Ep 217: Finding A Niche Audience With Bawdy Bookworms Founder Thien-Kim Lam

Jun 25, 2019 | Business Models, Marketing, Podcast

Tara McMullin is a writer, podcaster, and producer who explores what it takes to navigate the 21st-century economy with your humanity intact. Click here to support this work.

The Nitty-Gritty:

  • What inspired Thien-Kim Lam to develop a subscription box and virtual book club for a niche audience
  • How she channeled her love of romance books and her experience selling adult toys into the subscription she would have loved to buy herself
  • How she’s connecting with the right people using a Facebook group, author partnerships, and savvy content marketing
  • Where she’s run into trouble with her niche

The first business idea I ran with was a blog for makers and artists in Pennsylvania.

I was smitten with the new maker movement and I figured that highlighting “made in PA” goods would be an easy way to engage with the community.

I was right.

“Made in PA” wasn’t just the perfect constraint on who to feature. It also served as a constraint for who the audience for the site was too. I was writing about Pennsylvanians for Pennsylvanians.

I had no idea at the time just how savvy this business decision was.

I immediately connected with incredible people.

And they were immediately into what I was doing because they loved that it was just for them.

Soon, the site caught the eye of people from the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, one of the largest non-profit craft associations in the country. Within a few months of launching my site, I was teaching social media workshops with the Guild’s artisans.

I was invited to attend one of the largest tradeshows for handmade goods in the United States on a media pass. I spoke at Etsy headquarters. I hosted meet-ups.

The site never got huge, of course.

But that didn’t matter because people were connecting with it and with me because they knew I made it for them.

Today, we’re talking about building a niche audience—just like I did with my very first website.

There has never been a better time to have a niche business. In fact, I would list not specializing in a niche as one of the top 3 business mistakes I’ve personally made over the last 8 or so years.

Thien-Kim Lam knows the power of an engaged niche audience.

But her niche is a little different than mine was.

In fact, consider this your parental advisory warning.

Thien-Kim Lam is the founder of Bawdy Bookworms, a subscription box company and virtual book club for women who prioritize pleasure.

She took her love for romance books and experience selling adult toys and turned it into the subscription service she would love to buy, knowing there was a niche audience out there who would think the same thing.

Thien-Kim and I talk about her initial challenges bringing the subscription box to market and what’s working now to connect with her niche audience. We talk optin incentives, author partnerships, content marketing, and Facebook groups.

Now, let’s find out what works for Thien-Kim Lam!

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