While blogging can be a great hobby, the work and commitment necessary to keep up means that you may eventually want to see some returns. At this stage, it’s not unusual to start reaching out for brand or sponsorship deals, but if you have your sights set on a full-blown blogging career, many would argue that merch is the way forward, especially considering that even small-time creators (around 5,000 views per post) are able to garner as much as $170-$870 on merch sales alone.
Unfortunately, merch done wrong can prove as costly as it can be lucrative, altogether overshadowing the time that you were previously able to spend here. To help you tread that line, we’re going to consider how exactly to tell whether merch is right for you, and some improvements you could implement even if it wouldn’t be viable right now.
Consider your potential for returns
Return on investment (ROI) is a standard business consideration before any major expense and ensures that the money you put into a given project comes back tenfold. For bloggers, ROI can, unfortunately, be difficult to calculate, but there are some clear provable in any merch enterprise, such as the expenses you’ll need to pay on things like your merch itself, your online store (if you aren’t using a web platform that provides one,) dedicated server hosting that can deal with the increased activity, and so on. Compare this with basics like your number of regular readers and your social media following, and you should be able to tell, in a very basic sense, where your merch ROI currently rests, and if it doesn’t make the cut, how much you need to grow to make this a viable investment.
Test your pulling power
Even loyal readers are only dedicated to your free content right now, meaning that there’s no guarantee they’ll convert when money is involved. Luckily, statistics show that 49% of consumers now rely on influencer recommendations, and testing the waters with a few brand deals could help you see whether your followers are willing to spend. Even if your initial influencer suggestions don’t do so well, working to recommend only quality products that fit with the needs of your target audience over time should slowly see that sales trust building up, and converting to your merch later on.
Find where merch actually fits in your niche
We all understand the importance of identifying a niche before we start an online platform, but few consider the same when it comes to making merch work, with many influencers settling for standard totes, t-shirts, and other largely irrelevant and poorly selling solutions. To avoid the same, return to the niche question before development by actually considering offerings that provide true value to your audiences, such as training courses, software, or even something like a book that fits specifically with your brand and the value you’re aiming to offer, rather than just displaying your logo for no real reason.
Is merch for you? Well, we think it certainly could be if you follow these steps to success.