Apr 20, 2018
Taglines, service descriptions, all the marketing ‘stuff’ that comes along with promoting a massage business. So. Many. Decisions. In this episode, we talk about how choosing a niche makes these decisions a breeze!Listen to "E155: How Niching Eliminates Decision Fatigue" on Spreaker.
Taglines, service descriptions, all the marketing ‘stuff’ that comes along with promoting a massage business. So. Many. Decisions. In this episode, we talk about how choosing a niche makes these decisions a breeze!
This episode is sponsored by:
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Michael Reynolds Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we discuss the business side of massage therapy. I’m Michael Reynolds.
Allissa Haines And I am Allissa Haines.
MR We are your hosts today. Glad you’ve joined us today. If you are in an area of the country that is affect like Allissa and I are, you are probably begging for spring to rear its beautiful head. I think there’s hope. I see the sun. There’s no more snow.
AH I went outside without a big coat on today.
MR I feel it coming. For realz this time. For realz.
AG It’s all going to be okay, Michael.
MR I believe. I believe. So while we’re waiting for spring, our topic today is a continuation of last week’s topic on specialization. And we’re talking about how niching eliminates decision fatigue.
AH Yeah, and I’m super exited about this. And if you’re already tired of us talking about niching, know that this is going to be a quick one.
MR [laughs] So what?
AH So if you’ve only got a quarter of a cup of coffee left, you’re fine, you don’t need to refill before listening to this. And we’re covering this because I really like to cover stuff that makes people cringe. We talked about it a little bit in the last episode, but the idea of choosing a specialty, makes a lot of therapists shrink back and oppose the notion and think that they cannot have a successful business when, in fact, many, many people have grown their business very quickly because they have niched.
And it’s the difference between someone who, when you say “Hey, what kind of massage do you do?” And they’re like “Oh, you know, I do some pregnancy massage. I do hot stone. I do some trigger point. I do some myofascial.” And then you never know who to send to them versus the person who says, “Oh, I work specifically with people who have migraine and jaw pain.” And then you know exactly who to send to them, and you know exactly who’s perfect. And that massage therapist sounds more confident and self-assured and sounds a little bit like they have their crap together versus the person who thinks they do 27 things and it’s totally a “jack of all trades, master of none” situation. That was the worst intro to a topic ever. I’m sorry.
MR It wasn’t too bad. I’m buying it.
AH Okay, great. I hope everybody else does too. But you don’t have to buy it because the podcast is free. What I want to talk about specifically today is how niching, choosing a specialty, can eliminate decision fatigue. Many of us, at one point or another in our businesses have had decision fatigue, which leads to, I think, decision paralysis. Which is to say that you know you need your website — you know your website needs and update, but when you think about rewriting the homepage or your service descriptions or updating anything, there’s so much to do and you’re so unsure of how to do it, that you don’t do any of it. And then you are stagnant for years at a time.
And decision fatigue happens in a variety of ways. But when you run a business, it’s so — there’s just so many things you have to learn and think and decide on even when — I’ve got a friend who’s looking for a new massage table right now and just looking at all the different kinds of massage tables and finding all of the different factors and what’s important to her and then finding the best price, and then, oh my gosh, it’s exhausting. Even more so when these decisions are a little less tangible than just choosing a physical table — when you’re choosing ideas and when you’re choosing words, it’s even more so. And I think that’s a huge part of what scares people away from updating their websites, rewriting their service descriptions, and really narrowing their business because they think it’s going to be harder, but really choosing a specialty takes all of the ambiguity out of how you talk about your business and how you present it. It makes things so much easier. I’m going to run through an example here. I’m going to use my own business re-niching as the example. But you can apply this to any niche. Really, once you know who you serve, making all of the decisions in your business gets really easier.
For example, choosing a name of your business or specifically a tagline. The name of my business is not super exciting. It’s Haines Massage. It’s what I landed on by default after not naming my business for years, and I decided to roll with that when I started working on all of my new branding. But I’d never had a tagline, and I really wanted one. I wanted a tagline that accurately expressed what I’m doing in my practice. So my practice is niching to focus specifically on people with anxiety, actual diagnosed anxiety, and also extreme stress. In thinking about that, I needed to choose words for my tagline that spoke to that population. And the word that I landed on was “calm.” I want to help people be calm and composed and collected and capable.
So I chose the tagline “Claim your calm.” And we’re going to get into a little more about why. But it was — it wasn’t easy, but it was much easier for me to find a tagline focused on a specific group of people versus a tagline that spoke to everyone who might want a massage for any of a hundred reasons. I only want to see people who are seeking a massage for one or two reasons, which is to relieve anxiety or extreme stress. Claim your calm. The “claim,” the verb in there, is important to me because part of my service is going to be teaching people self-care techniques that they can use on their own, even when they’re not getting a massage, to help them feel calm and composed and collected and capable.
So “Claim your calm.” I like the alliteration. I like the verb in there. I like the word “calm” in there. I don’t like to use the word “relax” because I think that word has been misused. I think relaxation massage has been mislabeled and badly labeled. And also, the least relaxing thing you can tell someone is “please relax.” That doesn’t work. So while choosing a tagline was still a little tricky, it was a heck of a lot easier than if I was trying to serve multiple populations. I’m serving one population: people with extreme stress or anxiety. “Claim your calm” was a really great tagline.
So then I had to look at my service descriptions and offerings. I had to rewrite my very generic service description to speak to people with anxiety and stress. And it was easy to do that because I only needed to focus on how massage could help people calm down and relax. And it made it easy to think of “a profoundly calming massage to help you breathe deeper, think clearer and move with more ease.” That’s it. Not rocket science. My massage is going to help you calm down because I am serving people with anxiety and stress. This isn’t rocket science. It actually has made things so much easier.
And ditto that for my elevator speech. My very quick, little, 15-30 second schtick on what I do. So, when people say “What kind of massage do you do?” I do massage for people with anxiety and extreme stress, especially business owners and parents of small children. That’s it. That’s what I do. I don’t have to add in “Oh, I use a whole bunch of different techniques like trigger point and myofascial and I incorporate hot stones and prenatal massage into my practice as well.” At that point, people don’t know what I do. Now they know. I provide massage for people with anxiety and extreme stress. There you go. And now they know who to send to me when they meet people with anxiety and extreme stress.
Michael, now’s a good time for our halftime break because I said this is a very quick episode. Talk to me about who our sponsor is.
MR We can do that. We’re sponsoring ourselves today because I know it’s — we want to make sure we get the message out to as many people as possible. We’ve emailed it, Facebooked it, mentioned it on the podcast, I think, once. So just to make sure that we don’t get accused of not announcing this, I want to make sure we announce this one more time at least. On May 1, there is a price increase for new members for our premium membership. So no pressure at all, but we want to announce that we are increasing the price for new members from $9 a month, as is currently, to $17 a month for all new members going forward. I want to make sure you know, if you’d like to lock in a premium membership at $9 a month, be sure you get signed up before May 1. I think sometime the morning of May 1, we’ll be initiating that price increase. So get in by — let’s just say April 25th to be safe, just to make sure because things happen. Anyway, I think we’ve announced this before. All the stuff is on the email and the Facebook page and everything.
But the blog post alone, the weekly — I’m going to call it an article because it’s much more than just a blog post. It’s actually a really great, in-depth article we give you every month to use as a template for your own website to publish on your own blog. The premium Facebook group is the best Facebook group for massage therapists in the world. We offer a lot of templates and tools behind the scenes. Office hours are phenomenal. Just a ton of stuff. Anyway, it’s well worth more than the new price, but if you want to lock in the old price, get in before May 1.
AH And I’m going to expand on that a little bit and just talk about what office hours are. Office hours are a time where usually both Michael and I, but at least one of us, are live in a virtual web conference. You can join, and it’s super casual, and you can share your video with us so that we’re all looking at each other’s faces. Or you can not or you can call in from your phone if you don’t have Wi-Fi access where you are. And we just have an open conversation. Usually there’s anywhere between three and I think we’ve had as many as seven or eight people in office hours at any given time and we’ll just say “Hey, who’s got something going on in their massage business that they need help with?” And somebody might be having trouble with their Facebook ad and they can share their screen, and Michael can walk them through how to set up or change or look at their Facebook ad. Sometimes someone will just talk about a problem that they’re having communicating with one of their clients. Or someone might talk about an impending change to their business. I definitely talked about my re-niching a little bit and got everyone’s advice when I started to do that. It’s very open. You can come with any topic that you want to talk about and we’ll talk for a few minutes about your topic and hopefully give you some ideas. And if you just want to listen in and give advice and thoughts to other people who have topics and questions, you can totally do that. It’s very casual. You can mute yourself if you got kids running around in the background. You can snack during office hours. It’s a really great useful tool to help you get, almost, a little group coaching in your massage business. It’s really nice, and I love it obviously. So that’s what I have to say about that.
MR Right on.
AH All right. So let’s jump back into niching and how it can remove decision fatigue from your business. And this next one was really important to me. Once you choose your niche, it so helps you figure out where and when you should network because all you have to think about is my ideal client going to be there? If you get the option to participate in a vendor fair serving, I’m going to say, people who go to a martial arts gym, I’m going to think about that and think “Well, while there certainly might be people there with anxiety and stress, I feel like” — I’m going to say a CrossFit gym; I’m going to change that from martial arts — “I am not seeking clients with rotator cuff and pain and training injuries, so that’s not going to be a really good idea for me.” However, if I get invited to attend some small business owner workshops or networking among local, small business owners — small business owners tend to be good clients for me because they experience extreme stress and anxiety. So yes, that would be a place I want to network. So I get to really think about — very easily decide where I want to network. So it makes it very easy to say yes and no. If I was specializing in prenatal massage and I got invited to participate in a charity event for a golf course where it was going to be a bunch of old dudes there, then no. That would not be a great place for me to network because I’m looking for pregnant ladies and women of childbearing ages. But if I got invited to participate in some kind of an event at a local preschool or PTO auction or something like that, then yes, it would be a fantastic place for me to show up because my ideal clients are there. So it makes it real easy to decide what you’re going to do, where your best networking opportunities are, so you’re not wasting your time burning out in places that aren’t really useful for you or spending money on events that do not suit you well.
So my final bit is how choosing your niche can really help you nail down your website content, specifically with a blog or a video blog or a podcast. Coming up with topics to talk about and talk with your clients about becomes so much easier when you choose a niche. When I was really nailing down my anxiety extreme stress group, I thought through a whole bunch of ideas for what kind of stuff I wanted up on my website either in video, audio, or written form to attract that kind of client. And I was astounded how quickly I was able to come up with topics once I really through about who I was writing for. I’ll give you a few of my ideas. I want to target to people who have stress and anxiety, so what do they care about? They care about ways to relax and be calm in their everyday life. I’m just going to run through a whole bunch of my topics. So I thought about a blog post on want does calm mean? It means being in control of how your body and brain is reacting to any given situation, and how to be the most best version of yourself — be most patient and capable whenever you want to be. So what are ways you can access that feeling of calm? I wanted to do a blog post about breathing techniques for calm and probably for insomnia stuff. I want to do a post about movement ideas based on yoga and the Brain Gym theories of movement. I want a blog post about what to do when you can’t sleep. I’m going to do a post on why I love working with business owners and why I love working with parents. I want to do a post about my favorite tools for helping you achieve calm in your daily life: meditation apps or podcasts or bullet journals or well-placed Post-it notes. I want to write about calm-assisting activities you can do with your kid, which makes sense because part of my target is parents with small children, so you don’t get a lot of time alone to do stuff. So if I can suggest to people things they can do with their kid, it’s good for them, it’s good for their kid to learn those things as well, it’s a bonding activity you can do together. And then I’ve also got a couple posts in the hopper about what kind of massage this is. Does this mean that it’s all light and fluffy? No, I’m fighting that stereotype of relaxation massage as light and fluffy work. And I’m also fighting the notion that light and fluffy work is not therapeutic or helpful. It’s more than just luxury, feel good. Light work is also really great for the brain. You already know this stuff. Most of you all totally get that.
It was really easy for me to come up with these ideas once I started thinking about my actual ideal client, which would be a business owner or someone with small children, and what’s important to them. I’m pounding through this list in 15 minutes, and I had 20-some ideas. Yeah, I still got to write the posts, but getting started was so much easier than I thought it would be because I had such a specific person in mind. And this translates to for if you just practice a specific — if you decide to niche by modality. So if you only do craniosacral, you can work through these taglines, service description, elevator speech, where you network, blog topics. Once you have that in your brain, it’s so much easier. When you stop trying to serve everyone and you pick someone to serve — it’s like asking if someone is a vegetarian before you help them decide — before you know what you’re going to cook for them for dinner. It becomes so much easier once you nail it down and once you know what they’re allergic to and what kinds of food they do and don’t eat, it’s easier to pick a menu, right? Same thing applies to niching. All right, Michael, I’m done. Any thoughts?
MR No, I obviously agree completely. And I think that niching is the future of pretty much any business, or at least a lot of businesses. I was doing some research while you were sharing, and at least once source says that the growth pattern of massage services in the US is about 7% per year, which means that there are more and more massage therapists entering the workforce, setting up businesses, and that’s true of a lot of professions. As that happens more and more and as information overload increases, it becomes harder and harder to differentiate based on just generally good marketing. So I firmly believe that specialization is the key to a sustainable future in many professions, but especially massage therapy as well.
AH And really, with niching, it becomes — there’s no competition. Once you’re well niched, once you figure your stuff out, so much stress goes away. You’re not competing with other generalist massage therapists. Unless you choose a niche that’s identical to someone right down the road, which you should not do necessarily, you stop having competition because you don’t do those things anyway. When I stopped doing hot stone massage, I didn’t have to worry anymore about competing with other therapists who do hot stone massage. I just stopped doing it, and I was able to do the things that I more enjoy, and I was able to do them more and better. It just takes so much stress off of you if you can get over that fear hurdle of actually narrowing down your ideal clientele.
MR Right on. I like it.
AH I hope you people appreciated this. We may or may not have one more niching topic in the hopper; I’m thinking on that.
MR May or may not.
AH May or may not. I think we probably may not because I think we may have overdone it. We might have to wait a few more weeks. We might throw a few more episodes in between. I got some other ideas going on too.
MR If you want more, enroll in the course in the fall.
AH Oh my gosh, yes.
MR [laughs] All right. Well, we’ll wrap it up there for today. A reminder you can visit us online at massagebusinessblueprint.com. That is our website for all the goods. If you have question or a topic or anything you want to tell us, you can email it to us at email@example.com. We appreciate all the iTunes reviews and all of you who have been sharing the podcast with your friends and colleagues. We appreciate that. Until next time, have an awesome day. And we’ll see you then.