In my mentoring programmes, the first thing we do is decide on a niche for the therapist.
One of the most common things I hear during this process is, “Can my niche be a type of treatment I do?”
So let’s discuss that.
Can your niche be your modality?
The answer isn’t straightforward. Let’s break it all down…
First of all, let’s get straight what a niche actually is.
A Niche is simply “what you want to be known for”
Some therapists want to be known for working with a specific client group (eg pregnant women, runners etc),
Others want to be known for addressing specific issues (such as chronic pain or stress reduction).
And there are a few that want to be known for the specific treatment that they do (eg Thai massage, Aromatherapy etc.)
So the answer to “Can a Modality be a Niche” is YES it can.
However – that brings us to a question which is asked less often:
“SHOULD a modality be a niche?”
And here the answer is more complicated…
When we choose our niche, we need to take many factors into account and the first, most important one is:
Do people actually WANT this?
If your modality is highly specialized , it’s likely that people don’t even know what it is or why they might need it.
Which means the only people you’d get coming through your doors are those who have prior knowledge of your modality and KNOW what it is, and that that it could help them.
That immediately excludes A LOT of people.
You might think most people know and understand about the different treatment options out there – but generally, no they don’t.
If you are trying to sell your modality to the few that know what it is, you’re going to find it harder to get clients.
On the other side, if your niche is popular among massage therapists (ie you want to specialise in Sports or Deep Tissue massage) there is already a high level of competition and it will be challenging to stand out and attract clients.
Another thing to take into account is what’s in fashion. you might think that treatment modalities don’t go in and out of fashion – but actually they do.
When I first started out 25 years ago, Aromatherapy was popular, as was Swedish massage. Sports and Deep Tissue were virtually unheard of.
Massage therapy trends can change over time. What is popular and in-demand today may not be as sought after in the future. You’ll need to keep that in mind.
So the answer to this question is nuanced – but I would argue that usually (not always) it’s better NOT to have your modality as your niche.