How to Increase Retention and Re-Engage Your Lost Patrons

We know your fans are what drive your passion on Patreon. Just like any subscriber list, you may lose some patrons every once in a while. But guess what? That’s perfectly healthy.

When we talk about lost patrons, we mean those folks who are in the percentage that churn every month. We’ve noticed from the data perspective that the average time a patron will spend on creator pages will be around three months and in groups, you may notice your numbers falling off once a quarter.

“Patreon as a company doesn’t communicate with your patrons very often to avoid churn because we don’t want anything to jeopardize your patronage numbers. The opposite is true for you — you should be talking to your fans as much as possible,” says Anna Puig from the Patreon Creator Success team.

People have a psychological relationship with things they subscribe to, and though some churn is normal you can re-engage with folks and bring them back. Are you charging per creation or monthly? That will also affect your churn rates and give you insights into how your cash flow works.

Have you been wondering:

  • What’s a good churn rate?
  • What’s the best way to get feedback from lost patrons?
  • Does the success plateau apply to you?
  • What are some data-backed ways to increase retention?

This 45-minute live-stream video from Patreon’s Creator Success team can help. Laura Bensonand Anna Puig break down what’s a healthy churn for your Patreon account, why the type of subscription you have matters, and how to ask for feedback from current and lost patrons to increase your audience.

Factors like your community and social media connections will signal to how you will re-engage with those lost patrons. There are data-backed ways to drive an increase in engagement. Here are the top 10 insights from our Creator Success team:

1. Keep an eye out for the success plateau. Depending on income and experience, a lot of creators hit their peak patron numbers and plateau. You’re hitting the sweet spot in content and communication. But what if you want more? Head to the insights and reporting page to go month-by-month and look at the changes in your patronage.

2. Churning a little too much. According to Patreon data, a 5% monthly churn is healthy. But if you notice a dip in a certain month, think back to the messaging you were using for your creations, the frequency of posts in social media, and fulfillment of rewards. Reviewing past content and campaigns can help you pinpoint the moment when things went slightly awry.

3. Follow the communication sandwich. Before you change anything on your page or create new content, plan your sharing strategy (the bread) and talk to your patrons. People don’t like to be caught off guard and even if you post 2-3 times a day, you won’t hit all of your patrons at once. Plan a steady flow of communication and updates throughout a week or longer to make sure you update everyone since levels of engagement vary per channel.If you reevaluate your benefits or decide to run a special offer, let your current fans and social media followers know, just in case those lost patrons were benefit-motivated. Always thank them for their support.

4. Set up a poll or survey. Sometimes there’s no better data than going directly to the source. Showing that, as a creator, you care about what your audience thinks and want to personally hear from them can help you connect with them on a deeper level. Ask what they think about your current content and what they would like to see in the future.

Or before making changes, ask them proactively what they think and if they have any feedback. In the same vein, you can use that same tool to reach out to those that left and ask why with a short survey. Follow up with a summary of actionable insights based on the feedback you gathered — this will make your patrons know that you’re listening and lead to higher retention rates.

5. There’s no such thing as talking too much. We promise — engage with your patrons consistently and often. The majority of potential patrons find the creator’s page through the creator. If you’re not talking about Patreon, that could cause a dip in patrons.

If you feel like you’re talking about Patreon all the time and asking for money all the time, that feeling is completely valid, says Puig. Every creator on Patreon encounters that one way or another. Keep your tiers feeling special by using our feature, post to tier.

6. Schedule a patron survey, quarterly. While there’s no right way to schedule this, it’s important to consistently ask for feedback from your audience. By making a calendar of content, feedback and reward deadlines, you can schedule this task without it slipping through the cracks and help you reduce your workload. How often you ask for feedback will depend on how often you reach out to your community, says Benson.

7. When you ask for feedback, know why. You’re ready to sit down and ask your patrons for feedback, but do you know about what? Be specific when you reach out to them by asking if they’re happy with their benefits.If you’re a rewards-based Patreon page, a quarterly check to make sure your audience is still finding value is recommended. “A big differentiator is how involved is your community in creating with you,” says Benson.

8. Be transparent. If you have any issues coming up, let your patrons know. “Most of your fans are very reasonable, agreeable people. They know that there’s a human behind all of this art,” says Puig. Transparency will help them understand your process.

9. Assume positive intent. If a fan’s credit card is declined, for example, don’t assume the worst. Reach out to them, thank them for their support, and politely ask them to update their card. More likely than not, they didn’t know their credit card was expired.

10. For those that you’ve already lost — collaborate. The best way to re-engage with those lost patrons is to have a presence elsewhere — whether it’s a blog or through your social media accounts. Lost patrons may come back if you’re running a special event, special offer, or working on a new project with another one of their favorite creators. Collaboration can help keep your patrons delighted and engaged.

The key is to keep creating consistently, fulfilling your existing patrons’ benefits, and as long as you’re reaching out to folks and talking about Patreon on your other platforms, people may come and go.

Finding a balance between lost patrons and bringing in a new audience can be difficult but if you succeed, it’s a sign your page is on healthy standing.

Looking for new ways to connect with your audience? Join us on Patreon.