The wellness industry has seen massive growth over the last several years. With consumer spending on health and fitness products showing no signs of slowing, growth should stay in the forecast. For brands that want to plant their flag and take market share, digital marketing for wellness is critical. One of the catalysts for this growth has been digital marketing. Brands that have focused on building an effective online presence and digital strategy are experiencing some of the strongest growth. Strong market growth means increased competition. And with competition comes the challenge of true differentiation. Consequently, many health and wellness executives don’t have time to run the business and execute digital marketing strategies simultaneously. Communications Strategy Group (CSG®) develops marketing strategies and content specifically for wellness brands and can partner to help set your business up for success.

Understanding Digital Marketing for Wellness and How to Get It Right

Digital marketing is promoting a brand’s products or wellness services using tactics like search engine marketing, search engine optimization, paid programmatic advertising and paid social media. No longer traditional marketing’s fledgling younger brother, digital marketing is the dominant way brands get in front of consumers. The truth is that digital marketing is the current state of marketing today. Sound digital strategy requires wellness businesses to deploy a mix of marketing tactics that meet consumers where they are.

Why Is Digital Marketing So Challenging in The Wellness Industry?

From smart wearables to in-home gym products, wellness technology has ushered in an era of innovation and hyper-personalization. Though innovation is often a byproduct of competition, the lack of room in the marketplace makes differentiation difficult. There’s good news, though. Wellness companies have an exciting opportunity to serve unmet needs and persistent gaps within the industry. By following best practices and creating relevant content, you can solve audience pain points, drive traffic, and win market share.

10 Digital Marketing Best Practices for Wellness Brands

Pew Research has found that nearly 60 percent of Americans go to social media and the internet to research info about their health. Building a foundation of digital marketing tactics can help ensure your wellness business ranks well. Below are 10 best practices for digital marketing for wellness brands:

Zero in on Your Target Audience

Having a firm grasp of your ideal target audience gives you the best chance at success by targeting the people who are most likely to buy from you. Think of your audience as a single reader, not a group of people. Create a persona that profiles their wants and desires, as well as their frustrations and fears. By understanding what drives the reader’s behavior, you can develop messaging that quickly engages and makes a more authentic connection.

A brand that has done a great job of identifying its target audience is Eight Sleep, the “world’s first sleep fitness company.” The innovative smart-sleep brand is championed by top performers looking to biohack their way to optimal human performance through better sleep fitness. From Tim Ferriss to Dr. Andrew Huberman, Eight Sleep has also enlisted a small army of top performance influencers to promote their product on some of the most listened-to podcasts in the world.

Eight Sleep has excelled in three areas of zeroing in on its audience:

Identify behaviors. Conduct research to understand what drives your audience and how to move them through the customer journey

Utilize Influencers. Identify the media (i.e., podcasts) their audience consumes and seek endorsements from those shows

Position for Growth. Eight Sleep rolled out to niche audiences who are obsessed with performance and positioned themselves as the #1 sleep tech company, which will make them positioned to take more market share as mass adoption of wellness products continues

Analyze and Be Mindful of the Competition

Understanding where your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses lie allows you to identify where gaps exist in the market on which you can capitalize. Where have they planted their flag in the ground? How do they position their unique competitive differentiator?

When developing your competitive analysis use the following five questions to guide your efforts:

What are they doing well/poorly on their website and social media?
How can we beat them? 
What can we learn from them?
How do we overcome our weaknesses? 
What are they focusing on with marketing?

Keep a spreadsheet of your top three competitors compared to your business and include things like positioning (i.e., competitive differentiator), top products and services, and general information if available like the founded year, revenue, employees, awards and locations.

Want to keep the competition at arm’s length and a finger on the pulse of the market? Here are three steps you can take now to level up against the competition:

  • Learn the intricacies of your competition to identify scenarios to outperform them
  • Cement your unique competitive differentiator compared to the market
  • Determine your organizational weaknesses and how to overcome them

Get Your Brand Message Across

Wellness is inextricably personal. The personal nature of health and wellness places high priority around streamlining the tone, voice and messaging around your unique competitive differentiator to resonate with your audience.

A brand with streamlined, authentic brand messaging is Beekeeper’s Naturals. Beekeeper’s Naturals (BN) is driven to provide clean medicine “backed by the beehive” and proven by science, while also working to better the environment for bees. From social media to their website, BN highlights why bees are crucial to the health of the planet and how they do things differently as a result.

Here are three actionable takeaways:

Share your “Why.” BN brilliantly explains on the homepage why they do things differently, and why bees are important

Include FAQs. A section of Frequently Asked Questions shows you are committed to giving a helpful experience to your audience on understanding your brand message

Provide Knowledge. Build out your website with educative content that is designed to build your authority and move people from considering your business to the purchase stage

Build Relevant and Relatable Web Content

Web content marketing is more than just blogging. Creating consumable content is used in a variety of mediums depending on the marketing channel, but the main goal is to provide relevant, value-driven content at each stage of the marketing funnel. This type of content allows you to provide value to your audience regardless of which stage they are in the customer journey.

People get on the internet for one of two reasons: to be educated or entertained. With this in mind, one brand that does an excellent job of putting out educational and relevant content is ClassPass. The brand aims to bring thousands of studios, gyms, salons and spas into one application and allow consumers to personalize their fitness and wellness routine all in a single place.

The brand does an excellent job of curating light-hearted social media posts with educational content mixed in. Remember, wellness is inherently personal, so don’t be afraid to be yourself and focus on teaching and entertaining your target audience.

ClassPass does three things well in its digital marketing to engage with its audience:

  • Mixes educational and entertaining content seamlessly
  • Reimagines wellness on people’s own terms
  • Posts entertaining content to social media

Build a Social Media Presence for Your Wellness Brand

With consumers increasingly utilizing social media for their own personal wellness journey, it’s essential for wellness brands to create a robust social media presence. Not every customer will be active on each platform, so you can reach different segments of the audience on different platforms.

One wellness personality that has built a stout social media presence is tenured Stanford University Neuroscience professor, and host of the popular wellness podcast, Huberman Lab, Dr. Andrew Huberman. Dr. Huberman has a presence on Twitter, Tik Tok, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

With 1.94M subscribers on YouTube, 70K on Facebook, 60.3K Tik Tok followers, and over 667K followers on Twitter, Dr. Huberman has fostered a strong social media presence across the board to grow his personal brand and reach.

Dr. Huberman executes three things well on social media that brands can emulate:

  • Highlight success stories of concepts discussed on Twitter RT
  • Provide educational information that is relevant and interesting to your audience
  • Spotlight other subject matter experts through social media

Collaborate with Wellness Influencers

As consumers have continued to turn to the internet for eCommerce, the global influencer market has increased by over 864 percent since 2016.

Rachel Brathen, The New York Times Bestselling author and Caribbean-based yoga instructor behind the wildly popular Yoga Girl brand not only boasts the largest yoga retreat but also makes various themed yoga and Astrology courses available for purchase.

Influencers typically have devoted followers and true fans that see product promotions and collaborations with other brands from influencers like Brathen as an immediate stamp of approval for a product.

Here are three actionable best practices inspired by Brathen:

  1. Present a genuine and honest image to fans and followers (insecurities and all)
  2. Highlight your “why.” Rachel is “out to make the world a better place and unite it through Yoga.”
  3. Create personalized courses that appeal to different segments of your audience base

Are influencers a fad? Don’t bet on it. 89 percent of marketers using influencer marketing will increase or maintain their spending on influencers next year.

Engage with a Community of Wellness Enthusiasts

Communities of wellness enthusiasts — like fitness classes (both online and in-person) — utilize the Köhler Group Effect. Put simply, no one wants to look like a weak link in a group setting, so you tend to push yourself harder than when you would solo. One study found that 95 percent of those who started a weight-loss program with friends completed the program compared to the 76 percent who undertook the challenge alone.

Companies like SoulCycle, the revolutionary cycling company with heart-pounding HIIT cardio that can be experienced inside their chic studios or from the comfort of your own home. The company also organizes Give Back Rides, where they invite their instructors, studio teams, and communities at large to give back to causes they hold dear. Find ways to build a community experience into your customer journey to help your audience accomplish their wellness goals and build brand loyalty.

Just to recap: Here are three things that SoulCycle does well in community building:

  1. Instill a strong, motivating and encouraging environment for each and every class
  2. Create a “kaleidoscope of perspectives” that come together for causes they care about
  3. Give customers the flexibility to experience in-person or inside an application

Reach Out to Complementary Wellness Brands

Aligning with brands that are complementary to your own can help you build co-branded partnerships that work out mutually beneficial for both parties.

This is especially true if two major brands partner up to provide immense value. Blue Apron, the NYC-based ingredient-and-recipe meal kit company, recently partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), Planet Fitness, and the #1 app for sleep and meditation — Calm. The goal was to grow its partner portfolio, attract new customers and offer novel experiences to existing customers. As recently minted brand partners, Blue Apron and friends offered significant value for their overlapping audiences:

BCBS. Substantial discounts for new and existing BCBS members on their first 26 meals
Planet Fitness. Exclusive offers and joint discounts for customers who would take advantage of such an offer Calm. Build on the previous years’ successful partnership with special offers for VIP customers

Brand partnerships allow you to share financial costs and risk, but one of the biggest benefits is that co-branding acts as a multiplier for trust in the consumer’s mind. Two brands they know, like, and trust teaming up to provide even more value is hard to turn down.

Try Omnichannel Digital Marketing

In the same way that making the distinction between traditional versus digital marketing feels dated, thinking of your marketing tactic efforts as siloed campaigns separate from each other also feels out of style. Instead, try focusing on creating a holistic experience that works in tandem with cohesive creative assets that provide the right message at the right time. The goal is to reach customers wherever they are regardless of the channel. Omnichannel marketing research speaks for itself:

  • When customers interacted with three or more channels, they purchased 250 percent more frequently
  • When customers engaged with campaigns having three or more channels, they were likely to spend 13 percent more on average
  • Buyers who interacted with three or more channels were 90 percent more likely to be repeat customers

Be Up-to-Date with the Latest Trends

Marketing trends in the wellness market are constantly evolving. The pandemic also had an impact on consumer behaviors across the board. Ignoring emerging trends not only puts you at a competitive disadvantage but represents an operational risk to the business as well. Keep your finger on the pulse of advertising messaging resonating in the market, and look for consumer preferences for potential new niches and product lines. Below are three examples of companies that leverage emerging trends with massive success:

Partner with Influencers – Terra Origin. NY-based supplement and protein powder company, Terra Origin, leveraged “mummy” influencers to promote their launch in Target. One of their influencers clocked a 13.2 percent engagement rate.

Engage on YouTube – Ritual. A supplement brand for women by women, Ritual has worked with more than 600 creators on YouTube and podcasts in a bid to engage customers more authentically online. Ritual CEO Katerina Schneider moderates a series of group discussions across a variety of topics like IVF, postpartum rediscovery, and how to find friends as a new parent.

Build trust through UGC – Gymshark. Research shows that user-generated content (UGC) results in 29 percent higher web conversions than campaigns or websites without it. UK fitness apparel brand darling, Gymshark, leverages UGC masterfully. Is customer loyalty a key business objective for your wellness business? Use UGC like Gymshark by persuading customers to tag your brand’s accounts and brand-specific hashtags in social media posts.

Use Data and Metrics to Inform Your Digital Marketing Decisions

Without access to data and regular analytics, it’s impossible to determine if your marketing efforts are working. Key performance indicators (KPIs) ensure the business isn’t operating blind and make the best use of marketing investments.

Below are three key marketing metrics to get you started and help determine if marketing efforts are working:

Cost Per Lead. Uncovering how much each new lead costs to acquire will help you quickly decide if the campaign needs optimizing or the plug pulled.
How to Measure: Cost Per Lead = Cost of the marketing campaign / total number of leads generated

Website Traffic. Tracking user visits to your website is another key metric to determine the effectiveness of your website content or your paid campaign.
How to Measure: Install and use Google Analytics on your site to measure the traffic to your website and help determine the success of advertising ROI

Email Click-Through Rate. The click-through rate (CTR) helps determine if your call to action is strong or weak. The open rate gets more publicity, but it only reveals a compelling subject line, which does not always equate to a conversion.
How to Measure: Total Clicks / Total delivered emails * 100 = CTR percentage

Start out with a list of KPIs to help determine what success looks like for your business. Ensure each marketing strategy and initiative maps back to your goals before you start any campaign, and then review each month to determine the next steps.

What Digital Marketing Platform Should You Choose?

There are a variety of different marketing platforms you can have a presence on, but attempting all will spread your marketing dollars too thin. Choosing the right platforms will depend on your business goals and the outcomes you want to achieve. Below are eight digital marketing platforms for you to consider in your digital marketing plan:

  • Social Media
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Pay-per-click (PPC)
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing

Before choosing which strategies to use in your digital marketing plan, ask yourself a series of questions to ensure your efforts will help move the needle. What do customers want to hear? Where are they spending their time online? Who is our avatar customer? What drives their behavior? Once you have answers to these questions, you can identify which tactics to bring into the fold.

Want a deeper understanding of these digital platforms? Check out CSG’s guide to the ultimate wellness marketing strategy.

FAQs About Digital Marketing for Wellness Businesses

How do I market and advertise my wellness business online?

Optimize your website for search engines and search ranking. Without optimization, it is unlikely your site will land on the first page — or even first several pages — of results.  Next, set up profiles on the platforms where your audience is most active. Identify the touch points for each stage of the customer journey and develop advertising campaigns that move them toward conversion and buying your product or service.

What is the latest trend in digital marketing for the wellness and health industry?

The latest trends that wellness businesses should consider are video marketing and dynamic creative for more personalized ad options, and influencer marketing.

What tips would you give someone starting social media marketing for a health and wellness company?

Be authentic. Wellness is personal; people can sniff out if you are inauthentic or doing things for the wrong reasons. Share genuine content and storytelling to generate more brand loyalty.

What kind of digital marketing is best for wellness products?

The best digital marketing strategy for wellness products is the strategy that will reach your audience with the right message at the right time. Determine the biggest pain points of your audience and which platforms they would go to find the answers to those pain points. Provide compelling, educational and timely content designed to showcase your authority.

Want Help Developing Your Wellness Digital Marketing Plan?

Digital marketing is no longer an optional channel for wellness businesses. Digital marketing is now the dominant marketing channel used to get brand messaging and products in front of target audiences. CSG specializes in digital marketing for health and wellness and helping brands develop and execute compelling content strategies that build trust, brand loyalty and thought leadership. Want help developing your own plan? Get in touch to learn more about our digital marketing services.