Let’s bust some myths about fitness, nutrition and wellness websites. What wellness customers want to see may surprise you.
What kind of website maximizes sales?
First, how would your management team answer this question?
What kinds of websites are likeliest to turn prospective health club members or wellness clients into customers?
- Attractive, professional-looking websites that are artistically designed
- Interactive websites with videos, slideshows and other “gee-whiz” elements
- Websites that make it easy for them to find the information they want
Answer: 76% of consumers say #3 is most important: making it easy to get the information they want.
Only 10% say “beautiful appearance” and only 9% say “interactive.” (HubSpot, 2012).
Other research backs up this finding: only 9% of consumers say that “an ugly website would really put me off using a local business.” (BrightLocal, 2012).
I can vouch for this through personal experience. We provided content for a wellness website that was maintained by the business owner and had obvious problems with distorted images and fonts. It actually made me a bit nuts to see how bad it looked compared to most other websites. But the truth is that their business was thriving, and their new clients frequently said that they chose this business because it was so easy to get all the information they wanted off the site.
So, lesson learned: pay attention to what customers tell you. Your CEO or GM’s opinion about what’s “pretty” isn’t all that valuable when it comes to website design and content.
Here’s a quick check: look at how your website budget is split between graphic design, technical development and content development.
Many wellness businesses spend it all in the first two categories and have an intern or an admin write the content.
Given these research findings, do you really want the least-experienced, least-skilled person in your business creating your web content?
So what are prospective members and clients looking for?
Jot down your answers to this quick self-assessment:
- True or False: It’s better not to put prices on your health club website. Prices can “scare” off potential clients.
- True or False: It’s important to include your Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter links on your yoga studio’s home page. Everyone’s on social these days.
- True or False: The Contact page is where you should put your wellness center’s location and phone number. After all, where else would people look for it?
In order, here’s what consumers say matters most on your website. How does your site compare?
1. List of prices and services
Does your website include this information?
Many health clubs still don’t even hint at their prices on their websites. Big mistake. That’s old-school thinking, based on the silly idea that your face-to-face powers of persuasion will somehow overcome a prospect’s belief that your prices are higher than they’re going to pay. (And then GMs wonder why turnover is high and retention is low…)
It’s okay to show a range of prices, or to say “Packages starting at…”.
It’s not okay to say nothing about your prices.
Think about it for a minute–if I think $129/month is too much, I’m not the prospect you want to invest time in.
You want the prospective client who thinks $129/month is fine, IF the value is there–because then your selling strategies focus on demonstrating value and quality, not arguing about price.
2. Easy to spot telephone number, email address, physical address and directions
Every wellness business website without exception should have a main navigation link to a Contact page from its home page and every sub-page.
And that Contact page should have business hours, phone number, email address, Google Maps link AND a location graphic that shows your business relative to major intersections or landmarks AND text directions from the major points of approach (“From Fort Worth: take Highway 360…”).
In addition: put your phone number and email address or email form link in the upper right-hand corner of every single page of the site. Put your physical address with zip in the footer of every page. The Internet has trained consumers who visit websites to look for this information, in these locations; and this data also helps your ranking in search engine results.
3. Customer testimonials
Here’s what you must understand: potential members and clients trust complete strangers to tell them about your business more than they trust you to tell them about it.
That’s why Yelp is so important for local businesses, and it’s why prospects want to see customer feedback.
Your website must include plenty of verbatim, unedited customer comments. Update them frequently. If you haven’t updated your testimonials since you launched your refreshed site back in 2009, you’re dropping the ball. I also suggest dating each testimonial with the year so that it’s clear evidence of your long track record of success.
Also important, though not at the top of the list:
- Clear photos of your wellness business, inside and out – so that they can preview the experience
- A personal message from the business owner or manager with a photograph – you’re putting a face on your business
And very last on the list….
Links to social media profiles like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. That’s right, potential customers aren’t interested in your social accounts at this point. So, if you haven’t slapped those logos on your home page yet and your business is not active on social media, that’s fine. However, if you are actively maintaining social accounts for your business, it’s easy to place the links. But #1, #2, #3 above are what really count.
How does your website compare?
Set your website improvement priorities with these questions:
- Does your website include detailed information about your programs, services and pricing?
- Does your website make it super-easy for potential customers to find you?
- Does your website include lots of frequently updated verbatim customer comments?
You’ve just created your new website to-do list!