Ahh Marketing is Hard. Plz Help!

Hello all!

I have been focusing on improving my Youtube over the last several months and I have gotten pretty good results! The next thing I am wanting to work on is improving my Patreon. (Which is my living lol) To do so I have been seeking feedback about tiers and services I can offer.

Currently I make my living from lessons but this has an obvious time ceiling. According to my studies, any successful business needs to have scalability. So I was thinking about $1 and $5 tiers. This also goes along with other Patreons that I have studied. The $1 tier would get access to lecture vods and student lesson vods. The $5 tier would get to attend lectures live, get access to a league, and get game reviews periodically. (Game reviews would be on occasion and not guaranteed due to time constraints.) With enough people signed up I can hire teachers which could help create more jobs for Go players. (One of my long term goals.)

However, when I asked for feedback it seems there is not much interest in a $1 tier. Even the $5 tier is not as good as if I charged $25 and gave weekly game reviews for the leagues. $5 tiers would sound better for access to lectures and potentially a $15 tier to access lecture live. The problem with the league is that it is much harder to scale and I would only be able to hire teachers for $15 an hour instead of $50 an hour. Or I could hire them at $25 an hour and have 1 lecture and 1 hour of reviews. Giving any guaranteed one on one can become very expensive in either time commitment or hiring help once it scales. On the flip side, lectures become even easier to hire more people to give more lectures as more people sign up.

From this feedback, it seems that the Go community would rather pay more for higher quality content than to pay at all, no matter how cheap, for any content when they can get free content elsewhere.

Also, as a side note, many people have informed me that streaming does well and I absolutely agree that it does. However there are some cons to it that make me want to focus more on Youtube videos and lectures over live streaming. While I had some pretty good success live streaming, my wife injured her legs and was unable to walk for a couple months and I had to stop live streaming to take care of her. I had to drive her to work and back, I had to help her get around the house, and wheel chair her anywhere in public including to and from physical therapy. Because this happened we had a significant drop in income in both of our jobs. As such, to me live streaming is too dangerous if I were to get seriously injured, sick, hospitalized, or even if I wanted to go on vacation for a month or two then it could impact my livelihood.

It also got me thinking about how I originally created my work from how job to have the flexibility to be with my family more. Like taking my wife on a surprise date or taking my kid to a sports tournament. I would rather be able to move my schedule around as needed, still putting in the hours of work just at different times each week, than to work on a dedicated schedule and if I don’t work that schedule due to life circumstances than I lose part of my income.

So this is where I’m currently at in my brainstorming. I would appreciate any feedback you can offer! I’m going to continue to work hard for the community to create educational Go content and it is my job to create for you all, so I want to know what you want from content creators. Why would you sign up on Patreon and what would you want out of it? What tiers would you sign up for?

Thank you all for your feedback!

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(I really hope you don’t take this the wrong way)

One of the more prolific “how to also succeed” YT community is beauty youtubers. There are tons of videos spelling out how to organize and maximize and stuff. Those videos are targeted to people with the passion, but not the means, and I’m certain you can find good and applicable advice.

Patreon afaik is not much of a trend in that community, but YT channel supporters are.

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I’m not quite understanding your comment. Do you mean the “beauty makeup youtubers”? I’ve looked at trying to succeed on Youtube but the Go community just isn’t big enough. I would need 100,000 subscribers to have the financial success on Youtube that I get on Patreon and the biggest Go channels only have 20k Subscribers. So I’m not sure I understand your advice.

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Yes, beauty youtubers.

They have many dedicated videos on how to make a successful online presence, build up a brand (not makeup brand, I mean their channel).

Almost all branch out to different social media, and offer advice on how to balance content, paid content, paid subscriptions, scheduled lives, regular content etc.

YouTube is the base, but most of them are on many platforms now.

Community is much bigger, but also oversaturated, so they really do have to go for best practices.

Maybe some advice will click, is all I’m saying. :woman_shrugging:

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Maybe this can help you?

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First of all, my best wishes for a full recovery to your wife. Kinetic/mobility issues can be very stressful to deal with and I wish you the best.

On the topic, I have one question. What do you mean you would have to hire someone ELSE to give the lecture/lesson? Is this endeavor your personal teaching material or is it a collaboration? Could you please provide some details so that we can understand what your business model is?

On the other things please take whatever I am writing with a grain of salt because I am not very known for being “in” with what is “trending”:
a) In some trades and categories (like the cosmetics Gia mentioned) the prospective clients actually WANT to pay more and scoff at the idea of paying less, since the price itself is the simplistic (but effective) scale of whether or not you are buying a quality product. Having worked as a tutor myself, I have found the conundrum of “how much money should I charge for my services?” as quite the problem, especially since I am reticent of asking people for money, even if it is my wages.
Too low and people would laugh and say “oh wow, he must be desparate” or “he must be horrible at teaching” (not to mention that other tutors would get furious for “degrading” the profession, by lowering the prices)
Too high and people would laugh and say “oh wow, who does he think he is?” or “he must have so few students that he wants to suck the few students he has dry”
Now, unfortunately, it depends on where your target audience lives. If you charge 25$ per hour in the States, that might sound reasonable. Charge that in Greece and you have another thing coming. So, you should think hard about finding a balance, but definitely do not go for very cheap tiers.

b) Times are rough for quality content. I honestly get annoyed by the injustice of you having to work hard for a week to make some lectures and lessons of value, while “influencers” just take a snapshot of their breakfast at a hotel and get paid. Having said that, what else can you do other than being more aggressive with promoting your content? Here, in social media or in your local community. It is tasteless advice, but such is the struggle of content creation. I’ve known that you have been teaching for years, I did not even knew you had a patreon. You even forgot to put a link to it here, when it is in fact the very topic of the discussion. You have to promote that more. I am sorry to say it, but unless you get to make it to the “large numbers”, content creation is a grind.

c) I was not 100% serious in my suggestion in your previous topic, but I was not kidding either:

finding an idea that makes a splash in the local community is always a good step.
Now, why I propose that? Because of the local tourism marketing I see in smaller places like mine.
There are the taverns that work with tourists each summer season (akin to finding transient clients/students via social media and marketing). Those are very flimsy in their footing since every setback (like the quarantines) can potentially destroy their business model.
However, there are a few that have gone the other way, working all year with the locals. This means that come summer-time they already have some dedicated clientelle (even though they can accommodate less tourists), but they work during the winter AND during other setbacks that could easily drive others in closing shop.

Let’s say that YT has another problem with the Ads like it had a few years ago, or Patreon has another issue with bleeding out members and they up their cut or there is some kind of extra federal tax to content creators or whatever. It is always a good idea to have a stable setting in the real world, with the local community.
Besides isn’t it a Go proverb (or something I’ve read in a Go book at least talking about attacking groups) that “you cannot throw a punch unless you are firmly standing on your feet?”

Think beyond the digital marketing and, oddly enough, you land back to the good-old material world marketing. Once you have the ability, you need to get moving out. Attend local events, charities, fairs, school teaching events, church outings, choirs or whatever else there is. Let it be known that you are there, you are useful and by knowning more and more people you might get students to create group lessons (group lessons are always better than 1 on 1 for obvious reasons). I know it is not Patreon advice, but hey.

Good luck :slight_smile:

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Just to clarify, I’m talking about content creators, not the products.
These creators aim to create a big and stable number of followers to watch their content, they don’t (usually) actually sell something.

So, the advice they give is how to become better in the platform, how to market and reach audience, not how to sell this and that.

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Yes, sorry for my ambiguity. I just mentioned it because you reminded me of a good example of products where what I was saying applied.

I am not sure if it is an “urban myth”, but it is something I read/heard “before internet” about how the pioneer of beauty products originally sold them very cheap because the base content/base was cheap to procure at the time, so he thought a fair price and went off to sell them, only to fall flat because noone wanted to apply “a cheap product on their face”.

So, the only change he did was put the price 10 times up and then his business flurished and the rest is history. Or this is how I remember it. I understand that such tales in the era of internet usually come with sources and links, but I do not have any :slight_smile: In any case, even if the story is a “myth” the moral of the story is not: When a buyer has no real knowledge of judging the product, they will assume that “the more expensive choice is de facto the best”

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OT

That was probably the first homo sapiens. :stuck_out_tongue:

Iirc, and I probably don’t, it’s a story about the founder of Revlon, that he wanted fair price but the clients would not trust that.
I think I’ve read it in Face Paint by Lisa Eldridge. But I’m not sure. :woman_shrugging:

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These words made me think about this speech:

Nathan Fowkes is an amazing artist and a pleasure to hear. It’s a one hour video but I think it could be entertaining for many, with some emotional moments and some ordinary life thrilling.
His advice for people trying to make a living as a freelance is reasonable and sound. Maybe not very easy to do… it’s a sort of “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”.

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I’m not surprised by this. It fits with how I choose to spend money on go content.
I have payed for membership of EYD (which is not cheap at 40 - 80 euro per month), but I wouldn’t easily pay 1 euro per month for something that is available for free elsewhere.

I’m not part of your target audience I think, but maybe you should think about which niche you can fill between your free and paid competitors (Nick Sybicky, Dwyrin, InSeong, Guo Juan, Michael Redmond, GoMagic, Polgote, Baduk Doctor, GoproYeonwoo, InSente, etc), instead of thinking about your pricing model first? (Maybe you already did, I don’t know)
What are you offering that people would be willing to pay you specifically for, instead of your competitors?
I don’t expect you to answer that question here, but did you ask yourself that question?

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@JethOrensin and @gennan gave pretty good advice, Imho.
And @Gia also has an important point with that it’s a very good idea to look how content creators in other fields are marketing themselves. :+1:

Yep. I work as a freelancer (in a totally different area), and setting prices is the hardest part about it. I sometimes procrastinate because I feel anxious about sending someone a quote. :sweat_smile:

Regarding your target audience: You should try to find out more about who they are. I mean statistically: which countries they come from, how old they are, how much time they spend with Go, in which rank range they are, how much money they are willing to spend on this hobby, which Go related topics are most important to them… Maybe it’s possible to send around a poll? Or better: Link to it in a comment on your videos.
Knowing your target group and what they want/need is quite important for making marketing decisions.

Totally right. Cross-reference yourself etc. But I also think, you need to think carefully about really aggressive strategies, because that might also scare away people who used to like you.

An important question. Although you probably already are offering something special, just by doing what you do how you do it. In a marketing seminar, I was told “As a solo-self-employed person, you are your brand.”
It might be useful though if you can put into words what makes you and your content special. Maybe ask around here or in the comments to your videos for this kind of feedback (so you don’t need to come up with everything by yourself. :wink: let others do the brainstorming). And maybe also ask for references – people from the Go world saying something nice about you, so that you can quote them.

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That is a great advice :slight_smile:
Which reminded me that I had something else I could add that might be useful.

Being Go players in a western country where chess and backgammon and poker and other games are more popular, makes us by default a bit of a rarity. If you go online, in a community of Go players like here, this goes away, but closing the computer and going outside, most of us usually have the same problem of not really having anyone to play with.

This opens up another opportunity that I am very happy to say that is happening currently in Greece. Of all our scattered community of players our team leader in the PandaNet EU championship is the most active in promoting Go and teaching and finding new players. He turned mostly on the real life aspect of it, collaborated with a new and very active board game club (chess, bridge, competitive backgammon and domino) and convinced the president of the club to add Go to the mix.
As @gennan said, he found the niche and went for it.
Now, suddently, our team leader is not the only person marketing Go and himself. A whole club is doing that, as well. He is in their webpage listed as a teacher along with a Chess GrandMaster, he is being tagged at all the announcements and posters and tournaments the club makes (so, as a first step he ignored the online, but now he has free online marketing :wink: ) and, a couple of days ago, I saw the announcement of the creation of the first ever paid Go teaching classes in Greece.

I’d say that is VERY impressive, but anyone’s standards :slight_smile:

All, I am saying is that online there are some big names and pros that you might have to compete against, but offline there are so few Go players that you are the king of the hill or, in fact, your whole state or country :wink:

There are other things you could be doing also:
E.g. Have you ever thought about contacting some embassy (e.g. Japan, China or South Korea) about any chances that you might be included in any subsidies or creating/teaching a program for promoting their culture? Maybe there is an asian community near your town that might be interested in having an English teaching/Go teacher?
Here in this link there seem to have been many collaborations with US universities to promote Chinese language and art:

Isn’t Go part of their traditional art, as well?
You don’t have anything to lose, methinks.

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As someone who frequently searches for online material, I must say I’m happily paying for “collections” of materials and for structured series. Yes, 90% are free but I give a 10% for structured material. It saves me time and lots of procrastination trying to make a plan (or other excuses).

Beauty gurus are not exempt of brainy games :wink: You never know how they spend their free time.
Anyway, best practices who helped a niche become mainstream are always a good thing to look at.

I think it has to do with the culture towards extra-curricular activities combined with how good the mainstream schools are and whether the subject is connected to Uni studies or the workplace.
Also, nominal (?) salaries.

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It is mostly the difference in salaries and cost of living. Iirc the minimum wage in the US is 7.5$/hour which has not been raised for almost a decade and it is objectively considered a salary with which you cannot even survive and you would need a second job.
7.5$/hour = 58$ per eight hours = 1450$ per month (assuming 25 working days) = 1250 euros.

Minimum salary in Greece is “officially” 650 euros which is a wage you can survive with (albeit barely).
If you were to go to a similar “starving wage” which you’d need a second job, then that would be 350 euros per month. Practically 4 times less than the US “starving wage”.

So, if you have an online international audience/clientelle, you have to be aware of the international differences. :slight_smile:

P.S.
Expanding that, now with the restrictions and a lot of jobs turning remote, it is becoming apparent to a lot of people (mostly in Europe) that they can still retain their job, while moving out and living elsewhere where the living costs are lower.
The aforementioned US “starving wage” of 1250 euros per month salary, if you were in Berlin might be “barely ok”, in Geneva you might be starving and living in the streets, while in Romania you might be actually opening a savings account with it and putting away a couple of hundred euros.

Of course this is a tactic mostly for young people (you cannot pack up a family and move to Cluj, however nice it might be. Just the issue of children and their school is blocking you), but it is nice that the ability to do so exists. Well, at least for the EU countries. People in the States are really reticent to consider such options, even if they are aware of them (which is, in itself, rare).

I remember when I was in the US 15 years ago, consulting the doctor cost at least 80 USD. A few years later we went to Greece, my son bumped his head against the edge of a window so we brought him to the health center. The doctor applied some disinfectant and made stiches, all we had to pay was 5 euros…

However when you sell a product on the internet you can’t make different prices for different countries. So making several tiers, regardless of geographical location, might be a good idea. For instance, all subscribers have access to live lectures and to a league, but those who pay more will get game review more frequently (like 1/week) and those who pay less will get 1 game review/month.

Also I agree that making structured content is useful. I once wanted to watch again a video by e.g. Yeonwoo on some joseki and it took 15 minutes to find it on her channel.

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