A membership program can open a world of possibilities for your creative business. You have the potential to independently fuel your creative vision by building a consistent, sustainable income stream, while fostering meaningful connections with people who love and champion your work.
To get started, here’s what you need to know about structuring a membership program.
Understand building blocks of a membership model
Since every creative business has something special to offer, there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to designing a membership program. But there are two essential elements you’ll want to tailor to your business and fanbase: benefits and tiers.
Benefits are what your members (also called “patrons”) get access to in exchange for their monthly payment. These could include a range of things, such as exclusive bonus content, access to a community forum, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and physical rewards like merch, such as stickers, t-shirts, and more. You can offer many options, or keep it simple with fewer, big-impact benefits.
Tiers are the customized levels of membership you’ll offer. We’d recommend starting with just one tier for simplicity. As you grow your membership base, you can add additional tiers to give your fans more choices at different price points.
These time-tested building blocks work well for a variety of membership businesses because fans get the excitement of options and access, and creators, in turn, can tap into a fruitful and efficient way to engage with fans.
Determine which benefits and tiers to offer
To brainstorm, make a list of things you could offer. What digital content or tangible items would reflect the type of work that you do? What would resonate with your fans?
Here’s what we’ve seen work well for many creators launching a membership business:
- Choose a popular benefit type. Pick something that’s relevant to your creative business and meaningful to your fans. Some of the most beloved benefits on Patreon include exclusive content, early access, belonging to a dedicated community, and patron recognition (such as a shout in the credits of a video or podcast).
- Offer recurring value for fans, in a sustainable way. You’ll need to deliver these benefits each month, so make sure you’re able to realistically do the work required to provide and maintain your slate of offerings. Access to an exclusive community space, such as a Discord or Slack channel, is a great way for your patrons to connect with each other beyond interacting only with you.
- Start with one tier at an accessible price point. Our research shows that $5 is a sweet spot for most new membership businesses launched on Patreon. Launching with this single streamlined tier means your fans will readily understand what you’re offering, and you won’t get hung up crafting an overly complicated tiered plan. As you continue growing your membership business, you may discover additional options your fans would value, and you can easily refine your model to add more benefits and tiers in the future.
Ready to roll? Find out how to set up benefits and tiers.