Ways to Grow Your Nutrition Business in 2021
Read our guide to creating a growth marketing plan for your wellness practice and how to expand your nutrition business in 2021 at Healthie.
2021 is here, and there’s no better way to usher in the new decade by setting your business up for success. It’s the perfect time to channel the motivation and excitement a new year brings, into actionable ways to grow your nutrition business.
While there are countless ways you can work on growing your business (and we’ve compiled our top 20 ways below) — choosing which strategies to work on requires a plan. The best growth marketing plan for your wellness business actually starts with defining the business outcomes you’d like to achieve. Once you have your business goals in mind, you can focus on the right strategies to help you accomplish them.
To make the most of your time in 2021, we suggest you read through the business and marketing strategies below. We’ve broken down our nutrition practice growth guide into three categories: how to gain new clients for private practices, how to create new revenue streams for nutrition professionals, and how to expand your nutrition practice’s reach. Highlight the ones that resonate with you, and then schedule the time to work on each strategy. In the end, you’ll have a professional, and personalized growth marketing plan designed to take your business to the next level.
Business Goal: Gain New Clients for your Nutrition Practice
These strategies are considered “top-of-funnel,” which means that they are aimed at funneling prospective clients to your business. If you’re struggling with gaining a steady stream of new clients for your practice, then you’ll want to focus your energies on these client acquisition marketing initiatives.
Consider credentialing with insurance
We’re starting off strong with this recommendation. For nutrition professionals, accepting insurance can be the single most effective way to grow a business and gain new client leads. If you’ve been on the fence about accepting insurance, here’s a few reasons why you should consider it:
- You’ll be listed on the internal referral network for all insurance payers that you credential with, meaning that clients looking for a nutrition professional in your zip code will be given your contact information
- Insurance providers will typically cover for several nutrition counseling sessions annually, and some even provide unlimited sessions — meaning you can build long-term relationships with your clients.
- Other wellness professionals, like doctors, will be much more likely to refer to you once you accept insurance.
With that being said, deciding which insurance payers to credential with, and how to credential is a process. Check out our insurance credentialing and billing resources to help you take the next steps with insurance.
List your nutrition business on professional directories
There are several ways new clients will find your nutrition business. Online professional directories not only improve your online presence, they are a convenient way to connect qualified leads to your practice. With directories like HealthProfs or ZocDoc you are able to build a profile and list your important business details, like your specialty, location, services, and payment structure. This information is used to match prospective clients to your profile, where they can take the next step and request an appointment for nutritional counseling.
Create your Google Business listing
Another way to build your online presence is to ensure that your business is listed on Google. This is quick, easy, and free to do. Simply go to the “Google My Business” website and follow the steps on-screen. To verify your business address, Google will physically mail you a postcard with a code. Once you receive the code, you can go online and complete the verification process — after which, your business will pop-up in suggestions when people are looking for:
- Your business name
- Related services in your area “ie. Nutritionist 10028”
Having a Google listing will help your business stand out, and look professional. Once your listing is live, you can ask former clients to leave a rating and/or review, to help bolster the legitimacy of your practice.
Start building your professional referral network
By building a client referral network, you can connect with other wellness professionals, and start to receive a steady referral of clients. Even having as few as one or two wellness professionals referring clients to you on a regular basis contributes to keeping your client-load full. Spending the time to build, grow and nurture your client referral network is well worth the payoff.
To get started, do a search of wellness professionals in your area that likely care for your ideal client. Beyond primary care physicians, specialists with a private practice can be a great place to start, such as:
- Psychologists + therapists (LCSW, LMFTs, CBT-therapists, etc)
- Physical therapists
- Eating disorder clinics or specialists
- OBGYNs, doulas or other women’s health specialists
- Personal trainers
List out all of these professionals into a spreadsheet, so you can keep track of who you’ve connected with. It also is handy to have this list, so that you can also refer any clients to these professionals as needed. Referral networks are a two-way street. You can start by emailing, calling, or stopping into these office of potential referral partners — and introducing yourself. Be sure to highlight how you can help their clients through your wellness services, and how your clients can also benefit from their services.
Revamp and replenish your marketing resources
Has it been awhile since you’ve updated your marketing materials? Has your logo, branding, or business information changed? Then it’s time to refresh your essentials: business cards, flyers, and a business pamphlet.
As you build your referral network, and share these marketing materials, you’ll want to periodically check back in to replenish. Going door-to-door to local shops may be traditional marketing, but it can still be an effective growth marketing strategy. Get out there and make sure you business cards and pamphlets are displayed for potential clients to see./
Create a new giveaway resource to capture leads
Potential clients can often need many touch-points before they are ready to go ahead and pay for services — so it’s important to think of ways that you can capture their contact information (ie. email) and nurture the relationship. If you don’t already have a “freebie” or “downloadable” item, consider creating one. This often looks like a free guide, handout, Ebook, or other educational resource that will be valuable to your ideal client, such as a meal prep guide or healthy eating habits Ebook. The goal is to provide this resource in exchange for their email, which will build up your mailing list.
Create a monthly newsletter and other drip-email campaigns
As you start to build your mailing list, you’ll want to drip out information (aka touch-points) in a consistent cadence. This will ensure that you stay top-of-mind for prospective clients, so that when they are ready to move forward, you’ll be the wellness provider that comes to their mind.
Essentially, your email campaign is designed to peak the interest of your prospective client, tell them more about the services you’re offering and push them to move forward and buy (or book a session). If you’re just starting out with email campaigns, and monthly newsletter can be a great way to start
Launch a blog for your nutrition business
Really want to take your online search to the next level (and drive SEO for your website?) Then it’s time to consider launching a blog. Think of topics that will resonate with your ideal client — what are the nutritional challenges that they struggle with, and the information they are seeking? As prospective clients search for this information online, they’ll be able to read your articles, and then navigate to your main website to learn more about your services. From there, if interested, they’ll book a session which is considered a successful conversion.
To get started with your blog, block off time and create a list of topics that you’d like to write on. If you’ve written any articles about nutritional health in the past, and have permission to reuse them, go ahead and pull from these posts. Think through how many blog posts you would like to set as a goal to write each month. Even setting aside the time to write two articles consistently will be a great start — and you can use the information in these blog articles to create social posts, add to your newsletter, and generate resources for your clients. Using each post to the fullest across all of your marketing channels will save you time, and help generate new leads for your business.
Be more consistent with your social media marketing
Beyond email, social media is another way to “nurture” prospective health and wellness clients. Social media provides an engaging way for leads to get to know your business, your services, and establish a relationship with you.
With that being said, social is not a “sure-fire” marketing strategy for every wellness professionals. It’s important to identify your ideal client first, and determine which (if any) social media platforms they frequent. Start with one platform (ie. Facebook or Instagram) and start create a regular content schedule. You don’t have to post every day, it’s more about the quality of your content then the quantity. However, you do want to be consistent.
Set a realistic goal for the number of social posts you want to create weekly. And then block off the time on your calendar to create this content in advance. Take advantage of free social schedulers like Later or Hootsuite, that will auto-publish your content for you, once you’ve created it!
Set up a referral program for happy clients
Your happy clients have the potential for being your best source of referrals. When someone accomplishes their wellness goals, they are likely to tell their friends and family. While you’ll want these referrals to be organic, and authentic, you can also provide incentives for your happy clients — they can earn a discount on a service, credit towards their account, or a freebie giveaway when referring a new client to your practice. Get creative with your promotions, and don’t forget to ask those happy clients to also write you a review on your Google Business listing!
Revamp your website and hire an SEO expert
For healthcare providers who want to reach new patients looking to find a new nutrition professional, there’s more opportunity now to grow business online. More than ever, having a strong online presence is an important part of any marketing strategy. Your nutrition website allows prospective clients to not only find your business online, but to learn about your services and even book an appointment.
With a myriad of affordable website builders, creating a basic nutrition website online has never been easier. However, beyond the standard online templates, a successful nutrition website needs to connect and resonate with prospective clients. Thinking about how your prospective client will experience your website is crucial in converting those leads into paying clients.
In 2021, you may want to consider elevating your website with some professional assistance. Thankfully, SEO and digital strategy experts work to ensure you website is reaching its full marketing potential. You can expect a return on your investment, as new (qualified) clients becoming paying customers.
Business Goal: Create New Revenue Sources
If you find that you have a steady stream of wellness clients, or you’re at capacity for how many clients you can take on, then it’s time to switch gears and think on ways you can generate additional income. Typically, these initiatives will explore adding new services, and finding ways to upsell to current clients through customer marketing.
Create an online wellness program
Client engagement and retention is fundamental for any successful health and wellness business. The core tenant of a program is that it drips content out over the course of weeks and months, rather than sharing all information at once. Content in a program can include videos, e-mails, documents, surveys and quizzes, and links to external websites. Clients appreciate receiving guidance over time, in digestible formats that enable them to build successful habits, or achieve specific goals. Wellness programs can also be used to deliver branded programs, like a Diabetes Prevention Program.
A program marketed at existing clients can not only be a valuable add-on service for your clients, but can help you generate additional revenue per client.
Diversify your services, beyond nutrition counseling sessions
Beyond online programs, marketing additional services to your existing clients is a valuable growth strategy. Most likely, you’ve had a few ideas on the back-burner, and 2021 could be the year to build them out. To get started, create a list of services and/or resources that you’ve been meaning to accomplish, but haven’t had the time or focus to accomplish yet, such as:
- Meal planning services
- Accountability packages (ie. between session support, food journal reviews, etc).
- Corporate wellness services
- Supplement and product offerings
- Support groups
Start offering telehealth nutrition services
More than ever, clients are looking for convenience and flexibility in their healthcare services. Telehealth services can include video chats, phone calls, email and/or message support, and more. These virtual sessions and support services can either be added to your current services to increase the value (ie. build a “concierge package” for a higher cost) or serve as add-on items. Either way, you can provide valuable services while increasing profits for your business.
Whether you have an insurance-based or self-pay practice, your clients will appreciate the support and services that can be provided via telehealth. While there are many tools to provide virtual services to your clients, choosing HIPAA-compliant tools are essential in safeguarding your client’s personal health information.
Offer group support sessions to existing clients
In nutritional care, offering group counseling sessions provides a way to reach a wider audience at once. In person group sessions can be challenging to coordinate: from finding a location large enough to accommodate your group, paying the overhead costs and factoring in communication time. Hosting group video chat sessions or webinars provide a convenient way to reach your clients — and to provide another revenue-generating service for your business.
Business Goal: Expand your Nutrition Practice Reach
As you feel like your business has a steady stream of clients and a strong foundation of services — then it’s time to think outward. Finding ways to grow your business to the next level may look different for each wellness business — but you’ll find a good starter point with the suggestions below.
Bring on another wellness provider to your practice
Are you at the point where you have a steady stream of new clients, and have to turn some away? Want to increase the number of clients your practice can see each month, and increase your profits?
Then it may be time hiring another wellness professional. If your brand is closely tied to your area of expertise (ie. eating disorders or digestive disorders), bringing on more providers who are experts in this area will further add credibility to your practice.
Another group dynamic to consider, is bringing on providers with varying expertises (ie. you specialize in eating disorders and you bring on someone else who is a certified diabetes educator). Adding to your practices’ list of wellness specialties will help make your group well rounded, and capture a larger client base.
Some groups choose to bring in providers of other disciplines. This allows the group practice to treat clients as a whole (ie. you’re a dietitian specializing in eating disorders, and you hire a therapist or mental health counselor). This can be an incredible value-add to your clients. Coming to one single location for multiple services is extremely convenient. In addition, help drive up your client referrals, as you’ll be able to cross-refer patients.
Connect with other nutrition professionals in your area for collaborations
Building your professional connections always comes with potential for your business. Meet other dietitians and nutrition professionals by attending professional meetups, conferences, or even host a local meetup. Learn how you can support each other and perhaps create a collaboration, referral network or partnership.
Work on building your brand awareness
Brand awareness is an essential part of your growth marketing strategy, as it helps more and more people 1) know about your business and 2) recognize your services. As you continue to grow your brand, you’ll find new opportunities, new clients, and new revenue potential for your business.
Some ways to consider building your brand awareness:
✔️ Reach out to online blogs and wellness sites that cater to your ideal client
✔️ Join online FB groups for your specialty, often writers are seeking quotes or input from experts
✔️ Pitch your business or advertise your services on local radio or television segments
Rent office hours in a strategic additional location
Physically expanding your business locations opens up a host of revenue opportunities for your nutrition practice. Even renting out space 1 day a week in another wellness clinic, gym, or office location can help you attract new clients (and new types of clients), expand your referral network, and build yod your brand awareness. Furthermore, if you’ve taken the steps to hire another wellness professional, it can be convenient to have them working in your secondary (or additional) location instead of sharing one office space.
Credential with additional insurance panels, and hire a biller
To round out our growth marketing strategies list, we’re bringing it back to insurance credentialing. If you’ve taken initial steps to credential with some insurance payers, you may want to expand your practice by credentialing with additional payers. Accepting a majority of insurances in your area will set your business apart from the rest and ensure an influx of new clients to your business — making ongoing expansion possible. Outsourcing your billing to a professional nutrition biller service helps to relieve the additional time you’ll need to spend on managing insurance claims, and instead, allow you to focus on revenue generating services for your practice.
Make more time to grow your business
Use a platform that automates the administrative, so you can focus on growth and care.
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