What is it that makes your business unique? Even more so than the product or service you offer, it’s your customers and the niche forum ideas that develop around them.
To give an example, most of us care about our personal health and fitness, but that doesn’t mean we all want to head to the local gym to get into shape. People have different exercise regimes and preferences. Physical abilities and attributes vary hugely between one person and the next. Then, we have our own inner challenges. Some of us need that little extra help to get motivated. Others don’t want to feel like they’re being held back.
For everything we have in common, there’s loads of things we don’t, and that’s not a bad thing. It just means we all have our own needs, desires, and challenges. That’s what a niche forum or any other niche community is all about. Finding the perfect niche forum idea isn’t all about your product – it’s about your target audience and everything that sets them apart.
What is a niche forum?
A niche forum targets a specific group of people. That’s quite unlike the main social networks, where communities are dispersed across lots of different platforms and there’s no easy way to engage your audience. Instead of revolving around general interests, niche forums home in on a specific topic in a way that’s instantly relevant to the people they’re trying to target.
As an example, a niche forum won’t always be about health and fitness in general, but about a sub-niche within that broader topic area. It might also cater to a specific demographic, such as women or men of a certain age. Others might target people in a certain geographical area.
You can break down almost any market into niches. The big advantage is it’s less competitive, and you’ll be in a better position to engage your community members on a more personal and meaningful level.
Where can you find the right forums?
The internet has made even the more obscure niches surprisingly competitive, but that shouldn’t be disheartening. If there’s competition, it’s a good sign of a healthy market, and there’s ample opportunity to be found in most niches.
If you want to build your own niche forum, it’s best to start by looking at what others in your area are doing. Then, you can find out what makes you and your target audience different.
Google’s a great way to build a niche forums list that you can draw inspiration from. Start by typing in the key word or phrase that best describes your market, and see which suggestions come up. These suggestions can help you home in on the topics people are searching for. Next, see if there are forums or other communities around those topics simply by adding forum or discussion board to your search query.
There are even search engines specifically for forums. Findaforum.com, for example, lets you search for forums across hundreds of different topics. Another good place to search is Reddit, where there are communities for just about everything imaginable. Other social websites can reveal topic ideas as well, as well as teach you more about your target audience. Now, imagine what you could achieve if you had a niche forum of your own!
Find out what’s happening in your niche
Niche forums and websites help you determine how your own community could grow. They also give you loads of ideas for what sort of content you should share with your members.
It pays to keep informed about the latest trends and activities in your industry by exploring blogs and forums that are similar to what you have in mind for your own community. For example, you can see what’s trending in a given niche by looking at Google Trends.
If you want to sell products to your community, you should start by looking at the major online retailers. For example, Amazon’s search function has a useful autosuggest feature like Google that you can use to quickly find what sort of products people are buying.
Let’s say you run a photography community for teaching people how to take the perfect shot – chances are they’ll also be interested in buying equipment like cameras, lenses, and photo editing software. Find out what your members are most likely to buy, and you have a whole new way to monetise your community!
Give your niche forum a home of its own
Anyone can open a group on Facebook or another public network, but it isn’t easy to engage members when you’re not in control of the experience. To build a thriving community that gives your members a safe and private space to interact, you need your own website or community app.
With modern niche forum software, you can do more than create a simple discussion board. You can also give your members a fully-fledged social networking experience that’s branded to your business. Better still, with a mobile app, your community can stay connected anywhere – that’s great for those micro moments when people have a short update they want to share or a quick question to ask.
How to monetise your niche forum idea
If you have your own niche forum software, you should have more opportunities to monetise your community. Our own platform provides several flexible monetisation features, including premium subscriptions, paid downloads, and in-app purchases. Let’s take a look at how these various opportunities can work for different niches:
Health and wellness
Let’s say you’re running a local gym. People often meet in your establishment and sometimes make lasting friends who they like to exercise with. Why not give them a space where they can keep in touch outside the gym as well?
Now, on to monetisation. Why restrict yourself to a local audience and only to people who can afford (or want to pay for) a fulltime gym membership? An online community lets you sell your services online with on-demand, live-streamed coaching that’s accessible anywhere, anytime.
The selling of knowledge is all the rage these days, and e-learning courses and communities are everywhere. Whether you run in-person training events or you work entirely online, the best learning experiences are usually the result of teamwork. Giving your clients a space to work together and keep in touch is practically a must for keeping them engaged.
As with businesses in health and wellness, professional trainers and consultants can offer a wealth of premium services online. They can do this by selling courses, organising paid online events, or by charging a subscription to access exclusive premium content.
From apocalypse preparation to yachting, there’s a niche interest group for just about every topic imaginable. Creating a forum that caters to a niche audience is a great way to build an engaged and close-knit community. The more obscure the niche, the less the competition, but every group wants a place they can call home.
While profitability varies enormously from one niche to the next, affiliate marketing is usually the best way to monetise a hobby community or common interest group. But, if you have your own products to sell to your community, that’s even better!
Publishers and artists
When you’re building up a following of die-hard super fans, your target audience will always look forward to hearing from you! That’s why every publisher or artist can benefit from having a community for engaging and selling to their target audiences. For example, a popular rock band might use a niche forum community to sell concert tickets or exclusive merchandise.
It might seem difficult to find something new in the age of the internet. But a little bit of research and a strong focus on the power of community can help you carve out a space for yourself, your mission, and your fans.
Here’s a quick recap:
- Explore and learn from other communities related to your niche
- Get up to speed on the latest trends in your industry
- Give your niche forum a home of its own
- Find ways to monetise your niche forum idea
Disciple gives you everything you need to build a niche community to drive engagement and foster meaningful relationships.