It’s been only three weeks since the public launch of the Reverb Store, but more than 30,000 Artists have already activated this FREE, powerful and customizable storefront that allows them to sell directly to their fans on ReverbNation, their homepage, blog, Facebook, MySpace and virtually anywhere else online.
The quick adoption suggests that Artists intuitively understand WHY selling direct-to-fan is an important piece of their revenue puzzle. But we’ve been receiving a lot of questions from Artists about HOW to sell more music and merchandise.
So we’ve pulled in some best practices from our partner, Audiolife, listened to some creative suggestions from our users, and even looked at some of the early data from the Reverb Store to come up with some key concepts and a Top 5 list.
Key Concept: Items that sell the best are…
- Relevant (speaks to a particular segment of your fans)
- Exclusive (gives fans a sense of ‘rarity’ around the product)
- Limited (gives the fan a reason to buy it now)
Think about these attributes when creating a product. Is it something my fans can relate to? Is it something that will be special to them? Be creative.
Top 5 ways to sell more music and merch (with the Reverb Store):
- Create a different t-shirt for each gig you play on a tour, customized with each location on the tour.
Promote each T-shirt using our FanReach email system (or whichever one you use) to target fans in the area surrounding each show. You can pre-sell the T-shirts before the show or sell the shirts afterwards to these fans, but put something special or memorable from each gig — such as what that drunk guy in the back yelled right before he passed out (or maybe just the date of the show). Either way, everyone who went to the show will have something special to remember the night by and a cool story to tell each time they wear the shirt. People buy t-shirts often as memorabilia to commemorate a special night they had with their friends. Tap into that. Location-based promotions tap into the relevance factor and will help you sell more.
- Re-activate your back catalog of CDs and T-shirts.
There is no reason not to offer your out-of-print CDs and T-shirt designs through the Reverb Store (it costs nothing to set them up). If fans have worn out their favorite out-of-stock T-shirt, they can get another copy, and you don’t have to pay to have more T-shirts made. You can also sell older, sold-out albums through the Reverb Store without paying for 1,000 more CDs, or just sell them as digital downloads. New fans might want a chance to buy the older stuff too!
- Test out different art concepts and see which ones sell the best.
You can create as many album or merch (T-shirts, hats, etc) art concepts as you want at no cost with the Reverb Store. Create multiple versions of your album artwork or T-shirts and let the fans decide which CDs and T-shirts they want! This is a great way to do market research without having ANY out-of-pocket costs, and could keep you from ending up with boxes of T-shirts laying around because fans didn’t like the artwork. Fans also get the chance to feel involved with the band, and makes them more likely to buy the T-shirt that they got to help pick out. Once you know what sells, stock up using our bulk buy option, which lets you buy your own CDs and merch at the lowest prices available and bring them to your shows with confidence that they will sell.
- Sell recordings of your live performances.
If you get a copy of each live performance, this can be a source of additional income for you. Consider creating concert CDs or digital downloads and selling them to the fans from that locality after the show. Use our FanReach e-mail service to easily segment out the fans that live near the show you performed and send them an offer to buy the live performance CD from that show.
- Create custom t-shirts for members of your Street Team.
If you have rabid fans, or even an organized Street Team, give them a special T-shirt or hat that they can buy to pledge their allegiance to the band and show off what they stand for. Fans like to feel included in the band, and making exclusive merch for them can often be a great way to give them an outlet to proclaim it. It costs nothing to create a special line of merch with the Reverb Store, so why not?
- Bonus idea: Create CDs, Downloads, and merch to support a cause.
Many Artists use their music as a way to raise money for a charity or cause. But often, friction is created when it comes to who will pay the up-front costs to make the products whose profits will be donated to the charity. With the Reverb Store, you can make items for a cause at no cost and send all of the profits to the charity. This opens up a whole new world of local charities you can afford to support!
We hope this gives you some great ideas, but we know that you will come up with more. Let us know if ANY of these worked for you, or if you have any other great ideas from the Reverb Store, by sending an email to email@example.com, and we’ll post our favorite new ideas in the coming weeks.
Rachael (blog maven for ReverbNation.com)