#195: How To Niche Down

Have you heard the advice to choose a specific target market but you can’t seem to niche down? In this episode Michelle shares useful ways to target your marketing and how, in very practical terms, to tap into a group of people that YOU are best suited to serve. Get Michelle’s free target market guide at https://healthcoachpower.com/targetmarket

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How to Niche Down

Whether you’re just starting your health coach business or trying to grow and get more clients, you’ve probably heard that you should pick a target market and niche down. But have you been able to put this advice into practice in your business?

Sometimes it makes sense on paper, but when you try to apply it to your own business, it’s suddenly confusing again. What does it actually look like to niche down?

You’re probably starting too broad

You know you’re too broad when you’re speaking to your target market but it feels meaningless. It feels vague. It feels like no one is listening. 

So you’re thinking too broad. This is sometimes hard to see when you’re new, so I’m going to help you learn how to niche down in your business. You can download a free resource at healthcoachpower.com/targetmarket. It’s a five step guide to nailing your target market, and it covers the ins and outs of what a target market is and why you need one in your health coach business. Go grab that, it will help! 

Now, let’s niche down.

What it looks like to “get specific”

When you first start the process, you might pick a target market like this: suburban women, ages 48-55, who have always looked after everyone else first and now find themselves out of shape, overweight, pre-arthritic, and struggling to make healthy choices. This might sound specific to you, but let’s look closer. Suburban women come in all shapes and sizes, and many, many of them fit that description. What city does she live in? What are her values? What does she do for fun? What does she see as her number one problem – the thing she’d give anything to fix? What is so important to her that she’s going to spend money on it? She’s probably not asking everyone she knows how to fix being “pre-arthritic!” And that stuff about helping everyone else first? It’s so common it’s almost a given, and that makes it pretty useless when you’re trying to identify a narrower target market. 

So how can you get more specific? You need to identify a specific person and identify the particular problem that person would give anything to solve.

Define what makes you unique

Health coaches tend to be humble when we think and talk about ourselves, but everyone has unique things about them. Figuring these out is key to finding your niche. What experiences have you had that other people have not had? How were you raised? Where have you lived? What circumstances have you been through in your life? What kind of work have you done? What groups have you been a part of? What makes you, you? Don’t worry about being humble. You’re not bragging. You’re taking an honest look at who you are and what you bring to the table.

Who do you connect with?

Here are some examples about me: I’m a health coach, but I used to work in advertising. I work well with other women who work advertising because I know what it’s like for them. I also used to compete in dance competitions, and I connect easily with other people with a competitive background. I drive a Prius and listen to NPR, and I find that I mesh well with other socially and environmentally conscious people. I’m divorced, and I really click with other divorced women because we immediately feel a sense of trust. This doesn’t mean you can only work with people who are just like you! But it is a way to start to niche down and find the clients you’ll do your best work with.

Let’s go back to our suburban women ages 48-55. Now, imagine she drives a Prius– don’t you already have a clearer picture of who she is? She has a certain belief system and she’s willing to pay a little more to support it. You’re getting there.

Figuring out who you are is a great way to start defining a niche that you’ll thrive in. Find other people similar to you in some capacity. You’ll find that it’s easy to build rapport and trust. You’ll find that you’re doing things you’re good at and things you love.

Help them solve a problem

You also need to get specific about what problem you can help them solve. Something general– a little overweight, a little tired, a little joint pain– isn’t enough for most people to decide to hire a health coach. Pick a specific problem, and here’s the key: it has to be a problem they know about and care about. What problem are they actively trying to solve?

Maybe it’s a medical diagnosis. Do you help suburban women with chronic Lyme disease? That’s specific. 

Or maybe it’s a symptom. In this case, it’s important to use the words your target market uses. It’s “bloating” or “eczema”, not “poor gut health.” It’s “belly fat” or “hot flashes,” not “hormone imbalance.” No one is walking around desperately trying to solve their poor gut health! Talk about the problem they’re struggling with as they see it.

Make sure it’s a big problem

Here’s another common mistake: you pick a problem your target market is aware of, but it’s not a big enough problem for them to hire you to help them solve it. Maybe you’d like to help people stick to healthy habits. For most people that would be nice, but it’s not a big pain point in their life. Why do they care about healthy habits? Is there an underlying need you’re going to address? Figure out what that is, and target it. 

Can you help people with chronic back pain get active again? Can you help people who haven’t slept through the night in years finally feel rested? These are examples of  big problems. They know it’s a problem and they’re willing to spend money to solve it.

Can you reach them?

You niched down. You defined a specific person. You identified a very specific, important problem to solve. But before you dig in, you need to make sure it’s a viable market.

Start by considering if this is a group of people you can reach. If you want to work with Spanish-speaking women, you better speak Spanish. If you want to work with new moms but don’t have any connections to pregnancy and birth services, you might have a hard time finding them when they’re in that postpartum haze. So make sure they’re accessible to you.

Will they hire you?

The last part is to make sure they’re willing and able to work with you. Are you hoping to work with people who are caring for their kids and aging parents at the same time while juggling a high-powered career? You might have a hard time finding people willing to put in the time for health coaching. Hoping to work with single parents making minimum wage? They might not be putting their money towards health coaching right now. Make sure the target market you have in mind is ready, willing, and able to work with you!

Nail your target market

Now that you’ve got an idea how to find a niche that you’ll love, you might want to dig in on really understanding your target market. I’ve got more help for you! You can download the free five-step guide at healthcoachpower.com/targetmarket.

Full transcript:

Well hello there health coaches. You know what, in the past two-ish weeks I've been having lots and lots of conversations about niching down and what that's all about choosing a specific target market. In other words. So the reason I've been having so many of these conversations is because our fast track group is in their second week now. And this is so important to nail down, like right from the start. It's the first thing that we do. So whether you're part of fast track or not, I wanna make sure that you're on this. And today I'm gonna share a, a draft that one of our fast trackers came up with and talk about it as an example of how to niche down better. Um, maybe even know when, uh, you're too broad when you're, you're speaking your target market and it's just like meaningless. This is sometimes hard to see when you're new, so I'm gonna use my eyes to help you see it.

And, um, and you can be able to say, you know, I'm not specific enough. Let me use some of Michelle's tips for how to get more specific, how to actually niche down, because it sounds good. Sometimes it makes sense up here, but in practice it's like, ah, how do I do this though? So, if you're here live, please say, hello in the comments. Let me know if you have any questions as you go along. If you have a target market that you would like to discuss, put it in the comments now, and that will allow us to do a little troubleshooting right here right now. That's why I do these things live. You know, also if you need help walking through this process, maybe you've never even considered a target market before. Maybe it always just sounds like a bunch of hogwash. I can help you nail your target market.

In five simple steps, you can download a free resource at healthcoachpower.com/targetmarket. I had the whole... Like today, we're gonna just talk about how to niche down is more specifically, but the whole idea of target markets is covered inside of this free download. Do it. Get that. It's gonna be very helpful. I hated the way that target markets were described and explained when I was in school to become a health coach. So I resisted picking one for a very long time. Anybody else ? Is it just me? I was like, this doesn't make sense. I don't know. There's all these different reasons, but now 13 years into my health coaching practice, I see how extremely valuable it is from the inside. And it makes so much more sense. So I wanna help. It makes sense for you too. Anyway, uh, you can grab that free five step guide at healthcoachpower.com/targetmarket.

So here's the biggest problem that I see coaches running into. Um, I'm gonna illustrate it with an actual example because I think it makes more sense that way, you know, when you can really see what's being written, what coaches are saying, and then we can kind of pull it apart and, and, and speak about all the different issues. So here's something that one of our fast trackers wrote and, um, we'll use that as the example, she said, I want to work with suburban women ages 48 to 55, who have always looked after everyone else first and now find themselves out of shape, overweight, pre arthritic, and often with food sensitivities, they struggle to make healthy food and lifestyle choices. All right. So right from the get go. What I wanna tell you is there are like a gabillion suburban women ages 48 to 55, and they come in all shapes and sizes.

I mean, my goodness today, there are elections happening for our school board in this town. So, just in my specific town, which is already very specific, you should see the controversy going on online, vote for this vote for that. You know, people who stand for these values are gonna vote for these folks and people who stand for these other values are gonna vote for the, I mean, people are split. So even if you were a specific as to say suburban women ages 48 to 55 in a particular town, there's still so many different personality types and value systems, right? So we need to be way more specific when we say things like, um, let's say a woman 48 to 55 who lives in my specific town, who is a liberal, okay. Now that cuts out like a whole category of people. Now we know a lot better. What kind of woman we're talking to or vice versa if we said, and she's a conservative Christian, okay. Then there's, that's a totally different type of person.

But when we say something like a woman, age 48 to 55, who's always looked after everyone else first and now finds themselves out of shape, overweight, whatever. That's kinda all of them, isn't it? Like most of them, like most women ages, 48 to 55 living in any suburban setting probably have been looking after... Mostly any woman on earth has been looking after everyone else first and putting herself second. Yeah. Would you agree with that? So, when we have a, a detail like that, it's a bit useless. It's just sort of a given. So, we don't even have to say it. There's no reason to even talk about that because it doesn't help us target her. It doesn't help us speak to her differently than we would another type of 48 to 55 year old woman. Do you know what I mean?

Whereas if we said she's a liberal or she's a conservative, now we know very different topics, very different take on all the issues, very different value systems. Right? And that would be more helpful. So I'm just using that example because the school board thing is happening today in my town. And it's, it's act... It's, it's very telling like the way people are writing about it and speaking about it, um, what type of person they are. So, anywhay that would be one way of defining this target market a bit better. We're gonna go on here. She said, they're finding themselves out of shape, overweight, pre-arthritic, and often with food sensitivities. And they struggle to make healthy food and lifestyle choices. But she also noted in speaking with these women because we do an interviewing exercise inside the program.

So anyway, she actually has spoken to a number of women who fit within this, you know, somewhat broad category. And she found out that none of them were spending money or currently doing anything where they're spending money to solve these problems. So they feel like they're outta shape and they're overweight and they are pre-arthritic, whatever that means. They have some type of joint pain and they have food sensitivities and they struggle to make healthy choices, but no one's spending money on any of that. And that's super telling. So again, you can share with me in the comments who you feel that you are targeting, or you think you might like to target with your health coaching business, but a very important question to ask yourself, but also ask them if you can find yourself in a, in a conversation, are they spending money on this problem already?

Because when I have a problem, I don't know about you, but like I need my deck stained, and this is not a project I'm going to take on myself. Thank you very much. It needs to be pressure washed and sanded and stained. And it's a beautiful Cedar deck and I want it to look gorgeous anyway, that's my problem. And I am actively, I'm not just complaining about it. I'm not just talking about my deck and Heming and hawing about it. I've already had like three guys come over to give me a quote. I am definitely gonna be spending money to solve this problem. And you wanna know that the people you're talking to are actively spending money and seeking to spend money to solve their problem because any guesses, why is that important? Well, everybody wants to be healthier. Nobody's gonna say, nah, I don't wanna be healthier.

Everyone's gonna say, yes, I have, you know, yeah. I'm a little overweight or yeah, I have this issue. Yeah. I might have some joint pain, but if they're not spending money on it, they don't actually care that much. , you know, and like some people care very, very, very much about their problems. You know, like me with my deck, I really wanna take care of that deck because I love it. And I love my view. And it's important to me. Other people like the previous owners of this house clearly did not give a so you could have the same quote unquote problem, but it means different things to different people. And the way that we can parse that out and figure out is, is this a likely client? Is this the, a target market that is ready, willing and able, and they're going to pay me as a health coach is if they're already spending money to solve the problem.

So, anyway, in this case, in our example, these women, a little too broad, little too vague, not really sure who they are. They have a several different health issues going on and clearly they don't care that much. Uhoh okay. So one way to niche down is getting more specific about the type of person. Also, getting more specific about a big problem, a problem. So big they're already spending money to try and solve it. So how can this particular fast tracker that we're talking about today? Niche down. One thing that, you know, I, I suggested was we wanna choose a certain type of woman, not just all suburban women between this certain age group, and you probably need to do the same thing with your target market. So for example, think what makes you unique? And I gotta tell you, I could be talking to Kamala Harris and she would be like, I don't know. Nothing really makes me very unique. And this is what every health coach tells me. They just kind of shrug. And they're like, uh, very humble. All of us. I could be... Like I said, we're talking to Kamala Harris and she'd say that, and I'd be like, hello, you were the first vice president, woman, vice president of the United States, like what the first person of color and like what in the vice presidential position. And she would still underestimate herself. I can almost guarantee you cause that's what we do.

So, if I was in a personal conversation with you, I get, cuz I've done this before with so many health coaches in like 30 minutes, I could probably figure out or help you figure out what is unique about you. But since today, we're not in a conversation like that. You're gonna have to do some of this legwork for yourself. What makes you unique? What experiences have you had that other people have not had?

This means that you're gonna resonate with certain folks who have been through the same thing. You can think about how you were raised, where you've lived, circumstances that you've gone through. Here are some examples I'm gonna use myself as an example, as like a mirror that for you to look in and then you can see yourself in it. So for me, right, I'm a health coach, but I used to work in advertising and you got, you know, I do very well. I've had lots of clients who work in advertising and do very well working with women in advertising because I get it. I get what that culture's like from the inside. You know, I've been there. I, they trust me because they know that I understand, right. So I have an in with advertising because I spent years of my life working there. What about you?

Where have you worked? What groups have you been a part of that, you know, very intimately from the inside. You get it better than somebody else. Here's another one I used to competitively dance. Did you guys know that? when I was a kid until I was about oh, 13 years old, I competitively danced, ballet, jazz, you name it. So anyway, I've noticed through the years, I've worked really well with those who used to competitively dance or swim or do gymnastics. Right? We just tend to be people who are a little bit more competitive, a little bit more like I wanna get it just right. I want the perfect score. I want the gold star. So anyway, that's something else that's sort of unique about me. That's something that I spent many years of my life doing. So for yourself, what have you spent many, many years of your life doing?

How does that make you different? How does that prime you to be good at certain things or to love certain things? Consider this. Okay. Here's another one. I'm a person who drives a Prius. I do. I'm on my third Prius. I listen to NPR. Absolutely. I mesh well with other socially and environmentally conscious individuals. I'm more liberal minded, right? That's who I am. There's nothing wrong with, uh, you know, being of a different belief system or having different political leanings or religious leanings. But you have the ones you have and you're likely to mesh well with other people who fit in that same category. Not necessarily, but just consider it as a way to niche down. What are some of your belief systems? That's a way to niche down if in our original statement, suburban women for ages 48 to 55, that's quite broad.

But if we say suburban women ages 48 to 55, who drive a Prius. Now you have a picture of who that woman is, right? Like you have an idea. I mean, I catch sh*t all the time. People making fun of my Prius. , I'm sure I'm talking to a bunch of health coaches right now. So you guys probably are with me on this to some degree, but the general population, a lot of people make fun of the Prius. And now with gas prices so high, I'm the one laughing last. Anyway, that's me. What are, what are you all about? What do you stand for? What are some things that you would pay extra for like driving an electric vehicle? Because it fits into your belief system. Okay. Here's another example. I'm divorced. I know exactly what it's like to go through a crappy divorce and how a woman feels during that process.

And after that process, I could talk to a divorced woman for hours and we'd be best friends. What have you gone through? What major life changes have you gone through? What really crappy experiences have you had someone else has had that same crappy experience? Hey you got a lot to talk about. There's a lot of built in trust when you know that someone else has gone through the same thing that you have. So anyway, right, there were four things that make me unique and you have your own set. So, you know, maybe you're a homeschooling mom. Maybe you are a salsa dancer, which I've always wanted to be, but I've really have never learned how to salsa dance. So if you are a salsa dancer, I would like you to teach me. Maybe you're a public school teacher. Maybe you've had chronic Lyme disease.

Maybe you speak Chinese. Like, I don't know, but what makes you, you? And those are extremely good indicators of how you can niche down. So, so far, just with those examples, I would love to hear if this is sparking anything for you, are you like, oh yeah, there is that thing about me. Oh yeah, that's right. I am the president of the, oh gosh, you know, breastfeeding moms of America association or you're you run a La Leche league meeting, right? Like maybe that's something that's very unique about you. We all have these things. So if you're like, mm, not me. I'm not special at all. I don't believe you. I don't, because I've had this conversation with way too many health coaches. You wouldn't have become a health coach. If there wasn't something unique and special about you. I know this, okay. Figure out who you are, great way too, niche down.

Find other people similar to you in some capacity next, be more specific about what problem you help solve. So we could be quite broad in who we work with. Like we say, we're targeting suburban women and that's very vague, but what if we say we're targeting suburban women and they have this very specific, big problem to solve, right? It's not like they're a little overweight or they have some joint pain or they have a little bit of trouble with this, that, and the other thing, what if it was suburban women with chronic Lyme? Um, trying to think of something else that's super specific. Um, that's all that's coming to my head right now. Well, suburban women with psoriasis, you know, like they're there, they exist, but it's, that's certainly not everybody. It's not like how 90% probably of suburban women would say, yeah, I'd like to lose a little bit of weight.

Right? So a very specific problem is a way to niche down and the problem can be a diagnosis. Like what I was just mentioning. It can be a health problem. It doesn't have to be, maybe their big problem has to do with something about their lifestyle. Um, has to do something about their family. You know, maybe it's a, a woman who has six children or more, you know, maybe you do your best work when you work with the women who have like large families, they've gone through childbirth. Many times their bodies are so depleted. They have so much chaos in their house. I don't know but that would be a, a, a very specific problem that not everybody has now. Here's the thing. When you're picking the type of problem that you can help somebody solve when you're kind of honing in on this, they have to be aware of the problem.

Like sometimes I see people and maybe the way they're carrying weight or their face is very red. I'm like, oh boy, this person is at risk for heart disease. Sad, but true. That's me looking at them and through my eyes, that's what I think their problem is. But are they aware of it? Is this something that they know about and that they want to solve and they're actively trying to solve? Chances are no. Right? So we wanna pick a problem that they are already aware of. I'm gonna give you some examples. What if you say, I help whatever people, suburban women, whoever they are, who have poor gut health? No, , that's a big, no, that's not a target market. You guys, because these women are not walking around going. I have poor gut health. I identify as a person who has poor gut health.

I'm seeking help with my poor gut health. No, probably not. They probably know they're bloated or they probably know that they have an autoimmune disease or that they have eczema or any of the other number of issues that come out of poor gut health. But you wanna target that, that thing they know about not their gut health, right? Cause that is, that is not the way they're thinking about their problem. They are not aware of that. Therefore, if you were to message around that, offer a webinar, offer a workshop around gut health. They're not going to come. that that's, that's how this goes into practice. We take our target market and then we create marketing materials around it. And the right people show up or people show up in general. But if you're doing the workshop on gut health, who you're probably gonna get at that workshop are other health coaches, other people who are already pretty tuned in with their health and they are interested.

And they have heard about this whole idea of improving their gut health. That's who you're gonna get. Not the people who actually really need the help. Okay. So that's a big, no, here's another one. Um, I help people who have hormone imbalance. No, first of all, like what kind of hormone imbalance, but that would then lead me to a, what symptoms are they experiencing? And that's what you would wanna target the symptoms that they are experiencing. The problem that they're having. Make sense? Yes? Gimme like a thumbs up and the comments or something, because I wanna know that this is thinking in here's another one that just will not fly. And I'm gonna take this from our example. I work with people, women, whoever who have trouble sticking to healthy habits. No. Why is that a no? Because although she may be aware that she has trouble sticking to healthy habits.

It's not a big problem. That is not the big problem. If someone told me that their big problem was that they have trouble sticking to healthy habits, I would say, well, who cares? Why do you need healthy habits? What would healthy habits help you achieve? How would your life be better if you had healthy habits? Is it because with healthy habits, you'd be able to lose those 50 pounds? Is it because with healthy habits you would be able to stay off gluten and then your eczema clear up, like, what are we actually trying to solve for healthy habits alone? Eh, that's not the problem. There's no emotion there. Nobody's gonna pay you several thousand dollars to help them have healthier habits, but they will pay for you to help them solve a big problem. Capish all right. How about this one? When we wanna pick a big problem that somebody is aware about and wants to solve?

How about somebody who has prediabetes? That could be a yes or a no. Yes. If they care big problem, they get the ed. They're kind of shocked. I know women like this and they really wanna do something about it. But then whole segment of the population gets a diagnosis, kind of doesn't care, kind of just lets it roll off their back. They're gonna pop a pill or whatever to handle their blood sugar. And that's all they wanna hear about it. So that could be a yes or it could be a no depends. How about this one? Chronic back pain. I help people with chronic back pain. Now that's a specific problem is a person aware of the problem. You bet. It's probably driving them crazy. Do they wanna solve it? Yes. I don't know anybody who has chronic back pain who doesn't want it to go away very badly.

So that would get like a 100% stamp of approval. If you can help a certain type of person with chronic back pain. How about if you help people who haven't been able to sleep through the night in years finally get a good night's sleep. Is that a big problem? Mm-hmm is it something they're aware of? Yeah. especially like if it's only been a week or two, they might not think it's a big deal, but if it's been years, they are acutely aware that they have trouble sleeping. They're probably spending money on all types of sleep aids and white noise machines and blackout curtains, whatever. Right? Cause people need to sleep. That's a big problem and they are aware of it. And if they're spending money on things, then you know, they wanna solve it. Now last, before we end today and I wanna remind you again, if you need help, figuring out your target market, you can go to health, coach power.com/target market and get my free guide.

It's a five step guide to nailing your target market. The last step of this is super important. You niche down, okay. You picked a group, maybe they're very specific. Maybe they have a very specific problem to solve. That's cool. Is it viable? Meaning are they ready, willing and able, are they accessible to you? And this is a silly example, but I think it drives the point home. If I say that I work with Spanish speaking women to overcome, I don't know, you know, Hashimoto's disease or something. That's all fine and good. But are Spanish speaking women with Hashimotos disease accessible to me? Not really because I don't speak Spanish seems so obvious. Right? But that I want to drive this point home. Sometimes I see coaches say I work with new moms, moms of small babies. I help them in the postpartum phase.

Okay. But you know what women are doing during that phase? I know what I was doing during that phase of my life. I was not connecting with any health coaches. I mean, I was just like covered in breast milk and mostly crying and just trying to sleep when I could. And in that total survival mode, it would've been very hard for a health coach to reach me during that phase. But let's say that you're a doula or you're a midwife or you're a lactation consultant already. So you do have access to this group of women. Then they may be accessible to you. But if you're just hoping to find this woman like listening to a podcast or stumbling on your website in that phase of her life, probably not gonna happen. So we wanna make sure it's a viable target market. We have access to them and they are somebody who has not just the money that they're spending to solve their problem, but they have the time to dedicate to it.

Because if someone is like that new mom and that, you know, your baby's just a few days old or whatever, a few weeks old, does she have time to dedicate to improving her health? Maybe not. I definitely needed to wait until my babies were like three months old, six months old before I could really start investing in myself again.

What about somebody who is acting as a caretaker for both their own family and children and also their parents, that sandwich generation. And depending on the intensity of what's going on in the family, that caregiver may very much need a health coach. They don't have the time for it right now. They're gonna be ready perhaps in a couple years when they're no longer caring for everyone. So we wanna make sure that we choose a target market. It's specific. We have access to them and they are ready, willing, and able to get to work with us. That was a lot. Was that helpful? I hope so.

I hope you'll go get that five step guide so you can walk through this for yourself. I have a lot of troubleshooting inside the guide for different issues that may come up along the way. Again. That's at healthcoachpower.com/targetmarket. It has been a pleasure being here at all of you today. I'll see you in the Facebook group. All right. Have a good one, everyone.