Digital marketing, also known as online marketing, is exciting and can help you grow your nutrition business exponentially. Unlike traditional marketing, it is accessible to all of us! However, it could also be intimidating. So, we just have to take away our fears by learning about it- and we are dietitians- we love learning! So let’s dig into the good stuff. Let’s learn about 4 digital marketing components you need to know about.
Why do you need to digital marketing for you as an dietitian or for your business? Well, think about the last time you bought a new product or service. Did you buy it after researching the internet or after following a brand on social media? If you did, you are not alone. This is a typical behavior of many consumers. In fact, 55% of people will search online for reviews and recommendations before making the purchase and 47% will visit the business website. Compare these numbers with the 23% who will speak with friends. Furthermore, 84% will purchase from a brand they follow in social media versus the competitor (1). As you can see, having an online presence is essential for the nutrition experts that want to move away from traditional jobs.
What are the digital marketing components?
- Social networking
- SEO and SERP
- Email marketing
Where does each one fit into the buyer’s decision process? While this is a personal journey, generally works like this: social media and video are part of the awareness and interest for the product or service you offer. Your website plays a role in the consideration, intent, evaluation and sale. Email marketing targets the intent, evaluation and sale. SEO and SERP are important in all stages and all platforms. So, do you need to have a comprehensive online presence? yes. You just don’t need to do everything at the same time, at the beginning you pick one platform and go from there.
Digital marketing component # 1: Build a social media presence
This is the easiest way to start! This digital marketing component, social media, allows you to become part of the daily life of your ideal client. Better yet, social media can be a two-way street as your followers can leave you comments, likes, direct messages and communicate with you in many other ways. This allows you to understand their wants and needs and provide effective services and products designed just for them.
Social media is a fantastic way to create brand awareness as it can easily put your brand in front of thousands (or millions of people). Now, a huge question nutrition experts ask is: do I need to have thousands of followers? The answer is no. Even large brands have been using micro-influencers (1,000 to 5,000 followers) for years. Micro-influencers often have high engagement rates and a different level of trust between the nutrition expert and the follower. As a spokesperson for a important national brands, I often worked with influencers with relatively small numbers of followers.
Furthermore, social media platforms are becoming optimized to sell products. Many nutrition experts have shops on social media platforms and many others have a quick link to their sale point.
My advice, get started today! I suggest that if you are new to social media, you pick up one platform and master it before you move to the next.
Few tips here for my fellow nutrition experts are:
- Treat it as a business. Create a business account and separate your personal life. It is great to add personality and show your lovely face, but keep in mind that your social media is for your audience.
- Define your target audience and your focus and create your content for them.
- Invest on tools that help you create aesthetically pleasing posts. My favorite at the moment is Canva* but there are a few others.
- If you take your own pictures, be mindful of the lighting and composition of your pictures. A ring light goes a long way!
- Take the time to use SEO techniques for the platform once you establish your social media account.
Please note that links with a (*) are my affiliate links & I make a commission off purchases made through these links.
Digital marketing component # 2: Build an amazing website
As mentioned earlier, over half of consumers will search online before making a purchase. Same with booking an appointment, some of them will find you when you have a website.
I know that building one can be intimidating for many of us but it is definitely possible. If it is too much, you can hire someone to do it for you. However, if you are going to do it yourself, here are some considerations for you. There are a few website builders you can use to create your site. Some are really easy to set up. However you want to make sure you compare the pros and cons of each before deciding. Specially it is important to look at your long term goals because a website is a longer game than your social media.
Wix vs WordPress
Wix is extremely easy to set up and use, requiring very little technical skills to set up a great looking website. Honestly this was my introduction to blogging, it was so easy to use that I was able to take a step forward and actually build my first website. Pricing is very reasonable and includes technical support in the premium pricing tears. The cons of Wix include the inflexibility to change the theme or platform if your needs change; customization is difficult; and some designs are not as SEO friendly as you would like them to be. In addition, many essential capabilities that many nutrition bloggers need to have are simply not available in this platform.
WordPress has a large variety of themes making it easy to find one that perfectly fits your needs. It has great content management capabilities and it is a fantastic blogging platform. WordPress is more powerful than Wix and allows you to have more control. Also, there is the SEO component. WordPress sites rank more often on the top 10 places on search engines based on organic keyword search. The cons are mostly the technical skills required. However with the right help you can do it yourself (check The Unconventional RD Free Website Tutorial) or you can hire someone to build it for you. WordPress is also not intuitive and there is no technical help. Cost can vary depending on your choices. There are few other platforms but these are the ones I a more familiar with.
My take on this is that it is not a right or wrong platform, just the one that suits your needs best.
Digital marketing component # 3:SEO and SERP are essential for success
SEO can be the difference between being found or remaining hidden to the world. You can have a great website and amazing social media posts, but if you don’t optimize the content using the right keywords and tools, you will not appear in search and organic growth could be very difficult. I know that sounds like a foreign language, I thought it was, until I learn about it. So, let me see if I can make it easier for you to understand what it is SEO (basically this is how I explained to myself after reading a lot about it).
Search engine results pages (SERP)
Search engine results pages, or SERP, are the results you see when you type your query in Google or any other search engine. So if you type “anti-inflammatory diet” in your search engine, the list of results or sites you get is called SERP. Results can be organic (non-paid) or paid. Because most dietitians don’t have big budgets for marketing, we want our websites to be found by our ideal clients organically. For that we need to optimize them using the right keyword ranking tools in our website content along with other strategies (SEO).
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) are the tools we use in our blog to help search engines (such as Google) understand how our content will help the people that are searching for that type of information. If we use the keywords consumers are searching for, and the search engine believes our content is good, then it will be displayed higher in the list. If our site ranks in the first page of the search, the chances that our site is seen are really high. According to SEJ, the Search Engine Journal, 25.8% of people click in the first link they see. This rapidly declines to 2.5% for the link in the 10th position. So, we can say that SEO is important for your online success. Of course you can always have direct traffic to your website but ideally, you want a large traffic from people searching the internet.
While we often talk about SEO in reference to blogs, SEO is also essential in social media platforms. It is just different in terms of the tools that we use. For example, Instagram uses hashtags, and keywords in your profile to suggest your account to users looking for what you have to offer. Also there are SEO strategies that help you boost your engagement which in turn will help you beat the algorithm such as creating calls to actions in your posts.
Digital marketing component # 4:Email marketing
This is where the magic still happens. In 2020, email marketing still has the highest return on investment. The conversion rate is higher than other platforms and it is a great way to generate new leads by growing your relationship with your audience. Thus it is important to start building your email list today, even if you don’t have anything to use it for just yet.
The stages of email marketing
At this time, you decide that it is time to start collecting all those emails that can help you build a relationship with your audience and can eventually result in revenue.
First, let me remind you that you cannot start an email list from your personal email and that you always need permission to add anyone to your list. You also need to keep a record of this permission.
Thus, the best practice is to set up an account with an email marketing service provider. Email marketing services are designed to help you grow your database and market your services and products. Search for a service that makes it easy to create professional-looking emails, seamless workflows and help you manage your lists.
The good news is there are many options and some of them free if you have a small list. The one I use is Convert kit as it came to me highly recommended. Other options include Mailchimp and Flodesk.
Grow and gather
At this stage, you are looking for exciting ways to get people to sign up for your list. A very common way to ask people to sign for your email list is to offer a freebie if they sign up for your email list.
As a dietitian, common freebies include meal plans, recipe ebooks, guides, shopping lists, challenges, mini-courses and webinars. Use your current social media platform any other activities you are involved in where you can find your ideal audience. It is all about promotion at this stage.
This is all about creating great content to transform your subscriber into a super fan. Be authentic, be helpful, and find your own voice. Sell products but don’t make selling the center of your emails all the time. The goal is for your audience to be excited about opening your emails.
Now it is time to convert your audience into customers. They already find your work valuable, so give them the opportunity to use your services or products. You both love it!
Once you have a good system, and you understand your audience, you can automate your email sequence to make it easier and more effective.
For a couple of great podcasts about email marketing, I recommend the Unconventional RD podcast, episodes 35 and 45.
Don’t be! There are a lot of moving parts but, as we often say to our clients, set one to three small goals for now. You will start seeing results soon!