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Eight Steps to Designing Your Niche Program

Part II

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Casey ConradCasey Conrad

In last month's article on designing a niche program for your facility, we focused on the first four steps. These included deciding on a niche category, determining the length of the program, establishing measurement guidelines, and outlining the exercise component. In this article, we will address the final four components: creating educational elements, marketing, conversion strategies and improvement strategies.

Step 5. Educational Elements. Although it is the 5th step in the process, experience has allowed us to realize that incorporating educational elements into any niche wellness program is critical. Remember that individuals participating in many of these programs are not fitness people; they have a health concern and are seeking answers to their issue. Whether it is diabetes, joint health or better sleep, an individual wants to make health improvements. Therefore, behavioral change at some level is necessary.

The behavioral change model has six stages: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance and termination. The two primary things that push someone from one stage to the next are significant emotional experiences and/or education. Very often, individuals begin a program (or make a purchase) because of a Significant Emotional Experience (S.E.E.). For example, seeing a current picture of themselves is upsetting, or they receive a negative report from their doctor, or perhaps, an event like a wedding, class reunion or vacation is approaching. S.E.E.s are great for initiating a start, but often, they lack the long-term motivation, especially when a deadline passes. We know, therefore, that education creates a strong "stickiness" factor for change.

What type of education are we referring to? Anything that will help the individual better understand his issue, the causes AND the potential solutions. Therefore, if you were to run a program for diabetics, the education would include understanding exactly what diabetes is and the two different types, and then, you would go through dietary, exercise and lifestyle factors that contribute to either more problems or better outcomes. Within each of these categories, there is a plethora of information that can be covered. Based on the timeframe of your program, you can adjust the amount of education up or down.

The most important aspect of your educational elements is that they are "evergreen." In the marketing world, evergreen means that the content lasts for a very, very long time. With my clients, I take that concept one step further and encourage them to get the content online in a webinar format. Doing this ensures a "one and done" approach and completely removes the issue of hosting live events where attendance is the scary unknown! In addition to removing live event stress, another benefit of webinars is they can easily be put into an auto responder program that delivers content to participants in a specific time sequence. This accomplishes several things:

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