Episode 249

Oct 8, 2019

How far is too far when narrowing down a niche? And what steps should our listener take to make it happen? We cover all this and more!

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How far is too far when narrowing down a niche? And what steps should our listener take to make it happen? We cover all this and more!

Sponsored by: Acuity Scheduling & The Jojoba Company.


Sponsor Message This episode is sponsored by Acuity, our 2018 software of choice. Acuity Scheduling is your online assistant working 24/7 to fill your schedule. No more phone tag. Clients can quickly view your real-time availability and self-book their own appointments and even pay online and reschedule with a click. Handle all of your forms before the appointment so you can get right to doing the massage you do best. Look and act professional by offering convenient scheduling to your clients that matches your brand and your voice. Customer support is a delight, and Acuity’s style will help you relax and have fun running your business again. Check out the special 45-day free offer at massagebusinessblueprint.com/acuity.

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 I’m Allissa Haines.

MR We’re your hosts.

AH (Indiscernible).

MR Welcome, welcome. Allissa. Good morning. Good morning. How are you?

AH Good morning. I’m good. I had one of my meal preps for breakfast. So y’all, if you don’t know, I’m a little bit of a dork about meal prepping, which is the same —

MR I saw an Instagram. Your meal prep is amazing.

AH Yes.

MR It makes me feel so inadequate.

AH So and I actually did a blog post for the Massage Business Blueprint website about all my meal prepping that says, Let’s Taco’Bout Meal Prep, and it’s got a really funny graphic with a taco.

MR I laughed out loud. I LOL’d.

AH You’re welcome. So, anyhow, that’s up on the website on the blog side at massagebusinessblueprint.com. Click the Blog button; you’ll see it. But I ate one of my breakfast — I call it my breakfast bento box — that had half an apple sliced up, a handful of grapes, a little thing of peanut butter granola from Trader Joe’s — which is delicious. But, like, a little tiny tin of it so not so much granola that it’s unhealthy or too much sugar, and a hard-boiled egg.

And I was really proud of myself because sometimes on the days I work from home I get a little wonky and I don’t eat my meal preps, and then I end up with extra meal preps in the fridge and they go bad or whatever. But this morning I was, like, all right, we’re podcast recording in a little while. I’ve got to eat something. Grab your meal prep.

And that’s actually the biggest challenge I have to meal prepping, is not making so much, like, so many preps that I’m tired of eating them and they end up going bad. But also it can be a little tricky to, like, anticipate what you want to eat on a certain day, but I’m really proud of myself because I think I nailed it this week.

MR Well done.

AH Whatever. What have you been eating, Michael?

MR I am back to doing Freshly. I did Freshly for a while a few years ago, and I really liked it. And since I just know myself, and I’m not in a place in my life where I’m going to meal prep [laughing], I’m doing Freshly. It’s this online service where they send you food in, like, a pre-made meals. And they’re really healthy and gluten-free. So I really like that. So I’m trying the Freshly again. And —

AH Hey, you should throw, like, your referral link in the podcast notes because that’s something —

MR Oh.

AH — I think lots of people would want to try, and I have a feeling a referral link would benefit both them and you. And I kind of have been thinking about trying that, too —

MR Oh, okay.

AH — for a couple of meals a week. I struggle with the second half of the week meal-prepping because I work from home all day Wednesday, and I already have to kind of do laundry intermittently during my workday, so to have to meal prep on Wednesdays too can be a little tricky. So anyhow, throw your referral link in the podcast notes.

MR Oh. Well, golly, gee. Thanks. I’ll do that.

AH [Laughing]

MR [Laughing]

AH Side note. But what was your Freshly meal yesterday?

MR Let’s see. We didn’t get Freshly — we did tacos yesterday, but the day before I think I did the homestyle chicken and mac and cheese and green beans. And the mac and cheese was, I think, corn noodles or rice noodles so it was gluten-free. It was really good. And then I had the cod cakes recently which was good. The mahi-mahi was pretty good, and most of their chicken dishes are really good, and their cod cakes are actually excellent. So, yeah, I like Freshly.

AH And does it, like, come in a little dish that you just microwave?

MR Yeah. It takes like two minutes to microwave. It seems very healthy. It’s very simple, healthy, gluten-free food. Easy to prepare. Lasts about a week in the fridge. So yeah. It’s great. Very convenient.

AH Dang. All right. Well, thank you for sharing that. I’m really glad I asked what you were eating.

MR Yeah. I will throw that referral link in the notes. Go get it.

AH Thank you. Okay. What are we talking about today?

MR All right. We’re talking about niching, but not what you think. We’re going to talk about what to consider when changing your niche.

AH Yeah. This is great. It came up — this question came up in our premium member community, like, literally this morning. And one of our members said, “Currently my massage business niche is stress and pain management. I still find that it’s quite broad” — yes, it is — “and I’m thinking about focusing on stress and pain management for fibromyalgia clients, as I already have a few clients with this condition and I’m loving working with them. Are there any setbacks to narrowing a niche down so much, and what would the process of changing niches look like?”

Oh, I love this. So let’s divide it into two. So let’s talk about setbacks and then the process of changing.

Michael, off the top of your head — and I love this because we’re really doing, like, a stream of consciousness here. What would you think of as far as setbacks from narrowing down a niche that much?

MR Setbacks.

AH What are the obstacles? Like, what are the potential landmines here?

MR Yeah. Well, mentally it just difficult to do. I mean, when you’re narrowing down from a broader niche to a more narrow niche, you — I mean, I think we all get scared to do it. And so there’s always this fear of, well, I’m going to lose clients. I’m going to, you know, people are going to stop coming to me, and I’m not going to say that will or won’t happen. But the reason you’re narrowing down your niche is so that you can get really focused on your target clients and you can, ideally, attract more of them quickly and you can potentially make more money at it, too. So that’s kind of the reason behind it.

So yeah, I think a lot of it’s fear. I mean, the biggest setback is just fear of doing it. Fear of missing out on clients that you’re seeing now that maybe don’t fit your niche.

AH And I’m glad that you said that because the very first thing I wanted to note was to remember that niching and targeting your future marketing does not mean that you are wiping the slate clean of all your current clients. You can keep all of your current non-fibromyalgia clients and focus on recruiting new clients with fibro. You don’t have to, like, stop seeing your old clients who see you for other reasons. So keep that in mind. You can stay where you are at, but more focus the incoming new clients.

So yes, an obstacle here is that your new client recruitment, if you’re targeting and niching down to fibro clients, might be a little slower. The faucet’s getting turned down, but it’s also going to be more accurate. It’s going to be more specific. So if you are mindful about that — if you are aware that instead of getting two new clients a month, when you niche down to fibro at first you might only get one new client a month until you really work your new referral partners and really focus down on that. If you are aware that there might be a short-term slow and then it’s going to totally going to boom. Just be aware of that. Be mindful of that.

And it also doesn’t mean that you have to not take new clients unless they have fibro, unless you want to. Because you’re still going to have referrals coming in from other sources. You’re still going to have your current client who wants to send their kid in or their husband in or whatever. And you can still say yes to that even if they don’t have fibro. So keep that in mind. You’re slowing the faucet down a little bit, but in order to make it more specific. So that’s good.

Michael, should we hit our halftime sponsor before we go into what the process of changing niches would look like?

MR Let’s do it.

AH Well, why don’t you tell me who our halftime sponsor is?

MR Oh, thank you so much for letting me say Jojoba is our halftime sponsor.

AH Yay.

Sponsor Message This episode is sponsored by The Jojoba Company. Jojoba is non-allergenic. That means I can use it on any client and every client, and I do, without fear of an allergic reaction. It’s non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog your client’s pores. This is great for clients who are prone to acne. It won’t go rancid, so you can leave it hanging out on your shelf for a long time even if it gets hot and cold and hot cold. And The Jojoba is the only company in the world that carries 100% pure, first-pressed quality jojoba, and we are thrilled to be their partner. You can get 10% off the price of their product on orders of $35 or more when you shop through our link, massagebusinessblueprint.com/jojoba. That’s J-O-J-O-B-A.

massagebusinessblueprint.com/jojoba, and you will get 10% off orders of $35 or more. You should totally check it out because it’s good stuff, especially with winter coming.

AH So what would the process of changing niches look like? I’m going to rephrase that because I don’t accept the premise of the question. You’re really not changing your niche; you’re just honing it down a little bit. So what would the process look like?

I’m going to jump in here, Michael, and I’m going to ask you to fill in the blanks because my very first instinct is —

MR Sure.

AH — go to your website and see what you have — what kinds of resources you already have available to fibromyalgia clients. So do you have a blog post and/or a video about how massage can help people with fibro? Do you have a blog post about what fibromyalgia is? That is a really important bit of information. Do you have on your resources page links to resources that serve, specifically, clients with fibro? Do you have a blog post about the most common symptoms associated with fibro that you treat?

So like, if you happen to have a lot of clients with specific pain points that are hyperactive — and I’m not using the right terminology, guys, because this is not my niche so just roll with me on this. Do you — are there a few presentations of fibro that are most popular in your current clientele or in your area or that you’ve heard? Can you do a blog post about that? If it’s a headache thing, if it’s pain points in the arm. Can you do some self-care blog posts and videos about self-care for people who have, especially, flare-ups on their elbows and forearm pain points? How can you add content to your website that will specifically serve that niche and take content you currently have and kind of refocus it?

And I’m going to point out really obvious stuff, like going to your website, going to your logo and making some adjustments so it says, you know, I’m just going to say, Main Street Massage Therapy — care for people with fibromyalgia. Massage for people with fibromyalgia. Massage for fibromyalgia. Like, what can you do to make it ridonculously obvious?

Now, again, you might choose to not ditch your current clients, but you could create a new treatment type that’s at the top of your treatment menu that is an initial appointment for people with fibromyalgia that maybe gives you 90 minutes — so 30 minutes plus a 60-minute treatment — to do a thorough intake for someone’s first appointment with you. And then maybe, you know, for future appointments they fall right into your 60- or 90-minute therapeutic massages or whatever you title your services.

So I’m not saying you have to completely redo your service menu to exclude anyone without fibro, but maybe this means creating a new appointment type that allows for extra intake time that goes at the top of the menu and, oh, hey, how about you do a blog post with a companion video that can be broken up to use your social media that says, hey, here’s why an initial appointment is different when you come to me for fibro issues; here’s what we do in that appointment. And that would be my initial suggestions on how you would change what you have going on in your website and maybe just readjust it to be more welcoming and obvious for people with fibro looking for care.

And the secondary idea here is making sure that all of your future marketing — all of your social media posts, your blog posts and stuff — are really targeted to address issues that are relevant to people with fibro. Maybe it’s a blog post about all of the referral partners in the area that you know specialize in this. Maybe you know a dentist whose got — who works with a lot of people with jaw issues stemming from fibro. Maybe you know a physical therapist who’s really good at gentle PT work for people with fibro. Maybe you are working with a — I don’t know — who’s the specialist for people with fibro, like, rheumatologist maybe? Autoimmune specialist? I’m not really sure. Whoever the who’s, like, creating a blog post that’s just a resource page, essentially, specifically for your patients and potential clients with fibro.

And those are my initial impressions. I’m turning it to Michael now to cover in — think about what I’ve forgotten.

MR No, I think you’ve pretty much covered it. I can’t think of anything you’ve forgotten. I mean, the only thing I was going to mention, which you already mentioned at the end, was the resource page. So whether it’s a blog post or even just a regular page in your main navigation that is meant to be the definitive resource on that topic.

So if you’re targeting fibromyalgia, then this resource page would have lots of information about, you know, treating fibromyalgia with massage, or working with fibromyalgia in the context of massage, links out to other resources. Even things non-massage related about fibromyalgia that is useful to people with fibromyalgia. So that resource page, it can be super long, it can have videos embedded, it can have all sorts of information. And those resource pages are really useful for search engine rankings because it becomes kind of the sought-after source for people looking for information about that topic.

AH And I’ll add on — if you feel comfortable talking to your current clients with fibro and saying, hey, listen, I feel like I’m having some really good success and that my techniques are working really well for my clients with fibro. Would you consider leaving a review or a testimonial on my Facebook page, on my Google business page, or just giving it to me to use on my website that speaks to the relevance of massage for you in regards to your fibro?

And you can — and, you know, with some clients we feel comfortable doing this and with some clients we don’t so, you know, choose your audience carefully here. But some clients you can even say, hey, listen, what should I focus on here? I really want to recruit some new clients with fibro. Who are the other providers that you see? Do you know anyone that you would feel comfortable doing an email introduction with, or is it okay if I reach out to your physical therapist and say, hey, I know Jane, and would you mention me to your physical therapist? And if you have current clients who you feel comfortable doing that with — and that’s up to you — that could be really great, asking for testimonials and asking for an intro to some of their other care providers or nutritionists or whatever. Think big there because fibro’s broad. It’s a broad issue that can involve PT and pain specialists and rheumatologists and nutritionists and physical — personal trainers is the word I’m looking for — yoga teachers. Whatever your current clients are using to manage outside of massage, see if you can get some intros to those people.

That’s all I got, Michael.

MR Yeah. I like it.

AH Okay.

MR [Laughter]

AH I’m done. Bring us home.

MR I’m a big fan of — oh, well, I was going to add one thing.

AH Sorry. Go ahead.

MR I’m a big fan of the “try it out before you make sweeping changes” because that works really well for some people. So all those resources you mentioned are awesome, and you can do it gradually. So you can say, you know what? I think I’m going to change my niche to this or refocus my niche on this. So you can sort of do it in a kind of an under the radar kind of way. Like, hey, I’m going to just start, like, you know, my networking groups. I’m going to ask for people like this. Or I’m going to just kind of start asking for referrals more for people like this and work with them more. And before you kind of tell the world about it, you can kind of, inside your own business, get to know the niche better and see if you like it, and then you can decide to declare it.

So there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Some people like to just declare it publicly and just make a sweeping change and flip a switch. Some people like to do a gradual kind of inside kind of way of looking at the niche and trying it out and then gradually declaring it by slowly refocusing their marketing materials. So there’s no right or wrong. So I just wanted to kind of throw that out there.

AH Sweet.

MR All right. I’m officially done now.

AH Me too. And, you know, this was stream of consciousness, but we have a ton of resources on the website about niching.

MR [Laughter]

AH You can go to the search bar at the bottom of our — in the footer of our website and search on the word niche, and you can even pronounce it [neesh] in your head as you type it in and you are going to find —

MR [Laughter]

AH — a ton of blog posts, a ton of podcast episodes, all kinds of stuff about niching. So just go through it just as if you were, you know, choosing a niche from the very beginning. Because changing a niche is, you know, the same only a little easier because you’ve done it before, and it can’t hurt to get a little refreshed on that.

MR All right. Well, with that we will wrap up for today. Thank you, everybody, for joining us. Reminder, you can visit our website, as Allissa mentioned, which is massagebusinessblueprint.com. That’s where that handy search bar is located.

Consider joining our premium member community as well. It’s got a ton of resources that you can read about on the site. Our members love it. It’s growing every day, so thank you to all our premium members. And if you have a question, a topic, or anything you want to talk over with us or have us discuss on the podcast, you can send that to us at postcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com.

Thanks, everyone, for joining us today. Have a great day. We’ll see you next time.

AH Bye.