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The wellness industry is growing in the U.S. and throughout the world. This includes health coaching as well as fitness, nutrition, spas, and personal and beauty care. Statistics show the industry has grown 6.4 percent over the last few years and is now worth over $4 trillion worldwide (1).
If you love working with people and have a passion for health and wellness, you could be a part of this big, big industry. Becoming a health coach isn't time-consuming, but you do need some foundational knowledge.
And, if you're branching out on your own, as many coaches do, you'll need to market yourself. Marketing is a skill, but it's not difficult to learn. Use these expert tips to get started.
A personal trainer is really a coach, right? You guide clients to set and meet goals through fitness and training sessions. You provide motivation and education. The same is true of a health coach, but with a focus on nutrition, diet, and overall wellness rather than strictly fitness.
A health coach combines several skills to help clients set and meet health-related goals:
Knowledge of diet and nutrition, and how they impact health
Personal training and fitness expertise
Coaching and motivation
Behavioral science and psychology
As a health coach, a client may come to you with a general or specific need: to lose weight, to get healthier or fitter, to manage a chronic illness, or to improve their diet, for instance.
You would then use your background knowledge in fitness, diet, nutrition, and health to discuss setting specific goals. Together you talk about what holds them back, what motivates them, and the concrete steps they'll take to meet their goals. Along the way, the coach evaluates the client's progress, adjusts the plan as needed, and provides motivation.
Besides education, what does it take to be a successful and impactful health, wellness, and nutrition coach? We outline what coaching qualities you need right here.
There are no formal requirements for working as a health coach. This lack of regulation can make entering the industry confusing. It can also get confusing for a potential client. One of your jobs will be to explain what you do and how you can help clients.
But first, to be a successful health coach, you should get certified. This means finding a reputable program that teaches you nutrition, fitness, and health. It may take more than one course or certification to get everything you need.
Getting certified is a bare minimum. Before you start out on your own, also consider getting some work experience. Intern with a health coaching business (or life coaching business); get a job at a gym; or work with friends and family for free before diving into your own self-sufficient business.
You don't have to take a course in marketing or a earn a degree to get clients. A few tips on selling yourself, networking, and finding your target audience are really all you need to get started.
Once you've launched your business and have some clients, take a look at these ideas for boosting sales and revenues.
“Display your expertise, experience, and authority to create trust around your brand. Also, be prompt with your responses to health-related fitness queries from journalists, and you can go a long way in the health space as a coach.
Expertise - What niches have you worked in?
Experience - How long have you worked in these fields?
Authority - Do you have any certifications that prove you do these things?
By combining these in a great-looking profile on your website, you can reach more people and prove you are amazing at what you do!”
Michael Hamlin, Personal Trainer, EverFlex Fitness
Before you begin any official marketing to get health coaching clients, be prepared to explain and show why you're worth choosing as a coaching professional. You may get interest right away in your services, but if you aren't prepared to explain your credentials and services, you could lose them.
Take some time to reflect on what you want to be able to do for clients, including specific services as well as your own special skills. Gather any references from past bosses and co-workers in the gym or related jobs. Also get references from any friends you've helped with meeting health goals.
“Health and fitness coaching is an industry that can get really saturated if you're not effectively marketing yourself. For anyone in this space, it's important to find your niche and specialize your marketing as quickly as possible.
These days, ‘health’ is not a one-size-fits-all objective, so it's important for your clients to know if you're speaking to them. Some niches include focusing on aesthetics and bodybuilding, creating workouts for busy, time-strapped professionals, sports specializations, and more.
Building your marketing around these specializations helps your ideal customers find you, and builds trust early in the relationship, improving your conversion rate and making your marketing more successful.
Specializing allows business leaders to filter clients before trying to sell to them, so you're only bringing in highly qualified leads that add to your bottom line.”
Erny Peibst, Founder and CEO, Inside Bodybuilding
You may think you know your target audience, but do you really? What do they want in a health and wellness coach? What kinds of things do they want to change about themselves? This is what you need to know in order to focus your marketing efforts.
Ask your local gym if you can survey members as they come and go. You'll get some rejections, but it's worth a try. Most people will be willing to give you a minute or so to answer one or two questions. This will give you an idea of what people really want in a coaching service, and you can tailor your marketing strategies accordingly.
Understanding your audience is marketing 101. If you don't know who you're selling to, your efforts will be too broad or totally misdirected. Maybe you have trained and specialized in youth fitness and health. Should you use the marketing platforms targeted at middle-aged moms? Probably not.
Find your niche, which doesn't have to be super-specific, and then figure out the target client. Is that client older or younger? Are they a senior? Is the client a mom or dad? Is your client hyper-focused on weight loss or more interested in holistic health and wellness? Know who you want to work with first, before doing any marketing and strategizing.
“One tip on how to market yourself as a health coach is to create content that resonates with your target audience. Share helpful tips, stories, and experiences that could benefit the people you want to reach.
Find out what topics interest them and build relationships by engaging in conversations about them. For example, if you are targeting parents, create content that is specifically helpful to them, such as tips on how to meal plan with a busy lifestyle or how to encourage their children's activity. This will help you gain visibility as an authority in the field and will help you build trust with potential clients.
By offering helpful information, people will come to recognize you as an expert in the field and be more likely to reach out for your services.”
Erik Pham, CEO, Health Canal
“To be successful online, you need a top-notch website as part of your marketing plan. I advise you to tell many people about yourself and the services you offer on a well-designed website.
Keep in mind that you want your website to stand out from the crowd, so try to avoid being too generic. There should be a lot of details that work together to show what a great coach you are. Adding media like videos, podcasts, and blog posts would improve the site's aesthetic value.
DIY hosting and ready-made designs don’t always cut it if you want your site to look professional. To build the most enticing and expert-looking site, you need to be picky about the skill set of your web designer.”
Kim Leary, Creative Director, squibble
Maybe you want to dabble in online coaching, maybe not. But what you should absolutely have is a website for marketing. Think of it like your storefront and the main representation of your brand. It's important, so take time to design and implement a business website.
Then consider going deeper into SEO marketing. Search engine optimization is a set of strategies used to help a website or page climb higher in the rankings in search engines, mostly Google. SEO marketing is an entire industry in itself, and it can be daunting.
If you have the time and inclination, there are plenty of resources online to read. These will help you take steps to make your website appear higher on Google when potential clients search for health coaching. If you plan to work online, this can be general.
If you want to work locally and in-person, consider using tools like Google and Facebook ads. These are affordable advertisements that you can target to a specific geographic area. This narrows down your target market. It's an easy marketing strategy to use, even for beginners.
“Use opt-ins to your advantage. Anyone looking for a health coach shows a growing interest in learning how to build healthier habits. Creating valuable content and marketing it as an opt-in freebie gives readers a taste of your expertise and access to the vital information they desire.
Once you've built a solid subscriber list, you can send personalized drip campaigns to help move them down the funnel. While creating the eContent freebie requires an up-front time investment, you can automate nearly every other part of the process.
As a solopreneur, saving time and investing in "set it and forget it" marketing funnels can help you build revenue and focus most of your time on delivering high-quality services to your clients.”
Fernando Lopez, Marketing Director, Circuit
“If you're looking to grow your brand as a health coach, then consider posting health tips on TikTok. You should also post to other platforms, but TikTok is still relatively easy to get exposure for this kind of content because the algorithm is more topic-based than audience-based.
Then, make sure you're promoting your social links on your website and other places. When people check your credentials, they'll find the videos and trust you more, assuming you're sharing helpful information.”
Dennis Consorte, Digital Marketing and Leadership Consultant for Startups, Snackable Solutions
Social media is ne of the most useful platforms for reaching health and wellness clients. Influencers in fitness, diet, nutrition, and coaching have major reach on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. It takes time and effort to get that kind of reach, but you have to start somewhere.
In fact, you don't even have to become a major influencer yourself to benefit from social media marketing. Start a social media group, get a small following going, and share content relevant to health and wellness. Connect with local businesses and become a micro-influencer.
Contact bigger influencers in the same niche, share their content, and ask for links and shares in return. This is what modern networking looks like and will help extend your reach. It also establishes your authority in health and wellness.
A freebie draws people in and may just get some clients hooked on your expertise and health coaching services. For example, host a free webinar about something specific, like how to improve digestive health with dietary changes.
Create a blog or newsletter that you can use to build an email list. Ask visitors to your website or social media pages to opt in. When they do, they get free content, and you get contact information to sell them services later.
Need more business help? Check out this ISSA continuing education course: Creating a Business Plan.
“Becoming a contributor to an industry blog can be a powerful way for health coaches to market themselves online. By sharing their knowledge and expertise on a blog, they can establish themselves as credible thought leaders in the field.
Being a regular contributor can help increase their online visibility and draw attention to their services. Health coaches can leverage the blog to showcase their unique insights, experiences, and perspectives, all of which help to establish them as trusted professionals.
By sharing valuable information and engaging with readers, health coaches can build a loyal following and create opportunities for themselves to connect with potential clients and generate business.”
Tom Golubovich, Head of Marketing, Ninja Transfers
Digital marketing isn't the only way to go. Yes, a lot of marketing, especially in health and wellness, is online, but don't limit yourself. Especially if you will be working with local clients, utilize all your local resources. This means going to community events related to health, nutrition, or fitness; handing out fliers or cards at the gym; offering free introductory classes, and more.
Any way in which you can get in front of your target audience to show you how you can help them, do it. So, for example, if you are hoping to target female clients, don't limit yourself to the gym. Go to pregnancy and motherhood events, bridal shows, and yoga classes.
You may be competing with other health coaches, but look for professionals offering related but different services. Network with local yoga instructors, personal trainers, athletic coaches, and others in the fitness and health industry. You can share referrals to get more clients for targeted services. Be prepared to show these professionals what you have to offer so they feel good about sending a new client your way.
“I believe attending networking events is a fantastic approach to making new connections with other health professionals and prospective customers. Find and frequently take part in local activities that are geared toward your target audience. Don't forget to hand out business cards and have an elevator pitch ready to describe what you can do for potential clients.”
Max Whiteside, SEO and Content Lead, Breaking Muscle
“In my opinion, referral relationships have the potential to be a terrific source of new clients for health coaches. If you work in the healthcare industry, it's a good idea to network with other local practitioners to see if there are any mutual referral or collaboration opportunities you may pursue. Other health coaches, doctors, dietitians, and therapists may have expertise in areas you don't.”
Matt Magnante, Director of Content and SEO, Fitness Volt
“When thousands of new health coaches enter the market each year, there is an increase in customer competition. As a result, you must devise efficient marketing plans to raise the visibility of your health coaching company in order to draw in more clients, boost bookings, and increase revenue.
Conducting live seminars can help you gain credibility in the health coaching sector and gain the trust of your target market. Also, because you'll be speaking in real time, you'll take advantage of these occasions to engage with the crowd and establish an immediate rapport.
In addition to providing workshops in person, you might host webinars. You can establish authority in your niche with webinars just like you can through in-person workshops. They may also help in increasing brand recognition. Once more, be sure to gather email addresses whenever you host webinars and workshops. Once the event is over, you can contact prospects using these email addresses.”
Shad Elia, CEO, New England Home Buyers
“Set yourself apart by being understanding. Sounds too simple? Maybe, but in the health industry, there is often a lot of judgment and stigma surrounding certain health conditions or behaviors. Be vocal about it.
One of the most powerful ways to build trust with your clients is to approach them with compassion and understanding rather than judgment. Showing compassion means listening to people with an open mind and without preconceptions. It means acknowledging their challenges and struggles and providing support and encouragement.
This strategy will differentiate you from other health coaches who may be more focused on judgment or unrealistic expectations, and help you build a strong reputation as a trusted and empathetic professional.”
Natalia Grajcar, Co-Founder, Natu.Care
Health coaching is a rewarding career, but you can't just get certified and expect clients to land at your feet. Any type of small business requires focused marketing. Take the time to use these and other tips to launch a successful coaching career.
What's the best way to start a health coaching career? Get the certifications that matter. Start with a well-rounded education. ISSA offers a Certified Personal Trainer Self-Guided Study Program and a Health Coach certification. Together these give you the essential knowledge needed to be a coach.
ISSA's Health Coach certification is for personal trainers and other health professionals who want to help clients overcome physical and mental health barriers to achieve their optimal wellness.
Global Wellness Institute. (2018). Wellness Industry Statistics & Facts. Retrieved from https://globalwellnessinstitute.org/press-room/statistics-and-facts/
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