Laurab, I appreciate the advice regarding Special Offers and I’ve had a look at the related materials. Based on our experience running offer campaigns with physical items shipped to Patrons, I feel the new Offers feature doesn’t really address the pain points we’ve had to deal with. And it actually creates a significant problem that we’d like to avoid.
A lot of time in the Offers overview is spent on promotion and marketing - which makes sense as these are things in our control which are critical to the success of any campaign. I think we’ve got this stuff covered and our most recent success seems to validate that belief.
Beyond that, I fear that the time limited nature of Offers would create unnecessary risk of failure. “Time limits create a sense of urgency…” This is true more for us as creators than for our Patrons. If I wanted time limits in crowd funding then I’d head over to Kickstarter (where we’ve run a number of highly successful campaigns). That’s a nerve wracking place to raise funds and I can only endure one of those campaigns every year or two.
The nice thing about Patreon is that we can slow down the entire process of product development, marketing, acquiring “commitments” from our “buyers,” and pushing towards our goal. For instance, during our last goal setup on Patreon I was actually able to shift focus from promotion and marketing, travel a bit, then come back and resume where we’d left off. Wonderful!
Another point… For the sake of covering our marketing, manufacturing, and shipping costs we have to build projection sheets which assume a certain number of ‘sales’ in order to justify the overall model. So we start with an expectation of “if this is going to work we need 2000x Patrons to pledge $45 for this one month” and then work backwards from that.
The way we’ve done our previous campaigns allowed us to involve the audience with this modeling (though they weren’t really aware of how their reactions and feedback impacted our spreadsheets behind the scenes). We adjusted the physical reward(s), prices, and messaging in real-time and used the concept of Crowd Design to create a sense of involvement on the part of our Patrons (which also doubles as marketing).
Back to the original topic… we’re making this work in a positive and effective way. But there are a couple of points of serious friction. Refunds is one. Tier/Pledge setup for people who want to jump-in-jump-out around a particular promotion (we created the $1 “Help Unlock The Reward” Tier for this but I imagine there’s a cleaner/clearer way to automate a “reserved space” on a particular Reward Campaign), information sorting (address, phone number stuff - which we’re now using BackerKit to make easier), etc.
We’re already starting work on our next big promotion and expect that we’ll be involving our audience in that and working towards defining then unlocking that goal over the next 4~6 months. These campaigns are a big part of our process and community.
Would be great if we could get some systems in place to support this sort of process.
Look forward to further thoughts