Our Patreon Growth Experiment, Part Seven

Fixing Patreon


I’m going to make the assumption that most of us have a Patreon button or link on our websites. If not, you can find your button here. But how do we get people to click on this button?

I set out to overcome one of the biggest User Experience issues on Patreon while also enticing more of our listeners and fans to become supporters.

A few people were talking on a public Discord about supporting the creators they love on Patreon. It quickly emerged that there was a shared frustration in an inability to easily find past Patreon-only content at a specific level.

This was not a bunch of creators talking. These were fans and supporters.

And this sent me reeling. As a creator with a Patreon page, the above frustration is something I run into all the time. But I hadn’t stopped to consider how it would also be impacting our fans and supporters.

Patreon expects us to use the tagging system (one of the most annoying and badly developed features on Patreon) to give our fans the ability to search our posts. And that’s it. Fans can’t filter by tier levels or content type and neither can we.

A fellow creator sent me the above snapshot to illustrate my point. The tagging mechanism on Patreon is a disaster. Not only does it not assist us in tagging content correctly, it’s also case sensitive leading to a lot of mistakes in tagging posts.

And here are a bunch of supporters saying they are also frustrated. So I immediately reached out to my most engaged fans on our Discord. Everyone I spoke to validated this frustration and I began to wonder if some of the churn we see every month is people who don’t realize the level of content we produce and release.

We work super hard to promote our Patreon-only bonus content in Discord, on Twitter, in a Patreon post and elsewhere. But email goes to spam, social posts quickly scroll into oblivion, and it’s easy for any notices to get lost in the noise that is our world.

But what if I could use a page we already have on our website to help solve this problem?

Introducing the new Support page.

Any Support Us page should be in a prominent position on your site. In our case, it is in the top nav.

And for the first time in this series, I’m proud to announce we’re not doing this alone. We’ve been working with Sarah Rhea Werner from Girl in Space to improve her Patreon while also generating more data and ideas that we can share with all of you.

Girl in Space (an amazing show) also has her support page in a prominent position as shown above.

Okay, we have it in the nav. Now what? We set about rethinking how we are using this page. Prior to this exercise, this page was just a list of methods by which someone could support us.

No longer. It is now a content-charged, value-spewing engine that also provides a stop-gap for the larger content-finding challenge existing Patreon supporters are experiencing.

Our new support page.

Yes, we are painfully recreating each of the tiers on Patreon and putting them on our site.

Why? There are a number of reasons:

  1. Demonstrate to new patrons our commitment to creating content for them
  2. Visibility to the mountain of past content that is immediately available to new supporters
  3. Call out and promote the publicly-available versions of what’s available from each of the tiers
  4. Existing supporters can finally find past content they likely didn’t even know about

The “Links to all” links in the above screenshot are the UX stop-gap for existing supporters. They allow our patrons to more easily find the content they are looking for by type and tier. It’s not perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction.

To create these links, we first have to fix the tagging for every post in Patreon (not fun) so that every type of content is consistently tagged. Then we right click on the appropriate tag on our Patreon Posts page to grab the link for that type of post.

Here is how Girl in Space is rolling out this feature.

So beautiful!

The layout and design of Sarah’s page is beyond stunning, as we would expect. And I adore the buttons she has added beneath each tier to help entice new supporters to join Patreon. We will be incorporating that in a future revision of our page.

The results were immediate

Even with the all-text design of our page, we saw two new $20 patrons within days of promoting this new support page. We’ve also seen an uptake in our $1 support level. I believe this is because of our #FarlorianFriday which grants an insane amount of content to all of our supporters at every level.

But the engine is working. We’ve already seen one individual upgrade from $1 to $5 within three days of starting as a $1 patron.

Here is our current Support page:

And here is the Support Us page from Girl in Space:

P.S. Her choice to have the URL for the above page be “/thanks” is just brilliant.

We hope you find this instalment in this series of value. Please don’t hesitate to reach out or to ping me with your thoughts or even to share your support page with me. I truly want to create Patreon growth for every creator.



Sean Howard

Sean is a brand marketer, podcaster and co-founder of Fable and Folly.