When your health and wellness coaching practice is finally gaining momentum, what’s the next phase to expanding your client loyalty and business income? For many in this niche, an online wellness community is the perfect progression. And it may be exactly what your clients are longing for. Imagine this scenario …
Veronica had been down this road before, signing up for wellness programs only to be disappointed by her inability to stick with them. Her past attempts left her feeling like a failure, unable to make a lasting change in her health. The memories of the strict meal plans, grueling workouts, and constant pressure to meet impossible goals lingered like a shadow over her.
However, this time was different. Veronica was working with Ian, a wellness coach who had introduced her to something that had been missing from her previous endeavors — a supportive and welcoming wellness community.
Veronica thought back to the day she first met Ian. He wasn’t like her previous coaches, who would throw her into a rigid program and expect instant results. Instead, Ian had taken the time to truly listen to her struggles, fears, and past disappointments. He had acknowledged her concerns and assured her that her journey was unique, that there was no one-size-fits-all solution.
The turning point for Veronica had come when Ian introduced her to his wellness community. She remembered the warmth and camaraderie that emanated from the interactions. It wasn’t just about her and Ian; it was about an entire group of people who were on their own similar journeys. They shared successes, setbacks, and, most importantly, unwavering support. She was no longer alone in her struggles; she had a team of people who genuinely cared about her progress.
With Ian’s guidance and the unwavering support of the wellness community, Veronica had finally begun to see progress. She was eating mindfully, enjoying her exercise routine, making time for meditation, and, most importantly, starting to believe in herself again.
A group dynamic offers your coaching clients greater accountability, increased engagement, and personalized support mechanisms. The group model can also be used as part of a marketing funnel if you allow interested prospects to join for free. During their time in the group, they witness your expertise, grow to trust your advice, and bond with fellow health-seekers, making the transition to a paid customer a seamless experience.
Let’s explore how to start and scale an online wellness community that complements and enhances your coaching services just like Ian wisely did for his clients.
Benefits of an Online Community for a Health and Wellness Coaching Practice
We humans are social creatures, so working on personal health goals in the context of a support network is a powerful energizer — a huge added value for your paying clients and an impactful way to nurture leads into paying customers. Here are six reasons to consider implementing a community into your online coaching empire.
1. Community expands engagement.
When you create a space for your clients to interact with each other (and not just directly with you), engagement naturally increases. Conversations reveal shared experiences and create a feeling of camaraderie within the group — all under the banner of your brand name.
A sense of belonging is one of the components of overall wellness. And your wellness community can provide this sense of healthy group identity.
2. Community increases success rate.
For people who tend to be more externally motivated, accountability in groups is essential to their success. Your wellness group can provide this needed support, and it doesn’t even have to come directly from you. The members can cheer on each other, celebrate success, and offer feedback.
Clients with more encouragement are more likely to complete their coaching programs which leads to more successful clients. Even if a client needs to step back from their coaching plan, having a community keeps them connected and motivates them to return when they’re ready. This goes a long way in packing more value into what you offer them in 1-to-1 sessions.
3. A community provides a real-time feedback loop for you.
If you listen carefully, your community is a treasure trove of marketing and coaching insights. By monitoring your group, you’ll learn how your coaching program serves your clients or is failing to meet their needs. You’ll get inklings of the next course offerings that will resonate best with your target audience. You’ll find out what their current challenges are so you know what videos or blog posts to create.
A group is the perfect place to understand what’s working and needs improvement, all without any painful confrontation or asking for survey responses. You simply have to listen. The best part is the information is up-to-date, allowing you to respond in real-time.
4. A community gives you an opportunity to scale your business.
As your practice grows, you eventually max out the number of single sessions you can offer. When you create a paid community though, you open the door to an additional revenue stream where you can support more clients at once without overextending your work schedule.
5. A community is an avenue for broadcasting and storing information.
Do you have a health insight you want to share with your inner circle? Having a community is a potent avenue to share important information with your clients en masse. Many group platforms, such as Facebook groups, provide mechanisms for presenting and organizing a knowledge bank of text, video, documents, and links. This resource library is an invaluable asset for newcomers and seasoned members alike.
How to Start and Manage Your Online Wellness Community
You’re sold, right? An online community fosters engagement, drives value, and generates income. So here’s a step-by-step guide to launching and managing your new community.
Step 1: Define the purpose and goals of your community
Start by asking yourself: Why are you starting this community? What aims do you hope to achieve?
- To share knowledge with potential clients, nudging them along the marketing funnel towards becoming paying coachees.
- To provide a platform for discussions among your clients and foster a sense of belonging which helps you retain existing clients.
- To complement a coaching course or service with an added value.
- To offer support on an indefinite basis or for a defined period of time.
Your community’s purpose will dictate its content, engagement strategies, and growth trajectories. Moreover, setting clear, measurable goals will guide your decisions and help you gauge your success.
Step 2: Create community guidelines and recruit moderators
A community thrives on a sense of safety and belonging. So it’s important to establish guidelines that dictate the desired behavior within the group. These rules can address respect for other members, the type of content allowed, and how conflicts are resolved. Guidelines not only set the tone but also safeguard the sanctity and purpose of the group.
Remember, as a health and wellness coach, it’s your job to protect the privacy of your clients. When creating rules and guidelines, emphasize the importance of keeping personal health information private.
As the founder of the group, you set the tone. But that doesn’t mean you have to do everything alone. Empower group members to seek support from one another, always within the stated group guidelines, so you don’t end up doing one-on-one coaching inside your community.
Recruiting a few moderators is another way to lessen the load of community management while still offering the best of yourself to the group. These group leaders can promptly answer frequently asked questions and defuse conflicts. Look for these helpers among your successful clients, and either pay them or offer them free product/services in exchange for their moderation work.
Step 3: Choose a platform for your wellness community
Your choice of platform will significantly influence your client’s experience. Popular options include social media networks like Facebook, Discord servers, or dedicated website forums.
The platform should be easy to navigate, support your content strategy, and have effective moderation tools. Think about where your target audience spends most of their time and how they prefer to engage when making this decision.
The honest truth is that it’s nearly impossible to get users to sign up for and regularly use a separate platform outside their daily internet habits of checking Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok. That’s why many health coaches use Facebook as a community platform. It’s free, it’s an existing habit, and it has robust features for content organization, scheduling, live video, membership moderation, and more. But realize that using Facebook for free comes with tradeoffs, namely privacy and ownership. Facebook is always collecting data from your users and then leveraging that information to sell to advertisers. And Facebook can at any time shut down your group, destroying all you’ve worked for in an instant. Safeguard what you’re building on outside platforms by having backup plans of communication, namely email.
Step 4: Provide value to the group with consistent engagement
Exclusive content, not available elsewhere, adds value to your wellness community and gives members a reason to return and engage. Here’s a list of content ideas for your wellness group:
- Insights from you, in text or video form
- Freebies like worksheets, trackers, checklists, and calendars
- Q&A sessions, usually done via live video
- Video tutorials, for example mindfulness exercises, stretching routines, or meal prep hacks
- Time-bound challenges that offer accountability in reaching goals like a 14-day journaling challenge or a 30-day self-care challenge
- Weekly themed discussion threads
- Polls or surveys
- Memes that build a sense of group identity
A community left on autopilot can quickly deviate from its intended purpose. So regularly engage with your members by starting discussions, asking for feedback, and recognizing valuable contributors.
Step 5: Monetize your community through upselling and cross selling
Once your community is active and engaged, it becomes a fertile ground for upselling and cross selling your own services or sharing affiliate links to trustworthy products you recommend. Giving your community first dibs on new product launches or discounts on fresh services builds client loyalty.
Of course, approach monetization with care. A community that feels exploited can quickly disintegrate. Ensure that any product or service you promote aligns with the community’s values and serves its needs. Always balance your asks with your gives. A good ratio is 1:10, that is no more than one ask for every ten gives. As long as you are offering a great deal of value in the group, members won’t balk at an occasional sales pitch, especially when that offer speaks directly to their needs.
Wellness Communities Thrive When Members Feel Heard and Valued
Whenever a member shares a personal experience, asks a question, or suggests an improvement, they extend a bid to connect. Acknowledging this act of vulnerability makes the member feel valued and strengthens the community’s foundation. Group members feel their contributions shape the larger social dynamic when you arrange regular feedback sessions, offer personal shout-outs, and host inclusive discussions.
When done right, an online wellness coaching community can grow into a thriving ecosystem to share knowledge, build relationships, and multiply your business income.