Ok, we are just going to lay it on you straight. We spend a lot of time online, and a lot of time in Facebook groups keeping up with our community. Something that comes up a lot in all kinds of online spaces is that quite often brand new doulas, understandably excited to get their doula business started, will post 3 or 4 logos or business names they created and ask, which one do you like best!?!
We love, love, love the excitement and love the logos, but there are often a few steps that are missing and crucial before you get to the logo part. That’s what this blog is all about!
Niche or Target Market, what the heck?!
We are sure you’ve heard the terms Niche or Target Market when it comes to business. If not we are about to make your life a whole lot easier.
If you have but aren’t sure what exactly you should be doing with these terms, we are here to help you out.
We often see the term Niche (pronounced Neesh, or Nitch for our American friends) being used interchangeably with the term Target Market.
The trouble is, they are not the same thing.
Your target market is who you work with, your offer is what you do for them. The combination of your target market and your offer is your niche.
Knowing this tiny bit of information can be the difference between a business that is booming and a business that is struggling to find its voice. Yes, it is extremely important to define your target market and who you are serving as a business owner. And what you really want to define is your niche.
Let’s Get Started Niching Your Doula Business:
One mistake many doulas (and entrepreneurs in all fields) make when they first get started on their business is that they keep their target market and their offer broad, in fear of losing potential clients. Some even make this mistake after many years of being in business. When your niche is too broad your business will struggle to connect with potential clients; it will become lost in the noise of all the other doula businesses.
The key to a successful business is defining your niche and creating your marketing material to connect perfectly with your perfect clients. Are you starting to see why creating a logo and/or business name without doing this work first might not be the best idea?
There are a few ways to define your niche. It’s important to recognize that not every approach will work with all businesses. You need to decide what works best for you and your business. There is only one rule: you cannot be scared to start eliminating potential clients that do not fall into your niche. We promise this will serve you in the long run (don’t worry, we will get to this).
Target Market: Who Do You Love Working With?
You may have learned to create a customer avatar before, but for this exercise we want you to move past the idea of just listing demographics. Instead, we want you to start thinking of your target market as an ideal client – one person – a client you would be thrilled to work with everyday. This ideal client is not just an avatar; they are a person with unique behaviors and interests.
Picture that perfect client in your head:
- Where do they live? (Urban/Suburban/Rural)
- What stores do they shop in?
- What coffee shops do they love?
- What are their hobbies/interests?
- Where do they hang out online?
- What are their personality traits?
- What language do they use?
- What are their needs/wants?
- What stage of life are they in?
- What does their family look like?
- Where would they/did they give birth?
- How did they/do they want to start their family?
- What are their struggles?
Now, define your offer.
You are a genius! Congratulations!
Every single one of us has knowledge and skills (or a zone of genius) that makes us who we are. We know that sometimes it can be hard to give ourselves that much credit but it’s the gosh darn truth. This is what makes you as perfect for your perfect client as they are for you.
What is it that you do FOR your target market that only you can do? Your unique zone of genius is the exact thing that sets you and your business apart from the rest. Your zone of genius could even be your personality traits. No one can DO YOU like you, we promise, so the sky is the limit.
Here are some questions that might help you with your offer:
- What do friends/family/clients always ask me about?
- What are my strengths when working with clients?
- What do I know a lot about?
- What is something I have overcome/made better in my life?
- What additional certifications do I have?
- What do I love to do?
- What problem can only I solve for my target market?
- Is there a market for this, is this something people want/need? Have you asked?
And finally, find your niche.
Now, let’s put it all together. Remember Target Market + Your Offer = Your Niche.
When defining your niche, you have to strike a careful balance. You will need to be sure your niche has a broad enough reach to sustain your business but is also specific enough to allow your business to stand out in the crowd. Here are some examples within the pregnancy/birth field that might get some ideas flowing for your birth business!
Broad Offer to a Specific Target Market:
A good example of this might be creating Birth Doula Services (broader offer) for plus-sized pregnant women (specific target market). You are able to keep your broad expertise as a birth doula but you’ve created a narrow niche by being very specific with who you work with. You are able to connect with your target market more easily because you are specifically talking to them. They feel like you know/understand the struggles and goals that are unique to them. Wouldn’t that make you feel good?
Specific Offer to a Broad Target Market:
A specific offering is quite often something that is unique to you, education or experience that you have that not many others have. When an offer is unique you are then able to reach a broader market to sustain your business. For example, one of our Doula Training graduates was an expert hula hooper and went on to teach hula hooping (specific offer) for pregnant women (broader target market). We love this idea so much we pretty much talk about it whenever we talk about niching!
Specific Offer to a Specific Target Market
This is not our favorite for a few reasons, one being that pregnancy, birth, parenting is already somewhat of a specific market. If you narrow down your market and your offer too much you might not be able to reach enough people to sustain your business. Unless you create a VIP or Premium experience, in this case, a specific niche is a great idea. An example of this might be offering ‘Starting Solids’ classes (specific offer) for infants with special dietary needs (specific target market).
Broad Offer to a Broad Target Market
This would bring us back to the ‘mistake’ we talked about earlier: being ‘all the things to all people’. Do you find yourself in this category? Unless you are a marketing goddess (and you might be!) there is a good chance that if you try to reach everyone, you’ll wind up reaching no one. It is so important that your potential clients feel heard and understood, more than anything they want to know their problems will be solved by working with you. Connecting to potential clients from your website and/or flyers will be nearly impossible with a broad/broad niche unless you have been around a long time or there are not many birth workers in your community. An example of this might be offering childbirth education (broad offer) to pregnant women (broad target market).
How will I benefit from taking the time out to niche my business?!
- You get to work with people you love, doing what you love – Marketing for your niche is a natural ‘weeding’ out process. Without offending anyone, we all know what it is like to work with clients we don’t really mesh with. It can be exhausting. We want you to love your business and love your clients, and we want your clients to love you right back!
- Marketing becomes easy(ish) – It is normal for marketing to be a bit of a challenge if it is not your background and we promise that knowing your niche will instantly make it easier. Once you know your ideal client – what design catches their eye, what language they use, what problems they have – you can easily connect with them.
- Word of mouth increases – The easiest and cheapest style of marketing is word of mouth so you definitely want your word of mouth game to be strong. How do you do that? You become the ‘go to’ person when it comes to your niche. People love to ‘be in the know’ and want to send their friends to the ‘expert’ in a certain field. Be that expert!
We know it is hard at the beginning to slow down the momentum and take time out to do this work before you launch your business. And it’s necessary and absolutely worth it. Creating a business that feels easy might be as simple as spending time defining your niche. Don’t let worrying about getting it exactly right stop you from putting that pen to paper. Your niche will change as you change and/or learn more about yourself and your ideal client. And that is OK!
PRO TIP: Once you think you have your niche figured out, spend some time validating that idea. Take some people, who you believe to be your perfect target market, out for tea and ask them what they think. Is it something they connect with? Do they squeal ‘Oh my gosh, I wish I had that when I was pregnant!’? Or do they scrunch up their nose? Also, take note of how they talk about the problems/issues they face or have faced. What language do they use? Where did they go for help? You can actually use these words when you are building your brand :)
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