YouTube can be a fantastic tool to promote your merchandise – OK, that’s probably not news to you. What may be more headline-worthy is how exactly you can use YouTube to make money for your brand, which is what you’re probably actually interested in. There are tons of opportunities to expand your brand via YouTube merchandise, and there are also lots of ways you can jazz up your YouTube channel with a bit of creativity.
Let’s get started with the basics of YouTube Merchandizing
Before we get to the making money bit, you’re going to need to set up a few things – er, like a YouTube channel. You do have one of those, right? If not, go ahead and create an account right now.
OK, that’s sorted! You’re also going to need to become a YouTube partner. Here’s a link that walks you through how to become a YouTube partner from their site (it’s pretty simple).
Now you’re all ready to start making money on YouTube using merchandising! A tip: most money YouTubers make doesn’t come from YouTube itself. Instead, it comes from merchandise and brand partnerships – which we’ll explain to you in a bit.
When is your channel ready for YouTube merchandise?
Just because you create a YouTube channel and merchandise for it doesn’t necessarily mean people will buy it. When is the right time to start selling?
Most people rather unhelpfully say you need a “successful” channel. Let’s try to make that more specific. In general, a successful YouTube channel has a subscriber count in the thousands, with a good number of them who are “engaged” in your content.
“Engaged” means that your subscribers actually watch your content, then leave likes and comments. Engagement is a huge part of being successful on YouTube!
What sort of content should you post on your YouTube channel?
The idea is to show your subscribers content that does two things:
- Relates to your brand
- Gives them something that they’re interested in watching.
That’s not the same as posting a bunch of videos that just sell your stuff.
To get a better idea of what this looks like in action, check out popular YouTubers like Tyler Oakley, Grace Helbig, and Smosh. They’ve all got awesome brands and create content their subscribers absolutely love.
Still not sure how you can brand your channel? Here are a couple of resources to help you out.
Next, you’ll want to figure out if your videos are working for you. To get an idea if you’re on the right track, use tools like Google Analytics or Google Trends. You can figure out if people are looking for your content, which stuff is most popular, how many views you’re getting, and so on.
If you’re not getting the numbers you’re looking for, think about if you can make your content more appealing in any way. (But also remember it takes a bit of time to become successful on YouTube, and it probably won’t happen overnight).
What kind of YouTube merchandise should you sell?
Some things YouTubers often sell include t shirts, badges, bags, posters, stickers, mugs, bracelets and books.
Keep in mind is what your particular audience would like. You can even ask them outright what sort of stuff they want, or perhaps get them involved in designing the merch by voting online.
To pinpoint that creative idea for what you should sell, start by taking a look at your own channel. What’s unique and special about it and your audience? What content are people leaving the most comments and likes on? Are you getting a ton of views on one specific video?
Then, have a look round and see what other people are doing. Of course, keep in mind what you could do better or differently than what you find. YouTube star Jenna Marbles started selling plush toys based on her pet dogs!
Where should I sell my merchandise?
Traditionally, if you wanted to sell your own products, you’d have to order a minimum number of them and then cross your fingers that they’d sell. But now, there are lots of platforms where you can sell your stuff, like Shopify, CafePress, and Zazzle, all of which are great places to sell YouTube merchandise.
How can you successfully sell YouTube merchandise?
A good rule of thumb is to create products that you would buy yourself. If you can’t produce high-quality stuff on your own (like artwork or design), then hire someone to do it for you. It really is an investment in your merch!
Another place you should invest is in advertising. Unless you promote your product, nobody will hear about it. What can work is to create a launch video for your product, then supplement that with some more subtle stuff. Remember, you want to avoid your channel becoming full of advertising.
Use social media, collaborations with other YouTube channels, and include links to places to buy your products in your video descriptions. You can also wear your merchandise in your videos without drawing explicit attention to it, or place some of it in the background of your video. This isn’t overt, in your face type stuff, but viewers will notice it.