Fears about limiting ourselves, being perceived as exclusionary, or getting bored with the same type of client all the time are common misconceptions about niche marketing and deciding on an ideal client.
The ‘Limiting Myself’ Excuse
Many therapists have the idea that niche marketing necessarily means refusing to work with some types of clients. Others think that promoting themselves as specialists for a particular problem will keep lots of people from wanting your services.
This rarely proves true for private practices in larger towns, in reality.
What does prove true is that people make the assumption that if you are an expert in one area, you must naturally also know more than the average bear about other areas, too.
That, in fact, was my immediate lesson when I first started niche marketing for women at midlife with generalized anxiety and a yearning for more personal empowerment.
As soon as that marketing message went out, I started getting calls from 20-somethings still in college with eating disorders.
These young women resonated with something about wanting to feel empowered and stop feeling anxious. My niched marketing message was clear and narrow enough that they saw themselves in it. And proved to me that niching my marketing in no way was going to limit my practice.
Reluctance to Niche Rises from Scarcity Thinking
The idea that marketing a specialty necessarily means that other populations with other problems won’t choose you is a thought that comes from a scarcity mindset.
We all are susceptible to this misconception in the beginning of private practice. It’s so common that it’s almost a rite of passage to have this belief, and then set about to dismantle it.
And dismantle it we must.
So I tell you from personal experience that the opposite belief — that marketing as a specialist for a certain type of person with a particular kind of problem — is counterintuitive, but proven successful by nearly everyone who adopts a niche-focus marketing strategy.
This is especially true in cities that are over-saturated with therapists, all trying to attract any warm body as clients.
But honestly, it may be less critical to niche in more rural areas where there is less competition, where specialists may be perceived as intimidating or impersonal, and where help is more readily sought from those who are well known for being involved in community life.
Boredom is false fear
The fear of boredom is also upside down because every client is unique.
You could have a full case load of men with depression, or women yearning to find their voice, or children or couples, and every one of them will have different stories.
Each client brings unique circumstances and different challenges in applying what they learn from you, and different personalities and idiosyncrasies.
Client uniqueness — when we are fully engaged with what makes them perceive and react in the ways they do — guarantees that boredom will never be a factor in your practice.
Plus, just because you niche for teenage victims of bullying this year doesn’t mean you can’t change your marketing focus to co-dependent, divorced women needing to get back into the work force and wanting to learn to trust and date again, next year.
You can change your niche when you want to.
Benefits of Niching
Here’s what’s really true in practice instead of this faulty belief about limits, exclusions and boredom:
Niching focuses your message
Niching gets more attention than marketing as a generalist
Niching connects with potential clients at the moment they are ready for your services
Niching helps you stand out in the over-saturated marketplace of other therapists and coaches
Niching attracts people you may not expect — people see themselves in your niche
Niching is more professional — people seek out helpers who specialize in their problem
Try it. You’ll like it.
So, what’s your biggest fear about niche marketing? Are you secretly sabotaging yourself by thinking that you aren’t experienced enough to be a specialist at anything?
Try reframing that to the thought that you have a special interest in this gender, at this age, with this problem (this year), and see if that changes your fear.
If narrowing your niche to a clear, specific population with a particular problem is still difficult for you, email to schedule a single strategy consult session with a little anxiety coaching on the side.