“If you don’t have the guts be a meaningful specific, why do you think you can succeed as a wandering generality?”
Those words of wisdom on niching came from Seth Godin and a podcast interview with Amy Porterfield of Online Marketing Made Easy. I listened to it a few days ago as I was driving to my co-working office space and it was like I was stopped in my tracks in the middle of a busy highway. I just wanted to pull over, stop and replay that phrase over and over again.
See, I run into this question of how to find your niche and define your niche over and over again when working with a new client on their website design project. When I ask, what’s your niche? Who are you trying to serve? The answer is commonly: pregnant people and their families, or “people who want to feel better in their bodies“.
It seems ok of course – like – why would you want to turn people away? What’s wrong with choosing a broad niche spectrum? Well, “everyone” is a pretty broad spectrum niche of people, and after some conversation with most of you it becomes pretty clear that you are Not, in fact looking to serve All families. You are not even the right fit for all families. You’re not turning people away with your niche, you are helping the people you are meant to work with find you.
Why you need to define your niche:
I want to explore with you why it it is good to “niche down”in your business and be super specific about the audience you want to reach.
Let’s break this quote down a little bit…
Clearly we don’t want to be a “wandering generality”! Generality implies that my services are the right for just about anyone. Certainly there are many people who can find you and benefit tremendously from your care. The problem here is that too often we work under the assumption that by being as broad as possible in our marketing, more people will find us and hire us. Unfortunately when we are too general in our marketing efforts, there is nothing for people to get inspired or intrigued by. To take the next step in hiring you, they need to have a strong sense of why you would be a great fit for their needs. You want people to be able to recognize you as the ideal fit and expert in their specific needs. That requires having a clear sense of who you are truly mean to work with – i.e., your niche!
So what would being a meaningful specific look like? Apparently it takes guts! On a basic level, defining your niche down to a specific target market means truly being specific in your niche! Let’s use a childbirth educator website as an example. So we’re not targeting pregnant people, or women of childbearing age, or new families, or…. We’re talking about subsets within that.
So are you looking to market yourself as an expert in vbacs? Families having a second baby? Clients with anxiety? Families planning a home birth or wanting a natural birth in a hospital setting? Families who want evidence based care and are choosing medications and who would really love to have someone who will fully support them in that choice. “BUT I WANT TO SERVE ALL OF THEM!” YOU EXCLAIM. That’s fine, you still can, but pick the specific niche you really want to reach out to, and I promise you will see your client numbers go up.
How finding and defining your niche can help grow your business:
When we target elements such as our website copy, search engine optimization terms, blog posts, and service descriptions and packages to best meet the needs of that particular population within your community, it means that the people who really really want your services and would thrive in your care can find you way more easily, and recognize your expertise when they do find you.
From a community standpoint, it transforms your potential for collaborative relationships. Is it possible that there’s an obstetrician out there would would love to partner with a doula or childbirth education practice that specializes in high risk pregnancies? Might there be a home birth midwife who would love to partner with other practitioners who have a special interest and skill set in home birth? By declaring your unique niche, local providers have a much stronger sense of who they should send your way.
I do also want to take this as an opportunity to also dig a little deeper just into his word choice of “meaningful.” Let’s be real: We are all looking for connection. We’re all looking for that sense of being held, the feeling of having found someone who is truly the right fit. I would suggest that this is an opportunity to really let yourself shine by adding meaning to what you offer.
So that means when somebody lands on your website, they feel spoken to, heard, inspired, and yes, eager to take the next step and meet with us because they are absolutely certain that they have found the right fit. They recognize a part of themselves within your niche!
How to define your niche in a meaningfully specific way?
Well, look for ways to be meaningful in how you describe your services and the resources you choose to include. As you seek to become more specific in defining your niche you will find that it will help shape your web copy, the images you choose, even what keywords you want to be found for. It will help shape the types of things you’re posting on social media, your blog post topics, and even what kind of community events you host. When you let yourself be a meaningful specific, with a clear and confident niche, you cultivate yourself as the local expert that you are. Not only that, you are reaching the people who need you the most and making it much, much, much easier for them to find you.
So yes, I am asking you to be limit your defined niche – the more defined, the better!
I’m asking you to not be a wandering generality and inviting you to be meaningfully specific. Yes, there will be people who don’t resonate with your niche and don’t say yes to your services. That’s just fine. After all, what could be more meaningful than working with exactly the right practitioner for your family and feeling that your unique needs are being 100% met?