Marketing Your Merch With Passion and ClarityDanny Ferretti
Forget the bear. If anybody does anything in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, then did anything really happen in the woods? That question leads to my absolute favorite piece of advice: “You can’t buy what you can’t find.” I repeat that line to at least 20 people every day, and it rings true no matter how savvy or inexperienced the listener is.
Now, allow me to paint you a picture… You have a million followers and you’re all excited about having branded merchandise — and who wouldn’t get excited about their picture on a coffee mug? So you spend hours choosing photos, deciding which company to work with, testing, creating mock-ups, more testing, setting up your pricing, figuring your margins and mulling over countless other details before finally launching your merch on the web.
Then boom! Three weeks go by, and you haven’t made one sale. Not even one miserable coffee cup has been sold. Huh? Did people stop drinking coffee?
You have a million followers and haven’t even sold one flipping coffee mug in three weeks? Surely there must be a glitch in the matrix? So you immediately jump to the conclusion that the shopping cart must be broken. What else could possibly be the reason?
You fret over the “why” of it all, because surely your fans love you and would be fighting at the chance to get their hands on your mug. So why? Why haven’t you sold anything in three weeks?
I redirect your attention once again to my absolute favorite piece of advice: “You can’t buy what you can’t find.”
It’s not that your fans don’t love you, and it’s got nothing to do with your photos, the coffee mug, your political beliefs, the price of the product or the mere thought of another season of “Grey’s Anatomy.” Nine times out of 10 it has everything to do with your fans not knowing a product even exists or not knowing they are supposed to be buying it.
You read that correctly. Maybe they don’t know they are supposed to buy it. How so? Well, let’s talk about the mechanics of encouraging a merch purchase:
A person needs — or even better, wants — the product you are selling: They probably don’t really need a branded mousepad, so it’s up to you to make them want one.
Provide a great visual of the product: If all you have are bad photos, you’re not helping yourself at all.
Let the buyer see and hear your excitement about the product: A short selfie video showing your excitement says it all.
Give them a simple path to purchase: Ask them to buy it and show them where and how. A simple “click here” might not be quite enough.
But before you can sell your merchandise, you have to have an audience, and that’s not as simple as it sounds. If you have a fairly active Instagram page with engaged followers, you might think that would translate into a great prospect pool for merch sales — and maybe it does — but honestly, odds are it doesn’t.
Think about why you have the followers you have. If you continuously post risqué photos, you’re going to build your follower count — and nowadays, attract the IG bots to flag you. Following you to check out your sexy pics doesn’t convert to spending any money. Compare your IG followers to the number of OnlyFans subscribers you have, for example. It’s a pretty big difference, isn’t it?
You see, it doesn’t matter whether you have five million followers, 100,000 followers or 25,000 followers. The numbers are great, but it’s the interaction, the loyalty and the “want more” that turn followers into buyers.
Tossing up an IG story with a page-scroll video of all your products might be pretty to look at, but chances are your viewer couldn’t care less. On the other hand, a short selfie video of you talking about one specific item while holding that item, and simply asking them to visit your store to see all the other great things you offer, will undoubtedly get you more clicks. Here’s why…
- They can see your excitement and want to share in it.
- Not seeing all of your items at once makes their curiosity stronger; they want to see what else you have.
- You’ve asked them to click — it’s a personal request — and that’s much more effective than just simple text on a page.
Now, that being said, don’t wear your message into the ground. If all your followers see are posts about signing up to your OF or posts about what you ate for dinner or the same things day after day, they aren’t going to be active followers very long. And don’t kid yourself: your follower count may be 834,000, but a really large number of those followers may have actually stopped watching you — they just haven’t clicked the unfollow button. That shows two things: you no longer appeal to them for whatever reason, and they’re too lazy to click a button. While “834,000” looks great on your page, sponsors know better and so does your bank account.
So, in summary, zero in on one product at a time with an enthusiastic call to action, clearly direct fans to the link required for a purchase, don’t be too infrequent with merch marketing and don’t be too frequent with selling your merch either. Trust me: people are still drinking coffee. They just have to be able to find it.