If you are trying to come up with ideas for starting a Patreon membership as an artist or musician, I’ve thoroughly researched different Patreon ideas and tips so that you can use this article as a guide to come up with your own Patreon.
The best way to create a well-structured idea for a Patreon membership as an artist or musician is to create membership tiers using a marketing funnel with specific offerings for the top, middle, and bottom of funnel levels.
Although we will dive into individual ideas and tips for creating tiers, rewards, and perks for your Patreon, this article is meant to be used as a guide to help you create the unique idea for your very own Patreon membership and tiers.
First, we’ll go over what a marketing funnel is and how you can use it to structure your Patreon membership tiers, then we will go over specific examples, offer ideas, and tips for creating and running a Patreon.
P.S. If you don’t want to use Patreon and would like to see how Patreon compares to other alternatives, check out my article called Patreon Alternatives: How To Pick The Right Membership Platform. 🙂
Idea #1: Create Effective Patreon Tiers with Funnel Mapping
The best way to create highly effective tiers for your Patreon or membership is by leveraging a concept used in marketing called ‘Marketing Funnels’ or Funnel Mapping.
A Marketing Funnel is visualized as an inverted pyramid and is used to break down what you offer to your audience into 3 specific parts:
- The largest part at the top is called “Top Of Funnel” aka “TOFU” and represents the cheapest but most easily accessible offerings.
- The next smaller part is called “Middle of Funnel” aka “MOFU” and represents more expensive offerings that less of your audience will take.
- Finally, the smallest part is “Bottom of Funnel” aka “BOFU” which represents very high-ticket offerings that very few of your audience will take.
By leveraging a marketing funnel, you can simplify what you offer and organize it in a way that is very easy for both you and your potential patrons to follow.
When starting out, it can be a good idea to only offer 1 tier for each of the funnel steps so that is easier for you to manage the different membership experiences and so that your potential patrons aren’t put off by having paralysis by analysis.
...so what should you offer at each of these different levels?
Your TOFU offer should be something simple priced around $5 for support or simple access, your MOFU offer should be priced around $30 for more access or content, and your BOFU tier should be priced around $300+ for exclusive access, content, or services.
Let’s take a look at each of these funnel steps in more detail below and what you can consider offering for each specific level.
Top Of Funnel Patreon Tiers
What you offer at the Top Of Funnel / TOFU tier will both be the lowest price and what most of your patrons will choose.
Top Of Funnel offerings should be priced between $1 and $5 with the rewards or perks being made up of things that you would be creating or doing whether or not you had a Patreon.
At this tier, giving early access to content, songs, episodes, or videos that you would be offering publicly anyway is a great way to provide value without too much extra effort on your part.
You can also consider giving access to some behind-the-scenes content like early drafts and works in progress as well as an “all-access pass” to all of your previously released, archived, and/or unreleased content.
Lastly, remember that a key theme of this level is giving potential patrons the ability to more directly support you and your vision beyond liking or commenting on your content or streaming your music on Spotify.
Your membership can be a great space for your potential patrons to feel connected to people that like similar things as them in addition to the actual creator themselves.
This is why it can be a great idea to be transparent with what you will use the money for whether it is for new gear, a new ambitious project, content creation, or simply being able to continue living while freely giving your art to the world.
Middle Of Funnel Patreon Tiers
Middle Of Funnel / MOFU offerings should be priced around $30 with the rewards or perks having an emphasis on exclusivity and increased access or engagement.
At this tier, you will want to actually be creating additional exclusive content like informative or personal behind-the-scenes content, bonus episodes, videos, songs, art, or even stems for mixing or original project files.
If you are not already giving away community access for free or in the TOFU tier, you can give exclusive community access or simply provide gated access to separate and exclusive community channels.
This can be a great tier to introduce fan participation of content in the form of voting and focus groups or having a say in what content you create in the form of requests (what merch designs to print, what songs to make, what songs to cover, what kind of videos to do, etc).
Other ways to provide additional fan engagement can be through fan-of-the-month clubs or monthly prizes and giveaways for digital, physical, or fan recognition (like mentions at end of videos or album liner notes).
Lastly, you may want to consider allowing for additional access through live chats and hangouts that may have higher priority to patron questions or are only accessible to patrons, as well as live-streamed rehearsals, creation sessions, or jams.
Bottom Of Funnel Patreon Tiers
What you offer at the Bottom Of Funnel / BOFU tier will both be the highest price and what very, very few of your patrons will choose.
Bottom Of Funnel offerings should be priced around $300 with the rewards or perks having an emphasis on extreme exclusivity or customization and personalization.
Because most potential patrons will only want extreme exclusivity in the form of direct or frequent contact for creators that they are only extremely connected to, I’d recommend first focusing on offering customization at this level.
At this tier, you can offer commissioned work in the form of custom songs, artwork, or content, as well as personalized services like coaching, consulting, or private 1-on-1 lessons.
Since most potential patrons will not take you up on your BOFU offer, I’d consider taking this opportunity to leverage another marketing tactic called “price anchoring”.
By at least presenting a very valuable high-ticket offer here, the perceived value of your additional tiers will be raised simply by being next to each other.
Potential patrons will be able to see all of the tiers next to each other and make their own comparisons, allowing for the possibility of potential patrons going through the thought process of: “Oh wow, if Tier 3 is $300 then I am really getting a great value for the $30 tier!”
Simple Patreon Ideas For Musicians & Music Artists
Here are some Patreon ideas for musicians and artists that create music using the marketing funnel method to create the tiers that are offered:
Patreon Idea For Music Artists
- Top Of Funnel Tier: early access to songs + unreleased content – $1 per month
- Middle Of Funnel Tier: requests + exclusive album experiences and live streams – $30 per month
- Bottom Of Funnel Tier: 1 on 1 lessons and coaching – $300 per month
Patreon Idea For Gigging or Touring Musicians
- Top Of Funnel Tier: get guest list for the next show – $5 per month
- Middle Of Funnel Tier: discounted monthly/annual pass for all shows – $50 per month
- Bottom Of Funnel Tier: private event comittee to decide on artists and events – $200 per month
Patreon Idea For Live Streaming Artists
- Top Of Funnel Tier: get free access to live streamed events – $1 per month
- Middle Of Funnel Tier: requests + end of stream mention – $30 per month
- Bottom Of Funnel Tier: get to perform a song or make a speech before stream starts – $200 per month
Patreon Idea For Web 3.0 Musicians
- Top Of Funnel Tier: community access to private Discord server – $1 per month
- Middle Of Funnel Tier: early access to NFT drops + exclusive Discord channel – $30 per month
- Bottom Of Funnel Tier: request for custom NFT artwork/visuals – $200 per month
13 More Ideas To Offer For Your Patreon Tiers, Perks, Rewards & Benefits
Here are 13 additional ideas that you can offer as part of your Patreon membership tiers, perks, rewards and benefits.
- Extra exlusive content: informative or personal behind the scenes content, bonus episodes, videos, songs, art, etc, early drafts, works in progress, stems for mixing or original project files
- All access: give all content in tier but only half for free publicly, archived content, unreleased content
- Question and answer sessions: higher priority to patron questions or only accessible to patrons
- Live chats and hangouts: higher priority to patron questions or only accessible to patrons, film your rehearsals or jams, these can be themed like listening parties or specific disussions or question and answers sessions
- Early access: to content, episodes, songs, etc
- Exclusive merchandise: patron only physical merch, access to NFTs
- Community access: entire community or gated access to exclusive channels
- Fan recognition: end of video patron screen, user generated content, mention in CD liner notes
- Ad-free experiences: content off of ad-supported websites or YouTube channels
- Fan participation of content: voting and focus groups, having a say in what content you create, requests (what merch designs to print, what songs to make, what songs to cover, what kind of videos to do, etc)
- Personalized services: coaching, consulting, comissioned work (song, art, content, etc), 1 on 1 lessons (instrument, production, etc)
- Supporting you and your vision: allow potential patrons the ability to support you beyond a $0.0003 Spotify stream where they can feel connected to people in such a space and to the musician themselves -> be transparent with what you can use the money for whether it is for new gear, a new ambitious project, content creation, or simply being able to live while making your art
- Prizes and giveaways: fan of the month club, prize for merch/fan recognition/digital, etc
Top 12 Tips For Creating Your Patreon Tiers
Here are the top 12 tips you should consider when creating your idea for a Patreon or membership program:
- Recurring Content: Remember that you also need to have the time, money and creative energy to do stuff for non-Patreons and that the recurring content you create for them is what will make them want to become patrons in the first place.
- Practise Makes Perfect: Make sure you don’t over promise and underdeliver by practising fulfilling your tiered content for a few months before launching. There is no end-date for Patreon tiers so you need to sustain this over a long period of time.
- Balance: Make sure you balance the time, effort and money it takes you to create against how much money you stand to make. Patreon needs to be worth it for everyone involved so make sure you actually have the time to engage with and support a select group of fans.
- Don’t Over-Reach: Avoid offering anything that is drastically different from what you already offer or have the ability to offer.
- Documenting Instead Of Creating: Look at how you are currently creating to find opporunities for behind-the-scenes content, additional access, or other ways to document what you are already doing instead of creating something brand new.
- Patreon Is Not A Discovery Platform: Remember that Patreon is a membership platform and is in no way a discovery platform, this means you will need to do ALL of the work bringing people to your Patreon page and convincing them to sign up.
- Have An Audience First: Focus on building a community around your art first – Patreon won’t bring in new fans it will only allow your current fans an opportunity to choose to support you financially – so making sure you have an audience and know what they want from you is important.
- Ask Your Audience: The best way to figure out what rewards and perks to offer is to look to your current fans and audience – straight up ask them what they want or look at what of your free content are they most engaging with.
- Reward Categories: Most potential rewards, perks or tiers will fall into these categories: access or additional insight, additional engagement, fan recognition, digital or physical bonuses.
- Avoid Having Too Many Tiers: Avoid paralysis by anylisis in your potential patrons as well as having to manager several different membership experiences by not creating several small tiers. Instead, focus on getting a few right first.
- Study Other Patreons: Take the time to study other Patreon pages that are similar to what you want to do to get ideas and inspiration but remember that not every reward type you see will fit every creator.
- Look At Your Patreon Membership As An Iterative Process: Your first launch should be a trial where you figure out what does and does not work so that you can modify your tiers, perks, and rewards to match what your audience actually wants with the type of content you are able to create without burning out.
Is Patreon Free For Creators?
Patreon does not offer free trials for creators or for patrons. Creators can sign up and get started free as well as make Patreon posts “public” as a way to offer that to people for free.
To learn more about what Patreon offers for free and what free things you can offer as a creator on Patreon, check out my article called Is Patreon Free? for more. 🙂
What Patreon Plan Is Right For Your Project?
When reviewing Patreon’s plans, it can quickly become clear that you need to join the Pro or Premium plan to make the most out of the Patreon platform.
Although the creator fees are lowest for their “Lite” plan, when comparing Patreon Lite Vs Pro the huge difference that you will find is that you can’t actually create individual membership tiers with the Lite plan.
So, for a full breakdown of the 3 different Patreon plans available to you, what features you get, and which is the right plan for your unique project, check out my full article on Patreon Pricing, Plans & Fees Explained. 🙂