2020 was an influential year, for the better and for the worse. Digitisation in various industries has picked up, and the ways we communicate are at an all-time high. That said, the amount of online businesses has skyrocketed leaving many to wonder if they’ll be able to beat the competition.
As we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel that was last year, I believe we can look forward to what the future holds for health coach businesses. In this post I’m looking at 6 health coach trends that you may want to get behind (if you haven’t already) for 2021.
Trend #1 Online Resources
The year 2020 taught us what was possible with the technologies at our disposal. A year later, we still have zooming grandparents and online yoga! Many companies have reduced their offices and instead opted for a more flexible approach to working, with some closing their locations for good.
With this in mind, attitudes of clients are changing. Many want to slot in their coaching online around their current schedules.
What does this mean for you as a health coach?
Online resources will continue to be a valid and profitable income stream, both for coaching and supplementary services and products. You should look at investing in virtual activities such as:
- Online classes (group and private)
Top Tip: Social media content and SEO remains highly relevant, particularly for standing out in the health coach market so invest in building your traffic and followers.
Trend #2 Productisation
Savvy personal service businesses across all industries are concentrating on productisation, turning services into products. Products can be sold over and over again, without direct involvement which means you put time and effort into it now, and then you don’t have to later.
There are three elements to a successful product:
- The Ability to Scale – Can the product be consistently produced or replicated repeatedly without additional effort on your part? A digital recipe book is an excellent example of this – it is designed once and repeatedly sold without extra effort or cost. Alternatively, can the product be delivered to multiple clients simultaneously yet provide them with the same experience? An online exercise class is an example of this if it doesn’t rely on you interacting with the attendees (in which cases, numbers would be limited, and the content would be unique for each class).
- Value – Does the product provide value to the client?
- Recurring benefit – Does the product offer an opportunity for recurring income? It’s easier and cheaper to keep an existing client happy than find and onboard a new client. What services will clients be happy to pay for repeatedly?
Trend #3 Niching
There are health coach trends developing that pulls you away from generalised coaching to finding your niche. This is because people have greater connectivity now and are discovering they can find specialist expertise for the problems they face.
Niche coaches who cater to a market segment that is not too big, and not too small are going to be in great demand and able to become an authority quickly.
Focusing on a niche area strengthens a coach’s brand. In contrast, trying to do everything at once can mean you’re not offering the most competitive and in-depth service. Niching offers coaches the following opportunities:
- Stronger programs focused on a single area of practice
- A more targeted marketing strategy
- Higher charge rates
- Increased referrals from fellow professionals (they will know what clients you are looking for and that you don’t compete with them)
- More “ideal” clients
Check out my post on: ‘Is being a jack of all trades hurting your business’ Should you choose a business niche?) to explore this further.
Trend #4 Authorised/Certified Credentials
The health coaching industry is unregulated, meaning you are not required to possess any formal qualification to practice (the way one does to be a doctor, for example). This has led to an explosion of people trading as health coaches with very varied levels of qualification, experience, and effectiveness. Understandably, the public is growing sceptical of coaches who make promises they can’t deliver on. This means, clients are starting to look for credentials, certifications, and accreditations for their coach before signing up.
What does that mean for you as a health coach?
Look at gaining credibility by obtaining coaching certifications from a reputable institute. For example, like The UK. Health Coaches Association (UKHCA), the professional body for Health and Wellness Coaches for the UK and Ireland.
Becoming a member of the UKHCA, for example, lets people know you are a fully qualified and credentialed professional who subscribes to the association’s professional standards and works within a defined scope of practice. You can find a list of approved training courses and how to become a member of the UKHCA here.
Top Tip: Make sure your certifications are included on your website and part of your branding so they are clear, and set you apart.
Trend #5 Personalised Customer Experience
Everyone seems to be talking about AI at the moment – artificial intelligence. If you think it’s something confined to geeky kids’ robotics clubs, think again. AI is already an integral part of our lives without us even being aware of it. Its most universal application is in the personalisation of the customer experience. And it’s a health coach trend that will only continue in the coming years.
According to Google, 90% of marketers say personalisation significantly contributes to profitability. Marketers used to have to segment and tag customers, as well as spend a lot of time and energy trying to understand the characteristics of their client base. Now, customer experience and personalisation tools, software, and apps automate this. And they do it much better – think of all the data Facebook has about their users. The social media platform can directly target ad campaigns so that only those people likely to be interested in a product or service see it.
Despite grave privacy concerns regarding the use of personal data, today’s consumer expects you to know who they are and speak to their individual needs and desires. And fortunately, personalisation tools can be affordable even for small businesses like independent health coaches. For example, Personyze allows you to offer an end-to-end personalised experience to your website visitors, and it’s free for sites with less than five thousand page views monthly.
But personalisation extends beyond marketing – AI technology is being incorporated into health and fitness apps to adapt programs to individual users.
How can this apply to health coaching businesses?
Familiarise yourself with the technology and design complementary service offerings. Some apps are even designed to be “white labelled” for health professionals wishing to use them under their branding. For some of the top AI fitness apps on the market, see here.
Trend #6 A Surge in Leisure Travel
In January of this year, international consulting group McKinsey and Company released their The next normal arrives: Trends that will define 2021—and beyond report. One of the trends it identifies is a surge in leisure travel. After more than a year stuck at home, people are keen to add travelling to their agenda for a change of environment – domestically and internationally.
The effective use of technology during the pandemic may delay or even permanently reduce business travel. But leisure travel is about human curiosity – the desire to explore. Leisure travelling always accompanies a rise in prosperity. After the Global Financial Crisis of 2008–09, for example, international leisure travel recovered in two years. In contrast, business travel took five years to bounce back.
The leisure travel trend has already been observed in China. In August last year, confidence in that country’s safety measures saw domestic flights and hotel occupancy rise to more than 90% of 2019 levels. (Pandemic border closures restricted international travel.)
Health coaches can take advantage of this trend to plan destination and activity-based retreats. As vaccines roll out and international borders open, popular exotic locations reliant on tourism are offering highly competitive packages to welcome visitors back. But domestic destinations will also be popular, both with local and foreign travellers.
Top tips for designing a powerful health coach retreat include;
- Focusing on a specific objective – a retreat is a chance to pause and reset; trying to achieve too much defeats the purpose.
- Involving clients in the retreat content – ask them what they want via social media surveys and similar.
- Allowing adequate personal time to explore – this may be your clients’ first trip in a while; allow them more than the usual time to explore their surroundings.
- Making retreats regular – scheduling regular retreats allows clients to plan regular attendance and potentially invite friends.
- Following up afterwards – it’s easy to forget good habits developed in isolation when we get back to the hustle and bustle of our ordinary lives. Assisting clients to incorporate their retreat learnings into their daily lives is a crucial component of a retreat.
The coaching industry is an increasingly competitive environment. Some of the increase in supply has resulted from an increase in demand because people are far more health-conscious these days. To stay competitive you should look at the current health coach trends and see how these can be incorporated into your business.
If you need help with adapting your branding and your website to meet these trends, get in touch and I’ll see how I can help.