How to launch a Special Offer on Patreon

By Mary Kinney

Photo by Jeremy Cohen, featuring I Know Dino's workspace

With this guide, learn how to promote your business and boost your membership and income with a limited-time benefit.

If you’re looking for an effective way to build excitement around your Patreon launch, or you’re hoping to take your creative business to the next level, a Special Offer can help you quickly and effectively grow your membership and your earnings. These limited-time rewards serve as an incentive to fans to take the leap and sign up for membership — and to existing members to upgrade.

Whether you offer a digital print, limited-edition posters, stickers, pins, live streams, virtual concerts, or something else, it’s up to you to decide what sort of benefit will entice your fans. When they connect with what you offer, you have the chance to expand your base of members. For example, singer-songwriter Rebecca Loebe's two-week Special Offer centered around a new enamel pin design that fans loved, leading to a 23% increase in monthly earnings, about 38 new members, and about the same number of upgrades. And, astrophysicist Paul M. Sutter committed to sending members signed copies of his new book, leading to 40 new members — the equivalent of $553 every month.

Ready to give Special Offers a try? Here you’ll learn everything you need to know to get started.

What is a Special Offer on Patreon?

To recap, a Special Offer is a limited-time benefit that you give to fans in return for signing up for membership (or upgrading) during a specific period of time. This could mean offering limited-edition stickers to celebrate your next tour, adding member names to the thank-you notes of your upcoming book, or giving members the opportunity to create a cameo character for your next game launch. Special Offers can significantly improve your member engagement and grow your earnings by motivating new members to join your Patreon and existing members to bump up their contribution.

Note: The Special Offers feature is available to Patreon creators who offer monthly billing. If you use the per-creation billing model, you can still run a Special Offer to boost engagement and earnings, but you will need to track new members and benefits manually.

How to craft an effective Special Offer

When you're making a game plan for a Special Offer, following these best practices can set your launch up for success.

  • Create a sense of urgency. A Special Offer is defined by its time limits. Make sure you’re very clear with folks that this is a time-sensitive opportunity that they should hop on as soon as possible.

  • Time your offer carefully. Coordinating your Special Offer with an upcoming milestone (like an album release, book launch, or Patreon anniversary) makes the offer momentous. If you don’t have a specific occasion coming up, you can time your campaign with anything that resonates with your members, like a cultural moment, a seasonal event, or a holiday.

  • Offer something enticing. What you choose as your Special Offer is entirely customizable, so choose something that works for you and your members. The most valuable benefits are things that cannot be bought outside of membership. This can be anything from having member names listed in the credits on a new album or film, an autographed edition, a new piece of merch, a special-edition sticker — even a chance to hang out with you online or at a live event. The options are limitless. Use this as an opportunity to try something new. Have your members been asking for a certain type of merch or experience? Think about what they’re most interested in (and you’re interested in making) and craft your Special Offer accordingly.

  • Plan lively promotions. Special Offers can’t be passive. This is an incredible, limited-time opportunity you are offering to your members, so don’t be afraid to heavily promote it! To do so, create and plan campaign banners, social media posts, and countdown graphics, so you have a full toolbox at your disposal. For more ideas, read up on authentic marketing tips.

"What you choose as your Special Offer is entirely customizable, so choose something that works for you and your members."

Steps for launching your Special Offer

Ready to get started? To build and plan your own Special Offer, follow these steps:

1. Nail down your timeline

The length of your Special Offer should have a little bit of a Goldilocks moment: Too long and you lose a sense of urgency and risk fatigue, too short and folks might miss the opportunity. We recommend letting your offer run for about two to three weeks, but some creators have found success with shorter, flash offers.

The best time to launch your Special Offer? Try timing the offer in conjunction with a celebratory milestone or event, and make the announcement when your members are most likely to engage with your work. For example, if you regularly have a post at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, announce it there. Have a monthly livestream that gets a lot of viewers? Launch it live so you and your members can share in the excitement.

2. Define your target audience

Are you hoping to add members who already follow your work, but haven’t committed to your joining your Patreon community? Or are you looking to entice current members to level up a tier? A little bit of both? The answer to these questions will help you decide how to price and what reward to offer.

Check your stats: If you haven’t already, re-familiarize yourself with your insights dashboard to track membership and engagement. This is a valuable tool for seeing the comprehensive breakdown of your current membership count, new members, downgrades, upgrades, and cancellations — and understanding your baseline. You’ll use the benefits tracker to keep track of which members will receive your Special Offer.

3. Decide what to offer

Consider what your community would be most interested in receiving as a benefit, based on previous feedback and how much they interact with rewards on your other membership tiers.

For her first Special Offer, Charlotte Eriksson, also known as The Glass Child, gave her fans the chance to get their names in her new book before it launched. “I think the key is to offer something that will never be available or possible again,” Charlotte says. Plus, by timing her Special Offer with her book launch, it was a natural moment to generate excitement. If you’re not sure what to offer, poll your current members to get their input.

When it comes to pricing, prioritize attracting new members, as well as encouraging current members to upgrade. Based on the data we’ve collected from successful campaigns, we recommend offering your limited-time thing at your mid-tier membership price (if you offer more than one tier). This underscores the value of the exclusive benefit you’re offering, and gives an incentive for members at your lowest-paying tier to switch to a higher-priced tier.

Pro tip: If you’re offering a physical item, price the item at three times your cost to fulfill. That way you’ll be compensated for materials and your time.

"The key is to offer something that will never be available or possible again."

4. Figure out your fulfillment plan

Time to get organized! Whether you’re offering a physical item or a digital benefit, make a plan for how and when you’ll fulfill your Special Offer to your members. This can mean anything from selecting a printer for your limited-edition posters to creating a spreadsheet for names to add to the acknowledgements section of your forthcoming book. Your future self will thank you for your foresight.

5. Launch and promote

The key to a successful campaign? Promote, promote, promote! Here’s how:

  • Figure out where to promote by taking stock of all the places you interact with the people who love what you do (such as on social media, at live events, on Patreon, and in newsletters, podcast episodes, and video streaming platforms) and tap into every relevant avenue of communication and promotion you’ve got.

  • Map out a promotion plan with a steady cadence and varied content. Here’s a sample schedule:

    • Day 1: Make a public post on Patreon to showcase your excitement for your upcoming offer and upload a temporary campaign banner to your social media channels.
    • Day 2: Go live on Instagram or your preferred channel to talk up the Special Offer.
    • Day 3: Share the top five reasons to become a members.
    • Day 4: Post a day-in-the-life video or another behind-the-scenes type post.
    • Day 5: Start a countdown to let curious fans know that time is ticking.
    • Day 6: Share a preview or an update on your upcoming milestone.
    • Day 7: Give shout-outs to your fans who have already signed up for the Special Offer.
  • Remind followers and fans about your Patreon and the benefits of membership to generate interest ahead of your launch.

  • Build the hype! To involve your members, have them vote for the special benefit ahead of time. Prior to making your announcement, hint that something exciting is coming to build intrigue. Consider sharing a teaser about the project on social media, on your Patreon as a public post, or allude to the milestone or occasion that you’re timing your special offer with.

  • Make an announcement with a public post on Patreon and across all your channels.

  • Set up a countdown clock in your social media and newsletters, particularly for the last five to seven days of your campaign. This helps create that sense of urgency and a bit of FOMO for the final push of your campaign. Get creative and draw on your skills. For example, if you’re a visual artist, you could make a fun GIF to grab attention, or if podcasting is your medium of choice, try some kind of audio countdown. Tick tock!

  • Describe just how special your offer is by using phrases like “I want to offer this new benefit to thank all of my members, no matter how long you’ve been with me” or “I’ve been waiting for the right moment to share something special.” Avoid language that might minimize how unique and noteworthy your offer is (such as “I’m trying to boost my earnings on Patreon,” “Help me make more money!” and “Hurry up or you’ll miss out!”)

6. Deliver and celebrate!

  • Send off the rewards. If you use Patreon’s monthly billing model (rather than billing per creation), the special offers you “owe” your members will show up in your dashboard. Track your fulfillment with ease and take note of any notable milestones you’ve hit.

  • Check your stats. You should see an uptick in members during the limited time campaign as you follow this guide. Once they’ve received their Special Offer, you may see some members adjust or delete their pledges, but odds are you'll see a long-term net increase in members and overall engagement.

  • Take time to celebrate. You’ve worked hard to put this Special Offer together, so give yourself a pat on the back for trying something new.

You’ve got this!

Putting together a Special Offer can be a major undertaking, but the effort will hopefully be well worth it. Now you have the tools to craft a detailed plan, choose a stellar reward with your members in mind, and build a timeline for promoting the heck out of it to help grow your community of Patreon members. The only thing left to do? Start dreaming up your next offer!

For more ideas on what benefits to offer members on an ongoing basis, read about how to combine exclusive content and community to delight fans.

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