One Good Thing About An Economic Crisis, I Guess

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People are worried about money…AND they’re worried about health. Is this the silver lining of economic uncertainty?

Turns out that people value their health more as their financial security dwindles.

So it’s no surprise that they’re thinking more about their health – and worrying about it more – according to a recent study.

Yet tight budgets and skimpy benefits plus skepticism about our healthcare system make it difficult for many consumers to figure out their best next steps.

The bottom-line: They’re thinking and worrying about their health – but they don’t know what to do about it!

After all, if you can’t afford and don’t quite trust our existing healthcare system to keep you well, where do you turn?

The obvious answer…

Obviously, the answer SHOULD be all of the health and wellness businesses that actually focus on prevention and self-care — health clubs, fitness centers, wellness centers, yoga studios, integrated medicine clinics and more.

Now, don’t confuse prevention with screening. Primary prevention means avoiding illness and injury in the first place. Health screenings aren’t really preventive at all. They’re really attempts to spot diseases during their early stages when we hope that treatment will be more successful.

And self-care is anything you do to maintain, improve, or restore health and can include the treatment or prevention of disease or illness.

Prevention and self-care includes healthy lifestyle choices – weight, physical activity, nutrition, no smoking, only moderate alcohol consumption, maintaining social connections, handling stress – in short, all the dimensions of a balanced and healthy lifestyle. And it also embraces self-directed treatment of illness and injury, whether conventional, alternative or complementary.

Taking nutritional supplements? That’s self-care.  Treating chronic joint pain with a program that combines hypnosis, resistance training, soft-tissue work and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories?  Yep, that’s self-care too.

Answering the customer’s “What do I do next?” question

To capitalize on the prevention and self-care opportunity, answer your potential customer’s question: “I’m thinking about my health. What do I do next?”

Have your marketing team package or bundle your services to address the problems and concerns that these customers have.

Don’t make your customers struggle to figure out which of your services can be combined to produce a healthy lifestyle. That’s the mistake most health and wellness businesses make. It’s not enough to provide a menu of products and services like this:

  • Pilates
  • Power Yoga
  • Spin Class Level 2
  • Therapeutic Massage
  • Relaxation Techniques
  • Nutritional Coaching
  • and so on….

Instead, package the appropriate a la carte services into solutions that make it easy for customers to spot the answer to their specific health concerns.

For example:

“I know I need to stop smoking, and cigarettes are so expensive…what should I do?”

Many states are looking at higher tobacco taxes to help close their budget gaps. So perhaps smoking and other tobacco cessation programs should be part of your repertoire. You might offer a smoking cessation program that combines prescription or OTC nicotine patches or gum with hypnosis, exercise and diet changes.

“I can’t afford to get sick…how can I take care of myself?”

People who have high-deductible insurance plans want to avoid doctor’s visits and medication, since they have to pay out of pocket. Lifestyle programs focused on maintaining and enhancing health and wellness through physical activity, nutrition and stress management are an obvious fit for these folks.

“Nothing’s working — but I can’t afford more doctors…what should I do instead?”

People with chronic discomfort – for example, fibromyalgia or lower back pain – are often fed up with conventional medical treatment to start with. Complementary and alternative treatments like acupuncture are much more affordable than referrals to specialists and surgery and often partner well with physical activity, nutrition and mind/body program components.

Answer the “what do I do now” question for customers and you’ll take the first step towards a valued and lasting relationship.