After having launched a Special Offer — and having watched my colleague Dave Kellett launch his own — I’ve become a big believer in the Special Offer. I saw about 5% growth in patrons — all of whom have stayed after receiving their reward.
Dave and I discussed the Special Offer at length during the most recent episode of our podcast, ComicLab… and I reviewed it for Webcomics.com. In the interest of information-sharing, I’m going to share the review here.
Review: The Patreon Special Offer
Earlier this year, Patreon unveiled a new functionality for its crowdfunding platform: The Special Offer. Having launched my own Special Offer, I’ve come away with a very strong opinion of its usefulness.
The Special Offer is strongly recommended
In short: It works. And it works well.
I launched my Special Offer on Nov. 13. I had 755 patrons on that day.
I closed out the month with 791 patrons — an increase of 4.5% .
Interestingly, I experienced the usual Patreon Dip at the beginning of the month. (That’s part of the typical churn of a content-based Patreon campaign.) But none of the people who were cancelling after the first of December were from the group of new patrons the Special Offer brought in. In fact, all of the Special Offer members are still pledging as of today. According to Patreon data, it is likely they will continue their memberships longer than the average patron.
- The Patreon Special Offer is a powerful tool and you should use it.
- Avoid the temptation to overuse it — allow a few months before launching the next one.
- Your Special Offer should be fulfilled at the end of the month — not before.
- When Patreon send you their guide to Special Offers, read it carefully. It has excellent advice
- Planning for Special Offers should be part of your long-game webcomics strategy. In other words, you should be preparing content now that can be built into Special Offer rewards later.
Patreon’s Guide to the Special Offer
Patreon has clearly been putting extra effort into helping creators run their Special Offers in the best possible ways. Once you’ve created a Special Offer, Patreon e-mails you a sizeable amount of helpful (and easy-to-follow) tutorials that walk you through the process, every step of the way. And, as you progress, these tutorials continue, to guide you through the different stages.
Here’s Patreon’s overview to Special Offers. It’s a tremendous resource if you’re thinking about doing this.
How to do a Special Offer
It works like this: You set up a Special Offer — a reward that is available for a limited time — and use that urgency to drive new pledges. This Special Offer will be available to all patrons at predetermined reward tiers on a certain date. For example:
I’m excited to try something new:
On Thanksgiving, I’m giving out a 55-pg DRIVE eBook, exclusively to Patreon $5-and-up backers! It’s the encyclopedias, timelines, maps & more!
There’s 7 days left: Join us and get the exclusive
On Thanksgiving Day, Dave will send this reward to all of his backers — new and old — at the $5 tier and higher. In the meantime, he’s going to use a countdown technique (similar to the final days of a Kickstarter campaign) to create an urgency behind pledging to his Patreon. How’s it going so far? He made the announcement on Nov. 12.
We can see a very typical first-of-the-month Patreon dip discussed in this September 2018 episode of ComicLab (08:36).
However, starting on November 12, when Dave first announced the Special Offer, there’s a sharp incline in new pledges. And — if Kickstarter metrics can be applied — we can assume that those new pledges will only increase more dramatically as the deadline for the Special Offer nears.
Once the day has arrived to fulfill the rewards, Patreon even has the functionality to automate that! It’s found under Benefits in your Patreon Dashboard.