Looking to increase your online revenue as a musician? Use your website to make money by maximizing sales during the holidays. With a targeted date in mind, you can create a push to sell more of your merch and music.
There are a few reasons why you should be driving your fans back to your website to make sales. First, you own the experience completely. There are no ads, distractions, or other stories on your website. You can create and customize this experience to make your music website an appealing, one-stop shop for your fans to purchase music and merch in time for the holidays.
Another good reason to make money directly through your website is that it gives your fans, at any level, a way to support you directly, with no commission taken. It’s that “shop local” perspective which, combined with a truly personalized experience, will drive your fans to buy more merch and music. Now it’s up to you to create a strategy, and ask them to support you!
With that in mind, let’s look at the best ways to make money through your music website this holiday season.
1. Use a call-to-action on your website
When fans get to your website, you want to grab their attention right away. You’ll also want to give them something to do once they get there. You can direct their attention with a call-to-action. A call-to-action encourages your visitors to move from being a spectator to being a participant on your site.
Update your call-to-action to suggest that your website visitors visit your store, shop your new merch, or buy your latest album. Make sure the text and button are easy to read, and lead to your store page with all of your music and merch.
2. Create a pre-order for your album
Are you thinking about making a new album over the course of the next year? A pre-order is a great way to make your album available for sale before its release date. Even if it’s still in the songwriting phase, creating a pre-order will benefit both you and your fans.
This time of year, a pre-order option may also encourage people to gift an album as a way to support your music. It will also kick start you into the pre-marketing stage of your music. A pre-order will give you a concrete reason to market your new EP, album, or single, and the holiday season is a great time to start sharing your plans with your fans.
To set up a pre-order, all you need to do is add your album details - the description, artwork (or a placeholder image) plus the expected release date. You can then accept pre-sales for your music.
3. Add creative merch items
At a time where many people are looking to shop for different items online, offer more than just the usual merch. In addition to t-shirts, you could create face masks, pins, stickers, mugs, cozy socks, or sweatshirts. You can also sell online lessons, videos, and workshops which your fans could redeem throughout the holiday season.
To sell your creative merch items, add them in rows to your music store page. Be sure to add lots of images to show what you are selling. You can add multiple images to show your items, and add a clear description to be sure that your fans know what you’re offering.
4. Make bundles to move more merch
A bundle consists of packaging music plus a merch item in your store. It’s a great way to move more items, and make more sales, especially around the holidays. You can attach an album or a single to your merch items to try to move more music.
Setting up a bundle in your music store is pretty easy to do. You can create a package deal for your back catalog albums, or set up vinyl, cd, and digital albums together. Add a single or album to a t-shirt, or bundle multiple merch items with the same theme together at a reduced price. Offer lots of options to give something for everyone to choose from.
5. Sale pricing to clear out stock
Everyone loves a sale. If you’ve got band merch kicking around from your days on the road that you’d like to get out the door, place those items on sale. Once you clear them out, you can always create more merch to line up with your next album or release.
Whenever you put your music or merch on sale, make sure to let fans know that it’s for a limited time only. This will encourage fans to act fast, and save money while they can. Then promote your music and merch items in creative ways each day of the sale. You could create 12 days before Christmas sale, or an 8-day Festival of Lights sale. For an even bigger push, you can do a “Last Day to Play 2020” sale on December 31st.
6. Offer discount codes for your music
Discount codes are usually offered to customers as an incentive to entice them to shop more. Reducing the price of your music or merch, for a limited time only, can be an effective way to attract shoppers and encourage your music fans to turn into repeat customers.
You can create different discount codes and promote these to different segments of your fanbase. Offer a special ‘superfan’ discount to your mailing list members, for example, or a ‘holiday2020’ discount. Offering these codes for a limited time only will create a sense of urgency and motivate your fans to redeem the code.
7. Let fans pay-what-they-want for your music
The pay-what-you-want model allows your fans to choose how much they would like to pay for your music or merch items. This strategy works well around the holidays because your loyal fans will see it as a way to support you, in the amount that they choose.
To try this as a method to make more sales, decide how you’ll approach it first. You could make it a one day thing where fans can buy any of your music at a price they choose. Another idea is to set your older albums to pay-what-you-want to let people grab your full back catalog. Or, you could set your latest album to pay-what-you-want throughout the season to focus attention and make more sales on that specific item.
Once you know how you’ll use this tactic, set a minimum price (if needed) for your music or merch, and promote it to your fans.
8. Offer exclusive discounts for your fan club subscribers
With fan subscriptions, your fans pay you a monthly subscription or membership fee in exchange for exclusive content. If you’ve been working hard at building up your paying subscribers throughout the year, this is a great time to add a few discounted items just for them.
Offering your most loyal fans a few exclusive options will help engage them further, and may also prod them to support you even more by purchasing merch that isn’t part of your regular subscription offerings.
To do this, you can add a music player, or merch store, to one of your subscriber-only pages. Add exclusive content and let your fan subscribers know it’s now available to purchase. Or, on your website’s Store page, add special subscriber pricing to your merch items. Then let your members know they can now access merch on your Store page at a subscriber-only price.
9. Use your mailing list
You mailing list is an incredibly powerful tool to connect with your fans. To maximize your sales, send out email newsletters talking about your music and merch to your email subscribers.
If you have decided to set up a pre-order, make sure your email subscribers know about it by describing the new music and the release date. If you’re offering a discount on merch, set up a code and send it out exclusively to your mailing list subscribers. Or if you’ve decided to put your items on sale, send an email blast the day your sale starts, and again on the last day as a final reminder.
Keep your email newsletters short, with a clear call-to-action for people to click to visit the page on your website where you’re selling your music online. The key with your mailing list is to build long-term relationships with your subscribers, so don’t oversaturate your list by sending mail too often. Make it personal, appeal for their support, and focus on what you want them to buy.
10. Social media marketing
You should focus on your website as the primary way to make music sales - that way, you can capture email addresses and offer direct-to-fan sales. The reality is, though, that many of your fans are on social media. They’re comfortable there, and it’s an easy way to reach a wider group of people who may not be as familiar with your music yet.
With that in mind, create awareness of your music on Facebook, Instagram, or on whichever platforms you are actively engaged.
You can create timed posts to coincide with the start and end of your holiday music and merch sales. You can also advertise your music on Facebook, and on Instagram to be sure people hear it, and then drive them back to your website to buy it.
You can also create an ad campaign with Show.co. You can reach fans on websites like Pitchfork, Billboard, and MTV, as well as listeners with Spotify and iHeart audio ads.
With all of your holiday sales efforts, the key is clear communication. Don’t be afraid to ask your fans to support you this time of year; you are offering them something valuable in return. Create a music marketing strategy that will complement your music and your personality without oversaturating your fans’ attention too much. Good luck selling more music and merch over the holidays!
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