The most successful membership websites are those that cater to a specific niche topic or market. Focusing on a niche topic has a number of advantages.
- By targeting an underserved audience segment, you can differentiate yourself from your competitors.
- You can position yourself as an expert and directly engage with potential members who share your interest.
- You’re better able to identify and solve the specific concerns of that audience.
- You’re able to craft persuasive marketing messages because of the intimate knowledge you have of your audience’s needs.
What is a niche?
A ‘niche’ is defined as a specialized product, service, or interest that appeals to a small section of the population.
Who can become an expert?
Anyone who is passionate and knowledgeable about a topic can become an expert and start a membership website.
Besides passion and knowledge, you must consider if there is a large enough audience interested in your niche and do you think you can build a profitable product around it.
Validate your niche
Before you start to build your membership site, research the competition that’s in the same niche space. If there aren’t many sites devoted to the same topic, it could mean a lack of audience and you might need to rethink your niche.
But if the answer is yes, then it’s time to get started and turn your knowledge into an income generating online business with a membership website.
How do I find my niche topic?
It’s impossible to realistically meet the needs of a broad audience. By becoming a specialist, you’ll be able to effectively meet the concerns of a potentially untapped market.
The beauty of a membership site is that you can build a knowledge business around nearly any niche topic that has an audience.
The possible niche subjects are limited only by your imagination. Finance, fitness and blogging are popular niches but many people have found success with more specialist topics.
Your niche should be a topic that you’re both familiar with and committed to.
John took his herbal mastery and started the membership website herbmentor. The site is dedicated to providing training, guidance, support and resources for ordinary people to be confident herbalists. His website features courses, plant walks, in-depth interviews, and a huge remedy database. He also sells products in his store such as an herbal remedy start kit.
John knew that there was an untapped audience thirsting for knowledge about herbal medicine and natural remedies.
Focus on a niche topic
After you’ve identified your niche, turn your attention to your potential audience. Study their needs and think about what content and services you can offer that will be valuable to them.
Narrowing the niche focus of your membership website lets you refine your content to better address and answer the wants of your audience. This will keep them engaged and aware of the value of their subscription.
Melissa created a successful online business based on her expertise of the craft device – the Silhouette cutting machine. She started by writing an informational blog but soon realised that her audience would benefit from video tutorials.
Melissa then launched her membership website SilhouetteU to provide instructive video tutorials for users of the Silhouette. Besides online content, she offers personal support during her ‘office hours’ via Facebook Messenger. She recognised that offering that extra level of support would cultivate a more dedicated audience.
How to stand out in a saturated marketplace
By becoming a specialist instead of a generalist, you can concentrate on offering more unique and individual content that can differentiate yourself in a saturated marketplace.
Jake, a certified strength and conditioning coach, concluded that in order to succeed in the overloaded fitness market, he needed to narrow his focus. Instead of targeting the fitness goals of everyone, he refined his focus on getting unmotivated people off the couch and into fitness.
This allowed him to hone the marketing messages and videos he creates for his website RelentlessMuscle to fully address the needs of this target audience.
He then spent time developing and posting content, specific to this audience’s needs, on his YouTube channel – which is a major pipeline that drives traffic to his website.
Jake admits, it wasn’t until he focused on a niche in his market did he start to see the results.
Meeting the needs of your members
Megan started the membership website LovePrayTeach to provide Sunday school lesson handouts for gospel learning. Once you decide on your niche, turn your attention to your potential customer. Have a clear definition of who they are and the needs that your website will address.
To better serve her audience, Megan spent time to identify the three customer personas that they planned to sell to.
She says, “It’s been helpful to narrow our marketing by understanding our customers’ pain points and answering those points for them.
“When you just throw things out there and hope they stick, most of the time, they won’t! Selling to ‘our person’ and understanding who she is, is a game changer.”
Making the final decision
Building an online audience takes time but if your starting point is a niche topic you are passionate about and committed to, then you’ll have a strong foundation to grow upon.