Counselors and coaches are trained to be generalists. And because we want to help everyone, and have a full practice, niche marketing feels backwards and scary.
It’s common — when you are new to private practice and especially if you’re an introvert — to have some insecurity about niching.
To focus your marketing around a precisely defined population with a particular problem feels like volunteering to stand on a table in a crowded restaurant under a spotlight — and we’d probably diagnose a person who does that, right? LOL
But there may be deeper fears operating here, including:
Fear of being wrong – what if your niche doesn’t want your help?
Fear of not being good enough to market as a specialist
Fear of colleague criticism — parental approval transference?
Perhaps some reframing will be helpful.
The Right Niche is Desperate for Help
Niche has a particular definition. It’s not just “couples” or people with bipolar disorder, or empty nest women. By “right niche” I mean one that is:
consciously distressed about a problem
feels the undesireable impact of it
sees how it’s getting worse
wants to stop it
doesn’t know how
is willing to pay whatever you charge
is eager to do whatever it takes to change
If your idea of a niche doesn’t have those 7 characteristics, marketing to a narrowed population won’t be much more effective than marketing to a Superbowl stadium full of random people.
You ARE Good Enough to Have a Special Interest
The idea of being a specialist is difficult for some. We think we have to have more experience, more credentials.
But you’re already better educated the the average person, and people don’t hire you for your credentials. They hire you because they believe you can help them — and it’s your niche specific marketing that engenders that belief.
What if you reframe this from being a specialist in your niche’s problem, to having a special interest in helping heal or solve that niche’s problem? There’s a qualitative difference between being a specialist and having a special interest, and yet both of those mindsets would market in the same way – to the narrow niche about their problem!
Colleague Criticisms are Invitations to Self Empowerment
Colleagues are authority substitutes. Fearing their criticism feels to me like a deep and old wound related to seeking and not receiving the approval of a parent. Have you looked at that? It can be quite empowering to examine why colleague disapproval and criticism is a fear for you.
People judge what is not like them. Unless you are doing something illegal — which of course you won’t be — it’s not necessary to pay much attention to criticism, since a lot of it will be your colleagues’ own projected fears.
To market successfully requires being different from the colleague crowd and conveying familiarity to the potential client niche. There’s an inherent tension between wanting to be liked and approved of in your profession, and needing to have a niche message in order to get hired. Backing away from promoting your business in a relatively unique way practically guarantees you’ll get fewer clients.
If niching nerves are holding you back from powerfully marketing your private practice,
email me to schedule a No Hype consult to help you reframe and refine your website content.