How to find your niche
How can you find your niche in the market when your service can literally help anyone? This article explains how to define your niche in the market without restricting yourself to demographics.
I was at a networking meeting and got talking with a lady who had just started her new therapy business.
She felt stuck because she was being told she needed to find a niche in the market and think up who her ideal client was.
Not being able to articulate her ‘niche’ was stopping her from getting her website built.
The issue was she felt she could help anyone and everyone, so to narrow it down to a specific demographic range like age group and gender didn’t really sit well with her.
It didn’t feel appropriate as she could help any gender or age and at this early stage in her practice, she had no preference towards any particular age or gender.
So here’s my view on niching in a crowded market if you’re a therapist and can literally help anyone.
It can apply to other professions too, who feel they can serve anyone and there’s lots of competitors similar to you.
Whilst niching is important, I’m actually not in favour of niching down to a certain demographic like age group or gender when it’s not appropriate.
Narrowing down by demographics can be appropriate for some businesses (e.g. baby massage, teen counsellor) but demographics are not the whole story.
Focus on problem and results.
An example of niche marketing is to focus on the problem that your customers have that you solve.
Potential therapy customers don’t necessarily look for a particular profession.
For instance there are literally hundreds of different therapists from:
- massage therapists
- bowen technique
- functional medicine
Whilst they use different methodologies, there is overlap in what problems they treat.
A potential customer may not know which profession to approach for their pain or problem.
They just know that they are suffering from stress, migraine, knee pain, or frozen shoulder etc
Which is why your marketing message should focus on the problem you solve, not the methodology you use to solve their pain or problem.
When you talk about a pain or problem, your ideal client will identify with that and know immediately they need to come to you.
If you talk about what you do (e.g. I’m a hypnotherapist) then it’s too open and vague for anyone to understand what kind of customers you help.
So for my new friend, who introduced herself as a ‘soft tissue therapist’ this is how I would define her niche.
Demographics – What is useful
The first consideration is location.
She offers a physical service where people have to come to her practice in her location to be treated.
So her ideal clients need to be able to travel to her and live or work within say 15-20 miles of her location.
If her practice is not near public transport, then her ideal clients also need to drive/have a car, or be able to afford a cab.
She already said she had no preference to treating children, teens or adults, men or women.
So how further to niche down?
What’s the pain or problem?
Let’s consider this.
It’s not just about the problem or pain she treats, it’s also about their mindset.
As much as she’d like to think she can help ‘anyone’, she actually can only help people who want to be helped who have the pain or problem she treats.
There are people who would never use alternative therapies.
They live and die by what their GP and conventional medical professionals tell them.
They are happy to take pills without looking for alternatives.
Even though these types of people live in the right location, have the pain/problem she treats, they are not her ideal customer.
My soft tissue therapist friend could very likely help these kinds of people with their pain or problem, but it’s pointless targeting them because they’re not in the right mindset that there could be an alternative to conventional medicine.
My friend’s ideal clients are looking for alternative therapy to solve their pain or problem.
Their pain or problem is stopping them from enjoying their daily lives, doing their job, being able to pick up their children, earn money and they’ll pay anything to be out of pain so they can resume their lives as normal.
So my new soft tissue therapist friend should talk about specific problems she treats.
That could be frozen shoulder, twisted pelvis, tennis elbow, recurring headaches and migraines – these are all specific problems that people suffering from can identify with.
Whilst the methodology she uses is important to her, a potential client doesn’t really care about the methodology, they just want to know if you can ‘cure’ them, relieve them of pain, restore their movement or whatever it is.
And this then circumvents the issue of which therapy should a therapist talk about in their marketing when they are qualified in multiple disciplines.
It’s not the customer’s job to know which therapy to use.
All the customer knows is how much pain or discomfort they are in.
They don’t know which is the best therapy to use (and they probably don’t care).
It’s your job as the expert to use the therapy that is most likely to get the best results for the symptoms presented.
Which could be a mix of therapies, whichever is most appropriate by your judgement as the expert therapist for xxx pain or problem.
What if you are able to treat many different problems?
If you’re starting out, like my soft tissue therapist friend, start with just one specific problem for a predetermined time in your marketing and see the response.
There’s nothing to stop you from adding or switching to another problem further down the line.
By choosing one specific problem and talking about just that, will help you come across much clearer to potential customers and people who could refer you.
It’s the difference between saying ‘I’m an osteopath and I treat slipped discs, twisted pelvis, frozen shoulder, repetitive strain injury, tennis elbow, …’ long list of ailments that people will have switched off before you get to even the middle of your list.
Compared with ‘I’m the frozen shoulder melter of [town name] – I help people get full movement back from frozen shoulder injuries within 1 treatment.’ Which is far more relatable to people with that ailment or knowing someone who’s complained of frozen shoulder.
Same applies to your website messaging.
Your messaging should be about the problem/pain you treat.
That’s how you niche in the market.
Doing this has the added bonus of setting you apart from other therapists who could also treat frozen shoulder, but now you’ve positioned yourself as the expert of frozen shoulders.
The primary message is what pain or issue you treat.
Secondary is the methodology.
Someone seeing or hearing your message who suffers with a frozen shoulder will immediately pay attention.
They may then ask you what kind of treatment/methodology you use.
And that’s when it’s ok to talk about your profession/methodologies you’re trained and qualified in.
In a website the methodology you use is further down the page.
So, there’s some ideas how you can niche in the market when you could work with ‘everyone’.
Helping you get clear on your marketing messages for your website is what I do for clients who work with me one to one and in my group programs.
If you’re looking to refresh your website and would like my help then get in touch.
Set up an are we right for each other call.