Massage Therapy Canada

Embrace being different: Find your business niche

January 19, 2021  By Brad Cote, RMT

Photo: © snowing12 / Adobe Stock

When we’re in school, we’re taught that all health practitioners are the same, we learn the same amount of education, and we have access to the same resources, classes and so on. In reality, we all have things that make us unique from our personalities, to our experiences, our passions, and our overall interests.

One of the most empowering things you can do as a healthcare practitioner is to be unique in your positioning within the marketplace and creating your own niche.

Now, why this is important is simple. You want to be able to work with people that you’re most passionate and skilled at dealing with, and ideally, not working with people who you don’t have as much passion, or as much skill set. I refer to myself for this example. When I first started treating patients, I was treating everyone from seniors, athletes, post-surgical and special orthopedic conditions, you name it, I was working with a variety of patients.

What I found over time working with a variety of populations and conditions was that I had more passion towards the athletic performance based population. I also enjoyed the continued education component of crafting my skill sets, around being able to best serve that patient population. So during this process, I made the decision that I was going to transition my practice, in terms of how I was being seen in the marketplace, to working with sports performance based patients.


When you’re first starting out, a large majority of your time will be seeing different types of patient cases, and in student clinics, you’re able to get exposed to senior populations, younger populations, different types of medical conditions and so on. During this process you start to really get a feel for who you most like working with. Now, it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to be working with other types of patients. But, you generally are going to start resonating more towards one population, condition or goal.

Over time what you’ll find is that you start to become more magnetically attracted from a passion and skill standpoint as well as overall fulfillment in your career to that specific niche. This is a really important aspect to pay attention to as a practitioner, because if you’re going to be spending a lot of time in your business and ideally, this is your full time career, you’re going to want to make sure that the people that you’re surrounding yourself with as patients. You want to make sure that the people that you get the most amount of enjoyment with, and you’re also honed in the most from your skill set.

For example, I didn’t spend a lot of time on TMJ and pregnancy massage. So in those instances. If I got those patients inquiring I would tend to refer them to a colleague of mine who both specializes in and is more skilled in terms of treating those patients, along with a deeper passion.

This can become tricky because often practitioners get into the mindset of “I really need to just treat everyone to grow my business”. This is simply not true and routed in a scarcity mindset. Patients are looking for experts to help them, if you are having car troubles you want the licensed mechanic not a friend of a friend who does it part time.

The first step is getting your feet wet and understanding different types of pathologies, conditions, and types of population, so that way you’re ultimately able to determine what you are more passionate and skilled with.

The next step is you want to start finding out different courses, different supporting research that helps you better define more specific about those types of patients that you’re trying to attract, because we want to be able to build our business and our marketing messages and how we’re seen in the community and marketplace as the preeminent provider for those specific issues conditions or types of people that we want to work with.

Why creating magnetic messaging, and positioning in the marketplace is so important, is it really allows the patients to actually get better care because they can find someone who specializes more pre-eminently in the condition issue or whichever they’re looking at getting help with.

Creating that magnetic messaging also allows us to stand out from a competition because we’re no longer just deemed the same as everyone else, weather that’s massage therapy or chiropractic, physical therapy, etc, we’re able to differentiate ourselves, just enough so that your ideal patient who has the problem that you can best solve and are most passionate at dealing with is able to seek you out confidently.

To start creating your “magnetic messaging,” we want to address three keys:

First, who is the ideal perfect patient is that we are both passionate and skilled in helping while having the resources to be able to get the treatments and follow through on the plan of care that you’ve recommended.

Resources doesn’t necessarily mean just financial, but they can also mean motivation to be able to execute the homework and other recommendations for your plan of care. It could be the time to be able to come and see you. Or distance, and so on.

If you are targeting professional athletes, for example, and you live in a town that’s outside the city, and has a lower population, chances are it’s going to be more challenging for those professional athletes to both find you reach you, and come and utilize your services. So it’s really important to have the ideal perfect patient that we want to help.

The problem that we help them solve and evaluate the resources so that we can determine if we’re properly positioned in the marketplace, to be able to attract them to our business.

The next thing that you want to be able to do is you want to be able to include messaging that talks about solutions and outcomes, instead of just your service.Remember, people don’t buy services, they buy solutions.

If someone is dealing with chronic low back pain. They’re not waking up in the middle of the night thinking, I need to go get my massage, I need to go get my chiropractic adjustment. They’re thinking, I need to be able to overcome my low back pain so that I can sleep better, I can move without pain, and I’m able to go about my day without limitations, that’s ultimately what they’re looking at buying and the service of massage, chiropractic, physical therapy, are just tools to be able to facilitate those solutions.

As mentioned earlier, most practitioners create messaging around the services, or modalities that they provide. And the reality is that most patients don’t know the difference between health practitioners, let alone, different modalities, whether that be acupuncture instrument assisted myofascial release, fascial stretching, and so on.

What happens in this scenario is the patient has a hard time delineating between what the best option for them specifically is when we craft our Magnetic Messaging and our positioning in the marketplace. As the preeminent provider for the specific condition or injury or type of individual.

The patient can now resonate with the outcomes that we’re looking at being able to help them achieve. It makes it an easier choice for them to be able to seek us out to get the help that they need and their desired results. Whether that is overcoming low back pain so that they can just simply not have to feel pain all day, or whether that might be being able to improve their balance and independence, so that they can live life on their own terms. Or maybe it’s something like being able to run without getting shin splints.

Overall, the patient wins because they found a practitioner, who’s able to help them with the specific issues that they’re dealing with, and you as the business owner, get to work with people that you’re both passionate and skilled at working with.

The next step in your process of creating magnetic messaging and being able to differentiate yourself in the marketplace, is we need to understand where we actually are with our current messaging, as well as where other people are with theirs.

In the image on the opporite page, you can see that on one side it’s marked “vague.”

This means that what most people are doing is marketing, the service that they provide. And the challenge that happens with this is you end up getting confused in the sea of other options. This could be other health care practitioners services. It could be heating pads, ice packs, pain medication, other types of modalities and also…nothing at all. Often people get too overwhelmed or too confused, and they end up doing nothing about their situation at all, which is obviously not ideal.

On the right hand side of the image, you can see “specific.”

It’s possible to become too specific in your messaging. If you become too specific, there are not enough people to potentially treat, and it becomes hard to find those types of people. For example, if I’m only working with NFL athletes, there’s not that many of them in the world. The competition is higher in skill sets required higher, to be able to penetrate that marketplace where we want to be in the middle with the dots. Because this is far enough away from vague, and it’s also far away, enough from being too specific. Now when we’re looking at creating our messaging. The middle line really comprises three things, who you’re trying to attract as your perfect patient.

What you help them do and why you help them do it, which is ultimately the solutions that you’re providing for them.

With that being said, we’re not telling people, we’re going to cure your pain in seven days, but we start talking to them about being able to run without knee pain and why they’re having some issues in our marketing message in campaigns, we start to be able to empower these populations of people with specific conditions issues or goals. By educating them on why they’re having some of the challenges or roadblocks that they’re currently experiencing.This creates preeminence in the mind of the patient, as well as providing them the utmost value.

Then when you’re able to give an offer such as book their initial appointment. They’re going to be more receptive because they understand that you’re aligned with their specific outcomes.

The main takeaway here is you want to be able to identify who you are most passionate and skilled at working with and starting to create messaging around how you can help those specific types of people. This way you end up working only in a practice with people that you’re super passionate and love to be able to help, whether that’s a specific condition, a goal performance objective.

And you can build relationships with other health practitioners who specialize in other things. For example, I was working with more sport and performance based goals, whereas I have a colleague who does a lot of post pregnancy, and I have another colleague who works with TMJ patients to get a better experience, you’re able to grow a more passionate practice. And everybody wins.

Embrace being different and find your niche!

BRAD COTE is the founder of Link Performance Therapy, a successful cash pay private practice with a focus on athletes. He has grown his clinic from zero to 7-figures revenue within 18 months of operation using a combination of proven structures, systems and strategies that he now shares with healthcare business owners across North America who are looking to gain new patients and grow their business.

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