To niche or not to niche?
This is a question I hear a lot in the homeopathy community.
My answer isn’t a yes or no.
It’s a maybe.
Good reasons to Niche
If you have a very specific area of expertise in your life outside of homeopathy, and you can align homeopathy with that, that would make a lot of sense to me.
For example, if you are a midwife or a doula, then having a niche around homeopathy for pregnancy and birth could really help you to be more successful.
If you have a special interest in hay fever and asthma and you offer allergy testing alongside of homeopathy, then having a niche around homeopathy for allergies would be a great idea.
If you’ve had CEASE training and you have a special interest around vaccination issues, the autism spectrum and learning disabilities might be a good way to go.
I’m sure you can think of other possible niches: fertility, anxiety, family health are three more that spring to mind.
Good reasons to Differentiate instead
But what if you came into homeopathy without a clear focus for your practice? What if you actually love the variety of the work that you do?
What if you know that you are not treating the condition, but you treat the whole person?
We all know that allopathic diagnosis can be useful but is not necessarily the starting point for homeopathic treatment.
But we also know that when someone comes to see us for the first time, they often have a named issue or group of symptoms they want sorting. They’ve often tried a few other things first. Usually they’ll have seen their GP. Maybe a specialist or two. They’ve probably tried changing their diet, or taking something they’ve seen recommended on Google.
When they come to see us, they are not necessarily super interested in homeopathy. What they are interested in is this: have you treated this before and can you help me?
We can help them decide whether we are a good fit for them by offering them some easy to access information on our website.
Our clinic hours
Our main areas of focus
Some personal information about ourselves – our background, interests etc.
This is not so much having a niche, but showing how we are different.
Let’s imagine that a professional dancer has been diagnosed with IBS and their GP tells them that they just have to get used to their symptoms as they’re not going to go away.
They are really struggling because their symptoms are massively impacting their ability to rehearse and perform on a regular schedule.
Somebody suggests they try homeopathy so they decide to check out some homeopaths online. Some are near where they work and some are near where they live. They need to find someone who is available in the mornings as they rehearse most afternoons and are performing most evenings.
The first homeopath they check out says that they specialist in homeopathy for families. They offer home visits.
The second homeopath gives a long list of things they treat: asthma, eczema, hayfever, PMS, digestive issues, anxiety and phobias are all on the list. Their clinic hours are not listed, and there is a phone number to call for an appointment.
The third homeopath lists IBS, Crohns among the many things they treat but is only available afternoons and evenings.
The fourth homeopath specialises in treatment for injury and musculo skeletal injury but and mentions in their bio that their first career was in theatre. They are open two mornings and two evenings and they also offer Skype sessions.
Which homeopath do you think they would contact first?
They might contact number two because they mention digestion, but they do have to phone them to get information on clinic hours which might be off-putting.
They might contact number three because IBS is mentioned, and they might ask whether they could offer a morning appointment.
They might also contact number four, not because of their specialism in IBS but because they offer the right working hours and they might also understand the situation due to having previously worked in the theatre.
They could also go back to Google and ask for a homeopath specialising in IBS and if they found one that offered Skype then maybe Bingo – that would be the best option.
Simple steps to help you stand out
The thing is — we don’t know what we don’t know. 🙂
Our prospective clients will always come from two places. Word of mouth and Google. Mostly.
Word of mouth will almost always win over Google but there are a lot of people out there and not everyone knows someone who can recommend a homeopath.
People often start with locality but they might also start with the complaint.
There is a lot of choice on the internet, and if people don’t like what they see, or if they don’t find the right thing, they will shop around.
We need to give them everything they need to make up their mind, and quite quickly or they will click away.
Do we need to be a specialist in a named condition? Well, legally we can’t be, but we can show some areas that we have expertise in.
If we narrow down what we offer we look more credible.
We also look less similar to the GP model which is a good thing because usually people looking for homeopathy are looking for something different.
Also, by showing something of ourselves, by showing our personality, our background, our interests, we can attract the right kind of people for us.
My practice as an example
My current offering on my website mentions immunity, hormones and skin. These three areas often intersect and I find I am attracting more complex cases which is interesting for me and gives me a lot of diversity in my practice which I enjoy.
I still have new people wanting me to treat their children.
I still have people with a range of other issues – including IBS, anxiety, migraine and so on.
Mentioning three main areas of focus doesn’t make me look like I can’t treat anything else. People tell me they look at my blog and are drawn to work with me because I go to music festivals, and because I like decluttering and being minimal. Nothing to do with homeopathy!
So, back to my original question. Do you have to have a niche?
No, but… it is good to have a focus. And it is good to show a bit about who you are so people can decide whether you’re someone they would like to spend time with.
That’s my two cents worth.
About the Author:
If you like my two cents and you’re interested to read more ideas about how the business of homeopathy you can find me on: yourradiantbusiness.com You can join a fortnightly newsletter there too. If you’d like to take a peep at my homeopathy blog, you can find me at: homeopathywithtracy.co.uk Tracy is a homeopath in East London. She likes dress-making, walking her dog and taking photos with her phone. She’s also a blues DJ. firstname.lastname@example.org