Patreon is an established platform that allows you to engage with fans as a creator and enables you to create exclusive content for those fans via monthly memberships. But how do you become successful as a Patreon creator? How do you get people to become members, and how do you keep your subscribers? Patreon is not a "build it, and they will come" proposition. It's on you to attract subscribers to the platform and encourage them to join. How do you do it in 2022?
1. Do grow a following of fans first
You can't just set up a Patreon and wait for people to come and find it. In order to truly succeed, you must already have a robust following. If you have that, then you'll just need to entice them to come over to Patreon and subscribe.
What if you don't have a following? You'll need to fix that. Here are some steps you can start taking now.
- Determine who your audience is and set up social media accounts where they are. Are they on Instagram? YouTube? TikTok? That's where you need to be.
- Start creating content. Yes, it's going to be free content, but that's okay. You're always going to be creating some free content. That's how your fans find out and determine whether or not you are someone they want to support with their money.
- Engage with your fans. You need to be sharing, responding to comments, developing a community. Post regularly, share bits about you. It's incredibly important that you build a rapport with your audience. If they don't feel a connection with you, they will be less likely to want to support you. You'd be surprised how many people support creators on Patreon just because they like them and they want to support them.
- Once you've started gaining momentum, you can start your Patreon.
2. Do create a killer video
Your intro video has a job to do. It needs to persuade visitors to subscribe to your highest tier. You want to showcase yourself in this video, not just your work. After all, it's you they are subscribing to. Make a compelling case, so they know the best value is your highest tier. Upload a high-quality, well-lit video with good sound!
3. Don’t have unrealistic expectations
If you are just starting out, it may take some time to build your subscribers, especially if you haven't built much of a fan base. Just keep going and keep delivering the best possible content to your subscribers while continuing to build your social media following and showcasing your offerings in a way that leaves them wanting more. Over time, you'll build momentum, and that momentum will grow your Patreon income.
4. Do offer amazing benefits for supporting you
Make it worth their while. Your fans are paying for premium content, and that's what they expect. If the benefits you are offering don't appeal to them, they won't subscribe. It's a good idea to do some research before you start your Patreon to find out what types of content your fans will be most likely to pay for. What do they seem to respond to the most? Why do they love it so much? You can always ask what followers would like to see more of and what they would like to receive if they were subscribing to your Patreon. Don't skimp on this research. It's a vital part of your success as a Patreon creator.
5. Don’t overpromise and underdeliver
Once you've decided what you want to offer your fans, it's time to deliver. From the beginning, you want to wow them. You want them to be thrilled that they've subscribed to your channel. Find ways to make them feel special. Surprise and delight them with unexpected extras. Be sure to always deliver the content they are paying for, and be consistent, always. Gaining a subscriber is hard, but losing them is easy. Patreon is a long game, and you want your patrons to continue to subscribe month after month and year after year.
6. Do send personal messages to your subscribers
It's a fact that patrons who receive personal messages from creators are more likely to continue supporting them. Always remember that people want to feel special. They want access to exclusive content, and they love a personal touch. They also love feeling like they are part of something. Sending regular messages, asking for feedback, giving them "shout-outs" or sneak peeks inside your process all of these things keep your patrons engaged and subscribed.
7. Do offer multiple membership tiers
It's important that you offer multiple membership tiers so that there's something for everyone. Decide on a minimum and maximum amount you'd like them to commit to, and then offer at least one option in the middle. Don't be shy about offering a premium tier. If the amount makes you feel a little nervous, that's okay. This is for your super fans, and as long as you are offering corresponding value, it's okay to charge more. This is why you have a bottom and middle tier.
Remember to periodically encourage your bottom-tier subscribers to upgrade. Give them a taste of what the next level is like once in a while. Even if someone is only paying a dollar a month, make sure you are delivering the benefits and showing them how much you appreciate them. They may end up on your top tier at some point.
How to not succeed on Patreon
You've read some do's and a couple of don'ts, but it's worth revisiting what won't work. If you don't want to succeed, here's a surefire recipe:
- Don't take the time to build an audience.
- Offer the bare minimum you can get away with.
- Don't make your patrons feel special and appreciated.
- Don't follow through with your promises or deliver consistently.
Building a following and earning subscribers is work, but if you are willing to provide value to your audience and exceed their expectations, you will be successful.
The surest way to not succeed is to not try.