This year as I prepared for the Fall semester I had a checklist:
- get contract packet out to students and confirm lesson times
- clean studio space
- order new and exciting music for the studio
- prepare for 4-part Parent class series
- update and add content to web site
- and the list goes on…
The list was long and kept me busy all through August (along with some well-deserved summer vacation days). As of last week, my students are back to lessons and happy. My daughters are in school and finding a daily routine. I am breathing a sigh of relief. We have done it again- a successful school year is underway.
With my “to-do” list under control I have turned my attention to my web site. In August, while updating the content and adding a few new links, I began to think of expanding the site. My current site has had two target audiences: my students and their families, and the teachers who are looking to complete training with me.
Originally I had an introduction to my program, information about my teaching philosophy, and the logistical details- where, when, how much. The following year I added a page of links to services and summer camps. Last year I added Studio Helper with a log in widget on the opening page of my web site. This gives the site a new purpose. It is the entry portal for my current students to reach all the terrific studio helper tools- the calendar, the practice log, the detailed financial information. It is also the collection site for potential students to register or contact me directly. This year I am working to create an “all in one” music supply page. Everything from sheet music, CD’s, and method books to practicing tools, metronomes, music stands, and even gifts for the holidays.
As I began to look into creating links to various music supplies, I kept coming across articles about affiliate programs. As I looked further I found several very practical sites that have affiliate programs and may meet my needs. Here are the vendors I am considering so far:
What is an affiliate program?
An affiliate program is a relationship. In return for sending business to a particular vendor, the vendor will give me a percentage of the sale. Although it seems simple, I am struck by the subtle differences in each affiliate program in terms of percentage earned and what I have to provide on my site. I am definitely doing my homework and learning as much as I can about each program.
Why should I become an affiliate?
I have already decided that a one-stop-shopping experience would be best for my students. I know that being able to enter my web site, click a link, and have the exact music book or song easily available will help my teaching be more effective. No more weeks of waiting and “oops, I forgot to order the book”. I know that offering a service like this is another example of how my studio provides exceptional service. It looks like joining an affiliate program has the potential to generate income from a service I plan to provide anyway and that has great value to me. So far it seems like a win-win.
What comes next?
I have completed the paperwork to become an affilate with several vendors. I have begun selecting items that I wish to have linked to my web site. Now I am working on the web page(s) to add to my site. I plan to start small with the most obvious and frequently purchased materials and then expand as I gain experience and come upon materials most useful to my students.
Have you used an affiliate program already? Do you have any recommendations as I get started? Are there other web vendors with affiliate programs that I should consider? I would love to hear your ideas and experiences.
As musicians, we are used to working diligently in a profession that rarely pays us generously. I am constantly looking for ways to generate income while providing excellent service. Using an affilate program may only give me a small percentage of each sale, but it is income I will gladly accept.