You did everything right.
You promoted your Patreon page on your social accounts. Your benefits are awesome, valuable, and highly coveted, and you always deliver them to your patrons on time. You even ran a Special Offer to give your membership a boost.
Still, when the first of the month came, you received an unpleasant surprise — you lost 2-3 percent of your patrons. To make matters worse, the same thing seems to be happening every month.
If you’ve had this experience before, you’re not alone. In fact, this drop of patrons at the beginning of the month is such a well-documented phenomenon that the Patreon community gave it a nickname — they call it, “the Dip.”
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The wise folks over at the Patreon community compiled a list of resources to help you manage the Dip. Here are 7 tips from creators to help you with payday anxiety (and to help you reduce first-of-the-month drop-off):
There’s no need to manage the Dip on your own. Could the kids in Stranger Things beat the Demogorgon without their crew? Probably not, so why should you?
Whether you need more tips for dealing with the Dip, or you just want to hang out with other creators, the Patreon Community has got you covered. Be sure to check the Patreon Community Forum (register for access here) or join our official Discord server. We’ll see you there.
“Another thing I do that helps with all of the ups and downs of having a Patreon in general is talking to other creators in Discord. It’s such a constructive positive place. Talking about things is really helpful to me. I’ve gotten so many good ideas from there, and am constantly reminded that I’m not alone,” Dekilah, model and photographer creating 18+ content.
For some reason, it’s easier to focus on the negative than the positive. It kinda makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. If back in the day, a looming pack of wolves didn’t worry you, then you’d probably end up puppy chow.
Okay, good for dealing with wolves and bears, but not so good for dealing with more modern day worries, like the Dip.
So, before you deal with the Dip, see if you can reframe your mindset — sure, you may lose some patrons, but what about the ones who stick around? You can always run a Special Offer or work on your promotional strategy to get more patrons. But, in the meantime, your remaining patrons already love your work and support your art. Isn’t that amazing?
Then, once you get grateful, it’s time for the next step.
It doesn’t have to be in a note (but it can be). Make your patrons a thank- you video using Bonjoro, draw them a picture, write them a song — whatever inspires you in the moment. They’ll feel good, you’ll feel good. It’s a beautiful cycle. Plus, it'll help you get cracking on #4 (getting content ready for next month).
“During the month, most of my posts are focused around releasing galleries, bundles of selfies, and vlogs. But at the beginning of the month, I focus more on individual photos (usually teasers for upcoming goodies), and I’ll make a post at the beginning thanking them for staying and rounding up some updates. It’s positive for me, and it’s fun to give my patrons a glimpse into what is coming up,” Dekilah.
Now that you’re feeling loved and appreciated (and so are your patrons), it’s time to put that energy into making new stuff.
While you’re at it, document the creation process with fun photos or video. Then tease it to your patrons in a Patreon post, or on social media. This works in two ways — first, all that creating gives you something to focus on instead of your worries. Second, once your patrons see what awesome content is coming, they’re more likely to stick around next month.
“Towards the end of each month, I make sure to shoot some content, and then I can get excited about sharing that as soon as the new month starts. It keeps me from feeling frantic to get stuff done at the beginning of the month when I have a lot of other stuff going on,” Dekilah.
“I deal with it by just not looking at the Dip. I also work harder to offer Patreon exclusive content, and to engage with my supporters as much as I can,” Synnesai, digital illustrator.
Did you know that a large portion of the Dip comes from credit-card declines that your patrons may or may not be aware of.
This is actually good news — not only does this mean the Dip isn’t your fault, it also means you can do something about it.
But before that, let’s talk about why credit-card declines happen.
According to Maritza Dominguez, Patreon’s Payment & Risk Operations Manager, your patrons’ credit-card declines can be put into three categories:
- Expired credit cards
- Insufficient funds
- Do not honor: Maritza said that this category is super general, and can cover a whole lot of things, such as unrecognized merchant, address or postal code mismatch, recent suspicious activity, etc.
The next time you find yourself worrying about declines, Maritza wants you to remember this:
“Patreon retries soft-decline (transactions that don’t go through because of a temporary issue, like insufficient funds) several times during the month. So if a payment declines on the 1st, we have more opportunities to get those funds back.” — Maritza Dominguez, Patreon’s Payment & Risk Operations Manager.
However, while Maritza and the team are on it, there’s something you can do, too.
In your Relationship manager, which lives in the Patrons drop-down menu on the left side of your creator page, you can see which patrons’ credit-cards were declined. Once you figure that out, send the patrons whose cards declined a friendly reminder informing them to update their payment methods.
For more information about using the Relationship manager, check out this support page.
“Message those patrons directly and say, ‘Hey dear, your card was declined on Patreon this month — are things all right with you?” Most of the time: a) their card expired, or b) they got their card replaced due to identity theft / fraud and hadn’t updated it yet. They usually update it as a direct response to my private message,” Lila Donnolo, podcaster.
Now that you’ve messaged the patrons whose credit-cards were declined, it’s time to let your stats be.
Step away, literally if you have to. Take a walk, watch your favorite show, create something — anything to give you some space from your stats. As they say, a watched pot never boils.
“I tend to stay away from my stats page, so I don’t feel anxious about something that is out of my control, and focus instead on getting hyped for the month’s content I’m going to be putting up! I think it’s important for creators to realize it’s not just them, that it’s a common phenomenon, and that numbers tend to normalize as the month progresses,” Asmodeus, an 18+ comic creator.
This may be the hardest one for some creators.
If you’ve done everything you can, it’s time to let go of the Dip and get back to business as usual. Promote your Patreon page, make new content, hang out with your patrons in Discord — do whatever you normally do and try to forget about the Dip (until the end of the month comes again). And, this time, you’ll be ready for it.
“The dip is a thing. But it is a thing we have to accept, just like Mondays,” Dyson Logos, RPG dungeon designer.
“Since we have no influence in what happens in a patron’s mind, I take it as it comes. Sometimes more earnings, sometimes less. That’s life. Accept and carry on. But most of all, NEVER stop doing what I love to do,” suzuki.shinji, digital artist creating 18+ content.