As (almost) always, both can be right answers, but you should be intentional about how you want to present yourself and your practice out in the world. In this piece, I will discuss the potential benefits of narrowing your niche, and branding yourself as “the person who is really good at that specific kind of work.”
You’re going into private practice. Do you present as a generalist, and click all 57 of those “specializes in” boxes on the insurance provider forms? Of course not. You’re left having no idea what they really do well, if anything, or who they’d work best with. I am discussing this as it applies to a Private Practice for Therapists, but it applies to Coaches, Consultants, just about any entrepreneurial enterprise.
Feel your way through these statements of specialization:
- Psychological Services
- Adult Psychological Services
- Individual and Relationship Counseling
- Specializing in Men’s Issues
- Counseling and Coaching for Men over 50
- Law of Attraction Counseling for Men Who Seek More Joy and Prosperity in Their Lives
Notice that with each additional descriptor, your potential customer or client base gets smaller and more specific. In the last example, the guy who fits that profile will definitely fine you, but he might NOT find you if you are offering “Adult Counseling Services.”
The brief descriptors are “short tails” and try to appeal to virtually everybody (and, ironically, may resonate with nobody). As you move down the list, you find longer tails–they get pretty specific–you KNOW who your ideal client base is, and you are marketing directly at them.
In the last example above, you would want your web site to feature your blogs or other curated material about Men, about Law of Attraction, about Joy and Prosperity, about New Thought. You might go after “men over 50” and make that even more specific.
The longer the tail, the clearer you are about who you are, who you want to work with, and what you have to offer them.
Let’s face it–your truly Ideal Client is NOT just “Anybody with good insurance”, though many practitioners act that way. So you’re just as good with existential crisis as with alcohol abuse and OCD, and Women’s Issues and ADHD kids? I don’t think so, and nobody else thinks so either.
Know who you want to attract. And build your web site and marketing materials toward that population.