Thoughts & Stats On My Second (Successful!) Special Offer!

Hello everyone! At the start of the year I ran a fairly straightforward Special Offer featuring a post card. It was a big success, and I posted about it on these very forums! You can read that here.

My initial findings were that Special Offers are a fantastic tool that was a bit flawed in how you could wind up with a ton of people not having updated their addresses, but aside from that it was an all around easy to use tool that could be incredibly powerful when used correctly. So going into this second round that was primarily the one change I hoped to see.

So, let’s talk about my plan, how I implemented it, and the results!

Finding the THING people want!

When trying to figure out what to do with a Special Offer, one of the first things you need to do is research what it is that your fans want in terms of something extra, something special, and something exclusive. I’ve done this by a Google Form survey and asking the proper questions.

The THING will be different for everyone depending on what you create, what your audience likes, and so on. For me, I create audio content, so physical items and merch are really special. When I asked what type of physical merch my fans wanted, enamel pins were by far the item people were most interested in. No surprise, enamel pins are rad!

So, I invested in getting my first enamel pin designed (pictured above) and I’ve had the stock for several months. I waited because timing is important. Almost as important as knowing what it is people will actually want to pay you for…

Timing & Promotion

Finding an exciting and unique way to promote your Special Offer is key to its success. For me, I built this whole pin around the idea of turning my tagline of “Headphones Recommended” into a podcast! It took a good while to get all my ducks in a row, but the stars aligned in October. Not only did I launch the Special Offer with the debut of the podcast, October is also my 3 year anniversary of being YuuriVoice. So all the hype was built right in to the whole deal.

So, you’ve gotta bang the promo drum loud and proud during the Special Offer. Mine ran for two weeks. Aside from direct mentions, pictures of the pin, reminders on social media and Patreon itself, I also referenced the pin any time I posted my regularly scheduled content.

The greatest value of doing a Special Offer is that you get fans through the door and experiencing your Patreon, or upgrading their tier to experience the content they were missing out on. When pitching your Offer, you need to mention the additional value of joining that tier. Hit people with the “But wait! There’s MORE!” because it’s true and it’s what may keep a percentage of those people at that tier moving forward!

And if your response to that is “that’s cheesy/corny/salesy” then I implore you to start treating your creative business more like a business, because it freaking works my dude. Have confidence in what you’re pitching do the damn thing.

Even with my initial Special Offer, a pretty basic postcard reward, I didn’t notice a massive drop off in the following month. So long as you are offering value on your Patreon, a healthy amount of people will either remain at that tier, or if they weren’t patrons at all, they may reduce their pledge but still support you. Whatever the case may be, it’s a win.

The Results

So, it was a huge success with a fantastic amount of new pledges. This Special Offer allowed me to hit my internal goal for the end of 2019 in terms of amount of patrons and monthly earnings.

I have found that there is still a big chunk of people who don’t have their addresses listed even though I know Patreon has made some changes to ensure you get their shipping info. It’s a lot better than last time around, but that might have a lot to do with the fact that I went ahead and set every single tier on my page to collect shipping info. I wish there was an easier way to mass message these specific patrons who I don’t have shipping info for, but I can make it work.

I realize that this is likely because of the patron not updating their info properly, and has less to do with Patreon not collecting/prompting these individuals, so I’m not really all that bothered.

In closing, a properly researched and promoted Special Offer is ridiculously valuable and you should look into it!

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Wow, great info. And you’re right, it’s important to treat our creative businesses as businesses.

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One thing I’ve discovered on the “updating addresses” front (I just finished a special offer of my own and had trouble with this myself) is that there’s a difference between updating the address stored in your profile - which is what everyone thinks to do - and linking that address to a membership - which nobody expects to have to do because it’s not part of a regular address-updating flow, and every Patron I’ve had individual conversations with about this was confused about it.

I sent this help page to each Patron for whom I was missing an address, and that seemed to help, but it really is a UX fault of Patreon’s that this isn’t made more clear.

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