In today’s increasingly remote world, virtual health coaching is more viable than ever. Many health coaches have moved or built their practices entirely online to take advantage of benefits including increased flexibility, decreased overhead costs, increased connectivity with clients, access to expanded markets, and more.

However, virtual health coaching comes with unique challenges as well. While marketing is always a necessary part of developing a coaching practice, building a health coaching business online requires a different set of marketing techniques than the one required to promote a coaching practice that happens out of a brick-and-mortar location.

Here are a few tips to market a health coaching practice when it operates virtually.

It’s Never Too Early to Build Your Audience

Most of your customers will become customers only after repeated interactions or “touches” with your offerings or brand. This is why it is absolutely crucial to create and maintain channels through which you can expose your prospective customers to the value you offer. This should happen in non-pushy ways and over time. If you are even contemplating starting a health coaching practice, it can be advantageous to simply create a few social media accounts and an email list and start practicing.

Create helpful, knowledgeable content that people who might be interested in your services would find useful. Use your social media accounts to connect with other thought leaders in the space, start reaching out to prospective customers, and create a space for your work that can provide a jumpstart towards building an initial customer base.

If you have an existing health coaching practice, there is always room for improving your use of social media and email marketing to create and curate an audience. Audiences usually consist of past and current clients as well as interested individuals that engage with your brand whether or not they are clients at this moment in time.

The ability to share information, resources, discounts, and specials with this group of people can help you curate a steady stream of warm leads and new customers. This following will arguably become one of your most important assets as a virtual health coach.

Be Aware of Restrictions and Privacy Laws

As you release content into the world, it’s very important to make sure you’re staying up to date with privacy and data protection rules. For health coaches, one important category of content you’ll want to develop is testimonials or before/after stories of current or past clients. However, using other people’s pictures, likenesses, stories, names, or identifying information without their consent is a risky move.

While the stakes are even higher in other professional arenas like healthcare or education, it is unwise and potentially detrimental to your business to use client pictures or information without their written consent. It is also a good idea to research any privacy or data restrictions that are applicable in your practicing state, because they can vary somewhat.

Stay Apprised of the Tools Available to You

Along with the explosion of virtual health coaching practices and similar types of virtual practitioner-ship has blossomed an array of helpful tools, softwares, and services for health coaches that can aid your business. Whatever your needs and setup might be, there is likely a software tool (or multiple) out there that can eliminate significant sources of stress or time-drain.

From Client Management Systems (CMSs) to billing and invoicing processors, to health-specific information libraries and diet trackers — there are countless tools available today that can revolutionize parts of your business.

If you spend significant amounts of time on a particular task each week or month, or have received tepid feedback about a component of your business from previous clients, take a quick look to see what options you have. There is likely a software or service option available to you that should fit within your budget and make that part of the process much easier. Many virtual health coaches integrate multiple tools together to digitally automate and manage most or all of their processes.

The More Specific Your Audience, the Better

Many early business owners think that they need to create as large an audience as possible. They assume that if they can just grow their email list or social media following to a huge number, their business will be wildly successful. However, this is a misconception.

A business with a massive following but that doesn’t connect with that following in a meaningful way won’t see results. They’ll struggle to bring on customers and to keep them, and they will have to resort to steps like buying lead lists or scraping data to maintain or expand that large number.

On the other hand, a business that prioritizes creating strong connection points with each of the members of its audience has to go about cultivating that audience very differently. It requires developing quality relationships over quantity. It requires being specific about the value you provide. It involves honing your target audience to a tight niche of people with highly similar needs, interests, and passions.

This is referred to in some business circles as your “smallest addressable market” or your “1,000 true fans.” Working with a small initial audience and serving them well before expanding out to additional markets galvanizes a core customer base that is excited about your brand and services and would likely be eager to be repeat buyers or brand ambassadors by sharing their positive experiences with others.

Remain a Learner

There’s always more to learn. Especially in business for yourself, it’s important to prioritize spending even just a little bit of regular time actively learning. A huge way of accomplishing this is by simply observing what marketing strategies competitors or leaders in the space are employing.

How are they creating their social media posts? What do their websites look like? How do they structure their offerings and pricing? What kinds of campaigns do they run? Do you see their ads online? What exact market or niche are they speaking to? Staying up to date on how others in your space are marketing their products and services can help you get an idea of what may be working, as well as inspiring new ideas for marketing tactics that aren’t currently being utilized that can give you a fresh edge.

As you build your virtual health coaching business, employing these marketing tips can help you grow your customer base, increase your reach, and make your marketing efforts much more efficient.