The symbols used to brand cattle tell an important story. They contain distinctive letters, numbers, and shapes that uniquely identify a cattle ranch and prevent the cattle from being stolen. Although business branding isn’t done with a 500-degree piece of metal (luckily), branding is equally important for your health coaching practice. Let’s see how…
Part 1: What is Branding?
Simply put, branding is a marketing strategy that sets a company apart from others. It projects a one-of-a-kind image via a unique name, design, color scheme, images, and typefaces. Branding uses psychological tactics to forge an emotional connection with a targeted audience.
When you look for something online, do you “search” for it or do you “Google” it? When you wipe your nose, do you use a “tissue” or a “Kleenex?” These examples represent the pinnacle of branding: they’re so recognizable that they’ve eclipsed the generic names.
There are THREE key components to successful branding:
- Colors – Color is the most powerful element of a brand. It wordlessly ties meaning and emotion to your brand. Colors have certain effects and can be used strategically to trigger specific moods.
- Typography – Typography expresses messages through design. Your intended message needs to align with your typography choice. Is your brand playful? Traditional? These factors dictate the appropriate typeface.
- Logo – A logo represents a company via a symbol that can be easily recognized and understood. It summarizes what your company is all about. A logo plays a crucial role in expressing a brand’s essence. Famous logos include Coca Cola and Mercedes Benz.
- Imagery – From shapes to photos to video, images play a huge role in drawing traffic to your website. People process images 60,000 times faster than text, so it’s best to include lots of images on your site.
1. 2 Messaging
An important part of branding, a tagline or slogan is a short, memorable catchphrase that cleverly sums up your business. Famous taglines include: Just Do It (Nike), Eat Fresh (Subway), and Quality Never Goes Out of Style (Levis).
Brand voice conveys your brand’s personality through its communications. Voice can dictate how you select photos, design your website, and your social media shares. For example, the messages of one brand of beer may express exclusivity and sophistication, while another brand paints theirs as something fun to drink at barbecues and sporting events.
Part 2: Why is Branding Important to Your Health Coaching Business?
As you probably suspect, branding has practical applications that help health coaching businesses flourish:
- Builds loyalty – A positive experience with a brand generates loyalty. Clients are more likely to stick with you instead of switching to another health coach in the future.
- Lowers consumer risk – Most consumers choose the brand-name product over another. If they’ve had positive experiences with your products and services, they’re less likely to risk spending money on another brand, which may be inferior.
- Helps beat competition – Effective branding differentiates you from the quagmire of health coaches claiming to be as good as you, or better. It gives you prestige that enables you to stand out from your competitors. People will typically choose the one they know over one they don’t.
- Attracts new clients through referrals – Strong branding instills trust that you’re a reputable person. When people feel good about you and your message, they’re more inclined to spread the word about your business. This way, you’ll be able to engage with people who’ve never used your products and services and they, in turn, will spread the news.
- Sets expectations – Clients expect a positive experience each time they do business with a brand they perceive as powerful and consistent. A professional image creates legitimacy, which encourages more people to trust you and become clients.
- Adds value – A strong brand adds value that goes beyond tangible assets. For example, Coca Cola is worth much more than physical property. The Coca Cola brand alone increased the company’s worth. Case in point, in 2014, Coca Cola’s brand name was worth $81.6 billion. That’s how powerful branding can be.
- Saves decision-making time – Say you’re poking around on Amazon for a cell phone. You type in “cell phone” and get more than 60,000 results. You solve this dilemma by entering a brand name. If you change your search to “Samsung,” results are limited to 1,000. In short, your brand name helps clients target what they’re looking for.
- Makes shopping effortless – There are myriad options people encounter when choosing a health coach. A well-defined brand guides them to you.
Part 3: What Types of Branding Apply to Health Coaches?
As a health coach, there are many options available to develop your brand. The goal is to use branding as a means to effectively impact your target audience.
With this in mind, here are SIX brand-building tools you can use for your health coaching business:
Websites are collections of interlinked web pages about a particular subject. These are some of the most important brand-able components of a website:
- Logo – A logo is an easily recognizable design that symbolizes your business. We’re surrounded by them in day-to-day life, from clothing to fast food to shampoos.
- Favicon – Favicons are small, meaningful icons that represent your site. They’re located next to anything that identifies your site, such as tabs and bookmarks.
- Images – Images are graphic elements that tell the story of your brand. Images can deepen a customer’s connection with your brand because they stir up emotions (called “brand feelings”).
- Content style – Style is the way you communicate with your readers. For example, “Please send inquiries to our email address,” is very different from “Have questions? Shoot us an email!”
Find out how to create a well-designed health coaching website by applying our website design tips.
3.2 Email Marketing
One of the most powerful resources for driving connection with a brand, emails turn leads into customers. Email marketing is based on an email list, which is a collection of email addresses that enable you to send emails to multiple users. It strategically builds client relationships and increases sales.
Opt-in forms are one of the most common means of collecting emails. To coax a client to complete the form and provide their email address, you can offer an enticement, such as a free ebook.
Users are more likely to open messages from familiar brands, which is why it’s a good idea to include your logo. Moreover, emails with logos are opened more often than text-only emails.
An email signature is another nice touch, which is a block of text at the end of your email containing your name and contact info.
3.3 Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing involves creating and sharing content on social networks, which can increase traffic, sales, and leads. The most prominent social media platforms are Facebook (2.27 billion users), Instagram (1 billion users), and Twitter (326 million users). You can use their popularity to your advantage.
For continuity and credibility, it’s best to use the same voice across all channels. For example, here are two types of voice:
- Would you be so kind as to pass the salad?
- Pass the salad.
Images are more social media-friendly than text. Facebook images, for example, earn a whopping 2.3 times more engagement than text posts so you’ll want to be sure to include them in all your posts.
Another important component to social media branding is a bio. The idea is to keep it brief and consistent. Visitors form an impression of your account in less than two-tenths of a second, much of which is based on what’s stated in your bio.
For more information, check out our detailed health coach social media guide.
3.4 Video Marketing
Video is a simple, shareable way to powerfully express your business’ message. Video marketing can promote your health coaching brand and is an excellent medium to personally connect with your clients.
You can use video marketing in several ways, from presenting live-stream events, offering how-to’s, and promoting/demonstrating products.
It’s best to plan your video ahead of time by creating a script and choosing your background, such as a green screen, natural setting or bustling office.
You’ll also need to bookend your video with an intro and outro:
- Intro – Intros are the visuals at the beginning of the video. The intro is an opportunity to bond with your audience and should only take three to seven seconds.
- Outro – Outros are the visuals at the end of the video. Outros are often dismissed as irrelevant, but they’re important because they serve as the takeaway for the audience.
A podcast is a recording of an audio discussion. Like a TV show, podcasts feature episodes that relate to a main theme. For example, a podcast about the Ketogenic diet could have an episode about selecting the right snacks. Podcasts can bond you and your listeners since you’re speaking to them one-on-one.
Like videos, intros and outros are also important to podcasts. The intro must hook listeners who know nothing about you. It must introduce the overarching problem and the part you intend to tackle. For example, “For the next four weeks, I’ll be teaching you how to plan your weekly meals, and this week we’ll cover breakfast.”
The outro comes at the end of your podcast. It’s important because it’s the last thing listeners will remember. During your outro, you’ll want to give your listeners a call-to-action to like you on Facebook, visit your website, subscribe to your email list or any other action that helps them to learn more about you and your services.
3.6 Business Cards
Think of business cards as pocket-sized billboards. They summarize who you are and what you offer. Business cards are often handed out to woo prospects, and they help you look credible and professional.
The most important part of a business card is a logo. It’s the crux of your branding and what makes the first impression.
Your business card should have no more than three colors. When making your selection, you’ll want to consider the psychological effect each will have.
Make sure to limit the number of fonts you use as well (two will look aesthetically pleasing and legible). Also, use professional-quality paper stock, so your card won’t look and feel homemade.
Your health coaching business card text should include your name, title, company, slogan, contact information, and website URL. Every element of your card should be digestible at first glance.
For more information, check out our detailed guide on how to create a business card for your health coaching business.
Part 4: How to Get Your Health Coach Branding Right
In recent years, health coaching has become more and more popular as a career option (we noted the trend in this article). No doubt, if you offer a particular service, you can bet someone else does too. So how do you stand out from the competition? One answer is branding!
Here are FIVE key guidelines for developing a one-of-a-kind business identity:
4.1 Develop a Powerful Business Identity
Developing a strong business identity isn’t something you plunge into. It requires careful contemplation. Ask yourself these questions and discover how to shape your branding:
What Are Your Values?
Values are the primary drivers behind your brand, decisions, and behaviors. They can include honesty, reliability, and authenticity.
When you’ve pinpointed your values, you’ll be prepared to automatically tap into them when difficult decisions arise.
Your values dictate how you interact with customers. They also influence how clients interact with you. For example, if clients value excitement, and you value serenity, they’ll have a hard time connecting with you. That’s why it’s crucial that value-wise, you and potential clients click.
What Are Your Goals and Objectives?
Brand objectives are the goals you have for your brand. For example, a goal might be that you want to write four chapters of an ebook in two months.
Try setting SMART goals, which stands for Specific, Memorable, Actionable, Relevant, and Timely. Following the SMART system can help you sharpen a vague goal such as “Make more money” into “Develop podcasts that will drive listeners to the services section of my website.”
What Sets You Apart from Your Competitors?
One of the best ways to set yourself apart from competitors is to serve a niche. The more specific the niche, the more unique you’ll be, and the more likely you’ll land clients who can’t find similar services elsewhere.
Think about what sets you apart from competitors by concentrating on your mission, not your services. For example, instead of saying, “I provide health coaching services,” you can say, “I make lives healthier and happier.”
Your unique selling proposition (USP) will help clarify what you have that competitors lack. Here are a couple of real-world USPs:
- Avis – “We’re second. We try harder.” This is the philosophy behind Avis’ entire mission.
- FedEx – “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” FedEx’s former USP delivers assurance that they go above and beyond to do exactly what they say they’ll do.
Superhuman customer service is a huge part of staying ahead of the competition. Customer service must be uniform, whether it’s online or face-to-face.
What is Your Mission Statement and Elevator Pitch?
A mission statement is a descriptive summary of a company’s purpose, goals, and values. Some famous mission statements:
- PayPal – “To build the web’s most convenient, secure, cost-effective payment solution.”
- DuPont – “To create shareholder and societal value while reducing the environmental footprint along the value chains in which we operate.”
Typically, a mission answers these questions:
- What contribution does your company make?
- Why is it unique?
- How do you make things happen?
An elevator pitch is a concise, persuasive sales pitch hypothetically delivered in the time it takes to ride an elevator. It’s meant to quickly trigger interest in what you do and who you are.
The pitch should be 20 to 30 seconds. People have short attention spans, so the elevator pitch allows you to quickly distill your key points.
An elevator pitch can come in handy in several situations, such as conventions and new client acquisitions. You can follow this format when writing it:
- What do you do?
- How do you do it?
- Why do you do it?
Remember to test your pitch out loud to see how it sounds. Yes, it’s memorized, but it shouldn’t sound like you’re reciting a multiplication table.
All these elements should align with your business’ name. Both tell a story that should be on the same page; a mixed message comes across as misleading and confusing.
For a more detailed explanation of how to create a mission statement, elevator pitch, and business plan for your health coaching business, check out our business plan guide.
4.2 Understand Your Target Audience
A target audience (also known as a target market) is a set of individuals with similar traits who you’d like to serve.
Target marketing helps you focus on prospective clients. When you know your target audience absolutely and completely, you’ll have all the info you need to reach your branding goals. You’ll also be able to define and hone your branding message, which makes it easier to connect with your audience and vice versa.
Your brand’s strength depends upon your ability to hone a marketing message that converts prospects into clients. You must define this audience with crystal clarity so you can reach your branding goals. For example, you wouldn’t merely aim for “senior citizens,” which is a vast demographic, but “men over 60 who live in Santa Monica and want to learn how to surf.”
You should figure out your target market in your business’ early phase. This way, you’ll avoid marketing your service before you’ve even identified your target client. If you market your services before pinpointing this client, your efforts will be directionless and you’ll waste money and time.
Remember that you can’t sell to everyone. After all, McDonald’s doesn’t try to sell steak and lobster and pasta and sushi and hamburgers and fries. They only sell hamburgers and fries.
Your target audience can be based on:
- Age (you don’t want to create a product for an adult that’s more appropriate for a child)
- Location (don’t try to sell bikinis to people in Greenland)
- Income level (you’re not going to be able to sell luxury products to someone on a fixed income)
You may have to combine characteristics to get an accurate profile.
For more information, check out our detailed guide on how to find the right target market for your health coaching business.
4.3 Maintain Consistency Across Your Branding
Don’t equate “consistent” with “boring.” It’s anything but that.
Consistency broadcasts a clear, uniform message through your logo, colors, fonts, and voice. It permeates your website, videos, business cards, and social media. This consistency equates to recognition, dependability, and trust. Definitely not boring.
Repetition is powerful. It’s the reason why commercial jingles, songs, and even political speeches are so effective. If you want your health coaching brand to be memorable, the same elements must be repeated coherently across all your marketing materials and channels.
Inconsistent elements are troublesome. They send mixed messages that can thwart your sales, business growth, and customer devotion. Seemingly small details such as mismatched logos on your website, business cards, and Facebook page can lead to confusion and distrust. After all, if these elements are inconsistent, what else are you doing inconsistently?
Set and stick to standards for fonts, colors, layouts, and voice/tone. Even using the same photo of yourself across all media will pull your brand together.
Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Coca Cola are titans of brand consistency. Ever since its inception in the 1900s, Coca Cola’s logo has basically stayed the same. Its logo and trademarked “Coke Red” color are recognized worldwide, even when the script font is in a different language.
Coca Cola’s consistency encompasses all advertisements, every bottle, and every aluminum can. Coke’s signature red disc even impressively unifies regular Coca Cola, Coca Cola Lite, Coca Cola Zero, and Diet Coca Cola.
From mega-corporations to your small business, consistency is important because it:
- Confirms authenticity
- Displays professionalism
- Simplifies marketing decisions
- Manages perceptions
- Eliminates confusion
- Builds on previous success. (No one has to guess, “I wonder what this Coca-Cola drink tastes like?”)
4.4 Be Everywhere
With today’s extraordinary tech evolution, there are abundant communication channels to give your health coaching business a strong marketing presence. Media is transforming the way we engage with the world.
There are countless online avenues, as well as boundless offline ones. In short, you can be everywhere. This is known as multichannel marketing.
Multichannel marketing is important because you must be where your customers are, which is everywhere! MCM’s purpose is to give consumers the option of buying whenever and wherever they choose. It gives them a seamless buying experience and allows you to be at their beck and call so you can be ultra-responsive to them.
In traditional marketing, advertisers used to dictate the agenda, and customers receive one-way information from ads and direct mail. The tables have now turned and customers call the shots. They expect two-way communication.
If you have nothing but a website to draw clients, your coaching business will suffer. You must make yourself available to clients by providing them with multiple opportunities to connect with you and your brand. But you must only establish a presence in relevant channels. There are approximately 200 networking websites, and not all of them will fit with your brand.
For example, a conservative company may flourish on LinkedIn, but not Facebook. On the other hand, Pop-Tarts have a playful, goofy vibe that fits in with Facebook but not LinkedIn.
There are many ways you can use multichannel marketing:
- Online – Article marketing, email, video, RSS feeds, blog posts, podcasting, and ezines.
- Ofﬂine – Conferences, workshops, business cards, socializing, brochures, printed publications, and ebooks.
- Social media – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest.
4.5 Make It Easy to Build Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is the level of familiarly consumers have with a brand and anything associated with it, such as a logo. It’s the knowledge your target market has about your brand.
Brand awareness comes into play the instant someone recognizes your health coaching brand from previously seeing your business’ name or logo. Ideally, brand awareness makes you a household name.
For example, FedEx is associated with dependability and promptness while Nike is associated with durability and style.
You can create brand awareness through:
Partnership marketing involves two or more businesses marketing together for mutual benefit. They help each other increase brand exposure/value and penetrate new markets. They can partner to hold joint seminars, donate to charity events or promote each other’s products.
Well-known marketing partnerships include Redbull and GoPro, and Red Lobster and Ocean Conservancy.
Infographics are non-technical graphics that present information quickly and clearly. In this era of instant gratification, infographics are powerful marketing tools.
There are countless effective uses for infographics, including:
- On your landing page
- In the body of a newsletter
- As a social media share item
Social Media Contests
Social media contests can increase brand awareness and brand identification. Did you know that 52 percent of consumers say that participating in a contest made them feel more connected with a brand?
- Build your email list – If you assure people they’ll receive a reward in exchange for their email address, they’ll be more likely to do so.
- Spur viral attention – Enjoyable content translates into people wanting to share their excitement with friends and family. This improves the likelihood of it going viral.
Health coach branding works on the same principle cattle ranchers use. It uniquely identifies you, your value, and your territory. Branding isn’t just for cows, and it’ll definitely set you apart from the herd!
So, what are your thoughts about our health coach branding guide? Leave your comments below!Sources
I think this is a brilliantly done post. It’s well structured and to the point and covers many avenues of branding.
Personally, I struggle with Instagram, videos, and podcasts. I don’t really know how to use them, but I do okay with Pinterest and Twitter. As a matter of fact, Twitter currently results in most of my traffic.
I also struggle with creating an email list as this is new to me. I find it sort of perplexing why there are so many working parts to it. It takes about eight steps to create. You would think it would be simpler, but I guess not.
You also reminded me that it’s time to come up with a logo for my brand. The name is great and will stick in people’s minds, but a logo would be a nice touch.
So glad I got to have a look at this post.
Glad you found it helpful Ray!
Hi Debbie, and may I say that your article definitely includes everything one would need to know about branding. You applied it specifically to your ‘Everything Health Coach’ niche, but it seems to me that your expert advice and great ideas could apply to any business.
I particularly liked one key message of this post which I hadn’t considered before. That is thinking more of my business (whatever it may be), as a mission, rather than just a service. Yeah, it’s great to provide a service that many people might need; but to be on a mission is to really go out and provide the best way, shape and form that that service is given, and to really believe in it. I think that in itself would go a long way in setting one’s business apart.
I have a rather basic question though. To really start building one’s brand (say, from not having any brand to speak of other than a website) is obviously going to take some capital. If I were to follow all of your great advice to really build a solid brand for my business, could you give me a ballpark figure on how much it would cost?
Let me also say what an exceptional article this is on branding and I will be referring to it in the future as well as sharing it with others.Thank You!
Hi Sue, thanks for your kind words. You don’t necessarily need a lot of capital to start a powerful brand for your business. It could be as simple as getting a professional logo designed for $100 or so and making sure to apply it across all channels (we explain the process here). That would be a good start. Hope that helps!
Hi Debbie, thank you for this informative article. You have a lot of valuable information for creating a brand. I had a question about the favicon: Does it have to be a logo or can it be a picture? Where can I install a favicon on my website?
Even though you offered a lot of info, the bullet points really helped to identify the important points. Your other articles were also well written. Thank you so much for researching this much needed topic.
All the best, Krista
Hi Krista, the favicon can be whatever you want it to be, so long as it’s consistent with your brand. The important thing with favicons is that it doesn’t look pixelated.
As far as how to install one on your website, that’s entirely dependent on the WordPress theme you’re using. Most WordPress themes will show you how it’s done through a tutorial video and/or documentation.
Hope that helps!
Hi Debbie, in regards to video marketing for a health coach business, would you consider using animated software or hire a video presenter? I am a bit camera-shy and not sure if I want to put my face inside every video I create for my business. Regardless, I think it’s a good idea to publish on Youtube and then embed the videos on a business site for more crossover traffic.
Hi Cathy, while you certainly can use animated software for your video marketing, you’ll have much more success by putting yourself out there on camera (people prefer to connect with a real person). A good tactic is to create a bunch of practice videos first until you feel comfortable enough to start publishing them online. Remember, no one starts off as a pro, you’ll get better as you go along. 🙂