As DIY musicians, it can be hard to keep up with promotional ideas.
You have a million things to do, and coming up with new ideas to keep fans engaged may not be at the top of your list.
But it should be.
Because your music should be making you money.
CD sales are dead in the water but there is more than one way to monetise your art.
Promotional merchandise is a powerful tool in your arsenal and helps your brand in 3 ways…
#1 Creates fan loyalty
#2 Boosts sales
#3 Create talking points about your music
Promotional merchandise can be relatively inexpensive for you to print, BUT it pays back BIG time in the future, and you can recoup the costs on the sales.
Print on demand
Using the print-on-demand module for selling your merchandise means you don’t have to buy anything upfront and only buy the merch when someone has purchased from you.
Plus, the items get shipped directly to the buyer. Win-win.
I go into more detail on this in this blog here.
Sure, T-shirts, key rings and mugs have been done to death.
BUT if you can think outside the box and create less common merch, you are creating unique products and a talking points.
So let’s dive in.
If you need some ideas for some new merch, how about…
- Guitar Picks
- Hats, Caps and Beanies
- Limited edition colour vinyl
- Tote Bags
- Pet Bandana collar
- Phone cases
- Baby accessories
- Poker cards
- Yoga Mat
Printify can create most of the above for you.
Having your band or name on those cool items sets you apart from the competition, helps you to stand out from the crows and allows you to identify your super fans.
But here’s the real question…
What has worked for me?
I have tried many merchandise items in the last twenty years.
I like to think of myself as a connoisseur of the merch table.
The number one item that worked better than anything else was a magical item.
I didn’t make any money on the front end of this promotional merch item, but the back end was a different story.
So what was this mystical item?
I released 3 albums and 4 EPs in the space of 10 years, and with each new release, I released a new beermat. It became my thing.
They were relatively cheap to get printed and became collecting cards for fans.
The beermats would have a photo of the artwork, my name and website details, and that was it.
I would clear it with the venues to put them on the tables at gigs. Then, people could take them home at the end of the show.
When people bought CDs, I’d pop a beermat in the post with the CD as a free added extra.
Fans would message asking for a specific beermat they didn’t have and come to gigs to collect the missing piece of their puzzle.
Even today, I still get people messaging me saying they have a pristine beermat they got at such and such a gig, and it sits proudly on their desk at work.
Just last week I received an email from a fan about a beermat I gave away 12 YEARS AGO! He has discovered the beer mat and wanted to know when I had new music coming out.
That is powerful marketing!
When someone who you don’t know, takes the time to email about a small action 12 years ago! Insane!
My point is the little things count, and making connections with fans is the key that will keep you making music for years to come.
It is your fans who stream your music, buy your merchandise and come to your shows. So a little bit of kindness in the form of a free beer mat can go a long way.
And anyway, who doesn’t need a new beer mat in their life?
FVMusicBlog October 2022