How to monetise your YouTube channel with merchandise

Are you an established YouTuber and are looking into merchandise to make some extra cash?

Then, you’ve come to the right place.

Selling personalised T-shirts is probably one of the easiest and most affordable ways to get started but before you imagine yourself diving into a pile of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck, there are a couple of things we need to straighten out.

  • YouTube won’t make you rich overnight.
  • Ads on Youtube don’t make as much money as some think.

Still with me? Good. The real money on YouTube comes from partnering with other brands and merchandising. In this post we’ll cover the second one: How to create merchandise for your YouTube channel, and not only that, we’ll tell you exactly what kind of merchandise your channel should sell, according to different factors (number of subscribers, the category of the channel, target audience…)

How?

We’ve analysed more than 1,000 Youtube Channels, both successful and on their way there, that sell merchandise. We’ve looked into where they sell, how and when and we’ve gathered all that data and put it on a nice and tidy on an infographic!

This guide will teach you how to make merchandise for your YouTube channel. Feel free to skip ahead to any of the sections.

Part 1 – Getting Started
Part 2 – Merch ideas for YouTubers
Part 3 – Promote your merchandise
Part 4 – Where will you sell your merch?
Part 5 – Examples

Infographic-youtubers-final, youtube merchandise uk, merchandise youtube

Part 1 – Getting Started

Before you learn how to sell merchandise on YouTube, first you’ll need to (if you haven’t already done so) become a YouTube partner. Doing so will allow you to monetise your channel. If you don’t know how to do it then you can check their website where they clearly explain how it’s done. Luckily for us, becoming a YouTube partner is easier now than ever before.

As we already stated, channels don’t make that much money on ads so if you want to make more cash (or even turn your channel into your primary source of income), you’ll have to expand your brand and selling merchandise is a great way to do so. Some of the benefits of merch are:

  • A different source of income
  • Publicity for your channel
  • Content for your channel
  • A way to engage with your followers beyond the screen
  • You have full control
  • Are you ready to sell your own merchandise?

According to Kevin Kelly, the executive director of Wired magazine, any creator needs to have at least 1000 ‘true fans’ in order to make a living off their content.

Your Channel Must be Successful First

Before you even start thinking of what colour your T-shirts will be, you must first have a successful channel. Now, what means being successful on YouTube? Is it having millions of subscribers? It sounds tempting, but the number of subscribers a channel has doesn’t necessarily reflect the quality of engagement. For example, Pewdiepie, the channel with the most subscriptions on YouTube, had so many problems with spam at some point that he had to shut down entirely the comment section of his videos.

Personally, I believe that a successful YouTube channel is one that’s got a healthy number of subscribers (thousands) who are truly engaged with the videos. This means people who view, like and comment on the actual content rather than spammers, trolls or users who are “casually” subscribed to a channel just because it’s popular and may not even check the content. Take a look at this complete guide if you want to learn how to get a decent amount of high-quality subscribers.

YouTube is not just a Video Platform

It is also a social engagement tool. This is a crucial aspect of YouTube not everyone understands. The platform is built around communities of creators and consumers. If your sole reason for creating a YouTube channel is to sell your stuff, then I’d suggest going somewhere else. A successful YouTuber is the one that creates synergy with its viewers instead of uploading content expecting others to swallow it without a word.

Make sure your brand is awesome

Take a look at some of the most popular YouTube channels: Smosh, Tyler Oakley, Grace Helbig, just to name a few. They’re not just personalities, they’re brands. They have logos, slogans and even corporate colours. Before you sell products, you need to think of your brand. By having it established, you’ll be able to make a bigger impact once you launch.

If you want to learn more about branding you can check out some of the posts we’ve done on the subject here and here.

Go Analytics

Try to find as much information about your audience as possible. Discover who they are and create something that you know they will love. The following video from Youtube Creator Academy explains this in a very simple way!

If your brand is on point, if you’re engaged with your audience, and they’re looking for you then you can move on to the next step.

 

 

If your brand is on point, if you’re engaged with your audience, and they’re looking for you then you can move on to the next step.

Back to top.

Speaking of guides…

We’re offering a special guide to our readers. Do you want to produce merchandise at an affordable price? Our ‘YouTube Merchandise Guide’ will give you all the tools you need to monetise your channel. This guide has been designed for YouTubers who are on their way to becoming household names and wat to expand their brand. It will teach you:

  • Facts about YouTube merchandise
  • How to get started
  • The kind of merchandise you should sell
  • Where you should sell your products
  • And more!

Download it now – for free!

youtube merchandise guide

Part 2 – What kind of merchandise can you sell?

Well, all kinds, really. YouTubers have gone from selling T-shirts to writing their own novels. We’ll explore other types of merch later, but some of the most common are:

  • T-shirts
  • Badges
  • Tote Bags
  • Posters
  • Stickers
  • Mugs
  • Books
  • Bracelets

Think of Your Followers

What would your subscribers like? Have they asked for something in particular? Chances are that if you have a large/medium sized subscription base then someone at some point must have asked you for a T-shirt, at least. Involve them in the process. Maybe you could even organise a design challenge where your viewers get to vote for what they’d like to see on your online shop.

Check the Competition

Hey, it’s 2018. You’re not only competing against channels that have been there since the very beginning, you’re also against hundreds of thousands of newcomers who are just as hungry as you. What are the others selling? Can you add something new to the mix? If it’s already been done before, then do something else or do it better.

Be Creative

If you’re on YouTube, chances are you’re creative. After all, it takes a mind full of ideas to come up with fresh and exciting content every week. Badges and mugs are fine, but everyone and their mother have seen them already. An example of good creative products by a YouTuber are the cute plush toys based on Jenna Marbles’ dogs.

 

 

What Makes Your Channel Popular?

Different from all the others? Use something that’s exclusive to your channel and create something with it. Look through your comments, what do people like? Are they quoting something in particular? Which of your videos has got the most views? Draw inspiration from it and get going.

Produce High-Quality Merchandise

This one might be a no brainer, but it is important to produce high-quality goodies. Nobody wants to pay for a T-shirt that’ll be torn in a couple of weeks. This is particularly important for online orders. Nothing creates more distrust like receiving a damaged good after you’ve been waiting days (or weeks) for it to arrive. A good advice is to produce stuff you would buy.

Hire a Designer

If you’re not one, that is. Just because you can come up with a thumbnail in Photoshop for your video, it does not mean that you can create artwork for merchandise. Going back to quality, if you want the best possible products then it should start with the design. A T-shirt made out of the best possible fabric is not worth much if it’s got a poor design printed on it. A professional designer may be pricey, but see it as an investment.

Back to top.

Part 3 – Promote your merchandise

It pays to advertise. Nobody will be able to buy your stuff if you don’t promote it. The obvious plan would be to create a video where you announce the launch of your merchandise, that’s a great idea, but then what? You can’t sell every day without the risk of becoming repetitive. Remember you’re on YouTube because you want to produce awesome content, not to become an infomercial. A few ideas in order not to get repetitive are:

  • Use social media to promote in addition to your videos
  • Collaborate with other YouTubers to promote each other’s merchandise
  • Leave a link on every description box, but don’t mention it
  • Wear your merch, but (again) don’t mention it
  • Leave it inconspicuously in the background while you record

Back to top.

Part 4 – Where will you sell your merch?

How do YouTubers make merch? Truth is, most of the time, they don’t make it themselves. Not too long ago, creating your own merchandise meant a huge investment. You’d have to order a minimum number of products and expect for them to sell because if they didn’t, you’d have to assume the losses.

Thankfully, nowadays there are platforms that print per order, which means little or no funding. Some platforms that work in this fashion are:

Back to top.

Part 5 – YouTubers and their merchandise (Examples)

The following is a list of some of our favourite YouTubers and their awesome merchandise.

Dan and Phil

These British YouTubers are the perfect example of everything we’ve been talking about. Their products are varied, they’re of good quality and cater specifically to their target audience. Extra points for an online shop that’s well designed and easy to navigate.

In this particular video, they talk about their 2017 calendar.

 

 

 

Joey Graceffa

As part of YouTube royalty, this colourful young man sure has learned how to sell his brand over the years. In one of his most popular efforts, he released a line of crystals which covered jewellery, nails and even smartphone covers.

 

 

Zoella

The second place goes to Zoella. Some people may refer to her as the queen of beauty channels, but I like to think of her as the Oprah of YouTube. Mainly because she has created a HUGE brand based on all things pretty and feel-good (she’s even starting a book club).

Her empire started with the typical YouTube merch (T-shirts, notepads, mugs, etc) but quickly expanded to a makeup line and publishing (with a novel which she may or may have not written herself). I don’t think we’ll have to wait long until we see Zoella The Movie: finding the perfect Pharmacy Lipstick.

 

 

PointlessBlog

Zoella’s boyfriend, Alfie Deyes has learned a thing or two from his girlfriend and has expanded his ‘pointless’ brand beyond his videos. He’s sold notebooks, hoodies, jumpers, and even a book with blank pages (not a notebook). He is so into his merchandise that it’s got its own Twitter account!

 

 

Thatcher Joe

Aside from the regular merchandise, Joe Sugg (Thatcher’s real name) released a graphic novel called Username: Evie. Just because you’re a YouTuber, it doesn’t mean you have to sell products that directly relate to your audiovisual content. Merchandise can be a great opportunity to explore other creative outlets.

Trivial info: Tatcher Joe is Zoella’s brother. They’re all related!

 

 

Caspar Lee

Caspar’s got its own line of T-shirts and hoodies. I don’t know about their quality, but their design is pleasing to the eye.

 

 

Marcus Butler

We already spoke about Butler’s merchandise on our online shops review but in this video you get a closer look at his capsule collection.

 

 

Jim Chapman

Back in 2015, Chapman released a series of products under his name. These are perfect for those who do not wish to scream ‘I’m a fan!’ to the world since neither the name nor the name of the YouTuber appear on the merchandise.

 

 

Connor Franta

Unlike most YouTubers, Franta did not just create merchandise but his own lifestyle brand called Common Culture. Aside from the typical T-shirts, mugs and hats, it offers — coffee beans. Yes, this YouTuber has got his own brand of coffee.

 

 

ChooChoosGaming

Don’t hesitate to create some limited stuff as premium giveaways, I bet your most engaged followers would love to have it!

 

 

Mr Ben Brown

Here Ben shows us where he gets his merch from! Have you thought about doing the same?

 

 

Back to top.

How to Make YouTube Merch – a Free Guide

To be able to answer this question, we’ve analysed more than 1,000 Channels in order to learn how to make merch for YouTube. Take a look at what we’ve learned!

youtube merchandise guide


Printsome is an online T-shirt printing agency in the UK based in London that delivers all across the UK, from printing T-shirts in Brighton to York and anywhere in between. So, if you’re after a T-shirt or custom clothing, get in touch for a quote and indulge yourself in some awesome customer service.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *