Guide to Health & Wellness Marketing

Guide to Health & Wellness Marketing

More consumers care about wellness than ever before—but it encompasses more than just fitness and nutrition. Today’s wellness consumers actively engage with brands offering holistic products and services that promise to improve their physical and mental health and overall appearance.

As consumer interest grows, health and wellness brands have ample opportunity to attract a larger audience and increase their revenue. 

However, this growing interest also means the wellness market is getting crowded, so it’s essential to be strategic about wellness marketing. 

In this blog post, I share:

  • Defining the growing wellness industry
  • Today’s best wellness brands
  • Understanding the wellness consumer
  • How to market to your wellness consumer

Before fully understanding what motivates the wellness consumer, we must first define the scope of the growing wellness industry. 

Wellness Marketing 101: Defining the Growing Wellness Industry

Several things can fall under health and wellness marketing (e.g., vitamins, over-the-counter products, personal care, beauty), but here are the primary sectors.

The Sectors

  • Personal care, beauty, and anti-aging
  • Healthy eating, nutrition, & weight loss
  • Physical fitness
  • Wellness tourism
  • Traditional & complementary medicine
  • Public health, prevention, & personalized medicine
  • Wellness real estate
  • Mental wellness
  • Spas
  • Workplace wellness
  • Thermal/mineral springs
  • Sleep health

How do consumers define wellness?

While wellness marketing categorizes the industry into sectors, consumers don’t think that way. Instead, they search online and across brick and mortar shelves for must-have products and services. According to a recent Future of Wellness survey from McKinsey & Company, here are the categories that interest consumers most:

  • Better health
    Today’s wellness consumers are more educated, adventurous, and open to trying new products and services that support their mental, physical, and emotional health.

    They’re proactively seeking plant-based food and beverage brands that promote health and mental wellness and opting for natural products, supplements, and vitamins for holistic nutrition.

  • Better fitness
    Creative at-home offerings like Peloton, Mirror, and Tonal saw unprecedented growth in 2020 and 2021 as people tried to maintain physical activity during the pandemic.

    However, these same COVID-fatigued consumers—who’ve missed social interaction and motivation from in-person experiences—have triggered a mini-boom in the fitness industry. They’re excited to return to gyms, yoga studios, and fitness clubs—spending more than ever.

  • Better nutrition
    Wellness consumers are increasingly interested in the connection between gut health and immunity, with nearly two-thirds looking for solutions that offer customized foods and beverages that meet their unique nutritional needs.

    As consumers better understand how diet can impact health, they’re reaching for wholesome, nutrient-dense ingredients (in both home-cooked and prepared meals), focusing on fiber and protein. Brands can help savvy consumers stay motivated with frictionless access to meal planning apps that focus on metabolic and mental health.

  • Better appearance
    Everyone wants to look younger (no matter their age). This desire creates a huge opportunity for brands to promote:
    • wellness-oriented attire (e.g., loungewear, activewear, athleisure, compression stockings), 
    • beauty products (e.g., skin, hair, nail, and collagen supplements), 
    • and nonsurgical aesthetic procedures like micro-needling, laser treatments, and facials.

Younger generations are also moving the needle on green beauty brands that use “clean,” organic, cruelty-free, vegan ingredients and fair trade manufacturing.

  • Better sleep
    Wellness-oriented consumers understand sleep is essential for longevity, health, and overall wellness. Since the pandemic began in March 2020, several app-enabled sleep trackers (e.g., Fitbit Sense Smartwatch and Oura Ring) and other sleep-enhancing products (e.g., blackout curtains, weighted blankets, and sound machines) have gained popularity over sleep aids like melatonin and Tylenol PM.

The Best Wellness Brands

We’ve scoured the internet to bring you brands leading the way in the wellness categories listed above. Let’s take a look:

Better Health –
Kroma Wellness

We believe in the power of food as medicine.

Better fitness –

One membership, unlimited ways to feel good.

Better nutrition –
Beyond Meat®

Eat What You Love™

Better appearance –

Fun, Clean, Sustainable Makeup That’s Safe to Sleep In.

Better sleep –
Oura Ring

Track your sleep with Oura Ring.

Better mindfulness –

Find Your Calm.

Health & Wellness Marketing: Understanding the Wellness Consumer

Women usually come to mind when people think of the typical health and wellness consumer persona. While women do make 85% of all consumer purchasing decisions, you may be surprised to learn that men have become much more engaged in the wellness sector over the past year, accounting for 49% of the wellness conversation online (Source: Twitter Internal Data (Big Query), U.S. only, Tweets from March 1, 2021 – March 2022). 

As this trend toward holistic health continues to rise, brands must take a 360-degree view of all health-related consumer activities to remain competitive. Men and women aged 18-34 are the most likely to seek out healthier food options (e.g., organic, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and plant-based proteins) with recognizable ingredients, clean beauty products, and brands with ethical business practices.

They want companies that support and value every aspect of their physical, spiritual, emotional, and environmental well-being.

Both male and female wellness consumers are making a conscious effort to live healthier lifestyles and seek out nutritional and beauty products that support their desire to live more consciously. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention those that still want to live healthfully but have become discouraged by repeated failed attempts to lose weight or stick to a regular exercise program.

That’s why in health and wellness marketing it’s important to create several buyer personas based on each segment’s unique approaches to healthy living. 

According to McKinsey’s Future of Wellness survey,  the following segments can help brands understand the behavioral nuances between the wellness consumer subsegments:

1. The wellness enthusiast
The wellness enthusiast is a high-income consumer who actively follows and engages with brands on social media. They are also most likely to track new product launches and are excited about innovative new products and services. The wellness consumers falling under this segment tend to be the biggest spenders.

Attract this audience by offering exclusive, members-only, or early access to new products or services in exchange for a product review, repost, like, or share with their friends and online followers.

2. The socially responsible
The socially responsible wellness consumer prefers environmentally sustainable brands that offer clean, natural ingredients. They’re also willing to pay more to get them.

Attract this audience by promoting your cause first, instead of your products or services. This audience wants to love brands that share the same values as they do. Do you offer organic, natural, ethically-sourced ingredients? Are your products manufactured in a way that doesn’t harm the environment? If so, start there. If not, this probably isn’t your target audience.

3. The price-conscious
The price-conscious consumer believes wellness products are important but meticulously compares features and benefits against pricing to get the best deal.

Does your product cost more than your competitors? Attract this audience with clear, concise, and transparent information about your product benefits, features, and pricing. Tell them why it’s worth the extra cost.

4. The loyalist and the passive participant
The loyalist will most likely stay with the brands they know and trust. The passive participant is also more likely to stay with the same brands but does so because they have limited awareness of new brands or products and are satisfied with their current choices. This segment tends to spend less than those in other segments.

Attract this audience by meeting them on their turf. Find out which websites, social media platforms, or discussion boards they frequent and leverage programmatic display advertising tactics to meet them where they already are. The loyalist and passive participants aren’t looking for new products and services, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need them or can’t be persuaded to try them.

How to Market to Your Wellness Consumer

The right content strategy is essential for emerging and established health & wellness companies. Why? Your wellness customers are scouring the internet for trustworthy information about products and services that can improve their quality of life and potentially keep them from becoming frequent flyers at their doctor’s office.

Developing deep personas and implementing a smart, relevant wellness marketing strategy will attract, convert, and close more customers. You’ll be wasting valuable time and money by rushing headlong into promotion without doing your due diligence.

Below you’ll find practical tips for developing content that captures and engages wellness consumers, draws them to your website, turns them into leads, and nurtures them into the customers you need to succeed.

6 Tips on How to Capture and Engage Wellness Consumers 

1. Understand your “whole” person, and develop deep personas.

As I alluded to earlier, understanding what motivates your consumers is essential to developing messaging that resonates with them. It’s not enough to address a single aspect of the product. Consider the mental, physical, spiritual, emotional, and environmental factors of the consumer’s well-being.

For example, if you have a product with all-natural, organic, ethically-sourced ingredients, you’re likely targeting a younger audience that values clean products and brands that do no harm.

Attract these consumers with your cause, then drive interest with clear, concise information about your product’s features and benefits. Build desire with attractive packaging, product demos, and engaging video content. Finally, inspire them into action with emotional content and messaging that converts.

2. Develop a strong brand strategy. Create a wellness-consumer-worthy brand.

A strong brand strategy begins with a solid understanding of your unique consumer types. Once you’ve developed deep personas, you’ll have a clear picture of what motivates them, where they spend time online, and the types of content they’re most likely to engage with. Let’s take a look at the wellness consumer personas we discussed earlier through the lens of brand strategy:

The wellness enthusiast
This group is passionate about wellness and actively engages with brands on social media. They want to be the first to know about new products and product innovations. Meet them where they are with exciting, time-sensitive, or exclusive content:

  • Social media campaigns on relevant channels: 44% of brand enthusiasts follow brands on Facebook, and 39% have recommended a product or service on social media.
  • Digital communications: 51% of brand enthusiasts reported email communications, press releases, contests, etc., prompted their last purchase of a brand product or service.
  • Special product announcements and online advertisements: 28% of brand enthusiasts reported online ads prompted their last purchase of a brand product or service.

The socially responsible
This group has the potential to be fiercely loyal to brands that “do no harm” and offer products and services that are ethically sourced, developed, and manufactured. If this is your target audience, your brand strategy must put your causes ahead of your products or services in the wellness marketing funnel. This audience also tends to skew younger, so engaging with them on your website and popular social media sites is a must. Let’s take a look at a possible four-step scenario:

  • Define and share your brand mission, vision, and statement.
  • Define and share your core values.
  • Create website content, social media content, and online ads about your natural, organic, ethically-sourced, sustainable ingredients.
  • Create website content, social media content, and online ads about why your products are beneficial for them physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.

The price-conscious
This group is practical and wants to understand everything about your product or service before they make their final decision. Satisfy their curiosity and influence their decision with detailed comparison charts and infographics.

It’s important to remember that this group prioritizes performance, quality, brand reputation, and product safety. However, if these things appear equal after thorough research, they’ll choose the less expensive item every time.

Building and nurturing an authentic, one-to-one relationship with this audience is crucial. Give them easy-to-digest, easy-to-access, valuable, relevant content that includes things like:

  • product comparisons,
  • third-party reviews,
  • peer testimonials, 
  • and other educational information about why your products provide the best value.

The loyalist and the passive participant
This group is content with the products and services they currently use. They aren’t actively engaged with brands or looking for anything new. So what’s the best way to capture their attention? Paid search and programmatic display advertising.

These two strategies will get your brand in front of them when searching for their favorite products and services on search engines or their favorite online shopping site. Both strategies allow brands to present an alternative, similar product or service while sharing key benefits. By asking brand loyalists to focus on the similarities between “their” brand and “yours,” you can influence their perceptions and persuade them to try something new.

3. Create a UX-friendly website

A positive user experience helps improve customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. Implementing UX best practices focused on utility and ease of use will enhance consumer perceptions of your brand, products, and services.

To create a valuable user experience, your website must be:

  • Useful: Create original content that satisfies a need.
  • Usable: Make your site easy to use and navigate.
  • Desirable: Create a captivating brand identity through imagery, iconography, and other design elements that evoke emotion.
  • Findable: Give your website a boost with SEO (search engine optimization), so your site is easily found on search engines.
  • Accessible: Ensure everyone can easily access your site, regardless of ability, by following WCAG (web content accessibility guidelines) and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act 1990) compliance regulations.
  • Credible: Add reviews, testimonials, social proof, contact information, trust seals, and certificates (and more) to give users reasons to trust your brand.

4. Develop content they want to consume and share—and leverage emotional wellness marketing

Content that is relevant to your target audience is more authentic and believable. Relevant content also builds stronger connections between brands and consumers. Consumers are more likely to return for more content, browse your website, and engage with your online presence if they want to consume and share your content.

Secondly, emotion is a potent health and wellness marketing tool. According to Harvard Business Review, consumers who are emotionally connected to and engaged with your brand tend to make more purchases. Today’s consumers need more than just information—they need brand experiences. You can create unique experiences for your target audience by invoking different emotions within your messaging.

5. Use a variety of content formats

Once you’ve engaged your target audience with high-quality, trustworthy content, you’ll need to employ several content formats to hold their attention and create desire.

In addition to website content marketing, social media content, online ads, and digital communications, you’ll want to include video and live streaming content to increase consumer engagement. If you’re hesitant to invest in video content, here are a few statistics that might just change your mind:

  • Consumers are up to 85% more likely to purchase after watching a product video.
  • CTAs (calls to action) get 380% more clicks when they’re added on top of your videos.
  • Video content can increase organic traffic from search engines to your landing pages by as much as 157%.
  • ‘How to’ searches are growing 70% year-over-year on YouTube.

6. Build an online community and encourage user-generated content (UGC)

As today’s wellness consumers seek brands that share the same ethics and values as themselves, building a community around your company’s values is a powerful way to increase customer engagement and enhance brand loyalty.

Community health and wellness marketing allows brands to encourage UGC and provide better, more trustworthy customer experiences. Customers who believe in and are passionate about your brand are more likely to create and share your products and services on social media.

Keep track of what your followers are saying about your brand and engage with them promptly to increase customer engagement further and enhance brand trust.