Best Practices: Online Tools To Optimize Your Wellness Business

The web’s full of possibilities – but only some of them are worth your time, money and effort.

These dozen tools capitalize on the best the Internet has to offer your wellness business:

1) Switch to a WordPress-based website

The single most important web innovation on this list, because it gives you back control over your website – no erratic, expensive web developers needed. (Just be sure your site’s secure – tips here and here.)

2) Use Google Alerts

Get free notifications anytime someone posts something on a topic you care about: your business name, a competitor, a particular wellness topic of interest.

3) Revisit your telecom bill

Switch traditional business telephone service to VOIP (Nextiva, VirtualPBX, etc. ). Even free services like Skype and Oovoo are good enough for the smallest businesses. Drop your cellular contract and switch to prepaid (Boost, Virgin Mobile, etc.). Use FreeConferenceCall.com for big teleconferences plus web conferencing.

4) Put an email newsletter signup on your website

It goes in the upper right corner of every page, not down at the bottom where no one will see it. Test it to make sure it works. Customize everything your email service provider lets you customize – the actual sign-up page, the welcome message, and so on.

5) Send a regular email newsletter

Once a month is perfect. Tailor the content so that it’s unique to your business – your perspective, your clients, your programs, and so on. Sorry, plagiarizing CNN’s health headlines is NOT marketing your business.

6) Integrate your online marketing

Integrate your online marketing tools: set everything up so that Constant Contact (or the email marketing service you use) updates Twitter updates LinkedIn updates Facebook updates Google+ updates your blog.

7) Encourage online customer reviews

This, and your newsletter, are hands-down the two most effective online marketing tools for your brick-and-mortar wellness businesses. Here’s how to encourage them and here’s how to handle critical reviews.

8) Read the news

It’s easy to marinate in your favorite topic – wellness! – or fall out of touch about what’s happening in the world at large. Google News is a good place to start. Don’t skip the non-health sections, okay?

9) Try one online experiment

Pick one new thing – YouTube, webinars, podcasts, conference calls, online scheduling like WellX, etc. – for 2012 and experiment throughout the year with ways this tool can increase revenue, reduce cost or provide a better or richer client experience.

10) Back up data online

Listen, stuff happens. If you’re like most of our clients, you’d be sick if you lost the proprietary program information on your PCs and laptops and had to recreate it.

So back it up, already. Every day. No excuses. We use Mozy and other good choices are out there, too.

11) Network online

Every wellness professional in the entire universe should have a LinkedIn profile and actively update it. Here’s a LinkedIn guide for wellness professionals.

12) Use free software

If your needs are fairly basic, save money and simplify your life by choosing a free suite like OpenOffice or a free cloud-based app like Google Docs instead of Microsoft Office or iWork.

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