Today rock shirts may seem more like a fashion statement than anything. With everyone from die-hard rockers to the Kardashians sporting them, you may want to wear them for their great looks. But what may not be as obvious is that rock shirts and other merch promote a band. No matter what level your band is at, you will want to create merch as a promotional tactic. You may be wondering how bands can use merch to promote their music?
Bands can create different merchant types, including rock shirts, pins, patches, hats, water bottles, and more, that sport their logos. These items can be sold or given to fans and posted on social media to help the bands promote themselves. They can also bring in some much-needed income.
Here are a few useful tips if you start thinking about using merch to promote your music.
Making Band Merch: What Merch Can I Make?
When it comes to the type of merch a band can make, the possibilities are endless. It can include anything from apparent items like tote bags, t-shirts, stickers, and hats to more unusual items like bottle openers, water bottles, pens, and even lyric books.
Keep in mind that while unusual items may get people talking, you are best off going with things people can use. You will also want something that gets maximum visibility.
For instance, everyone needs clothing. If you sell someone a shirt, fans will likely wear it, especially if it has a superior cut and a cool design. When they wear it, not only will it get them thinking about your band, it will also be visible to other people getting the word out to a larger crowd.
Water bottles, on the other hand, may not get used as often. I know I have tons of water bottles in my closet that I have from a promotion. I seldom use them.
Now, I’m not telling you not to branch out with your promotional items. After all, I’m sure there are plenty of people that use water bottles and other types of merch items in their everyday lives.
But if you have to prioritize, go with items you know people will use.
Making Band Merch: How Do I Use My Merch to Promote?
You will want to get your merch out to as many people as possible. The more people that have your items, the more likely they are to get used, and the more they will work to spread the word about your band.
If you have the money, you may consider giving your merch away to people. You may have a different opinion depending on how deep your pockets are and how expensive the merch is. For instance, my band has buttons made that cost just thirty cents each. We always give these away to fans because it makes them feel good, and it helps to promote our brand.
Shirts are more expensive, typically costing $6 to $12 for each shirt. We also give a lot of these away, but you may end up going broke if you’re on a tight budget if you try to do this.
Another way to use merch to promote your brand is through social media.
Bands should do what they can to keep themselves visible by posting on social media often. The problem is, it can be challenging to figure out what content you should post. That’s where merch comes in.
Did your band just come out with new shirts? Post it on social media. New pins? Post in on social media.
Our band gives away several shirts to our fans. We ask one small favor in return; that they take a picture of themselves wearing the shirt and send it to us to post it. This request makes the person feel special, and it’s a fun way to promote your band.
Making Band Merch: How Bands Get Merch
If you look on the internet, you will find that many companies make promotional merchandise. You want to go with the company that charges the least, but you get what you pay for, so do your quality research. If prices seem suspiciously low, it may be that the items are of poor quality or that the print will come off immediately.
Note: If you are looking for merch, below are a couple of options:
Merchly is a company that allows you to get 100 white t-shirts at about $5 each. The process is simple and encourages bulk ordering.
Zazzle is a company that works in available custom designs. Stickers are also for sale on here, which are great for giving away. You can also order t-shirts, hoodies, and clothing.
SpreadShop is excellent if you also want an online eCommerce platform. You can quickly establish an online merch store utilizing their available features.
Local Printing Company
Look around on Google Maps or search “local printing company” on Google. Some local companies will be excited about the business and take it as an opportunity to promote your brand in exchange. Local connections never hurt!
Cost Concerns on Producing Merch
You will also pay more for full-color printing. If you have one color print on your item, it will be cheaper than a multi-color photo.
One way to get around paying high prices for merch is to make it yourself. You can get a screen printing machine to make shirts and patches, and there are also ways to make your buttons.
Getting these materials together is a significant expense, but it will pay off in the long run. Not only will you make more money selling your merch, but you can also start making merch for other bands and turn it into a business.
Making Band Merch: How to Sell Your Merch
The best way to sell your merch is to bring it to shows. Hopefully, fans who come to support your band will also want to help out by buying merch.
If you bring merch to shows, you may consider setting up a table and getting some roadies to handle the selling. That way, everyone will see that you have merch available, and you won’t have to worry about dealing with sales when you are concentrating on performing and networking.
You can also sell merch through online platforms. Sites like Bandcamp allow you to sell your music digitally, and you can also make shirts and other merch available for sale.
Another way to sell merch is to do it on eBay. Get your band eBay page to exclusively sell your merch. Be sure to put links to the eBay page on your website and social media.
Another great tip is to sell merch on Threadless. Threadless is a cool site where all you have to do is upload your logo. Threadless then virtually puts it on various items that range from baby onesies to shower curtains to t-shirts and more.
If a fan wants to buy one of these items, Threadless makes them at no expense to you, and you get a cut of the profit. Usually, you will only end up with a few dollars for each sale, but you will make a lot of money if you can sell in bulk.
Merch is a great way to promote your band. The tips in this article will help you find the merch you need and effectively use it to get the word out about your band. What merch tips do you have for musicians? Feel free to share them in the comments.
How do I get my band noticed?
While merch is a great way to promote your band, you can do many other things to get your band noticed. Here are just a few.
- Keep Touring: Touring will get your band known in cities outside of your hometown. It will help create a buzz that can get you closer to being successful.
- Keep Up Your Online Visibility: Keep your band active online by sharing your music on streaming services, updating your website, and posting on social media regularly.
- Get Indie Support: There are plenty of internet radio stations that will support your music, and many indie fanzines want to help struggling artists. Reach out to them to see how you can generate media interest.
What Type of Merch Sells Best?
Many types of merch can promote your brand and make you money. Here are some promotional items your band should consider for investment.
- Tote bags/Messenger Bags
- Guitar picks
- Tank tops
What Should I Charge for Merch?
The amount you charge for merch will vary depending on how much you spent to get the product made and your profit goals.
For instance, we pay only 30 cents for our pins. Even though we give most of these away, we would only charge a dollar or so if we were to sell them.
Shirts are more of an investment. Our full-color shirts cost about $8 to make. We usually charge only $10 for them because we like to see people wearing them. Charging less also makes them easy to sell, especially in bars where people save their money to spend it on alcohol.
Other bands charge as much as $20 (or more) for their shirts. When deciding your figure, think about people’s willingness to purchase t-shirts. Also, ask yourself how many t-shirts you want to sell before making a profit.
Another critical point is, try to keep the price of your merch to a rounded number. If you charge $1, $5, or $10 for your shirt, you won’t need to make change. If you charge $8 or $12, be prepared to take some singles with you so you can get those sales going.