My job involves talking to dietitians and nutritional therapists on a regular basis to help them be more effective at work. Very often I collaborate with self-employed individuals running a company on their own, or managing a small team.
The first thing you realise when you talk to a nutritionist is that their profession involves far more than nutrition alone. All dietitians I have interviewed share that acquiring customers (marketing/sales) and managing paperwork effectively (admin/processes) are also fundamental for success.
In a nutshell, you need knowledge to provide excellent nutritional advice (your product); marketing to attract customers; and great paperwork processing systems or software to save time so that you can re-invest it in getting either more training or more clients.
If you are self-employed, perhaps the main challenge is to balance the vast amount of responsibilities that come with the job. Maybe you feel you don't have time to train yourself in marketing, or do not know how to start. This article will hopefully introduce you to the topic.
1. Try a little bit of everything
There are several approaches you can follow to attract customers online. Mostly, you will try to get people to visit your website hoping they will book a consultation. This step is required, since nobody can hire your services (even if they are the best in the planet) if they do not know you exist.
Getting visitors or traffic to your web can be achieved in many ways:
- SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) or getting people to find you in Google
- Social media marketing
- Paid online advertising
- Strategic referral partnerships
- Featuring in relevant magazines
- Being recommended by influencers
Which one is best? The answer is that it depends. The most reliable strategy of find out is the scientific method. Simply try a little bit of all strategies, measure the results, do some analysis, and chose the one that produces the best results. No guessing, just evidence.
2. Gather some data
If you did 1 month of SEO, 1 month of social media marketing, and 1 month of referrals, you would probably obtain different degrees of success with each.
I strongly recommend you sign up for Google Analytics to measure traffic into your website. It is easy to break down which are the best sources of visitors to your page. You can click on Acquisition to see.
Once you have enough data it will be clear which sources of traffic are best for you. Take into account though, that some sources can grow exponentially with time. E.g. Social media is better the more engaged followers you have.
3. Focus on the one thing that works best
If this is social media, then devote most of your marketing efforts there. If it is content marketing, write posts like crazy!
Some health coaches say the best marketing channel for nutritionists is social media in their case. Others get the bulk of their visits from referrals. You need to find out which strategy works best for you.
It's so simple, yet, it's also easy to find people trying to market via 4 different channels – 2 of which take a lot of effort and provide no results for them.
Take into account that you need at least one sustainable source of traffic. E.g. SEO or social media are free and grow with time. Paid Ads stop bringing visitors if you stop paying.
4. Optimise your process
Data again! Once you know which traffic source is best for your site; you can check your data in Google Analytics and:
- Find out which demographic segment visits your page the most
- Find which websites refer the most traffic to you
- Figure out what is the best social media platform for your practice
With all this data you can make informed decisions and invest more in the marketing channel that produces the largest outcome.
Marketing for Nutritionists and dieticians shouldn't be something intimidating. Chances are, you are already doing many of the things mentioned in this post. If you just add some data to the mix, you will be able to fine-tune your strategy and maximise your results.
As mentioned at the start, self-employed health coaches deal with marketing and paperwork apart from giving nutrition advice. These are necessary parts of any business.
If you want to also eliminate and fine-tune your strategy for handling admin tasks, feel free to check our nutritionist software – that can save your 2 hours of paperwork per day.
Thanks for reading,