With Google's August 2018 update, marketing in the health and wellness niche has gotten a little harder. Authority, Expertise, and Trust are the new buzzwords in wellness marketing as businesses try to improve quality and reach. But if you follow the best practices laid out below, you'll have a better chance of beating your competitors and staying on Google's good side.
Marketing & Tracking
Two important parts to marketing for health and wellness are
- A great offer
- The ability to track your marketing efforts
A great offer doesn’t have to be a giveaway, discount, or ridiculously low price. But the service or product offering must stand out from the crowd. Give clients exactly what they are looking for. Even better if you can offer something nobody else can. Monopolistic business models have triumphed in the past (see Facebook, Google, Microsoft)
Here are some examples of local business offerings.
- Deep tissue massage by the highest rated practitioner in the city (backed up by Google reviews and Facebook reviews)
- A science and data-backed course on Keto Diets for the over 40s
- Largest selection of yoga classes for women in your local area.
Your offer must solve problems and be unique
Avoid trying to advertise to everyone. Attempting to appeal to everyone will result in failure, unless your business is Facebook. Try to narrow down on a demographic and focus on pleasing this subset of the market.
A few people raving about your product is better than lots of people quietly using your product.
Best Practises For Tracking & Segmenting
Let's say you have an online course on Paleo diets and you also run a meditation course. Don’t mix products in one ad space. Don’t even write about them in the same blog posts. Keep everything separate.
This will help the search engines understand your core markets and will help with advertising (lower costs, better click-through rates)
Maintaining distinct products and offerings is part of “silo” theory, much discussed in SEO circles. Categorizing concepts and related products (and keeping content in these categories apart from each other) helps Google better understand your content.
Many health and fitness business owners write about the same topics on every blog post and product page. The problem is that Google's algorithm can't determine which page should rank in the search results for different keywords. If all pages use the same key phrases, Google can't choose one as the best to answer a customer's question. This situation is called keyword cannibalization and results in lacklustre performance for the website in search engines.
In the days of print media for marketing, it was much harder to tell what worked and what didn’t. These days, online marketing technology makes tracking and optimising easy and effective.
We can now test variations of headlines, images, and copy in advertisements and blog content. We can even test different variations in blog posts. Imagine if you could write 10 different headlines and track, based on each headline, the average click-through-rate and reading time. Wouldn't that data be valuable?
You can do that with the right marketing tools and knowhow.
Try to promote the fact that your services ARE different. If you try to be generic, appeal to everyone, and emulate your competitor’s offers, effective marketing will be much harder.
Here are some questions to think about.
What’s unique about your business? Try to find something that resonates with people. Do you have a dog-friendly gym? Is your eCommerce store the only one that has 24-hour customer service? Is your online yoga course the only one run by an ex-accountant?
Writing great copy can be the difference between a successful marketing campaign and a disastrous one.
Well-written website copy helps clients understand what you can do for them. Good writing should be concise – It should tell a story in as few words as possible. The copy should sell the product (there are always details to consider. But clients should have made their minds up to buy).
Send the wrong message and people won’t buy. So, learn to write perfect headlines, call-to-action, and sales pitch and you'll crack the marketing code. Great copywriting can make a good offer irresistible.
For brick and mortar businesses, local SEO should be top of your list. Your business is missing opportunities if it's not well-represented on Google My Business, Google Maps, and Facebook business pages. When customers search for your business name, you want them to see your business first on Google Maps or Facebook's search results. And you get there by having 5-star reviews.
Step one is to make sure your local yoga studio, gym, wellness centre, or clinic has a Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook listing. After that, you can move on to other platforms.
Next, make it easy for people to review your business. Providing an amazing service will get you amazing reviews, but you can help the process along too. With better reviews come higher rankings in local search.
With a perfectly executed marketing plan, your business could appear first in the Google search results in both the ads and organic listing, and have the first position in local business listings across platforms. The chances of someone clicking your links increases dramatically.
If you offer a premium service, be careful with discounts. Many niches in the Health and Fitness business category perform better (from an ROI perspective) at the premium level. Discounts often send negative signals. They can be a low-quality indicator.
Free trials and testers are good for testing the waters. Introducing people to your product opens up new opportunities. But avoid heavy discounts on your services or you’ll risk getting the wrong kind of customer.
Google's Ad network, Facebook & Instagram Ads, Pinterest Ads, and Twitter Ads are all legitimate ways of getting paid traffic to your website or call-to-action. Each ad network has its own advantages and disadvantages and which you choose will depend on your offer.
Here’s a quick summary.
Google Ads are for advertising services or product types that people are already aware of.
That does not mean you can't use the services if your business is new. Adwords are great for putting your message in front of people that search for products and services in Google.
If your gym business offers spinning classes, use Adwords to bid on keywords like “local spinning classes”, “spinning class near me”, “spin class New York”. When someone uses these search terms (or similar terms) in Google, your ad might appear first (an ad's position depends on the quality of the keyword, ad copy, offer, and landing page).
The Google Ads network is not the best channel for selling an “unknown” service, product, or business. If people don't know it by name, they won't search for it on Google.
You might find it hard to get results on Google Ads if you only target the name of your product (unless you're Nike). If you can target keywords related to the niche or category, that's better, but it could work out expensive.
Facebook Ads are effective in the hands of a professional advertiser. For the inexperienced, Facebook ads can also be a colossal waste of money so it pays to seek advice from someone who understands the ad network. But Facebook has restrictive policies that might cause you problems.
The health & fitness niche is an industry with tight advertising policies and regulations (created by the advertising platforms and government authorities). Facebook is strict about ads that mention particular demographics in the text or show before and after images (in the weight-loss category, for example). If you make claims in your advertising that your product changes physical appearances or helps people lose weight, Facebook will block your ads.
Learn to use the right channel for marketing your business. Create unique products and track advertising and marketing costs. Use data to find the best performing channel and double down on that.
Keith is the founder of Fat Frog Media. He has worked in the tech, fitness, food, and hospitality industries. Keith helps businesses improve their marketing and conversion rates.