Seeking advice on making good tier levels

Hey everyone,

It’s nice to meet you here. I’m seeking advice for myself and my friend (Jordan steVen) regarding effective tier levels. What makes a good set of tiers and what problems would you commonly face regarding doing so?

For example, I notice that it can be hard to fulfill certain requirements and rewards for patreons if one promises too much. What strategies and advice can you share? Thanks for your feedback! :slight_smile:

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Woof. That’s a big question, with lots of different things to consider in the answer!

Lets start with a few simple points:

  • The lowest tier should be no less than $2.
  • Have either of you two decided if you are going for monthly or per item support?
  • Digital rewards are easier to fulfill than physical, and anything requiring your actual presence (in person or remote) will be the hardest.

These are not the entire list, just a few starting thoughts. Does anyone else have anything to add?

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Agreed. My lowest tier is $5 monthly.
Monthly is my current plan.
Agreed - digital rewards are easier.

Thanks for your reply!! :smiley:

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Hi @marc6x! I’ll hop in here too - I’m Laura, on the Creator Success team at Patreon. I can offer a few suggestions based on what we’ve seen work well and what I’ve heard from creators I’ve worked with. I’ll add a plus one to everything that @Th_Mole mentioned.

Additionally - when it comes to the number of tiers - it’s good to offer fewer levels, to avoid your fans getting decision fatigue if they can’t choose. Go with 1-5 tiers overall if you can.

On average, pledges retain highest between $5-$8 monthly, so glad to hear you’re starting at $5. I’d recommend something around the $10 mark and maybe one or two higher tiers as well.

Definitely make sure your benefits can scale - you can always “unlock” cool new benefits, or run a Special Offer (limited time benefit - more in your “promote” tab), but it’s tougher to remove things after the fact.

The other thing I’d say about pricing is think about what you’d pay for something similar/how much you’d want your favorite artist to get valued for the time it will take you to fulfill your tiers - it’s a good way to not undervalue your own time. :slight_smile:

Lastly, you could always poll your community to get a sense of where they’re at and what prices they’d pay for a few of the benefits you’re thinking about.

Hope that helps!


Hi Laura,

This is a really great answer and it taught me a lot. Thanks so ever much for taking the effort to write back - the community vibe here is incredibly strong.

Best wishes, marc :slight_smile:

Our team recently did some math on “the value of a dollar” for various tiers taking in consideration platform and processing fees. While this is nit-picking, this shows the overall efficiency of your tiers if you want to focus on using as much of your patrons’ efforts towards you and less towards fees. This was based on Stripe direct deposit and we’re based in the US:

Assuming US, using Stripe direct deposits and a Pro/Legacy plan.
Does not include Stripe deposit fee of 25 cents.

Tier value, less the -proc (Processing Per Pledge, less the -plat (Platform Cut) equals the value of $1. Please note, the platform share may vary and may look different depending on how many patrons you have. The goal of this was to give a general idea of “what is a dollar on Patreon worth depending on the tier we set up?”

The efficiency curve starts to flatten higher up and naturally higher tiers are going to mean higher dollar efficiency, but the numbers taught us that if we really wanted to efficiently price a tier it should start at $5. I know the $2 tier dollar efficiency seems high, but it (1) gives your patrons a reason to not support you for a higher amount; and (2) doesn’t allow you to actually contribute back effectively unless it’s a “general thanks” tier.

If you find stuff like this helpful I may make a public calculator to help you determine the efficiency better based on custom values to help with making decisions on tiers and rewards. I know to many this looks like penny pinching but let’s put it in perspective: If you want to give all Patreons of a tier a monthly postcard reward, you should truly know the value of their pledge to get a proper comparison to the cost because using $1 tiers to send $1 postcards may looks like a break-even but really it’s operating at a loss.

TLDR; if you want a nominal “general support no rewards” tier, make it precisely $2 and don’t give it rewards that cost time and money or you’re running at a loss. Any reward-bearing tier, consider time and costs but start at least with $5.

Hey Laura, I had a question for you about polling for feedback! I think this might be a good follow-up.

As beautiful as altruistic patrons are to have (versus subscribership), I have always had an extremely difficult time getting users to offer feedback. After trying 1:1, email campaigns, polling, reaching out on different social media platforms and not through Patreon alone – I get a lot of silence. We’ve even tried tying submitting feedback to prizes, or other methods like offering private 1:1 feedback sessions, anonymous submissions, or anonymized third party feedback systems including surveys.

Due to having a heavy “altruist” patron-base, the responses I do get are “I just want to support you!” This leave us having to make tier decisions based off of our best business judgment which is an incredibly hard thing to teach a team, let alone do myself on personal projects.

How would you suggest pursuing effective data-driven decisions when the user-base is nonresponsive? Have you observed any ways of soliciting feedback from Patrons for a more altruist silent supporter base? That kind of insight I feel would be invaluable – especially for someone like OP who may not be able to get a lot of feedback at first but wants to make productive changes.

Hi Steve

I read and appreciate both your responses in this thread.

If a patreon is not interested in providing feedback, it may be a cue to consider slowly raising the base level of the amount donated. Most people I suspect will not be able to provide feedback because it’s not an intense fascination of theirs as it might be with us.

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