Don’t Stop Marketing! Just Do It Differently
When COVID-19 burst on the scene last March, for a moment everything seemed to stop. In that pause, you may have wondered what the next days would bring. Would everything be okay again? When? Would business slow? Would you even have clients in a month?
And then, little by little, we all let out our collective gasp and began to sort things out.
One thing quickly became clear from our vantage point at STRING: Most RDs do still have loyal clients who need their help. Many are finding bold new ways to lead and serve. Some are even seeing an influx of clients eager to eat well and live a more protective lifestyle.
So, if you’ve been caught in the grip of uncertainty and aren’t sure where to put your efforts, we hope to offer some encouragement.
Yes, you can market your business during a pandemic. You just have to get creative.
For example, more and more RDs are exploring telenutrition as a way of seeing clients virtually. Others are looking to courses or online products to supplement their income.
In fact, the only idea off the table during this time of uncertainty is stopping marketing altogether. You absolutely need to let your audience know that you’re still open for business.
The truth is, if you market your practice tastefully, and with the hopes and concerns of your customer in mind, then you can grow your practice even in the midst of this crisis.
Even better, you’ll be able to connect with your customers on a much deeper level than before.
Here are some suggestions on how to do that.
Leverage Your Email Marketing to Build Connections
No doubt you already have a list of subscribers to your newsletter.
Good news! You’ve got everything you need to start building deeper connections with your clients.
For example, you could:
- Send out marketing messages that help your readers take action to improve their nutrition, health or wellbeing. Remember how frozen you felt in the face of the virus? Your readers feel that way, too — and they’re looking for your expertise to find proven steps that will make difference for them (e.g., helpful tips on how to shop safely during the pandemic, which science-backed supplements will help them improve immunity, and so on).
- Offer informative material that complements your brand (e.g. one of our fitness experts reviewed the best at-home workout equipment available on Amazon; another offered an info-packed ebook on how to work from home – so near the kitchen – without backsliding on nutritional goals).
- Invite your readers to explore more content on your website. You likely have months or years of nutritional gold available that many of your readers have never seen. Dig out the highlight reel and reinforce your value.
- Even better, invite them to attend a webinar. People are dealing with the effects of social isolation and may jump at the chance to fill their time with interactive online programs.
Remember that it’s okay to use a more informal tone right now. Readers may not have the mental bandwidth to process DRIs and z-scores. Write, talk, and act like a normal human being—that’s what people need.
Furthermore, don’t worry about producing perfect content, either. Putting something—anything—out there is better than doing nothing! As we were taught by the inspirational RD, Chere Bork, and often say here at STRING, “Done is better than perfect.”
Extend Your One-on-One Marketing Efforts
Spend some time reaching out to individual clients. Just having an email conversation about how they’re doing can show your concern…and be enjoyable for you both! Plus, you may discover their true needs and new ways to help.
Like many RDs, you may now be offering customized services over the web, such as one-on-one Zoom sessions.
But, are all of your clients aware that Medicare will pay for telenutrition for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis? If not, would they take advantage of the service if you simply told them about it?
Putting a little forethought into these kinds of personalized marketing efforts can go a long way towards growing your practice.
Ask for Referrals
It’s no secret that referral marketing has one of the highest ROI of any advertising technique. For instance, one survey found that 78% of B2B marketers say that referral programs are exceptional at generating good or excellent leads.
Now is a great time to take that knowledge and put it to work.
For example, with everyone stuck at home, a lot of people are growing more concerned about nutrition or how they can effectively shop for and feed their families. Perhaps they’re used to eating out and are wondering how to adjust their lifestyle to the “new normal.”
But here’s the thing—so are their friends.
So, while you’re helping your clients, ask them if they know anyone else who’d like the same service!
Try this script:
We’ve been working together for X weeks now, and so far you’ve [how you’ve helped them.]
I’d really appreciate it if you could connect me with any friends or family members who you think could benefit from the same kinds of results… Can you do that for me?
If you want to help more people shift to practicing good nutrition habits at home, then you’ll first need to find them—and asking your current clients is a great way to do that.
Remember Your Purpose—and Share It
As a registered dietitian, you are a science wonk with a heart of gold. Your primary purpose to use your knowledge and experience to help people.
In other words, you’re a caretaker. You’re concerned with how people treat their bodies and want them to make the best possible nutritional decisions so that they can enjoy physical, mental, and emotional health for years to come.
As you contemplate how to move forward with your marketing efforts during this crisis, never forget the reason why you became an RD in the first place.
Lean into the purpose, mission, and values that form the foundation of your practice—and don’t be afraid to talk about these things with clients and prospects.
To sum it up in one phrase: People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care… And they won’t know it unless you show it!
Keep Your Marketing Going
It is a stressful time, for sure. Your clients are looking to you to be a health leader. If you can get yourself unstuck (and maybe out of those pajamas!) you can use these tips as a guideline for your marketing initiatives.
Finding innovative ways to keep marketing may take some planning, and it may mean a change in mindset. But if you keep going, you’ll start to see results, even in a pandemic.
That might mean new clients, better connections with existing ones, or a stronger brand for years to come. If you keep your marketing messages thoughtful, empathetic, and optimistic, you’ll do well.
The best part? You’ll be doing what you always set out to do — helping others in need.
Granted, there’s a lot to think about, and every practice is unique. If you’re stuck on any of the points discussed above, or simply want to learn more, reach out to us at String Marketing for more details, or schedule a call with Stephanie here.