6 Crucial Factors to Determine Whether Continuity is Right For Your Business

November 5, 2008 - Written by Gyutae Park  

Do you have continuity in your online business? Last week I talked about why the continuity model makes sense. If you haven’t looked at it yet, now is the time. There are some big advantages of continuity that you may not have realized before. For example, did you know that with continuity you get continuous cash flow, long term profits, lower price points, more efficiency, higher conversion rates, and higher perceived value?

Sounds enticing, right?

Well, although its many benefits, it’s important to note that continuity is not for every niche or market. There are some critical factors that determine whether or not the continuity model is appropriate for a particular audience. If you’re looking to incorporate continuity into your business, be sure to look at the list below.

6 Crucial Factors – Is Continuity Right For You?

Need for ongoing support – will they be around in a few months?
First and foremost, a continuity program or membership site automatically assumes that there is a need for ongoing support. Without it, the continuity model would fail miserably in your business. What do I mean? Say for example that there are 2 membership sites – one for fixing a car engine and another for learning how to play the guitar. Which is better? In this case, learning guitar is a much better market for continuity because playing the guitar is a lifetime journey and requires ongoing support. On the other hand, fixing a car engine is a one time ordeal. If you want to create continuity, be sure that you’re working in a market that supports it.

Year-round sales – will they be interested once the season is over?
One of the main benefits of continuity is that you constantly accumulate new members and build on your current customer base. However, in order for this to happen, your business needs to support year-round sales. Seasonal markets are not conducive to continuity because they kill momentum and require that you start from scratch every new period. Continuity programs on snow sports and the summer Olympics, for example, are not optimal. Find a market where you can build upon your efforts without having to worry about seasonal factors.

Online market – can they be reached via the Internet?
This is more of an obvious factor, but does your business cater to people online? The majority of people in developed countries are connected and using the Internet on a daily basis these days. However, many continuity programs and membership sites are technology-heavy and require that users be savvy online. For example, a membership site targeting visually impaired senior citizens probably won’t see much action. Search online for related online websites, blogs, and forums to see if your target market is reachable online.

Market with passionate/desperate people – how bad do they want you?
People who join continuity programs or membership sites are usually deeply interested in the subject matter at hand. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be investing so much time and money into it. If you want to start a successful continuity program for your business, it’s important to work in a market full of these passionate and/or desperate people. Niches like fitness, self improvement, business, finance, and hobbies are lucrative for this very reason. For instance, a woman desperately trying to get into shape, a passionate musician, and a businessman trying to take his income to the next level are great candidates to join membership sites.

Unique angle or story – why should they care about you?
Everyone loves a good story – they’re fun and engaging and help people to connect on a deeper level. Continuity programs are essentially relationships with your customers and you’re much more likely to get their attention and keep them on board if you have a unique selling proposition and a story to tell. If you’re in the “make money online” niche you can describe the struggles you’ve overcome to reach the income levels you’re at today. If you’re in the fitness niche you can show your before and after photos and leverage them as living proof that your methods work. Maintaining a successful continuity program requires that you work in a market where you can tell your unique story and engage your members.

Magazines in your market – is there money to be made?
The final factor in determining whether or not your market is ripe for continuity is to look at the existing magazines in your niche. Most magazines already use the continuity model via subscriptions and the existence of trade publications usually means that there is money to be made in that market. For more info, be sure to read my article on how to use magazines as a market research tool for your sites.

So what do you think? What’s your market and how does continuity fit in? Be sure to leave a comment below.

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Comments

43 Responses to “6 Crucial Factors to Determine Whether Continuity is Right For Your Business”

sven on November 5th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Some very good points you make here, the point is to actually sell something that has market value on the long run, so it’s either support or continue to deliver some sort of products like a wordpress themes club. It’s still work, but it’s more reliable income than most of the money making ways you can follow.

Gyutae Park on November 5th, 2008

Hey Sven,
Everything is going to require work to make money online. However, what I like about the continuity model is that you’re continually paid even for work that you did in the past. So you’re right in that sense it’s a lot more reliable than say something like PPC affiliate marketing.

sven on November 6th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I know that it’s work, but you sound a bit like it’s the less work than other routes route 🙂 If you know what I mean, but that must not be the case, it can even be more work, still it’s probably a more stable income than ppc, paid reviews or advertisment, where you have less influence on the people who want to invest money.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
 
John Motson on November 6th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Hi Gyutae,

A very informative post, gave me quite a lot to think about as I have been working on a couple of continuity projects lately.

I have a question: apart from winningtheweb, how many other projects do you juggle and do you apply the same or similar model to each?

John Motson aka dnxpert on dnxpert forum

Gyutae Park on November 6th, 2008

Apart from Winning the Web, I work as an SEO strategist for a top marketing agency, and juggle about 5 other projects – although some of them run themselves. I just recently discovered the continuity model and hope to incorporate it into many of sites starting with this one. Should be a good change.

 
 
Ed on November 6th, 2008

Therein lies the rub; servicing clients of a continuity program down the road. I don’t put my name on something without exceptional follow up, but we have to balance that within a time budget.

There is real catch 22, which, if mastered, creates the golden dream of online income; continuity programs can be the lifeblood of an internet entrepreneur so that they can branch out creatively, and when innovative opportunities present. However, inadequate interaction with customers *we’ve sold* our program to, is unfair to them, and suicide to your reputation.

This where a book like Ferris’ Four Hour Week is bull.

If you’re treating customers right, that requires time. But you can’t innovate when you’re starving for time. Does this mean we should then always seek enough growth to hire some support? A v/a?

Perhaps considering these things early on will allow for behaviors that are synonymous with scalability.

Thanks for your post,
Ed (Ed’s NextInstinct @ dnxpert.com)

Gyutae Park on November 6th, 2008

Hey Ed,
I agree with your comment that scalability is difficult when you’re building a continuity program. However, the more you detach yourself from your business, the easier it is to outsource the support. You’ll have to train your VAs on best practices but in an ideal situation, they would represent your standards well.

 
 
jeff on November 6th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Some very good points to be noted. Especially the magazine part is one which I can very well vouch for. One of the best ways to find if a niche is profitable and worth the continuity is to dig out the magazine for that particular niche and look for the advertisements.

Topics like quitting smoking also lends very well to the continuity theme.Weight loss is done by everybody and his uncle but competition also lends a certain weightage to the continuity factor, I believe.

Redbaron@dnxpert.com

Gyutae Park on November 6th, 2008

Hey Jeff,
The quit smoking is a great example. Everyone flocks towards the fitness niche, but quit smoking has huge potential as well.

Another way to check the profitability of a niche is to do a Google search and look at the paid ads. If there is a lot of competition, it probably means there is money to be made.

 
 
Ross on November 6th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Very interesting article. This was a hard concept to grasp when i first started in the online business. Since i was heavy in to things like motorcycles i always wanted to do something along those lines. None the less when you “Get it” it makes a ton of sense and will save you lots of money in the end.

Ross Conte aka Tivo on dnxpert forum

Gyutae Park on November 7th, 2008

Hey Ross,
You can always mix business with pleasure and start online businesses on topics that you love. For example, why not a blog or membership site for motorcycle maintenance and care? I’m sure that would work really well for your audience.

 
 
SEO Services on November 6th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I run an seo firm myself, and use the continuity model. Good post!

 
Gus on November 6th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Nice post, very helpful thoughts there. Right now I am trying to launch a couple sites, and have a couple more in mind, and reading this article I realized… none of them could fit this idea. None of them could really give me clients that stick to the service all year round, and therefore create that countinuity.

I wonder, do you think it is easier to start with sites that offer a continuity service or a site were you can just go and buy that something you are looking for, and you normally get just one time?

Gus (Gustavo @ dnexpert forum)

Gyutae Park on November 7th, 2008

Gus, it really depends on the market that you’re in. Typically, many businesses offer a high quality one-time product, which then lures people into the continuity program. You can use both to your advantage.

 
 
Ann Arbor Web Design on November 6th, 2008

Yes the continuity model is not good for seasonal sales, rather it supports year round sales better; but what is very attractive about the continuity model is as you say you get paid continually for work that you did in the past.

 
Navjot Singh on November 7th, 2008

Great Article I must say. As soon as I read it, then I realised why sudden this shift recently among some Entrepreneurs. Consider this..WpDesigner created Themes Club(though became useless after new owner), Justin Tadlock Created a themes club, Brian Gardner opened Revolution two with Memberships, Aaron closed ebook and opened mentoring program, Yaro also did the same!

Now I realise why all these suddenly realised the benefits of Continuity program. Thanks for your article I came to realise this fact.

Infact, Even I am planning now of incorporating these into any of my new projects which I will plan in future. Afterall its all about having relationships with your clients forever rather than one time association. It leads to better branding too!

Navjot Singh aka navjotjsingh on dnxpert forum

Gyutae Park on November 7th, 2008

Hey Navjot,
Those are all great examples of people who successfully use continuity to take their businesses to the next level. You’re certainly right that in business, real relationships with customers go a long long way.

 
 
Thomas on November 7th, 2008

Very good article, I must say that!
Just that I have one little though about the subject that I didn’t find in the article, or sorry if I missed it… research on how profitable your niche is!
As you said, membership sites are great for continuity but from my point of view they also ask for a way more time involved in running them than any other type of sites, and therefore you should take into consideration how profitable your niche is, how much sales you can expect in particular time frame, is it worth of time and money you need to invest into running a successful membership site?
For example, if you have membership site about weight loss, you get a new member, he reads you articles, choose to buy product that you promote, you take some affiliate commission and after that it’s most likely that he will be offline for a few months. And then the real questions come in place: will he get back to your site to buy another supply so you can take affiliate commission again? Does your sponsor have lifetime cookie so you can always collect commissions or you will lose your customer at some point? And so on…
Other important thing in my opinion: as you need to be careful that your niche have ability for continuity, you should also be careful that your content, products, advices etc have continuity. What I mean? It’s simple, if you promote one product and suddenly decide to add another product to your offer, then you should be careful that both products are compatible, because you will most likely lose your members if you tell them how product 1 is great, then you add product 2 that is much different from product 1 and tell them again how great this second product is… they will think “dear god, this guy doesn’t know what he is talking about”.

Continuity is great and I’m really glad for having a chance to read your article, just that I think there is a little more things to think about when you planning membership sites than those 6 factors, although those 6 you named are for sure the main ones and the most important ones!

Keep up the great work and hope to read more great articles from you!

Thomas aka Valineo at dnxpert forum

Gyutae Park on November 7th, 2008

Hey Thomas,
Thanks for your insights. There are definitely more than 6 factors when it comes to deciding whether continuity is right for you. However, as you mentioned, these are the main ones that you should focus on. As for profitability, it’s usually safe to say that if there’s a print magazine in your niche, then there’s money to be made from a membership site. You’d be surprised at the obscure niches that generate income for people.

 
 
wiehanne on November 7th, 2008

Indeed, those are 6 important points. Business should be around when there is a need and market for a long term.

I myself have a WP theme blog and been thinking whether I should keep it going with the current line and market or bring it to another level. At least I can get clearer by asking myself the above 6 points. 🙂

Wiehanne aka whn on dnxpert forum

Gyutae Park on November 7th, 2008

Hey Wiehanne,
Wordpress theme businesses actually work very well for continuity because there’s a constant demand for new and better themes. Just look at what Brian Gardner of Revolution Theme and Justin Tadlock are doing. I say go for it and see what happens!

 
 
Romico on November 8th, 2008

I have to admit, it’s huge commitment if you’re having multiple continuity program. I’ve gone through countless obstacles when trying to maintain 3 membership site at a time, and sadly to say they slowly dies. Anyway, now i do have one successful membership site, and little did i knew that the 6 factor above was responsible making my site stay alive now more than a year.

I did some evaluations on site like Brian Gardner and Justin Tadlock, and yeah, they too follow the 6 continuity factor especially the ‘Year-round Sale’ point. But i think i would look for what i’m passionate and good at with all the points above before build a continuity or membership program.

Great article Gyutae Park, i think this is a true tips for anyone who wanted continuity in their online business.

Romico Ed aka romico on dnxpert forum

 
JeffR on November 10th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I see where you are going with this and being online trying various ways to create brand continuity I can relate to a few of the points that you make. We have taken great effort to expand our blogs so that target a specific area so that customers who read our blogs or advertise on them can create a consistent message and target the right audience. As to the marketing continuity that can be difficult to achieve if you let yourself wander off on multiple project that will expand the breadth of knowledge and customers but does not offer the depth of knowledge that is needed to really brand and create your niche.
Jeff R aka traffexone on dnxpert forum

 
Frank on November 10th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Online market and sales are actually important!

 
topen on November 10th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

wow , a great concept to graspt, thanks for this article gyutae, right know im sure im lack of this section, i just not follow my continuity.
its; really important to considering a continuity and focus on specific target.

topen aka topen on dnxpert forum

 
Ray on November 12th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

One of the more successful membership site/continuity program is Club Penguin, where they target the 6-14 year olds (and their parents) to play virtual games using their penguin avatars. Free and premium memberships. 12 million users. Bought by Disney for $350M. Exit Strategy. Nuff said.

Ray aka domainmaster on dnxpert forum

 
Marvz18 on November 12th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Two thumbs up!!!
This is one of the most informative article I have read so far and its very easy to understand. The continuity program can be applied not only in the internet but also in the real world…

This article made me think…hmmmm… And I really like the part specially the “Market with passionate/desperate people” although all factors have its points…

Thanks for this article Gyutae…

 
Dulcenegosyante on November 12th, 2008

I’m beginning to think that this continuity model you are referring is the best example of passive income stream in the long run. No wonder, the big guys are all moving to this direction in their business models. I have some projects coming up ahead, I’ll put this idea into practice. Thanks for this interesting information, Gyutae.

Dulcenegosyante aka dulcenegosyante on dnxpert forum

 
jonaver on November 12th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I like the idea!

I’m a newbie with online business but I am loving it coz I can take care of my son while earning money. For now, I am simply earning money with my blogs and joining affiliate program but I am continuously searching for other things that can let me earn more.

These single article had shown me a lot of idea. I definitely agree with all the things you have mentioned. Though I know continuity is a good program but I need to take time considering the 6 crucial factors to make sure that continuity would be right for any online business that I would be starting sooner.

Again, thanks for the insights that you have imparted.

Jonaver aka popularity0811 on DNXpert forum

 
Clarisse on November 13th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

interesting blog. I mean though i really did not have any knowledge on the online market it really gave me new information. extraordinary. When will you have a new entry?

Clarisse aka amishu on DNXpert forum

 
Leo on November 17th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Great article on a nice blog.

I think a much better market for continuity is preparing for free contents or services. I have a question, Say for example that there are 2 membership sites – one for fixing a car engine with free membership and another for learning how to play the guitar with paid membership. Which is better?

Leo aka mana on DNXpert forum

 
dominantdomainer on November 18th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Thanks for the insight. I run (or at least try to) a few different online ventures at the moment, my interest of course, being residual/passive income. You have made a few key points that I had not considered and even while my current projects may meet some of the crucial criteria for continuity, reading this post has given me a few ideas for improvement. For example, every product has a sales cycle, a high season, but by identifying and offering products that complement this during the “low” season, a continuous cash flow can be achieved. I will be reading your blog more often!

dominantdomainer on dnxpert forum

 
Icon on November 20th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Hi Gyutae,
Nice information on this topic.
If I have a software business which is custom made one, should I bring the support to continuity for all softwares released? Maybe some older softwares, let say only have less than 5 clients while the newer ones have more.
Thanks.

Icon aka erxn on DNXpert forum

 
Dinesh Choudhry on November 24th, 2008

Good post.
This post serves as a great tips for niche website owners. Continuity is a hard task but if implemented well, it can fill our pockets.
I used to wonder why people pay us to offer free magazines(tradepub), now I understood how magazines can grow our business.

 
ThemeLib.com on November 25th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Great article. Bookmarked it!

ThemeLib aka nhc1987 on DNXpert forum

 
Richael Neet on November 29th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Hi Gyutae Park

Continuity in my field of interest (that is, blogging about domains) is quite essential. The domaining world is changing shape everyday, and this requires me to continue offering my readers a daily dose of carefully planned and up-to-date articles. No only that, I need to create wide interest by venturing into marketing techniques, such as free e books, contests, and social networking. This promotion needs to be an ongoing process… leave it for the next day and you would be left behind in the marketing world.

This article is a great example of how to keep striving for success through the element of continuity. Thanks

Richael Neet aka Domain Marvelous on dnxpert forum

 
Farrhad A on November 29th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

A great post 🙂
Continuity is essential

Farrhad on dnxpert forum

 
DotDriven on November 29th, 2008

Hey Gyutae, long time ;). Haven’t had a lot of time to get online lately but have been meaning to catch up. But I guess I can say dnxpert made me do it, this time lol.

Anyway, great post as usual. And you definitely have a something here. Coincidentally, I actually thought dnxpert was doing a great job adding some continuity itself by adding forums and really mixing it all together.

Anyway, another positive about “continuity” that I wanted to add is the type of loyalty and pride you help develop for your own “customers” because of it. Because they feel a sense of belonging and eventually a sense of ownership the customers themselves help continue the continuity for you. Not only do you end up with volunteers helping actually run things but they help add to the content and value of the entire program. I haven’t been part of a community like that where the users themselves didn’t become the real value as they shared and helped with others that were drawn to the same.

I admit I have given countless hours of my own time doing just that with different programs I have been apart of. Not only did I, as a paying customer, add more to the program that was originally there and help everyone, I enjoyed it and was happy to do it. Though I have to admit it would have been sweeter if I got a cut of the profits now that I think about it lol.

Lastly, I think an important point to add to the 6 you posted is that you yourself have some passion or at least a real interest in the topic as it makes it so much easier to connect. Sure, some people can build, market and support just about any subject and be ok with it but I find I have a hard time really connecting if I’m not passionate about the subject myself.

Thanks for the great topic Gyutae!

And thanks for the push to catch up on some reading John :).

DotDriven on dnxpert forum (and everywhere else)

 
Stanil Dobrev on November 29th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Never thought about continuity and the value it brings.
Actually this is the second article i read on this matter and i’m starting to realise how wrong i was sometime with the sites (i won’t list them here of course) i create and hope getting them monetized for a long term.
I must say that i’m glad i was refered to this site. Great info here.
Thank you Gyutae for all the great info and wish you luck with the site.

Stanil Dobrev aka plxtransformer on dnxpert forum

 
Ericka on December 5th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I would ponder about everything I wanted to do. Sooner, I found myself planning to keep being that way. After some days, continuity is nowhere found.

I guess one person’s commitment to this object will keep him motivated and fulfillment will be much ahead. If your planning for an online business, be very sure that it is much needed or wanted by most people. This way, alot will keep an eye on your plans. It’s okay to be idealistic so that your plan will be creative and fruitful YET be realistic like you know you have a small capital, don’t buy the extravagance as soon. Buy the need ones.

This is one great information, Mr. Gyutae
Thanks and God bless!

Ericka Liper aka babydoll on dnxpert forum

 
bags on September 3rd, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Some really great tips here, I will be recommending this to anyone looking for more info about Continuity .

 
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