Back in 2007, when first starting my career as a registered holistic nutritionist, I was still living in the holistic bubble, as I like to call it. I was fully immersed in everything healthy, organic and holistic; thinking that everyone must know and implement the holistic and healthy lifestyle I had embraced. Why?
It was only when I went out into the world and started seeing clients that my bubble burst and the panic and overwhelm set in. I felt like I had to help anyone and everyone who wanted my help. I spent way too many unpaid hours creating one-off protocols for friends, family and clients, who rarely followed my advice anyways.
I said yes to ALL opportunities which meant that I was researching and creating content constantly, most of the time for free. I was exhausted. I realized that I wasn’t superwoman. Even superwoman can’t do all that. I rarely got referrals and my business wasn’t growing. I felt stuck.
This happened to me, and most likely you, for a very simple reason: I didn’t have a niche. Yes, not having a clearly defined niche can do that to you.
Don’t believe me? Read on.
What’s a Niche Got to Do with It?
Let’s first define the word “niche” as it pertains to marketing. Niche marketing is when you channel all your marketing efforts towards a well-defined market segment. It is specifically a marketing tactic that is used to target a specific and unique market segment.
Don’t get me wrong, a niche market is not a small market. It simply is a specific target audience with a specialized offering. When you focus on a niche, you become the market leader.
For example, some massage therapists choose to focus on pain treatments rather than being generalists. But if you’re a massage therapist and a gym instructor at the same time, you’re going to find it really difficult to cater to the different customer types. You’d actually be running multiple businesses at once.
Advantages of Niche Marketing
One of the main advantages of niche marketing is that there is very little competition in a particular segment. You are virtually the market leader and can enjoy a price monopoly.
Another benefit is having stronger relationships with your clients because you operate in such a small segment. In that way, the relationship between you and your brand is much stronger which is vital to customer loyalty. Clients won’t mind paying a little more to get your services.
Every single field has competition. The health and wellness field is no different. There are hundreds of other people out there who do what you do.
If a prospective client wants to hire someone, why should they hire you instead of other holistic health practitioners?
One of the easiest and best ways to demonstrate your value and answer that question is to focus on a niche — a specific area within your field.
Again, this is important for a couple of reasons. The first being that you can provide more value to your clients because you have narrowed your expertise to an area that is relevant to them. The second is that you face less competition.
How Does Lack of A Business Niche Affect Your Online Marketing?
As a business owner, your biggest and most limited resources are time and money. So you need to use those two things strategically.
To be able to use them strategically, you need to be very clear about the segment in the health and wellness market that you’re trying to serve because all your marketing efforts will stem from that. This point is especially important for your online marketing efforts.
Think about how people find and interact with you and your business online. When your website shows up in search results, it’s one of many pages that users quickly scan. When they decide to click on your site, they decide quickly about whether to continue browsing your site or to click the back button. When they go to your blog page, they do the same.
The same goes for social media.
When people choose to follow you on social media (by the way are we connected on Instagram?), your updates will be one of hundreds or thousands (for some users) that show up in their newsfeeds. When they sign up for your email updates, your newsletter will be one of many that land in their inbox.
The point is that at each step of the marketing process, you are competing for a user’s attention.
It is going to be quite frankly an uphill battle to capture the attention of prospective clients if your content doesn’t resonate with them. That will lower the overall impact and effectiveness of your marketing campaigns as people won’t click through your website, read your blog or share your posts and updates on their social networks.
The only way you can stand out in the crowd is to provide your ideal clients with content that is relevant and unique to their needs. So if you know who your ideal client is, you can create content that is specifically targeted towards them. That will ensure that you have a greater chance of success.
I didn’t start out having a niche. I helped anyone and everyone who wanted my help — some people had asthma, other’s wanted help with their arthritis.
Someone came to me with crohn’s disease and I quickly referred them because I did not feel qualified enough to help with that.
I actually didn’t realize I was creating a niche market for myself until I started growing my nutrition practice in a women’s only gym and had the same kind of women with the same kind of problem and the same kind of goals coming to see me. It was then that I had my “aha” moment and also realized that I was building up a reputation at the same time.
How to Identify Your Niche
In order to identify your business niche, you need to figure out how you can differentiate yourself from your competitors and what area you can specialize in. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you identify your niche.
What do I enjoy doing?
There must be some things that you enjoy doing more than others, within your field. So ask yourself which projects you are most excited about. Paying attention to what you enjoy is important as we typically enjoy things that we are already good at.
Also think back to why you wanted to study health, fitness or whatever it was that you went to school for, or did a certification in in the first place. What pissed you off so much or what did you feel so passionate about that you felt compelled to turn it into a career?
Similarly, if you could only ever talk about one thing related to your professional education again for the next 5 years what would that topic be?
In other words, what niche do you want to specialize in?
What do I not enjoy doing?
It’s also important to figure out what you don’t enjoy doing. Those are projects you avoid doing or that you drag your feet on. Instead of vying for client work that you don’t enjoy, go for the ones that you enjoy and feel would be a better fit for you.
Where do I have the most experience?
Which specific segment of the health and wellness industry do you have the most experience in?
What is my target market?
You may start off with a broad market but you’ll need to narrow it down from there. Not only think about who may need your services, think about which client would be a better fit for you.
For example, weight loss or chronic pain are BIG multibillion dollar markets. A niche in the weight loss market would be to specialize in working with postnatal moms or menopausal women or Type II Diabetics. A niche in the chronic pain market would be to specialize in motor vehicle accidents, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, or migraines. Which is a better fit for you?
Who values my services?
Some clients may value your services more than others. So think about clients you have worked with and identify the ones who really appreciated and saw the value in what you were offering to them. Then think about what they have in common.
Once you have identified your niche, you will be in a better position to effectively market your services. You’ll have a better idea of what to do differently than others in the field.
You’ll also have a better idea of what your expertise is within your field and who values your services. You will then be able to create content that speaks directly to your ideal clients.
You can put together a marketing plan and know that prospective clients will be more likely to read your blog and share your social media updates.
How to Identify Your Niche from the Get-Go
If you’re just starting your practice, I bet you’re scared shitless to choose a niche market. You might not know where you want to focus your business and that’s OK.
You can spend some time staying ‘general’. You’ll gain valuable experience and hopefully start to see a pattern emerging in the clients that you work with.
However, I do highly recommend that you keep the following four key things in mind (even if you are just starting out) to help narrow down and define your niche market, preferably before you build your website and brand.
Your entire business — everything that you create, promote and sell — is created to serve your niche and more specifically, your ideal client.
So it would stand to reason that if you are helping anyone and everyone, then of course, you aren’t sure what content to create or what offers to put out into the world.
Here are four key things that will help you narrow your focus when you’re just starting out:
Who specifically do you want to help?
When you are defining your niche, you need to get really clear on the type of clients you want to work with. Would you prefer to work with men, women or children? What about the age range? What types of values do you want your clients to have?
Are they complete health newbies or do they have a pre-existing interest in health? Your niche consists of real life people who are more than just their health issue or pain points.
What are the top 3-5 questions to you get asked all the time?
Most health coaches and practitioners choose a niche based on their own experiences. When you are open about your own health journey, people going through the same, or a similar thing as you, will naturally ask you questions. Do you enjoy answering the most common questions? Can you answer them effortlessly?
These recurring questions can help you identify the type of person who is gravitating towards you and your health story and they might just be your niche market!
What is your purpose?
When I first started my practice, I felt like my purpose was to make sure everyone knew what Candida was, how to get rid of it and how to heal the digestive system. Now I feel like my purpose is to teach health coaches and practitioners how to startup and grow a profitable business. I do this by teaching, mentoring and sharing my life.
So ask yourself, “what impact do I want to have on the world?” and “what is my underlying motivation for doing what I do?”
What could you talk about for days and not get bored?
This one is really important. Committing to a niche market means that you’re focusing your business on one subject — yes, there are lots of spinoff topics relating to that subject but ultimately you’ll be focusing on one area.
Let’s take leaky gut and digestion as a primary example. Most people don’t even know they have leaky gut or digestive system issues. So you need to talk about their current state of health — bloating, gas, indigestion, weight gain, inflammation, allergies, congestion, etc. and put the pieces of the puzzle together for them. Your entire business is built around your niche market so make sure you are obsessed with the health issue you choose.
Once you begin answering these key questions, go out and do some market and niche research. Google each of the common questions you get asked and see how many search results there are for it.
The more results, the bigger the niche, which is exactly what you want. You basically want to see that other people are already doing what you’re doing because that means there’s a profitable market for it.
Your Niche May Shift, But It’s Everything at The Moment
Here’s the truth: your niche and brand will shift over the years. However, clarity comes from taking action. As you settle into your role as CEO and business owner, and as you start to work with clients, you’ll want to keep refining and redefining your niche market.
It is key to remember that your niche is not just a label or a random category. It represents tens of thousands of people out there that are in pain and searching for you.
Start off by picking a niche to focus on for now so that you can focus your efforts and gain momentum.
Do you have an idea for a niche market? Share it in the comments below.