How to Start a Patreon: Build and Monetize Your Community
Patronage, or giving money to the arts, is an old practice that goes back before art history. Patreon is the contemporary equivalent that helps creators get financial support from their fans.
Anyone can use the crowdfunding platform, from video creators to podcasters, writers, and even gamers. And the best thing is that it does not require you to pay any upfront fees to begin monetizing your audience.
This guide will show you how to start a Patreon step-by-step. You’ll also learn the following:
- How Patreon works in a nutshell.
- The pros and cons of using Patreon.
- If Patreon is the best platform to build and monetize your community.
- And the best Patreon alternative you can use to monetize your online community.
Let’s dig right in.
Patreon is a membership platform focusing on helping creators get financial support from their audience.
As a crowdfunding platform, Patreon connects content creators with their supporters and fans so they can subscribe to creators’ projects for a fee.
Creators can set up multiple membership levels with different rewards where subscribers can choose the amount of money they feel comfortable giving to a project.
Creators use Patreon in all categories. From video content to podcasts.
As mentioned earlier, Patreon focuses on helping creators get financial help from their fans. In simple terms, the platform allows you to monetize your audience through paid memberships.
Patreon offers three primary membership tiers for creators.
When you sign up for one of Patreon’s three plans, unlike most membership platforms that charge you up front, you pay based on how much money you make.
Patreon takes 5% for the Lite plan, 8% for the Pro plan, and 12% for the Premium plan of the monthly revenue generated.
For example, say you make $1600 every month with Patreon, and you’re using their Pro plan. That means Patreon will take 8% as the platform fee off your total revenue, which translates to $128. But that does not include payment processing fees, payout fees, and conversion fees.
Each plan has unique features and benefits depending on your needs. With the Lite plan, you get access to communication tools that you can use to engage with your patrons.
The Pro plan gives you access to all the Lite plan features and advanced features like creating membership tiers, special offers, promo tools, and priority customer support from the Patreon team. The plan comes in handy if you are looking to build a community and monetize it.
The Premium plan offers the most advanced Patreon features. In addition to all the Pro plan features, with the Premium plan, you get a dedicated partner manager, and you can offer merchandise to your community.
Any creator can start a Patreon. Whether you are a podcaster obsessed with crime stories or a Youtuber who likes to blow off stuff and record it in slow-mo, it does not matter.
You can make money from your audience by letting your biggest fans give you money for what you do.
Follow these steps to start a Patreon.
You need to think about your content category before starting your Patreon page.
Specifically, you need to consider the content you want to offer your patrons. Are you going to focus on tutorials? Do you want to post images and videos? Here are the most popular Patreon content categories:
- Writing & Journalism
- Drawing & Painting
- Crafts & DIY
It’s no secret that many creators are struggling with Patreon and the rewards options are even more so.
A good reward is something that your patrons want and need. When considering what sort of reward to offer your patrons on Patreon, consider what they want and need.
Do they want to connect with you? Do they want to be able to see behind the scenes of your work? Do they want to feel part of something bigger than themselves? These are all great rewards for your patrons.
You could offer them a special discount on their next order or a special thank-you gift for being a loyal patron. You could even give them free access to a behind-the-scenes video or an episode of the podcast. The possibilities are endless.
Here are the best reward ideas that you can offer your patrons.
- Access to the behind-the-scenes
- An engagement benefit
- Fan recognition
- Physical goods
- Digital bonuses
- Early Access
- Exclusive content
A Patreon page is the landing page that will help you convince your audience to subscribe to your membership platform and support your craft.
Here’s how to create a Patreon page.
Begin by choosing the Patreon membership tier that you want to use.
If you want to receive donations from the audience, you can use the Lite plan. On the other hand, if you want more than just financial support from your audience, perhaps building a community, then the Pro or Premium plan would be the ideal choice.
After choosing the plan and signing up for Patreon, the next step is to name your Patreon page and let Patreon know if your content contains explicit adult content, situations, or language.
Once done, you’ll be redirected to the creator page editor, where you can start to build your page.
From the editor, you can:
- Name your page name.
- Add a profile and cover image.
- Add an About section to tell your fans who you are and why they should subscribe to your page.
- Link to your existing social media accounts.
- Edit your page’s custom URL.
- Upload an Intro Video which can help drive engagement.
After you complete building your Patreon page, you need to add membership tiers.
If you’re starting, consider giving your followers a choice between one and three levels.
The first one might cost between $3 and $5, the second one between $10 and $20, and the third one approximately $30. Add extra tiers as your Patreon grows for those who wish to donate more.
Building a Patreon page is just one step. The real hustle is convincing your audience to click the “join” button.
Here’s how to promote your Patreon page.
First, promote your Patreon page to your existing audience.
That’s because your audience knows who you are and the type of content you deliver.
The odds of getting them to sign up for your Patreon are high. Your existing audience could be:
- Your youtube subscribers
- Your social media followers
- Your podcast listeners/subscribers
- Your blog readers
Another way of promoting your Patreon page is by building an email list. Social media might seem like a great idea since it’s prevalent, but email marketing has its magic.
The majority of purchase decisions are the result of an email. Email marketing has one of the best returns on investment at $36 for every $1 spent. In that case, build an email list and nurture your leads so you can later pitch your membership platform.
The other way to promote your Patreon page is through social media. You can include the link to your Patreon page in all your social media accounts, like this one here:
And even share it frequently with your social media followers to get new followers to discover your Patreon, or, even better, use paid social media marketing options to increase awareness and reach.
Finally, you can attract new customers by holding promotional events like grand openings, grand re-openings, giveaways, and contests.
Now that you know how to start a Patreon let’s check out the pros and cons of using Patreon to monetize your audience.
- Continuous crowdfunding for creators.
- The platform facilitates reward-giving.
- Fewer content restrictions.
- Multiple subscription plans are available.
- No upfront cost for creators.
- You get paid regularly on the 1st of every month.
- Some fans may feel intimidated by the monthly commitment.
- Patreon takes a percentage from the artist’s funds — other platforms with similar services, like GroupApp, do not charge you in their paid plans.
- You can’t create a free membership tier with Patreon.
- Limited community interactions.
Patreon is a versatile crowdfunding platform that you can use to get recurring revenue from your audience.
As a creator, you can set up different levels of membership that offer different amounts of exclusive content or rewards.
Nonetheless, I bet you know nothing is free in this world. And is no exception for Patreon, which takes 5%, 8%, or 12% of the money generated from your patrons. You might think it’s just a small percentage, but in reality, it’s not.
Just to give you some context of what we mean, if you make $4000/month from your Patreon, you’ll be paying $480/month in Patreon fees.
Remember, this doesn’t include the payment processing fees with a platform like Stripe, which is 2.9% + 30c, payout fees costing $0.25 per payout via direct deposit for US creators, and conversion fees, which is a 2.5% currency conversion fee.
So on a yearly basis, you’ll be paying $5,760 to Patreon in fees alone and more to your payment processor to have the money in your bank.
And as you start scaling, it even gets more expensive, regardless of the fact that you are not getting more features or functionality from the product.
Now, allow us to introduce our tool, GroupApp, which is the best Patreon alternative.
Here’s why you need to choose GroupApp instead of Patreon to build and monetize your community.
One of the winning features of using GroupApp as a Patreon alternative is accessing powerful community-building tools.
Because, to be honest, you would want to connect with your community regardless of the plan you are using.
With GroupApp, we help you achieve that in all plans. Our platform features all the community tools you need to engage your community.
With GroupApp, you will have every tool you need in one place to create an engaging community. That way, you don’t have to use different platforms to build your community.
You get access to our events calendar feature that allows you to display upcoming events and live courses, ensuring that everyone sees them. Your community members can RSVP and also send event reminders.
Perhaps, one of the distinct features available in GroupApp is the ability to arrange your community’s conversations and subgroups using the “channels” community tool.
Having a clean and well-organized location for information makes it really simple for you and the people in your community. In order to manage material efficiently, you can also set posting restrictions and access levels.
What’s more, you can arrange your community resources and courses using our Library tool making them easily accessible to your members. Using our community library, you can organize and store entire courses, PDFs, worksheets, and images.
Since GroupApp recognizes the critical importance of communication, our tool allows members to interact with other community members. They can share their articles, comments, and discussion threads, which makes it easy for your followers to interact with each other and create a more engaging community experience.
If you are a creator looking to create a community and monetize it, then GroupApp is the best choice.
Using GroupApp, you can build and launch a membership website in minutes: where you can offer multiple subscription plans and members-only content like videos, blog articles, and downloadable digital content.
In short, if you want to monetize your audience besides getting tips from them, GroupApp allows you to build a membership website and monetize it.
For creators who want to monetize their expertise by selling online courses, it’s possible with GroupApp. You can charge them through one-time fees or membership subscriptions. Here’s an example of an online course by Wealth Nation created using GroupApp.
GroupApp features an easy-to-use online course builder that you can use to create your online course from scratch. In just a few clicks, you can create and launch your first online course.
What’s more, you can create cohort-based courses that are more informative and engaging with our handy course builder—a feature not found on Patreon.
GroupApp, unlike Patreon, lets you host your membership site on your own domain.
If you bought a domain from a third-party provider like GoDaddy and wish to retain it, you can connect it to your site through a procedure known as domain mapping.
After you complete these procedures, your domain remains registered with the server from which you acquired it, but it now points to your membership site. However, this is not possible using Patreon.
Patreon aided in the creation of a new method for creators to make money doing what they love, but the platform has yet to grow to solve most creators’ pains.
GroupApp is the most excellent Patreon alternative since it provides a platform for creators to create their own private community networks centered around their expertise.
You can use GroupApp to establish a community for your fans to interact, build relationships, and continue the conversation. That means you can spend more time developing unique content.
Try GroupApp for free and build a community that you can monetize.