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niche case study: migraine sufferers

Heidi Wilson was a part of my last Niching for Hippies program.

She’s a cranio sacral therapist (among other things). That’s the boat (watch the video in this blog and that’ll make more sense). From her standpoint, craniosacral work is what she does. From the client’s standpoint though, craniosacral is just how she does what she does. From there standpoint, what she does is to help them get a particular result that they’re craving.

But which result?

That’s the million dollar question.

The challenge is more complex when you realize that most holistic modalities can help so many people with so many issues – that’s why they’re ‘holistic’ in the first place. But most people aren’t interested in being more holistically well. They’re too busy dealing with whatever pressing problems they’re facing.

And they’re sure not interested in prevention.

To state it another way: the modality you use (how you do what you do) is irrelevant to people. They don’t care. What is relevant to them are the problems they struggle with and the results they crave. Period.

So, your job in marketing is to translate that for them – to build the bridge – to help them see how your technique can help them get what they want.

But, of course, we can’t be experts in everything.

So, Heidi decided to narrow in on a very specific niche: migraine headaches.


Name: Heidi Wilson – Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.
Website: http://www.Heidiwilsonfluidhealing.com

What is the niche you’ve come up with? Who is it? What are the problems they struggle with?

My niche is people who suffer from chronic migraine headaches who are open to natural solutions. They struggle with the pattern of recurring physical pain of migraine headaches and the accompanying disruption and dysfunction it causes in their lives. They don’t want to be dependent on drugs.

What’s the result you are helping them to achieve?

I help them live without this chronic pain through their committing to receiving regular craniosacral sessions for a period of at least six months.

How was the process of coming to this niche for you? Was it hard? Easy? A struggle? Something you’d already been working on?

Before the start of this course, I had thought about wanting to somehow bring in more people with migraines to my practice, since I knew that I could help them, but I hadn’t really thought about the concept of a “niche” before. It was cool to go through the process of reflecting on my own healing journey through Tad’s questions/homework. It helped me understand with more clarity that healing my wounds about shame and confusion around natural desires and sensuous expression, brought me to doing healing work. And that being passionate about teaching people to be at home in their bodies and recognizing the incredible healing resources available through this relationship with their bodies, is a natural progression on my path. The process wasn’t exactly easy- I went through some shadow work in answering the homework questions- that brought to light my strengths and values.

Why this niche? What’s the story here? What can you say about your personal connection to this niche? Were you once in a similar boat? What made you think you had something to offer here?

In the reflections for the homework for this class, there was a part that asked what we are good at, who have we helped? People with migraine headaches came up easily as an answer. I love seeing people through to the other side of this pain. I don’t get migraines myself, but my youngest daughter used to. There was a year in high school when she was under a lot of stress while going to a school that wasn’t a fit for her. Changing schools and getting bodywork from me helped her through. Witnessing the suffering she went through and wanting so much for her suffering to end helps me have compassion for people with this pattern.
Getting clear that this is a niche that I can name and claim is exciting to me.

What’s the response been to this so far from the people you’ve shared it with?

The response from people who I have told about this niche has been nothing but positive! Everyone seems to know someone who suffers from migraines and supports me in pursuing this project.

How are you planning to reach this crowd? Any sense of the best hubs right now?

I am in the process of creating a website specifically for people who suffer from migraines. I will purchase some google ads to get traffic coming to my site. I’ll soon create a Facebook page for this aspect of my business.

I have reached out to a friend who is a Naturopathic doctor who will take my cards and with whom I plan on doing some projects around migraine relief. I will also go to other Naturopathic doctors’ offices with cards and fliers/brochures about my offerings.

I’m contemplating creating some you tube videos about my practice of “Floating the Brain”, a meditative practice that I teach my craniosacral students that I believe will help people with migraines. This one is a bit edgy for me, but I want to go for it when I am ready!

What did you learn about niching along the way?

I have been in private practice for 19 years and never taken a marketing course- never really gave it much thought. My practice has really built itself on word of mouth. The concept of niche marketing was new to me so I learned one very basic concept that others may have already heard of or understood- that narrowing my focus can actually increase my effectiveness in reaching the people that I can help.

What are your next steps in exploring this niche? Any project ideas?

I plan on pursuing the project that I came up with in the six week course. That is- a free workshop/event co-created with my naturopathic friend. She will offer information on migraines’ causes and triggers and offer dietary recommendations and herbs. I will offer meditative exercises and practices I call “Floating the Brain” to feel your cranial rhythm and encourage a relaxation response to stress. Of course then I would let people know about my craniosacral work and why I believe they could benefit from my services if they were ready to commit to at least a few months of working together.

What would you say were the top three lessons you learned about niching from going through the six week Niching for Hippies program?

1. To have an idea and go for it!

2. So many cool ideas about creating and connecting with hubs through niching projects!

3. That I can keep growing my self and my work as I get more and more clear about who I am and who I love to be with!

Anything else you’d like to say?

Just that Tad, you are a great living example of someone working a successful niche! The titles- Niching for Hippies- and Marketing for Hippies- got me when I read it in an email -don’t remember how I got the original email… Just caught my attention and curiosity – struck a chord of relatedness… Then when I started to read the material, it continued to take me in with the down to earth honest approach to a topic that I didn’t normally relate to- marketing. Thanks for being real and so generous with your knowledge! And cool too of course!

Here’s what I might do if I were her:

Become an expert in migraines not just craniosacral. If she’s going to create a website on migraines, I want to see it full of links, tips, videos, blog posts, interviews etc. on migraines. You need to be masterful at your craft. True. You must be excellent at your technique or modality. But you must also become an expert in their problem. Stated another way – you need to be an expert in helping them get the results they crave. Fortunately, this isn’t difficult. Most migraine sufferers will have never even read a single book on the topic.

That’s a guess but I’d wager a generous sum that it’s true. All she needs to do is to read a few books on migraines and she’ll be well ahead of the curve. The key in the holistic world is to get outside of your own modality. Forget about it for a while and just learn about the issue at hand.

Seek other perspectives.

I imagine that herbalists, NLP practitioners, Chinese Medicine practitioners, essential oil purveyors, yoga teachers, hypnotherapists, meditation teachers, nutritionists etc. all have something to say and offer here that would be complimentary and not at all competitive. If her clients can see her as an expert not only in craniosacral (which they only peripherally care about to the extent they believe it can help them) but also in treating migraines she will be able to command much higher fees (should she want to), be much choosier in her clients, and will have so much more openness, trust and cooperation from her clients.

And she’ll want to make much of this context setting knowledge available for free on her site.

She’ll have street cred.

Develop a very clear point of view on treating migraines. The focus on migraines make her work instantly relevant to a lot of people. But the true credibility will come from them understanding her point of view – how she sees the situation. They want to know her ‘take’ on it. Her perspective, philosophy . . . her map on how to get them from Island A to Island B. Let’s imagine she chooses to do a series of blog posts on the topic. Here are some titles her potential clients might find very interesting.

“The Six Hidden Causes of Migraines”

“The Three Biggest Unfortunate Side Effects About Migraine Pain Relief Drugs The Drug Companies Would Rather You Don’t Know”

“Three Simple Home Remedies to Take the Edge Off Your Migraines”

“Five Foods That Will Make Your Migraines Worse”

“What’s Happening in Your Brain When You Have a Migraine”

These are just off the cuff but she could come up with more by answering these questions.

So much of marketing ends up being education. But not just education about the boat (e.g. “let me tell you how great Osteopathy is”) but education about the map (e.g. “See, here’s where the tides will whip you right into the rocks, here’s where the pirates are, here’s where the sea monsters are but this path here is smooth sailing. See that?”).  The more that people understand, resonate with and trust your map the more ideal clients you’ll get.

Identifying Hubs for Migraine Sufferers. The core of marketing, as I know it, is about identifying hubs. Asking yourself, ‘Where do migraine sufferers (who don’t want to rely on drugs) already spend their time, money and attention?’ The answer to that question will give you everything you need to start marketing to them effectively. In fact, we mentioned some great ones above – herbalists, NLP practitioners, Chinese Medicine practitioners, essential oil purveyors, yoga teachers, hypnotherapists, meditation teachers, nutritionists etc.

Here’s another bonus tip: for marketing to local clients staff at health food stores in the supplement section. I guarantee they have people coming in all the time looking for natural treatments to migraines. If all the staff know her and love her – you can be that they’ll be happy to refer business over to her of these clients.

Advice #4: Think global. Niching narrowly to a problem like migraines means you can now grow your business more broadly than where you live. Heidi could, over time, create videos, ebooks, audio programs etc. that she could sell on her new website – http://ihelpmigraines.com/ and make some money while she sleeps.


Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program https://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/

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