merchandise, influencers, fans, brands, social media marketing, affiliate marketing

How do you stand out in the merchandise market?

The natural way for a lot of affiliate marketers, content creators and influencers, to make money is with the merchandise. And it makes sense. Bands and theatre shows have been doing it for generations. In fact, too many bands are still relying on it in the 21st century. But because it’s a good source of income the market has become quite oversaturated – and now brands are getting in on the mix.

Merchandise allows fans to support their favourite people. They buy a t-shirt and suddenly they are a walking billboard. If that’s all they can afford, that’s all they can afford and they’ve done all they can do, but rarely does a fan stop at one.

But there is a lazy way to do merchandise and there is a right way to do it. Doing it right means a lot more people will buy your items and you can stand out from the crowd. Because the quality of your merchandise reflects the quality of every other aspect of your brand.

Don’t just slap a logo on it

The laziest fast fashion influencers are the ones that are sticking a clip art logo on their t-shirts and calling it a day. There’s barely any thought put into it, no relevance to the brand, no quality in the design and they’re usually overly simple and free. The problem with that is that they’re easily parodied. Supreme can’t ever walk away from the “Sheep” rip-off that their logo inspired, because it was too easy to the point of laziness. Team 10’s merchandise has been ripped apart for being so bad it’s in the bottom of the pile when it comes to quality.

Your fans are paying relatively a lot for a t-shirt. A lack of forethought is outright disrespectful to them.

Fans appreciate quality

Team 10 and other equivalents allow themselves to get away with lazy merchandise if they have a young following. Kids using Daddy’s credit card to get a Jake Paul “signed” t-shirt aren’t going to care that it’s baggy in the arms if it makes for a good Christmas present. Whereas, if your brand isn’t Ryan’s Toy Reviews, you’re going to need to convince people that your merchandise is worth the higher price tag. Hoodies are sold in every store. Why is yours the one they should buy? And the right answer isn’t the design, the brand behind it, or anything else. It’s the quality and fit of the product. If it doesn’t look good, they won’t wear it, and you’ve lost half the point of merchandise.

Treat your partners well

If you want a quality design, the best thing to do is commission a digital artist. You’ll get something unique, with style, that will let you stand out from the crowd. But it does take the right handling to get what you want and keep a good working relationship. Take a look at our guide to commissioning artists for graphics for more detail.

Think outside the box

The typical merchandise items include t-shirts, hoodies, and stickers: something that will promote the brand to others, but the best ones are multipurpose. Even better, the top-tier merchandising items are ones that are relevant to the brand. For a multipurpose example, Emma Chamberlain sells high-quality coffee, since a big part of her early brand was her borderline addiction to coffee. Jeff Wittek was a barber before he got into influencing, and has since used it in content, therefore he sells male hair products on his website. So many beauty influencers, James Charles, Jeffree Star, Nikki Tutorials, etc. have launched their own makeup line.

Don’t just stick to the t-shirts and hoodies. Think about what your brand implies you know a lot about and sell your “superior” version of it.

Do your own photoshoot

Nothing says low quality like stock photos. If you’re browsing through photos of t-shirts just laid out on a white background, it’s so easy to imagine the hole in the seam that will come in a week. It says that your brand put no effort into a photo shoot, which is a reflection of the item.

Everyone’s an amateur photographer today. It doesn’t have to be expensive or long-winded to run a photo shoot with your merch, however, putting some quality into your shoot will go a long way to expressing the quality of your items.

If you’re interested in gathering some more affiliate and social media marketing insights, take a look at our blog, or for a more personalised approach, book a free call with a member of our team.

Or, for advice that comes from industry peers at the top of their careers, take a look at the content from our Elevate Summit. Over 14 hours of content are available featuring advice from talks, panels, and workshops for you to gain all the best advice.

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