YouTube promo guide

Whether you’re an established creator who’s looking to expand their online presence, or someone who’s just starting out, YouTube is a powerful platform to promote your merch. Video content is being watched more now than ever before with 85%+ of all internet users in the US watching video content every month. Taking this and YouTube’s incredible 2 billion monthly active users into account means you’ve got a huge potential audience at your fingertips.

If you haven’t already, you will need to create a channel to start promoting your merch on YouTube. Creating a channel enables you to upload videos to the platform, which is the first step in building a presence on YouTube. 

Once your channel is created you can start utilizing the following tools and features to promote your products. 


Add brand elements

As with all social platforms, it is important to create brand consistency across platforms. YouTube gives you the option to personalize your profile icon and banner image, which can help your audience quickly recognize you. Your banner and profile icon are the first things people see on your channel, so utilize this space to promote your merch. 

@StrictlyDumpling [2.93M subscribers], is a great example of a creator who has incorporated his merch into his channel banner in a clever way. The banner is consistent with his brand colors and shows viewers where they can purchase his products (using banner links—learn more below).


Create banner links

When customizing your channel you can choose to overlay up to 5 custom links over your banner. Use this tool to make your merch store easily accessible. Updating your links is simple—just head to the ‘About’ section of your channel, click ‘Customize channel’ and add your Teespring store URL.

Below you can see how @SIAMES [360K subscribers] added their merch store as their featured link, naming it ‘Online Store’. This is an effective way to take advantage of channel traffic and send new viewers to your products. 


Activate merch shelf

Activate the powerful Teespring x Youtube merch shelf integration to seamlessly sell your products directly below your YouTube videos. Keep in mind your newest products are displayed on your merch shelf by default (they normally appear within 3 days of launch), but you can also choose specific products to display per video (learn more). Customizing products on the video level is convenient, especially if you’re launching a new product and call it out during your video.

To see if you qualify for the merch shelf, visit your YouTube Studio Beta, click on ‘Monetization’ and follow the prompts through Merchandise. You’ll need at least 10,000 subscribers to be eligible for this feature, learn more here.  You can visit the Integrations section of your Teespring account to complete setup. 

Keep in mind you can control your product’s visibility settings too; If you change a listing from private to public it can take up to 24 – 48 hours for the product to appear in your YouTube merch shelf. Also, when you make a listing private it can take up to 10 hours for the product to be removed from YouTube. Visit the integrations section of your Teespring account to set this up. 

(NEW) Live merch alerts

Once you’ve set up the merch shelf you’ll automatically unlock YouTube’s new live merch alerts.   Anytime a viewer purchases one of your products during a livestream, a real-time alert will automatically appear in chat. This alert verifies someone has purchased your merch, displays an image of the product, and links to the listing so other viewers can purchase it too. Live merch alerts are visible to viewers in all eligible countries, so not only are customers generating social proof with each purchase, they’re also helping to promote your products during the livestream as well. 

@LucasTheSpider [3.36M subscribers] sold over 100,000 spider plushies with Teespring. We can see his spider plushie is featured in his merch shelf and visible directly below his YouTube videos.


Customize store

If you’ve activated your merch shelf you’ll also be able to create a channel store. To customize your store, first go to YouTube Studio, select ‘Monetization’ from the left side menu. Open the Merchandise tab, and within the status section click ‘Organize’. From there you can choose the products featured in your store and the order they’re displayed in. Keep in mind these same products will appear under all of your videos, unless you customize the merchandise displayed on the video level. 

If you’re not sure what merch to put first, consider featuring your newest products first, top selling items, or limited edition products.

Looking at the @Aphmau [4.92M subscribers] channel, we can see people are able to find merch products in a centralized location through her channel store.  


Publish videos

Consistently featuring your merch in video content is an effective way of promoting it to your audience. Plus when you wear your products in promotional content it can help increase your sales by 50%. The top 3 ways creators promote their merch through video include:

  • Wearing merch while filming video content
  • Mentioning merch within video content
  • Publishing a dedicated merch video

@GardenAnswer [684K subscribers] is a good example of a creator who wears merch while filming videos. This enables her to show off her products without specifically mentioning or calling them out in each video. She also has the merch shelf activated so viewers can easily see where they can buy the same product as they watch her videos. 

This video by @ItsYeBoi [2.45M] is a perfect example of how to mention merch within your regular video content. Below we can see he is wearing his products as he announces his new merch line at the beginning of the video. This enables him to promote his products to viewers before getting into his regularly scheduled content.

@JackSilkstone [15K subscribers] created a dedicated merch video for the launch of his new merch line. We can see he has used the video to show off a variety of products. He’s also utilized creative videography + editing to ensure viewers understand his brand aesthetic and vibe.

Below @Shadiversity [842K subscribers] provides another great example of how to create a dedicated merch video. He uses the video to show off his products, explain to viewers why he loves them, and even compares it to a similar product from another site to showcase its quality.


Update video descriptions

You can easily add merch links to the descriptions of your YouTube videos. Descriptions can be especially useful if you haven’t unlocked the merch shelf yet. You can wear your merch or show it off in a video and let people know they can find the link to your store in the description below.

To track the number of clicks your description link is generating you can use a bitly link like Kelly. If you want further analytics insight like the number of visitors and purchases your bio link drives, you can take advantage of Teespring’s Google Analytics Integration too. Keep in mind you can use the same type of tracking for your banner links too. 

In this example @kellystrackofficial [756k subscribers] not only mentions her new merch within her video, be she also features her store in the description of her video as well as features the product within her merch shelf.

If your channel is using the merch shelf, you can add a link to your official merch store in video descriptions and when users click on the link, they get a preview of your merch items directly on YouTube. This way, viewers can browse your merchandise without interrupting their watching experience and, once they are ready to buy, they can click again to go to your Teespring store and complete their purchase.


Add end screens 

You can add an end screen to the last 15-20 seconds of your YouTube videos. Most people utilize this feature to promote other videos, playlists, and channel subscribers…but did you know you can also use it to promote merch?  Keep in mind you must have the merch shelf activated on your channel in order to display merch on your end screen.   

@MoriahElizabeth [4.1M subscribers] uses this feature to promote her latest product launches—in this example we can see she’s featured Pickle the plushie. 


Live stream content

Live streaming is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to promote merch. The un-edited, real-time aspect of YouTube Live increases viewership—creating opportunities to promote your products in an engaging way. Don’t forget creators who have access to merch shelf can also ‘pin’ merch to the top of chat while live streaming. This feature enables you to drop merch by highlighting your products for all viewers on stream. It’s also extremely effective for driving sales when combined with samples, promo codes, and limited edition merch drops.

In the example below @Raptor [579K subscribers] pins his new mug to the top of chat while streaming. Keep in mind Teespring’s integration with Streamlabs also empowers YouTube streamers to reward fans with live OBS alerts for every merch purchase to create even more engagement. 

Example of creator pinning merch to top of chat during live stream

If you’re looking for new ways to promote your merch on stream check out these tips:

Wear merch on stream: Currently creators are using samples to increase sales by up to 50% and when combined with YouTube Live this can be an extremely effective promotional technique. Order samples of your merch ahead of time and wear them while streaming to get viewers excited about your products. 

Offer limited time promo codes: Another great way to drive sales and engagement while streaming is to offer promo codes that expire in a short amount of time (like after the stream ends). You can create promo codes instantly in your Teespring account to share on stream.

Announce limited edition merch: Announcing limited edition merch during live stream has proven successful for many creators. Make the product available for a very limited amount of time to create a sense of urgency. This can also make the purchasing experience both special and memorable. If you’re planning a merch drop make sure to update the listing’s visibility setting to ‘public’ ahead of time so your products will be added to your Merch Shelf product catalogue. 


Utilize community tab

YouTube’s community tab is meant to create more opportunities for creators to engage with their audience. It’s also a good place to announce sales, get people to vote on products or design ideas, and share new products. 

Keep in mind you’ll need to acquire 1,000 subscribers to unlock this feature on YouTube.

In the example below we can see how @MoriahElizabeth [4.1M subscribers] shared an update about a sale which generated a large amount of excitement and engagement (and sales).


Collect social proof

Whenever you’re mentioning merch in videos or adding links to your descriptions make sure to remind followers to share photos. Call out specific hashtags they should use or ask them to tag you in the photos they share on social media. 

Sharing photos of followers wearing your merch can generate excitement and interest as well as affirm the value and quality of the products you’re selling. Plus sharing fan photos is a great opportunity to make your loyal followers feel special. This content can also be used in your videos and across your social accounts to drive excitement around your merch.  

@JessicaKellgren-Fozard [632K subscribers] encourages her viewers to share photos wearing her merch on social media using the hashtag #LovelyPeopleMerch. Using the same hashtag across all social platforms, Jessica is easily able to search and collect social proof whilst engaging with her community.