In order to make sure your membership business is profitable, you have to select the right market. Here’s how.
Number 1 – Discover Niches with Fanatics
The first step in developing a profitable membership business is to find a market with fanatics in it. Simply put, a fanatic is someone who’s willing to spend time and more importantly money on a topic they are interested in. Now that we know what we’re looking for, let’s talk about how to find them…
- One simple idea that’s easily forgotten is to scan the magazine racks when you’re out and about. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to run a print magazine. So if you see one on the shelves you know they are making money, which means that there are enough people interested in what they’re saying to make it profitable. If they can make money in a print version, you can probably make money with a membership website.
- You’ve got lots of opportunities every day to see what people are interested in. Just pay attention to what people talk about on the radio, at social gatherings, at the store or restaurants and anywhere in public. If people are talking about something, they probably want to know more about it. Which means you can start a membership business providing information on it.
- Conventions, clubs, and organizations. Once again, if there are enough people interested in a topic to create a club or organization, then there are enough people to build a membership business around it. Likewise, if there are enough people to hold a convention, there are definitely enough people to fill your membership website.
- Think about the things that you are interested in. Chances are that if you like a certain topic or hobby, other people do, too. And, as an added bonus, it’s much more fun to build a business around things you’re interested in.
- Another fantastic way to discover what people are interest in is Google Trends. Google Trends tells you the most popular current search terms. The reason people are searching Google for info on these topics is because they are interested. And the fact that it’s made it into Google Trends tells you LOTS of people are interested. These are the niches you want to be in – lots of people actively searching means lots of opportunity.
Next – Figure out if there’s money in it
After selecting a possible niche to build your membership site around, the next step is to find out if it’s a profitable niche to be in. An easy way to determine this is to figure out if anyone else is making money in this niche.
Here’s a punch list for figuring out if anyone’s making money in your niche:
- Are there blogs or forums in this niche? Take the name of your niche and search for “niche name blog” & “niche name forum” in Google to see if there is an active group of people talking about and interested in the niche. This lets you know there is a market (a group of people actively interested in the niche.)
- See if other people are creating and selling product in this niche by searching in Google Shopping, ebay and Amazon. It’s a good sign if there are because it tells you people are making money here.
- Look at Google Adwords for the same ads are running over time. If people are running the same ad over time it means they are making money in the niche. They would not continue to spend money on the ads if there were not making a return from them.
Step 3 – Determine ease of entry
Once you’ve found a niche and figured out that there is money to be made in, you need to determine if you can break into this niche. Here are some things to look at to figure this out:
- Figure out what kinds of products people are interested in. If it’s mostly physical products, coaching and live seminars, then it will be harder to break into this niche. Membership websites based on information are the easiest to start and maintain.
- Competition. How many other people are trying to sell to this market? You want to start in a market that’s not completely saturated with competitors.
- Unless the market is just so big that it doesn’t matter how many competitors there are, you want to limit the competition. So evaluate the size vs. the competition.
- How ready is the market for marketing messages, and how willing are the fanatics to buy. Depending on the market it can be anywhere from a couple minutes to a many months between when someone starts the investigation process to when they actually make a purchase.
Putting it all together
At this point you’ve figured out what niche you’re going into. You found your fanatics, you know they spend money and you’re confident there’s room in the market for you. Now that you’ve prepared properly, you’re success is 99% guaranteed. How to actually run your membership website is the only thing left to talk about…