To niche or not to niche
Christine: Alright everyone! Welcome to this episode and we're going to talk about 'to niche or not to niche', which is an interesting topic, because Kendra and I have two very different businesses. One of us is very niche and one of us is less niche. So we're going to talk about exactly what our experiences have been and what we would tell a friend of ours, if they were interested in our opinion.
Kendra: I hope everyone is interested in our opinion and I think this is a really, really great topic, because I think when you're starting a business, it's overwhelming. You're like, I need to get clients, I need to make money, but everyone's telling you that you need to focus and you need to niche down. You need to be more specific with whom you're talking to and I think that can feel a bit overwhelming. You might be afraid to turn people away and maybe you just don't even know who you want to be talking to.
Christine: Yes, most courses are very general too, so unless you know exactly what you focus on, you're going to take a general view or most of us have a general background in health and then suddenly, it's just what we find most interesting or what we think is the most popular and you might be wrong. So, I think the biggest permission we can give you, is to give you permission to change whenever you want. However, do not hire the 1'000 $/ hour copywriter right away. Give it a little bit of time. Don't pay a 10,000 $ website straight from the bat. Go with something a little bit more simple, so that when you change, it's not quite as painful. Give it about six months or so and work with a certain number of clients.
Kendra: It's not a death sentence. You are not choosing this niche and now this is the course of your business for the next 20 years. You can change, you can try things out, if you see that things don't work out, try something else. You can get a website up for very little money. One of the best advice I got from a coach, when I first started out, was just to get it out there. Don't invest much money in it. Get it out there, see if it works. You don't need a very complex or crazy looking website to be successful. You can have something very basic that does very well for you.
Christine: Absolutely. I know business owners who have one page. They literally have one button on their website. No menu, just an image and one button and that's it. I wouldn't recommend it for everyone straight away. It depends on how you market yourself.
It depends if you have a brick and mortar or whether you want to reach out to the digital world; simply because, if you're local it would make a big difference whether you are totally niched or whether you are having a more general clinic.
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Kendra: I live in a town of 10,000. If I was going to have a strictly local business, my decision on if I am going to niche or focus in, is going to look a little bit different vs. if I lived in a city with a few million people vs. being in the online world, which is a billion or more people.
In a town of 10,000 I can probably get away with having something more general, maybe running a general health clinic or just having one kind of general focus vs. being online, which is going to be a lot harder to market.
Christine: Yeah, absolutely. Even though I always say people would drive miles and miles for someone, who's really good at what they do; until you get there, it would be pretty risky to just focus on thyroid, but that is actually very general that it might work, but let's say toe fungus. That might not be the best idea in the world, but who knows, you might be able to make it.
Kendra: You could make toe fungus work online.
Christine: Right. So that's definitely one of the things to consider. Brick and mortar vs. online or whether they want to have another leg in the online world and still have your brick and mortar, which I see a lot of medical doctors do. They have their practice and they are also having tele-medicine, which I find is very, very cool.
Now, let's talk a little bit about the pros of niching. Let's say you decide to work digitally or you live in a really big city or area with a lot of people; it's obviously a lot easier to market yourself. The language you use is easier and you focus on one certain person that you're talking to. My niche is sleep and I focus on people that can't sleep, but I also have people who don't sleep enough. So you could say I have two categories. Two loops. That's it. I have the group that wants to sleep but can't and I have the group, who is not getting enough sleep, yet is not quite aware of it. So that's it for me. It is very, very limited and easier for me to write my copy. That is the text on my website. It's easier for me to pitch media. It's easier for media to find me through Google search if they look for sleep experts for adults. I'm number one on Google! So it's pretty cool. It has a lot of advantages that way. On the other hand, obviously you're limiting yourself. You might have people not contact you, because they don't realize that you can help them.
Kendra: I think that's probably the biggest fear with niching. I know that's how I felt when I first started. I didn't want to get too specific, because I was worried about turning people away and as a new business owner that is the last thing you want to do. That makes your heart break in two. You don't want to turn people away. You want clients. I have a much more general niche and I never really got super specific. I started out with female hormone imbalance and ultimately when you talk about hormones, you end up talking about the gut. So then, I naturally started talking about the gut. Then my interest took me towards detox and minerals. So I actually have three different types of people who contact me. I have women with severe hormonal conditions, I have people with chronic GI issues, which actually end up being a lot of men, which is funny, because I don't actually market to men and then I get people with fatigue, who want to detox, who want to bounce the minerals.
In the end, what's interesting is, I kind of do the same thing with everyone, but it's just different ways of talking to people. Everyone needs to be on a healthy diet. We are FEM and we run lab tests. I run pretty much the same lab tests with everyone. It's just all about who I'm talking to in that copy and sometimes, depending on what I want to do, I have to write different types of copy. I launched the hormone course last year, so I had to be really specific with the hormone niche and then I had a gut program. So I think it's maybe a bit more complicated for me, because I have to have a few different ways of talking to people vs. for you it's pretty straightforward.
Christine: Absolutely, I agree. I find it funny as well that we both primarily market to women, my branding colors are pink and gold, yet we both have a lot of men contacting us. That's another thing that we discussed, you don't always know what you think, you know. You might think you know exactly who is suffering from the problem that you are offering a solution to, but that's not necessarily true. When I talk to people about ideas, how I can really branch out, people always tell me that I have to talk to CEOs or to upper management. The thing is those people don't have time; they don't care a lot of the time, because they are so busy making money, which I get, that they don't care whether they don't get enough sleep and maybe they are aware that it's bad for them, but they're going to do it anyway. Does are not my peeps, that's not my crowd.
So sometimes you think you know, but you actually don't. You have to sort of stay general or my advice would be to have your niche, but still chose to stay a little bit general in the beginning, before you completely narrow yourself down and we talked about this before.
I talked to facebook ads expert Amanda Bond. She's amazing and the way she runs a facebook ad is very counterintuitive. Usually you're told that you have to market towards your avatar, which is your ideal client and have your facebook ad be as specific as possible. The way she does it, she starts really, really broadly and let's facebook do its thing. Facebook is going to find out who likes your stuff, because they're going to click, they're going to interact and then it narrows the audience down and it might be something completely different than what you thought in the beginning and I loved that. Very often we are pushed to have this really specific idea in mind and sometimes we don't know.
I got to really know who to talk to when I started to work with people and I suddenly saw what all of these people had in common. In a way you only get that with experience and maybe the people that you thought you wanted to work with are actually not at all the crowd that you jive with.
I started as a baby sleep consultant and it turns out that I'm not the perfect fit for sleep deprived parents,. They are not the perfect fit for me and I am not for them. It worked, but it was super stressful for me.
Kendra: And I believe, you don't have to have it all figured out right away. If you have something in mind and you're really committed and this is what you want to do, that's awesome. But if you're not one of those people, that's okay. You can still take the time to let it pan out naturally or organically. It is really interesting about the facebook ads experts. It's definitely the opposite I've ever learned when it comes to facebook ads, but it makes sense. Facebook knows what they're doing and maybe just based on that you can actually see where that goes and where that leads. It's true, sometimes what you think, you know is actually not what you know and maybe the person you're marketing to and you think is going to relate to your program, service or course, may actually not be in the group that wants to buy.
Christine: Exactly. My mind was blown away. I am happy to report that Amanda has agreed to be on our podcast.
Kendra: That is amazing!! I'm super excited. I love talking about facebook ads.
Christine: It is going to be super geeky! I love it. Now the other thing that we talked about is, sometimes you know exactly what it is you're talking about, but your audience doesn't. So for me sleep is sleep, but for Kendra, for example, hormones are not as obvious.
Kendra: Yeah... When you're in the industry, when you are health coaches like us, it's obvious. You understand female hormone imbalance. A lot of people however, may not actually realize they have a hormone imbalance. They will say that their hormones are fine, but that they have PMS. Then you have to explain to them that that's a hormone imbalance. So sometimes you have to be careful, because the same goes for something like inflammation.
Sometimes you have to teach people, they have inflammation, they might know they have pain, but they don't actually know that that is actually inflammation. So if you are nicheing or branding towards a health condition, you might actually have to spend time educating people on conditions they might have, because it's not obvious for everyone else, who doesn't have the same training we do. I also work a lot with fatigue and I don't have to teach people about fatigue. They know they're tired, they know they're exhausted. I can say exhausted, tired, rundown and people know exactly what that is vs. female hormone imbalance. People may not actually know that that's what they have.
Christine: Exactly and when you start to get your message honed down, my biggest advice is to write the way you speak. Don't use code languages, like I'm helping you to empower, to get optimal health or the next level....
Kendra: Take your health to the next level! What does that mean???
Christine: How are you taking her health to the next level? Or are you standing in your light today? NO!! Who says that? Nobody. Write the way you would to a friend. The other thing is an example that you gave in a prior conversation and that is people are not aware very often.
Kendra: Yeah, I was talking about Dr. Alan Weinstein and I believe, he created the bowflex workout machine. He did this big commercial campaign and they did a bunch of surveys on people, who were all severely overweight or obese. One of the questions was, if they think they were healthy and they all said yes! We would not look at overweight or obese people and think they were healthy. We'd rather say, these people have to work on their health; they have so much work to do. I think because in our system, you are either healthy or you have a disease and you are sick. So there's all that in between that people just think in absence of symptoms or just being able to get up and feed yourself and walked through the day is healthy. Sometimes, we have to actually educate people that there's something wrong with them. So you can't just say let's get healthy, take your health to the next level, achieve optimal health. What does that even mean? If people who are sick already think they're healthy, then you're not even speaking to anyone.
Christine: Exactly. So the most, I would take is, if you wake up in the morning and you're tired, guess what? You're not sleeping enough. And sometimes I hear 'oh, what do you mean? I slept 2 hours and I'm fine.' Well, are you a superhuman? Do you wake up naturally? No.
Kendra: I've had women who have PCOS endometriosis and tell me that they think there's something wrong with their hormones. You're like, yeah, duh, but people just don't know this. So you have to talk to people where they're at, which is probably really, really basic information or very minimal education in what they have going on with them.
Christine: With tons of love and sometimes you think you say the same thing a gazillion times. Whenever I say the word cortisol, I just wait for someone to punch me, because they've heard it so many times, but for them it's actually new; I just said it a gazillion times.
Kendra: I feel like the broken record with copper toxicity. Sometime I wonder if someone's going to be like, stop talking about copper toxicity!! But it hasn't happened yet.
Christine: I know. Cortisol for me!
This is a tricky one. On one hand I think I would in general advise you to go with your name rather than an idea. For me it's a little bit different, because Sleep like a Boss is just an absolutely awesome name for a business.
When you do branding, people are going to drill you down on getting your elevator pitch. This means you have your sentence, when somebody asks you what do you do?, you're going to say, 'I help X, Y, Z, target audience. So people who don't sleep to transform their sleep, so that they can be happy and healthy forever. For me, I usually say, my business is called Sleep like a Boss. That's it! Then they asked me, how do you do that? Which is awesome, because they are curious, which is amazing.
But in general it doesn't work that way. I think it's always great if you have your name; especially if you change your niche. Let's say if you were ‘Hormone Queen Three Thousand’ and then suddenly you would just work with thyroid or with toe fungus, it would be very difficult to change.
Kendra: Yes, I think it is easier to use your name. Originally, when I started blogging, I was Crazy, Happy, Healthy. I had that blog for about five or six years and it was just like a hobby blog and I talked about everything. I didn't have any specific thing. I just talked about this and that and everything, but it was also a long time ago, where you could actually do that. It was a pretty successful blog. Having no focus and no specific thing I was talking about. But once I realized I wanted to monetize and make money out of having this career in the health industry, I realized that I needed to figure out who I was actually talking to and I tried to think of ways to turn that Crazy Happy, Healthy into something that made money.
In the end I had articles on 50 different topics and it didn't make sense. So I went to Kendraperry.net. Obviously when you hear Kendraperry.net, a lot of people don't know who I am. It doesn't mean anything. So I have to work hard on an elevator pitch. But if I do decide to change my focus, which I have, a few different times, it's really easy to do.
Christine: I agree and just google wise, it is super easy to do. The thing that you can do, is you have a site tagline. In wordpress, I think it's under reading or general, you should always enter, what it is that you do and you can get very specific. I change it every now and then; whenever I have something smarter coming into my head, I would change it. Right now it's sleep expert and coach for adults. That is great for SEO and for making clear what I do and I always say holistic bespoke programs, I think. Try to cram as much info as you can into that little descriptive space. It's super, super helpful.
Kendra: Yeah and that's the SEO, the search engine optimization, which helps people find you.
Christine: So the last point that we have is whether you want to focus on something that you've personally struggled with or not. Again, Kendra and I are very different. I have never had insomnia. I started freaking out about sleep when I was pregnant with my little one, because I ADORE sleep. I was highly pregnant and in Luxembourg, we have an eight weeks maternity leave before the baby comes, so I had the best time in my life! Sleeping in every morning, getting massages. Having having all that was amazing. I had a great pregnancy, so I had nothing to worry about. It was great! Yet, one morning when I was just stretching out, waking up naturally, it dawned on me: this is never going to happen again!
That's how this all started. But it's surely not as tragic as someone, who's not been sleeping for ages. That did not get in the way of me becoming very successful with what I do though. It's just to say that you don't necessarily need to have your own hero's journey in what you do, it can obviously help you. It's a lot easier with your copy, but you don't have to have a focus on it.
Kendra: I think you can go either way. It definitely helps and a lot of people do end up teaching in an area they’ve personally struggled, just because they have a really intimate connection to it.
I had crazy hormone issues, gut issues, issues with detox fatigue. It's insane! So it's really easy for me to talk about these things and understand what people are going through. It is also easier for me to write copy, because I've been there. I know how it feels! I've experienced all those emotions and all that crap.
You can still be successful. Maybe you struggled with fatigue, but you're just sick of it. You don't want to talk about fatigue anymore. You've been dealing with fatigue for 10 years and don't want to focus on that. That's cool. You can focus on something that you're just interested in examining and learning. However, I think if you do have a really amazing personal story, say you've reversedall your autoimmune condition, you should use that regardless.
Christine: Again, literally what you don't want to talk about, that's what you should talk about. That's what people are going to be interested in. Having said that though, I now use the words that I learned from my clients.
My clients confide in me. They don't find anyone who's listening to them, who really understands them and they explain that to me. It's a private space, but I use their ideas and I tell it to people from that point of view. So instead of saying I didn't find someone I could talk to about this, because I didn't think it was a real problem or I was just a wuse; I would say I had a client who told me that. So that works as well. It's just different, but totally valid.
Kendra: And I think it's important. A coach told me that every time people ask you questions or share something with you, write it down. Put it on a post it and you can use that later. You can use it for Q & A, a live stream or you can use their words for your copy, because I think when it comes to nicheing and speaking to people, you really need to make it about them. Don't make it about you.
I see that in a lot of new business owners. Their website is all about them and 'oh, I did this and I can help with this and blah blah blah'. But really you should vary. It should be all about the person who's coming to the website. They're there to help themselves. So you need to talk to them.
Christine: Exactly. So even on your about page, and we're going to do a complete episode on that, it's not about you!
Alright, beautiful people. That's it for us today. We're going to be on again in two weeks on the 29th and we will have a guest with us, so stay tuned for that. You will see us and hear us with new episodes every two weeks. If you want to support our mission of bring business tips to people into health coach or health business industry and also continuous education, then you can become a patron of our show. You can go to our website and click the big red button at the bottom of the page. We also have a free gift for you, which you can also get on the same page.
Kendra: Yes, we have a really great tool kit. It's basically every single tool that we've used to grow successful businesses that pretty much, if you're not using, you're making your life harder. Having an online business is complex and there are so many things you need. So we've really broken down the best things for email marketing, video, etc... everything is in this toolkit. So check that out, it's free!