Due to the closing of venues, cancellation of live events, and the loss of day jobs for supplemental income, COVID-19 has made it hard for creatives to earn a stable (or any) income. Because of this, we’re getting lots of inquiries from creators asking how to quickly set up a Patreon page to help weather the storm.
While we think it’s a good idea to be thoughtful about your membership, it’s totally possible to have a fast launch on Patreon. We put together some support-minded tips to cut out the extras and launch a Patreon membership with limited assembly required. Maybe you’re here because you heard about us via a social post or video from your favorite creator. Maybe you don’t even know who we are. So let’s start there:
With Patreon, creators and artists of all kinds can build a more sustainable income source by offering a monthly membership to their fans. It gives you the stability you need to build an independent creative career, and the freedom to do your best work. In turn, your fans get access to exclusive community, premium content, and they get to become active participants in the work they love.
Alright, you in? Here are six tips for a fast Patreon launch.
Patreon has multiple membership payment options to choose from (more on those options in a second). Whichever you choose for your patrons, it’s important that you pick one and stick with it. Your patrons deserve clear and consistent information on how much and often they will be charged.
Here are Patreon’s three membership payment types:
With this method, patrons are automatically charged on the first day of every month following their join date. If a patron deletes their pledge within their first month of membership, they’ll immediately lose access to your content.
This option might be for you if: You’re interested in allowing your patrons to browse your Patreon account before payment, as they won’t be charged until the 1st of the month. This is most similar to a free trial.
It might not be for you if: You’re not interested in allowing patrons to browse your Patreon content without payment.
With this method, patrons are charged immediately when they confirm their membership, and then on the first of each month going forward. If a patron deletes their pledge within their first month of membership, they retain access until the end of the month.
This option might be for you if: You want patrons to be charged before accessing patron-only content.
It might not be for you if: We really recommend charging upfront. That said, a patron will pay full price for your membership regardless of what day they choose to become a patron. This means if you sign up on the 27th, you’ll be charged again on the first.
With this method, your patrons are charged their membership amount for every paid post you create up to their monthly limit. When you create a paid post, a pending bill is placed on your patrons’ accounts, and those are processed on the first of the following month.
This option might be for you if: You don’t wish to charge your patrons every month, or you want to be paid for each piece of digital content you make.
It might not be for you if: You’re not going to be actively monitoring your Patreon. Remember, if you forget to mark a post as paid, there’s no way to retroactively charge patrons.
As you’re setting up your creator page, it’s important to look at it from the perspective of your fans. From the moment they set eyes on your page, they should be able to quickly understand why you started a Patreon, and what they will get in exchange for signing up for your membership. As for how you set your page up to achieve that, that’s up to you: You can go big, with an expertly-designed intro video or keep it simple with a quick blurb about who you are, what your Patreon membership is for and why you’re excited about it.
Remember: your patrons are here for you, and they want to contribute to your artistic journey. You are the key to this equation, so as much as you are comfortable, use your intro video and your about section to show them your world and help them get to know you better. The more you inject your personality into your page, the more authentic it will be to you and your business.
If you’d like more starter tips on setting up your about section, you can learn all about it here.
One thing that slows down a lot of creators is figuring out what benefits to offer patrons. If choosing your benefits is holding you up, remember this: benefits can help you get more patrons, but you can launch on Patreon without them.
There are two schools of thought for how creators generally set up their Patreon memberships:
Benefits-motivated means patrons join your membership to receive exclusive benefits (a good, service or content) that they pay for per item or on a monthly basis.
Podcasters 2 Black Girls, 1 Rose are a great example of this. They have three quality tiers that are achievable for their business (i.e. they aren’t promising to deliver benefits that are too difficult to fulfil). You can see that some benefits work well on a weekly basis, while others (like merch) would be impossible to fulfil at such a demanding pace.
Inventor and YouTuber, Simone Giertz, is another example — her patrons can choose between two membership tiers in exchange for occasional digital updates.
If you want to start a benefits-motivated membership, but don’t have the emotional bandwidth to think about what to offer, you can also use our tier starter kits – you will find those in your settings by clicking “need ideas for tiers.” With over 3 million patrons pledging and interacting with Patreon, we know a thing or two about common tiers, so save yourself the brainstorm and focus on the content.
Support-motivated means that you’re asking your patrons to pay to support your ongoing creative work. Any benefit offers are secondary to your patron’s intention to just support the existing work you do.
Bill Wurtz’s page is a great example of this. There are no posts, no tiers, just a way for you to support his creative content.
The Dogist is another. While they have tiers, the tiers are just quick ways for patrons to pick an amount to pay. The tiers are just for support and don’t offer tangible benefits.
What path you pick is up to you. For speed purposes, you might choose a support-motivated model and evolve it into a benefits-motivated membership once you have the bandwidth to do so.
Once you’ve added all the necessary information, launch your page. We mean it. Your page will be public and will now unlock some additional steps. Before you share the link with your patrons, you can:
- Publish your first post and let your patrons know what to expect as part of their membership.
- Add payout and tax information to your payout settings. You want to get paid!
Now that you’ve hit launch, let the people know what you’ve got going on. From Twitter, to YouTube, to anywhere and everywhere you engage with your fans, tell them about your Patreon and why you're excited about it.
Promotion is something that some creators struggle with, but it may be the most important step to building your membership. You don’t need to overload your audience every day, but a quick plug here or there, or a link in the footer of your blog posts or videos, can go a long way towards letting your fans know about your membership. What you’re creating is worth supporting, and your audience just needs to be shown the way in.
In these times, we need to be fast, and we need to be scrappy. There may be things that you want to change on your Patreon in a few months or a year. That’s okay!
When you have the emotional and physical bandwidth to do more, check out Patreon U for all the best info on building and growing your membership business.