3 types of audiences in the alternative health niche, and how to reach each one
“I think you’ll LOVE this.”
The same words came out of the mouths of two different women on opposite ends of town…with completely different results.
Scenario 1 – Why yes, I really do love this. Thank you!
Jean was shopping for clothes at her favorite store. It had been 6 whole months (way too long!) since she had bought anything new for herself, and she felt like a kid in a candy store. She had a $250 budget burning a hole in her pocket, and she had already browsed through the store, lovingly picking up a handful of items to take back to the dressing room to try them on.
While she was in the dressing room, the sales clerk came up to the outside of the door and handed her a cute top that she had overlooked. The clerk said, “Jean, since you liked these things, I think you’ll absolutely LOVE this.”
“Oooh. This is gorgeous.” Jean grabbed the top over the door and quickly looked at both sides. Her eyes lit up. It was perfect! Just her style—and her favorite colors, too.
Scenario 2 – Backhanded whack sends offer flying
Laura had her young child in the high chair, and she was trying to get him to eat his vegetables. Bits of broccoli, peas, and carrots were scattered all over the floor, and so far, none had made it into little Logan’s tummy.
Laura had tried everything. The airplane trick. Hiding the veggies in a bite of something else. Inserting the spoon into Logan’s mouth when he opened it to cry.
In desperation, Laura demonstrated tasting the vegetables herself. She made an exaggerated show of smiling big and licking her lips. “Mmmm, delicious! Now it’s your turn. Just try it honey! I think you will LOVE it!”
Logan whacked the spoon with all his strength as it traveled toward his mouth, sending more vegetable bits flying across the room.
Same message. Very different reaction.
Because the audience (and the offer) was different.
Your Health Offer in Scenario 1 vs 2
How are your customers receiving your health offer?
Of course you want your clients to LOVE your offer.
But if you don’t take into account who those clients are, their attitudes, their preconceived notions, and their disposition towards the world of alternative health, then you could be faced with clients who reject your offer the way little Logan mercilessly backhanded the veggies.
And sometimes, in the world of alternative health, it can feel like exactly that: Trying to get a stubborn child to eat what’s good for them when they don’t want to.
So let’s solve that.
When it comes to writing offers for alternative health, there are at least three distinct types of people you could target. And they are as different from each other as Jean and Logan were in the scenario above.
But all too often, when building an audience profile, marketers fail to consider the factors that make these audiences different.
Or they blur them together, resulting in a muddy message that doesn’t work. (Imagine how silly it would be if the sales clerk at the clothing store tried on a certain blouse herself in order to demonstrate to Jean how much Jean would love it.)
Or they focus on avatar components that are too basic, confining their focus to demographic information, particular health conditions, career stage, and “fluffy” add-ons, resulting in audience profiles that sound like this:
“Susie is a 60-year old woman with diabetes and a BMI of 30. She has 2 cocker spaniels, loves to quilt, and is a faithful member of the red hat society.”
If you are making these mistakes with your offer, you are definitely missing out and leaving money on the table.
On the other hand, if you have a clear, vivid understanding of the three types of people described in this series, you will be able to tailor your messaging to resonate with the right audience, where that audience actually is. As a result, your offer will make more sense, hold more attention, and be far more persuasive.
We’ll affectionately call these three audiences, “Health Nuts, Skeptics, and Clueless SAD Consumers.”
So if you have a health offer that’s getting lackluster results, think about which of the following three types of people you think would respond best to your messaging, and use the suggestions that follow to adjust your messaging to fit that audience.
Audience Member 1: The Health Nut
The Health Nut is a passionate consumer of “healthier options,” someone who loves feeding their body with nutrient-dense foods.
Words like “vitamins,” “minerals,” “enzymes,” ‘amino acids,” “antioxidants,” or “omega 3’s” are already part of the Health Nut’s world. They already buy in to the alternative health narrative, and they’re eager to find the next big thing that will take their health to the next level.
The Health Nut spends money on healthy products like an avid fisherman spends money on lures or a die-hard crafter spends money at Jo-Ann Fabrics: Happily, excitedly, and delightedly.
Because of this, it’s easy to think of the Health Nut as the “ideal target client” for alternative health products. (However, it would be a mistake to ONLY ever target the Health Nut, as there is also a LOT of money to be made by targeting the other groups, as you’ll see in the following two sections.)
The Health Nut loves to learn about their health, so any opportunity to educate themselves is likely to grab their attention. Health offers feel much more intrinsically interesting to them than to any other group.
They have unbounded belief in the ability of the body’s own mechanisms to repair themselves and resolve their health issues, and they just need to find the right combination of what to give their body so that it can heal itself. There’s always an underlying hope that the next book, the next video, or the next supplement might hold THE ANSWER that they have been looking for.
Because the Health Nut is looking for an answer. They are in pain (or they are caring for a child or someone in pain). They have a body that is failing them in some capacity, and they want to solve their issue. They turned to alternative health for some reason in the past, and they believe that alternative health offered the best promise of a solution.
This pain may be anything.
- It could be an autoimmune condition or chronic fatigue.
- It could be an embarrassing condition that’s visible to others, such as being overweight or having a skin condition.
- It could be a serious, deadly condition, like aggressive cancer.
- It could even be a neurological condition, such as ADHD or Autism.
Whatever their trigger, they desperately want to improve their quality of life and ease their suffering, and they believe that they can do this through alternative health.
The Health Nut is undaunted by traditional doctors poo-pooing the world of alternative health. They may have turned to alternative health in the first place after doctors failed them. Or they may have a mistrust of the traditional medical establishment for some reason. If presented with a doctor’s contradictory opinion, the Health Nut is likely to say to themselves, “Well, we don’t know everything, and if more research comes out, this will probably be proved right,” or “All doctors know is how to give you drugs and surgery. They don’t know about health,” or “I don’t care if the doctors say this condition is genetic and there’s nothing I can do — I can still improve my body by giving it the healthiest options available.”
In other words, the Health Nut is already on your side. They already have a predisposition to believe an alternative health offer. They have a bias towards helping you to make your case. When they read your offer, their inner beliefs interact more favorably with your claims and promises. They WANT to believe you.
Recap on the Health Nut
The Health Nut…
- Probably has a health condition that acts as a “pain point” which they continually seek to resolve.
- Considers it a “lifestyle change,” not a “diet” when they adopt a new routine or supplement.
- Has likely done a lot of research into healthier options
- Loves the opportunity to learn more about ingredients, techniques, and opportunities to improve their health.
- Approaches new knowledge about ingredients or cellular mechanisms with boundless curiosity and interest.
- Has probably experimented more than once with their health. For instance, they may have already tried cutting out sugar, gluten, or dairy. They may have already tried juicing or green smoothies. They may have already tried loads of other supplements.
- Has endless hope and optimism that “This might be the thing that actually works.”
- Often has a level of pride and self-confidence in their knowledge about health
- Possibly mistrusts the “medical establishment” when it comes to prescription drugs and surgery
- Is willing to spend money for the products they believe will help them. This can range from simple choices, like purchasing organic rather than regular produce at the grocery store, to high-ticket purchases and avid repeat buying of the products they believe in.
- Probably has some level of “shiny object syndrome” when it comes to buying new health-related stuff, which may manifest itself as a full bookshelf of health books, a cabinet full of supplements, a refrigerator full of healthy whole foods, and shelves full of equipment such as juicers, blenders, or a grain mill.
- Is likely open to reversing their belief on opinions they previously held (e.g. going from “rice is good” to “rice is bad”) when they receive credible new information.
- Is open to experimenting and has a wide tolerance for things that might be unusual or “taste funny.” Taste is not as much of a decision criteria for the Health Nut as nutrition is.
Messaging for the Health Nut
The Health Nut has a higher level of sophistication around alternative health offers than the following two groups that we will cover. The Health Nut also has more vocabulary in common that you can draw from in order to present your case. They are more aware of both the problem and the available solutions than the average person.
Therefore, you don’t need to bridge as great a distance or accomplish as radical a shift in belief when you’re talking with the Health Nut. You can spend less time educating the Health Nut on the basics of why this will work. And you can spend more time exploring some of the cool parts of how your product works better than the alternatives or the deeper reasons behind why it works.
To give the Health Nut the kind of messaging that they will find tantalizing and believable, talk about the reason why the product works using stories about the studies. Make the studies enjoyable and engaging.
Talking about the studies gives your offer credibility while also stroking the Health Nut’s ego that they understand the findings of scientific studies. Of course, you’ll write about the studies at a maximum 5th grade level so that no matter what the Health Nut’s level of education, you can give them something to think about, believe in, and tell their friends.
Keep in mind that complex details that would make the average person’s eyes glaze over may make the Health Nut’s eyes light up.
For example, if you’re talking about a digestive offer, the Health Nut with a digestive issue may already be quite familiar with the fact that the small intestine is lined with villi and microvilli that aid in the absorption of nutrients. So instead of explaining what villi and microvilli are, you might talk about how the microvilli have a specific enzyme in their cells called glycosidase that helps break down nutrients as you absorb them. Then, you might show how your product helps increase the effectiveness of glycosidase, which increases the amount of nutrients that actually make it into your bloodstream to be distributed to the cells. The Health Nut may find it fascinating to learn about this enzyme, why it might get blocked, and how to maximize its effectiveness (whereas the Clueless SAD Consumer may have all of this go right over their head).
The flip side of this is that the Health Nut will NOT be prone to believe your promises and claims if they are too shallow. For example, if you are selling a probiotic to a Clueless SAD Consumer, you may be able to get away with an angle that promises, “This pill can help you to lose weight without making any other changes.” The Health Nut will probably roll their eyes at this and say to themselves, “Whatever, it’s just a probiotic. That’s a pretty outlandish claim.”
Therefore, if you don’t have a clear understanding ahead of time what kind of consumer you are targeting with your offer, you could end up alienating both groups.
If you can give the Health Nut credit for being smart, savvy and curious about their health, while offering them good, credible information in an educational tone, your messaging will be compelling and effective.
When it comes to your call to action, think of Scenario 1 above, where the sales clerk in the clothing store says to Jean, “Since you liked these other things, I think you’ll absolutely LOVE this.”
That’s how your offer should feel. Give your sales pitch to the Health Nut in a way that feels like a no-brainer. Assume that of course the Health Nut is going to LOVE this. And that excitement and anticipation will come across.
DON’T give your sales pitch like in Scenario 2, where Laura was is trying to get her child to eat the vegetables. In other words, don’t assume that you have to convince the buyer to try something that they won’t like. Your underlying assumption will come through, and the prospect will pick up on it and be more likely to wonder, “Hmmm, there’s something about this that they expect me not to like. What’s the catch?”
While the Health Nut is educated and passionate about their health, they don’t know everything and are open to learning more. They are constantly subconsciously scanning their environment for things that might improve their health even further. Therefore, they notice health offers and pay closer attention to them than any other type of audience, and they are prone to spending the most money on offers they believe in.
Stay tuned for the next article in this series, where we’ll discuss The Skeptic.