You expected the decision to start a private practice to be the hardest part…
Now your neck deep in questions about the wild west called “marketing”.
I sit down with the business coach for dietitians Krista Ko, to discuss common marketing issues dietitians and other nutrition professionals face when starting (and running) a private practice.
We discuss having (and keeping) an online presence, the importance of a website and your website copy, and the wild west of video marketing.
Ame: Hey Krista! Thanks for joining me today. I just wanted to ask you a couple questions since you are the business coach for dietitians.
Krista Ko: Thank you! That’s so nice! I’m excited to chat with you and I’m excited to answer your questions.
Ame: If you could start off by just telling us who you are, what you do and the benefits that someone would get working with your service.
Krista Ko: Sure! Yeah, sounds good. My name is Krista Kolodziejzyk. I usually go by Krista Ko because my last name is obnoxious and it’s hard for most people to comprehend. I started The Dietitian Project. Actually, it’s only been in operation for about a year, but essentially what it is, is it is a business coaching service for dietitians.
I started that business because I really recognized that there was such a massive gap that exists for RDs in terms of just entrepreneurial skills and entrepreneurial confidence and competence. It’s just not something that’s taught and I think what’s really interesting is we graduate with a skill set that we can turn into a business, but there’s a lot of fear and a lot of uncertainty around doing that, and oddly a lot of stigma around doing that. I don’t know why that exists.
Anyways, that was the gap that I identified and took it upon myself. I’ve always been an entrepreneur, have worked in corporate, the nine-to-five jobs, but I’ve always done side hustles on the side. I have learned so much just through my own trial and error and just through those processes that I thought “Well, why not turn that into something that can be helpful for dietitians.” I’ve been working full time as a business coach for dietitians since last March.
Dietitians in Private Practice
Ame: Now, this what you offer to entrepreneurs is very valuable in any part of healthcare, why are you focusing on dietitians specifically?
Krista Ko: It’s a great question. I think that there are some nuances that exist with being a regulated health profession and it takes some awareness of what some of those nuances are, just in terms of the boundaries that we are expected to operate within and I think it just, for me, I really want to become really, really good in a specific area. I just wanted to build my expertise and I wanted to really build my knowledge and my skill set in something specific so that I could be as valuable as possible and that’s actually evolved over time.
When I first started business coaching, it was a little bit broader and I was focusing on any dietitian business. If you’re a dietitian, you want to start a business, I was here for you. Now, it’s taken on even a more focused niche in terms of really emphasizing private practice, so majority of the clients that I work with, probably 90%, are starting their own private practices. That was the approach that I took at the beginning and that’s not to say that I’ll always continue in that direction.
There’s probably going to come a point where I’ll want to expand beyond dietitians because “Hey, I’ve kind of mastered that” and I want to try something different and work with different people, who knows when that’s gonna happen? I think that’s the cool thing about your own business, you start somewhere, you pick something that feels right and then you have the ability to change and adapt as time goes, you’re not stuck with it forever. It felt right at the time and I think it’s definitely still right, but we’ll see if that shifts as time goes on.
Ame: Speaking of shifts, in 2020, we’ve seen the rise of the entrepreneur, thanks to COVID basically making it impossible to do anything face to face. Do you feel that stigma for dietitians to start their own business is going away?
Krista Ko: Yes, I do. It’s really interesting to see. I only graduated in 2016, so it wasn’t even that, that long ago and just to see how much things have changed in that last five years is incredible.
When I was in school, there were a few key people that had an online presence and were starting online practices or were starting practices, but by no means were any students doing it which was really interesting. You just didn’t see it. Students were not doing it and it was funny because at the time I had a food blog and I felt ashamed of it. I didn’t want to share it. There was just a lot of judgment. It was very odd and I love that we’re seeing just more students getting into it and learning those skills while they’re still students, students who are starting businesses, students who are learning how to communicate. It’s incredible. I love seeing that. I definitely think it is shifting and it is changing. It’s awesome. It really makes me happy.
Ame: Something that I think is really awesome is you’ve helped that change because when I first connected with you over Instagram as an RD to be, you were really promoting students getting on Instagram from day one and then you are offering social media coaching. I think that support is really important. Would you say the average student or a dietitian who wants to get online, their main feeling is fear?
Krista Ko: For sure, it’s fear and it’s just lack of confidence, but the thing is that is a skill set that needs to be developed. It’s not something that you’re going to be good at from day one.
Honestly, if I were to look back and I can and you can too, you can go back on my Instagram account, you can search back in the archives and see what some of those first posts were like. It’s funny because it takes practice. You can’t just expect that on day one you’re going to be excellent and you’re going to be communicating in the perfect way. It takes practice. It’s a skill that needs to be developed for sure and the fact of the matter is, this is what I always go back to, “People are consuming health information different than they ever had before.” They’re looking to Instagram, they’re looking to TikTok, they’re looking to YouTube to answer their health questions. That is the reality of the situation. If we are not there, that is an issue.
As a profession, if we as people who are skilled and are trained to find evidence based information and communicate evidence based information were not there, then that’s a problem because the field is going to be dominated by other people and I think in a lot of aspects, unfortunately, it is. It’s a problem if we’re not there and I think we’ve done ourselves a disservice by not coaching people sooner within the profession to be confident enough to get visible online.
Ame: I like what you said about “You have to practice the skill.” I was listening to Pat Flynn talk about podcasting and he said a really great quote, “You have to be the disaster before you can be the master,” and when I was looking back at my own Instagram as well, I thought “Oh, that’s a disaster” but it’s okay, I’m gonna own it.
Krista Ko: Yeah. Oh my gosh, totally. One thing I always tell my clients, you have to suck in order to get good. If you don’t look back on where you were even six months ago and feel a little cringey, then you didn’t start soon enough.
Ame: Yeah, embrace the cringe.
Krista Ko: You waited too long. You got to embrace the cringe. It’s embarrassing, it is. It’s funny. It’s embarrassing to look back on where you were, but it’s also awesome because you can really see how far you’ve grown and you got to suck to get good.
Dietitians and Nutrition professionals Need to Market Themselves Online
Ame: Very true. You mentioned people are looking for their information online, but putting information online from a dietitian or nutrition professional is very different than marketing oneself on online. Why do dietitians and nutrition professionals need to market themselves?
Krista Ko: Yeah, it’s a great question. As I was saying before, people are looking for their health information in different ways. When we talk about marketing and we think about marketing, marketing is not just communicating with somebody about our product or our services. That’s not what it is. It’s a part of that, but that’s only about 20% of it.
The other 80% of it is proving and showcasing the value that you have to offer. When you put content out online, whether it’s blog post, whether it’s a social media post, whether it’s a podcast, whatever it is, that is a part of marketing, that is your marketing strategy because you are proving, you are showcasing your expertise and the value that you bring to the table.
It’s really an 80% and 20%; 80% of the time you give value, you write an amazing blog post, you write an amazing whatever it might be, you do a podcast, 80% of the time you do that without really an expectation. You’re not asking anybody for anything out of that, but it all contributes to somebody’s perception of you and who you are and what you bring to the table.
When we talk about the communication piece, the communication piece is actually a big part of the overall marketing strategy. However, we do need to know how do I turn that and shift that into being able to ask for something in return because that is the end goal, we want to make money, we want to get clients, then you don’t have a business. If you’re not doing that, you don’t have a business. We do need to shift that and that’s one of the most challenging things I find for people and for RD specifically, and I think just people within the healthcare profession is learning that skill because it does not come naturally by any means to majority of us.
Talking about or asking for something or believing, I think a lot of it actually comes down to belief that we deserve to be paid for our services. That is definitely a learned skill. That all brings me back to a big overarching strategy around what marketing means and I don’t know if that really answers your question, but I think it does indirectly.
Ame: Maybe let me summarize.
Krista Ko: Sure.
Ame: Basically, if a dietitian or nutrition professional wants to have a business, they have to market themselves online. Otherwise, they’re not going to have any business.
Krista Ko: Yeah, for sure. Yeah, definitely! The one thing I would say with that too is that I like to talk about online and offline because I think online is important absolutely and it is very important, but there’s also a piece of relevant offline which is what are the connections that you already have? What are the relationships you’ve already built? Those things that you can also leverage to market yourself but absolutely, online especially nowadays, it’s a huge piece of the pie.
Ame: Do you think if a dietitian were to rely only on their offline connections, they could have a thriving business?
Krista Ko: It’s a good question and my answer is yes because we’ve seen it done before, people who have been in business for a long time. There are people out there that don’t have an online presence. However, I think the word thriving is the key here. I think you can have a business and you can get clients, but not to the extent that you would if you put some energy and attention into your online presence and I think we’re seeing that, people who have been in the profession for a while never had an online presence before and are realizing “Oh, hey, this is something I need to get on because it’s just the way of the future.” That’s just how it’s gonna be.
Unless you want your business to slowly fizzle out, then you’re gonna have to jump on that bandwagon for sure. I think if you’ve been in your role for a long time, you have that really strong community, you’re already known as an expert in that community, that’s a little bit different, but if you’re starting out right now, I would say you got to have an online, that is just an absolute must.
Ame: We’re even seeing this change with grocery stores starting to deliver online just because COVID made that a reality and then I think in the future people are just going to expect that to continue. Do you agree?
Krista Ko: Oh yeah, for sure and I think it was interesting also because at the beginning of pre-COVID, seeing people one on one online was not that common. It wasn’t that common like virtual practice.
Majority of dietitians, I think, felt like you needed to have a physical space in order to be able to see people one on one and I think that, that’s actually been an awesome thing that’s come out of COVID if you can identify some positives here. I think there are a lot of positives and one of them being that. Number one, the practitioners think “Oh, I can actually just offer my services online and guess what, it’s way cheaper for me to do that and I can actually make better money because I have more access to people, I’m not worrying about paying rent for an office space every month, my overhead costs are much less.”
The practitioners are coming around and realizing “Oh, this is actually a better model for me” but then also the patient or the client, they’re getting used to receiving health care in that virtual way which was not the norm before. I think that it’s just a whole new world for virtual practice. I think that’s super exciting.
Top 3 Priorities for Entrepreneurs Starting a New Nutrition Business
Ame: I agree. If someone comes to you as a brand new entrepreneur, they want to start their nutrition business, what are their top three priorities?
Krista Ko: Great question. The very first thing, I think, is more so around mindset and I want to say productivity, but I don’t mean productivity in terms of getting a lot of stuff. I mean, “How are you going to work this within your life as it stands right now?”
The majority of people when they’re first getting started, they already have a nine-to-five job or they’re in school full time or whatever and they love the idea of having a business, but are they really willing to do what it takes in order to get it started and do the work because that’s something that I do see sometimes. Somebody loves the idea of it but hasn’t really thought through “Oh, I’m actually going to need to work during evenings and weekends right now on my business while I’m getting it started.” I’m gonna have to change my schedule and I’m gonna have to change my lifestyle because guess what, it takes work. It doesn’t just happen overnight and it doesn’t just happen automatically, and I think unfortunately sometimes social media can communicate that to you that it’s easier than it is and it’s not.
It takes consistent effort. It takes consistent work and you need to go into that experience, really thinking that through and understanding “Is this something that fits within my life? Is this something that I am going to put the time and energy into?” That’s number one. Now, we know you’re committed to this.
Number two is we really need to figure out who is this audience that we’re trying to serve. That’s really the starting point because we cannot create our offers, our packages, our prices or our services that we’re putting out there into the world. We can’t create those without knowing what our audience needs.
We have to know what our audience needs in order for us to create those and I think that’s a step a lot of people miss. They thought “Oh, I’m gonna start a practice. Oh, I’m gonna assign a price to an hour of my time and then that’s what I’m going to do” and it’s a no, no, no. We need to be more strategic about this. We need to think who is this audience and I create my services based off of that. Knowing our audience also determines our marketing strategy, what am I going to talk about on social media? I need to know my audience in order to know what I’m going to talk about on social media, so that’s definitely step one.
Usually from there, we would actually get into defining your services, what is that going to look like and the pricing piece which a lot of people struggle with. Those are the three beginning pieces and then after that, that’s when we’ll get into marketing, we’ll get into website, we’ll get into all of that other stuff, but I find that we need those foundational pieces first.
Ame: I like that you do that. When we had our session together, right from the beginning, it was clarify what’s your idea, who is it for and then how can you reach those people, and that’s something that’s fundamental to marketing because you can pour thousands of dollars into your marketing strategy, but if it’s not targeted to the right people, then nobody’s listening.
Krista Ko: Absolutely, totally. If you’re speaking to everyone, you’re speaking to no one.
Ame: If you’re speaking to the wrong people that also don’t talk either.
Krista Ko: Yeah, you’re speaking to the wrong people and you’re going to get the wrong people, and that’s not gonna make for a fun business.
Ame: I see that a lot when I write copy or make videos for people. They sound really nice value statements like “Help you live your better life” but then if you ask, it’s like well who’s living the better life and what’s better for them? Why is it better?
Krista Ko: What does that mean?
Ame: Yeah and how are you gonna give them a better life? All questions.
Krista Ko: Yeah, so true.
Ame: The top three priorities are first committing to being an entrepreneur, getting clear on who you’re targeting, why you’re targeting them and how to target them then going into your marketing strategy, right?
Krista Ko: Yeah.
Ame: Very solid advice, love it.
Krista Ko: Thank you.
Top 3 Priorities for Dietitians Trying to Grow Their Private Practice
Ame: You also work with dietitians who started their business, but they need a little bit of help to really make it grow. What would you say their priorities are?
Krista Ko: That’s definitely a bit different. Well, first of all, the one thing we need to do always is kind of go back to the fundamentals.
I always assess “Where are you at right now? Where have you been? How have you grown? What’s that look like and what’s not working for you right now?” There’s something clearly that you’re not happy with where you’re at and so what’s that issue? That usually leads us to figure out “Is it a marketing issue? Is it a pricing issue? Is it a confidence issue?”
I think generally for a lot of people, it’s about teaching to continue to be consistent because I think what happens is often people get into it and they’re really excited. They start their business, they’re super excited about it, they hit the ground running and they post every day on social media for two weeks, they write a couple blog posts feeling great and they don’t even really know what they thought it was going to be, but I think they had this sense that it was going to be an instant success but haven’t defined what that success actually looks like or means and so are left feeling disappointed where they’re thought “I’m not making 10K from day one, I’m not getting all the clients in the door from day one” and I think it’s just reinforcing that, that’s not how it goes in the majority of cases.
It takes consistent effort. I think a lot of times its reminding people that “No, you’re not a failure” because things aren’t going exactly as you thought. This is so normal. This is how businesses are. It can be a slow burn, especially at the beginning. It takes time for us to grow. It takes time for us to build up an audience. It takes time for us to gain people’s trust.
We can’t just expect that from day one, but if you’re not consistent and you’re not committed to doing this long term, it’s never going to amount to anything. I think the first piece is just gaining that consistency or getting that consistency back. I think also too maximizing what the assets that you’ve already created. Somebody has defined their services and maybe they’re price is not quite right or maybe they’re doing one off sessions which I generally don’t recommend and they just need to take that and we just need to tweak it a little bit, so we need to redefine a better package, we need to redefine a better service or a better price point for their ideal client.
That might be a piece of it and also taking the stuff that you’ve already done. If you have some awesome blog posts, if you have some awesome Instagram posts, repurposing that content in different ways in order to get more visible and to reach more of your target audience, so it’s maximizing what you’ve already done.
Sometimes somebody will create something and then they’ll say “I created it and I don’t know what else to do with it. I’ve left it and it’s there. I wrote a blog post. I shared about one time on my social media and then I don’t know what to do with it now” and that’s not the case. We need to really maximize what we’ve done, so that’s number two and then number three is working more structure into how we’re going to get clients.
We need to have a consistent sales process in place in order to get consistent clients through the door and just to give you an example, like from my own business or from any dietitian business, we know that when we offer a free challenge or a free webinar or a free master class or something like that, that’s really valuable and it gets a lot of people through the door, it gets a lot of attention on our business.
When we offer something like that, we get a lot of attention and consequently, we get clients out of it. If we know that, that works, then we keep repeating that process over and over and over again and that becomes a consistent engine for getting clients through the door.
A lot of times we have to figure out what that sales process looks like because a lot of people don’t have that established. It’s figuring out what that sales process looks like and then just continuing to repeat it again and again.
Marketing is Like Nutrition…
Ame: That first priority you mentioned about consistency, do you find it ironic that as nutrition professionals and nutrition professionals in training, we talk about so often that dietary changes and proper nutrition takes consistency and it’s not a quick fix, but that in business we’re asking where’s my quick fix?
Krista Ko: It is so yes. It is very funny and we all get stuck in that. I’m not immune to it either. We were so excited about what something could be that we just want to get there, but we haven’t put in the work yet. It’s exact same thing with nutrition, lifestyle change.
I don’t know how much you follow in the world of business and entrepreneurship on social media. I happen to follow a lot of people in that space and I think I’m seeing some interesting thing like similarities between the two industries where there’s so many coaches out there, so many platforms or whatever out there that are all about make X amount of dollars in your first month and you got to question it. You got to say “How much of that is really true fact and true data?” I do question that and it’s just so funny because that’s the same as like the diet industry and we don’t see that.
It’s just funny because we pride ourselves on this understanding that things take time and consistent effort and we have a bit of a blinder up when it comes to entrepreneurship.
Ame: I think we should start calling our businesses our nutrition clients because then maybe we will apply this principle consistently.
Krista Ko: Yeah, love it, so true.
Ame: So everyone listening, they’ve heard it here first.
Krista Ko: Yeah, so true.
Main challenges Dietitians and Nutrition Professionals Face with their Online Marketing (and How to Fix It)
Ame: Now, in your experience, what would you say are the main challenges that dietitians and other nutrition professionals face when they’re trying to set themselves up online?
Krista Ko: Number one is fear. Fear of doing it wrong, fear of being criticized, fear of just putting yourself out there, fear of being vulnerable, fear of all of those things. That is a big piece of it and it is very vulnerable. It’s hard to put yourself out there online, you’re putting yourself out there, you’re putting your heart, your soul and your hard work out there. It’s just so vulnerable.
Sometimes people let that feeling overpower their willingness to get visible and I think that’s a big piece you got to just turn off and you got to just decide “You know what, I’m doing this.” I don’t care what anyone else thinks because guess what, if somebody has an opinion about it and I’m worried about that potential opinion, then they’re winning here because I’m not taking action on what I’ve always wanted to do and I’m letting myself stay stuck because of somebody’s imaginary opinions of me.
It’s real fear and I totally get it. I used to feel that and I still do in some ways. It still comes up for me and I always have to remind myself “No, you’re entitled to your opinion, you’re entitled to your thoughts on these things and people want to hear it.” They’re here because they want to hear what you think about these topics. Number one is gonna be fear.
Ame: Beforewe move on to number two, if your client comes to you and they say, “Hey Krista, I’m afraid to get online,” what do you tell them or how do you help them overcome that fear?
Krista Ko: It’s like any fear. In order to get over it, you just have to do it. You got to do it and when you do that first thing and you realized nothing bad came out of it, and in fact it felt really great and in fact you had a really positive response. I’ve seen this happen time and time again where it’s funny because I always tell my clients when you launch a business, share it with your friends and family. They’re always scared to do it and I think because there’s just this level of vulnerability there, but I always encourage them to do it and then once they do, they’ll say “That felt amazing” because you know how many positive responses I got back that made me feel so good. You got to take that first step. You just got to do it.
I think one of the benefits of having a business coach is that you have that level of accountability, somebody who’s expecting you to do the work and they’re there to support you, but they’re there to be your coach. They’re gonna hold you accountable to those things because you agreed to this process and you’re committed to this business. If that’s what it’s going to take, then you got to do it. Might sound a little tough love.
Ame: It’s a good tough love.
Krista Ko: Yeah.
Ame: The best kind of tough love. A lot of business coaches for dietitians they say similar things like you just got to do it, get over your fear. What’s something that you do for your clients to help them get over this fear that other business coaches might not do?
Krista Ko: Really interesting question. I like to draw from my own experiences because I have been there, I get it. I’ve have had more failed food blogs than I can even count. Because I’ve always been a creative person, I’ve always wanted to do those things and so many times I’ve done things and they just don’t work for whatever reason or I just didn’t put the time into them for whatever reason, but I’ve been there, I’ve felt that fear, so I think just being there for that person and just reinforcing in them that “I know how it feels but I know how it’s gonna feel when you do it and I know it’s gonna feel great.”
I’m not expecting that somebody goes and does a full IG live on, they’re subject matter expertise the next day, that’s not the expectation. We start with something that feels comfortable, so maybe it’s just showing a picture of yourself on your Instagram feed and talking about something that feels safe for you, how did you get to where you are today? What was your educational background? It’s not the most thrilling topic, but guess what, you’re starting. It’s baby steps. You’re putting yourself out there. You’re starting to get comfortable with it. You do that, you see what happens and you realize “Hey, nothing bad happened.” It was really nice to get some of the positive reinforcement and it felt good to put myself out there.
Once that little bit of confidence is instilled, then somebody naturally feels like they can do something a little bit bigger. It’s taking those little baby steps. I don’t know if that’s necessarily unique to me but that’s my approach.
Ame: One thing I really like that you do is you refer people back to your earlier Instagram posts because that really proves to them that it’s okay to post something that you may not like later, but it’s a start and I think that’s something that a lot of business coaches, I haven’t worked with a lot of business coaches so I can’t speak for all of them, but I think some of them might just have those words of encouragement, but you come with the proof that I actually did it and you can see it.
Krista Ko: That’s something I say to people, never delete your old Instagram posts because one day you’re gonna want to look back and you’re gonna want to see how far you’ve come. You have to own that you are not perfect and that this has been a journey for you, and this has been your own unique journey. You got to own it. You can’t be ashamed of that. You might be embarrassed by it, but you got to let that be and you got to let other people see that. I believe that because none of us are perfect realistically and I think it helps us to develop a better connection with people when we can see that they’re not either.
Ame: Aside from the emotional challenges, what are some other issues that someone might face when they’re trying to get themselves online?
Krista Ko: Next one I would say is talking about the same topics that everyone else is talking about and to some degree, it’s okay when you’re first starting out because you need something to feel safe and if somebody else is talking about it, it feels safe to talk about it. One thing I see all the time constantly what’s the difference between a dietitian and nutritionist. Everyone talks about that topic which is okay because it feels safe and that’s a great starting point and that’s totally fine, but at some point, we need to start talking about different things. It’s only when we start talking about different things and we really start to put our lens onto a concept or onto a theory or whatever it might be that we start to see traction.
If we’re just writing about generic nutrition related things that somebody could read about anywhere they wanted, that’s not where you get traction by any means. We need to start thinking and looking introspectively, thinking a little bit deeper about what do I really care about, what is really interesting for me that I want to talk about and what is my ideal client actually facing in their everyday life.
Another example I like to use is nobody’s asking about vitamin C for instance. Nobody is asking about that topic. They’re not sitting there thinking “Hmm, vitamin C, interesting.” They’re thinking “Oh, it’s cold and flu season and I’m really concerned about my family getting sick. I wonder if there’s anything that I can do from a diet perspective to ensure that I’m getting more health promoting nutrients or whatever.” That’s the thought process that they’re having and so we need to think about it in that way.
Instead of writing a blog post all about vitamin C, no we write a blog post about “How to keep your family healthy this cold and flu season” and that happens to include information about vitamin C and includes information about a bunch of other things. It includes practical tips, practical strategies, how do I get more vitamin C in my diet in a way that is easy, fun and tastes amazing. Do you see how the two are different?
Ame: Yeah, I think the thing that’s missing, the key, is understanding the search intent of what people are looking for that will lead them to this information. Like you said, people care about vitamin C but only in the context of how do I stay healthy and I’ve heard of this vitamin C thing.
Krista Ko: Yeah, totally. If you’re struggling with that, one of the things, I can’t remember who said it, it was somebody in the business community.
Anyways, I was on some sort of a conference call and somebody, might have been my business coach, her name is Kelsey, and they said “Follow your clients throughout the day, think about who is your ideal client and walk through their day with them.” I don’t mean actually doing that, but I mean thinking about if my ideal client is a young professional woman, maybe she’s 25, she works a nine-to-five job, so let me think about that day for her and then we extract marketing messages from that or we extract topics from that.
She wakes up, she’s scrambling, she doesn’t like to wake up early, she’s in a rush and she doesn’t have time to eat breakfast. That’s an interesting junction point. She doesn’t have time to eat breakfast so maybe a blog article on what are some fast on the go breakfast options that you can just grab and go, you don’t have to spend a lot of time on that. Okay, that’s interesting.
Okay, so she’s scrambling, blah, blah, blah…She gets to work. She has coffee. It’s black coffee because she’s fearful of putting a bunch of sugar in it because she doesn’t really get that and she’s heard so much online and in the media about sugar and so that’s an interesting point too. This is a common thing for this demographic is what they’re reading in the media and what is sugar, is sugar evil, all of that stuff and so we continue along that process and we think about what is their day looking like and how can I meet them with a marketing message.
Dietitians–Do You Need a Website?
Ame: All right. Now, dietitians, do you think they should be using both social media and a website?
Krista Ko: I do personally because I believe that social media is a snapshot and I think a website is a home.
Social media gives you a snapshot, but it’s not a good space. If somebody was looking and this happens all the time where you come across somebody and you really like what they’re all about and you’re think this person is cool and I want to know more about this person, I want to know more about their services, about what they do, it is very challenging to gather that information off of their Instagram page because suddenly you have to go and search back in the archives and hope that they’ve talked about that at some point in time versus if they have a website and their bio, you know, you just click on the website, it’s going to give you the information that you need. Again, social media, it’s a snapshot but I really do believe a website is your home base.
Ame: I agree with that. I actually just posted something on LinkedIn. I compared social media to a car because it’s reliable until it’s not, the algorithm changes or something, but I really like that form of analogy for websites because I think it’s true. It’s where you host everything and as long as Google doesn’t change their algorithm, fingers crossed, then they can always find you.
Krista Ko: Yeah.
Ame: Do you feel like it also gives potential clients more ways to find this person? Maybe they’ll find them through Instagram. Maybe they’re googling something and then they land on their blog post.
Krista Ko: Yeah, I mean potentially. I think that because of just how SEO works and how Google works as a search engine, it is challenging to increase your SEO so much that when somebody searches dietitian for digestive health or whatever, especially when you’re just starting up, you’re going to rank at the top. That takes time. It’s not something that happens overnight.
Absolutely, we still want to put effort into boosting our SEO and making sure that it’s really strong in order to get to that point one day, but it’s not always going to be that direct traffic source. I think where it really helps is when you can utilize your social media or whatever other online places you hang out to be able to direct people to your website and then I think it acts as a sales strategy because people can spend time there. They can spend time really getting to know you. They can read some of your blog articles and then they can look at your services, and then they can read your about you page. It’s all there for them.
Again, it’s going back to that home base where somebody can learn everything that they need to know about you, they can get to know you better and consequently are more likely to become a client.
Ame: Actually, from a copywriting standpoint, your website can also be the sales for you, your homepage and stuff, everything can be directed to persuading someone to buy from you and that’s really powerful because you don’t have to even be at home for someone to still knock on your door and I think that’s incredible.
Krista Ko: Yeah, absolutely, totally. It’s so, so cool. I couldn’t agree more.
Why Your Website Doesn’t Generate Leads for Your Nutrition Business
Ame: Do you ever have like clients come to you, they opened up their website and it’s just not generating business?
Krista Ko: Yeah, I mean for sure. That definitely happens. I think, for the most part, dietitians will find that they’ll start to get a slow trickle, but maybe it’s not happening as fast as they thought it would be. Dietitian services are in need. People need these services. I think sometimes we think that we’re competing with a lot of people but we’re not really. There’s not that many dietitians for the amount of people that actually need help with their nutrition. A couple things that the dietitian should do in that circumstance is really think about “Are you clear about who you’re communicating to? Are you trying to communicate to everyone?”
That’s number one or maybe you’re not putting enough into your marketing efforts. You talked about your business one time on Instagram and that’s it. We have to regularly remind people that we are here and we are taking on clients. That’s part of it. We have to regularly remind people, but then also you just need patience. It’s not gonna happen overnight. There’s no such thing as an overnight success.
I think it was Richard Branson that said that, but there’s no such thing as overnight success. It takes time, it takes effort and again, bringing it back to the whole mindset thing that you need to commit to it knowing it’s not going to be easy.
Ame: I agree with that completely. When I look at people’s websites, I always look for, if I were their customer, is it easy for me to find out what they’re going to give me and is it easy for me to access. The two main issues I see on people’s websites are they don’t make it clear what they offer. They introduce themselves, but they don’t have “I will give you this.” They don’t have a call to action button right next to that statement, so many people will come there, look at the page and then there’s nothing for them to do so they leave.
Krista Ko: Yeah, that’s such a good practical tip for people absolutely. You need to be really clear on that stuff. Sometimes it could just be something as simple as that, as simple as what you just said. Maybe it’s just you haven’t made it clear to people what it is that you do and what it is that you offer them.
Ame: That button as well just to contact me, throw that button in there. That could be the difference between no money and $1,000 right there, just one button.
Krista Ko: Because we’ve all been there where we’ll go on somebody’s website and we’re thinking “How do I talk to you or how do I get into contact with you? I can’t figure this out.”
Ame: Yeah, I’ve gone to a couple of websites and then by the time I kind of finished reading the page, I forgot why I was there and then I just left.
Krista Ko: Yeah, totally.
Using Videos to Market Your Nutrition Private Practice
Ame: The next question I have for you is actually about video marketing. Do you think dietitians are using enough video to market themselves?
Krista Ko: Yeah, I think starting to but definitely not enough and I think it goes back to a few things. Number one is fear. I think video is even more vulnerable than a static Instagram post because it’s you. If you’re doing something live, it’s you live which is a lot of times just a little bit of that fear, but I did an interesting little experiment where I did IG live for five days straight just to see what that would result in and that resulted in so many more followers on Instagram than anything I’ve ever done aside from that, so I should do it more often, but things get busy and you just don’t.
I think no, but I think that there’s so much opportunity there because video allows somebody to build that relationship with you in a way that a static Instagram post does not, especially Instagram stories, for instance. I don’t know about you, but I binge watch Instagram stories way more than I even go through my feed now and I’m so pumped when my favorite Instagram or somebody I really like has an Instagram story. I love that, I love watching through it. Put some effort into that for sure. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or crazy. It’s just like you showing up and talking on your Instagram stories.
Ame: Instagram definitely I think is a hotspot for dietitians trying to build their business. Do you think that the dietitians are using enough other types of videos like video ads or explainer videos so that they can reach people who aren’t on Instagram?
Krista Ko: No, I don’t but I even myself have not figured out how to effectively work that into my business either and I think this is a barrier for a lot of people. I know that but to me it’s like “Oh man, there’s so much work that would go into that,” that I’m not in a place right now where I can like commit that time to it. Definitely, I think there’s totally tons of opportunity there, especially with YouTube, like putting up YouTube videos. I totally agree but I don’t think I’ve really cracked the code on that yet.
Ame: It takes a while to crack the code on video marketing. I myself, I’m still cracking it and I’ve been writing video scripts and making videos for three years. It’s a long process.
Krista Ko: Oh, I’m sure.
Ame: In ideal world, what kinds of videos would you like to see dietitians making for themselves and for their business and for their clients?
Krista Ko: I love explainer videos like the type of videos that you do. I know you do a lot of videos, but I’ve also seen your explainer videos. I love that style. I think that that it’s such a great way to be able to get a point across really well effectively in a fun, concise format. I love that style, but I think just video in any capacity, even things like vlogs, just like what’s your life like as a dietitian, what do you eat, people are so fascinated by that stuff. They just want to know more. Those are kind of the two areas that are sticking out to me, I don’t know. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Ame: I think vlogs are pretty good. I think if someone’s going to be taking the time to write a blog post, they can easily turn that same content into a video and it could be them talking. It could be stock footage. It could be an animated video. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but people like videos and they want to engage with them, and actually, as a tip, people will stay on the page longer to watch a video and then that kind of helps your rankings in Google.
Krista Ko: Cool, interesting.
Ame: I think because right now people are making a lot of Instagram content that’s basically like a blog post, they could turn that into a video, no problem, throw it up on YouTube, put it on their vlog and then bam, they’ve increased their audience.
Krista Ko: Totally. Yep, absolutely.
Making Your Business Stand Out in the Nutrition and Wellness Industry
Ame: My final question for you, how does someone make their business standout in the sea of nutrition and wellness professionals?
Krista Ko: The only true differentiator between any of us is us ourselves. That is the only true differentiator. The information is the same. Those are facts that there’s only so many different ways that you can present those facts, but what is different consistently is us and the perspective that we have on a topic, the lens through which we view a topic because we all have different backgrounds, we all bring different attributes and different backgrounds to the table.
The thing that’s going to differentiate us is inserting yourself into your business, making sure that you’re present in it and that you are showing up for it and that you are being personal, you’re building that relationship with your audience because again, people connect with people, they do. If I build that relationship with you through your social media, through your Instagram, whatever, so much more likely to want to work with you than if I’ve just seen some static Instagram post talking about vitamin C.
Ame: I agree.
Krista Ko: It’s putting you into your business.
Ame: All right. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me about this. I just want to do a quick summary so we can recap everything. You are the business coach for dietitians and you are helping dietitians actually take steps to get their business going and keep it going.
Krista Ko: Yes. Hey, that should be my tagline. That’s great! See, you’re such a copywriter. That needs to be my tagline.
Ame: Feel free to use that tagline.
Krista Ko: I may, you’re gonna see it show up on my website.
Ame: I hope so. Then, you work with dietitians, specifically because this community does need support. We are able to provide the information, we just need that extra push and for someone who is going down the entrepreneurial route, they need to commit and after that they need to clarify who they’re targeting, what they’re offering and then they need to actually start promoting themselves. Correct?
Krista Ko: Yeah, amazing summary!
Ame: Thank you. It’s all of my teaching days coming up.
Krista Ko: I love that. That’s amazing!
Ame: For people who are in the business already and then trying to expand, they need to clarify what they’re doing, be consistent and then also again, just get out there, promote themselves and keep going at it and have a website.
Krista Ko: Yeah, totally.
Ame: Those were the key points.
Krista Ko: Absolutely.
Ame: And if you’d like to contact Krista, work with her as your business coach, how can people contact you?
Ame: All right, awesome! Well, thank you again. This was fantastic to chat with you about this. Thanks for joining me today.