Author: Molly O'Keefe

Activate the Wellness Journey

Activate the Wellness Journey

Health and wellness is a huge business, worth $167 billion in the U.S., and $3.7 trillion worldwide. But it’s a crowded market with many brands and personalities who have been successful in finding their own highly-tailored––and profitable––niches. From Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, to Kayla Itsines and Shawn T, there are a wide range of trusted companies and personalities already in the space.

So how can your brand stand out?

Start with your target audience! When you know your audience, you can deliver a more relevant and engaging experience that will drive a deeper relationship with your customers. A firm focus on your customers and their journeys—and most importantly, mapping your content and promotion development to each—can have an enormous payoff.

 

 

So what does the consumer wellness journey look like for fitness?

We see three key stages:

1: Consideration

This is the period when the consumer is considering and planning on taking ownership of their health, fitness, weight and life. There are many influences, both negative and positive in this stage.

Negative pressures can include: Health issues, societal pressure, the consumer’s body image. Perhaps they are intimidated or skeptical about which program is going to work for them. They may be afraid of making a long-term commitment or they’re confused about where or how to start.

Positive influences can include the following: Inspiration from friends, media, or wellness personalities; Information and engagement by discovering a person, brand or content that resonates and speaks to their personal needs and goals; peers and family support that encourages and builds confidence to make a healthy change.

2: Decision

Here’s when the consumer takes the big leap—the decision to actually do something about their wellbeing, diet, fitness or life balance.

When consumers discover a program that’s simple they will respond; if they feel that a change they can make is convenient and relevant they are likely to choose it and, most importantly, they need to feel it is proven and that other people, just like them, have had success. This last point is one of the biggest reasons Kayla Itsines has been so successful.

3: Maintenance

Now the consumer needs to commit to his or her decision. They’ve made a huge life change and they need to feel they can keep going. Once again there are some negative pressures that may hamper them. They may feel there’s lack of progress or they may succumb to temptation in the form of food or lack of exercise; they may become bored or they may feel they do not have the time or money to commit.

At the same time there are positive ways in which our consumer can remain motivated, encouraged and committed. Firstly, and most importantly, by smart goal setting (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely); by seeing results from their efforts, by finding the program or change relatively easy and from the support they get from friends, from their family and from the program or personality they have chosen to follow. Here, Weight Watchers’ strong community nicely demonstrates how that support (such as organized weekly meetings) can help members stay on track.

 

 

Now, how should this influence the way you build your business?

We need to match the development of your brand to the consumer’s journey to have meaning, impact, relevancy and committed engagement. Just as there are three stages to in the wellness journey there are three stages to the development of your brand.

1: Discovery and brand building

Once your brand pillars and messaging platform are developed, people need to find you, they need to recognize the difference you offer, and ultimately, engage with you. So we need to develop a paid and organic content program across multiple platforms that allows you to become part of people’s conversations around their health, their wellness and their life goals.

To do this, we should build your communications around the key elements that support consumers’ wellness motivation, as follows:

Inspiration: We need to create and deliver inspiring content. Messaging that triggers an emotional response among consumers.

Information: Useful content that’s packed with utility and that piques a desire to find out more.

Engagement: Content that truly resonates, with messaging people feel is relevant to their lives, that that they feel comfortable with, and that’s authentic. Video is a great tool for engagement, you can add a poll or quiz to help consumers learn more about your product or service while driving a business outcome; a sign-up or purchase, etc.

Support: Motivating, encouraging, accessible and straightforward.

2: Acquisition

Through content, people get to know your firm, like and trust you. We then need to develop and deepen the relationship by providing content they want to pay for and continue to engage with. We need to turn your brand into a business.

The content we deliver at this stage in your business development needs, again, to match the consumer’s journey. It should be:

Simple: Easy to understand, achievable, straightforward

Convenient: Consumers should be able to see that they can fit this program into their lives. This is something they can fit into their daily routine.

Relevant: This is something consumers can relate to. It’s attainable, it’s practical, it feels like something they can do.

Proven: This is something that is backed by evidence of success. There are advocates – happy clients who have had their lives transformed and who love the difference you offer.

3: Renewal and advocacy

We want people to keep going. We want them to become part of a community. We want them to become fans and advocates that share your message and the life-changes made with their own networks. And we want them to continue to pay to be part of that.

So, here’s where we deliver content that is:

Goal oriented: Content that helps them meet straightforward and achievable goals.

Results focused: Content that helps users feel they’ve achieved measurable results, that a tangible difference has been made.

Easy: Content that’s frictionless. You’re not going to send them gimmicky or obtuse pieces that they won’t understand, or have them jump through too many hoops (outside of exercise, that is.)

Supportive: Content that shows you’ve got their back. You’ve been there, you know what they’re going through and you’re there to ensure they stay on track with messaging that is lively, friendly, supportive, useful and inspiring.

 

The Final Take

Building your business along your customers’ wellness journey is an involved and intricate process, but this investment of time and money will allow you to define yourself, engage more deeply with your desired audiences, and ultimately, drive greater returns.

Looking for more specific recommendations for your brand? Send me an email here.

Non-Profit Content: Small Budgets, Big Impact

Non-Profit Content: Small Budgets, Big Impact

If any sector needs to maximize the value of content, it is the non-profit space. While operating on smaller budgets than their corporate counterparts, many non-profit organizations regularly produce content, ranging from blogs to mailers to print magazines.

So non-profits clearly recognize the power of reaching audiences at the right time and place to encourage engagement and ultimately drive donation. Nonetheless, some remain understandably wary of oversaturating their audience. Especially when it comes to asking for donations—a simple increase in the number of calls-to-donate is rarely the best approach. But non-profits can take this best practice too far. Overcorrecting—too many content pieces with too few direct calls to action—is rarely a formula for success either. As usual, the best approach lies somewhere in the middle. Instead of overly focusing on the frequency of these asks, non-profit marketers should strive to have their calls for donations work as hard as possible.

And just how can marketers make this content work harder? One key to success is creating unique asks. I recently received an excellent mailer from Memorial Sloan Kettering hospital soliciting donations for a new type of research. A fresh, crisp piece neatly informed the reader of an innovative therapy. But what stuck with me was the flexibility of their ask for donations: They offered three separate ways to give to MSK (pictured below, left). Importantly, they also underscored the ease of giving by emphasizing that only three steps were involved (pictured below, right). Altogether, it was a far more comprehensive approach than an italicized “Please consider a gift to MSK” at the end of a piece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Source: Memorial Sloan Kettering)

Small steps in this direction can also make a sizeable impact. The article below, from St. Jude Children’s Hospital, pushes a different and unique way to make a gift: through a charitable gift annuity. As part of a seasonal magazine in which many articles drive towards a donation, this request similarly adds an air of flexibility to readers’ donation options.

(Source: St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital)

Another way to maximize donations is to finely tailor the ask toward its audience. NYU Langone publishes a seasonal magazine, NYU Langone Health, for a physician audience. It included the strikingly bespoke request below. Practicing doctors are decidedly the audience most likely to understand the true cost of medical school, and thus receive a clear pitch for scholarship donations—likely maximizing donations over a simple gift request.

(Source: NYU Langone)

Furthermore, even nudges as small as a relatable photograph or a relevant paragraph can likely make a difference. The postcard below from Dana-Farber, sent to previous donors, makes use of striking imagery—a doctor comforting a child undergoing cancer treatment.

(Source: Dana-Farber)

Past donors may have fought cancer themselves, or had a friend or family member stricken. While their brush with cancer may have occurred in the past, the card reminds the audience subtly, with a human touch, that the fight continues. Such a provocative message simply could not be conveyed by a diagram of molecules or a generic man in a lab coat.

Non-profits need to make every marketing dollar work as hard as possible – this includes their content budgets. As a best practice, non-profits should not be shy about asking for donations. And they should be strategic and purposeful in how they make the ask — don’t make it seem like an afterthought! Instead, giving audiences unique, relevant content will likely drive higher engagement and, ultimately, motivate more donors to give.

 

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