How to Make a Subscription App Like Patreon

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Max Litvinov

Aug 3, 2021 | 23 min read

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Do you want to build a business with recurring, predictable revenue? Consider learning how to make a subscription app. Not only can you make money from it, but you can help others earn.

If you do it right, you can make an app that rivals Patreon and apps like it. But before you make a Patreon clone, consider how subscription apps work and what features you can add to make your app stand out.

How Do Patreon and Other Creator-Subscription Apps Work?

Before you figure out how to make a subscription app, you should know how they work. An app like Patreon is a good example because of how popular it is and how creators don’t need much to use it.

Setting up a subscription business on Patreon or a similar app can be a great way to make money. If you want to create a subscription app for your business, you should consider how apps like Patreon work.

Here are some things that Patreon and Patreon analogs can do for creators and business owners.

Support Creators

Creators can use Patreon to quickly set up a new business or a new part of their existing business. They can post content on the platform, so they don’t need to have a website or even a YouTube or social media presence.

This can be a great way for people to work from home and for themselves. While setting up a website is great, it can take a while to get traffic. But a platform like Patreon may help bring supporters to the creators.

And users don’t have to pay anything upfront to set up a profile and start creating. Because of that, it can be a fantastic choice for people on a budget.

Build an Audience

Whether a creator uses Patreon alone or as part of their business, it can help them build an audience. They can bring an existing audience from their website or social media, or they can start one from scratch.

By posting content on Patreon, creators can foster a small community of their biggest fans. Not all fans will want to spend money each month on a creator, which can make it hard to grow.

However, a membership app for creators can be a great way to build some exclusivity. Then, they can continue to build their business and online presence.

Set Membership Tiers

A creator or celebrity subscription app like Patreon also offers different membership tiers. That can be a great way to attract followers with different budgets to support creators.

On apps like Patreon, creators can decide what content to show at what tier. The basic tier can grant access to posts and certain content, while more expensive memberships may include live video or Q&A sessions.

If you want to create a subscription app, consider how you can add different tiers. Not only will that add flexibility for supports, but creators can take advantage of the feature to help run their business.

Make Money

Of course, another important part of how to make a subscription app revolves around making money. Apps like Patreon offer creators an extra income stream, and it can be more consistent than streams like ad revenue.

When setting membership tiers, creators can set the pricing for each level. They can determine the value of the content they’re giving to their audience, so they can choose a price that makes sense.

Patreon allows creators to charge monthly or per creation. Monthly pricing is great for consistency, even when you have slower months, while charging per creation means you can increase your income with your output.

Need for Consistency

Regardless of the way a creator charges their patrons, apps like Patreon do require some consistency. If a creator doesn’t upload anything for a month, their supporters might get annoyed.

Creators need to keep bringing the value so that their followers keep an active subscription. For someone learning how to build an app like Patreon, this can also affect your future revenue.

For example, Patreon charges creators a percentage of their monthly earnings. So Patreon’s success depends on the success of its creators, but Patreon doesn’t have much control over the people using the platform.

More Control

While Patreon may not have control over the creators, creators do have more control over their income. As long as someone can be consistent with sharing content, they make a good income as they get more patrons.

That can be a lot nicer than relying on revenue from ads or even sporadic brand sponsorships. If you can create a subscription app that offers creators more control over their earnings, you may be able to attract a lot of creators early on.

Now, that doesn’t mean you need to make a Patreon clone. But offering creators some predictability is a great way to help your app grow after you finish the app development process.

Post Anything

Patreon is a good platform for a variety of creators looking to change their content strategy. People that use it may be creating:

  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Music
  • Articles

Anyone who regularly creates content can take some of what they do and put it into a subscription app like Patreon. As you learn how to build an app like Patreon, you should consider how to support different types of content.

Then, you can make a major Patreon competitor, and you can attract all types of creators. On the other hand, you can focus on building an app for one type of content, such as video or music, and you can attract people who create that thing.

Core Features of Apps Like Patreon

While you should understand how apps like Patreon work, you should also know about the core features of these subscription apps. Then, you can make sure to include them when designing a Patreon clone.

You don’t have to include all of the core features in your app development process. However, the more you include, the easier it will be to compete with Patreon.

Consider the following features as you build an iOS app to rival the big subscription platform.

Creator Page

When someone signs up for a Patreon, they get a creator page that Patreon hosts for them. The creator doesn’t have to pay for an expensive website hosting plan, but they can still build a presence on the platform.

People who use Patreon can then share their Patreon link on social media or on a website if they have one. That way, they can get people to visit their page and join as a patron.

They can create an introductory post or video explaining what people can expect. When someone joins, they can see all of the posts available at the membership tier they select.

Membership Tiers

While the Patreon Lite option doesn’t include this, the other levels for creators allow them to set membership tiers. That way, they can create some content for the basic level, and they can share more content for more money.

This is an excellent feature because it can help creators and Patreon make more money. Patreon charges a higher monthly fee from creators, which makes the app more money.

Creators can also use tiers to convince more people to support them. Some people may want to join, but if the only tier is expensive, that can turn patrons away. So make sure your Patreon clone offers a similar feature.

Communication Tools

Being able to communicate with patrons is another vital tool for creators on Patreon. As you decide how to make a subscription app, consider how you can emulate some of the following communication features:

  • Emails
  • Direct messaging
  • Posts on the creator page

Sending emails can be an easy way to notify supporters about a new post. Meanwhile, direct messaging allows creators to answer questions and build more of that community with their audience.

If you want to create a subscription app, consider adding even more communication tools. Then, you can support creators and their followers, and you can offer more ways to creators to share what they create.

Maybe you offer group chats, so creators can share content with multiple people. Or perhaps you decide to allow for email segments, so creators can share content with people in higher membership tiers in another way.

Business Tools

Patreon is a huge part of the businesses of many creators, so it makes sense that they’d offer business tools. Creators can use the tools to keep track of payments and monitor the lifetime value of their content.

When creating an app like Patreon, treat it like a business app. Make sure to include features that allow people to monitor their earnings and see how well their page is performing.

Consider offering analytics so that creators can track their conversion rate and see how many people visit their page. Then, creators can adjust their strategy so that they can get more supports and earn money, and that can earn your app more money.

Flexible Payment Schedule

Along with the general business tools, Patreon lets creators pay themselves whenever they want. They can set up an automatic deposit into their bank or PayPal account, and they can receive money monthly.

But the platform also allows you to take money out throughout the month. Being able to pay yourself when you want is a nice part of running a business.

If you want to know how to make a subscription app that stands out, consider making flexible payments. Allowing creators to set their own schedules can be a fantastic way to attract people, especially as you launch your Android or iOS app.

Workshops

Patreon also offers workshops for creators to help them be successful on the platform. The company offers these for free, which may seem like it wastes the company money.

But remember, apps like Patreon make money when their creators make money. If Patreon can help its creators, that will eventually help the platform make more money.

Offering workshops can also help to attract people to the platform who may not have otherwise joined. When creating a Patreon clone, consider what topics you can speak on to help people use your app.

If you can’t teach about certain topics, bring in experts. Then, you can offer workshops on digital marketing, communication, and other things that can help your creators.

Patron Support

When someone starts a subscription service through their website, they’re in charge of everything. That means they have to create content, promote their service, and deal with customer support.

However, Patreon takes care of a lot of the customer support for creators. If patrons have questions about payments or other technical issues, they can contact Patreon.

That way, creators can focus on creating content that their supporters will love. And since many Patreon creators have other projects, they may not have time to handle administrative work.

So consider what your app can do for creators. Maybe you help with customer support, and you also decide to offer technical help for creators and supporters.

Mobile App

Patreon has both a website and a mobile app that creators can use to manage their page. If you want to create a subscription app, consider how you can develop a website and app.

A website is great for more intensive tasks, such as uploading videos or photos. However, apps like Patreon allow creators to send messages to their supports from anywhere.

Maybe you decide to only make a mobile app and not a website for your subscription service. Or perhaps you decide to add more features that make the app easier for creators and supporters to use.

But don’t forget about the timeline and cost of app development. Then, you can make sure you launch the best possible app for you and your ideal users.

Average Cost of Building a Subscription App Like Patreon

Once you decide to learn how to make a subscription app, you should consider the cost. A lot goes into making a good app like Patreon, and you can’t do it alone or in a day.

The average mobile app costs about $40,000 to $60,000 to develop. You can expect it to take three to six months from the start until you’re ready to launch, if not more time.

Now, multiple factors can affect the cost and timeline. Consider the following and how they might affect your app idea.

Features

After reviewing the core features of an app like Patreon, you should consider what features you want your app to have. You could make a Patreon clone and include all of the same features and nothing else.

However, you may want to make your app a little unique and include features that Patreon lacks. Or you might think that some of the Patreon features aren’t necessarily based on the creator you want to attract.

Make a list of the features you want to include in your app. Having more features can be a good way to get people to use your platform, but you will probably have to pay more to build the app.

Complexity

The app complexity can also affect the cost, whether you have a lot of small features or not. If your app will have a lot of different pages, it will probably cost more and take longer to build.

On the other hand, if you want a simple interface with only a few pages, that may take less time. And you won’t have to pay as much for someone to develop the program.

Other things that can affect the complexity might include support for multiple languages or using a lot of different colors. Unless elements are necessary, it may be better to hold off on adding them.

You can always update the app and add more features. But getting the app out there means you can validate the need for it, and your initial investment won’t be as risky.

Individual or Team

The next thing you’ll need to decide is if you want to hire a freelancer or an agency to develop your app. An individual may charge less than a team of people, but they can take longer to finish your app.

However, if you hire too big of a development agency, you may not get the personal connection you need. You should be able to communicate with whoever is designing your app so that you know how everything is going.

Appvales combines the resources of a bigger agency with the connection you get with a small team or individual. That way, you don’t have to choose one or the other when developing your app.

Tech Stack

Another thing to consider when hiring a developer and looking at the overall cost is the tech stack they use. Look for developers who use:

  • React Native
  • Flutter
  • Kotlin
  • Swift
  • Python
  • Firebase

Other development technologies can also come in handy. However, React Native is one of the best options for cross-platform development. Then, you don’t have to decide if you want to build an iOS app or an Android app.

Make sure that you hire developers with experience in the tech stack they use. That can help cut down on the development timeline since they won’t have to learn the technology along the way.

Operating Systems

As you look at a developer’s tech stack, consider where you want to launch your app.

If you want to launch your app on one platform, you can choose a developer who uses native technology. But doing that can make it harder to expand your app to other platforms because you’ll need to redesign it.

Even if you only plan on launching the app on one operating system, consider having your developer use hybrid technology. The technology can create an app that works on various platforms, so you can add the app to another app store without much extra work.

Ongoing Support

If you’re trying to decide between building a subscription app or another app for creators, think about it after the launch. Subscription apps can require a lot of support over time.

Whether you launch the app on one or multiple platforms, you’ll need to update it frequently. You may decide to add more features, or you might encounter bugs with the app.

Creators may ask for more capabilities within the app. If you get a lot of the same requests, it can make sense to update your app to meet those needs.

Before you hire an app developer, consider if they can provide that support. If they aren’t able to help with regular, consistent updates, you may want to look for someone else to work with on the entire process.

We Can Make a Subscription App Like Patreon for You

Appvales is a boutique app development company, and we can build an app like Patreon. Our prices are reasonable, so you don’t need to break the bank to turn your idea into a reality.

If you don’t have much more than an idea, we can help you with each step of the process. That way, you can make sure your app will be popular and that you can scale it in the future.

We developed the app Salu, which lets people order video messages from celebrities and creators. While it’s not exactly like Patreon, it does help people and their fans connect.

Celebrities can keep track of their tasks, and fans can easily place orders for video messages. It’s a fantastic platform, and you can use it to inspire your own celebrity subscription app or something similar.

Once you have the idea, Appvales can work with you on the design and development. Soon enough, creators can join your app, you can build a successful mobile platform.

Do You Know How to Make a Subscription App?

If you want to build a business and help others build their businesses, consider how to make a subscription app. You can charge creators a small fee per month or transaction, so their success leads to your success.

But you don’t need to be an app developer to make this idea happen. Instead, hire a boutique development agency to make sure your app launches without a hitch.

Are you ready to get started? Learn about our mobile development services and contact us for a quote.

Boutique App Development Company

Appvales is a mobile development partner that helps you design, build, test and deploy apps. We can handle end-to-end product development or collaborate with your product team with dedicated mobile developers.

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Written by:

Max Litvinov

CEO at Appvales

IT enthusiast, investor, entrepreneur. Bringing the offshore mobile development to the next level.

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