Imagine waking up, rolling over to check your phone, and there among all the new texts and social media messages you see it—notifications from Paypal telling you that while you were sleeping, you earned a bunch of extra money.
That would be pretty great wouldn’t it?
Waking up to recurring revenue is one of the absolute best feelings. There’s no denying it. And yet, so many feel like it’s out of their reach. That they couldn’t possibly create anything that would inspire others to want to hand over that hard-earned cash. But if that’s you, then I have news for you—you’re missing out.
Every day over 100,000 people on Patreon are waking up to hundreds if not thousands of dollars per month, for providing their fans, or, Patrons, something valuable. We’re about to dive into what exactly that is, and how you can come up with your own irresistible Patreon offers, but I just want you to let that sink in for a moment. Over 100,000 people—primarily creatives, and a large chunk musicians—have found a way to make this a part of their business model. So why not you?
I’m going to assume you know how to set up a Patreon and dive straight into the good stuff—what kind of rewards should you be offering? You’re in luck, because we’ve compiled a list to get those creative juices flowing.
-Mail out postcards mailed out to your Patrons
-Custom songs for the higher tiers
-Virtual pizza/ice cream/drinks party (bonus if you actually order and have the pizza delivered for some of your top tier members to make them feel even more special)
-If education is part of your brand (IE: songwriting, vocal lessons, if you teach an instrument, or know a language) offer a weekly or monthly lesson call
-Think about the experience you’re giving them. If they’re going to stay month after month, there has to be some kind of recurring thing to look forward to. Maybe it’s a virtual hangout, or a live performance, or a Q&A with someone cool you know, or a once a month drawing where one fan gets something super special. But don’t discount the importance of providing a true experience here.
The best advice I can give you is to think about what best aligns with your existing brand, and the experience you want to give your fans. Keep that in mind as you read this list. For instance, if you’re a pop-punk band who belonged on Warped Tour, posts tons of skateboarding videos, and obviously loves (and makes a part of your brand) loving pizza, then doing something like throwing a once a month virtual pizza party for your fans might make sense, whereas offering them a workshop on vocal lessons might not.
Think outside the box with this one—what would your audience love most of all?
Give them unrestricted access
It isn’t all about the rewards—keeping your Patrons feeling connected to you is crucial to keeping them around. They need to feel like they’re forever a part of the process. Because, getting free stuff is great and all, but what people really want (believe it or not) is connection. It’s to feel a part of something. So giving them a level of unrestricted access to you, whether it’s through text updates on the site, an exclusive email list, a quarterly Zoom hang out, etc, is an important piece of keeping them feeling connected, and keeping them as Patrons.
Ok, but how do I actually get people to be a Patron?
This is the bit where you have to step outside your comfort zone. When you first announce your Patreon, no doubt your super fans will join without a second thought. But the rest is going to take some work. Especially if you haven’t really built up a strong bond with your audience to date (IE: not consistently posting on socials, only posting about your music instead of brand building, etc). So be patient with the process.
So, this is the part where you really connect with fans. I’m talking about reaching out to them individually, one on one, to make meaningful connections. Do not ask them to be a Patron when you’ve never even talked to them before—I can’t emphasize enough the importance of making that connection first.
While an easy way to reach the masses might be sending out notice to your email list (and giving them first access to some of the more desirable tiers), you can also do a livestream and invite fans to be a part of it. As in—get them on the livestream! (remember what I said about making them feel seen and special?)
Invite them on to simply chat with them, or ask them what song they’d like you to play (even if it’s a cover song) or have the live be around a totally different topic like, a casual chat about ___” Then, at the end you can mention your Patreon.
But, by and far, I believe you’ll have the most luck with the personal outreach. It’s how I built my own membership and I believe especially in those early days when you’re just building your audience, it’s the key.
So what I suggest is to go through your IG and see who’s most active on your page—who is liking and commenting the most? Then, send them an audio DM. Keep this short but personal, and always invite more conversation. “Hey so and so, I noticed you’ve been following us for a while, just wanted to reach out and say thanks so much for being a fan, it means a lot. By the way, I couldn’t help but notice your dog, he’s adorable! What’s his name?”
Having a profitable Patreon is 100% in your reach—and listen, money aside, it’s a great way to truly connect with your fans and get to know them. After all, they’re pretty great.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have seen placements on Alternative Press, Noisey, Substream, Spotify and more as well as the THRIVE mentorship community. You can get more info on how to create a profitable Patreon + other ways to make extra money online via her workshop.