Membership marketing is the dream of several web entrepreneurs. Ideally, you want to do something, or find something regularly enough, that people will pay you money to tell them about it, or provide a service that they will pay money to get access to. Membership sites, done right, can bring in multiple income streams. Doing them right means doing targeted marketing and services and content. Targeting your market properly is a three step process.
Identify. If you already have a market in mind, great. You’re ahead of the game. Now, the next step is to see if it’s a market that will generate income. While generating a membership web site that just has members and no income is great ego boosting, it’s not good for the wallet. The key to identifying your niche is slicing it as fine as possible. For example, if your passion is classic cars, and passing on information about parts and refurb shops, that’s one thing – if you make it classic Camaros, you’ll target only those people with a passion for that make and model of car, and given the volumes of information pouring in to them every day, getting information targeted to what they want is worth more money. The basic equation of content is that paying you money saves your customer the time of trying to find the things you’re finding for them.
Brainstorming targeted niches needn’t be focused on a particular product. It also works to target a particular demographic, or a geographical area. Talk to your family, your friends, and business associates, and see if you can find that winning combination of membership niche and focus to get a nice stable business.
If you don’t have a market in mind already, focus on what you have a passion to research and what you have a passion to do.
Determine Demand. There are a number of ways to determine the demand of a niche. Start out old school – go the library and go to the book store. Look for what’s on the best seller list, look for topic areas of the library getting lots of traffic and look for sections of the book store, like cooking or religion or home repair, where an adjunct web site can provide timely information
Next, do keyword research for AdWords on Google, and look for things that got “missed”. Start from the general and work to the more specific, and again, focus on topics that you enjoy researching and have a passion about. This can help find several nice possibilities for profitable niches.
Keyword searches are great metrics for determining demand.
Research The Subject And Customer Demands. Go beyond keyword research to isolate and identify your target market. If your aim is off, your profits will be too. Look on forums and chat rooms; they’re a fascinating cross section of your potential market. The people who hang there are the most dedicated of your customers, and you can observe them anonymously. Look for the things they’re searching for and provide it.
If you’re feeling bold, register for the forum and talk to them. Ask questions. Look at the answers. You don’t want to give away the store, but a little Q&A is a good thing for identifying your customer base, and locking in on their needs.
You should also dig in to relevant web sites. Look at what sites are serving the niche you’re targeting and ask yourself what you can do better. Look at the products they’re offering, look at the advertisers on their sites as well; visit the sponsored sites and learn, learn, learn.
Back up your online research with another library visit. Read the specialist magazines devoted to your topic. Look at what products are being advertised, look at their editorial guidelines and look at their article submissions. Remember that magazine advertising costs anywhere from $800 per page to $5,000 per page – any company advertising here is probably worth approaching about advertising or affiliate marketing from your web site.
Research other informational sites – start with article directories, like ezinearticles.com Dig deep into them, and see what demand there is for the information. Look at the sites of the people posting articles and take notes about what they’re doing right that you can copy, and what you can do better to get an edge.