It’s November 2020, and you haven’t played a show in over half a year.
That also means you haven’t sold merch at a show in that same amount of time.
Over the last few years, sales have been moving online – but the pandemic is forcing everyone’s hand to make the jump now.
There’s a reason Amazon is doing more business than ever before.
Are you going to take advantage of this shift and start growing your online merch empire by promoting it on your social media, during your live streams, and to your email list?
Or, are you going to sit idly by thinking, “I don’t need to do this… It’s too much work”?
There’s a clear winner here, and it’s the artist who sells their merch online.
Listen now to learn more about why you need to sell merch online in 2020 and beyond, and how you can increase sales in your existing store!
What you’ll learn:
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#48: One Band, 25 Years and Counting: Howi Spangler of Ballyhoo!
Welcome to Episode 49 of the Bandhive Podcast.
It is time for another episode of the band. I've podcast. My name is James Cross, and I'm here with Matt Hoos of Alive in Barcelona. What's up today, Matt? Not much, James.
Just enjoying a nice, foggy morning over here in Colorado on the 18th of October. How are you over there on the East Side? That sounds really wonderful. I love Fog. We actually had snow yesterday on the 17th, which, by the way, to all my straightedge homies was edged. A. So I know this episode doesn't come out to like November, but retroactively happy edge day to anyone who's straight edge like May I think that's the first time this is That's a 49. I think that's the first time I've mention it.
I think so. So I'm officially not the stereotypical straight edge kid. I didn't mention it in, like Episode one. Yeah, that's right. You also don't have big giant X tattoos on the, you know, in your arms and legs and neck and face. This is true. I know of a guy who had x tattoos on the backs of his hands, both hands, and then he broke edge. E One of my buddies is the same way he got Big Old X is on the back of his calves. And then a few years later, he and I had a beer together in Nashville while he was working sound for, like, fall out.
Boy, it was pretty funny. Great, dude. Good for him working for fall out, boy. But he probably regrets those tattoos. Yeah, well, you know, I don't think he does, but he's one of those people who's from the second I met him. I was like, Oh, you're gonna be in the industry. He was like, in five different bands when he was, like, 18 years old and playing different style. You know, he was one of those people. That's how it goes, man. I'm giving myself a pat on the back here for not mentioning being strategy, but I probably mentioned being vegan at least five times, so that's like, once every 10 episodes.
So I mean, I'm definitely bragging about that. I guess so. I shouldn't pat myself on the back too hard or I might choke. That's hilarious. E uh, yeah, man. Well, anyway, I'm really excited for today's topic. I know you are, too, because this is something that while you haven't done it online as much you have professionally sold merch for some really cool bands as well as your own band. And we're gonna be talking about why you should sell your merch online. There's lots of reasons. And just to get right into it, Matt, do you want to give us a little background on just selling Merchant General?
Absolutely. Oh, this is my This is my favorite. So, um, you know, anybody who's ever met me knows that I'm a pretty high energy person. And for those of you who have never met me before, I'm a high energy person. Um, I really enjoy the psychology of selling merch. I really enjoy the interaction of people. Now, these are all things that really happened in the face to face setting, you know, door to door sales, quote unquote, you know, are you know you're walking the lines and and promoting to people.
It's really tough, though, because when you sell merch as a band, when you're doing face to face sales, you're limiting yourself, too when you're playing shows. And on top of that, when you're playing shows, you're probably playing with four or five other bands who also have merch. So the only opportunity for you to sell your merge in a face to face setting is you know, you have to have people that have already paid for tickets to come to the door, and they have to want to come to your merch table, you know, as opposed to one of the other bands tables.
This is This is, like, really, really tough Botha's emerged person and as a band and like, how do you stay relevant? And how do you maximize your opportunity for selling merch? Well, online is the first answer selling your stuff online. This applies to everyone. It doesn't matter how how big your band is, how small your band is. Whatever you're doing, you need to have a central hub that you send people to so that they can purchase your music and your merchandise. Your online store is an incredibly easy thing to give to somebody that says, Hey, I want a new shirt.
How do I pick it up when you're starting off? A lot of people, I mean and myself included. You know, we we did our own fulfillment. Somebody would order a shirt, we'd get une email, we checked the email, we'd see what the the order Waas. Then we go and get a box and put everything in there and then send it out ourselves. And it was wonderful to be able to do all that. But it was also really, really tough that we were like, you know, we need people to Venmo us or PayPal us.
You know, there was a lot more correspondents. There wasn't a system that was already set up for people to just say, like, Hey, I want to buy a shirt and for us to just go awesome, Here's a link, and then on top of that, then they can do everything from there, just like shopping at any online portal. The first major reason that this is huge is because you're taking your ability to sell, emerge from a few hours on nights that you play shows to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Now, for those of you who play one show a week, you guys can do the math. Would you rather sell your? You know, Would you rather have the opportunity to make money for five hours on Friday night or 24 hours a day, seven days a week, pretty much every single one of you? I hope every single one of you understands how vital and crucial this is. It's not always easy to set up your merge online and things like that. It does take a little bit of time, and it does take a little bit of research.
Looking at other People's online March stores, seeing what they have done, sometimes hiring models to model your clothes. Um, you know, a lot of if you look at clothing companies, very rarely do you see the owners of the clothing company where you know, modeling their own stuff. And so there's ah, a level of prestige that is added by you bringing in external people to use your stuff especially if those air people that are actively trying to pursue a career in modeling as well. I know that for us.
Whenever we use models for music videos, those music videos do better. And it's not just because we are trying to achieve a higher level of production quality. It's because now that actor that model is invested in our product as well because they're trying to achieve heights the same as we are. And so, like, as you start to do this, you know there's there's other areas that it bolsters as you are slowly but surely making your online merch store pop a little bit more. Have brighter colors, nicer designs.
You're also starting to bring in other people that are gonna benefit from your merch store as well. You know, that's really what it's all about. The bigger your economy gets, the more that you can spread money to other small economies and build the industry as a whole. This is how you really build your network. And so, like this literally, you know, just like what we talk about all the time about building a network of people you know, sacrificing being ago, giver, doing things that help other people's career.
That's really how you're going to be built up as quickly as possible. This ties in all the way I mean it. It ties into every facet of your business, and with merch it gets to be really fun, because that's when you're making money. This is when you really get to see your hard work, translate into dollars. I love working merch because it's rewarding. It's hard keeping inventories of pain in the butt. Sometimes you don't always have shirts and sizes that people want. Sometimes you don't always have styles that people like.
That's why it's important to a continue to keep your inventory stocked and be make sure that you're constantly updating your catalog of new designs. I know I've mentioned city to city. If you guys have local printers in your area, we encourage you guys to like to reach out to them, get in good contact with them and then post some of their information in the group. We would love to have a large network of people you know on just know who people are in different areas of the country.
So that way, when you know, let's say Right now, someone in Texas might not need a printer in New Jersey, but you might when you're on tour. And I couldn't tell you how many times I have used different printers in different parts of the country. And it's funny because some of those people, every time we roll back through, we will still continue to use because their level of professionalism was off the chart. Storytime My first year of warp tour, I left with two of my band members in a Mitsubishi Lancer.
We had nothing but CDs. We didn't have money. We had $100. We had enough gas money to make it to the first state, which was in Salt Lake City from Core d'Alene, Idaho. So it was a long drive day and a half drive. 16 hours, I believe, and we actually reached out to one of our friends and asked him if he would be interested in investing a little bit of money so we could buy 50 T shirts. We were going to recoup his money. Plus, I think I think we borrowed four or $500 from him or something like that.
We spent most of it on shirts shipping. And we told him that, you know, maybe we borrowed 400 told them we were going to give him back 500 at the end of the tour. 25% return. So he was like, You know what? That's that's great. You know, we he agreed on the shirts that we were selling and we got 50 shirts and we left and we were like If we could sell one, sure today at $15 then that will make all of our money back and we'll have an extra about $1200 to go towards gas.
This will be awesome. That'll cover most of our gas for the tour. Well, we got down today one. We sold a few shirts. We were really excited. We made some money, we made a couple $100 and then we drove to Denver. We weren't sure if we were going to drive to Denver, because the first date was Salt Lake City. The second date was Denver. In the third date was Las Vegas, so we had to drive east and then turn around and drive back west. Now we opted to go to Denver because we did pretty good.
Well, in Day two in Denver, we sold the rest of our T shirts. We had so drastically underestimated the potential for merch sales specifically in this environment that we missed out on so much money. We immediately had to find a printer as close as possible to print us some more of these shirts with, like, a two day turnaround because we were in a new city every day in a new state. Every day we actually ended up. I think Day five was in California, and so we ended up calling.
We found a printer in California who ended up doing He used to print for all of all of yellow cards, merch and that guy. He charged less money than a lot of the printers around the country. He next day shipped us all of the T shirts that we needed to like to the direct. I don't remember if it was a FedEx Kinko's or where we had to pick it up, but he went in and Major and he if he printed us 100 shirts like by himself in less than a day and had them to us, where we needed to go.
And it was I mean, it was incredible. And so we will always go back to him when we're in California. This relationship with him, e mean, Ah, lot of the time. With the exception of us being on the other side of the country, we used him. If we were close enough to him just simply because we knew that he could deliver and he would deliver a quality product. And quickly he was on top of that. So it was awesome. It was this wonderful relationship. We were like, man, we didn't realize that we, like, need printers in different parts of the country.
Because when we're on tour, it might not make sense for them to send. You know, if my printers in Washington and I'm in Florida, I'm gonna pay Justus much for shipping as I am for my merch. For us, it was all these new problems lately. Way never even thought about a problem like that. You know, it was like, Oh, yeah, we're just Every time we order 50 shirts, it's gonna cost the same amount. You know, we were young and didn't know what we were doing, but it was learning those little tiny things that was like, Oh, okay, so this is where I need to maximize People love merch.
People love interacting with people. People love going home from a show with a shirt man, that's amazing how fast you sold out of those shirts on warp tour. I mean, you know, having done work toward, too. I know how quickly things go, how fast paced it is. But for a band whose just hitting up kids in the lines before the show, that is incredibly impressive that you guys sold that much. You know, my mind is blown about that. But one thing you're saying here about having different suppliers also made me realize if you have band members across the country, you can have different band warehouses to, you know, if each member has, you know, one of one or two of each item on stock, you could do that.
But anyway, a little back story for this episode before the pandemic hit before Cove, it was a thing. Having an online merch store was useful, but not necessarily requirement. We still recommended it for everyone because it's the logical thing to Dio, but you could earn money while selling your merch while you're on the road or at shows in your hometown or whatever. And people are in a way more likely to buy merch when they see it at a show because they can pick it up, they can feel it's a tangible item.
They don't have to wait for it. It's almost an impulse buy, whereas online they have to seek it out unless you're constantly telling them about it. So it is in a way easier to make a sale at shows. And so I totally agree with what you're saying that it's way better to sell 24 73 65 than it is once a week for five hours on a Friday. But artists who are doing this will probably noticed that they do sell more merch during shows. But with CoV, there's kind of this perfect storm off.
You don't have tours, you don't have shows. Although some bands air doing limited shows right now, you don't really have shows. If you are doing live streams, you need to sell merch online. I know I've said this before, but instead of begging for donations, sell merch I've seen many people saying, Oh, I can't make any money with live streaming like, How am I supposed to monetize this like I don't want to sell tickets for it. How do I make money? It's like, Well, have you sold merch?
They say, No, it's like, Well, there you go set up on my merch store. You can also turn your live streams into money to YouTube monetize his videos. And that's one thing I think that a lot of people really overlook in their early stages is they think that, you know a tangible dollar in their hand is the end goal and not realizing that the music industry is composed of a bunch of small areas that create little snowballs. And then, after a long period of time, those little snowballs grow.
And so, you know, even with your live streams, you're absolutely right. The best way to monetize is toe have merch because you're going, you're going to give a tangible good to somebody. But also, if you're worried about those live streams, save every single one of, you know, record. The video put him up is a live stream, and then Adam to a YouTube channel later, you know. So that way you actually can start that snowball effect, and you actually can turn those livestream performances into something that eventually makes you money.
It might not be today or tomorrow, but after you've been doing it for 3 to 5 years and you're like, Holy cow, I get a check from YouTube every month of just people going back and watching the unplugged live streams. People love that type of thing. Agreed. And another thing you could do to is, you know, last week we had Howie from ballyhoo on the podcast. That was Episode 48. If you wanna listen, just head on over to Band. I've got rocks slash 48. That's the numbers four and eight and what they did for their live stream, which was last Thursday.
Now Halloween 2020 the 13th annual Halloween show They dio they were selling tickets for $6.66. But if you bought any piece of merch from their store, including, like, ah, $5 sticker set or something like that, so something cheaper than the tickets, then you would also get the ticket to the show for free so if you don't feel comfortable about selling tickets to your show, sell them. But give them away for Frias. Well, because that way it's the best of both worlds. And if somebody wants to see the stream, they should be buying a shirt or at least something $5 for a set of stickers.
That way you're getting a tangible item, not just seeing a stream. That's a fair deal. If you ask me that way, there's some amount of income coming in. But so going back to this perfect storm thing. It's also a fact that in 2020 you know, Amazon and other online stores are becoming bigger than ever. Everyone orders online. That's just the way life is, and obviously this has been accelerated by the pandemic. But even if it hadn't been for the pandemic, this would be coming online. Ordering is the way of the future.
That's just how it is. Free shipping is the way of the future. I'm going to go on a little vent here because when I go to a store to buy a $20 item and shipping is another $10 I don't buy it. Shipping does not cost that much. First of all, I send out stickers and key chains and all that kind of stuff to Bandhive followers were most active just for free. I can ship stuff anywhere in the U. S. For under $5 I can ship to England and Canada for $11.
Now, granted, these aren't giant packages, but it's big enough that you could fit some stickers and pins in there. And it's all weight based. A shirt does not weigh that much. I could send a shirt in a bubble mailer for basically the same cost. Maybe it'll be a little more. Maybe it would be, you know, like $14 international and $6 here in the States. You can also use flat rate boxes for everything. If you want to control that cost, you'll pay a little bit more for everything. But it will be a consistent variable that you never have to change.
And so if you're trying to turn this part of your business into a formula based part of your business, you can actually use a concrete variable rather than saying, Oh, well, this way is about, you know, 4 g. So that's gonna cost $4. It's like, No, there's, you know And I always say, Like I'm a firm believer in estimating over. You know, I have an old phrase that I said It's better to promise late and deliver faster than promise soon and deliver after. And so what that phrase kind of means is like when people have an expectation of something.
Um, you know, it's up to you to deliver, and so, making sure that you have all of your exact variables, like if you know that it's going to cost less than $10 you know, if you know that it costs somewhere around $8. 5 estimate that it cost 10 bucks. So that way, when everything is all said and done, you save money and then you can turn around and pushed on savings on to your customer, your clientele, your fan base. You know, I've never met a person in my entire life who, when buying something when I told them, Oh, it's actually a few dollars cheaper that they weren't pumped.
There's simple little things that you can do in your business to make sure that you are maximizing. Make sure that you're not, you know, like saying like, Oh, yeah, like you're saying James, like, I love to go online and see a $20 shirt and I go to buy that shirt and then a $10 hidden fee pops up. It's like when? And I'll actually you know what if this things that free shipping on orders over $25? What if that was a giant banner on their front page? Well, then you're more incentivized to buy an extra $5 because it's gonna be five bucks cheaper and you're gonna get more stuff. Exactly.
That's the same thing. My fiance has a store. She's a writer. Aside from having her stories on her site, she has stickers and key chains and that kind of stuff to the same stuff I sent out for free. She sells it to her fans, and she has any order. Over $8 is free. Now again, this is because it's stickers and key chains. It's super light. She could put him in an envelope for 50 cents and send that, but she does bubble mailers in little boxes and stuff, but it's so cheap because it's like 2 to $3 for her to ship it pretty much anywhere in the U. S. So she says, You know what?
If they spent $8 I'm making, you know, $5 net after shipping. And so, yeah, I only get a dollar or two from the order, but I'm much more likely to sell so $8 anything above that free shipping. And it basically means that if somebody buys one more sticker because she sells them for, like, 2 50 or $3 then that's the cost of shipping right there. So having a cut off that's well advertised for free shipping is so worth it. Just the other day, I was looking at, uh, model rockets of all things.
Of course I'm a nerd. There's a store and I had, like, $80 worth of stuff in the cart, and there was no free shipping. I'm like, Dude, if I'm spending $80 at your store, why am I paying $13 for shipping? And that's ridiculous. Granted, I'm gonna order from them because it's still cheaper than Amazon because all the sellers on Amazon build that shipping costs into the price. So even with shipping, everything added up. It's cheaper because they combined shipping, whereas on Amazon, if you buy things individually, each seller has that shipping costs built in, and you can't bundle things to get a reduced rate.
Anyway, that's a rabbit hole. What stinks about that is that even though it's cheaper, you have a bad taste in your mouth about it. Yeah, exactly. The number one merch Shelling technique in the world. It's bundled deals you need to bundle your products or your fees or like whatever your stuff is, build it into the price you should never, ever, ever be. You know, like, Do you know why T shirts cost $40 from breaking Benjamin? It's because all of this shipping costs of getting that delivered the printing costs, the design costs, all of those things.
Every single shirt that is being sold is recouping some of that money until they hit a certain threshold, in which case that product starts to make a net profit. So with bundle deals, you know some people you see a $40 shirt you're like, that's so expensive. Well, why is it that an American apparel hoody cost $50 with nothing on it from the American Apparel Store. But I could go to a printer and actually print something on American apparel for cheaper than I could buy an American apparel shirt. Well, it's because American Apparel has spent millions of dollars in advertisement and millions of dollars in building storefronts.
They have a brand. They have a brick and mortar stop where you can show up, and they're trying to recoup those costs there, recouping costs of employees with your merge. If you won't roll up to a show and the headliner is selling shirts for 25 bucks and you're selling your shirt for 15, don't think that you're gonna outsell them. Think that they're doing something smarter than you because they are. And chances are if you go and look at their merch table, I bet you somewhere they have a one for 25 to for 40 deal.
That's huge in the industry. How many people go to shows with their friends? How many people talk about the stuff that they're gonna buy with their friends, especially when it comes to merch? You know how many of you guys have ever been like, Oh, this T shirts. 25 bucks but it's two for 40. Do you each want to spend 20 bucks? I hear that all the time at the merch table, and that's exactly why we dio one for 25. Do for 40 bundle deals or the best, or you do one for 25.
Or you could do it a shirt and a CD for 30 your your CDs. $10 your shirts. 25 Other than both for 30 bucks, just figure out what the price point is that you have to make from both items and then find a bundle deal that'll work. Stickers. I love stickers. I think they're a fantastic pro bono giveaway. I think they're just like a nice bonus if somebody buys a shirt. Given some stickers because guess what? The more stickers that you have that air laying around the world, the mawr marketing you have that's laying around the world.
I'm sure many of you are familiar with the company. Zoom, ease, zoom ease, since their origination have always given away free stickers with any purchase, and it didn't matter what you bought the skateboarding kids. The 90 skateboarding kids were going and buy incense and leave with bags full of stickers. And then you know what the skateboarders would dio. They go skate around town and tag stuff. They go put zoo me stickers on everything because they had 150 of them. And then before you know it, well, then zoom ease stickers, air everywhere at all the skate parks.
Oh, then all the kids are like, Well, where do I go to get a skateboard? Well, then they go to zoom, ease. And then what do they do with Zoom is they buy a skateboard and they get a bunch of stickers and the process repeats. It was absolutely, you know, brilliant. You know, Zoom, ease and Hurley were to companies that just that did absolutely incredible things with how they marketed Hurley International literally started a brand and gave it to blink 1 80 to sit here. You guys, you guys look like you have fun.
We wear these shirts, you can have whatever clothes you want, Travis Barker said. Yeah, it's cool. They put it on and before you knew it. Early International, one of the biggest clothing companies of the nineties, and two thousands at least underground. These were simple marketing techniques that people kind of like they honed in on. They found something that was, like super unique, that they knew was gonna bridge the gap. They use some sort of free marketing in order to get what they wanted. In Zoom E's case, they gave free stuff to everybody, and eventually the brand spread like wildfire.
In Hurley's case, they gave free stuff to one particular person, and their in their circle of influence was so large that instantaneously, that caused both both parties involved to make a ton of money they bundled. This was a a relationship. Bundle this. You know, this is somebody that had invested into a circle of influence rather than a revenue stream. But it was the combination of these two things, you know. The stickers were there beforehand, but it required skateboarders to put them out. You know, Hurley International was a brand, but it required a rock star to put that shirt on in order for both parties to make money.
And so it was. It was determining what bundle needed to be put together that really maximized. Over the course of warp tour of seven years of doing it, I watched people go from selling $5 CDs to selling one for 25 to for 40 bundles with, you know, people believing with a T shirt, a necklace and a CD from the lines. I couldn't tell you how many bands that I had seen not come back out. There are so many bands that never came back out to work to again. But there was a core.
There was a group of, you know, five or six of bands that we were there every year. Each year we were doing something a little bit different because we were testing new waters. We were trying to figure out what our new bundle deal was gonna be. You know, do we increase our prices? And we did. That's exactly what we did the first year we sold CDs and shirts. Well, then we heard so many times I have no way to carry that. I have no way to carry that.
I have nothing to carry that in. So we got drawstring bags the next year, and we didn't even increase our prices. And on top of that, then marketing strategies changed entirely. We were still selling the same products but Jesse, he figured out at a very early date that you could just stand up on the thing and say, Hey, ask me how to get a free bag. We had a bag of said music saved my life on it with our logo. Everybody was instantly wanting a bag because they realized there at warp turnout and they didn't bring anything to carry their stuff in.
Well, now we have a bag. Oh, ask me how to buy. Buy my c d. Get a free bag. Okay, cool. If you want, you can get by my CD and T shirt in a bundle for 20 bucks. The most commonly circulated bill on the planet is a $20 bill on everybody that worked or has 10 you could sell. You could buy the CD for 10 bucks, or you could get both of these for 20 bucks and it comes to the free bag. I want all three. So then instantly it was like all these value adds that we were giving that.
Then people had bags and then on top of that, it was actually really nice at warp because then more people actually had bags to carry their stuff in which I really feel like lead to more kids going and buying merch earlier on in the day rather than waiting till the very end of the day and then potentially not being able to get the merch that they wanted, which happens all the time, because when you're out on warped or it's hard to get merch, basically all my stories are pointing to one thing, and that's we found bundle deals.
We figured out ways to turning a $5 sale into a $20 sale and then from a $20 sale to a very easily made $20 sale. Because, you know, now I didn't have to sell them on my music and a T shirt. Now I had to sell them on a bag and the kids who liked my music, they wanted to buy it anyway. But then three kids who wanted the bag they were like, Yeah, I just I just want to bag like, oh, and it comes to the free CD. Cool. It was very, very fun to determine those things, and each and every day that we did, it helped our business grow to the next level that's on you.
That's what you have to do in your in your group is figure out. You know who's the people person who is the one that enjoys talking with people at the merch table and then try to figure out how you can bring that online. That's the trick. I love that because you guys did exactly the opposite of what Blockbuster did. Yep, on by that I mean, you decided Thio solve the problem. Even though you sell CDs and shirts you didn't say. Oh, well, people don't have something to carry.
Well, we sell CDs and shirts. What are we gonna do about it? You actually said, What are we gonna do about it and sold bags or gave away bags for free? Whereas Blockbuster, no one wanted to have to go to the store anymore to rent a DVD. They had the chance to buy Netflix years ago, and they turned it down because they said, we're a video rental store. We don't want to cannibalize our own company. Guess what? 10 years later, they're out of business. If they had bought Netflix, they would've been one of the biggest companies ever. Right?
now and instead they shot themselves in the foot. It just did not go well for them. They block busted. Oh, yeah. So you guys did really well and adapted to see the needs of the consumer at warp tour and because of that sold way more merch of your own in addition to the bags that everyone wanted. The great thing is that we tried to find a need, and then we supplied it. This is no different for your online store. And this is kind of like the tricky part, you know, with warp Tour.
I had the added benefit of being I mean, we call it the Corral. You know this where everybody it's the floodgates, you know, at a certain everybody that's been a warped or knows that you have X amount of hours to basically interact with these kids. And then as soon as the floodgates opened, well, that's when kids could get in. And nobody wants to give you time of day anymore. We had a captive audience that didn't have anything other than to do other than sit in the sun all day, And so you have a captive audience and you have the opportunity to do that.
How do you have that in an online setting? Like you were saying, James, we're in the middle of the perfect storm. People are streaming so much stuff on Facebook that Facebook is trying to shut down people for not paying out royalties. That's how much the Facebook live stream is being used and people are starving for art. People are starving. How he said something wonderful, you know, do the online stream. It's not going anywhere. Try to do your own thing, try to make it unique. And then from there, you know that that's what people want.
People want art Art has been taken away from us, and so you have a starving audience. You have a captive audience right now. And so what you need to dio is have the strength to walk up and say hello. In my particular setting, it was, Who are you guys here to see today For you? It might be, How is your pandemic going? Or maybe it's just a simple outreach thing and says, like, Hey, guys, we want to do something big for you because we believe that you deserve it.
Give us some ideas for how we can deliver a product to you that you would be interested in interacting with. Start with that open dialogue when you have those active people, I mean, the people that respond to you, those were gonna be the ones that I mean, they're your true fans already. They're already interacting with you. And and we've already talked about episodes past how important it is to double down on those quality relationships because, you know, when when the end of your career, those will be the people that are still there, um, you know, the ones that are here at the beginning of your career and really pushing, you know, and giving you ideas for how to make things better.
These are the people. You've probably already impacted their life pretty drastically. And so they want to continue to have that feeling. Justus Muchas You know, you want to continue making money playing music, so when you have a captive audience online, using discount codes is a very viable thing. But don't just give out a discount code to anybody, because then people are probably going to start waiting until discount codes happen. You have to figure out a smart way to implement that, like getting email addresses so that you can start an email blast list.
And then maybe you give your discount codes out by email. So anybody that signs up has the potential to save a little bit of money off of, Ah, future purchase for signing up, and then you're also pushing them to your online platform. This is incentive for them to shop summer that they can shop 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Now, if somebody's on the computer looking at a live in Barcelona merch or if somebody's talking to me 10 out of 10 times, I will do a better job selling than the computer screen.
Well, as a salesman, you have the opportunity to whittle down those preconceived notions and and those oh, I don't have the money And oh, I don't really want that shirt, you know, like you were saying earlier. James, When they're there, I can say like, I'll feel this. Cotton polyester blends like stick your hand inside of that feels like velvet, And people love that. People love that interaction that humanity. But online, you don't have that. And so when you have clearly posted things on your site, like free shipping over $25 or you have one for 25 to for 40.
And maybe even if you have a few sizzle words in there that say, like it's the friend bundle, it's, you know, like you and a friend can each get a shirt for 20 bucks, find out how your crowd interacts with your products and then basically tilt your shift. So that way, it's focusing on the bundle deals, the discount codes and the relationships that you've already been investing in exactly. One of the main things for selling online, which is basic marketing psychology one on one is you need to get rid of the objections, so find out what the objections are that your fans have.
Get those out of the way, communicate why those should not be objections. So, like you, said the free shipping, tell them if you spend 25 bucks free shipping if their international fans, this is when I see a lot in the A f. I community, because their store has some outrageous international shipping fees. International fans hate to buy merch because it costs an arm and a leg. Like I was saying earlier, I can ship stuff to the UK for $12. Why can't a major label band do that now? Granted, they don't control their own store there, signed with some merch company.
But that merch company should be able to say, Hey, look, weaken, get cheaper shipping if we do this So the site I use is called pirate ship dot com, and it's all with USPS. So you're helping support the Postal Service, since they need all the help they can get right now. But it's also saving you a ton of money over going directly to the post office or going to FedEx or UPS or anything else like that. So pirate ship dot com Matt, you started to say, You know, don't do big holiday sales because then your training your customers to buy during those holidays.
If there's a predictable sale coming up, there are so many stories that I will not buy from them unless it's black Friday, Cyber Monday or like the Fourth of July weekend. If they're in the States, they do 1/4 of July sale for other countries, you know they have their own holidays. So if you're gonna do a sale for those holidays, do something super simple like free shipping on any order or 10% off. Don't do a major like 0 50% off on everything. Because then people are gonna wait for that instead, have big sales at other times when it's an advantage for you.
So one example would be Are you announcing preorders for une ph. An album that's awesome. Tell people that you know, for any order if they pre order the new merch the new C d. The new record, whatever it ISS, they'll get 50% off on any of the older items that are from the last cycle. Because guess what? That inventory is just gonna be sitting there anyway, if you don't sell it, so try and move it. And if you get to sell more, they're gonna be happy that they got a really good deal.
You have the pre order. So you have that money in the bank to help you spend more on promoting the album and hopefully sell more. And you just got rid of some of your old inventory that you might not have sold because it was still sitting around. So think of key times like that to have a sale and make it part of a strategy saying, Oh, hey, my stuffs on sale when everything else is on sale, Who cares if I see a band say 50% off everything but everywhere on the Internet is 50% off right now.
It's like, OK, so whatever. But if I have a reason to go buy something from that band because it's something new, something exciting, something cool and then they try to Upsell me by giving me half off something else or even 25% off for whatever it ISS, I'm much more likely to add that extra item to my cart. That's just one of the things you can dio. So you know, like you were saying that earlier. Add value if you toss in stickers like zombies was doing. A lot of people do that without orders value.
Who does that? You know, I ordered one of their livestream shirts and it came with free stickers. Sick? Awesome. I love it. Well, guess what? That makes it that much more likely for people to come back and buy again. So not only is it free marketing, I mean, I have a ballyhoo sticker on my guitar case now. Because of that, it will also make people much more likely to buy because like, Oh, hey, yo, you know, they tossed in some free swag. I'll go buy from them again.
So all of this adds up to one very important thing, and that is after co vid. Whenever that ends up being like how, he said on the episode last week, live streaming is not going to go away. This change has been accelerated, but there were already artists doing live streams a decade ago, probably even more, especially from like big festivals. Big festivals would stream their show online. Then that started a few years ago. Yahoo was doing a great concert, Siri's where they would stream shows from different venues, and it was really awesome high production value, all that kind of stuff, and now these would be shows with people, but still live streams are not going away.
Whether it's a show with an audience or a show from your living room, it doesn't matter. Live streams just aren't going away, so if you can then push your fans during those live streams. Or at any point, if somebody sends you a message asking about it to a site like shop dot band name dot com, that is so much more legit looking than saying, Oh yeah, here's my Venmo. Send me 20 bucks that is so sketchy, like I've done that for friends bands. But if it's a band I don't know, I would not do that.
Venmo is is an app used for tipping. If you wanna pull out your piano and livestream playing piano, put a little bored out that has your QR code on it. Then people can actually watch your live stream and getting tip you. That's what Venmo should be used for. If you don't have an online portal set up for accepting money, go and do that. E commerce sites are business. That is business, you know, if you don't have an e commerce site, then fix that instantaneously. Yeah, if you're on WordPress, it's super easy to add.
A woo commerce shop just takes, like, probably in the afternoon of set up. If you're on Wix, they have a shop. I think they charge extra for it. which is lame, but that's weeks. They nickel and dime you probably same thing for squarespace. Oh, yeah, they dio. But, you know, one other thing on that Venmo note is you're not actually allowed to take payment for goods on Venmo. It's made for friends and donations. So, you know, taking tips totally fine selling shirts. No, that is not allowed.
And if they catch you, they will refund those transactions and you will be out the money and the item. I know the 3% fee that PayPal and all the other payment processors it sucks. It's terrible, but it's a cost of doing business and 3% in the long run for making it easier for your customers to buy something and easier for yourself. Because you don't have to track down somebody's Venmo and look in the notes for the address that's worth it. Think about it. For every $100 of Mirchi cell, it's $3.
You're paying for that convenience that's so worth it, because if you're selling $100 that's probably gonna be 3 to 6 orders, at least so 3 to 6 orders that you don't have to go into Venmo and find things individually or square cash or whatever, because square cash doesn't allow that either, by the way, but if you use PayPal or stripe on a Wu commerce shop on WordPress or weeks or whatever, which, by the way, woo Commerce integrates with pirate ship the app I was talking about earlier, which is a free app.
They don't charge you any monthly subscription or anything like that. It's just they have good rates. It integrates with that. So when you get a blue commerce order, you can then go to Pirate Ship and Click Import, and it'll pull all the information from that customer into there and set up the label, and all you have to do is click by the label Super easy. This stuff is not going away. It is so important. Toe have it in place because once you have it in place, you are ready to grow.
Just think of it this way. If some random person finds your music on Spotify and checks out your website and you don't have a merch store, they're not gonna buy your merch. You know they're not gonna find that Facebook post you made once six months ago, saying, Hey, Venezuela's if you want a shirt, that's just not gonna happen. But if they go to your website and they see that you have a link for the shop, they're going to buy it. Or at least they're going to take a look the same thing for May like there was a band a few months ago.
I heard their music and I loved it so much. I saw their band camp. They had their CD on band camp. Boom. I bought it. I typically don't buy music on band camp because downloads aren't really my thing because they had the CD there and it gave me the instant download. I did it. Now I want to say I would not recommend using band camp is your main storage because they take a cut of everything. If you're set up on WordPress already, add woo commerce because woo commerce doesn't cost anything.
The Onley thing you'll have to pay for is that 3% PayPal fear that 3% strength E. But again, you don't have to pay for anything else. Like you don't have to pay a cut to the store you could buy. Add ons and stuff, but most artists aren't going to need that. It's just a really good solution that if you know basic Web design and basic, you know, setting up a website, which you probably already do. If you're on WordPress, you can set it up super easily. And next time you do a live stream, say, Hey, go to shop dot band name dot com and pick up an item order advance, do what value did and say, Hey, tickets or this much.
But if you buy anything from our merch store, you will get a great ticket that does it for another episode of the Bandhive podcast. I really hope that if you do not have a merch story yet, the first thing that you will dio if you already have merch is to go set up on online merch store. If you have any questions about what platform to use. Obviously we talked about WordPress and woo commerce. But if you're not on WordPress, there are lots of other options out there, like with Wix or Squarespace, the built in stores, but also lots of third party providers like Big Cartel and all kinds of stores.
you know, store and the and it can be really overwhelming. So if you aren't sure where to start with your store, feel free to head on over to the VandeHei Facebook group just by searching for us on Facebook or by typing in better dot band slash group in your browser. And go ahead and just ask the group what they use and what they recommend. And I'm sure tons of people will chime in with their experiences and what they prefer for running their store. Next week is a super special episode for us, because it is Episode 50 of the band I've podcast, so that's somewhat of a milestone.
It's gonna be fun for us, and it's, you know, just gonna be a little celebration. So I'm gonna leave it at that. Next week is gonna be a fun episode. I'm really looking forward to it, So thank you for listening. Thank you for supporting us. We'll be back next Tuesday at 6 a.m. With episode number 50 off the band. I've podcast. Until then, have an awesome week Stay safe. And, of course, as always, keep rocking
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