Episode 78 - Three Ways to Create Loyal Patrons with Inga Peterson
Learn three ways that Inga Peterson keeps her fans happy and increases customer engagement with her paper flower business, and how you can help your supporters become patrons.
Have you ever had someone in your life who cheers you on, no matter what? That person who is so excited to see what you do next and want to support your artist journey?
That person is a patron.
We all need people to support us, and not just in our personal lives. You need fans who will encourage you along your paper flower journey and help you build your small business. That’s one of the reasons we started Paper Talk—to build a place where we can share, connect, and grow together!
Of course, when it comes to your business, you need more than just peers to cheer you on. You also need customers (we’ve all got bills to pay!). Helping your customers become patrons of your work means that they are more likely to buy from you again and to recommend your work to others.
In our latest episode of Paper Talk, we chatted with Inga Peterson about how she engages her supporters and harnesses their love of her art in order to build up her paper flower business. We love her work as a paper florist and educator. Count us as some of her most ardent supporters cheering her on!
The great news is that you can easily employ these same strategies to boost your customer engagement. Below is an outline of three big takeaways from our conversation with Inga, but be sure to listen to the episode for even more great insights about building your business and improving your artistry.
Create Understandable Tutorials
Many paper florists move into the education realm at some point. While you may have mastered paper flowers, you need to also master techniques that will make you the best possible teacher. In order to cultivate loyal patrons, you need to have a fantastic product that they can love.
For Inga, that means not rushing things and breaking everything down to be readily understandable. As she said,
“It’s really my goal for someone who’s doing a tutorial of mine to not only be able to make that flower, but also to understand my process of decision making along the way of making that flower so they can transfer that to another project that they’re working on.”
When making tutorials, always keep in mind the student’s perspective. Try to think back to when you were new to paper flowers. You didn’t understand every term. You didn’t know how to do certain techniques. Make sure your tutorials are accessible for everyone, no matter their level of expertise.
If you need to, go back and revise your old tutorials to make them readily accessible to all of your customers. By making your tutorials easy to use, your customers will have greater success, love the end results, recommend you to others, follow your social media—you see where this is going. In short, they’ll be more likely to become an ardent follower.
Inga shared even more fantastic advice about writing and using tutorials in our episode, as well as which tutorials she used when first starting out.
“If you’re a brand new paper flower maker, just know that making all these flowers…if you feel like they’re not quite there yet, that is part of the process. You will get there.” - Inga
Get Supported on Patreon
To keep your paper flower business afloat, you need money. In our line of work, income can fluctuate from month to month. One way to keep a steady stream of income is to use Patreon.
If you’re unfamiliar with Patreon, it’s a way for your supporters to pledge a recurring amount to you, such as $5 a month. One of the great things about Patreon is that there are no upfront costs. You only pay a percentage of what a Patron gives you.
In return for their support, you can provide your Patrons with exclusive rewards and content. You can set up levels of rewards based on how much Patrons pledge, and there’s lots of flexibility in how you can set up your system or change it later.
That means you can ask your supporters to pledge a very small amount, even as little as $1 a month. Many people who are casual fans are willing to give something like that if you ask. Then, they receive those awesome rewards and content that no one else is getting, thus boosting their engagement with your brand, helping them love your work more—you get the picture.
You can hear all about the kinds of rewards Inga offers and some of our tips for using Patreon by listening to the episode. You can also check out our Patreon page to see how we’ve set things up.
Ask for Reviews
If your fans can’t become a Patron for whatever reason, they can still support you without spending money. One easy way is by writing a review about your work. We all love reading reviews before buying, and your paper flowers are no different.
Of course, that means that your clients and supporters need to know how and where to leave a review.
As Jessie shared in our episode, she reached out to some customers and asked for reviews. Some of them already had something written, but were waiting for various reasons to post them. That little nudge from her and a little bit of info on what would best help her, led to positive reviews being posted for everyone to read. Those supporters got a little bit of help to become superfans.
It might feel uncomfortable at first to ask for reviews. That’s normal! We’ve all felt that way. But your customers love your work for a reason. They want to share about it. Help them do it!
We chatted about much more with Inga, including more about how she has built her business and how her fine arts background has informed her work. You can hear all of this and more by listening to our latest episode of Paper Talk.
On her fine arts background: “A lot of it comes down to learning how to take an idea from just a concept into reality. It’s that whole art and design process of, ‘Hey I’ve got this idea, how do I get this from my head into the physical realm?’” - Inga
Here’s what you’ll hear when you listen to our conversation:
How to create accessible and admired tutorials.
Tips for best using tutorials.
How to use Patreon as a creator.
Fine art principles that will help you make paper flowers.
How Inga runs her Zoom workshops successfully.
Here are the podcasts that Inga mentions in this episode:
Cultivating Place: https://www.cultivatingplace.com/
The Jealous Curator: https://www.thejealouscurator.com/blog/art-for-your-ear-podcast/