of the below information, please seek the appropriate legal or tax professionals for your business and/or industry. 

If there is a high fraud risk in your affiliate program (think credit card affiliate programs) – then yes, I would add this. It truly is contingent on your type of product/service/good and an independent decision you must make.

However, most SaaS-based affiliate programs, must collect this information prior to the first commission payout. This goes back to what is needed and when; In most programs tax information isn’t needed upfront because affiliate partners signing up might not even refer a customer. By adding this information, it only creates a barrier for affiliates start promoting.

This is also why extra fields would be omitted from the form (like city, state, etc.) because you would collect these information (and it will likely be more accurate since there are tax implications) at time of tax document collection.

Anything else to consider?

You might run into limitations set by whatever tracking platform you used to manage your affiliate program. For example, if they require a certain amount of information to be collected on the form (or if the form is not editable), you might not be able to test this.

Also consider any spam implications; the shorter and more basic your form is the greater chance is left open for bots and crawlers to spam your form. So be careful.

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Taylor is the Founder of The Up Foundry. 7+ years starting, managing and growing affiliate programs for Technology, subscription, and SaaS-based companies, Taylor works with clients all over the world to generate millions in sales and revenue from their affiliate programs each year.

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