Marketing Your Wellness Business With Health Observances

These thirteen tips tell you how to market your wellness business and increase its visibility in your community by capitalizing on hundreds of official health observances like Thyroid Awareness Month, Recess at Work Day, and others.

1) Choose a logical focus

Pick health observances directly related to your business focus. Lots of good causes exist – but here we’re talking specifically about using health observances to market your wellness business.

awareness ribbons - multiSo don’t choose randomly – pick the ones which mesh best with your wellness business, your staff, your potential and current clients, and your community.

Use our guide to get beyond the Big Three – breast cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

The hyperfocus on those three issues can quickly drown out the marketing activities of small and medium-sized health clubs, wellness centers, clinics, yoga studios and employee wellness businesses.

Example: The Great American Smoke-Out might be a great fit if your services include smoking cessation programs – but you’d be smarter to choose a different observance if you don’t have any services related to helping people stop smoking.

A common question: Yes, you can make up your own health observance – but your wellness business will have to do all the “heavy lifting” itself since you won’t be able to piggyback on the efforts of other charities and advocacy organizations. The result: your marketing efforts won’t be nearly as visible or efficient.

2) Decide whether you’ll go broad or deep

Your wellness business can pick several related health observances; or you can pick a single health observance that you promote throughout the year.

Choosing multiple related observances can give you broader visibility to more potential clients. Focusing on just one can build a tight linkage between your brand and that particular cause.

Either way, your goal is to conduct activities every quarter – that’s every 90 days. So give some thought to how you will promote these observances before you make a final decision.

Example: if you serve families and kids, your wellness center might choose National Park Visit Day, National TV Turnoff Week, Handwashing Awareness Week, and Safe Toys Month.

Or, if your business provides an innovative weight loss program, you might focus on “Rid The World Of Fad Diets and Gimmicks Day.” (Nope, we didn’t make that one up.) You’d schedule programming and events throughout the year that expose myths and hype about healthy eating and weight.

3) Choose “the face”

Identify a real person who is 1) associated with your corporate wellness business, health club, yoga studio or wellness center and 2) who is familiar with this health concern and 3) wants to play an advocacy role.

That person might be an employee, owner, customer or someone’s family member. It might be a strategic partner, like a physician specializing in a particular health issue. It could be your mom or the child of a long-time customer.

A note of caution: if your advocate has a very serious illness related to your cause, consider possible implications as you develop your marketing campaign. For example, will your advocate be reliably able to make frequent public appearances?

4) Brand your initiatives

Choose a name or slogan for your cause. For example, Valerie Kiser at Sunrise Yoga sponsors “For Katie’s Sake” to honor a staff member’s child who suffered from leukemia.

If possible, incorporate your business name: “Club ABC’s One Bite At A Time Campaign,” focused on nutrition and healthful eating or “Kick Butts with XYZ,” focused on anti-smoking and smoking cessation efforts (and tied to Kick Butts Day, the Great American Smoke-Out, and Non-Smoking Week)

5) Work with local advocacy groups

Contact them and look for opportunities to volunteer and to host events at your facility. They’ll often have an easier time contacting local media than you will, so encourage them to contact local newspapers, radio and TV stations.

6) Work with related health and wellness providers

Identify individual practitioners, businesses and practices which have expertise in this cause or a strong affinity for it.

Contact them to develop co-marketing activities that promote this cause.

7) Reach out to the media

You’ll want to give local media contacts a heads-up on the cause and planned events – especially free events and fundraisers.

DO NOT overtly promote your wellness business. Promote the CAUSE. Introduce the human interest aspect – the “face” of your initiatives described above- because that’s what attracts media interest.

8) Reach out to groups

Contact local membership groups which are likely to have an affinity for this cause.

Example: if your wellness center focuses on men’s health observances like International Men’s Health Month or National Men’s Health Week, local civic organizations will be good candidates to host a talk and may partner with you to co-sponsor events as service projects.

9) Piggyback on national marketing

Get up to speed on the national marketing efforts by groups which support your cause. Leverage their efforts in your marketing.

Example: the American Heart Association promotes women’s heart health with the “Go Red For Women” campaign. Your yoga studio might offer a great freebie to everyone wearing red on the day in which their program Speak Up To Save Lives airs on your local NBC station – and don’t you think that station might cover your promotion on their nightly news?

10) Plan your own activities

Remember – the primary objective of health observance marketing is to subtly market YOUR wellness business, primarily by creating no-pressure, high-energy opportunities for potential customers to interact with your team and your current customers in pursuit of a feel-good objective.

You won’t accomplish that goal if you simply point everyone to websites for the American Cancer society, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, etc., and hand out reprints of standard information sheets. You may increase THEIR membership – but you won’t do a lot for your wellness business.

And simply writing a check so your corporate wellness business can be a “named sponsor” at, say, your local Walk for the Cure, doesn’t accomplish the marketing objective either.

Marketing with health observances only works when your wellness center, yoga studio, health club or clinic plans ongoing events and activities that give people an opportunity to interact with your business, customers and staff.

11) Make it “official”

Emphasize the status of your business as a committed supporter on your marketing materials. If you’re formally involved with organizations that offer logos for your marketing materials, by all means include them.

Otherwise, make up your own logo. For example, you can include an emblem on your corporate wellness marketing that says “Sponsor – National Stop Smoking Day.”

A common question: Do you need to make donations or join “official” charities or advocacy organizations? Often, you don’t. If a local chapter is active and visible, it’s worth considering a financial relationship so that they’re motivated to work with you. If local chapters don’t exist or aren’t especially active or visible, it’s probably not worth the investment in membership.

12) Integrate your marketing

Use all the marketing channels available to your clinic, wellness center, employee wellness business, or health club: free listings in your local newspaper and on local community websites, flyers, marketing emails, storefront posters, free cards, social media, T-shirts – you name it!

13) Stick with it

Don’t pick new observances every year. Consistency is a virtue that builds deeper relationships with strategic partners and networking partners.

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Leslie Nolen, Radial's president, is the nationally-known expert on the art and science of selling health and wellness.

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