You’ve done the work and earmed your newly minted health coach certification. Awesome!
You’ve got your office dialed in, a clean aesthetic for your Zoom calls, and a system for keeping track of all your appointments. Even better! But despite your nationally recognized NBHWC credentials, your extensive experience, and your ability to drive results for your clients, you’ve got a major problem: You have no idea how to market yourself.
What if we told you that health coach marketing could be as easy as switching on the lights after watching a long movie? What if promoting your coaching business could be as hands-on or hands-off as you wanted?
Before You Start Marketing
Even if you were the kid who always knew wellness coaching was in your future, you didn’t just put up a shingle and start guiding people toward a healthier life overnight. You studied, worked hard and eventually became a certified health and wellness coach.
Believe it or not, the same foundation building needs to take place with your marketing campaign. Here are some of the steps you should take before you spend any money on advertising.
1. Identify Your Dream Clients
Let’s do a quick thought experiment. Picture yourself a few years down the road. Your bank account is growing, your appointment calendar is full, and you’re struggling to decide between Tahiti and Hawaii for your next luxury vacation.
Your phone rings, and you see it’s a client. Who is this person, and how would you describe them?
Maybe your ideal client is a working woman who wants to feel good, be healthy, and do better in terms of self-care. Or maybe instead of individuals, you want to be the health coach who’s helping businesses establish and manage their employee wellness programs.
You get the idea. Clarity of the “who” is a key first step. Once you have a firm idea of who you want to help, it becomes a lot easier to build a client base.
2. Figure Out What Your Dream Clients Want
It used to be the case that if you pounded the pavement hard enough and advertised effectively, your marketing campaign would eventually drive results. You just had to treat it like a numbers game.
Hustle still matters, but today niche marketing offers an increasingly effective way to reach your audience. Why? Because if your target demographic is corporate clients looking to improve their employee wellness programs, you don’t need marketing skills to know that your campaign has to appeal to HR managers, benefits consultants and executives.
But even if you’re clear about your target, you still have to find a way to help those target clients understand how your services can help them. In short, you must be able to explain the benefits of your coaching service in a clear and succinct way. The health and wellness coach (seeking corporate clients, for example) who can say, “I’ve worked with multiple organizations and I can show you how this work will help you with employee health, wellness, retention and productivity” will almost always stand out over a generic pitch that says, “I offer health and wellness coaching.”
3. Think About Your Offer
Here’s the truth:
It’s not enough to simply understand your target demographic and what they’re hoping to achieve. Your offer has to speak to the needs of your clients. For example, if working with individual clients and your potential clients consistently share statements like, “I don’t have enough time to exercise” or “I struggle with scheduling time blocks to work on my wellness,” then you need to help them integrate their desired changes into their regular schedules. In other words, frame your services as the solution to their problems.
Then put everything together in a compelling offer that speaks to your clients’ needs. Consider how you can be a vital resource, instead of just listing all your qualifications. Make it about the client. Should you offer your services as a package? Would some of your clients prefer to be coached virtually? How can you make the process easier? Make sure to provide a clear set of deliverables that aligns with your clients’ needs.
Laying the Foundation for Your Marketing
You’ve done your market research and made sure there’s alignment between the results your clients are looking for and the services you’re offering. Now it’s time to start thinking more seriously about the actual logistics of marketing health and wellness coach services.
1. Assess Your Unique Areas of Expertise
One of the four c’s of health and wellness coaching is credibility. Here’s why:
Picture any movie you’ve seen with a clear villain. If someone were to try and convince you that the mustache-twirling, robot army-owning, and maniacally laughing character was the good guy, nobody would blame you for questioning their comprehension skills.
Similarly, when your leads are looking through your marketing materials and asking themselves why they should do business with you, they’ll be looking for visual cues and signals that say, “I can trust this person.” And this is where understanding your personal strengths can come in handy.
You see, your trust markers don’t necessarily have to look like a bunch of badges and awards. Maybe your past military service is what makes you qualified to work with veterans. Or maybe your corporate managerial experience makes you uniquely capable of running employee wellness programs for Fortune 500 companies.
Of course, you’ll want to use this information carefully. After all, there’s nothing more offputting than a person who can’t stop bragging about themselves. But if your lived experiences can answer the question, “Why should I do business with you?” then you’ll be able to give yourself the kind of credibility boost that makes it easier to convert more leads.
2. Create Your Marketing Assets
You wouldn’t expect the military to go to war without giving their soldiers guns, uniforms, and equipment. And for similar reasons, you can’t launch a successful marketing campaign without taking the time to build your marketing assets.
For most health and wellness coaches, these materials might include professional photos, a website, business cards (although cards are less important than they used to be) and a social media presence set up for your business (distinct from your personal accounts). For more details and suggestions, check out our suite of wellness coach business tools that have been designed to help you set up the essentials for your health and wellness coaching practice.
3. Polish Your Material
Imagine paying for a campaign only to discover that your email was misspelled three months after the fact. Whoops! This isn’t just unprofessional — it’s a mistake that may have caused you to lose out on some major clients.
But typos and spelling mistakes aside, having polished material isn’t just about having error-free content. It’s also about refining your messaging.
In marketing, there’s a concept called voice of customer data that speaks to the process of understanding how customers feel about your products and services. For coaches who are just starting, you might not be able to call up your clients and ask them what they liked about your service. However, you can research other wellness coaching businesses to get a better idea of what people are saying. Look at social media pages, Q&As and online reviews to see what customers are looking for as you audit and review your material.
Choosing Your Marketing Platforms
At this stage, you’ve nailed down your niche, you’ve built your website, and you’re pretty sure you’ve got a handle on your messaging. Now you’re ready to start getting into the weeds with your marketing. As you choose between the various networking and marketing options, here are three important questions to ask yourself:
1. What Kind of Capacity Do I Have?
These days, modern tools like social media and pay-per-click advertising make it easier than ever to run your own marketing campaigns. But is that the best use of your time? Do you have the capacity to learn all the relevant platforms and continually optimize your campaigns for best results?
If you’re just starting out and you have more time than money, it may make sense to take a DIY approach to some marketing tasks. However, as you build your business, the best use of your time will likely fall elsewhere. Consider where your particular expertise is most valuable to your business. For most people, that energy is best spent on client communications and building the vital relationships that will help the business thrive in the long haul. A good rule of thumb is that if you can outsource work at a rate that is less than you can bill for that time, then it’s good to delegate those tasks. As they say, “Do what you do best, and outsource the rest.”
2. What Do You Like to Do?
From the outside looking in, this question might feel a little weird. After all, the marketing needs to be done either way, right? When you look at the amount of time you’ll have to spend marketing your business, however, it’s important to think very seriously about what you actually enjoy doing.
You know this as a coach due to your familiarity with Intrinsic Motivation. When someone is motivated from the inside rather than being told what they “have” to do, the results are much more successful.
It’s similar with marketing. If you’re a good writer with an engaging voice and a talent for putting pen to paper, maybe blog posts and professional articles need to be a key part of your marketing strategy. On the other hand, if you’re a gifted networker with a knack for leaving business meetings with more business cards than you can fit in your bag, perhaps speaking at conferences and being out in the community is where you need to focus.
Like an ineffective diet or a misery-inducing exercise plan, a marketing plan you hate executing isn’t going to be sustainable in the long run. Don’t fight your natural preferences. Instead, look for wellness coach marketing methods that feel like a good fit.
3. What Will You Do if Nothing Works Out?
Coca-Cola’s New Coke fiasco happened in 1985 and people are still talking about what a massive blunder that was. But if Coca-Cola had seen the protests and dropping sales and said, “Meh. They’ll learn to live with this,” it could’ve had disastrous consequences for the company.
Even when you’ve done your due diligence and everything looks like it should be running seamlessly, marketing campaigns can still go off the rails. How much money are you prepared to lose? What’s your strategy if you need to pivot to a new approach?
Campaigns can change quickly and marketing is a fluid and dynamic process. You have to be ready for any outcome with a plan B that helps move things in the right direction.
Market Your Wellness Coaching Business the Right Way
Marketing your wellness coaching services doesn’t have to be a long and complicated process. To build the kind of clientele that’ll allow you to earn a living while doing what you love, you’ll have to put yourself out there. And if you drill down on your ideal client base, work on your messaging and use the tools at your disposal, promoting your health coach services may be easier than you think.
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