If you are an independent artist looking to grow your audience and image, selling merch is essential. Fans want to buy merch from their favorite bands. When they do, they are making an investment in a relationship with you.
Research for inspiration and diversify your offerings
We knew right away that we would leverage the commission-free online store via Wild Fire’s website through Bandzoogle to sell merch. We began by surveying many different bands and developing a list of merch items that we wanted to include in our offerings. Ultimately, those items included autographed CDs, autographed photos, autographed lyric sheets, autographed posters, downloads, shirts, hats, USB flash drives, and more.
Use social media to invite fans to your artist website
We began leveraging Facebook ads to target audiences that are fans of similar artists. Our offers primarily included autographed CDs and autographed photos, which ultimately directed audiences to our website’s online store. To minimize distractions, the landing page only featured the highlighted item and included the option to check out via PayPal. This worked really well and allowed us to grow our email list substantially.
Offer free samples
Last year, we decided to give away Wild Fire’s CD’s and photos for free, as long as the customers paid for shipping. This proved to be a very effective strategy.Giving away music may seem like a losing proposition, but if you have a great product or one that resonates well with fans, they will come back and buy more merch from you. You have to think about the long-term relationship here. Ads hit a cold audience. Until they hear your music, they may not want to purchase a $10 or $15 CD. Why not give it to them and let them invest in you slowly, such as paying for shipping, and let the relationship grow from there?
Understand who your most invested fans are
To keep in touch with the fans that made purchases we began sending out periodic offers to our email list Because we can create custom categories, which can be sorted and filtered, we can target repeat purchasers with additional and more frequent offers. This also helps us avoid spamming the entire list too often.
When the pandemic hit, we were not sure if our merch strategies would continue to work. However, we found that people were even more engaged and the sales continued to grow. This was likely due to the fact that more people were staying home and, as a result, online more often. We actually have not changed our strategy at all during the pandemic. Hopefully, our experience can help other musicians maximize success with online merch sales.
About Wild Fire
Wild Fire is Kayla and Kelli Iutzwig, a pop country sister duo from Houston, TX. After launching in 2016, they’ve wowed audiences at NRG Stadium, NRG Arena, The Houston Rodeo, the University of Houston Stadium, among many other venues. In 2018, they took first prize as Female Vocalist of the Year in the Young Adult category at the Josie MusicAwards, held at Dolly Parton’s Dollywood theme park. In 2019, Wild Fire had several of their original songs placed in NBC’s “Very Cavallari” reality TV show. For more info, visit their website at wildfiresings.com.