3 Simple Questions to Make Sense of Your Market
It’s one of the first questions people have when they start thinking about launching a membership site: Will a membership work for my market?
Well, that’s a good question—and one you probably want to figure out before you get started.
So, how do you know whether your market is a good one for a membership site? How do you know if people will pay you month after month inside of a membership?
Well, it really boils down to three important questions to ask.
1. Who Are Your customers?
It’s critical that you focus on your customers and clients—the people you want to serve. But how? Start by looking for these four things:
- Common characteristics, especially ongoing problems or needs. If you find them, that’s a really good sign that your market might support a membership site.
- Habits that people want to develop on an ongoing basis. If so, that’s another great sign.
- Skills that people want to master over time. You guessed it—another good sign. 🙂
- Places where people are already gathering together around your topic. That’s a good sign people are interesting in having ongoing conversations about your topic.
Bottom line: it starts with the people you want to serve. If they’re looking to solve an ongoing problem, develop new habits, or master a skill—and they’re already talking about it—you’ve got great indicators that a membership site will fit your market.
For example, Levi Kujala runs a guitar membership. Of the characteristics listed above, which one do you think his market really nails?
You guessed it. People looking to learn a new skill.
When you start playing a guitar, you don’t know anything. You don’t know about the chords, frets, strumming patterns—none of it. In the beginning, his members start off with the basics, but then over time, they want to move on to mastery. And as anyone who plays the guitar knows, you can always get better. So Levi found a great market for a membership site.
Another unique way you can evaluate your audience is to ask if there is a way to make something they’re doing more convenient or easier? Is there a complex problem you can resolve in a simple way on an ongoing basis?
For example, a membership site for meal planning helps people who want to solve an ongoing problem and eliminates the question of what to cook for dinner tonight? If you find an ongoing problem you can solve for people, you have a great market for a membership site.
2. Do You Have a Community?
The second thing to focus on is your community—or your opportunity to build one. If you already have a community and a following, that’s awesome!
If you don’t, the good news is that it doesn’t take much. In fact, there are a lot of people in TRIBE who launched their membership sites with just a few hundred people.
Wendy Batten helps paint store owners—talk about a niche within a niche! When she launched her membership site, she had an audience of only 453 people—and welcomed 59 new members right off the bat, producing $2,800 of monthly revenue. Crazy, right?
Marianne Kane launched to a small audience of 250 in the kettlebell workout market for women. Of the 250, 53 women joined her membership right away.
The point is, you don’t need tens of thousands or even thousands of people. A few hundred is all you need to get started, which is awesome news as you consider whether your market can support a membership community.
3. How Will You Produce Content?
If you’re already producing content for your audience, that’s awesome. There’s probably so much of what you’ve already done and are doing that you could repurpose and restructure inside of a membership site.
If you’re not producing content for an audience now, you’ll want to double down your attention there to create content on a more consistent basis before you start a membership site.
But don’t let that stop you from getting started if you have the customers in your market and are ready to begin building a community. It doesn’t take much content to get going (in fact, too much content can be a problem).
You don’t necessarily have to be the one producing the content, but you can tap into content that is already available or get access to people who can do it for or with you.
Decision Time for Your Membership Site
So how do you know if your market will support a membership site?
Look to your potential customers for ongoing problems to solve, skills to master, habits to develop, or ways you can make life more convenient for them. If you find any of these things, that’s a really good sign.
Next, look at your community. If you’ve already got one, that’s a huge jump start. If you don’t have one yet, it doesn’t take long to build an audience or a following. And remember, you only need a few hundred to get started.
Finally, make sure you can produce content for your audience, but don’t be overwhelmed by the task. A little goes a long way.
Asking these three simple questions will help you evaluate your market to know if a membership site is right for you. So start asking—and if you see good signs—start building a membership site of your own.