Making great merchandise
In this video, YouTube creator Seth from Seth's Bike Hacks discuss all the things he's learned about creating and selling merch. Every creator’s merchandising strategy is different and will depend on your audience. However, check out some of the broad principles that apply to all channels around selling merchandise.
You're living the dream, making YouTube videos for a living. Maybe you're even doing it part-time, in which case you may also have a job. In either case, your time is at a premium. This is why many creators sell merchandise, or merch to earn supplementary, or even primary, revenue.
Today, I'll show you how to do it without putting a hurting on your schedule. I'm Seth from the channel Seth's Bike Hacks, where I take my audience with me on mountain-biking adventures.
Whether you're selling t-shirts, hats or anything else with your logo on it, branded merch is a huge win for both you and your fans. Some creators use merch to supplement their income while others have made it their main revenue stream. There's no right or wrong time to start selling merch but clues in your comment section should be your first indicator. Are you seeing familiar names? Are people quoting you? If so, they might wanna show their support in a more tangible way. Throughout my mountain-biking adventures, my audience has become familiar with certain catchphrases and sayings. This 'Smeash' t-shirt I'm wearing has an inside joke on it which any of my subscribers would instantly recognise. That makes it the perfect way for them to show their support and signal to other subscribers that they watch my channel. Surely you've seen other examples like that shirt and maybe you even own a few bits of branded merchandise. But someone needs to design this stuff, warehouse it, ship it out and handle complaints when something goes wrong. Where would you, a busy creator, find the time to do that?
So how do you prepare branded merchandise? If you're just making a logo tee or coffee mug it could be as simple as uploading your original logo design file. But many of us want to create new artwork, and that's a job for a graphic designer. Maybe you can use the designer who made your logo or perhaps you can find a designer in your audience. If you know other creators, asking who they use would be a great place to start as well. There are also sites like 99designs and Fiverr where you can put your project out to bid and let designers come to you. Based on my personal experience, a lot of full-time graphic designers will want a minimum of around $150 to make a simple original design. This number can fluctuate wildly based on your demands as well as how in-demand the artist is. Quality design work can be a great investment that pays you back in full but it all starts with the guidelines that you put in place.
Using bullet points about your channel and audience is a good way to give the designer some inspiration.Be concise in your instructions and provide real-world examples whenever possible. At the onset of the design process the artist will usually give you some rough drafts. From there, you can provide further instructions on what you want to see. Also, consider taking the artist's suggestions. After all, you did hire a professional.
Once you have a design you're happy with you'll need to apply it to a product and list it for sale. Let's go over some guidelines to help you achieve the best results.
Mind the specifications. Services like Teespring will provide you with the minimum size and resolution for uploaded artwork. But when in doubt, go bigger. You can always shrink your design to fit your product but stretching it out can lead to quality loss.
Building on specifications, make sure you're using the proper file type. I've found that .PNG files can be used universally across platforms like Teespring. A .PNG can be easily overlaid against any background color. Double-check your proofs. Most interfaces will give you a proof or preview of what the final product will look like. But spending a few bucks on a sample eliminates all the guesswork. This can save you a ton of grief.
Write a great description. No matter where you sell your product. it's gonna end up on a product page with a 'Buy Now' button. Make sure to include notes about the materials your merch is made out of and how it relates to your channel.
Take your pricing into consideration. Don't dissuade sales with an outrageous price. But at the same time make sure you can cover the costs of your designer and make the whole process worthwhile. When in doubt, check to see what other creators are selling their merchandise for and use that information to stay competitive.
Now that you've gone through the process of designing and listing merch it's time to tell the world about it. If you have a website, make sure your product links are up to date. If you're selling apparel, be sure to wear it in your videos to build excitement. Pinning a top comment with a link to your merch is also a great way to get the word out but make sure to do it as soon as your video goes live so your most dedicated fans will see.
Available in certain countries, YouTube allows you to promote your merch on video end screens as well as in a merch shelf below the description. If you're sure your fans are interested in branded merchandise then why not do a dedicated video about it? Many of your audience members want to know about new merch so take the time in your video to tell them directly. Tell them that you hope they like it and ask for feedback in the comment section. Getting your viewers to talk about merch not only helps get the word out but also provides you with valuable feedback.
If you've never sold merch before I hope this video has inspired you to give it a shot. If you have, make sure to share some of your own tips in the comments below to help fellow creators.
Subscribe for more great tips and tricks here on the official YouTube Creators channel. And make sure you come visit me over at Seth's Bike Hacks.