If you’re marketing to everyone, you’re marketing to no one. It’s one of the biggest mistakes clinics make, and it’s so easily rectified. Fear plays a big part; the fear is by targeting a specific type of person, you’re cutting down on the number of possible clients, and yet the truth is quite the opposite. Rather than use the blunderbuss approach to marketing, the more precise you are in your target client, the more money you can charge (and so make) and the easier things will become.
As an example, I heard about a nutritionist, who was struggling to niche down. When asked who her ideal client was she responded ‘anyone that can eat’, which may be true but was far too broad. She was asked again, who and what do you want to niche down to, so she responded ‘children’. She was told that was still too broad and asked what is was about children that she really wanted to focus on. She answered ‘lunchtime meals’, which let’s be honest is very, very, niche. She then wrote a book entitled Not Just Sandwiches and branded herself as The Lunchbox Doctor. A short time later, she received a phone call from the BBC saying that they’d been let down by the person who was coming into talk about child obesity and asking if she was free for the next 30 minutes, she responded yes, and after a quick brief and a count down 5,4,3,2,1 she was on the air with national coverage. The moral of the story? The BBC’s research team had searched online for someone who was focused on children’s nutrition and Jenny was found easily and appeared a true expert. Such is the power of niching!
You might be sitting there thinking ‘Well that’s okay for them but I do work with a lot of different people, and I don’t want to alienate my current clients.’ Believe me, you won’t. Your current clients will continue to use you.
Your first step is to look at what makes you the most profit in your business. What areas can you claim to be an expert in? And you can have more than one, but as a maximum I’d say three personally. I’ve seen some individuals claim to be experts in ten different treatments, and it just looks like they’re a jack of all trades. Obviously it’s different if it’s a large clinic but if you’re small, try not to be all things to all people. For those of us who are focusing on positioning ourselves as an authority, your competitors’ lack of niching is great news. Get in front of their potential or current clients with the strategies and tactics laid out in this book, and you’ll take them to the cleaners!
Just one word of warning, though, on having a single niche sector. Should something happen outside of your control that negatively impacts on these clients, your income could disappear overnight. In the last recession, for example, companies who were solely concentrated on one sector, pretty much had their budgets disappear overnight and couldn’t adapt quickly enough to keep the cash coming in. So, where niching can be great, try to build up two or three different areas over time so that your clinic is somewhat protected.
Okay, so let’s say you’ve decided on your area and on what you’re offering; the next thing to do is to build avatars of your ideal client. For example, one of my clients has three areas they’ve decided to concentrate on, and they’ve chosen to focus on one of those particular clients first for all their marketing efforts. This is 40+ mums, with a disposable income, whose children have just gone off to university, who now have more time on their hands, and who are looking to build their confidence.
They’ve gone on to build a much more detailed avatar and with this information they’ve been able to develop specific marketing strategies to engage in a way that this potential client wants to be engaged with. Just depending on who you’re targeting, your own avatar should also be as detailed as possible, so consider where they live, what gender, age, children, where they holiday, what magazines they read, what social media platforms they’re on… Really find out what they care about. When I interviewed Richard Reed from Innocent drinks (if you ever have the chance to visit Innocent HQ, take it; they’re an excellent business with a really good fun culture). Anyway, when Innocent had reached a critical size, the next step was to approach the big four supermarkets in the UK. They were looking to approach just the buyers from these supermarkets, so they set about finding the names, and everything they could about these people – their interests, where they lived and, interestingly, how they got to work.
What they did next was genius. They didn’t have the budget for mass-scale marketing so they simply sourced and paid for a handful of billboard advertisements for Innocent Drinks in and around the Tube stations these people used on their commute to work. To the buyers, it looked like Innocent Drinks were ‘everywhere’ and within a month they’d successfully booked meetings with them all. It might be that you can’t employ that exact tactic but it demonstrates how knowing who your target market is allows you to direct your marketing efforts at them.
Your next step is to get your own marketing right. Your website and social media is basically your shop front; it’s the first thing people will see when you either direct them to look at your services or they search for your services, so it’s essential that you speak directly to them. Remember the e-commerce example earlier, so you need to alter your copy and website to be tailored to their very personal needs. The website needs to speak directly to your avatars.