Finding ways to more effectively monetize music is an ongoing quest. And with all of the stats showing a decline in music sales driven by the rise of streaming, it would be easy to devalue the income potential of music and merch sales, That would be a BIG mistake, say the CyberPR team.
By Ariel Hyatt and her team at CyberPR
We all know that very few people actually buy music these days. You do know this right?
If you’re waiting to make a palpable amount of money from from Spotify, Apple or Pandora streams… you are sadly going to be waiting a long time. This 3-part series will provide marketing tips that help you sell. The reality is your music acts as a hook, pulling fans in, only then can you start to sell them anything. This is why building two-way conversations with fans and having direct pathways to communicate with them is CRUCIAL. Also, understanding how to sell merch on Spotify is crucial too (more on that later).
Remember not to put the cart before the horse here. If you don’t have a fanbase to sell to, there’s no reason to build a series of products. So focus on getting some ENGAGED fans first.
If you think you’re ready to start making products, here are some suggestions to make sure you’re selling what your fans want to buy.
Survey Your Fans
Expert marketers never release products without testing the demand first. Maybe you think you know what your fans want, but people always find ways to surprise you.
Understanding who your fans are and what they like/ want is critical. So ask them!
I have said this many times – music is a feeling, not a product, and its hard to get fans to tell you exactly how they feel about new music. But its EASY to find out what products they like.
- Fan experiences (backstage tours, etc.)
- Limited edition hoodies
- Yoga mats
- Special non-leaching water bottles
There is a practically ENDLESS array of products and experiences you can offer to your fans. How do you know what they want? If you don’t ask, they wont tell you… This guide is a few years old but it is still one of the best guides to help get your brain firing about what merch to make and where and how to source it.
Survey Your Email List
Set up a survey online and use your email newsletter list or Facebook page to circulate it. Survey Monkey will allow you to create a free survey that you can send to your fans. Ask them specifically what they might like to buy from you and how much they might be willing to pay. You can also ask if they might enjoy special events, music lessons, or house concerts.
Survey Using Twitter
If you do not have a large enough mailing list to get a response, you can survey your fans using on Twitter using Twitters Poll function. Click here to read how.
Survey Using Facebook
Or you can survey right on your Facebook page using the Survey Monkey for Facebook or Simple Surveys.
Survey Using Instagram
Create a This or That Image or a 15 second video asking fans what they might enjoy – then follow up with additional ideas.
Tips for Merchandise
Merchandise is not a topic that we blog about often as we focus on Marketing and PR here on this blog – but there are many amazing articles we refer to and suggest often and they are included here for your reference.
First, Know Where to Buy Merch
For all your practical questions (where can I buy t-shirts in bulk?, how much should I charge?, etc.), again check out THIS ARTICLE on Music Think Tank. It is an absolute goldmine of information, and it will help you immensely.
Next, Know How To Sell it & How Much to Charge
If you have not read the brilliant Ari Herstand’s articles (they are a wee bit old but they are very relevant) check these out:
Sell Merch On Spotify
Before I get all “Spotify” on you please know something very important! You need to be verified on Spotify before you can use it to maximum advantage. In case you didn’t know Merchbar is Spotify’s official merchandise partner. This is straight from their site:
Once your merch is on Merchbar they automatically bring it to your fans on Spotify. Every product listing is optimized for sharing and discovery on social networks. If your fans are looking for it, we make sure they’ll find it on all the major search engines.
Tips For Asking For The Sale
And now that you have it you can’t be shy about asking for the sale. This is why understanding how to use your newsletter is so crucial. In one of my most popular articles I talk about “GETTING” (what I am really talking about is the sale). Here is an excerpt:
Getting – Puts Fans Into Action
This is the most critical part of the email newsletter as it is what you are leaving your readers with. This section is known to marketers and savvy business people as a Call to Action or a CTA. I have read countless newsletter that left me cold without asking me to do something. Don’t let this be you!
Examples of Calls to Action For Money
• Invite them to an upcoming appearance with a ticket link
• Invite them to purchase your products, music and merch online
• Direct them to your crowdfunding site
• Direct them to a Pledge pre-sale
• Sell a special event or pre-event before your show
Final tip – There should only be one Call to Action per newsletter. Readers will get confused and end up choosing nothing if they have more than one choice. This is why having only ONE CTA per newsletter is key and why in order to increase purchase frequency you need a strategy for not only newsletters but also for social media that carefully plans out the “asks.”
I hope this post has helped you!
Next week, in the final section of Music Marketing Tips, we’ll go in depth about strategies you can employ to make a SUSTAINABLE living as a musician.