Digital Artist seeking help with new Reward Ideas!

Hello, everyone! :sparkling_heart:

My name is Rosie, I’ve been on Patreon for quite a while and it is the #1 reason why I can make a living as an artist in Brazil. It’s such an important part of my job, but I feel I’ve failed on trying to “grow it”. The peak of my page (both in patreon pledges and total money pledged) has happened in Jan 2017, and I’ve been trying to reach it again ever since.

My carreer has been through a few changes recently, due to personal reasons. I went from mainly a streamer on Twitch who also draws to mainly a digital artist who sometime streams. I’m a little worried that took too deep of a hit on my community overall, and interactions have been super low. I’ve noticed that change of rhythm for the entirety of this year but it’s been specially glaring the past few months. I’m so scared I might lose my community entirely, and have that reflect directly on my ability of creating art for a living. So right now I’m extra motivated to shake things up a little to show people I still have the fire to make this work.

My current struggle is finding new rewards to attract new Patrons with - and convince them to stay as well. I’ve sent out keychains before, and wanted to start sending out art prints, but a change in Brazilian postal service has as attached a new tax to sending out “merch”, causing it to be literally 10 times more expensive for me to send. Needless to say, that plan has been put on hold and I need to find alternatives to it now.

Does anyone have cool suggestions of what a digital artist could offer as rewards? I don’t really have an overall bigger project for my work (something like a book or a comic series) so I feel my options are kinda limited. I’ve worked with “wallpaper packs” and offering any created art in high quality as well, but I feel those were not that popular and nobody really missed them once they were gone.

I’m looking forward to hearing from other creators! Any new ideas are very welcome!
Help me save my community and my work. :pray: :sparkling_heart:

PS: Thought I’d share my Patreon page if anyone would like to take a look!

6 Likes

Hi Rosie, your work is so cute! I don’t think you should have any trouble attracting a new audience.

A thought for art prints: one way to get around the postal issue could be to use a service like Redbubble where you can upload your designs and have prints sent directly to the address of your choice. They have subsidiaries in various parts of the world so their small prints and stickers are very affordable. It would take a little work, and miss your personal touch since you don’t get to pack them yourself, and finally you would have to double check that isn’t still too expensive to be worth it, but I mention it in case you really want to do this for some tiers.

In terms of digital rewards, here are some ideas:

  • Drawing someone’s avatar (face at least) in your style, that they can use in their social media if they want. I can imagine people being into that, especially if you offer to draw them as pirates or vampires or whatever they’re into.
  • Something they can print at home, like gift tags, ex libris, even stationery.
  • I agree with you wallpaper packs are of interest to nobody anymore, but maybe a wallpaper calendar?
3 Likes

Forgot to add: rewards are great, but many people here will tell you that most patrons just want to support artists. So I would say make the work you love doing, share it a lot on your patreon, and don’t sweat the rewards too much – ultimately your growing art and obvious enthusiasm may be bigger factors in attracting support.

5 Likes

I wanted to second that you can use many US online print services that offer postcard printing and mailing. If the quantity is low then I think this is still possible but a lot more searching for the right partner to help facilitate some of these services.

I’m interested in the care packages that are bi-annual. I know Patreon is working on ways we can track these sorts of things as I’d love to add this.

I think the Avatar idea is great. But stick to the things you love most for the bulk of your work.

I agree the wallpaper thing is just of little interest. I don’t always get those out and no one ever asks. So, I’m also interested in any solutions you find work and will be following this thread for updates.

I’m curious about the print at home stuff. I’ve thought about this but am a little wary that a file that is too hi-res could end up on a different print-on-demand site.

3 Likes

Hi Rosie! I just wanted to jump in and agree with the other folks who have posted regarding using a print on demand service based in the US to distribute your art print benefits to your patrons. I noticed that you already have a great presence on Society6! You should totally promote your Society6 merch on Patreon to drive traffic there and vice versa :smiley:

Ideas wise, I noticed that you have some awesome Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing characters featured on your Patreon page (Prince Sidon!). Have you ever thought of featuring different fandoms, and releasing your chibi character versions as paid posts one at a time? You could start with Legend of Zelda, for instance, and release a different character every week or two to your patrons. You could even invite patrons to vote on which fandom you work with next.

1 Like

Many thanks to everyone who commented so far! :sob: I was so lost and so out of ideas yesterday, your comments have been truly refreshing and encouraging! :sparkling_heart:

@joumana I truly love the idea of offering things they can print at home, that’s a very new idea to me and I think it’s really sweet!

@aaronmiller The bi-annual system has really worked out for me. If you’re curious about it, I encourage you to give it a try! :slight_smile:

@apuig I love the idea of working on things for different fandoms. That would be a very elegant solution to my debate: I’d love to create art for every patron individually but that’s not viable to me in terms of time and project management. Creating chibis for different fandoms would make it easier to make one or more Patron happy at a time!

I’ve also taken note of the suggestion you guys mentioned, about finding a print service & mailing in the US! I know Society6’s products are not exactly cheap when it comes to prints, so I’ll most likely start looking for a new service! Do you guys have any recommendations aside from Red Bubble so that I can compare costs? :slight_smile:

Again, many thanks for helping out with this. I really appreciate it! :pray:

2 Likes

Try places similar to nextdayflyers.com. I’ve been using them for well over 20 years now. I’ve never used a mailing service but if I needed it I’d sure start with their live chat to customer service.

Hi there! I’m not a visual artist, but the thought that immediately popped to mind for growing community was the concept of a daily illustration. This has done very well for Chris Ryniak. Just a basic outline or simplified version, or something like that?

Maybe you could share it 100% through Patreon as public posts, and invite all your followers on other platforms to follow you on Patreon for free. That way you grow your following and they have regular invitations to become actual patrons. You could add patron-only links in your public posts to entice them to join. You can even do livestreaming through Patreon using either crowdcast or YouTube, but it’s not a very smooth system at this point.

Anyways, not sure any of that helps, but wish you all the best with it!

4 Likes

Hi Rosie,

It seems like you’ve been taking a lot of the best advice when it comes to the operation of the campaign itself. The only thing I would think to add is more behind the scenes digital content. Especially since you are based out of Brazil. As a means of providing monthly rewards, I find that’s any visual artist’s best option. For my own campaign, I’m actually thinking of moving to a single main tier that includes a full range of digital rewards rather than tiered pricing. Somewhere in the $5-$10 range.

The MAIN thing I want to mention though is the engagement outside Patreon. Getting the most out of the platform can multiply the benefits you see, but I think that focusing on the base level interest in your art/brand is the most important thing to focus on day to day, month to month. If you are seeing a shift in interest after changing your content, then it sounds like you are going to have to shift your strategy as a whole to account for your own changing interests. I always think that as creative people, we need to go where the muse takes us, but the rules of the game do shift when our market shifts. The audience size for ‘creative’ on Twitch is lower than almost any top tier game, so you’re going to have to make up that difference by finding winning strategies for building an audience on other platforms. Make sure your IG and Twitter games are on point and keep that content wheel turning. Audience growth is Patreon growth.

Here’s my thing for context: www.patreon.com/angelarium

Best of luck,

-Pete

7 Likes

@PeteMohrbacher-Angelarium First of all I must say I visited your Patreon page for reference and I am baffled. Your art is beyond impressive, it’s so beautiful and inspiring. Thanks for taking the time to help me out! :scream: :sparkling_heart:
I’d just like to ask one small thing, what do you mean with behind the scenes digital content? Would it be things like step-by-step/progress posts, or something else?
Also thank you for the solid advice on audience growth! I’ve recently picked up Instagram to use along with my Twitter account, I hope I can bring some results out of it!

2 Likes

@PeteMohrbacher-Angelarium, took a look at your page, you create amazing work! Your response is very interesting, especially that you recognize:

I always think that as creative people, we need to go where the muse takes us,

How true! Though I work full time as a visual artist/painter, I’m still looking for my muse, having a difficult time finding my direction. What are your opinions on creating books?

2 Likes

I think it’s always important to offer a collection of your work for sale. Books or card decks can both work for that. Often times, people want to have an easy way of owning a large number of pieces without having to collect individual items.

My strategy for books is to fund the creation of the content via Patreon, pre-sell it on Kickstarter to pay for production costs and then stock it via a web store for people who find you after it’s complete. Using the whole ecosystem increases the value of the work exponentially.

5 Likes

@PeteMohrbacher-Angelarium That is an awesome strategy. Thank you so much for the reply. :smiley:

2 Likes

Hi Rosie! I’m a little late to this party, but after reading all the really good suggestions on this thread, I thought I’d add my two cents as well on growing and maintaining your current patrons…

  1. Develop Good Posting Habits - Mark which days you’re going to post and do it. Every. Single. Time. The way to grow is to keep consistent. Your fans need to know you’ll be there for them. Automate this process and make it easy on yourself with a social media manager like HootSuite. You can post to all your social media pages at once, schedule your posts out in the future and comment back to people right from one platform.

2. Maintain an Email List - If you haven’t already, start an email list beyond Patreon’s. As archaic as it seems, studies show that email marketing is still King and the most effective way to reach your audience and turn them into sales or sign ups. I use Constant Contact, but I hear MailChimp is also good. It’s not a cheap service, but well worth it in the long run. Advertise your Patreon page right there in your weekly emails with new content. Make it easy for your fans to become patrons by providing links to your Patreon, social media sites and webpage. Statistically it takes 7 interactions with a person before they decide to “buy” from you (or in this case sign up to support you). You have to gain people’s trust. And remember to thank your patrons in every post you share! Gratitude is the best attitude!

3. Develop a Social Media Presence - Make sure to start a FB page, Instagram and Twitter (sounds like you already have done this). I find as a visual artist, Twitter is the least effective social media platform for art. I started on FB and have added Instagram, which are both great for visual artists. You don’t need to go overboard, but having these 3 seems to be the best recipe. Using a social media manager like Hootsuite, post regularly to these platforms and advertise your Patreon there, either in the comments or directly on your art. I found posting stand alone ads about my Patreon got my little to no business. The thing my fans want to see is my art. So I added a little ad at the bottom of each of my cartoons about my Patreon. They get shared, and so does the ad. You can see how I’ve designed those posts on my Instagram page here.

4. Create Great Content - Someone else on this thread already touched on this topic, but honestly the rewards are a very small portion of why someone will support you and stick around. Create great, consistent content and people will want to support you. Communicate with your fans, respond, reach out and show gratitude. It’s a slow process, but if people see you loving what you do, it affects them too and they’ll want to support you. Here’s a great quote to leave you with…

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” - David Viscott

Good luck Rosie! And here’s my patreon page if you want to take a look. I’ve only been on here a little over a year, and I’ve had some set backs as well, but my new system for slow growth and focusing on great content seems to be attracting new patrons every week!

-Kelly

2 Likes

Hey @jetlaggedcomic, welcome to the forum and wow! Thank you for making such an incredible first post on the forum.

This was actually a great topic to see nudged so I could read it. Thanks!

1 Like