Like how ‘90s teenagers quibbled over their favorite NSYNC member, or argued over which Backstreet Boy had the best dance moves, the question of which Try Guy is your favorite is hotly debated.
The quest to decide between cast members Keith, Eugene, Ned, and Zach plays out across Reddit polls, and Buzzfeed quizzes. If you’re one of the Try Guys’ 7 million+ YouTube followers, picking favorites isn’t easy.
Luckily, at least as far as collectible mugs are concerned, patrons of the Try Guys don’t have to pick just one. That’s because their $25 and up patrons receive a custom mug every three months, one for each member of the Try Guys — and after a year, they have the complete set all delivered automatically by Patreon's Merch for Membership.
Since the Try Guys are best known for trying everything, from the entire menu at Olive Garden to a lie detector test, we knew they’d be a perfect match to talk about trying Patreon’s Merch for Membership.
And, while not all of their tries go as planned, their merch strategy certainly did: since implementing Merch for Membership and their patron-only mug series in January, 2020, the Try Guys received a 27.76% increase in patron revenue.
We talked to cast member Keith Habersberger and content strategist Kaylin Burke to give us the inside scoop on why their Merch for Membership strategy is so successful.
Before we dig into our conversation with Keith and Kaylin, let’s talk about what Merch for Membership is.
Physical rewards are a great way to get your audience to push that orange “join” button to become your patron, and with Merch for Membership, getting first-class, exclusive merch to your patrons has never been easier.
Here’s how it works: pick from our pre-selected list of top-notch, sustainable merch items, upload your design, assign it to a tier, and we’ll handle the rest.
- Lose the spreadsheets: No keeping track of patron addresses or eligibility. Patrons that stick around for three consecutive months are automatically sent your beautiful piece of merch in the mail.
- Watch your idea come to life: Just upload your design, and pick from six different, high-quality merch products, including: sticker, mug, t-shirt, tote bag, hoodie, and poster.
- Help the planet: Because your merch is made-to-order, there’s no risk of unsold items ending up in a landfill.
“The Merch for Membership product allows us to track everything in one place. And the fulfillment of those products is super easy." — Kaylin Burke, Content Strategist for the Try Guys.
Have a merch store already?
That’s great, so do the Try Guys! Rather than compete with your existing merch strategy, Merch for Membership adds to it by allowing you to offer a physical reward that your fans can’t get anywhere else.
Now that you know a bit about Merch for Membership, what should you offer your patrons?
The Try Guys have some advice: tap into the fun of collectables. One-off merch items are great, and will do well to keep your patrons around for at least three months. But, if you create merch of a set that your audience can collect over a year, you’re harnessing a gotta-catch-em-all feeling that will encourage your patrons to stick around for the long haul.
“If you make it all the way through the whole year, you'll get all four mugs, (and) you'll have a cute little matching set,” says Keith. “It incentivizes people to stick around for a year, and it makes it so each time they get something, it is unique, and it feels exciting.”
If you’re a creator who’s considering Merch for Membership, ask yourself this: what kind of collection could I offer my patrons? Is it a poster or a t-shirt series that contains an inside joke between you and your patrons? Or maybe it’s a line of stickers? Whatever you choose, even if you’re not part of a cast like the Try Guys, consider what your fans love about you, and use that to make a collectable set your patrons can collect over a year.
Aside from providing your audience an exciting and addictive incentive for remaining a patron, creating a collectable merch series will help in another way: it will save you time by planning ahead.
Take the Try Guys for example. Since they planned out the mug series in advance, they didn’t have to think about what to offer their patrons every three months. Instead they did all the planning beforehand, so after they made their big merch announcement on Twitter, they could set it and forget it.
“It's so much easier to fulfill the items doing this strategy because they’re kind of pre-packaged,” says Kaylin. “We already know what's coming down the line, (because) we don't have to think about what the next month will be — we've set it up for a year's worth of products right from the beginning, so it's really easy to make sure that (patrons) are getting what they need.”
We’d like to tell you what merch collection the Try Guys are considering next. But we wouldn’t dare spoil the surprise, so you’ll have to wait for the official release — however, we can say the idea had Saved By the Bell vibes and a 90’s pin-up flair.