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What is it with this Kpop craze?

I’m sure everyone and their grandma knows BTS especially because they released a lot of content during the pandemic and got a Grammy nom.

Do they have music that can make Tchaikovsky and Bach smile from the heavens?

Not really, no.

But boy, their latest music video had 10 million views in just 15 minutes. You may not like these K-bois very much but they certainly know how to make their fans go crazy. That alone deserves a round of applause.

If you’re a musician, you may be rolling your eyes from envy but here’s the thing: you can do that, too!

Maybe not by millions because that requires a ginormous marketing budget, but you can nurture your fans (and earn some bucks) the way they do. Don’t say you don’t want it.

Start with really cool merch!

BTS has a lot of stores that sell all kinds of merch like toys and home decor. It’s crazy.

The trick is to make it something really outstanding, nothing less.

But how?

We asked Swaggin, a custom merch maker in LA, some merch tips that can really keep your fans hooked.

Here are some ways you can use your merch to make current fans happy and lure in new ones:

#1 MAKE YOUR MERCH ONE OF A KIND

Don’t sell anything boring if you want to sell. Period.

Make a custom merch that has never been released by any artist or put a twist to something basic.

New fans might be willing to throw you their money and former fans might even become fans again just because you’re giving them good stuff.

Yes, fans like your music but they want more than music.

If you sell so-so merch, only the active fans might buy from you.

If you sell truly one of a kind, out-of-this-world merch? You’d get people’s attention, even the ones who’ve never heard your music will surely tune in for more of your awesome custom merch/ custom band merchreleases.

#2 USE YOUR MERCH AS A MARKETING BAIT

A badass merch can attract a bigger audience. You’re basically casting your net wider.

Let’s say you sell some custom plush toys of your band.

The people who will likely get interested in it aren’t only your fans, they’ll pique the interest of kids, doll collectors, and if your plush is really awesome, the general public.

So they will find it cute and then of course they’ll get curious about you and your music.

They might check out your discography and fall in love with the songs you or your band have already put out.

And that, my dear friends, is how you should plan your merch. Turn it into a bait and they’ll always be coming back for more.

#3 MAKE YOUR MERCH WORTH COLLECTING

Have designs that would make them worth your fans’ and other people’s money. Make it something they’d want to put on a shelf and show off to their friends.

How?

Good design+good quality always wins the merch game.

Your custom merch doesn’t need to be something expensive for it to have good quality. Just choose really durable materials (read: don’t just choose the cheapest) and you’re all set.

Make something that they’d want to keep for a long time because they know it is VALUABLE and will probably sell well in the future.

You can add more value to your merch by:

  • Releasing limited editions. The fewer it is, the more value it has, of course.
  • It could be by creating a story about it. Maybe it’s controversial, maybe it’s part of your band’s history.
  • Really making the merch aesthetically pleasing.
  • Drop it— surprise your fans by just selling merch out of the blue!
  • Make it a series of some sort. Release one today, one next month, and so on. This way, the individual item gains more value as it becomes part of a set.

#4 MAKE YOUR MERCH REFLECT YOU

Sure, a band logo that’s slapped on a shirt still reflects you but that’s what everyone else does.

Make custom merch that’s connected to your music and your brand.

If you have a song entitled candy, for example, it’s much more fun to make candies with your name on it or candy-scented postcards instead of just printing “Candy” on a tee.

It’s gotta be more than just the print!

#5 CUSTOM MERCH AS GIVEAWAYS

This idea is making your custom merch a gift to fans. It will have more value and it will make your fans hooked.

Let’s say you’ll have them stream a certain song or have them share stuff on social media. You can also have them post a video edit with your or your band’s song as the background music. Anything really!

In return, they’ll get random merch items from you.

While you’re at it, you can have a hashtag of the giveaway event so it may climb up the trending list.

And of course, you can do this during your gigs and tours.

There are bands who just put a stash of custom stickers, guitar picks, fake tattoos, and even customized condoms in the toilet.

Choose a merch item that’s less than a dollar and you’d make a lot of fans happy.

#6 BUNDLE YOUR MERCH WITH YOUR OTHER STUFF

Put a custom button or sticker or what have you together with your vinyl or CD to make it more valuable.

What’s cool about bundles is that the sum is always more than its individual parts.

This isn’t just putting things together. You also have to have a Unified theme and design for this to be truly worth it.

It could be that the artwork on your album would be the same for your shirt and mug, etc. But there are many ways to do this so that they’re not just different items with the same print.

You would need a good art director and printer for this but it will be worth the trouble!

#7 LET YOUR FANS CREATE THE MERCH FOR YOU

Instead of thinking and designing a catchy artwork for your merch, how about you let your fans do it.

It’s a cool way to collaborate, don’t you think?

Throw a contest and ask fans to vote for the most awesome designs.

Not only will you create some excitement, it’s a wise way to know your fans’ tastes so you’ll have an idea which ones would sell for sure.

That’s two points for badass marketing strategy.

Fans are easy to please. Give them a cool band shirt, and they’ll be happy.

However, you gotta do more than that. Use merch as a branding and marketing tool instead of just items you sell to earn extra cash.

Merch has power if you only know how to use it.

LA Weekly