Table of Contents
This article is a follow-up to Part 5: Guide to the Stars (of Space Economy & Technology Infographics) Best Practices. The purpose of this article is to look at Patreon and if it makes sense for infographics creators to use it.
Patreon is a membership platform that provides business tools for content creators to run a subscription service. It helps creators and artists earn a monthly income by providing rewards and perks to their subscribers. Patreon charges a commission of 9 to 12 percent of creators' monthly income, in addition to payment processing fees.
Example Infographics Creators on Patreon
Patreon statistics for example infographics creators as of July 28, 2022:
* Revenue estimates from https://graphtreon.com
Patreon Value Exchange
Creators are able to:
- Deepen relationships with fans
- Make more and/or better content
- Generate income
- Grow their creative and support teams
Patrons, in exchange, receive:
- Access and insight
- Digital and physical offers
Patreon Business Models
Creators on Patreon use different business models:
Community Model: Access to a community curated and moderated by the creator.
Educational Model: A business model built around education and training, e.g. training, tutorials, online courses.
Gated Content Model: Patrons get access to extra content, e.g. a content library, bonus content, premium content.
Fan Relationship Model: Patrons get increased interaction with, access to, or recognition by the creator.
Pay What You Can Model: Offering material for whatever patrons are willing, or able, to pay.
Note that some creators use more than one business model. It is the business model(s) which drives the types of patron rewards offered.
The following are potential types of rewards that a creator could offer to patrons:
Support Me on a Monthly Basis: This membership benefit is purely monetary support.
Unlock Exclusive Posts and Content: Offer bonus content and posts to patrons. Nearly 40% of creators reward their patrons with exclusive and bonus content.
Shout Out For New Members: Give patrons a shout out on social media when they join.
Access to Full Library: Give access to complete archive of posts.
Free & Discounted Benefits: Offer discounts on benefits prices, e.g. 10% discount on merchandise.
High Quality/Full Size Images and Wallpaper: High quality images that are formatted for desktop, laptop and smart phones.
Coloring Pages: Black and white versions of illustrations for patrons to color.
Commissions: Offer patrons first dibs on open slots for commission work. Alternatively offer discount on commission work.
Work in Progress Updates: Provide rough drafts of latest projects.
Sponsorships and Ad Placements: Offer sponsorship and advertisement placement tiers for businesses.
Community Access: Provide exclusive access for patrons to a community forum to support patron-to-patron interactions.
Voting and Focus Groups: Engage patrons to participate and provide feedback on future projects or design choices. Patreon provides a polling feature that supports patron engagement.
Behind the Scenes: Give patrons exclusive insight into the creative process, e.g. tutorial videos or sketches of unfinished pieces.
Live Chats and Hangouts: Hold live interactive sessions which could be used to: discuss a specific topic, announce new things, or allow the patrons' interest guide the conversation.
Early Access: Give patrons early access to completed content before the general public. About 20% of creators use Patreon's “early access” feature.
Signed Physical Infographic/Illustration: Offer personally signed prints of artwork.
Offer a Merchandise Item: Offer digital downloads and/or physical merchandise. Patreon provides a service “Merch for Membership” where the creator provides the graphic elements and Patreon takes care of fulfillment. About 15% of creators are sending out physical merchandise.
Q&A/AMA Sessions: Answer questions on a forum, in a patron only post, in a Discord channel or anywhere considered appropriate.
In Person Meet-Ups: Hold in person meet-ups in home city and/or at a conference.
Should a creator decide to set up a Patreon account, there are lots of good creator accounts that the creator can draw additional inspiration from relative to: what patron rewards to offer; how to wordsmith the offer; and how to structure membership tiers and associated pricing.
Examples From Creator Patreon Pages
The following patron reward examples are taken from Patreon creator profiles focusing on: infographics, 2/3-D artist, and illustrations.
Thanks for supporting my illustrated works. Your ongoing contributions will help me create more infographic features for your enjoyment.
From time to time I share many of my illustrations with all my patrons.
Exclusive Discord chat access.
Exclusive wallpaper art for phone, tablet and desktop.
Have an input into the direction of new projects for which your name will be credited.
Exclusive access to my works-in-progress.
High resolution images of my most recent infographics and future projects.
Access to a Google Drive folder with extra goodies not shared publicly.
Access to premium content including print-ready PDFs.
Email updates when new downloads are posted.
Patrons at this tier contribute to my capacity to make more art!
Every 30 days you'll receive a mailer stuffed full of high-quality prints published that month.
After 6 months at this tier (+ every 6mo after) you'll receive a very special shipment containing a set (2 or 3 pc) of art framed for home, office, or gift.
Patrons at this tier get Mystery Mail! (periodic inclusion of vinyl stickers, original art cards, postcards, etc)
$100 per month quarantees I'm able to spend several more hours each month creating new infographics.
Alternatives to Patreon
Buy me a Coffee is attractive because they make it easy for supporters to contribute without having to register or make a subscription commitment.
Should You Be On Patreon?
The article “NO ONE MAKES A LIVING ON PATREON” delves into the reality of Patreon, and the title tells the tale.
The reality is that most Patreon creators can expect to make enough each month to purchase a coffee, or maybe even put a hundred dollars into their pocket. A small number of creators will collect a few hundred to a few thousand dollars a month.
Should you be on Patreon (or one of the alternative services)? There are two ways to decide that. If your purpose is purely monetary you need to reflect on the amount of effort to set up and run a Patreon account offering patron rewards versus the potential monetary return. However, not everything is about money, and some creators might simply want to use Patreon as a means to have a closer relationship with their hard-core fans… and there's nothing wrong with that.
One way to determine what your potential monthly revenue is to do a sales pipeline analysis as per the following example:
Number of your social media followers
% that visit your Patreon page
Patreon page visitors
% page visitors who become patrons
Average monthly revenue per patron
Estimated average monthly revenue
Replace the example numbers with your own estimates to come up with a potential monthly revenue. Note that Patreon says that the average conversion rate for Patreon creator page visitors is 1% as per the following tweet.
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Additional Information For The Curious
Part 3: Guide to the Stars (of Space Economy & Technology Infographics) Non-Commercial Content Creators (pending)
Part 4: Guide to the Stars (of Space Economy & Technology Infographics) Media Content Creators (pending)
Part 6: Guide to the Stars (of Space Economy & Technology Infographics) Social Media Channels Characteristics (pending)