So you are thinking you might want to move your business more towards online health coaching? I think this is a great idea, but it does pose a couple of problems beyond traditional offline (in-person) health coaching.
- Most importantly is the need to really define your niche.
- Building a tribe
- Becoming an “expert”
We talk about how important it is to have a specific niche you want to work with and serve no matter where you setup your practice, but this becomes even more important when you make the move to online health coaching.
When you are giving local talks, or setting up a booth at a health fair, you might be able to have success with a broad range of people. The biggest problem I see with lots of health coaches when it comes to marketing themselves online though is that they still have too broad of a target market.
The Key to Online Health Coaching
Your goal should be to become seen as the “expert” in your niche among your tribe. This doesn’t mean that you have to be the #1 Juice Detoxing expert on the planet, but if that is your niche then you need to be perceived as the expert within your tribe.
This is not really as hard as it sounds. I’m guessing that you already now more than 99% of people about lots of thing when it comes to healthy living. We tend to look at our peers in the health coaching community and say something like “I’m not as successful as them”, or “I don’t have all the programs together that she does.” Remember, the people that you are here to serve are likely not members of our community and are out there looking for solutions to their problem. Whether it is losing weight (a very competitive niche due to all the “magic pills” out there), having more energy, learning how to eat gluten free or safely detoxing, there are tons of people out there online looking for help.
The trick is getting yourself in front of them and becoming their go-to health expert. I’m not going to go too deep into all the ways to get your self out there, but one of the keys is not just saying to people “go check out my website”. There is way too much competition for people’s attention for them to remember to keep coming back. You need strategies in place to offer them something of value in order for them to exchange their contact info. In a previous article, I talked about opt-in’s and squeeze pages. Getting your irresistible free offer (I.F.O.) in front of people who need it should be your goal.
The Slow Way
Slow does not mean bad, but I wouldn’t expect fast results.
- Find keywords related to your niche.
- Study SEO and determine if you even have a chance to rank for these terms. (most high competition key words you would have a very hard time ranking on page 1)
- Setup an SEO strategy to start increasing your ranking for your target keywords.
- Keep up with all the changes Google makes to their algorithm so you don’t get de-indexed.
While I think this is still a solid strategy, it takes time, consistent content creation and a bit of luck.
I have been working on this site from an SEO standpoint for quite awhile and am just about to break into the first page of Google for the search term health coach. That’s really exciting, but in terms of list building, it is a very slow process.
You will have much quicker results looking for long tail keywords that are related to your main keywords, but have much lower search volume and therefore lower competition. I wrote some about this in my health coach blogging articles.
The Faster Way
- Get active on social media.
- Share really great stuff that your people will find useful.
- Build your tribe.
- Share links to your blog posts and free offers.
- Build relationships, not “leads”
The Fastest Way
The fastest way to get your I.F.O. in front of people is through advertising. And yes, it will cost you some money. This is one of the main reasons I was talking about squeeze pages earlier. If you are going to the expense of paying for advertising, you want to make sure that whoever lands on your site sees your free offer. On a landing page, there are not a lot of other distractions. If you do a good job of only putting your ad in front of people that want what you have, lots of them will optin to get your free gift. Some different places to get advertising, with varying levels of cost, complication and conversions are:
- Facebook ads (easiest to setup but can be costly with poor targeting)
- Google PPC (pay-per-click) ads
- PPV ads (pay-per-view), much cheaper to run but usually much less targeted.
- Ad swaps
- Media Buys
Each one of these techniques could be an entire course in themselves, since each has their own rules and strategies. I recommend most new to the whole online thing start out with Facebook advertising, but make sure you learn how to target and bid so you don’t waste a ton of money. Don’t waste your money just sending people to your website home page or your Facebook wall. You might get a lot of people to click on your ad, but very few of them will actually connect with you. Send them to a landing page with your free offer or if you are on Facebook you can set up “like” campaign’s where you goal is first to get them to like you page.
This technique used to be super powerful but is getting harder as Facebook keeps changing the algorithm for what it shows to business page fans. I predicted this would happen when Facebook went public this year, they are trying to force companies to spend more and more on advertising to get their message out there. I think if they don’t alter course in 2013 they may lose their spot as the big kid on the block as far as social media marketing goes. Stay tuned for more….