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How Does Buy Me A Coffee Work? Answered & Explained.

By Matthew Vultaggio

February 14, 2022

If you’re trying to figure out how Buy Me A Coffee works so that you can easily accept donations and tips for your art and content, I’ve thoroughly researched and made this article to help you out.

Buy Me A Coffee works by allowing your audience to support you through donations, tips, or a recurring membership by sending them to a hosted webpage or embedding a button on your website. Payments are transferred immediately to your Stripe or bank account.

At the heart of it, Buy Me A Coffee allows you a simple way for your supporters to more directly support you with one-off donations or recurring memberships.

However, the key to making Buy Me A Coffee work for you is to first build an audience and community around your art or creative endeavor.

Without an audience that wants to support you, there will be no one to donate or tip you in the first place.

To learn more about how Buy Me A Coffee works and how you can make it work for you, simply keep on reading, my friend. 🙂

How Buy Me A Coffee Works

As a quick refresher…

Buy Me A Coffee works by allowing your audience to support you through donations, tips, or a recurring membership by sending them to a hosted webpage or embedding a button on your website. Payments are transferred immediately to your Stripe or bank account.

Here is a more detailed look at how Buy Me A Coffee works:

The website’s currency is “coffees” and you get to set the price for what 1 coffee is worth.

After setting up your profile, you can then promote your Buy Me A Coffee page by sending people direct links to your profile or by embedding a Buy Me A Coffee button on your pages, posts, and website.

From there, your potential supporters can choose how many coffees they want to donate to you or if they want to donate on a monthly basis with a recurring membership.

Although you can create members-only and public posts with Buy Me A Coffee, there is no pressure on you as a creator to provide anything specific in return here such as “bonus content” for a supporter’s donation.

This is a big part of what sets Buy Me A Coffee vs Patreon: Buy Me A Coffee does not force you or your audience to commit to a monthly membership and your supporters don’t even need to sign up for an account to donate to you.

Buy Me A Coffee can be seen as more of a simple online tip jar that can lead to recurring memberships and is great for any individual who wants to accept donations without a particular project being worked on.

What Does Getting Paid Look Like With Buy Me A Coffee?

Buy Me A Coffee’s pricing is simple:

There is only 1 Buy Me A Coffee plan available which takes 5% and payment processing fees off of any income you generate on Buy Me A Coffee.

Just like with most Patreon alternatives, it is free to create a Buy Me A Coffee account and you only give a cut to them when you are actually making money.

Once someone donates to you on Buy Me A Coffee, you instantly get paid with a direct transfer to your Stripe or bank account.

The amount you get paid will be the donation amount minus Buy Me A Coffee’s 5% fee and any payment processing or banking fees which are usually another 3%.

You do not have to build up a monthly balance or hit a minimum withdrawal threshold as you do with Patreon.

How To Promote Your Buy Me A Coffee Page

First off: you should understand that Buy Me A Coffee is a donation platform and is not a discovery platform.

Buy Me A Coffee does not have any discovery features for helping new supporters find you – they don’t even email the supporters you gain to promote their own stuff.

Just as the case with Patreon and other similar platforms:

You will need to do all of the work bringing people to your Buy Me A Coffee page and convincing them to support you.

With that said, Buy Me A Coffee has 2 main ways for you to promote yourself:

  1. Buy Me A Coffee profile page
  2. Buy Me A Coffee buttons

The profile page is pretty straightforward: it’s like a blog except posts can be restricted to paying supporters and it has a donation widget built-in.

The button is where things can get a bit more interesting…

The Buy Me A Coffee button is a stylized button that you can use to accept donations by sending people to your Buy Me A Coffee profile or directly from the button with an overlay widget.

There are 3 ways to install a Buy Me A Coffee button:

  1. Embedable code
  2. Installing the Buy Me A Coffee WordPress plugin
  3. Adding an image of the button with a link

Here is a look at the customization options for the Buy Me A Cofee button:

To learn more about this button, check out my article called Accept Donations Anywhere w/ Buy Me A Coffee & Ko-Fi Buttons. 🙂

How To Get Supporters & An Audience That Supports Your Art

The key to making Buy Me A Coffee work for you is to first build an audience and community around your art or creative endeavor.

Without an audience that wants to support you:

There will be no one to donate or tip you in the first place.

So regardless of what donation platform you use, you will need to have an audience that actually wants to support you if you want to make money on either platform.

The best way to get Buy Me A Coffee supporters is to first build an audience and community around your art or creative endeavor off of Buy Me A Coffee and to freely provide that audience and community with overwhelming value.

The important words here are “freely” and “overwhelming value”, and the best way to provide this to your audience is with a solid recurring content strategy.

Remember that Buy Me A Coffee (and most donation platforms in general) don’t have any discovery features so they won’t bring in new fans.

Instead, they simply allow your current fans the opportunity to choose to support you financially.

Although I wrote the following article using Patreon as an example, this article will show you how you can get paying supporters on any platform by growing an audience and community: How To Get Patreon Supporters. 🙂

This then perfectly ties into the next step which is adapting your content plan so that your paying supporters will want to continue to support you overtime…

How To Build A Content Plan For Your Membership That Keeps Supporters Coming Back

If supporters don’t feel like they are getting any use out of your membership because you aren’t posting enough or aren’t posting things that they enjoy, it is no secret that they will eventually stop paying for it.

The best way to build a successful membership program is to consistently release new content by combining a recurring content strategy with a content calendar.

Recurring content allows you to build your audience, optimize your membership tiers, and make sure your supporters keep coming back for more.

To learn how you can start publishing regular content that builds your audience and keeps your supporters happy without completely stressing you out, check out my article called Patreon Content: Ultimate Guide To Ideas & What To Post. 🙂

The above article also uses Patreon as an example, but can definitely be applied to any membership or donation platform!

Why Choose Buy Me A Coffee Over Ko-Fi

Lastly – I wanted to show you the differences and similarities between Ko-Fi and Buy Me A Coffee.

Similar to Buy Me A Coffee, Ko-Fi can be seen as more of a simple online tip jar that can lead to recurring memberships and is great for any individual who wants to accept donations without a particular project being worked on.

Although Ko-Fi is better in many ways due to its pricing and features, there are really 2 standout features that Buy Me A Coffee has over Ko-Fi:

#1 – No Accounts Required: It is possible for potential supporters to donate to you with Buy Me A Coffee without having to sign up for and set up some kind of Buy Me A Coffee account.

#2 – A Better Name: Buy Me A Coffee as a name is much easier to understand for anyone looking to donate when compared to the mysterious “Ko-Fi” name.

In addition to this, you can also create a shop and offer recurring memberships with Buy Me A Coffee, however, you can’t offer different membership tiers with different perks available like you can with Ko-Fi.

Buy Me A Coffee is perfect for anyone that wants to have their supporters donate to them with the least amount of obstacles possible (because they don’t need to create an account) or anyone that wants to offer very simple memberships.

To learn more about which platform is right for you, check out my article called Ko-Fi vs Buy Me A Coffee. 🙂

Some of my favorite music marketing tools

Thank you for reading this article, my friend, and I hope you found it helpful as you build your own successful career in music. 🙂

Here is a list of my favorite and most recommended tools and resources that I’ve personally used to get my music streamed over 4,000,000 times on Spotify as an artist.

Any of the paid services or tools listed here are most likely affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a small commission.

But in all honesty, these are the exact tools that I personally use, love, and recommend to anyone – including my own friends and family.

Music Distribution

To get your music on Spotify on all the other streaming services, I use DistroKid because you get unlimited song uploads for a low annual price.

If you want to learn more about DistroKid and music distribution, check out the in-depth DistroKid review that I’ve put together.

Or, if you want to get started with DistroKid right now, you can save on your first year with the DistroKid discount.

Facebook Ads For Spotify Success

Although Facebook Ads can be a real pain to get working properly, there is no denying that they are incredible for growing Spotify streams and getting your music in front of real fans.

This is why I’ve put together a completely free course that you can check out called Facebook Ads For Musicians’ Spotify Streams. 🙂

Music Publishing Royalties Collection

For collecting all of the publishing, mechanical, and live performance royalties owed to me whenever my music gets streamed or played, my go-to is Songtrust.

Songtrust is a publishing administration company which means that in addition to collecting all of those royalties for me, they do it on a global level.

To learn if Songtrust is right for you, I’d recommend checking out this article on Songtrust vs BMI.

And if you want to get started with Songtrust right now, I’d recommend learning about the Songtrust discount code so that you can get the best price. 🙂

Website & Smart Links

I’m personally not a big fan of the link-in-bio and smart links for music pages like ToneDen and Hyppeddit.

Instead, I prefer having a full-blown WordPress website that allows me to have a full website in addition to unlimited music links.

For getting started with this, I really like Bluehost because it is the cheapest and a theme called Thrive Themes because it is the most flexible and easiest to use.

I’ve actually created a free Smart Links Course that you can take to learn how to get set up and start getting more streams with custom smart links (I’ve even included the templates I am using!).

Want more tools and resources for your music career?

If you’d like to see even more of my favorite marketing tools and resources for musicians and music artists, I’ve created an even larger list on this page: Best Marketing Tools & Resources For Musicians (& Music Artists).

P.S. There are even some free tools and resources included on that page as well! 🙂

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