Pro Tip: NEVER have sub $5 tiers

This is something I learned the hard way, but I think it’s really helpful advice and I wanted to share it.

  1. Never have tiers below $5. Less Patrons at higher tiers is much better than more Patrons with lower tiers. Not only those sub-5 tiers never add up to any meaningful amount, it literally devalues people’s perception of your work. Price yourself higher and people will believe you’re worth more, it’s really that simple.

  2. Your first 3 tiers are, in practice, your ONLY tiers. Most people only see your first 3 tiers and will NEVER click the “see more tiers button”. So make sure that your first 3 tiers are the ones you ACTUALLY want people to choose. Personally I do $5, $20 and $250, but I added 3 more at insane amounts like $1000, $25000 and $10000. Almost no one ever bites, but I do have one $1000 supporter and it’s 1/3 of my revenue right now.

So yeah, that’s about it! It makes me really sad whenever I see people with $1, $2 & $5 tiers on their page because I know it will never amount to anything, so priec yourself carefully!

And this is my Patreon if you’re interested :slight_smile:. I create crazy projects using futuristic technology and it brings about $3k a month from 105 Patrons. Not bad for an account 10 months old!

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Wow, I’ve been wondering if it actually helps to put an insano amount tier like $1000 and I’m really inspired and impressed you have a patron at that level!

Anecdotally but I’ve had more subscribers since switching to a single $2 “tip jar” tier than I did having more tiers at higher levels.

I have a weird circumstance where I’ve had to reduce my creative work for a full time job but I still want to create things and get the support I need to do so. I think making things simple and easy greatly helps push would-be supporters over the edge: Having a $2 tip jar tier that translates to a clean $20 annually has really helped net those annual supporters.

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I’ve had a couple patrons over the years stay on because I had cheaper options, otherwise their financial situation would’ve lead them to leave entirely. That saves them a few bucks a month and allows me to still get paid too.

I think it depends on the circumstances. I don’t think having options under 5$ is inherently bad.

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Always leave the door open for people to give you more money. Don’t count on it, but who knows! :stuck_out_tongue:

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Can totally see that happening! You will definitely may have more Patrons on $1 and $2 tiers, but my argument is that it’s more worthwhile to have 20% less Patrons that pay you 200%-500% more instead.

Also cheaper tiers can affect how people see your work and make it look less valuable, and that’s just one of those unfortunate realities about how our brains perceive economics.

Oh no, I read your post and I don’t disagree with you. I think it’s just a personal preference thing. I’d rather keep those patrons happy, as they’re typically also more dedicated friends/supporters, by letting them have the option, than effectively kicking them off just to appear more professional to make more money.

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i think what we’re offering makes a huge difference to what’s a sensible ground floor. It does sound like the OP’s setup makes sense for a higher ground floor.

Some other types of creators… like I release a song every month. I don’t think I can promise enough goodies on top of that to make $5 a sensible ground floor. I let people start at $1 for essentially no benefit, and at $3 they get pretty much everything. Lots of them are doing $5 and $10 bless their little hearts.

I do have the greatest $1000 tier offer of all time though:

(it’s showing in Canadian dollars)

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my biggest worry with having really high pay tiers (like $1000) is that, eventually, that patron is going to cancel. and i’m not mentally or financially prepared to lose 1/3 of my income because one supporter can’t afford it anymore/isn’t interested/any other reason for leaving. but my lifestyle isn’t going to take a hit if one $1-$20 patron has to delete their pledge.

i think it’s great that having high roller tiers works for you, but the thing about patreon is that there’s no one-size-fits-all model. there are a handful of friends of mine on the platform who exclusively use it as a tip jar with only $1-$2 tiers and they still pay all their bills that way.

edit: and it’s still such a bizarre design choice to only show our first three tiers to new viewers. hate the landing page lol

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Definitely a no-size-fits-all, but most of us are niche creators and need to get more $ per supporter to survive. It’s really rare to see Patreon accounts doing well with $1 & $2 tiers.

And regards to the landing page, I’m with you. I wish there was a way for my introduction to be at the top, but I guess Patreon knows best and it increases conversion :confused:

LOL this is great

I started out with $1 tier… And eventually I sacked it for a $2 tier just because after credit and fees it wasn’t even worth bothering for them or me. It’s just a tier for Patreon and credit companies to line their pockets.

Here is my observations.

You will have less Patreons the higher your tier… So it’s really a difference between having a large base and maximizing revenue.

You could argue that a larger base of smaller amounts is more stable. Where you could lose 1/3 of your revenue if 1 guy quits… Someone else would need to lose a few dozen people or hundred people. Although you could also argue that someone willing to donate that much is a loyal fan, where the $1 crowd is flippant and quick to quit

There is one advantage of pricing higher you didn’t mention. Complaints. When someone donates, they usually start to expect something from you… And feel much more entitled. Usually, the lowest tiers are the biggest complainers and the least happy. Just my move from $1 to $2 cut out a lot of these guys, and I’d say I get a lot less trouble from $5 tier than $2 tier.

In fact, the more people pay, the more content they are. My $50 and $100 tier users are usually the least demanding and the least picky.

1 $100 user is infinitely easier to please than 100 $1 fans. (And you keep way more money, because 100 transactions fees versus 1)

That said… There is still a balance between Patreons to money. I feel maximizing profit on the so-called whales is a bit shortsided, and if you’re looking to grow your fanbase, you need to find a balance.

That said… There is 100% truth in pricing yourself. The exact same thing can be sold at two different prices… And if you sell yourself cheap people will treat you like your cheap.

Anyway… Thought I’d share some of my experience because this is an interesting topic.

I second that, I had a $1 tiers for a while, like a tip jar in spirit, but never worked out. And just as you wrote, I got down to 3 tiers, it’s simple & clear. Still, I wonder if I should try the very high tiers as you do cause it’s an impressive move, ha:

“Never” is a dangerous word. I use my Patreon for people to donate money. So, $1 is $1. The $1 Patrons don’t get anything except access to my supporter forum and sneak-peaks of my word, which, frankly, they help me produce by being part of the discussion and editing. And they often become $5 or $10 patrons down the road because they see what the other supporters get.
So, even at $1, I’m getting more value out of them than them from me.

Note: I should mention, only about half of my supporters are on Patreon (the other half won’t touch Patreon with a 10 foot poll due to their political stances), so my numbers are twice what Patreon reports. Not sure what you consider “doing well”, but if you’re looking, factor that in.

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Yeah I really don’t think your anecdote will work for everyone. I’m a writer, releasing weekly fiction content and I can’t get literally anyone to subscribe after 5 years on the platform :frowning: and I really don’t think 50 pages of sci-fi and fantasy a month is worth anymore than a dollar. And if I can’t get people to even pay that to read my stuff I really don’t think pricing myself higher is the answer…

I think the reality is people just don’t wanna pay to read :frowning:

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I love it!!! lol.

The vast bulk of my patrons are $1 and it’s great. Admittedly I am on a pay-per-thing model and am usually doing 4-10 posts a month so it’s more like everyone’s at like $5/mo or more. But it’s psychologically around $1 for the buy-in on supporting me.

It’s great, if one drops off it’s not a big deal at all. Because there’s usually 2-4 new ones showing up on any given month. And drops are a lot rarer than one per month.

Clearly I am doing a decent job of making things that people who have a little money to spare want in the world, as well as getting those things in front of people who satisfy that criteria but haven’t previously heard of me and my work. My bills are largely paid off of about 20h of work a week, which consists of “bicycling around a gorgeous tourist destination and drawing stuff on my laptop in cafes and parks”. Plus the occasional commission. Sub-$5 tiers are working great for me.

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This would also have to depend on what you’re offering. I have a digital comic that puts out 5 or 6 pages a month. A comic in a store is about $4 for 20 to 24 pages. If my tiers start at $5, I’m way over priced, at $20-25 dollars for a comic book.

That said, I’d love to get a few dozen backers at even my $1 to $5 tiers. I get a lot of people checking out my Patreon, but few sign up.

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I can see your argument but I think it is not a one size fits all situation. I offer traceables for my $2 level. That level alone has over 1000 members and brings in around $2000 per month. Those patrons can get way more (exclusive videos and photos) for only $5 a month but they choose not to. I have more than double the amount of patrons (2700 more for a total of 3700) at my higher $5, $10, $25 and $100 levels.

But the $2 level folks can get an easy entry into my patreon tiers and very often stay patrons for years and then upgrade. Keeping patrons and keeping interest in my videos is key for me. I feel like that $2 level on patreon is a marketing platform. It is well worth the minimal time I put into it. Could I convert some of them to $5 and have fewer patrons overall and make the same amount? Probably. But those 1000 people get direct emails any time I upload something new which keeps them actively engaged in what I am doing and that is invaluable.

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The way things are for me right now financially, I’d have to stop all my pledges if each were $5. So I agree.

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