How five creators are finding success with free members

Video creators, musicians, coaches, and more have grown their communities on Patreon by giving free members access to their worlds.

On Patreon, you’re in control. You can build your community and your business however you want. With a new free membership option, you now have more ways to reach your fans and share your work with them.

See how these five creators are including free members in their Patreon strategies, and how to make their tactics work for you.

Ginny Di

The takeaway: Offer a sneak peek at your work

Dungeons and Dragons creator, Ginny Di, has hundreds of thousands of fans across Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, X, and TikTok, but bringing them to Patreon — where she has a direct line to them — inspired her to think about how she could connect with these fans in an intentional way.

Both her free and paid members get a ton of posts and perks from Ginny, but it’s still a light lift on her end. Here’s the breakdown of what she offers:

  • Monthly calendars: At the beginning of each month, Ginny posts a blog-style overview to all her free and paid members to let them know what to expect. This includes previews of paid perks so free members know what they can get if they upgrade to paid.
  • Digital products: Using her Patreon shop, Ginny can sell PDFs and promote them to free members while making them free for paid members.
  • Bloopers: Ginny’s blooper videos aren’t a specific benefit for any tier, so she shares them with her free members too. That way they get some bonuses alongside updates and announcements.

How to make it work for you: See what you’re already creating that can be shared with free members, and don’t overlook the updates. Most free members (78%) say they decided to join to stay up to date with a creator.* Give them a monthly or weekly roundup of what’s happening (and what’s new in your shop!) with exclusive free member posts.

Ryan Mayer Coaching

The takeaway: Create an all-in-one space by using chats

For Ryan Mayer, a certified ADHD coach and CEO of Ryan Mayer Coaching, introducing free members makes everything easier. “This is what we've been looking for since we started on Patreon — to have everything in one place,” Ryan says.

With over 110K followers on Instagram and an active Discord server, Ryan had lots of people interested in his ADHD coaching, videos, and monthly challenges, but he was struggling to grow his community on Patreon.

Since adding a free membership option, Ryan has been able to attract more people who want to be actively involved in his community. He talks about becoming a free member during his weekly body doubling Instagram livestream, pulling in the people who want to go beyond likes and comments.

Once his Patreon community was filled with people who all wanted to connect, Ryan joined our early access program so he could move his community conversations from Discord to Patreon chats. With all of his members having access, he was able to create a safe space for everyone in his world.

How to make it work for you: Incorporate chats into Patreon, so once members get to your space, they immediately see the value and feel the connection. We’re currently testing free member access to chats, and we’re excited to roll that out to every creator in the coming months. This can benefit everyone in your community and encourage them to upgrade to a paid membership.

Pretty Much It

The takeaway: Dip into the archives to offer value for free members

Eric Striffler, the creator of Pretty Much It, has been sharing commentary tracks on Patreon for over a decade. He’s always made sure paid members get their money’s worth, but with a decade-long catalog, there’s more than enough good stuff to go around.

To celebrate each track’s 10th birthday, Eric releases it for free. The only catch? You have to join Patreon to access them. It’s completely free for members and Eric’s able to bring those fans closer to where his exclusive work lives.

Since introducing free members, Eric has seen 16% of his free members convert to a paid membership. One tactic he uses to encourage free members to upgrade to paid is a series teaser: releasing the track for the first episode of a series to everyone, but then making the rest of the episodes exclusive to paid members. “It's just not possible that you can stop there,” he says. “You're gonna have to sign up for the rest.”

How to make it work for you: Go back into the archives (whether it’s a week ago or a decade ago) and see what you can offer fans. For video creators, if you can break your work into multiple episodes, try teasing free members with just the first part and making the rest exclusive for paid members.


The takeaway: Make the jump from free to paid easier for members

Ben Miller (aka Wrekonize) says “the prospect of bypassing all the algorithm stuff we have to jump through on social media to actually be able to reach people” is what got him on board with free members.

When Ben first heard about the free option, he was concerned it might overshadow his paid membership. But when he introduced it to his fans, he saw both his free and paid memberships grow. Every time he posts his Wreking Crew schedule or a movie night announcement he welcomes more free members.

Now he has a direct line to a dedicated community of fans who are more likely to upgrade. When they see something they want access to, all they have to do is tap to unlock.

It’s all about growth for Ben, so bringing more people to Patreon has only been a plus. “The larger I can grow the community in general, the more reach I have,” he says.

How to make it work for you: Over half (52%) of current free members say they’re likely to upgrade in the future.* Try out a few different ways to get fans in the door, and once they’re there, show them the benefits of becoming a paid member.

The Awake Space

The takeaway: Help people get to know you in a real way

After news of a TikTok ban started swirling, Laurie Rivers decided to try out a free membership option. She wanted to assure her fans that her Patreon wasn’t going anywhere, and it would always be a place to keep up with her. Then the free members started rolling in.

Since starting her Patreon in 2020, Laurie has built a community of loyal listeners for her popular astrology podcast,The Awake Space. Laurie still posts to her 150K+ followers on TikTok and shares her podcast publicly, but Patreon is really where people can get more.

Once free members come to Patreon, they can find updates straight from Laurie in the form of videos or written posts. “It's much more intimate,” she says. “What I'm trying to do with free members is show them who they're connecting to.” And then if they want something extra, they can either become a paid member or head to her shop to buy products like The Awake Space Astrology Magazine.

How to make it work for you: Share some behind-the-scenes posts to give people an idea of your creative journey and process. Getting to know you as a creator will make fans feel more connected and keep them invested as both free and paid members.

Try it for yourself

If you’re looking to grow your community on Patreon, try these creator-tested tactics to help you reach more free members. You can post exclusively to free members, poll them, and let them comment on posts so they can really feel like a part of something special. We'll continue to introduce new ways you can connect with free members and grow your business.

Read more about joining for free and how to turn free members into paid members. Questions? Visit our Help Center.

*In January 2024, we surveyed free members on their expectations and experiences as free members.

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