Tracking and improving long term patron retention

Hey there creators,

Hope everyone had a relaxing weekend. In case you missed it, we recently published a blog post on tracking and improving long term patron retention. What is retention? Well it’s really just a fancy word for how many of your patrons are sticking around and continuing to pay for your membership month after month.

Here are some of our top tips on improving your patron retention —

  • Deliver content regularly: In our research, patrons told us they want content that is consistently delivered. 80% of patrons said that in an ideal world, they would want content at least once a week.
  • Set expectations: Whatever your content cadence is, set expectations of content release or update frequency (i.e: “ a new episode every week”, “monthly tutorials”).
  • Keep communication open: Be honest and transparent about your timeline and potential creative slowdowns. Your patrons will feel more connected to your creative process, and you’ll keep them around for longer.

What are your strategies you can share with the creator community? I’d thought it’d be fun to gather here and discuss the results from the step-by-step guide as well as share strategies for improving patron retention that you have found to be successful.

Cheers,

Brian

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Thanks for posting this.
From my graph it looks like things were going well, but I have no idea why there is a sudden drop. Is this pandemic related? or something else?

I have recently started to use Bonjoro for the purpose of Patreon Retention.

In practice for it to be actually useful you need to use Zapier to automate some of the workflow and filtering. It is an extremely time consuming and expensive service to set up. For this reason I’m not sure I would recommend it, but my Patrons sure did appreciate the personal video messages.

It would be great if Patreon provided some more inbuilt retention tools such as milestones and anniversaries that could link to services like Bonjoro in a more native way.

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Hey @kombilife

Thanks for sharing your graph! It’s possible that you are seeing some patrons leaving due to financial instability. Perhaps you could look at your Exit Survey data to confirm this?

Thank you for the feedback on the Bonjoro integration. We definitely want to make it as simple as possible for creators to make deeper connections using messaging and keep track of milestones and anniversaries in PRM.

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Thanks for the suggestion - I check thee Exit Survey all the time to see if Patrons are generally unhappy with our content. To be honest I don’t find it as useful as it could be, people mostly say “their financial situation changed”

Perhaps if there were a function to graph or show trends on what makes people leave it would be more useful.

It would be super helpful to see which posts / traffic sources / campaigns were most successful at recruiting new Patrons and also which caused more to leave so that we creators can make strategic decisions rather than guessing.

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I agree with you, Brian. Regular publishing of content creates a beautiful connection between the creator and patrons, which is truly of utmost importance for patron retention.

Here are some things that have worked for me in client retention:
*Have amazing customer service- I’m wonderful on screen and in my content posts, but I don’t do well behind the scenes (especially not since my patrons increased so much). I have a volunteer who is skilled in excellent customer service answer my patron’s messages. She knows me and my product inside and out, and can relay messages which are very important or personal back to me when need be. Patrons need to feel this personal connection. As your channel grows, you may need some help with this.

*Post 3 times per week. Spread these posts and contents throughout the week. Make a schedule of what you will post and when. This schedule should be very descriptive with your content plans, dates and times. Clients can work around their lives more easily this way.

*Try vlogging, podcasting or LIVE content. A tea time or coffee chat is wonderful. Anything to just share what you’re thinking, feeling or creating. Do this often.

*Add a post once per week that engages your patrons. Try asking them a question about their thoughts on a wonderful topic, ask them their opinion about something important to you, give them polls about helping you in your creations, polls about what type of content THEY want, etc.

*Add behind the scenes content. Show them your pets, children, vacations, yoga time, cooking time, birthdays, etc. Show them in videos. Patrons LOVE video content- it helps them get to know you.

Hope this helps!

Happy holidays,
Pamela Aaralyn

I don’t find the “some other reason” option as valid. This gives patrons a chance to keep their reasons private.

They should have the option to not disclose their reasons. Some folks feel embarrassed or put out when they dont have the option to say no. It’s too much of a personal dig that honestly would drive some folks off the platform with the bad taste it would leave. Heck, I personally would not be happy about being forced to state a specific reason or have to lie. A lie is worse than someone opting out or saying other because it skews the data.

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I understand that as well. They can always choose one of the other more specific options instead of “some other reason” also.

That’s exactly the opposite if what I said. Folks should have the right to opt out and not disclose a specific reason, even the vague ones given on the form. I don’t nessesarily want to tell someone my financial situation has changed or whatever reasons are on there. Letting them have an other option (which is also an opt out) is highly needed.

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I hear and understand what you’re saying. Thank you for your input. I respectfully disagree.

you aren’t entitled to every detail of every person’s life. their decision or choice not to support you is entirely their own; you don’t need to be privy to it. it’s extremely bizarre and controlling to outright state that you think it’s invalid for people to not pay you for no reason.

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Thank you so much for your perspective. I don’t feel entitled to their personal feedback, I just thought that omitting the “some other reason” as an option would be helpful.

i sincerely don’t mean this as an attack bc it will seem confrontational lol but: why? i’m having a hard time imagining what that information would matter.

i check my exit surveys from time to time to make sure i haven’t done anything egregious or i’ve missed something huge (like “you’ve been uploading butts for 50 mins straight somehow and im SICK OF IT” but for the most part the decision is always going to be out of my control. its not really data that’s going to be helpful when the answer is “everyone in america is struggling as well”.

I think it would provide very good professional analytics quality for creators whose income mainly comes from patreon. If I know why they leave, I can make very specific changes in my product or customer service. I can make so many changes to better the patron experience if they were able to add more personal detail. Should they “have to”? Of course not. Again, I’m not attempting to control their exit experience. This “some other reason” option is simply a horrible option for full time creators who rely on specific analytics. I’m not just checking my exit surveys from time to time, but at the beginning and end of each month. I track changes and trends in the surveys quite specifically. I do believe the new addition “I am affected by COVID19” which patreon recently added does cover what you mentioned, so this needn’t be mentioned again other “some other reason” options (and isn’t mentioned in this way by my patrons). I offer a huge amount of products and the way I work is personal.

As a spiritual teacher who teaches a varying amount of classes with very specific topics, this change would help. This change may help podcasters and teachers of all varieties. Again, it’s just a suggestion. I wasn’t expecting such a confrontational response here regarding the suggestion. I don’t mind critique but to be called “controlling” and “bizarre” was unexpected.

I don’t think we’re unaware of the benefits that could come with more data. I think we’re just prioritizing the privacy of our patrons over that. Similar to how some of us feel okay with leaving the surveys anonymous, rather than displaying everyone’s contact info attached to it.

I’d rather my patrons feel comfortable, giving any reason or non-reason they want, than force them to have to answer. That in of itself is a form of customer service.

If ever you want more information from your patrons, you can always ask. Make a post on Patreon or your social medias asking for feedback. You’ll likely get better information that way anyway.

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Hi Sam, Happy holidays. I’m glad that we can all share out perspectives on what works for us as unique individuals. Thanks for sharing!