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5 Steps to Grow Your Patreon

So you have a project – a comic, a book, a music album – and you want to start earning money from it. You create a Patreon account so your fans can support you, but it’s not taking off the way you hoped. Here are five tips and tricks to increase your patrons, your earnings, and your ability to pursue your dreams!

1. Offer Worthwhile Incentives

The most obvious first step is to give your patrons exciting incentives to join your page. For storytellers, this might include early access (or even exclusive access) to pages of your latest work. Physical merchandise, digital downloads, and an exclusive feed of your work should be enough to entice your fans, but don’t be afraid to think small. It takes very little effort to thank your patrons somewhere in your project, and yet it’s still a perk you can offer.

In addition to rewards, you can also offer goals that your Patreon page is working towards. Sometimes these goals are just for you, such as purchasing a new piece of equipment, quitting a job, or hiring assistance. You can also offer goals for your fans, such as increased updates or an online store.

Whatever you decide to offer, make sure it’s something you can keep up with. Monthly commissions are a nice promise, but do you really have the time and energy to fulfill them? Focusing on more “bulk” incentives as opposed to customized offers will free up your time for bigger and better things.

2. Offer a Variety of Tiers

Some people use Patreon like a tip jar, offering exclusive content to all of their patrons. While this may bring in more patrons, it doesn't necessarily help your income. Including a variety of tiers lets you grow your community, your earnings, and the overall value of your work.

Start with a list of everything you can or currently do offer on Patreon. Rate each item on a scale of 1-5. Factors to include in this scale include how much time you spend, how much engagement you receive, and how you want to structure your Patreon community. Smaller value options might be worth $3-5 whereas exceptionally big offerings are worth $50+. You will ultimately decide how many tiers you can comfortably offer and how to price them, but ensure each tier increase includes an equal value increase for your patrons. (Basically: people will get what they pay for.)

Why is this so important? Because you cannot count on the generosity of your fans. Instead of letting people choose how much to give, let them choose how much they are willing to pay for. Remember: your art is a luxury, not a charity. You are allowed to strategize and place additional value on rewards you put more effort into or know people will pay more for.

3. Promote Like There's No Tomorrow

Unlike social media which gives your audience easy opportunities to promote you to their followers via likes and shares, you are in charge of getting your Patreon page out there. If links are not already easily found in your bios, take five minutes to fix that right now! If you post a lot of your work on social media, include a link to your Patreon as often as possible. If most of your work is behind a paywall, post quick samples or previews and encourage people to subscribe and see your work in full.

You can never talk about your Patreon account enough, especially when you’re making it sound interesting! The goal is to convince people you are worth spending money on, so tease them with your exclusive feed, upcoming goals, and variety of ways to support. It may feel annoying to you, but some people need to see something promoted twenty times before they bite the bullet and buy it.

4. Post Consistently

Patrons are charged on a monthly basis, so take a look at what they receive during that time. At minimum, all patrons should receive two updates a month. As the tiers increase, so too should the updates. Connecting with people more often reassures them that they are getting what they paid for. At the same time, you don’t want to spam your patrons with updates that will not interest them or they will cancel their subscription, so be sure your posts are engaging.

Your goal should be to have a full queue so that your page is updated regularly. That being said, you’re just one person (or maybe one small team), and you cannot be expected to churn out content like a robot. Just give your patrons notice if you plan to take a break or will not be able to post as often as you’d like. How much information you give about your circumstances is completely up to you. If you lose support during that time, know that you can reel folks back in once you’re active again.

5. Switch Things Up

If you find your number of patrons plateauing, it may be time to offer new things. You won’t convince your whole audience to support you financially, but you may be able to gain a few more patrons with the right incentives. Try adding something new to your exclusive feed: more behind-the-scenes, wallpapers, tutorials, an exclusive storyline. If you have the energy then it never hurts to up your offerings!

You could also consider reworking your tiers. Maybe something you valued at $10 would sell better for $5. Of course this technique is an easy way to increase patrons, but be deliberate about lowering your prices. Simply put, one person paying $10 is worth two people paying $5. Avoid undervaluing your work for the sake of quick money.

Keep it Going!

Now that you have a baseline for success, you just have to keep at it! Every few months or so, be sure to step back and evaluate your page’s growth and your current abilities. Can you offer more? Should you cut back on certain rewards and focus on others instead? Do your Patreon goals still align with your personal goals? You can also gather feedback from your Patrons, either with a survey or reaching out to various individuals.

No matter what, it takes time to foster stable financial support. Have big goals in mind, but be patient with reaching them. As long as you’re smart and deliberate about what you offer, you will get there someday. Cheers to your success!


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