COVID-19 has put everyone in uncharted waters, not only by forcing us to change our personal habits but our business operations too. With social distancing and restrictions, the only way to keep your health coaching business running is to move your operations online and learn a thing or two about digital client engagement strategies.
Before you go remote, you need a good strategy
Lots of health coaching businesses have taken the bold step of moving online already. As they branched into the digital realm, some were more and others less successful.
To be a member of the successful club, you have a lot of homework to do before you take the plunge: First, you have to look into different platforms and hubs where you can put all of your materials. You must also find out how you will shape your sessions and what media formats you will use.
But, above all else, you need to focus on your clients and keeping them engaged. This is actually the only viable approach if you want to succeed online and have their loyalty.
The client-focused approach is the path to successful engagement
You see, as a health coaching business, the success of working with your clients in online-only settings is to find a good strategy to keep them engaged in the long-term.
Keeping them engaged during face-to-face interactions is much easier, there are fewer distractions and you can adapt to what’s in front of you. (Plus, they can’t really do anything else whilst you’re there!)
The digital world is a whole new frontier, however, with the attention spread very thin online.
That’s not really surprising when you have so many sites and businesses that are fighting over our attention! It’s super easy to lose track and focus, even I am guilty of that sometimes!
So an online client engagement strategy, one that grabs and keeps your client’s attention, is a must if you wish to be successful, here are my best practices:
#1 Make sure you have social media pages (and they are all branded properly)
This is one of those “must-have” aspects of your online presence that can make or break your client engagement strategy.
Social media profiles are actually one of the first things many people will search for when looking for a business. It makes sense because your social media pages tell much more than your website.
People can immediately see whether you’re active, how (and if!) you interact with your followers and fans, how quickly you respond to messages, and they can look at reviews and recommendations right there. This gives them a fuller image of who you really are.
Therefore, make your social media profiles a proper extension of yourself, your brand, your voice, your whole approach!
Top Tip: Make sure that your social profiles are all filled in with the right contact information and have the same branding so that no matter which is your client’s preferred channel, they’ll recognize you straight away.
(This doesn’t mean you can ignore your website, however. You must make sure it’s a great resource and valuable to your clients too!)
#2 Create social groups
Social media platforms are awesome because you can create an actual community that will support and help each other!
Groups are also great to do informal group sessions where you can explore broader topics, daily challenges, and real-life situations. Plus it’s an excellent way of building engagement and loyalty with the ‘herd mentality’ of everyone engaging together.
Members can start discussions on their own, ask others for their opinion or help on specific topics and this builds a community you can interact with! If you prefer not to do this on social media, you can even set up a member forum or section on your website where users can discuss it in the same way.
#3 Stay in contact via newsletters
It’s harder to keep clients in the loop and interested when you are not meeting them face-to-face, but mailing them regularly can help you drip content, offer structure, and stay in the back of their minds.
Send them newsletters at regular intervals but avoid being too pushy (like with sending newsletters daily) but send frequently enough so they are aware you’re always there.
Want a good rule of thumb? Send newsletters once to twice weekly to establish a base and measure engagement (by tracking conversions on your newsletter CTAs, for example). Then do a bit of A/B testing to see how engagement levels change with your changes in newsletter intervals.
#4 Make sure your branding is on point
If you write and sound very different on different web locations, your client engagement will suffer because clients might feel as if they are interacting with someone else.
You risk creating feelings of distrust in the long run – your clients might feel like they are interacting with several people instead of you. This is a common but costly branding mistake that can make clients feel like they don’t know you anymore and they will stop engaging with you.
You have to sound and feel just like you do in your face-to-face sessions. And here’s the tricky part: you have to create this feeling of familiarity everywhere: on your website, your Facebook, your Twitter and Instagram account, your emails, your videos, and live streams, absolutely everywhere!
#5 Be prompt!
Client engagement is a two-way street! You can’t expect clients to be engaged if this is not reciprocated!
When clients contact you, get back to them quickly – ideally within a few hours or on the same day they contact you. You can get away with replying to emails and messages the next day, but ideally, you want to do in within hours.
This goes for social media too! If you get engagement and interaction on your posts, reply or like them back the extra notification reminds them you’re around.
You can make this whole engagement process easier and put less pressure on yourself having to reply straight away by using automated messages. You can set them up with answers to your most common questions like your opening hours if you’re accepting more clients or even the location you’re in. Just make sure to give the messages a personal touch, and give them a human response when you can.
#6 Use the right tools for the job
Client engagement also depends on how you’re interacting with them. There are plenty of tools that will make remote sessions easier, more fun and interactive, which will also affect engagement levels.
The same tools that make client engagement easier can also make your life easier: you can use them to plan and organise appointments, set reminders for milestones or deliverables, automate processes, and easily share materials with your clients.
One thing to keep in mind here is the choice of tools you’ll be using: not everyone is tech-savvy, so make sure you stick to tools and platforms that are easy to use and intuitive – there’s quite a few out there that focus on health coaching business solutions!
Stick to those solutions that require no learning curve (or just a minimal one) from your clients and you’ll get less resistance and more engagement straight away.
#7 Ask for feedback
There truly is no better way to build client engagement than by asking clients and your audience what they think! Do not be afraid to ask for feedback – you’ll learn what you’re doing great and have an easier time identifying areas where you can improve.
Most of all, your clients will feel valued when they see that their feedback truly had a profound impact on how you run your health coaching business.
Feedback also gives you a few new topics for your newsletter and engagement ideas! For example, you can send a newsletter announcement where you’ll give them a sneak peek of new improvements based on their feedback!
Digital client engagement is all about staying true to yourself
Keeping clients engaged online is a tough business! But you shouldn’t feel alone, large corporations have entire teams that focus solely on how to get wider audiences to engage with their brand.
But, you don’t have to feel intimidated by all the new things a fully digital presence of your health coaching business requires of you, it all boils down to one thing. Your brand. Who YOU are and that is what you should build on.
Just as you are a health coaching business professional who focuses on improving your client’s lives, there are other professionals out there who can improve yours.
If you’re struggling with client engagement, your brand, or your online presence, drop me a message and together we’ll create the right strategies to keep your clients interested and engaged with your brand.