If you're like many artists, your distribution strategy begins and ends at the merch table. But for too many acts, the at-the-show marketing effort involves nothing more than a shout-out from the stage: “We've got CDs for sale at the back of the room!" Come on, is that the most creative approach you got? you're a creative genuis right, so how about you think outside the box. Here are some common sense tips to help you start moving some product.
- Just announcing the existence of a merch table may not be powerful enough. So rather than announcing what you're selling, announce what you're giving away. For example, maybe you can throw in stickers or an older CD for free with a t-shirt purchase – or vice versa.
- Buying is contagious, and if people see others buying your merch, they're more likely to check it out. If you've got friends and relatives who you know are going to buy a CD, have them buy it at the back of the nightclub where on-the-fence types can see it happen. Remember how powerful statements like SOLD OUT or WHILE SUPPLIES LAST really are to consumers.
- One of the most effective ways to move a lot of product in a hurry is to bundle CD sales with admission to the club. Rather than selling a $7 cover and a $10 CD, sell a $15 all-in-one. Such agreements can be mutually beneficial – but club owners often greet such deals suspiciously, so make sure you’ve pitched the idea and agreed upon the details well beforehand.
- Accept credit cards. CD Baby has an excellent program which allows you to get your very own credit card swiper, which you can take to your gigs to help you sell a lot more merchandise.
Behind every great money making night is a solid merch strategy to make things easy for people who are close to the “Point of Sale.” Why not give them a little push, or make things easier for them. Implement some of the above methods into your live presentation and it will no doubt take some of the edge off that 100 city tours, by putting a little extra cash in your pocket along the way.