Posted: Sep 16, 2013
**As featured in Indie on the Move's Touring Tips Section. From t-shirts and buttons to CDs and digital music downloads, see below for advice on how musicians can increase merchandise sales, gain exposure, and grow profit...
Do not tour without merchandise!
When first breaking into a new market, even the best promotion can often yield poor results in attendance because you have yet to build name recognition in that area. Other times, you are forced to play for exposure alone just to get your leg in the door at one of the local music venues.
In either case, merchandise sales can not only get you to the next show and pay for gas, but also allow you to continue and finish the tour without going bankrupt. A music venue should NEVER get a cut of your merchandise sales, so this all goes to your wallet to pay for the cases of Top Ramen you'll been living off of for the next few weeks. Further, every piece of merch sold serves as a free promotional tool for your new fans to help you gain some name recognition for when you return.
So how do you increase merch sales?!
Taking an active approach while leaving one rep at the merch table can really increase the amount of sales you secure. People can be a bit shy or indifferent about approaching an artist after their set to see about buying something, so instead of waiting around for them to approach you, reach out to them.
Walk around the crowd, introduce yourself to people who watched your performance, collect email addresses for your newsletter, and hand out promotional flyers, stickers, or download cards. Every little bit helps (Reference: "The Reason Most Artists Aren't Making Money in the Business").
And for further advice on increasing merchandise sales (there are a lot of things that you can do!), check out the guest post HERE written by Ari Herstand, a DIY singer-songwriter from Los Angeles, CA with 500+ shows under his belt. He discusses how good merchandise practices can double your income at shows literally overnight.
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