Let’s talk about niche selection. This is very important to ensuring the profitability of your membership website.
First – Look for Fanatics
If you want your membership business to be profitable, you have to find a marketing 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. OK, so we know what a fanatic is, but how do we find them?
- One simple idea that’s easily forgotten is to scan the magazine racks when you’re out and about. Because it’s becoming harder and harder to keep print periodicals profitable these days, if you see a magazine on the shelves, you know it’s making money. And that means there are lots of people interested in it. If they can make money in a print version, you can probably make money with a membership website.
- Watch and listen for fanatics in your daily life. Pay attention to conversations, social events, TV, restaurants, public places to see what people are talking about. If people are talking about it, they are interested in it. Which means you can start a membership business providing information on it.
- Don’t forget about clubs and organizations. If there are enough people to to build a club, there are certainly enough people to start a membership site on the same topic. Likewise, if there are enough people to hold a convention, there are definitely enough people to fill your membership website.
- And of course there are all the things you have an interest in, too! There’s a good chance that others are interested in these things, as well. And, as an added bonus, it’s much more fun to build a business around things you’re interested in.
- Google Trends. This is a great way to figure out what people are interested in. Google Trends tells you the most popular current search terms. These topics are the hottest topics because lots and lots of people want information about them. Hot topics that people are excited about make great niches for your membership website.
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. One way to figure this out is to see if other are making money in it.
Here’s a punch list for figuring out if anyone’s making money in your niche:
- First go to Google and type in the name of your niche followed by “blog” and “forum”. If there are blogs and forums related to it, that’s a good sign. This means there is a large group of people already assembled for you to market to.
- Check Amazon, eBay and Google Shopping to find out if others are making and selling products in your niche. What you’re trying to figure out is if anyone is making money in this niche, and if people are selling products it means they are making money.
- Monitor Google Adwords to determine if people are running the same ads for weeks in a row. If they are, this means they’re making money on these ads – otherwise, they’d stop running them. Which means there is money to be made in your niche.
Step 3 – Determine ease of entry
OK, so you found a hot topic and you know other people are making money on it. Will you be able to get involved and do the same? Here are some things to look at to figure this out:
- Look at the product types in this niche. You want to find a niche where information products are being sold as the norm. 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.
- Market readiness. Are people ready to buy? Are the receptive to marketing messages? Some niches are made up of people who require lots information and have a very long lead time, and some markets are filled with people who will spend lots of money right now.
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. If you’ve followed along with these steps you’re success in practically guaranteed. The only thing left to cover is exactly how to run your membership business…