Many of our creators run into the issue of wanting to grow their fanbase by promoting their Patreon page, but also not wanting to turn off their audience by promoting too much. Though it can be hard to talk about your Patreon page, it’s essential to growing your community, membership, and income.
The good news? It’s possible to let people know about your Patreon page without being annoying or feeling like you are begging for support. Your followers want to know what you're doing — that’s why they like your Facebook page or read your posts on Twitter. They love seeing what happens behind the scenes, and want to know when you release something new — they want to support you so that you can keep creating.
First, it’s important to know where your audience is so you can go there to engage with them. You can start on the social channels you already use. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and your mailing list. Don’t forget to use channels like your website, live events, videos, and Snapchat as well, but don’t get overwhelmed. Just start where you are.
When was the last time you mentioned your Patreon page to any of these places? Each platform has certain best practices for how often to post (Coschedule has some tips based on studies they’ve conducted), but generally, creators are not posting the link to their Patreon pages enough. Share, and share often.
Second, it’s important to remember that Patreon is more of a place for membership than for one time crowdfunding. So when sharing the link to your Patreon page you’ll want to highlight the ongoing benefits of joining your “fan club” to your potential audience. There are many more things to share about your Patreon page than just an out-right ask for support (though, that’s good, too). Here are a few ideas you can use to convert your loyal audience into diehard fans.
When you post an update to your Patreon make sure to share that update on all of your social media channels. Whether it’s public or locked for special membership tiers, it’s important to let people know the content is there and that they can access it.
Here’s a great example from Julia Serano on Twitter:
“I just posted about both the music video & the December 30th show on Patreon - please consider supporting me there if you appreciate my writings, music, activism, etc.”
Gabriel Guyer also does a great job of announcing his latest projects to potential and current patrons:
“NOW AVAILABLE! My Coloring Books are in and already heading out the door :) … Sustaining Patreon fam will get a discount code, so keep an eye out for that!”
Yes, we know you want new fans, but don’t forget about the fans that got you here. Showing your appreciation for current patrons not only helps you reduce churn, it shows that you genuinely care about your audience which potential patrons will be attracted to as well. Immy Smith does a great job of this, showing her patrons just how much their support has enabled her to create:
“If you've enjoyed my art in 2018, you have my patrons to thank at least in part; #Patreon makes an important contribution to helping me stay freelancing & making more #sciart for everyone to enjoy! So 💖Thank you so much💖 to everyone supporting me there 😊”
Share a quick, little reminder about one of your tier rewards. Your fans are interested in this, we promise. After all, this is what they get if they support you!
Ali Cantarelli is a pro at this tactic, making sure patrons keep her physical postcards top of mind:
“Just a reminder I have a #Postcard #Patreon which includes physical postcards once a month and even unique positive typography posts shared daily!”
Offering patrons a behind the scenes look at your creative process is a common reward on Patreon because fans love to know the ins and outs of their favorite creator’s daily life. But you can also share a behind the scenes look with your general audience, too, and remind them that they’ll have even more access once they sign up.
For instance, Rob Rogers shares a sneak peek of his life with his Twitter audience so they know what’s in store if they become patrons:
“Here is a peek at the kind of behind-the-scenes sketches and tidbits I have been sharing with folks on my Patreon site”
You may save your best benefits for patrons paying to participate at higher tiers, but one way to spark engagement and curiosity is to show potential patrons (and those committed at lower tier levels) a sneak peek of what higher tiers will get them. It could incentivize someone to support your Patreon page or even get someone to increase their pledge.
Amanda Palmer did a this when she posted about visiting an art museum and shared photos of what she will send to some patrons:
“i bought 35 headless fridas & am sending them worldwide to my postcard-tier patrons. i’d love to know how frida & diego dealt with finances/survival as artists - the dough always has to come from somewhere. paint costs money.”
Alex Brock uses his social media to outline exactly what higher tier patrons will be able to access: “If you're subscribed to the $5 tier (Dungeon Stalker) or higher on my Patreon you get two weeks for the chance to buy this before anyone else.”
Let everyone, not just your patrons, know when you meet a goal, add a goal, or make changes to your tiers.
For example, Rachel Lark shares her accomplishments with all of her followers on Twitter:
“Just two days after I launched my @Patreon page I reached my first goal! Now I can record a new studio album. Yaaaay! I'm one-third of the way toward my second goal of making a new music video. You can support me here: https://www.patreon.com/rachellark“
Studio Élan also went to Twitter to get her audience excited about the new tiers she’s offering: “We've finished reworking our Patreon tiers from the ground up! Now every tier gets more content, and we also added a new NSFW tier at the $10 level. Please check it out and consider pledging!“
The most straightforward way to share is to just say it: “Please support me on Patreon.” The important thing here is cadence. You shouldn’t ask every single day and you shouldn’t inundate your audience with constant request for support, but remember they want to support you and it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Paige MacKenzie on uses her Twitter to remind followers to chip in support:
“Help support my projects for as little as a $1 per month & get EXCLUSIVE behind the scenes content! #Patreon: https://goo.gl/DiYjKK“
On Facebook, Wicked Grounds writes creates a tone of urgency while also letting their audience know that any level of support counts:
“If you value the work that @wickedgrounds does in SF and beyond, we need your #pride pledge now. Support us at the level you can!”
No matter which strategy you use to talk to your audience remember that your potential and current patrons are just people. Talk to them the way you talk to your friends and remember, they want to support you because what you’re creating is worth supporting.