27 Apr 2017

How to Design a Band’s Merchandise- Part 1 (Intro to Merchandise)

rockstar-624-1370288223Why should my band sell merchandise?

There are many reasons as to why a band should consider selling their own merchandise, but to us the following three are the most important

Another way of interacting with your followers

Merchandise gives fans a different way of interacting with their favourite artists. Products that relate to a band will give followers new topics of conversation with other enthusiasts and also provide them with a new way to showcase their pride.

designing-band-merchandiseRaise awareness of your career

Merchandise tends to work like little mobile billboards that won’t expire. As you keep selling them, the bigger the chances of being seen are and the more people you reach.

Extra Cash

While selling merchandise won’t make you as rich as Jay-Z overnight, it’s still a new source of income. How much money you will make depends on many factors such as the popularity of the group, promotion and how “trendy” the items are.

It no longer requires a lot of investment

Back in the day, producing merchandise used to be really expensive. Bands would have to order a minimum and if they didn’t sell, run the risk of assuming all the costs themselves. Luckily, this has changed due in part to “on demand” platforms that allow creators to produce items one at a time as they are ordered.

Types of Merchandise

Technically, anything can be sold as merchandise. While, there are certain objects that we relate to the practice more than others, there’s is not a definitive list of what counts as “merchandise” and what doesn’t. Here are some of the most common merchandise items:

  • T-Shirts (duh!)
  • Vests
  • Hoodies
  • Beanie
  • Caps
  • Tote bags
  • Drawstring Bags

Because these items are so popular, it will be easier to find someone to manufacture them, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they should be the only option.

27 Apr 2017

Perfect Tips for Designing & Selling T-shirts

Designing and selling T-shirts is no small feat. There are lots of steps you’ll need to take to run a successful clothing business. Fortunately, some of those steps are fairly easy to do. By the time you’ve read through our list of pocket tips, you’ll be well-prepared to take your endeavor to the next level.

t-shirt-mockupsStarting steps

  • Decide what products you’re going to sell. Are you sticking to all T-shirts, or do you want to try out some other stuff, too?
  • What style of shirt is going to work best for your brand? There are lots, so have a think!
  • Figure out who is going to design your stuff — will you be doing this, or will you hire someone to do it for you?
  • Think about where you’re going to sell your tees: Online? a physical store? or in a Pop Up Shop?
  • Give your brand a clear, distinct personality — What will make it stand out?
  • Choose your brand name carefully.

Kornit Printed T-ShirtsMoney & Practical Talk

  • Set your budget and consider your profit margins.
  • If you need to print a lot of shirts at once, look into bulk T-shirt printing to save money.
  • Figure out where you’re getting your funds from — maybe you can do some crowdfunding?
  • You’ll need to decide on a payment method: Usually, PayPal and credit cards are good enough.
  • Create a space online to sell your products. Some people choose e-commerce shops, others do it through social media, and lots have their very own site.

funny-t-shirtsDesigning Your Products

  • Go online to find inspiration. Look to some offbeat sources for inspiration too, like buildings, kitchen gadgets and more!
  • If you’re not designing stuff, here’s where you can get free images for your designs.
  • If you’re going to hire someone to do design work for you, pick a designer carefully. Check out their portfolio and talk to them in person.
  • Use a mood board to play around with your ideas.
  • Try out how ideas will look by using T-shirt templates how your concept will look in real life.

T-Shirt BAndPrinting Decisions

  • Come up with creative ways to personalize your stuff. Here are some ideas specifically for jumpers, but they’ll work for lots of different pieces of clothing, too.
  • Think about what sort of T-shirt printing technique you want to use when you plan and design.
  • Once you’ve chosen your printing technique, think about your fabric choices, too.
  • Now, it’s onto color combinations! There’s more of a science behind it than you might think.
  • Take combining different design elements into account too, like geometrical figures and photos or a plain design on a textured tee.

Marketing Your Products

  • Decide who you want to sell your T-shirts to, and talk in a tone that appeals to them.
  • Don’t be afraid to use social media channels to promote your brand. Start with one or two you feel comfortable with.
  • Use Twitter to instantly deal with customer feedback. It’s quick and easy!
  • Marketing using YouTube videos can be a good tool to show customers your brand, your products and your professional know-how.

Displaying Your Products

  • Pick good-quality photographs for any displays you create.
  • When you do your photos, shoot and style your models in a way that fits with your brand and is consistent.
  • Create a mock up to show off your stuff to potential customers and clients.
  • If you have a physical store, consider coming up with a personalized uniform for your employees. It can be a great way to establish your brand.
26 Apr 2017

How to promote your music online- Part IV (Tips and Tricks)

music-onlineHire Someone

Keeping up with your online brand can be quite a time consuming task so hiring someone to do that job for you may not be such a crazy idea. We’re not telling you to outsource your networks to a professional agency but a person that works for a few hours a week on promoting your music online can lift a huge weight off your shoulders.

Pay for ads

Paying to promote your content on social media can be the difference between gaining hundreds of fans every week and remaining in obscurity. Most social media networks allow you to pay for promoted content and they usually have a pay-per-click option which means you only pay when someone clicks on your post. This allows you to be in control of your budget.

musical EventCreate a press kit

Once upon a time, press kits used to be sent to magazines and newspapers via mail. Nowadays the Internet has changed all of that allowing us to add more content like audiovisuals. A press kit will allow both casual listeners and music professionals to find the most important things they need to know about you.

Give your music away for free

This one is a bit controversial. You might think, why should I work so hard if in the end I’m going to give away my product for free? And you’re right! But there’s no denying that when music is shared for free it’s got the potential to go viral. The lesson here is to have technology and trends work for you and not the other way around.

hashtagsDon’t spam

Whatever you do — don’t spam. Nobody likes a spammer. When we first start to promote our content it is very tempting to spam. We want numbers fast so we normally think that by spamming we will get there sooner, but it is in fact the opposite. Once you earn the reputation, it is very hard to get rid of it — so be weary.

Use hashtags — sparingly

Hashtags are a great tool when used correctly. If you choose the right one, it’ll expose you to a large group of potential new followers  through a hot topic. The rules of hashtag etiquette are simple enough:

  • Less is more — in my personal experience when you use more than three, you seem desperate
  • Don’t use a hashtag if you don’t know what it means or where it comes from (you’d be surprised)
  • If you create one, show it to different people to make sure it doesn’t read something else
  • Keep them short and sweet
  • Stay on topic, don’t just use a hashtag because it’s trending and then talk about something else
26 Apr 2017

How to promote your music online- Part III (Start Promoting)

Now that we have a website and have set all of our tools up, it is time to start using them!

social-mediaSocial Media

Be consistent: The golden rule of updating is that it is more important to be consistent than to be frequent. If you can’t keep up with daily updates then pick once a week or once every two months! Pick whatever works for you and stick to it.

Engage: Its first name is Social for a reason. People get turned off by salesmen and artists that are only interested in self-promotion, look to engage with people for a warmer and more genuine reaction.

Pay attention: Sometimes we miss messages or comments that have been made. These can be networking opportunities or a chance to win a fan. Be on the lookout for them!

Social media is for creating a community — not selling!: Keep this one in mind when approaching other users online. Strike a conversation not an elevator pitch. If you don’t care to talk to other people then maybe you shouldn’t be on social media.

blogsBlogs

Even though the blog is no longer the king of content marketing it used to be, it is still a powerful tool that can do wonders for a musician’s career when approached correctly.

Write a blog: The great thing about a blog is that it is very customizable. It doesn’t necessarily mean lengthy posts or insightful reviews, posts can be short 300 words updates on your latest album or a place for you to share your latest videos or images.

Approach bloggers: You can ask bloggers to review your demo. Sometimes bloggers won’t charge you for their services, but they may ask you for something in return (free tickets to a performance, or something else).

Content Ideas: Some content ideas for your blog could be:

  • Singing tips
  • Guitar (or another instrument) playing tips
  • Go over your live performance ritual
  • Write about the inspiration behind a particular song
  • Review the latest album of a famous artist

websiteDon’t forget about your website

Ideally, your website would be your hub, what all of the other outlets will be connecting to, the final stage where people will get to and buy your music or a ticket to one of your performances.

A website must be updated constantly: The website is the business card of the online world, if it’s not updated it will send the wrong impression.

Sell merchandise: A website is a perfect place to sell merchandise.

music EventStay in touch

One of the most important tactics when promoting your music online is to keep in touch with the people you meet. Here are a couple of ideas to stay in touch with your new friends:

Get into email marketing: Email marketing that it’s a great tool to keep your followers updated on your latest actions. Email marketing that’s well done only provides valuable information when it’s necessary.

Engage on forums: Forums are a good place to meet potential future fans, forums must be approached carefully since they do not appreciate ulterior motives (and for good reasons).

Approach other artists: Collaboration with other up-and-coming artists is a valid strategy for mainly two reasons: One, you expose yourselves to each others followers and two, the creative possibilities are huge.

Upload your music to Spotify and iTunes

You may consider uploading your music to Spotify and iTunes to expose yourself to millions of potential listeners. These type of platforms have their fair share of controversy, specially when it regards to how much they pay artists, but it is undeniable that they can be a great tool to approach potential new listeners.

26 Apr 2017

How to promote your music online- Part II (Setting up)

Create a website

By now, you already have a clear idea of who your persona is and what your goals are, so the next logical step is to create your website.

music-online1 – Buy a domain

If these sort of things go over your head, worry not, websites like WordPress and Squarespace make it really easy to set it up. Whatever you do, don’t forget to use the username you’ve chosen for yourself.

2 – Choose a template

Pre-designed website templates have a bit of a bad rep among programmers and designers, but in my experience they’re life savers. There are even some of them that have been specially designed for musicians with built in tools to sell tickets and the likes.

social-mediaDive into social media

Create accounts on every single social media platform, and as soon as one starts to become famous, jump on it before anyone steals your account name. What you’re doing is “saving” your name on a particular network so if it becomes the new “must-have” then you won’t have to worry about someone else stealing your name.

What social media platforms you use is completely up to you, but we recommend:

Facebook: It’s true, that it is not what it used to be and fan pages (unless you pay) don’t reach all of your followers, but it is still one of the most important online tools. Facebook has got more built in tools and apps than any other social media, take advantage of that.

Twitter: Even though celebrities use it to get into petty discussions with one another. Twitter shines the most when it is used as a micro-blog. After all, that’s what it was designed for

Instagram: Out of all the social media platforms, Instagram is probably the one that reaches followers the most. Images on the photo platform have a longer life span than tweets and reach more people than Facebook posts.

YouTube: Producing good quality videos for YouTube can be time-consuming and expensive, but it is worth it. YouTube is not so much about being seen, but about being found.

music EventApproach platforms for musicians

Along your regular social media, nowadays there are many platforms that have been exclusively designed for bands and singers. Some of the ones are:

Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Reverbenation, Nextbigsound

Managing Help

With all of these social media platforms and profiles, it wouldn’t be strange to get overwhelmed. This is where help comes in.

Create a calendar

A calendar will allow you to save time by planning in advance and also prevents the dreaded “What should I post today?” moment. A social media calendar doesn’t have to be fancy, you could use a regular Google Calendar or do something like this.

Set up a social media manager

Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite are managing platforms that allow you to control several social media profiles at once. Combined with your calendar, you’ll become a social media pro in no time.

25 Apr 2017

How to Promote Your Music Online: Part I (The Drawing Board)

Before any big project, you need to sit down and make a plan — otherwise your efforts could be worthless.

music EventResearch

Make a quick list of artists and bands that are similar to your music style or that you would like to emulate. What are they doing? How are they communicating? Checking out the competition will give you an idea of how the music world works online and what you can do.

Plan your strategy

In order to execute a successful online promotion plan, you need to set up your goals first. Whatever your ultimate goal is will define your future movements. For example, a person who just wants to become popular may only decide to do viral videos and may not concentrate composing as much.

rockstar-624-1370288223Create a persona

Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, the Foo Fighters. What do they all have in common? They’ve created a persona to sell themselves. Much like a brand, a music group or a solo artist must market themselves to know how and when to distribute their music, and most importantly, to whom.

Come up with a username

This step is crucial. In order for people to find you more easily, create a username for yourself that’s both short and easy to remember. Now, the most important part is that it should be the same name for every social media network and website.

Awesome guitar player jumps with passion in studio

Gather graphic material

Create profiles on social media or fill the website with content. Reasons why we recommend having professional pictures taken:

  • It saves a lot of time!
  • It gives a cohesive visual style throughout different platforms making a brand more recognisable and therefore stronger
  • People will take an artist more seriously if they look professional
  • When done correctly, there will be enough content for months — maybe even years
  • Thanks to retouching and lighting, people often look better on professional photoshoots

Come up with a decent bio

We’re not encouraging you to hire a freelance writer and come up with a fantastical tale of how you ended up becoming a musician. There’s no need to lie or to come up with convoluted narratives. What we do recommend is to have a nicely written biography at your disposal so you can send to any blogger or online magazine whenever they ask.

 

25 Apr 2017

The best selection of t-shirt party ideas!

First, it’s an excellent way to break the ice. Second, as attire becomes casual, so do attitudes, meaning people feel more laid-back and ready to party — and consume! It’s a fun, inexpensive way to promote just about anything.

Here are some ideas to get the party started:

T-Shirt Night GlowGlow night

Does your club have black lights that make things glow in the dark? If you do, take full advantage and host a glow party — complete with a special glow-in-the-dark design tees, of course! You’ll want something that will look great under the lights, so team up with a designer who knows what they’re doing and maybe give things a trial run before you go. Club goers will get a fun surprise when they see what their tees look like in the dark.

Birthday package party

Give everyone at the private birthday party a free T-shirt with a nice design or memorable quote on it. Try to get them to all put the tees on for a photo, then upload it to your social media channels. Groups of people having fun while wearing tees for your club is a great way to promote your venue as the place to be!

T-Shirt BAndBattle of the bands

Organize a night of live music with local bands. Print T-shirts with the bands’ names, your club logo and the date of the event on them and hand them around. Quick and easy marketing for everyone. Win-win situation! If you get a cool designer to do a true rock-and-roll logo, chances are good people will wear them afterwards too — in other words, give you free publicity.

Design a cocktail

Host a contest to design a custom cocktail just for your nightclub. The winner gets their own exclusive cocktail on the menu and promotional T-shirts are printed advertising it. These can be used as giveaways, or to celebrate the release of a new drinks menu.

T-Shirt Neon BandNeon paint party

While not exactly “clean” fun, a paint party is nearly a guaranteed way to have a good night. You’ll have to make extra-sure you have an area you can have one of these parties, where paint is flung around by staff on top of crowds of revellers to give their shirts a one-of-a-kind party tie-dyed look. Use neon glow-in-the-dark paint and tell people to wear black.

The traffic light game

Everyone comes to the party wearing a red, green or yellow T-shirt. The colours indicate the person’s relationship status: Green means they’re single, red means they’re taken and yellow means “it’s complicated”. Either have guests purchase the branded garments on the venue’s website for a very low price or include them in the entrance fee.

24 Apr 2017

Examples of Successful Bulk T-shirt Printing Campaigns

bulk-t-shirt-printing-single-grainHere are some examples of campaigns that used bulk T-shirt printing successfully:

Simple Grain made $500K in revenue by giving away T-shirts

This is an example of great marketing. In this article, Sujan Patel explains how he got lucrative deals by just giving away and wearing his company’s T-shirt.

Mailchimp gives away 1000 T-shirts to their fans

Back in 2009, Mailchimp organised a campaign where they gave away free T-shirts to their followers on Facebook and Twitter.

bulk-t-shirt-printing-coca-colaCoca-Cola gives away free T-shirt’s in London’s railway stations

During the summer of 2015, Coca-Cola strategically placed tees dispensing machines in some of London’s busiest railway stations. If you tweeted the name of a Coca-Cola type along the hashtag #ChooseHappiness then the machine would give you a garment, along with a bottle of the soft beverage, of course.

“Eres Fuerza” marathon against breast cancer

The marathon organised by Spanish water brand Font Vella is a good example of the marketing potential of bulk T-shirt printing. No one will be left indifferent after seeing a river of pink T-shirts.

bulk-t-shirt-printingo2-O2 gives away rugby shirts

In an effort to promote the English Rugby team for the upcoming Rugby World Cup, O2 organised a contest where they would give away rugby shirts to fans if certain conditions were met.

ESL Manila gives official T-shirts to team Captains

Need to dress a lot of people in the same way at an event? Then look no further. Making your entire team wear the same garment will create an impression. We cannot stress it enough, a T-shirt is a great marketing tool. On top of that, everyone will be comfortable.

bulk-t-shirts-2SRAM at Red Bull’s Joyride at Crankworx

Bike components seller SRAM sells T-shirts with the names of famous cyclists at Red Bull’s Joyride at Crankworx. Ordering in bulk will ensure you have more than enough units to give away. Even if you buy more than you need, it means you’ll have some left for your next event!

Basic Stüssy Tee

Most fashion and T-shirt designers have a “signature” piece. This is the garment that made them famous, the one everyone must have. If you’ve already got a design that sells very well season after season, then why not invest on a large order that’s going to sell over time anyway?

Closing thoughts

Bulk T-shirt printing can help you make your campaign or business more efficient:

  • It can help you save money
  • It is good for the environment
  • It guarantees consistency in the quality of the products
  • It helps save time
  • And it’s great when you need large quantities of T-shirts
24 Apr 2017

Best Electronic Gadgets as Giveaway for an Event

A gadget is a small tool such as a machine that has a particular function, and is related to today’s fast-advancing modern age technology to create such gadgets. Gadgets have a wide variety of functions and styles. All of these functions show the progressing advanced modern age. Gadgets are sometimes referred to as gizmos. Gizmos in particular are a bit different from gadgets. Gadgets in particular are small tools powered by electronic principles (a circuit board).

Everyone’s favorites! And the best part is you don’t have to blow your budget in order to get them.

Power-BankPower Bank 1200

This power charger allows one to charge their smartphone without the need of an outlet. The best part is that Brand Spirit lets you personalize it. They will remember you every time they charge their device (constantly)!

Mr. Cardboard

Virtual Reality experience for everybody made with love in Germany. Branded Google Cardboard easy to use and well designed.

phone ChargingTrunk iPhone Charging Cable

This cable is flexible to the point you can bend it in whichever way you see fit, and rigid enough to hold your phone, at the same time. The possibilities are almost endless.

Electronic Bubble Wrap Keychain

ThinkGeek presents the future of OCD. This small device’s buttons imitate bubble wrap paper pretty accurately, with the only difference being that it doesn’t run out so one can go on and pop and pop and pop….

phone casePower Plug Kit

This power plug kit comes in a cute zippered case that includes an USB wall charger and an adapter. Perfect for travelers!

Waterproof Smartphone Case

No element should come between a user and their smartphone. Surprise them with this waterproof case by MUJI. Easy to use even with wet hands!

LED Superbright Flashlight

This 9 LED flashlight has got a handy aluminium case and is powered by AAA batteries. The fact that it kind of looks like a lightsaber is a plus!

24 Apr 2017

Creative giveaway ideas for a perfect Corporate event

A giveaway is an opportunity for you to cause an everlasting impression on your attendees. Not to mention the marketing opportunities. Give them something valuable and they’ll fondly remember you for months afterwards, if not years. A well thought-out giveaway is not only useful for your attendee, but will also reinforce your brand.

giveaway-ideas-1Stay away from the pens! Everyone and their mother has seen them in all models and sizes, ink colors and even the ones with the small lightbulb at the tip. JUST DON’T DO IT! They bring nothing new to the table. Their electronic cousin the pen drive is not much better, either. Nowadays with everyone storing their stuff in the cloud, they’re practically useless anyway. If you want to share a presentation you can do so by uploading it to a free file sharing service like Google Drive or Dropbox. Instead of the typical, try shaking things up with something like this:

Sticky Notes Organizer

Say goodbye to those piles of post-its. Any professional who writes down their ideas would be grateful.

Travel AlarmTravel Alarm Clock

A portable device that comes with torch, calendar, temperature reader, timer and 18 world time cities. A great gift for jet setters and international guests.

Screen Cleaner

Customisable screen cleaner. Works on all kinds of screens and is perfect for “on the go” people.

BestFire® Mini Bottle Cap Design USB Ultrasonic Humidifier

This humidifier fits nicely inside a bag or purse and can be used with any water bottle. A great present those who often spend nights at hotels.

mini calciRound Flexible Custom Logo Promotional Mini Calculator

This calculator is not only cute, but it’s also flexible (thanks to the soft plastic it is made of) and environmentally friendly. It recharges with sunlight, which means no more toxic batteries.

Suction Phone Holder

For all those moments when the hands are busy, but the phone is still needed, Outstanding Branding offers a modern and useful phone holder that can be sticked on any surface.

iPhone In Car Air Vent Mount Stand Holder

A universal mobile stand holder for iPhone 6, 5S and iPod that will not only make every ride more productive, but also safe.