At some point in your podcasting journey, you may start thinking about creating merch for your loyal fans and listeners.
While it can be exciting to daydream about sales rolling in while you sleep, merchandise and product creation isn’t something you should dive into without a plan.
To give you the best chances of success, here are some do’s and don’ts to consider when developing products.
Do - Ask Your Fans What They Want First
Whether it’s novelty items like t-shirts and bumper stickers, eBooks, or full digital courses, it’s best to ask your audience if they even want it in the first place. After all, there’s nothing worse than pouring your heart and soul into something only to have little to no sales in return for your efforts.
Don’t - Assume You Know What’s Best for Your Audience
Sure, you might be able to convince your audience to buy a sticker or throw some money at a Patreon page, but for products that cost a little more like eBooks, or a lot more like courses, it’s best to check in with your fans before pushing promotions at them.
Don’t - Buy a Bunch of Inventory Ahead of Time
This is especially important for podcasters who want to sell merch like t-shirts, totes, phone cases, mugs, etc. It’s best to work with a manufacturer that can print on demand.
While the profit margins will be significantly lower than if you’d purchased in bulk, you won’t have to worry about what happens if no one buys your inventory. That could save every family member, friend, and neighbor from receiving a t-shirt with your face on it this holiday season.
Do - Make a Promotion Plan for Developing and Delivery
You know the old saying, “A dream without a plan is just a wish.” It’s true in creating a product for your podcast audience too. Consider all the elements involved such as:
- How you will develop the product
- What the cost will be
- The strategy for how you will promote
- What the delivery process will look like
Don’t - Rush the Process
Do - Take it One Product at a Time
Though your brain may be on overload with a hundred ideas for product development, it’s best to start with one product, get it selling, and then consider whether or not you’ll create another one to add to your offerings.
After you have created a product, it’s also a good idea to only have one subsequent project in development at a time.
Starting too many projects could overwhelm you and cause you to abandon ship completely. That won’t help anyone.
Creating too many products at once could cause your audience to feel you’re nothing but a sales machine, and like you only care about making money.
If they stop receiving real value and feel that you only want to turn a profit, it might cost you fans and followers.
Don’t - Forget About Customer Service
Whether you will be delivering products via email or snail mail, you have to consider customer service. What happens if someone wants a refund, do you have a returns management process? Or what if a duplicate order or charge occurs?
When you’re selling anything, you have to consider how you will handle customer complaints and issues.
Do - Think About ROI
Perhaps you’re fine with breaking even, but if you want to actually turn a profit from creating a product for your podcast audience, you need to keep thorough records and test to see what is working and what isn’t.
For example, if you’re purchasing Facebook ads to promote your new product, but no one is buying after they click through to your sales page, you’re likely not going to see a good return on your ads investment.
Don’t - Give Up
Hopefully, you took more positives than negatives from this post. The possibilities of creating a product for your podcast audience are endless. You just need to make sure you’re being smart about how you handle the planning and execution of any and all types of product development. If you really want to make this successful, don’t give up!
Here’s hoping that you come up with a product that your audience can’t get enough of. May it turn into a revenue stream that takes your business to the next level.