“If you’re reading this and not sure whether you should run a Special Offer, this is me telling you to GO FOR IT!” Rebecca Loebe said.
Special Offer is a feature which creates a tier with a benefit that is only available for a limited amount of time. For example, a musician might have a Special Offer for patrons to be listed on the notes of their next album at the $10 tier, and the deadline for that is in one week. Everyone who signs up through that tier would be listed as an album patron.
We’ve found that the Special Offer feature can grow community and increase engagement. When we first launched the feature, we asked a few creators to test it in beta. Rebecca Loebe was among the first to try it out. We caught up with her six months later to see the impact the feature has had on her and her patrons.
Rebecca is a touring singer-songwriter who is constantly on the road. She decided to offer an exclusive enamel pin to patrons who donated $5. It had wonderful results — she saw 38 new patrons (up 9%) as well as an almost equal number of increased pledges from existing patrons, which gave her a 23% increase in earnings.
She was nervous at first, but is glad she took the leap. “I’m so glad I was invited to the beta-test group because, honestly, I’m not sure I would have tried a special offer on my own,” she said. “I think that if I had just read about the concept it might have seemed too intimidating or somehow out of reach. At the very least I may have assumed it would be too time consuming.”
When she did her initial experiment, she followed the guidelines from the special offer feature which made it easier to manage. “Having a clear, well-written guide book to follow felt like such a luxury. It was so comforting to not be the one making up the plan! I just had to follow the plan, infuse my own text and personality and POOF!”
Some creators have a hard time talking about their Patreon and this is but creators like Rebecca are finding that this is an automatic way to talk to fans.
The worksheets in the handbook break down ideas and suggestions for launch week — like live-streaming on social channels, uploading a temporary campaign banner to social media, and talking about it on various channels — all the way through to the end of the campaign.
Without the special offer, Rebecca probably wouldn’t have offered pins. But they’ve become an important sign of her fan base.
“Initially, my special offer was going to be thanks in the liner notes of my upcoming songbook. At the last minute I noticed that a lot of people in the beta-test group were offering enamel pins, so I decided to try that,” Rebecca said. “I used the logo from my most popular t-shirt design (a human heart with the words “Be Nice Dammit”) and announced that I was printing enamel pins that would be exclusively available to patrons at the $5 level. It’s so fun to see people wearing their pins at shows, like they’re part of a special club! I think it’s important to come up with an offer that will excite your fans.”
Since the launch of the feature, creators have successfully offered handwritten postcards, stickers, books, art prints, and more to their most devoted fans. Although it can seem like it will take a lot of time and effort, creators are saying it’s worth it to put in a little extra time when you have it.
“The beta-test offer came about at a time when I was super busy (I filmed two full-scale music videos the week my video was live, and was in the middle of finishing a record and playing gigs), but I had great results putting in just a little time at the beginning and end of the day, when I could. Once it was over, I felt a closer connection to my patrons.”
Rebecca’s busy creative life on the road and creating music hasn’t slowed down.
“Since doing my special offer last fall, I’ve been eyeballs deep in releasing my new album Give Up Your Ghosts, which came out on February 8th of this year. I’ve been touring with my band all over the US and Europe since the release, plus spending a lot of time on all that non-glamorous behind-the-scenes stuff that accompanies a record release.”
So, would she do it again?
“The campaign was actually fun,” she said. “I’m planning to run another special offer this spring, once the first phase of the album release is over.”