So for all of you independent musicians out there looking to capitalize on the holiday shopping season here’s my recipe for marketing your merch online:
Selling Physcial CDs and Digital Downloads
Be sure to offer your music products in various formats (both as physical CDs and digital downloads). Surprisingly, the overall majority of people still consume music via CDs-- according to Dave Poler’s poll regarding how poeple prefer to consume music--however, digital downloads is a very close second. By offer your music in multiple formats you increase the likelihood of sales without alienating any particular way a person wishes to consume your music.
I personally like to automate as much of the online shopping/buying process to make it easy on both the consumer and myself (it helps me manage and keep track of things more efficiently). For folks who want to order my physical CDs I use the on-demand service provided by Lulu.com. That way when someone places an order on the site, Lulu takes care of the credit card transaction, the CD is professionally manufactured, packaged and shipped directly to the consumer.
For my digital downloads, I use Nimbit’s service, which does a similar thing--handles the credit card transaction and handles the download process immediately following the purchase.
What I like about both of these services is that there is no set up fee to the musician. There are other services like CDBaby.com, which is great and can allow you to have both CDs and digital downloads in one spot, but there is a set up fee. However, the benefit of the set up fee is that you can get your digital downloads distributed to places like iTunes where it’s often harder for an independent musician to get there music added on their own.
Sale of Other Merchandise
If you offer other merchandise (T-shirts, hats, stickers, etc.) make this available as well. I use CafePress.com for online sale of such merchandise. Again, this is an on-demand service where items are not produced until an order is placed. I use the free version of CafePress, but they do offer a paid Premium version as well.
Sales at Live Shows
Don’t forget to have to have all of the physical merchandise folks can buy online at your website available at your live shows, too. This can even include digital downloads by way of having digital download cards available for purchase or as a free giveaway with one free download song for signing up on your email list.
At live shows I like to also have a few items available for sale that are not available for purchase online. I often design and screen print my own T-shirts with equipment I own at home and make those exclusively available at live shows.
Don’t Forget to Your Fans Know
Finally, you have to let your fans know about what you have available, and you want to make at easy as you can for them to find and purchase the merchandise they’re looking for.
Use your email list to let fans know of available merchandise in a timely fashion (around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, hint, hint). Use Twitter, your Facebook status, MySpace, LinkedIn--whatever social networks you’re on, let those you connect with know because they may be looking for what you’re offering, but not be aware of how to find it.
Posted by: Nick Venturella
Learn about building your independent music career in
The Local Music Journey book.
You can download a FREE excerpt here.