The internet has revolutionized every aspect of modern life, even changing the way people seek out recommendations for new healthcare providers. Not long ago, a recommendation from a friend, family member or another healthcare provider was all the validation we needed. We trusted word-of-mouth recommendations, and there was little other way for us to vet prospective healthcare providers other than by booking an appointment.
Now, with nearly every U.S. adult having regular access to the internet via a smartphone, vetting healthcare providers is as easy as a quick online search. Newer consumer research confirms that prospective clients rely heavily on web and other digital tools when searching for a new healthcare provider. Consumers today are using these online searches as a phone directory — it provides a quick and easy way to find and compare prospective healthcare providers. Unwilling to waste time and endure poor healthcare experiences, consumers want to feel confident that suggested healthcare professionals will be the right fit.
Why Your Nutrition Business Needs a Website:
For healthcare providers who want to reach new patients looking to find a new nutrition professional, there’s more opportunity now to grow business online. More than ever, having a strong online presence is an important part of any marketing strategy. Your nutrition website allows prospective clients to not only find your business online, but to learn about your services and even book an appointment.
With a myriad of affordable website builders, creating a basic nutrition website online has never been easier. However, beyond the standard online templates, a successful nutrition website needs to connect and resonate with prospective clients. Thinking about how your prospective client will experience your website is crucial in converting those leads into paying clients.
To help us find out what makes a successful nutrition website, we turned to Whitney Bateson MPH, RD. As a dietitian, turned digital marketing strategist, Bateson helps design and build websites for health and wellness professionals. Read below to learn Bateson’s best tips and insights to help elevate your nutrition website.
Tips for Creating a Successful Nutrition Website:
1. Speak to your ideal client early and often in your website copy
The text and content on your nutrition website is called your “copy” — with every word having the ability to connect with your prospective client. The first step in creating a successful website is clearly identifying who your target client is and making sure you talk about these potential clients throughout your site.
One of the biggest challenges Bateson often sees with nutrition websites resides in the copy. “We are tempted as RDs to tell prospective clients everything – but we need to consider the audience and what they need to hear,” she shares.
Although establishing yourself as the “expert” is still very important, your clients will be more engaged when they read content that describes them and their struggles. Prospective clients want to feel like you “get” them, and once this connection is established, they will be more interested in learning about your services, qualifications, and philosophy. Bateson emphasizes, “make your website copy succinct and in the perspective of the consumer.”
👉 Take Action:
Review your homepage: look at the first few lines you’ve written. Does your website copy speak to your ideal client, or simply share information about you or your business?
Try using phrases that speak to your ideal client, such as:
“Do you struggle with…”
“Do you often feel….”
“You’re tired of…”
“[Problem/condition] doesn’t have to…”
The rest of each sentence should speak to the particular challenges your client-base faces. Make sure to use the words your customer would actually use to describe their problem and how they feel about it. If you haven’t nailed down your ideal client, it’s a good time to think of your niche. Having website copy that is broad in order to gain more clients, runs the risk of being so general that it connects with few prospective clients.
2. Make it clear what nutrition services you offer prospective clients
Now that you have your prospective client’s interest and attention, it’s important to communicate how you can help them. In other words, what services do you offer?
Bateson warns against keeping services too hidden, “often times services are unclear or not even visible on the home page. It takes too long to figure out what you’re selling.” This runs the risk of losing your connection with prospective clients, as they abandon your website.
Keep your information short and sweet. Less is more when it comes to establishing a website homepage.
👉 Take Action:
Review your homepage: are your services clearly listed on your page? What is it that you offer? You don’t have to list out all of your client packages and offerings yet, but it should be obvious how you will help your prospective client.
Try including boxed content or a short paragraph that speaks to what you offer as a nutrition professional:
“Nutrition counseling services for…”
“Personalized nutritional care for..”
“Meal planning services and…”
3. Always lead with the benefits clients receive when working with you
The first rule in selling is to always showcase the value and benefits of your services. If you offer client packages, leading with the benefits is much more appealing to prospective clients as opposed to listing off features and prices. This is one challenge Bateson is quick to identify and encourages nutrition professionals to quickly fix. “Sometimes we talk about what the person will get in a package before we talk about the value,” she exclaims, “but first we need people to understand the benefits.”
When discussing your client packages (or services), discuss who it’s for and why it works. You’ll still include all of the details, but instead of incorporating it on your homepage, put it on a services page and only after you’ve sold them on the benefits.
Leading with the benefits of your nutrition services will:
- Get you more business
- Increase the amount of customers browsing your website
- Prompt more visitors to take action on your site, such as booking a consult
- Set you apart from your competitors
👉 Take Action:
Review your services/client packages: do you clearly communicate the value and benefits of your services?
Try using phrases that will showcase value to your customers, such as:
“Learn how to…”
“Discover how to…”
“By working together, you can finally achieve..”
4. Have clear “calls to action” throughout your nutrition website
More than just reading copy on your website, the ultimate goal of any nutrition website is to have prospective clients take action. Calls to action (CTAs) are statements and buttons that make it easy for visitors to take the next step (action). “I see a lot of nutrition websites with unclear calls to action. Either they’re missing entirely (packages are listed without any CTA), or the CTA is asking someone to call them, email them, fill out a vague form, and the CTA is hard to find and only in one or two places,” Bateson shares. Without creating an easy and compelling way for prospective clients to move forward, you run the risk of them abandoning and hence forgetting about your site all together.
Furthermore, it’s important that prospective clients don’t feel overwhelmed by your call to action. If you want a client to book a discovery call, make sure the button they click doesn’t display a calendar of all your appointment types. If you want a client to book a particular package or service, make sure the link they visit to book displays their specific service. Creating a streamlined experience for clients to take action will alleviate any friction they may feel before taking action.
You may also want to consider having different calls to action throughout your website to capture prospective clients at all stages of readiness to change. Even if your nutrition website is doing a good job at attracting your ideal client, you’ll still have a mix of visitors who are ready to “change,” and others who need a little “nurturing.”
For example: the experience from site visit to call to action for a prospective client that is motivated to make a change:
👏 Searches for “nutritionist” in your area, clicks on your website from their online search
👏 Lands on your homepage, and immediately learns that you can help them with their nutrition goals and offer nutrition counseling services in their area
👏 Reads the value of your client packages, and is excited by the benefits they’ll receive
💪 Clicks the “book now” button and sees times available to book a discovery call. Client books a call.
For clients who are contemplating making a change to their health, but aren’t quite ready to book yet, you can include other calls to action to capture their email. It often takes ten or more “touch-points” before a consumer feels ready to “buy,” so having a way to nurture those leads is important.
Some sample calls to action that you can utilize on your nutrition website:
- Book a call
- Purchase a service
- Buy a product
- Contact for more information
- Sign up for a newsletter (lead nurturing)
- Download premium content (lead capture and nurture email campaign)
👉 Take Action:
Review your calls to action: are they visible throughout your website (each page should have one or more CTAs)? Is the “next step” clear, consistent and logical?
Some phrasing you may want to consider, incorporated with website buttons:
“Are you ready to get started? Book your call today”
“Call [ Phone Number ] today to book your initial session”
“Click here to start your journey”
5. Optimize your site for SEO and publish content regularly
You may be wondering, how do people find your website online? When a consumer searches for a keyword in an online search engine like Google, the search engine responds with primary search results. This includes web pages and other content such as videos or local listings that are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to visitors.
Behind the scenes of each website page, post and content you create, is the ability to optimize your content to best match with results. This work is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short. SEO is not only important for private practices for the mere sake of ensuring your site can be found online, but it also improves the user experience and usability of a website. Your clients trust the Internet and believes whatever content they search for will in return give them back the top websites to leverage from.
There are built-in tools on Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace designed to help you improve SEO, or you can install an SEO plugin on WordPress (such as Yoast). These tools and plugins will help you customize your page titles, meta descriptions and keywords to better reach your ideal client in online searches.
For example, if the SEO title page description for homepage reads:
“Jenna Jacobs | health services | United States,” there is little likelihood that your nutrition website will appear high in the ranking for local nutritionists. The goal for all searches is to land on the first page of search results, and as high up on the list as possible.
Instead, a more optimized title can read “Jenna Jacobs | Diabetes Nutrition Counseling | New York City.” Now, when a prospective client searches “diabetes nutritionist nyc,” they’ll see results (and your site) that closely matches their inquiry.
“The most important thing to remember with SEO is that you’re trying to determine the words your customers are searching for,” advises Bateson, “Then optimize your website for those words so your website shows up first in the search.” It can be very tedious and unclear figuring out SEO work if you’ve never done it before. This is why it can be beneficial to get advice and guidance from a professional who works in this industry. SEO is a highly important, and effective way to optimize your online presence, that will have long-term benefits for your business.
👉 Take Action:
Login to your website builder: are there any SEO tools built in? Is there a plugin you can download?
Bateson suggests a good place to start is to Google your competitors or what you think your ideal clients would be searching for. Take cues from the most popular results and use them for inspiration on your own site. If you’re needing help with defining your customer and how to talk to them, how to organize your website, or where to start with SEO, visit whitneybateson.com/resources for guides and handouts.
Creating a nutrition website is an essential part of marketing your nutrition business. More than ever, consumers are looking online to help find and vet prospective healthcare providers for themselves. Having a strong online presence, and a website that successfully converts leads into paying clients, is a crucial part of your business. Although it may seem like an overwhelming endeavor, you can take small steps towards building a website that truly connects with your ideal client by following the steps we’ve outlined here.