I’ve been working with natural wellness brands for several years, and let me tell you – it’s a different kind of marketing than with most other industries.
With wellness brands, there are a lot more regulations because of the FDA (Click Here to Get a FDA Claims Compliance Guide) and the audience you’re speaking to fits into a much wider range of people than a typical niche will.
In this article, I’m going to talk a bit about what it looks like to build a marketing plan for a natural wellness brand. This is specific to product brands; if you’re a practitioner, a health coach, or a fitness instructor/personal trainer in the natural wellness industry, I’ll cover that in our next niche article.
Tips for Starting a Marketing Plan for a Natural Wellness Brand
One of the most interesting things about building a natural wellness brand is how many people have some kind of connection to what you’re selling.
Even the most sterile, allopathic doctor-types want to tell you a story about how they have experienced something positive from natural or herbal wellness products – and then poo poo the effectiveness of this type of healing in the very next breath.
That means two things:
1 – there’s a lot of opportunity to teach
2 – unless you’re planning on only selling to people that are as knowledgeable as you are in this topic, you’re going to have to spend a good deal of time researching the right branding.
I’ll venture to say that this is one of the most difficult business niches to define in terms of brand building because of the sheer number of different ways to position yourself in the market.
Who Buys Natural Wellness Products? How Should You Speak to them?
If the scale between the people that are into natural wellness is so big, who will actually buy my product?
My answer to that: in the beginning, it’s up to your knowledge and your product.
Because natural wellness is one of the ways that people connect with each other across the boundaries of race, class, and gender norms, the way you speak through your brand is uniquely important.
One of the most important things you need to decide is how your brand is going to walk the woo-line. Are you going in on all science, all the time? Or are you going hella witchy woo?
A lot of people still think that herbs and natural wellness are something to “believe” in. While other people positively know that a single drop the planetary essence of Saturn dropped into your morning cuppa will help you become more disciplined.
I will say that the tree hugging woo-type audiences often have an interest in the science behind a product, but science audiences do not typically care about the ethereal connections within your brand. In fact, science-minded wellness brands rarely tip the woo-scale because that audience will often walk away as soon as the words, “higher vibration” show up in your marketing.
Choose your language based on your wellness products.
If you’re an energy worker and your product is a planetary essence elixir or something along those lines – go with the woo. You’re fighting an uphill (read: up mountain) battle with the skeptics here no matter what you do, so throw yourself into the literature around energy work and learn to speak the ethereal language. Then learn to teach the energy language to people that aren’t inherently interested in it.
If you’re a clinical herbalist and you’re selling high quality tinctures and tonic medicines, speak through your clinical healing knowledge. Explain, in scientific language, the actions your product has in the body. Always share information from a place grounded in the physical plane, and make sure that you’re using language that teaches your audience. You’re the expert, the people buying from you aren’t. Don’t shove jargon in their faces.
While there is definitely a place for a clinical herbalist brand to bring the woo (or vice-versa), it can be challenging to branch out. You CAN scare away your whole audience. If this is something you’re working on, please send me an email (email@example.com) and we can talk about how to position your brand.
What Kind of Content to Build Your Marketing Plan Around?
Wellness is a HUGE industry and it’s growing year over year. I definitely suggest working with your own strong suits first.
Since most wellness brands are made by practitioners, the entrepreneurs behind it forget to dive deep into the very, very basic roots of healing, health, and wellness. ALWAYS start there.
Pillar Content for Natural Wellness Brands
For your pillar content I typically suggest at least having a blog because learning about wellness is a heavy topic for most people so being able to reference text for information is crucial.
Adding a podcast with different practitioner guests could be super interesting for your audience, especially if you’re positioning yourself as a brand that sells other companies’ products (not a bad idea).
If you think you might want to create a Youtube channel, natural wellness brands that offer informational classes through video and/or extra healing content like yoga and guided meditations are certainly on the rise – and this gives you A LOT of content to play with in your social media marketing plan for your natural wellness business.
With natural wellness, authority building is very important. People in this audience are SUPER loyal, but they’re also really picky about who they trust so don’t pull a 180 on them. If you need to make a change, okay, but you need to communicate that and/or make your transition slowly.
All plants all the time. Smiling people with plants, plants on your product labels, elemental beauty, and seasonal respect. Regardless if you’re building a clinical brand with white bottles and blue labels or a rainbow-touting brown-bottled product with a biodegradable hemp label: if you’re building a wellness brand, you’ve got to go elemental or go home.
If your imagery doesn’t have plants, your audience will doubt your connection to nature and they won’t trust you as a natural wellness brand.
Choose the elements and landscapes that represent your brand, and work with that type of imagery. We like to do googling and make mood boards that have legit, beautiful photos of the types of Earth scenes that a brand should work with.
Pro tip: Find the perfect landscape photo that describes your brand and pull your main 1-2 brand colors from it. Build from there.
Notes on Natural Wellness Social Media
This surprises most of us practitioners in the beginning – Facebook and Instagram (all social media, but these two in particular) have crazy strict rules around what you can and can’t put/promote on your pages.
You have to follow all the FDA rules and more if you want to be able to create ads for lead generation and you can’t make ads that link directly to anything you’re calling medicinal. You’ll need to be pretty creative with your lead generation/language to get your ads posted.
It’s also challenging to get a shoppable Instagram or Facebook, and if you’re selling health giving products in any way, you’ll be one lucky duck if the platforms will let you do it.
Those issues aside, engaging your audience isn’t super hard. Give inspirational healing quotes, run contests, and have a facebook group where you share tips and tricks. Providing easily shareable life-hacks is great, or go deep industry knowledge that you can teach your audience.
How to Build a Loyal Following for Your Niche
The good news is that once you have a loyal following, this group is here to stay.
The bad news is that you’re competing for attention in a growing industry where there’s a lot of money behind companies that are greenwashing their products. The best way to get ahead here is to find a way to make your voice louder.
Collaborate with lateral brands
Find a group of wellness brands that are doing similar, but not the same things and promote each other. If you’re a science-y brand, pair up with a woo-company and vice versa on social media and through email to broaden your potential audience.
Giveaways and samples
If you want to build loyalty, make samples of your products and give them to people for no reason other than you’re confident in your product. One of the most successful things you can do is ask people to buy a sample, and then that sample comes with a coupon for their next purchase, “buy this sample kit for $5 and get a coupon for $5 off your next purchase.”
Stay consistent with your messaging
Consistent messaging is crucial for the wellness industry because people that buy things from you are doing it for their health. They take their personal health, and the health of their community VERY seriously so they expect you to do the same.
Are you building your Natural Wellness Marketing Plan? Let’s talk. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.