In the limited budgetary world of being an independent hip hop artist, one of the objects most likely to suffer in your command is merchandising.

With limited funds, you often put it into marketing and getting tours booked etc. instead of t-shirts, mugs and other stuff like that. However, while this might seem logical, is writing off the quality of merchandise marketing really a good idea?

Not at all, really. It might seem economically viable, but cutting out merchandising just jettisoned one of your few income streams.

Since merchandise is directly for the fans by the artist, they make a useful way to help connect together and really improve that sense of togetherness. In addition to helping you make money, though, you should look at merchandise sale as more than just a means of making a few extra dollars.

In what way can you use your merchandise sales to entice and excite fans in a new way? What kind of experiences and benefits exist if you were to choose to use merchandise to further engage with and interact alongside your fans?

Is this something that you can do at this present moment in time?

How Merchandise Can Improve Fan Engagement

For many people, it’s important that you use the power of Exclusive content. That plain old gig t-shirt might look cool, but psychology dictates that people are more than happy to buy something purely on the basis that it is a limited edition piece of kit.

For that reason, we recommend that you start using some Exclusive and Limited Edition merchandise. It flies off the shelves when people think that they might miss out!

Make sure you use deals, too. Deals like buy-one-get-one-half-price is a simple but powerful tool, and should go a long way to tapping into the psyche of your fans.

The more engagement you can produce by using discount deals and limited edition special price bands, the more likely you are to have people queuing up to make a purchase. Why? Because they feel like you have provided them with added value.

Also, be sure to run some kind of social media and post-gig consensus. From design competitions to surveying people to find out what kind of attire they would like you to release next, you can really make a telling difference with the help of this fan-engaging content.

Done right, this can make a huge difference to the overall quality of your merchandising output. It also shows fans that you care and that you want to give them access to what they actually want.

Run with new contests and similar campaigns to give out some unique stuff. For example, one good merchandising piece to auction off is a master copy of some of your old stuff, or something a bit more unique – something you couldn’t buy at any of your gigs, basically.

The more that you can do with merchandise marketing, the more lucrative it will become. Don’t just see merchandise as hoodies and t-shirts; it’s one of the best ways to build brand awareness and get your name out there much easier than ever before.

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Written by Hao Nguyen
Stop The Breaks is an independent music marketing company focused on showcasing independent hip-hop artists. Our goal is to help motivate, inspire and educate independent artists grinding around the world. We provide branding, content marketing, social media, SEO and music promotion services.