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“But I don’t think I want a niche!”


Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of giving a workshop to twenty brilliant, lovely, generous, and enthusiastic alumni of the East West College of the Healing Arts. They had a ton of great questions and ideas, and the piece that promoted most of both was the concept of choosing a niche. One of the alumni told me “I don’t think I want a niche!” And, you know, that’s totally OK.

Niches are one of my favorite things in marketing, but I would never tell you that you absolutely have to have a niche. That would be ridiculous – first of all, it’s your business and you get to decide how you want to run it, and second, I’m sure there are plenty of massage therapists and other healing arts professionals out there who don’t have a niche (or at least not one they are aware of) and are still doing well.

But I do want to offer you that idea again for your consideration, because I have seen about a thousand examples of how much easier and more organic marketing becomes when you do have a niche.

So, the question I’d ask is why you wouldn’t want a niche. Here are some answers I have heard from other people in the field, and some thoughts about them:

“I need variety!”

Your wish shall be granted. Having a niche doesn’t mean you only get to offer one modality, or that you have to stick with the same one forever. Because you are dealing with real human beings and not lemmings, there is already some built-in variety.

Your niche will also likely change and evolve, and of course you are allowed and able to move to a different one in the future.

“I don’t want to exclude anyone.”

And you don’t have to. Of course you can welcome all kinds of clients – you may actually notice that people from way outside your niche are attracted to your practice because of your niche.

You don’t ever have to state “I exclusively work with …” – it’s clear and appealing enough if you say something along the lines of “I especially love working with …” or “We’re a great fit if you …”

“I have several niches I am super interested in and they have nothing to do with each other!”

Really? Maybe there is some overlap after all, and if so, that would be an awesome little niche to go for.

For exmaple, one of the LMTs in my workshop loves working with pregnant women, and she into Shiatsu – which is not recommended during pregnancy. But then another participant had the insight that Shiatsu is actually a great modality for the postpartum period (“I would have loved to have someone step on my hips after I had my baby!”), so there is a lovely option for bringing those two passions together.

If you can’t see any overlap right now, you can either try out settling into two niches (just not more than two or it can get confusing), or start with one, see how it fits you, and how things develop for you.

I will follow up soon with a post on how choosing a niche actually makes marketing for natural health practitioners easier and more fun, so stay tuned – or, if you can’t wait, contact me and we can set up a little spot consultation.

Standing up, reaching out.

in·de·pen·dent, \ˌin-də-ˈpen-dənt\:

(1) not subject to control by others
(2) not requiring or relying on something or someone else
(3) showing a desire for freedom

Independence vs. Connection?

What strikes me about this definition is that it is mostly about what our relationships with others are not, as if independence and connectedness were opposed concepts. But I think the more independent you are, the bigger your potential for truly awesome connections and relationships that won’t get in the way of your freedom. And the more awesome connections and relationships you have, the greater your chances of becoming truly independent.

If you don’t want to be controlled by others, why would you want to take on the burden of having to control someone else?

If you are not relying on someone else to have your needs met, you’re free to enjoy an equal partnership.

If you have a desire for freedom, why limit it to just your own freedom?

An Independent Approach to Marketing

And yes, that can totally be applied to marketing! Here it goes: An independent approach to marketing means that you don’t follow the scripts but lead with your heart.

It means that you have the guts to speak your mind, and to use your own creativity.

It means that you want empower your people to decide for themselves if what you have to offer is what they need and want.

It means nurturing real relationships with other human beings.

It means standing up, and reaching out.

{Photo by addicted Eyes on Flickr, who writes: “I took this while on the road in Rajasthan. I rememeber my mother and another lady were the only women to drive in our town (Erode, TN) 25 years ago; that had surprised many people back then. Its great to see Indian women’s self sufficiency these days; still there is a long ways to go. For me this picture screams self-sufficiency and freedom!”}