If you’re tired of playing gigs for spare change and are struggling to get by, then it’s time to start making more money through online sales. As an artist, you should take advantage of every opportunity to earn a little extra money from your efforts.
When it comes to music marketing, at the top of the list of concerns is music. Musicians want people to buy and listen to their music. Yes, you can make some money selling music online, but the merchandise is where the real income can be found.
You can sell merchandise through your website, or use a third-party site to easily create your own band merchandise and ship directly to the buyer.
Don’t worry, it won’t take long to get the hang of merchandising. Here are a few tips to point you in the right direction.
Choose the Merchandise That You’ll Sell
The first step is determining the types of merchandise that you want to sell. A few of the most common items include T-shirts, posters, and coasters. Other options include postcards, mugs, phone covers, and even personalize pens. Basically, anything that’s available through the made-to-order gift sites, where you can place an image on various gift items, will work as suitable merchandise for your band.
But, before you make any final decisions, you should find out what your fans want. Make a list of potential ideas, including the suggestions listed above. Then, put together a poll.
You can post a poll to Facebook, Google Plus, or your website. Let your fans vote on the types of items that they’d like to purchase.
After you’ve collected the results, use the top 3 or 4 items selected by fans and find a way to produce these items. As mentioned, if it’s an item that features an image, you can find online gift shops that let you upload images and paste them onto an object.
You can also take a look at what other musicians are selling. Browse their websites and view their merchandise. You’ll probably see the usual, such as T-shirts and posters, but you may also find a few new ideas.
Determine How You’ll Produce and Distribute Merchandise
The next step is to determine the process for creating and distributing your merchandise. If it’s something that you make at home, you’ll need to handle shipping on your own. If you rely on a third-party gift shop to create your orders on-demand, the process becomes streamlined.
Decide on the Price Tag for Your Merchandise
You’ll also need to decide how much to charge your fans for this merchandise. You don’t want to go broke selling merchandise. The entire point is to make money. So, you’ll need to charge more than you spend.
Determine the total cost of producing the item. For example, if you’re selling a T-shirt, determine how much it costs to have the T-shirt made – whether you use an online store to create the T-shirt or work with a local company. Then, add the shipping costs.
You should charge between an additional 50% to 100% of your total cost. So, if something costs $10 to produce and ship, you should charge $15 to $20.
Showcase Your Merchandise on Your Website
You may need to order some starter merchandise so that you can take photographs of the items to prove that they’re legit. You can then showcase your merchandise on your website.
If you’re using WordPress, there are plugins that you can use to accept online orders. Another option is to open up a Shopify store.
Shopify includes a payment gateway so that you can accept credit cards and PayPal. This is the easiest option, especially if you decide to work with a website that can ship directly to your customers and produce items on-demand. The following video covers some of the basics of setting up a Shopify store:
Let Your Fans Know About Your Merchandise
The final step is to market your merchandise. You can do this by letting your email subscribers know about your new merchandise page on your website. You can also send out social media posts when you add new items to your merchandise selection.
Depending on the size of your fan base, you could also use Facebook ads to help attract more business. Though, the conversion rates for these ads will be lower than usual, as you’re selling niche products with limited mass appeal.
Start coming up with ideas for your merchandise. Remember to ask your fans and check out other musician’s websites. Determine how you’re going to produce the merchandise and ship to customers. Also, set a reasonable price point that actually makes you money.
In the end, merchandising is an important part of having a successful music career. If you don’t already have merchandise on your site, then now is the time to start creating your merch.