Eight Reasons Fitness & Health Websites Don’t Work

Wondering if your yoga, fitness, weight loss or medical website has the right stuff? Watch out for these landmines.

1. Superficial, generic content or marketing “fluff”

Your wellness business’s website content exists for a reason: to compel visitors to take action.

Every piece of content should do a job:

  • Tell users who are ready to take action where to go next — Ready to join our mailing list, download a brochure, or sign up for a yoga class? Here’s our form!
  • Remove objections or hesitation (sales “friction”) — for instance, by reassuring folks who take the big leap to a purchase that you have a satisfaction guarantee.
  • Build trust — For instance, reassure your visitors that your staff are professionals, your approach is science-based, or that you will not continue to recommend treatments that aren’t effective
  • Deliver on what your PPC search ads promised — for instance, contact information to schedule an appointment, a link to Chat Now to Find Out More.
  • Reveal details to the curious — What goes on in a yoga class anyway? Is it a religion? What if I can’t stretch like the lady in the picture? Is it safe for expecting mothers or folks who’ve had back surgery?
  • Reassure prospects they’re taking the right action — for instance, by sharing testimonials from satisfied customers.
  • Move the sales process forward — even if it doesn’t result in an immediate sale. It’s especially true in wellness that people who want to take action spend significant time in the Contemplation stage. While they’re contemplating, keep them engaged and informed and help them build their own case for taking action.

There are many more reasons to include particular types of content on your website, and in every case, that content should be compelling and unique to your business.

The last thing you want to do is load your site up with a lecture about the dangers of a high carbohydrate diet or something you copied from an article in Yoga Journal. It doesn’t help people learn about what makes your business different; and even if it attracts clicks, you have nothing to show for the effort.

2. Failure to target best-fit market segments

We’ve talked to prospective clients whose target customer was, in their own words, “men or women between the ages of 25 and 65.” That’s literally almost everyone except people who are barely old enough to vote and drink, and seniors!

Yet by the end of the conversation, the answer has become much more nuanced: 60% women, over the age of 40, with some disposable income, within a 15-minute drive of Big City’s Suburb X.

Even that is barely enough to meaningfully target a Google ad.

For a market segment to be a “best fit”, you need a reasonable idea of your ideal customer, his or her daily life, health, weight, nutrition or fitness aspirations, challenges, prior experiences and disappointments, and what in their mind (not yours!) drives them to check out your business.

Ideally, this matches the customers you already have, particularly your most loyal clients who keep coming back.

Then you need to quantify how many such customers can be reached given your budget, look at the cost of ad campaigns, click-through, conversion costs, and conversion rates, and determine whether you can actually make a profit selling to that ideal customer, given your prices and service delivery costs.

If you can reach them with a compelling, personally resonant message and convert them into a customer at a reasonable cost, then they’re a good fit. If not, you’re chasing leads that have no money, no interest, or no time — in which case they’re not your ideal customer after all.

3. Ineffective or nonexistent lead magnets

Let’s suppose you actually do have a good idea of your wellness business’s ideal customer.

Why aren’t they buying?

Chances are they’ve never heard of you, or there’s something you haven’t told them, they can’t tell why you’re different, it’s not the right time for them to buy, or your price is just a little too high for their budget. Maybe they’re not convinced your program is as transformational as it sounds.

Lead magnets can be anything: a downloadable brochure, a case study, an open house announcement, printable guess passes, offers only available to email subscribers, sign-up for a free introductory class, or something else — but they all have a price: prospects have to tell you something about themselves, even if it’s just a comment, an email address, a survey response, or a follow or like.

If your website and other online platforms don’t connect with people willing and interested in doing at least one of these things, they’re not doing their job of sparking relationships with prospects.

4. Failure to address common site visitor goals

Most site visitors are there for a reason. For example:

  • To learn your location and hours of operation
  • To find out if your nutritional plan is really keto-friendly
  • To see if your meditation classes fit their work schedule
  • To provide a run-down of pricing packages and options
  • To get answers to the last few questions stopping them from signing up for a gym membership
  • To find out what the atmosphere in your women’s wellness center is really like

If you know your ideal customer, your website can anticipate their needs: for example, making it easy to schedule a chat or phone call, check your hours, get directions, or download a program participant’s handbook.

Don’t forget to address the needs of current customers, too. What tasks do they want to perform on your site? Renew a membership? Check the class schedule for today or this week? Check on whether you’re open when it’s 5 degrees outside?

5. Ineffective or nonexistent call-to-action

Ask yourself: what’s your most common or successful way of converting leads to customers? Is it:

  • A phone conversation?
  • A web chat?
  • Calls or clicks from search ads?
  • A series of increasingly specific emails followed by a purchase?
  • A “buy now” / “sign up now” link?
  • Click-throughs from Google My Business?
  • Walk-in traffic with customers presenting coupons, offers, or other material printed from your website?
  • A dialogue that started with engagement with one of your Facebook ads?

Make sure you’ve chosen a realistic call to action. For example, most folks won’t sign up for a year-long membership sight-unseen. A call to action designed to encourage an in-person visit so they can experience your business makes more sense. On the other hand, they’re usually happy to sign up for a free class or guest pass online without any firsthand experience with your program.

Then, make sure your website enables that process in ways that make sense in the 21st century.

Ensure your phone number on the website is a click-to-call link. Your site’s maps and directions should make it simple to initiate a Google Maps or Apple Maps session. Include chat capabilities and push notification signups if that clicks for your customers, instead of relying on email because it’s easiest for you. Think about using SMS text messaging to fulfill guest passes.

6. Buggy site with broken links and slow load times

When clients don’t have in-house website content and development teams, they draw on freelancers and part-timers, sometimes friends and family. Too often, this means their sites gradually turn into “barnacles” – layers of stuff accumulate over time that don’t serve a purpose and actually get in the way.

Dozens of plugins, chosen only because the developer didn’t really know much about HTML or CSS or native integration with Google platforms, broken code, incredibly slow load times…you get the idea.

By the time we’re involved, they’ve been through half a dozen “developers” and have no idea who their webhost is, what their passwords are, or why Oleg Czyrnyk has been making changes to their class enrollment page, since he hasn’t been asked to do any work in 16 months.

Sites like this are nearly always recoverable, but you need to act sooner rather than later, because the problems just get messier as time passes.

Meanwhile, every day you don’t act is a day your revenue and customer growth suffers.

7. Out-of-date content

We talked with a prospective client recently whose small wellness business had dozens of partially-completed “stub” web pages left over from someone’s attempt to improve their website’s lead generation.

Unfortunately, those pages were still live and hooked into the site navigation. That means site indexers are crawling them, organic search results will show them, and leads will wonder if you’re really the kind of wellness expert they want to work with.

8. A focus on societal issues, not client concerns

Passion to create a healthier tomorrow motivates many of us in the fitness and wellness business.

For many, that naturally leads to conversations about the big problems we want to fix, like the “obesity epidemic” or the “opioid epidemic” or the practices of Big Pharma and Big Food.

Guess what. Your leads don’t care about these things. Even if you’re offering a substance abuse intervention program or a weight loss program or an alternative to expensive risky prescriptions drugs.

They care about their personal experiences and their personal goals, which at best are merely adjacent to these big societal issues. They want to know how your program will help their specific situation and overcome their specific obstacles and fit their specific lifestyle.

Don’t believe us? Go read your own customer reviews. You will not once see a customer mention the “obesity epidemic” or say that they chose your mindfulness program because it’s high time someone disrupted Big Pharma.

Instead, you’ll see them explain what they were looking for, talk about their hopes and fears based on prior experiences, describe what held them back, and illuminate why they finally took action, bought what you were selling, and keep coming back.

Answer those questions, and your website will earn its keep.