Hey guys, today Dylan Lott from Cloud Records has written you a guide. In the following guide he talks about some tips he’s picked up when it comes to selling more merchandise for groups / bands and solo musicians alike.
If you’re new to putting a merch campaign together or you just want some tips to selling more of it, check this out. As always, if you find it useful, please share it and link to it from your site. But anyway, I’ll let Dylan get into it:
1. Sell Good Stuff
While this sounds obvious, it’s important to mention: make sure your merchandise is of a good quality! If you have a good product, it helps sell itself. Don’t sell things just for the sake of it, if it isn’t representing you in a good way, don’t bother with it.
The best way to improve your product? Hire a good designer, and print on good quality material!
For designers, I use a couple of different people. In the past, I’ve used DDubDesigns for alternative genre designs, which is the genre I tend to work the most with.
As far as the quality of the shirts and products, I use MerchHero. They have the ability to print on nearly any shirt brand I want, as well as the ability to print on other items of merch such as flip flops, mesh shorts, tank tops, etc.
The motto here is don’t skimp! You might pay a dollar more per shirt, but it’ll pay off in the long run when you’re selling more.
Pro Tip: Survey your fans on social media sites to see which shirt brands they like the most, or which style / fit they like the most. This will pay off a lot when you start printing!
Editor’s Tip: You may also want to consider setting up your own music clothing line if you have the resources and really want to get your brand out there.
2. Get A Great Merch Person
One thing you need to realize if you want to sell more merchandise, is you can’t do it all your self. If you want to maximize merch sales, you need to get someone else on board.
So get a dedicated merch person that sells your merch full time, even while you’re out playing on stage and taking care of other band related tasks.
A dedicated merch person has some other cool purposes that can take the weight off of the band’s shoulders. For example, a lot of merch handlers for larger bands will take care of ordering the merch ahead of time, figuring out how much merch will be needed (for tours this is more important), organizing the merch, keeping inventory, etc…
Taking the weight of all of that off of the band members’ heads is a great time saver.
For payment, the merch handler usually gets to tag along with the band, and sometimes they get paid a per day rate from the band. While the paid rate varies, I’ve seen some bands pay $5 to $10 a day. I know this isn’t much, but the merch person usually does it to get associated with the band and get involved in that lifestyle.
3. Put It Up Online
As you know, the internet is an important part of promoting your music career. Because of this, your merch had better be online.
There’s so many easy sites to upload your merch onto. My personal favorite? BandCamp. This site is awesome because it has a built-in user base already. BandCamp will tell you when you get a sale from someone that searched for your item, or if it was someone who was just browsing around. That’s extremely important because you can see exactly what people are truly searching for, not just what people say they’re searching for.
Editor’s Note: You should also put your merch on your own website as well as advertising it on your social sites occasionally.
4. Hustle, Hustle, Hustle
Get out of your chair behind the merch table, and start hustling your stuff. Talk to fans outside the venue, talk to other bands, talk to the sound guy. Strike up a relationship with all of these people, it will pay off in the long run.
Have you ever tried a merch swap? Here’s an idea:
Next time you’re talking to a band that’s going to be doing extensive touring, try swapping shirts with them or even just giving a member of theirs a t shirt to wear. Their support on the road can be more helpful than you’ll ever realize.
5. Social Media Movement
You’re probably on Facebook, yes. That’s almost to be assumed these days.
But are you on Tumblr, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, BandPage, BandsInTown, MySpace, BandCamp, Vimeo, VibeDeck, and ReverbNation?
You probably can’t answer yes to that question.
But that’s okay! That’s what I was banking on.
Editor’s Note: I don’t think it’s essential to be on that many social networks, as feel it can sometimes distract you from putting in the effort to make 3-4 of those networks work for you. What often happens is you spread yourself thin and don’t see big results in any of the above. That said, my strategy isn’t the only one that can work, so if you want to try this one then feel free.
You see, the more platforms you have for your band to get the word out, the more you’re going to get noticed. Even if it’s by a small percentage, it WILL BE MORE.
The biggest part, however, isn’t just having a profile on each of these sites: It’s linking them all together and having them all complement one another.
For example, here’s a quick checklist of how your content should be networked together:
- YouTube videos should have your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram profiles linked in the description, along with a link to your merch store.
- You should have your Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter all linked together using their built in connectivity.
- You should have each band member’s phone connected into the band Instagram and Twitter. Constant posting means constant spreading!
- You should have your Facebook tabs link over to your merch store. Make your merch easier to find!
- Your ReverbNation profile should also link over to all your other pertinent social media sites. Every single one!
- Your Facebook should have the BandPage app installed so that you can have music on your Facebook. Link your YouTube videos into your BandPage app, too!
If you start doing all of these, I guarantee you’ll see a spike in traffic. It’s just probability that people will spend a little longer lurking on your content when it’s all linked together.
All in all, your merch is going to play an important role in terms of the income for your band. In this modern era of the music industry, your music no longer forms as big a chunk of your income. Your music is your marketing, and your merch is one of your products. People can’t download a shirt, and for that exact reason, merch will never be forgotten.
Take this, apply it, and comment what successes or problems you have! We love to hear back from you.