Since the pandemic, they way you manage your patient relationships, their wellness goals and market your practice has no doubt changed. Even if you thought everything was covered before the world turned upside down, there is much to learn in this new digital age of medicine.
And, there’s always something new to learn about launching an online program, no matter how many times you’ve launched one. Tools are constantly being developed to provide new ways to find new patients and retain the ones you have. And now that just about every aspect of your patients’ work, health and home life have changed, so have their expectations and digital behavior. Now add in the public’s increased desire to retain or restore their immune health and improve self-care habits to reduce their risk of illness, and you may be thinking it’s time to up your online wellness education platform.
We’ve summed up some tried and true rules with some new insights to help you launch your next lifestyle medicine online marketing plan.
1. Know Your Target Audience
Without this step, even the best content can go unappreciated. Targeting is becoming so advanced that most audiences expect content to be focused on their needs and solve their problems in very specific ways. This value judgement could be due to the perception of more demands on their time. It could also be affected by the dwindling collective global attention span. A recent study performed by the Technical University of Denmark suggests it is narrowing due to the amount of information presented to the public. But attention problems don’t just affect young people. It can also affect older people who may be part of your ideal audience.
Once you know who your target audience is in great detail, it can inform every subsequent decision you make as you build your online course. The best way to find out what your audience would like to learn from your online course, take the time to ask them. Create your program based on their feedback. Doing this will remove a lot of anxiety about your program, because you will be providing what they want, not just what you believe they want from the program.
2. Pick the Perfect Course Topic
Picking the perfect wellness course topics will be easier after you interview a representative patient group. The process, when done diligently, will give you information about what topics they’re most interested in. Fill the most important niche for them if you can. Look at competitors’ programs to help you identify gaps in the market. Your topic choice should also ideally reflect a combination of your interests, along with your patients. so that you’ll enjoy the process of building your program. Your enthusiasm and your patient’s interest will result in a successful program.
3. Create Magnetic and Compelling Learning Outcomes
Let your audience know what they will learn beforehand. People are more likely to stay engaged if they know what to expect as the online program progresses and how it will make a difference in their lives. So working out the learning outcomes and making them as attractive as possible before you begin creating the content is key. A list with the benefits your program will also help you market your program. Clear expectations will help your prospects work through the logic and emotional decision-making required to purchase your program. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What skills will they be able to demonstrate?
- What new knowledge will they obtain?
- What feelings and beliefs will they have moved away from or towards?
4. Create Your Online Program & Choose a Highly Usable Format
Once you have covered all of the above, you will be ready to create your program. You may already know from your research what you want your program to provide for your ideal audience. You may also be able to picture the transformation clearly in your mind. But if not, now is the time to go back to your research material and identify the most important topics to cover during the program.
Map out your entire program now. Begin by listing six to twelve topics that you know are absolutely essential to your clients’ transformation from the information they have given you. If it doesn’t seem obvious, go back and confirm it with them.
Once the necessary topics become clear to you, place them in the order you think will make the most sense. Imagine holding your ideal client by the hand, and guiding them, step-by-step, through their journey to transformation. What would the journey look like?
Once you have the topics written down, fill out your outline for each one. Then create your content. When it comes to format, video takes the lead for the most commonly used format for health content marketing and education. This is because video is helpful for various learning styles, including visual and auditory. Research also confirms that video content improves learning results. Forrester Research estimates that one minute of online video equates to approximately 1.8 million written words. What’s more, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.
Making videos for your online course need not be costly nor time-consuming. You can use narrated Powerpoint or Keynote slide decks for your ‘content’ or do face-to-camera videos, or a combination of both. This way, people will be able to hear your voice as you guide them through each session, which will help them connect with the content and trust you and the information. Options for recording your sessions (or modules) include Screenflow (for Mac), Camtasia (for PC) or even the platform Zoom.
In addition to the narrated slide presentation, provide your clients with a PDF file of each session so that they have a hard copy option to read through if they’d like to. An economical way to do this is to convert the PowerPoint or Keynote presentations to PDF files by choosing “PDF” after selecting “Save As” in the “File” dropdown menu on your computer. Don’t forget to add self-assessment questions to your program to help your clients improve their learning outcomes.
5. Set Your Pricing
Your pricing will depend on what you include in your program, but the most effective way of finding out the best price point for your program is to test it on a beta group. As a guide, you might choose a price one-half to two-thirds of the fee you would normally charge for a one-on-one hour consultation fee. As you gain more experience, exposure, and momentum, you will may increase the fees accordingly. However, you may want to initially set your price low enough to expose the program to more people. A beta-test provides reliable results to test prices and get solid feedback.
Also think about a 3-7 day limited-time offer (or early bird special) when you launch your program. A limited-time incentive creates urgency, which can increase enrollment.
Another option is to offer both a pricing incentive that ends 7 days before your program start date, along with a bonus offer that ends 3 days before your start date. The first incentive is a discount, and the second could be something tangible like a recipe guide, or other useful downloadable pdf or video. You might also offer a one-on-one session to a lucky winner of a drawing after successful completion of the program.
6. Market Your Program
Once you have a start date in mind for your program and the content is 80% complete, begin promoting your program. A good time is three weeks before the start date.
Invite email subscribers, post on social media, and contact any connections you may have to help you promote your program. You could also host a webinar or provide a live workshop to invite people to your online program, and help you build your email list at the same time.
Choose a webinar/workshop topic that addresses one of the problems identified in the focus group or commonly seen health issues in your practice. Include the reasons they may have the problem and what is at stake. Instead of providing answers to the problems discussed, promote the benefits of your program. Send out a series of automated emails to your lists about the program, bonuses and discounts.
- In addition to a webinar, consider creating at least one high-value, detailed blog post about a topic that relates to your program, including a link to the page that goes to a free resource to help build out your list of subscribers.
- Promote the article several times per week, at different times of the day, on your social media .
- For an extra boost, use live streams to share helpful tips, too, and add a call to action at the end about joining your program.
- To create a professional image, hire a graphic designer to help develop graphics that promote your online program on social media and via email.
7. Check Over Your Program
Before you launch, go through everything to ensure it is set up correctly. All the links must work, and your content should be scheduled to go out on the right dates. Your online program will evolve over time as you test it and make improvements. Ask some with an editors eye to give it a fresh look to catch any edits or errors.
8. Launch and Go!
The only task left to do is launch. Start with your beta audience, collect feedback and make necessary changes. If this is not your first education platform, reach out to your client base and warm contact list and get things started.
Once you have established an online course, you will soon see the benefits of not only passive income, but ultimately it educates your patients about the life-long benefits of lifestyle changes to help them make better wellness choices. Now is the perfect time to incorporate an online program that helps your patients navigate the waters of the current health climate in a way that is beneficial for everyone.