Nutrition is essential. Still, millions still struggle with meeting their nutritional goals. Fortunately for us, we have you, the nutritionists and dietitians of the world! Unfortunately, there’s a definite marketing problems for qualified nutritional help. This is why I’ve made this complete guide to modern marketing for nutritionists.

I first noticed the need for better marketing in the nutrition field from a close friend, who is a registered dietitian herself. 

After some conversational back and forth, I realized there was a need for some better information online. 

Thus, this blog series was born!

OK so I’ve broken this guide into 3 main parts.

I cover everything from an introduction to marketing to mini “crash courses” on popular marketing strategies.

So I hope you find the information helpful!

Alright, enough small talk – let’s get it!

    *This post contains affiliate links, which I may receive compensation from. This is at no cost to you and lets me keep the lights on. Read more here…

    Part One: Foundations

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    Modern Marketing for Nutritionists

    I think a good jumping off point is to build a little context around modern digital marketing and what it entails for nutritionists and dietitians.

    Although some marketing truths remain, the industry as a whole has evolved and transformed in a lot of exciting ways.

    No longer are businesses limited by print ads, radio, billboards, hard-to-get partnerships or expensive commercials. 

    The marketing landscape is now a diverse place with a variety of affordable options – many of which are actually kind of trendy. Truly, the industry is a highly creative marketplace and more tech-savvy than ever.

    The best things about modern marketing are the countless free resources available and the fact that it’s more accessible and effective than ever before.

    We don’t need to look far to find a helpful social media guru or some brand building, website optimizing, design Sherpa to guide us along the way.

    It occasionally feels like I’m at some mod digital lifestyle party, hosted by a collection by nomads, designers and influencers “in the know“.

    But in all seriousness, the pay-to-play, suited-up sales-person paradigm doesn’t quite fit the mold anymore.

    In fact, statistics from Twitter, as reported by OptinMonster, show that 94% of people plan to make a future purchase from a business account they follow.

    On the other hand, HubSpot reports that organic Google search ranking via SEO drives 1,000% more traffic than organic social media alone.  

    So where does this leave us? More importantly, what does this mean for nutritionists?

    Well, it means that modern digital marketing is reachable, affordable, DIY and actually kind of fun.

    Being an artist and musician myself, I find the whole process of blogging, social media, brand building and digital marketing to be a highly creative, overall enjoyable experience.

    And that’s modern marketing.

    Still, we definitely need some strategic focus and finesse; the DIY model requires a methodical, intentional approach. 

    We can’t just send out sales-y email blasts or throw $50 at Facebook ads hoping to land more clients.

    That may have worked 10 years ago, but we need to be more calculated than that nowadays.

    And this starts with having a clear understanding of your target market, their problems and pain points and how you’re adding value.

    But before we dive into that, let’s talk about some of the must-haves you’ll need to market yourself as a modern nutritionist or dietitian.

    Must-Haves: Website, Socials + Email

    OK so this may sound obvious – that doing a job right, needs the right tools – but everything in this section will ensure we can implement the strategies in this post effectively. 

    Luckily, it’s 2021 and access to these tools is more simple, affordable and convenient than ever.

    Still, I see many small business coming up short, either not using the tools effectively or disregarding them altogether. 

    But as you know, people have an ever-expanding list of questions – especially regarding their health and nutrition. 

    And showing up when people go looking for answers to those questions is critical – not just to grow as a business but to be able to actually help people with their problems.

    So, below is a short list of the absolute must-haves for marketing and growing as a nutritionist.

    Must-Have #1: A Website

    • This is your digital home – it is critical
    • Websites are multi-functional, useful for capturing emails, selling, blogging and sharing your mission
    • Site usability is also critical, so keep things minimal and focused, improving UX (user experience):
      • Avoid big blocks of text and keep wording shorter, and to the point
      • Aim for just one call to action at a time
      • Don’t have a “busy” site
      • Keep the colors on-brand
      • Design with your goal for what you want site visitors to do when they visit your site
      • Use a free template from a website builder
      • Invest time in learning to blog

    Must-Have #2: A Social Media Account

    • You’ll want to have at least 1 social media account
    • Facebook is great as a business and messaging page, hosting your formal contact info
    • Instagram is the gold standard; it’s highly visual and great for unfiltered, branded, daily life content
    • Twitter could be perfect for short nutritional messages and small pieces of value/education
    • YouTube or TikTok (and yep, Instagram too) are perfect for video content, naturally

    Must-Have #3: An Email Marketing Software

    • This allows you to build, save, manage and communicate directly with your contacts
    • Did you know, email is still one of the highest converting marketing channels!
    • Many website builders come with a basic built-in email automation, but they may not be as powerful as other third-party options
    • I’m currently using Mailerlite, but you can also check out my full list of the best email automation software

    So these tools will be an essential toolkit for your online marketing ventures.

    Of course, there are caveats and flexibility, but the verdict is in, and you’ll need these essentials to do digital marketing.

    So now that we have our essentials covered, let’s do a little more housekeeping and talk about your brand’s greatest asset: your audience.

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    Lean into social media where your audience spends most of their time. 

    Also think about the user’s state-of-mind and how it changes across different platforms. 

    For example, people use Google to search for answers and solutions, Facebook and Instagram for entertainment and Pinterest for inspiration.

    Match your marketing to the user’s mindset.

    Part Two: Digital Marketing 101

    Target Audience Research

    All successful marketing starts with having a clear understanding of exactly who your target audience is. 

    Similarly, this requires a clear understanding of who you are as a brand and what specific value you specialize in – that is, your niche and point of differentiation.

    With these items clearly identified, your marketing direction and objectives become much clearer.

    For example, let’s say you’re a nutritionist based out of the Rocky Mountains, specializing in sports nutrition, catering to recreational skiers and snowboarders who also care about the environment.

    After research, maybe you found this audience is aged 25-40 and value things like convenience, injury-prevention, locally sourced foods, active lifestyles and athletic performance.

    Offers should be customized solutions that help a specific group solve their pain point(s) and reach their specific goals. 

    So in this example, you’d want to pinpoint one area and create a customized solution for them.

    For example, creating a free downloadable PDF, let’s call it “The Insider’s Guide to How Nutrition Can Prevent Skier Muscle & Joint Injury This Winter” could be an enticing, specific lead magnet.

    Lead magnets generally require an email sign up to access the “freebie”. 

    But this is one of the best ways to expand your audience by adding free, high-quality value.

    And this is lead generation marketing, since you’re using top-of-the-sales-funnel offers to build an email list and audience.

    Of course, you’ll probably have an idea of who your target audience is, but it’s always helpful to research this and continually update your understandings as demographics, trends and interests change and evolve.

    Below are a few ways to get a clearer image of your audience. 

    • Simply ask them
      • This is especially helpful if you have an existing email list of customer contact list
      • One fun and effective way to do this is by using a free survey tool like Outgrow, which also lets you make quizzes, calculators, assessments, polls, giveaways, chatbots and more.
    • Create a customer avatar sheet
      • This will give you a visual, organized snapshot of who your ideal client avatar is
    • Research your competition 
    • Look at demographic data and make educated observations
    • Test different audiences through paid ads to see which perform best 
      • Obviously this would be the more expensive route
    • Use a software tool for audience research, such as ConnectAudience

    So once you identify exactly who your audience is, what they value, and what problems they’re experiencing, your (marketing) job as a nutritionist is to simply provide value by solving their problems with simple, customized and specific solutions.

    These three areas are useful ways to keep your marketing organized and strategic. That is, in the end, just try to keep your marketing specificcustomized and simple.

    OK, so this has been a rather quick discussion on target market identification, but just remember this process of marketing is essential and dynamic – so it’s something you’ll want to continually audit and update as needed.

    Crash Course to Social Media Strategy

    Social media marketing. It’s all the rage – and for good reason. Probably most obvious, it’s where everyone spends their time.

    Facebook alone boasts over 2.8 billion active users (and growing)! 

    And other platforms like Instagram, TikTok and YouTube are not far behind as they also continue to grow.

    But even more importantly than the numbers, social media gives businesses the opportunity to communicate directly with their customers in a genuine, non-formal, frictionless format. 

    As reported by SproutSocial, 90% of Instagram users follow at least one business or brand account. That’s huge.

    What this tells us is that users see businesses on social media differently. 

    They are actually interested in having the brands they support be active in their private (digital) life.

    This is likely because brands on social media are creating a more authentic, trustworthy connection with customers as they get to see you as you really are, outside of the more traditional business-customer setting. 

    After all, it’s right in the name: social media

    As covered by Hootsuite, having a social media presence can – among other things – increase brand awarenessbuild connectionsestablish you as a thought leader and humanize your brand

    That last point stands out: humanizes your brand. 

    It’s fascinating how a brand’s digital avatar on social media can create more closeness and genuine human experience for users and customers.

    Based on trends and user support for business and brands on social media, nutritionists must be implementing good social media strategies.

    But how we use social media is key, especially when it comes to selling.

    This is something worth highlighting.

    We should be using organic posts on our social media channel(s) as a place to build trust and strengthen relationships through value-adding content.

    That’s why people are following brands – for the good content (and yes, to access exclusive deals also).

    So of course, selling occasionally is OK. 

    But we just want to be sure that we’re promoting lightly and sparingly, instead focusing on putting out content that adds interest and value to the end user.

    That is to say, who wants to follow an account whose posts focus mainly on selling something. Not me!

    So what is value-adding content? 

    Value adding content can be one, or a combination, of:

    Content that’s educational

    Content that’s entertaining

    Content that’s inspirational

    By focusing on consistently adding targeted value in these ways, you will grow your authority, brand and audience.

    If you do want to focus more on selling your services on social media, paid advertising can be a great avenue to explore. 

    I’ll talk about this in the next section, but I prefer paid ads for actual selling simply because I like to avoid too much blatant marketing through organic posts.

    You can even target your followers with paid ads, which will come across less intrusive, since it’s presented on their feed as just an ad.

    So the next question to tackle is, how exactly do you grow an audience on social media?

    One the simplest ways to start reaching more people (outside your existing network) is through hashtags. 

    And there really is a science to using them strategically.

    When trying to grow an audience, use a mixture of very popular hashtags (1,000,000+) with medium popularity hashtags and then more niche hashtags (such as 10,000 posts or even less)

    Using a variety of hashtags is strategic since it’s extremely difficult to stand out in the popular hashtags that have millions of posts.

    But reaching more niche groups through smaller, relevant hashtags means you’re more likely to actually show up for people. 

    You can read more about hashtag strategy here.

    Another avenue to consider is influencer marketing, a buzzword you’ve likely heard tossed around. 

    Essentially, this involves reaching out to relevant influencers in your niche who have a larger following, seeing if they would like to work with you, promoting you or your product.

    There are also platforms such as Intellifluence or Influencity that act as marketplaces where you can connect with influencers directly.

    Again, just double check that the influencer is relevant to your field and that their audience aligns well with yours.

    Finally, it’s good social media practice to be intentional with your posting, making sure your branding comes through with some consistency. 

    Aimless posting with different colors and “vibes” each day can be a jarring experience for the end user and lacks professionalism. 

    So if you’re not yet being intentional with things like color choices, overall aesthetic, messaging and general content styles, it’s a great habit to get into.

    Of course, there are seemingly never-ending, always-changing “hacks” for optimizing your social media and getting more followers. 

    But at the end of the day, just be sure you’re consistent, adding value and being true to your brand and your audience.

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    If you’re using Instagram or Pinterest, be sure you sign up for (or convert to) a business account. 

    It’s completely free and will give you extra tools, insightful analytics and a more professional appeal.

    Crash Course to Paid Ads

    When I say paid ads, I’m referring to any paid marketing, whether it be on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Google, YouTube or anywhere else online. 

    Now, I won’t be doing a deep dive of each platform here – that would be way too long!

    So the intention of this section is to provide more of a 10,000 foot view on paid ads, some best practices and the main differences between the platforms. 

    But no worries, I’ve added some resources to learn more about the specifics of each, if you’d like to read more.

    So let’s start with some basics: social media marketing vs search engine marketing. 

    This may seem obvious, but let’s just be sure we’re all on the same page.

    Social media marketing is advertising on social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

    Search engine marketing is advertising on platforms such as Google, Pinterest, Bing or even YouTube.

    I definitely don’t want to say that one platform or strategy is better than the other – because they each have their merits. 

    But rather, it’s more about which platform best suits your specific goals, audience and preferences.

    That being said, there are some stark advantages and disadvantages to each. So let’s explore that a bit.

    Social media marketing tends to be associated with interruption marketing, meaning you’re marketing to people who are not necessarily ready, interested or expecting an ad. 

    They are not actively searching for a product or solution. They are not in a buyer’s mindset.

    Effective social media marketing – and really, marketing in general – requires retargeting only the most engaged and interested prospects with followup ads, until eventually they convert on a desired objective.

    In fact, the rule of 7 in marketing states that in can take, on average, up to seven or more points of contact (or, touch points) before a new prospect converts or takes some desired action. 

    Retargeting could be from social media ads, content marketing, emails and/or banner ads. 

    But the basic takeaway is this: 

    People who have never heard of you or brand before (cold traffic) will rarely convert after seeing the first ad. 

    With the exception of impulse purchases or daily necessities that require little thought.

    So this is one big advantage of marketing on search engines like Google or Pinterest. 

    These people are in a buyer mindset, actively searching for answers and solutions. They are more likely to convert or make a purchase on a particular offer.

    But let’s bring this all back to you, the nutritionist. What type of marketing and offers are you likely to be promoting? 

    I’m guessing a big one is focused on generating new leads and clients.

    And social media is incredibly powerful for lead generation marketing.

    You can use a variety of ad placements – such as messenger ads or “normal” ads in a person’s main feed – while simultaneously placing your campaigns on Instagram and Insta-stories (since Facebook owns Instagram).

    Promoting your services on these places as a nutritionist makes it inherently, well, for lack of a better word, social. 

    They can see your face and listen to your message directly. So people feel instantly connected – a serious advantage.

    So as you can see, paid ads offer nutritionists a variety of opportunities and various strategies to try out and test. But it costs money. 

    Still, we can keep thing pretty affordable. 

    So here’s a quick social media paid ad strategy you can follow:

    First

    Create multiple audiences, creatives and messaging to test.

    Second

    Launch each ad set with a $5-10/day budget.

    Third

    Let the ads run for a few days, not changing anything.

    Fourth

    Look at the data, and pause the underperforming ads.

    Fifith

    Increase the budget for the best performing ads.

    Sixth

    Double the budget every few days, until around $50. Then increase the budget by around 20% each time.

    Since this is a serious crash course on social media marketing and paid advertising, I’ve linked out to some useful resources below, if you’d like to pursue this avenue.

    Now let’s move on to the next big marketing tactic for nutritionists – content marketing.

    Crash Course to Content Marketing & SEO

    OK so I’m gonna be honest, content marketing is my preferred marketing. Nothing against paid ads and other avenues, they can be incredibly powerful. 

    But I just love the process of creating value-adding articles, optimized for search engine rankings, which in turn become a valuable asset to your brand and business.

    A free, automated, organic traffic source sounds pretty good to me. So the question becomes, how do we tap into this free resource? 

    One word (well, one acronym): SEO.

    I’m focusing on SEO in content marketing as the major theme for this post because I believe it’s one of the most critical elements of a good content marketing strategies.

    So if you browsed the glossary above, you’ll remember that SEO stands for search engine optimization, which essentially means your writing and formatting content to rank high in Google and other search engines.

    But don’t worry, it’s really not as techy or intimidating as it sounds!

    That being said, it can get pretty advanced pretty quickly. So we’ll keep things simple for this post, which will be more than enough to start making rankable content.

    So, as a beginner, I recommend focusing mostly on three major components of SEO: keyword research, word length and keyword placement. 

    Let’s explore these more.

    Keyword Research

    Good keyword research gives direction and intent.

    A simple strategy is to start typing your topic idea into Google and look at what Google autofills.

    After hitting enter, you can dig deeper using the people also search for or the related searches features to get more ideas.

    You can also you a free tool like Ubersuggest to research keywords. 

    Article Word Length

    Article length is an important ranking factor.

    Aim for creating high-quality article that are at least 1,000 words, but even more may be better.

    In fact, research from Backlinko found the average word length for articles ranking on page 1 were 1,447 words while HubSpot reports the ideal blog post length for 2021 is between 2,100-2,400 words.

    Keyword Placement

    It’s crucial to know where to put your keyword and how often.

    For starters, be sure your target keyword is in your title and in the first paragraph or two as well as the meta description.

    From here, write organically. If you prefer to add the keyword more with strategy, try to make sure it pops up every 500 words or so.

    Beyond these three core pieces of SEO, other considerations are creating and posting to an at least semi-consistent schedule. Ideally, posting new article once a week (or more) would be great.

    But hey, we’re all busy, so just try to stick to a schedule you think you can manage.

    Of course, there are plenty more SEO tactics and hacks worth exploring, such as backlinking and image optimization

    But for our purposes here, you’ll be off to good start with the tips above. 

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    Interlinking is another level of SEO that can help boost your website optimization and Google rankings. 

    Essentially this means linking to other relevant posts and pages on your site within content. 

    This will create what’s called a sitemap.

    This helps Google to better understand your site while also encouraging visitors to stay on your site longer and visit other pages.

    Part Three: Extras + Last Tips

    Other Marketing Channels

    I’ve added this last section so I could briefly mention some other popular choices which may also suit your personal goals. 

    I won’t go too deep into them, so if you feel they’re a good match for your brand, you can click each of the items below to read more. 

    Strategic Partnerships

    Working with local businesses, other nutritionists or social media influencers is great exposure. Just be sure the relationship makes sense.

    LinkedIn 

    This is a great professional social media platform, especially good for B2B  marketing. You can use both paid and free methods.

    Quora 

    The idea here is to respond to users by providing high quality, valuable answers to their questions.

    Reddit 

    This could be a nice way for building brand. But I haven’t personally explored Reddit too much.

    Email Marketing

    I’ve mentioned email marketing in this post, but here’s one more reminder for this important channel!

    Google My Business

    This is critical for local business listings and allows people in your area to find you and contact you easily.

    Managing Online Reviews

     Managing your reviews and online reputation is critical. It also establishes instant trust and authority for curious clients researching you or your brand.

    Podcasts 

    As you know, podcasts are extremely popular for any and all niches. Luckily, it’s easier than ever to start one of your own, which is a great way to add value.

    First Steps & Important Tips

    If you’ve made it this far, then congrats! You’ve read through some of the most critical components of modern marketing. So if you’re still curious about what your first step(s) should be, I’ve got you covered.

    Of course, the answer to this question will vary from person to person depending on things like existing marketing “infrastructure”, budget, brand goals and personal preferences.

    Either way, here are some quick suggestions for getting started with marketing for nutritionists:

    • Start with market research, looking at your audience, competition and niche as a whole. Insight and understanding of your market will guide your marketing.
    • Hone in on one audience subset, pinpointing their specific values, pain points, goals, etc. Think about how you can add customized value and help them. 
    • Organize your audience’s pain points and create customized solutions for each. This will be a useful list of ideas for social posts, content ideas or marketing offers to create.
    • Keyword research can be incredibly helpful for understanding your audience and what topics they’re interested in. These keywords translate to content. 
    • Choose one or two initial content strategies to focus on, such as turning your keywords and ideas into video content, blogging, social media posts, podcasting, etc.
    • Reach out and network. Work with other nutritionists and clients. Invite them for open discussions as a podcast or create a shared service offering as a marketing campaign.
    • When in doubt, research online for answers or reach out ask for help from a marketing expert.

    Top Tips for Successful Marketing

    • Customize your marketing: If you try to reach everyone, you’ll reach no one
    • Invest in video marketing
    • Optimize and market with a mobile-first strategy
    • Invest time and money in retargeting – it’s essential for conversions
    • Understand & implement a sales funnel methodology in your marketing
    • Read & listen to the data
    • Employ A/B split testing to see what works and what doesn’t
    • Cross-promote content across different platforms to extend your reach on blogs and the shelf life of your social posts
    • Add links from your social(s) to your website(s) and your website(s) to your social(s)
    • Consider customer referral programs to initiate word-of-mouth marketing
    • Get clever, using things like quizzes, competitions or giveaways
    • Just start! Imperfect action beats perfect inaction.

    Conclusion

    This post has covered a lot of information. We started with some basics and reviewed must-have tools before jumping into the context of modern marketing for nutritionists.

    I focused mainly on social media strategy, paid ads and content marketing through SEO. These are the areas I believe are most important – for now. Digital marketing is always changing and evolving so always be ready to pivot or change with the times.

    Still, getting started by clearly identifying your target audience, adding value to them and being consistent with your posting, branding and messaging will go a longer way than any shortcut hack or next big tactic will.

    So thanks for reading today, I really appreciate it! Now happy nutritional marketing!

    Let me know in the comments: what’s the biggest question(s) you still have about marketing for nutritionists?

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