Merchandise | Making Money Beyond Ads : Every creator’s merchandising strategy is different and will depend on your audience

 Merchandise | Making Money Beyond Ads : Every creator’s merchandising strategy is different and will depend on your audience

There’s no magic number of subscribers or watch hours that determine when you should start selling merchandise. Instead, you can analyze your channel and brand to see if you’ll get a return on your investment. 

You're living the dream, making YouTube videos for a living.

Maybe you're even doing it part-time, in which case you may also have a job.

In either case, your time is at a premium.

This is why many creators sell merchandise, or merch

to earn supplementary, or even primary, revenue.

Today, I'll show you how to do it without putting a hurting on your schedule.

I'm Seth from the channel Seth's Bike Hacks, where I take my audience with me

on mountain-biking adventures.

Whether you're selling t-shirts, hats or anything else with your logo on it

branded merch is a huge win for both you and you fans.

Some creators use merch to supplement their income

while others have made it their main revenue stream.

There's no right or wrong time to start selling merch

but clues in your comment section should be your first indicator.

Are you seeing familiar names? Are people quoting you?

If so, they might wanna show their support in a more tangible way.

Throughout my mountain-biking adventures, 

my audience has become familiar

with certain catchphrases and sayings.

This 'Smeash' t-shirt I'm wearing has an inside joke on it

which any of my subscribers would instantly recognise.

That makes it the perfect way for them to show their support

and signal to other subscribers that they watch my channel.

Surely you've seen other examples like that shirt

and maybe you even own a few bits of branded merchandise.

But someone needs to design this stuff, warehouse it, ship it out

and handle complaints when something goes wrong.

Where would you, a busy creator, find the time to do that?

When I first started selling merch

this t-shirt was the first item I had for sale.

I had a friend design it and I had a local t-shirt supplier print them up.

I kept all the inventory in my closet

and I shipped them all out right from the same room I edit from.

I had to buy shipping supplies, I had to buy inventory

and when a size got low in stock, I had to make another minimum order

which could be thousands of dollars.

As my audience grew, so did the workload.

I'd be up late shipping out t-shirts

and I realised that before long, this wouldn't be a very viable business model.

I'd need to hire help, get warehouse space

and do all sorts of things that would cut into my profit.

That's when I discovered Teespring.

Services like Teespring allow you to sell a range of over 35 different products

including shirts, mugs, phone cases and even pillows

without ever handling physical products.

Just decide what you want to sell

list it on their site and sit back while they handle the logistics.

The seller, in this case Teespring, takes a cut of the sale to cover their costs

and you get the remaining profit.

Using a t-shirt as an example

you may be left with 8 to 10 dollars of each sale

depending on the purchase price.

While this may not be as profitable as an in-house operation

consider the cost of your time.

You can use that time to promote your merchandise

come up with new designs

and create the very content that drives traffic to your channel.

Another great thing about Teespring

is the frictionless experience it gives your users.

Since many creators are already using the platform

many of your users will already be familiar with it.

The ubiquity of Teespring is the main reason I use it.

But there are plenty of alternative services that work in a similar way.

The main idea is to let the professionals handle your fulfilment

while you focus on what you do best.

A key point to consider is timing.

Leveraging an event or exciting change in your channel

is a great way to spur sales and even impulse buys.

Let's say you're redesigning your channel logo.

Before you reveal this new logo to your audience

get your merch in order.

Consider who your buyers are, your most dedicated fans

many of whom watch your content the instant it goes live.

To capitalise on this excitement

you need to prepare your product pages and links ahead of time.

Now let's talk about choosing your products.

It's up to you to decide what your audience would find most valuable.

Maybe it's a t-shirt or perhaps it's a pint glass.

Using the Polls feature, which can be found in the Cards or Community tab

is a great way to find out.

Ask your audience what they wanna see

and then read the comments for additional suggestions.

Going back to the example of a t-shirt

a simple logo is often the best place to start.

Inside jokes, catchphrases or designs relating to your channel

are also great to incorporate into merchandise.

This rendering is of me riding behind my dog Drama

as he wears an action camera.

To my viewers, this is a fond memory of a well-loved video.

So how do you prepare branded merchandise?

If you're just making a logo tee or coffee mug

it could be as simple as uploading your original logo design file.

But many of us want to create new artwork, and that's a job for a graphic designer.

Maybe you can use the designer who made your logo

or perhaps you can find a designer in your audience.

If you know other creators, asking who they use

would be a great place to start as well.

There are also sites like 99designs and Fiverr

where you can put your project out to bid and let designers come to you.

Based on my personal experience, a lot of full-time graphic designers

will want a minimum of around $150 to make a simple original design.

This number can fluctuate wildly based on your demands

as well as how in-demand the artist is.

Quality design work can be a great investment that pays you back in full

but it all starts with the guidelines that you put in place.

Using bullet points about your channel and audience

is a good way to give the designer some inspiration.

Be concise in your instructions and provide real-world examples whenever possible.

At the onset of the design process

the artist will usually give you some rough drafts.

>From there, you can provide further instructions on what you want to see.

Also, consider taking the artist's suggestions.

After all, you did hire a professional.

Once you have a design you're happy with

you'll need to apply it to a product and list it for sale.

Let's go over some guidelines to help you achieve the best results.

Mind the specifications.

Services like Teespring will provide you with the minimum size and resolution

for uploaded artwork.

But when in doubt, go bigger.

You can always shrink your design to fit your product

but stretching it out can lead to quality loss.

Building on specifications, make sure you're using the proper file type.

I've found that .PNG files can be used universally across platforms like Teespring.

A .PNG can be easily overlaid against any background color.

Double-check your proofs.

Most interfaces will give you a proof or preview

of what the final product will look like.

But spending a few bucks on a sample eliminates all the guesswork.

This can save you a ton of grief.

Write a great description.

No matter where you sell your product

it's gonna end up on a product page with a 'Buy Now' button.

Make sure to include notes about the materials your merch is made out of

and how it relates to your channel.

Take your pricing into consideration.

Don't dissuade sales with an outrageous price.

But at the same time

make sure you can cover the costs of your designer

and make the whole process worthwhile.

When in doubt, check to see

what other creators are selling their merchandise for

and use that information to stay competitive.

Now that you've gone through the process of designing and listing merch

it's time to tell the world about it.

If you have a website, make sure your product links are up to date.

If you're selling apparel, be sure to wear it in your videos

to build excitement.

Pinning a top comment with a link to your merch

is also a great way to get the word out

but make sure to do it as soon as your video goes live

so your most dedicated fans will see.

Available in certain countries

YouTube allows you to promote your merch on video end screens

as well as in a merch shelf below the description.

If you're sure your fans are interested in branded merchandise

then why not do a dedicated video about it?

Many of your audience members want to know about new merch

so take the time in your video to tell them directly.

Tell them that you hope they like it and ask for feedback in the comment section.

Getting your viewers to talk about merch not only helps get the word out

but also provides you with valuable feedback.

If you've never sold merch before

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