In order to make sure your membership business is profitable, you have to select the right market. Here’s how.
Step 1 – Find a Fanatical Market
The number 1 thing you have to do is find fanatics if you want a profitable membership website. Simply put, a fanatic is someone who’s willing to spend time and more importantly money on a topic they are interested in. Here’s how to find fanatics:
- Look at magazine racks. This is an often overlooked, yet extremely simple way to find niches that people are interested in. In today’s economy, running a magazine is tougher than ever – some of the best ones are going out of business. So if it’s on the shelves, it’s making money, which means there is a big market interested in this topic. That doesn’t mean definitely that it will make a good membership business, but it’s a good starting point.
- 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 it, they are interested in it. And this means there may be a market for information about 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. By the same token, if enough people are interested to hold a convention on a certain topic, you can definitely find enough people to build a membership business around that same topic.
- 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.
- Google Trends. This is a great way to figure out what people are interested in. This service shows you the current most popular 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. Building a membership business around things people are actively searching for is a great way to ensure your success.
Step 2 – Determine the financial feasibility
OK, so you’ve got a great idea for your niche membership business with lots of fanatics. But will they actually spend money? The quickest way to find out is to determine if others are profiting in your potential 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 tells you there are people who are actively interested in your 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.
Last, but not least… How hard will it be to break into this niche?
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? How do you gauge the ease of entry?
- 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. That’s because it’s much easier to build a membership business around information vs. any other kind of product.
- The next thing to look at is the competition. You don’t want to try to break into a saturated marketing, so figure out how many people are already selling in this niche.
- Compare the size of the market versus the number of competitors. Some competition is a good sign – just make sure the market is big enough for you to join in.
- 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.
OK, now that you’ve figured out what niche you’re going to go into. Determined there is money to be made and that the competition is not too strong to break into it. You’re ready to start your membership business. If you’ve done your homework, your business will be a success because you already know your market is a profitable one with room for you. Learning how to run a membership website is a topic for another article…