Deciding what to offer is always a delicate exercise. You want to work out something attractive to potential patrons, that scales up with the tiers in a way that feels adequately proportional, but at the same time it shouldn’t take up too much time or too much of your patreon earnings, and should reinforce the “in it to support an artist long-term not to pre-order stuff” culture. AND because we’re all different, it’s not possible to suggest a standard formula, every one of us creators has to figure out what works best for what they create and the way they work.
But maybe having a bunch of good ideas grouped in one place would be a lot easier for new creators to get inspiration. Or maybe tentative reward templates, fully modifiable, but so a newbie can have something to work with. It’s often simpler to modify something existing, than to start from scratch in an empty box.
A little guide with the above and also practices that are not recommended (eg. physical rewards at low tiers) would be both fun and a helpful read to return to, especially if it addresses the difference between different types of creator (eg youtube creators vs fine artists – there is no reward model that can work equally for both these types).
What makes it most difficult to decide on rewards is, I think, not being able to guess what makes people tick. I never have ANY idea what will excite my followers (or earn new ones) and am constantly surprised at what takes off and what doesn’t. Maybe a brief but site-wide survey of patrons to give us a clue would be helpful? Someting that would give results like “Patrons of the painting category are most interested in the following rewards: x% over-the-shoulder post, y% prints of artwork, z% just want to support the artist”… That would indicate where to focus our efforts and what not to bother with.
Currently I am revising my rewards and adding one-off “patron milestones” (so the lower tiers have something to look forward to and an incentive to stick around as long as possible), and my challenge is to balance these with the monthly ones, but I’ve nearly worked it out. I brought up some issues related with this in another thread, I’ll post the link instead of repeating it: The new reward editor, not flexible enough?