We think you creators deserve a raise, and we want to help you get one. That’s why we’re here to tell you about an exciting strategy that creators use to boost their monthly income on Patreon. It’s called a Special Offer.
A Special Offer is a limited-time benefit that you give to new patrons in return for signing up during a specific period of time. The goal for a Special Offer is to create momentum around your membership program, increasing your patron base and igniting engagement quickly. It also incentivizes existing patrons to bump up their patronage.
The results we’ve witnessed from creators who run Special Offer campaigns are super impressive —some creators have more than doubled their number of patrons in less than 4 weeks.
But before we deep-dive into some creator case studies, it’s important to understand the key elements of a successful Special Offer.
Best Practices for a Special Offer
1. Offer something that works best for you
What you choose as your Special Offer is entirely up to you, so choose something that works for you and your fans. There’s also no need to overcomplicate it — it can be as lightweight or as time intensive as you want. If you’re unsure about what would excite your fans, ask them!
Here is a list of the most common Special Offers we’ve seen from our creators so far:
- Patron names listed on an new album
- Patron names listed in a new book
- An autographed edition of work
- Special video, song, or graphic
- A piece of new merch - like a t-shirt or mug
- A special edition sticker
2. Time your Special Offer with an exciting milestone
Pairing your Special Offer with an upcoming milestone (like an album release, book launch, Patreon Anniversary, etc) creates more excitement from potential patrons. They won’t want to miss out on the chance to celebrate something important in your career. If you don’t have a specific milestone coming up, you can time your campaign with anything that resonates with your audience, like an annual convention, conference, or holiday.
3. Create a sense of urgency
We recommend a 3-week campaign for your Special Offer. In the first week, you’ll plan and prep the campaign. In the remaining two weeks, you’ll be tugging on your fans’ FOMO by offering something special for a limited time and promoting it more often than you might normally talk about your Patreon membership. Since the special thing is only available for a limited time, it gives you a reason to keep reminding your audience that the deadline is coming. We think a “countdown” is the best approach for creating urgency.
4. Promote, promote promote… then promote some more
Special Offer campaigns rely heavily on your frequent promotion on all the channels where you interact with fans. Reaching all of your fans for the duration of the campaign will play the most important role in the success for your Special Offer. Here are all of the marketing levers you should utilize (if you have them):
- Email list
- Social media channels
- Website or blog
- Communities or forums that you manage
Your creative content:
- Events, appearances, or streams
- Your Patreon page
5. Price your Special Offer strategically
Based on the data we’ve collected from successful campaigns, we recommend you offer your limited-time thing at your mid-tier membership price. This indicates the higher value of the exclusive thing you’re offering, and gives an incentive for existing patrons to switch to a higher priced tier.
To set up your page with your new Special Offer, you can add it to the description of an existing tier. This way, when the Special Offer ends, all of your new patrons will receive your ongoing benefits in that tier. Make sure to add and remove your Special Offer to the tier description when you start and end your campaign.
6. Keep track of which patrons get your Special Offer
You’ll want to properly track which of your patrons sign up to receive your Special Offer. Luckily we just launched a new feature called Benefits that makes it easy to keep track of who gets what and when. Try it out here.
You’ll track which patrons get your Special Offer by going to the tiers section in your page editor and clicking Add Benefit. Once you add your Special Offer as a Benefit, we’ll automatically list which patrons have paid for that item and notify you when it’s due in the “Benefits” section of your left hand menu.
7. Put in the work
Let's be real — while these tips and best practices have worked for many creators already, it still takes a lot of work and a hungry audience. If you're willing to put in the work to share this unique opportunity with your fan base, we think you'll be excited by the results.
How two creators increased their monthly earnings with Special Offers
The Glass Child
Charlotte Eriksson, also known as The Glass Child, is a gifted songwriter, producer, and freelance writer. She’s released 7 EPs, 3 critically acclaimed full-length albums, and her single “I will Lead You Home” reached #2 on the Swedish iTuneschart. If that’s not impressive enough already - she’s also published 3 books that focus on her love for travel and her life as an artist.
Charlotte first launched her Patreon page 5 years ago and she’s had a loyal patron base ever since. This spring, she decided to run a Special Offer for the first time — spanning 3 weeks from May 21st to June 10th. She gave her fans the chance to get their name in her new book before it launched in exchange for signing up at the $4 membership tier.
Her campaign was so successful that it brought her 28 new patrons and a 12% raise in her monthly earnings from Patreon.
We asked Charlotte what tactics she used to help her Special Offer receive engagement from her fans. She said, "I have learned, both through Patreon and releasing records, that supporters need that extra push to jump on board. I think the key is to offer something that will never be available or possible again. The more exclusive and ‘once in a lifetime’ it is, the more incentivized supporters get to jump on board now."
Her campaign followed some of the tried and true best practices that we’ve seen work well for other creators.
By timing her Special Offer with the release of her new book, Charlotte was inviting her patrons to partake in the celebration of a new major piece of work.
The milestone of her new book release was also the perfect excuse for a countdown to build excitement with her fans.
Posting frequently on her social media channels, Charlotte was able to continue reminding fans to sign up, and also build the anticipation of her new book with those who were already patrons.
The Tank Museum
The Tank Museum is a registered charity, creating and sharing a range of content on the subject of armoured warfare. Put simply, if you like tanks and you want to learn more about them — the Tank Museum is right up your alley.
The Tank Museum launched their Patreon page one year ago and decided to run a Special Offer from May 18th to July 8th (3 weeks) this year. They offered a “secret gift” (a special-edition sticker) in exchange for signing up to be a patron before their annual event, Tankfest.
Their Special Offer proved very successful —they netted 49 new patrons and a 23% raise. As a result, The Tank Museum announced that they were able to hire a new member of their team!
The Tank Museum demonstrated all the key tactics mentioned above, the first of which was pairing their Special Offer with two milestones: their annual event, Tankfest, and their one year Patreon anniversary.
The Tank Museum’s Special Offer campaign included posts to social media almost every day. They created a countdown with custom designed images made specifically for their campaign.
"Every social media post for our Special Offer was planned on a day-by-day level, and pre-written as far as it could be. We also planned in a couple of live videos to deliver some of the key messages – and also added these to our scheduled video releases. This planning and content coordination across all channels is really important." - Nik from The Tank Museum
The Tank Museum took a different approach to pricing, sending their limited-edition sticker to any new patron who signed up within a certain time frame, regardless of their membership tier.
“Most importantly, it was absolutely clear that a sustained but structured burst of promotional activity on our social media during the campaign had a noticeable impact on our Patreon earnings. I had no real idea how successful it would be – but we added $500 per month from this campaign. All it took was a little planning and thought.” - Nik from The Tank Museum
We hope that you now feel inspired to run a Special Offer yourself, equipped with these proven strategies for gaining new patrons and increasing your earnings. Remember to follow the best practices listed above, but most importantly, go get yourself a raise!