Losing patrons and how to improve

Well hell.

A patron that never responds to anything cancelled his pledge today. He already paid and cancelled after I sent an update.

He commented a little while back on an unrelated post that he was sorry to quit.

After that comment I sent him a sincere letter thanking him and asking if he could elaborate at all on why he was quitting. “Some other reason” was given on his exit survey.

Obviously, it’s sucks and hurts to lose someone. I only have 5 patrons now.

But I’m wondering what can I do to improve if even my current patrons don’t respond?

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It’s difficult to say without knowing more about your process.

However, one thing to keep in mind is this: you have Patrons and they must like what you do. And for that one to let you know they had to leave sounds to me like it had nothing to do with you and was more likely a financial issue on their end. It happens. I have Patrons who have to cancel and then often they’ll come back after some time.

However, it’s totally cool to want to improve, too. My suggest would be to focus on promotions and making your fanbase aware of your Patreon. Or if you’re already do that, promotion and growing your fanbase. Again, without really know your process it’s difficult to offer specific tips, but if you’re willing to give an overview maybe I can offer more help. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Hi @ukuleleabe, thanks for making this post. To second what @dekilah said, you can always tap into your current patrons to ask them what their favorite thing is about being your patron so you can learn.

However, it may be necessary for you to grow your fanbase or community before you can grow your patrons. A certain component of membership is converting fans into patrons, so the larger your fanbase the more patrons you can pool from. We have lots of blogs that provide advice on getting started, I’d recommend you take a read of these:

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Thanks @mindy and @dekilah for the responses. I make an ukulele podcast. I’ve spent a lot of time reading all the available Patreon blogs and applying what I could. I have approximately 750 subscribers to the podcast atm. It’s been going up since I started.

For my patreon, the main thing is bonus episodes and early access. I have four tiers
$2, $5, $10, and $50. All tiers get discord access and flair on reddit, but those are new and I think haven’t been utilized by my patrons. The $50 tier is a big hopeful tier for me, lol.

I think the main struggle is that I never get feedback from patrons, so I think they are most motivated by just giving me money. Three of the current patrons I know personally and have told me that. But I can’t really use that easily to get more patrons.

The tiers are cut like this, each tier getting all previous tiers:
$2

  • Early access to all episodes
  • Patron-only discord server
  • Behind-the-scenes photos and updates
  • Shout-out on the podcast and social media
  • My never-ending gratitude

$5

  • Exclusive sticker and pin
  • I’ll follow you on Twitter or Instagram
  • Bonus episodes
  • Early ukulele arrangements
  • Suggest topics, questions, tutorials, arrangements, etc

$10

  • Monthly live hangout
  • Exclusive t-shirt
  • Get to pick cover songs for YouTube

$50

  • Name read during every episode of podcast (sorta like a sponsorship)
  • Any song arranged for ukulele

To me they don’t feel so connected and building off each other. For the next few months, I’m trying to rework how I pitch it in the podcast, since that’s my biggest audience. The podcast only comes out once a month, so maybe it’s just destined to be a slow process.

One example: I got two new patrons and sent them both Bonjoros. I thought that trying a new way to engage with them would build some excitement. They never saw them, never replied to messages, but have been patrons for two months. Is this just normal? “Here have my money but leave me alone” just feels weird to me.

Anyway. Thanks for the input and I hope you have some insight that I’m missing.

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@ukuleleabe I wanted to share this image with you as it shows the spectrum of membership. For some creators, their patrons are more altruistic, simply wanting to support the creator and their endeavors. For others, their patrons are more subscription focused, wanting the tangible benefits and bonus goods. It sounds like your patrons so far fall more in the altruistic section, which means they are happy to just give you money each month and don’t necessarily need the extra things - this is very common for a lot of creators on Patreon! Part of it also comes down to your own belief of believing the things you make are providing value; you don’t have to feel bad that someone wants to support you, you deserve it! <3

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Thanks mindy. I guess where I’m stuck is how to get more people to the sub side. In one blog post Patreon says subs drive more sign ups than just support.

I love my patrons and I’m very grateful, but I feel sort of stuck with the growth. I’m not covering my expenses yet. I guess I just have to find that one thing that is exclusive that people want. I just haven’t gotten the right offering with the right patron.

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Numbers-wise, you aren’t doing to bad converting fans to patrons. You are running about 0.6% conversion rate.

That seems low but it isn’t. I had well over a half-million people subscribed to my feed over on Google+ back when it existed. I have 10k followers on twitter, and reach an average of 75k people with each release these days - not counting my visibility via my work with Wizards of the Coast.

My conversion rate based on my 75k reach is 0.8% - not much higher than yours.

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Thanks DysonLogos. That’s a good perspective to keep in mind. It confirms to me that it’s just a matter of time and having a bigger overall audience.

On another note, I lost another patron today. Never heard from them. I think what bugs me most is not getting any response from people. I get not being able to contribute. Everyone’s situation changes. But why never say anything?

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I have a similar trouble with feedback and I think it’s fairly common. I have 70 to 90 Patrons throughout the month and maybe 5 of them actually comment and a few others message me. Here’s the “trick” I’ve found to be very useful:

I use Patreon polls. For example, you might ask how they find you. You could also ask what was there favorite thing you published this month.

I’m a model and I use a poll each month in about the last week to allow them to vote on which galleries to include the next month. Usually I let them vote for one or two and then I pick the other one or two.

I get much more feedback on polls than I do if I just ask. I looked back and I usually get 20 to 30 responses on those polls.

Bonus Tip: Make sure if you let them vote, that you only include options that you are okay with winning. So don’t end up making too much work for yourself or offering something you can’t do.

Now moving on…

I’d suggest you poll your Patrons on how they found you. Include your top social platforms and be sure to include an “Other, please let me know in the comments.” Even if you only get one response, you can use that information to know where you might focus your promotional efforts.

Here are some promotional ideas for social media to help you build your audience.

Instagram
Post short clips of your videos.
You can also post photos of past merch you’ve sent Patrons (or mockups of the designs) occasionally.
Interact with others there too. You might even find other musicians who can inspire you with how they use the platform.
IGTV might be useful for you too, especially now that those videos are inserted into the feed.

YouTube
I would stick with the occasional full piece/song or quick tips. Not as in depth as you offer on Patreon, but something to get people interested.

Twitter
Similar to Instagram. You can share short clips, photos, etc. Find the hashtags and follow others. I’ve found that following people who interact with other similar accounts to be really useful, many times they’ll follow you back.

Twitter is a little different than the others, but it’s very useful. You can be a bit more free with it too. I throw in personal stuff (like what I’m having for dinner or personal experiences) every so often and it goes over pretty well there.

For example, you could post things like “I just tried a new arrangement and boy was it tough! Who else is working on a new piece?” (But use the correct terms, I’m just kind of rolling with it right now)

There might be other music specific sites I’m not aware of or tips that other musicians can add in too. Mainly, I think you just need to grow your fanbase. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thank you Dekilah! These are great ideas. I’ll try and implement them.

I think you’re right about the fanbase. Growing that should be the most helpful thing.

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Hey, just to reassure you maybe, but we have about 400 patrons, but we hardly get any communication from any of them. The biggest reaction we had was a patron survey we put out, where we send about 4 reminders, and in the end we got responses from about 13% of patrons. So I wouldn’t really expect a response rate much higher than that!

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I used to personally welcome every new patron, but eventually quit for two reasons.

  1. They would bail before the end of the month (signing up to take content then leaving).

  2. Maybe one in forty would respond.

I actually have plenty of patrons who have informed me that they only check in every few months and just trust that I will keep making stuff they enjoy. I even have a discord with a lot of users, but only a few people ever post/reply to anything. I think a lot of people are just busy and spend their time consuming content rather than interacting.

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It is tricky getting people involved! MOST of my patrons don’t comment at all, and that is approximately 150 people. There are a dedicated handful (maybe 10) who always comment or regularly comment. Sometimes I’ll post something and there is a huge flurry of interest (recently that was asking people for help thinking up ideas for dragons!) and they were really interactive, but most of the time it’s the usual suspects and everyone else just is there to support. Most of mine seem altruistic in type which is great as whenever I ask what hteyw ant and if they want changes, they most of them, don’t really care much for the ‘stuff’ they get. They just like to know they are supporting.
Keep shouting about it on social media, get people involved and all the tips above are brilliant. It’s a slow slow grow but worth it in the end!

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Every now and then I ask my patrons what they would like from me, if anything, and I always try to sign off on my monthly recaps saying they can always reach out to me. That I’m grateful and that if I can improve their tier, to let me know. I get the most engagement asking what they’d like (I offer merchandise)

I also recently made a “reviews” page asking my patrons if they wanted to leave a review or why they support me. A lot commented that they liked how engaging I am and that I keep them all in the loop and these are people I NEVER hear from, but apparently they read my posts!

Sometimes I guess people aren’t talkative, which I get. I support 2 people on patreon but I haven’t ever left a comment, but I DO read and watch what they post. Not because I don’t have anything to say, I just get too busy or I forget to… etc. I think you can only keep trying. It’s been 5 years for me on patreon and I’ve only now gotten more than 5 people talking on my posts ahaha.

I would focus on building your fan base. A lot of my patrons have just been fans of my artwork for years and then just wanted to support me. Perseverance is key.

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I think having a small-ish percentage of followers/Patrons that routinely provide feedback, or interact at all, is pretty standard. That number might rise slightly with more Patrons, but it’s always a small part of the overall amount. I think the important thing is to keep moving forward, accept that drop-offs will be an inevitable part of the process, and continue to make content. People will check in as time permits for them, and everyone is different. Some people want to pledge and forget it, some people will check in every few months, and some people will love the ability to interact with you. All you can really do is provide the content and keep the door open.

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Thanks so much everyone for the advice and encouragement. I’ll keep doing my best and stay focused on the patrons that want to interact. It’s really great to hear about your experiences.

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