This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

How to convert followers to supporters on Patreon

If you're on Patreon, like I am, chances are that you already have a sizable following on social media. People may be following and "liking" your stuff on Facebook, or Instagram, or anywhere. Sometimes these people are called "subscribers" or "friends", but really they're followers. And that's a good thing.

Many people put stuff out on the web and no one ever looks at it. They may check back after many months and find 3 views, probably their own. And that's where everyone starts. It's frustrating, because you know how great your stuff is, so when the views start going up, it's wonderful.

I write several blogs. Mostly I started doing it just to learn the process, to help my clients who were interested in blogging to promote their business. That's what this blog is for, it's designed to promote my business, which is Graphic Design and Cartoon Illustration. This is what is known as PR (Public Relations), and back before blogs on the internet the idea was to try to get an article about your company published in the paper. Now you can write about your company all you want, for free, and just throw it up on the web to see if anyone looks at it.

But not everyone is creating stuff on the web that's intended to promote a company. Sometimes people just like to create stuff, or write stuff, that other people like to see. I started writing about the history of Phoenix a few years ago, and found that there really wasn't any point to it other than I enjoyed doing it, and people enjoyed reading it. I shared the links on Google+, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, that kind of thing, and I watched the readership grow. Now there are thousands of people who like to read my History Adventuring blog every day. I'm flattered, and I could leave it at that. It's nice to have an audience. And you could leave it at that, too.

But this blog post is about taking your followers to the next level, and converting them to supporters on Patreon. And now it's time to face some hard realities. People like stuff for free, and most people won't pay anything for something if they don't have to. And why should they? And that's the question that you'll have to answer as you move from giving away your stuff for free, to getting support on Patreon.

Patreon is not a charity site. You're not a charity. Patreon allows people to support web creators like you, the same way that people support anything they would otherwise get for free, from PBS to throwing a few coins in the hat of someone playing the fiddle by the subway.

For someone like me, it makes me feel good to support the arts, even in a small way. But let's face it, most people (the best estimate is 90%) won't give anything at all. Nope, not a single, solitary penny. Ever. No way. They would feel cheated out of their hard-earned money. So you have to focus on the 10%. But don't despair, 10% of a lot of followers can add up.

The first thing you need to do is stop giving your stuff away for free. I write a blog, so anyone can get to it for free if they want to, but most people will read it only if it's delivered to them, through social media. They really won't go search for it on the web. So you have to bite the bullet and stop linking your blog to social media. You have to let people know that your stuff is now on Patreon. Yes, 90% of your followers will never look at it again, and if that damages your ego, then you're not ready for Patreon.

If you're ready, start making some changes. There are people who like what you do, and will support you. Give them a chance. Patreon may only be for your 10% of your followers, but they're the best people out there - give them the best you've got, and don't forget special rewards!