For many artists, merchandise sales represent a significant chunk of the artist’s total revenue – often representing more than download or sponsorship revenue. But what can you do to increase the number of merch sales you make at your shows?
1. Accept Credit Cards
If you don’t accept payment by card or PayPal, you’re likely missing out on a lot of sales. Many people don’t carry cash – or won’t have enough cash on them to purchase what they want. If the venue is far from a cash point, or there’s a long queue, you’ll likely miss the sale. Make it as easy as possible for fans to buy from you – there are countless options like Worldpay or iZettle for accepting credit card payments from your iPhone.
2. Add Urgency – Time Limited Offers
If your fans can buy the same T-shirt or CD in three months time at the same cost, there is no strong incentive to buy now. Add a time-limited offer to your merchandise to, such as ‘25% off if purchased today’ to add a sense of urgency to your offering.
3. Do an Online Giveaway to Reward Your Loyal Fans
At FanDistro, one thing we’ve seen to be extremely effective is when artists give away a T-Shirt as a reward every time a fan gets ten or more of their friends ‘distro-ing’ i.e. sharing your music. This is a great way to quickly grow your fanbase and raise awareness of the merchandise you have on offer.
4. Post-Event Marketing via Facebook Custom Audiences
Facebook have an advertising option called ‘custom audiences’, which enables you to run ads to people based on their email address. If you’ve collected a list of people’s email addresses to join your mailing list at the show, you can run ads to them after the event encouraging them to purchase merchandise from the show!
5. Add Exclusivity With Limited Edition Designs
Fans like to feel that they have an exclusive relationship with the artist. Offering your fans limited edition products is a great way to make them feel special, because they feel as if they have something that other ‘normal’ fans don’t have. Offering limited edition items also increases the urgency (point #2) because fans know that if they don’t buy now, they’ll miss the opportunity to get this item.
6. Add Selection – More Sizes, Colors, Styles
No matter how cool the design or the artist, people don’t buy clothing that’s not their style, size, or color – so you must cater to people’s individual preferences.
7. Measure What Works
Don’t just create designs and sell your latest designs. Constantly keep track of which designs, colors, and sizes are selling the most, and then readjust your stock to get more of what’s working for you.
8. Offer Unusual / Useful Merch
Most artists sell merchandise that’s relatively useless – stickers, badges, key rings etc. Why not offer something that people can genuinely make use of, such as customized USB sticks with your music on that fans can re-use time and time again. Also, consider the situation and what fans might need at the time – in an interview with music marketer Dave Huffman, he mentioned how his band got a lot of attention at festivals by selling their own branded condoms!
9. Make it personalized
Personalized items are not only worth more to fans, but they’re also more special. If you can get the band to sign T-Shirts, CDs, or other merch items with a personalized message you’ll no doubt make your fans happier as well as earning more from your merch.
10. Promote it from your Facebook Page Apps section
Below the like button on your Facebook Page is a valuable bit of real estate – the app section, which can be used to link your fans to your merchandise store. Many artists leave this section as the default ‘like count’, but it can be a great way to passively drive merchandise sales from your Facebook Page.
11. Allow Merch Purchases From Your Mobile App
With almost 25% of people now visiting the web from a mobile or tablet device, it’s important to make sure that your fans can purchase merch directly from your band’s mobile app or mobile website. If you don’t already have an app for your band, you can use an app creator like Mobile Roadie – or there are services like Presskit.to, which offer mobile-optimised EPKs for artists.
12. Locate Your Merch Table in the Right Spot
As a rule of thumb, your merch table should be setup somewhere that’s well-lit, easy to access, and must be walked past by as many people entering the venue as possible. If possible, try to set it up so that people don’t have to go out of their way to see what you have on offer.
13. Make it Look Attractive
Try to make your merch table an attraction at the gig. Get the band behind the merch table doing signings, or add some interesting lighting / décor to make it stand out in the room.
14. Play More Shows
A simple way to sell more merchandise is to simply get in front of more potential fans. The more shows you play, the fast you will also learn what’s working and what isn’t when it comes to selling merchandise. The quicker you learn, the better.
Image Credit: Noranna
When it comes to promoting music, 99% of artists have the exact same strategy. No one stands out from the crowd. When everyone else is zigging, what are you doing with your music marketing strategy to zag?
Woody Allen famously said that eighty percent of success is showing up. This is especially true in the music industry. The reality is that there are opportunities everywhere. In the US, there are hundreds of thousands of people employed in the music industry, most of whom gather at industry conferences, such as CMJ, New Music Seminar, SF Music Tech Summit, TAXI Road Rally, and SXSW. Show up to those conferences and make a point of meeting people and building friends.
What is stopping you from creating a music business Meetup in your city? When you start creating events – be it dinners, conferences, or meetups, people begin to gravitate to you as the ‘hub’. You become incredibly well connected, respected, and an important go-to person for others. Be that person for your music scene, it’s easier than you think.
Your existing friends, family, and fans are the most valuable people you have when it comes to marketing – do not underestimate what they can do. If you asked every fan, friend, or family member if they know one person who might enjoy your music – or be able to help you find a gig, your calendar or fan base would grow/fill up very quickly. Try it.
When you support a cause, your fans are more likely to spread the word about your music. This is because fans see that it’s helping a greater cause.
It also forces you into a mind-set where your focus is on “how can I do the most good with my music” opposed to “how can sell the most songs”. The motivation and drive you get from the latter is much greater.
When you create a project on FanDistro, fans are given the option to donate 20% of any music sales that they refer to a charity. It’s because of this that FanDistro campaigns tend to be shared virally – more people share your music because they see the greater good that it does.
It may seem counter-intuitive to spend your limited time helping other artists promote their music rather than your own, but being selfless and genuinely helpful is one of the best marketing strategies around.
There are a number of reasons for this – first of all, people often reciprocate favors. Secondly, other bands are gatekeepers to the contacts you need to meet (promoters, labels, journalists etc.). Finally, you will learn a lot by promoting others, which you can then apply to your situation.
When you speak to a potential sponsor, promoter, journalist, or whoever you should be considering ‘what’s in it for them’? If nothing, then you’re relying on pure altruism to get what you want, which isn’t as effective as we’d hope.
Instead, try to understand what motivates them and what would make a no-brainer offer. If you’re looking to get a sponsorship deal with a local beer brand, how can you offer them 10x the value you’re asking for? In other words, if they offer you $300 worth of free beer, how can you ensure that you’ll offer them a $3,000 increase in their beer sales? When trying to get something from someone, make it a no-brainer.
Most artists don’t go the extra mile like Amanda Palmer does. While you don’t need to go as far as crashing at your fans’ houses, there’s a lot you can learn from her approach in terms of building genuine relationships with fans. Do something for you fans that 99% of artists aren’t doing for theirs – whether that’s spending the day with a handful of die-hard fans, or using a tool like Pledge Music to offer your fans unique experiences.
8. Ask for help
Finally, remember to ask for help. It sounds like common sense, but many artists are afraid to ask for help when it comes to promotion. There are a lot of people out there who would be willing to do you a favor – ask them for it.
What are your unconventional tips for promoting music? Leave them in the comments below!
If your answer is yes, then offer them rewards for sharing and getting their friends to share too. Set up a whole menu of rewards for your fans. For example, if a friend gets 10 people to Distro (share) one of your songs give them a free download of your album or if they get 20 people to Distro then give them an Exclusive 30 minute Google Hangout performance with 5 of their friends. Another reward idea is if they help you raise $100 for your charity they get an exclusive cover song recorded only for them. The possibilities are endless! Set up your menu of rewards in the Fan Engagement Zone which you can access from your project edit page.
Click here to get set up with a free account now!
Check out our Behind the scenes of viral music infographic!
Create a buzz around an upcoming release by setting up a Pre-Order Release where your fans can purchase songs from your project before the actual release date. A Pre-Order release can be very effective, just ask Justin Timberlake how he did on his Pre-Order campaign!
Our Pre-Order feature is completely customizable so you can set up your Pre-Order to have one or more songs streamable and set 30-second samples as playable or not playable. Fans will not be able to download purchased songs until the release date.
To set up your Pre-Order go here and click on your project. The link will be on the left.
It only takes a minute to get up and running so do it now!!
We have just released a really cool new type of Distro called the Distrogram. The Distrogram allows you to create a slideshow to a song using images from Instagram, Cinemagram, Flickr, Facebook or anyplace else you choose to store images. The tool makes it not only easy to put photos to music, but also sketches, artwork, animated photos, etc. Now fans can share music with their own creative touch.
Check out a Distrogram here!
This Chantal fan won a free trip to Vegas to see her perform at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino! The trip included airfare, hotel and dinner!
A few quotes from the winner!
“I just wanted to extend my thanks to you and the entire Fan Distro team for making it all possible! It was an unforgettable trip and I so appreciate everything you guys did for me! “
“Thank you SO SO SO much to @chantalclaret and @jimmyurine for being so sweet and putting on an amazing show and letting me come see it!”
“And a million thank yous to @FanDistro, @chantalclaret, @jimmyurine, the Hard Rock Hotel, and Vinyl for making this all possible!”
Attention Artists - The Free Download Feature rewards fans for the exposure they give to you by sharing your music with their network. Remember, when you get into a fan’s network, you have the opportunity to gain new fans!
How does it work?
1. A fan Distros one of your songs
2. One of their friends clicks through the Distro to check-out your song
3. The fan that originally Distro’d the song gets the free download!
Artists can select their Free Download on the Promotion page when editing a project.
We have expanded our charity feature! Artists now have the ability to select a default charity for their projects! This charity will receive the fan’s 20% unless the fan opts to support another charity or selects a different option. This gives you more control over which charity benefits from your project! You still receive 80% of net sales. To set a default charity for your project(s), just go to your project page, select your project and then select your default charity! If you are interested in a charity that is not on our list please contact us and we’ll work with you on adding it to the list.
With the recent rebuild of our site we made the decision do away with our FanDistro account and have users log in with their Facebook or Twitter accounts.
So what do you do with your old account information?
We set up a way for users to migrate their old FanDistro account information to their new accounts (facebook or twitter). What you need to do is login with either Facebook or Twitter and then go to your account page. Click “Link Old Account to This Account” - on the left side of the page. Enter the email address associated with your old fandistro account and click submit. You will receive an email with instructions from there.
It’s that simple!
Please contact us with any questions or problems.
After you set up your account and upload your music it’s time to engage your fans.
The first thing you should do is inform your fans with a link to your FanDistro page that they can now share your music and potentially help a charity at the same time by sharing through FanDistro. Inform them on Facebook, twitter, G+, your website, by email and any other form of contact you have.
Your message might say something like this:
“Hey everyone! We just signed up for this new site where our fans can share our music and help a charity at the same time. 20% of any sales that come through your post will go to a charity that you choose. Click on this link to get started (of course you’ll have to put the link to your own FanDistro page!) log in and click either the facebook, twitter or G+ icon next to a track that you want to share. Type in your message and post. When someone clicks through your Distro (post) and buys a song or album 20% of the sale will go to a charity that you choose.”
Another thought is to start off with a contest and offer a reward for the fan that helps direct the most money to a specific charity. Maybe offer the winner a signed guitar or a t-shirt and signed album or backstage passes to a show to a fan that is donating the most to a charity. We provide you with statistics so you can track the fans that are posting the most and generating the most sales.
Another contest idea is to offer the first fan that shares your music through FanDisto and generates a sale will win free tickets to a show or a free album download.
The ideas to engage your fans are endless. We’ll be posting more here in the future so keep coming back!
Contestants can create their own films or cut/edit existing YouTube Videos to develop their own music videos.
The producer with the most You Tube “Thumbs Up” by 10/15/2012 wins a new iPad and your video will be featured on Cosmo’s Official Facebook Page!
The first 15 producers to generate $15 in CD sales for “Think Bigger” will receive a Cosmo Jarvis T-shirt.
Invite them to join and if they click through your FanDistro generated message and join we’ll credit your account with 1000 points and send you a FanDistro t-shirt! Check out the link below the Chantal Claret’s tracks - http://fandistro.com/track/?grp=846925