Here’s the difference between a good wellness business and a great one:
A great wellness business helps their customers build positive habits around their product, motivated by the desire to reach their health goals.
They know their customers health goals and the obstacles they’re facing to get there.
Trying to get customers to use your product habitually is essential for health and wellness businesses, and for good reason.
Once your product becomes a part of your customer’s routine, that’s when they will use it the most, reap the full benefits, repurchase it, trust your brand and stay loyal.
However, it can be very difficult to get loyal customers to use your product habitually, especially when it comes to health and wellness, because motivation is so flakey.
According to StudyFinds, the average person gives up on positive lifestyle changes after just 7 weeks.
But there are 7 key things you should do to build loyal customers through habit formation:
1) Set their expectations
If your customers don’t know what to expect when using a product, it’s very possible they’ll lose faith and give up on the habit forming process.
A great example of this is with skincare.
Let’s say a customer decides to purchase a new face wash, specifically designed to reduce acne flare-ups and improve complexion.
As much as we’d like to think so, it’s unlikely using this product routinely will instantly transform their skin.
Most wellness products take time to produce the results they’ve promised.
But the vital question is, does the customer know and expect this?
Unfortunately, customers can be impatient, make snap judgements and run when they don’t immediately see the effects of a product.
So they need to be appropriately informed about what they’re using, what to expect, and why it’s beneficial to them.
You could create guides and email updates on what to expect across each stage of the customer journey to help reassure and motivate customers to continue the habit forming process.
Providing this personalised support also demonstrates intent. It shows them you have their best interests at heart, and most importantly, you want them to reach their desired goal as much as they do.
At the same time, underlining what to expect throughout the customer journey improves business credibility. You’re demonstrating your expertise in your product area.
And therefore, your customers are more likely to trust you.
Customer experience (CX) also has a huge part to play.
For example, the packaging, the materials used, the company’s stance on controversial topics such as sustainability, animal testing or fast fashion.
If a customer pays for a high-end product, they’ll expect packaging commensurate with that quality.
They’ll appreciate a product that looks and feels luxurious, because it supports their desired experience.
And they’ll miss that feeling when the product runs out, increasing the chance of them becoming a repeat customer.
So essentially, you should go above and beyond with your customer expectations.
Providing the best customer experience can form loyal customers by gently reassuring them to continue with the habit-forming process.
2) Send them reminders
Consistency is key to building habits and loyal customers.
When a customer makes their first purchase, this is when they’re most interested in you.
So when they first buy, ask your customers a few questions to get a better understanding of their interests.
One of the most important things we recommend asking is:
“What is your health goal?”
Because ultimately, this tells you what MOTIVATES them.
Motivation is key to connecting with your customers and encourages them to build habits.
To put this into practice, you can send them an email with some pre-set buttons to select their goal.
For example, a protein company may list their customers common goals as:
- Losing weight
- Stronger immune system
- Muscle growth
- Lower calorie intake
Don’t forget to let your customers know that providing this information will give them a better, more personalised experience as an incentive for them to engage.
An email like this is quick and easy to implement, and can add a lot of value to your marketing.
You can then build separate automated email journeys to send them on, with messages that focus on content related to their specific health goal.
These messages should aim to support, remind and encourage customers to stick at their goals, in a positive and affirming way.
Your messaging will resonate more with your customers if you do this, as the content will be relevant to their interests and motivations.
Then the habit building will begin, and you’ll take the first step towards work towards creating a loyal customer.
3) Enable their ‘habit loop’
Helping your customers form a habit is a lot easier if you understand the psychology behind how the brain forms them.
It’s not as complicated as it sounds.
According to research from the University College London, a habit can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form. The key is getting the habit to become automatic behaviour. And when this happens, the ‘habit loop’ keeps us doing it.
So, to optimise habit building for your customers, frame your marketing messages around enabling their habit loop. The habit loop consists of 3 actions:
1. The Cue: This is the activity or scenario that triggers your habit.
Often, another part of your daily routine becomes associated with a new habit as they usually end up happening consecutively.
For example, brushing your teeth may remind you to floss or use mouthwash. Or eating lunch may remind you to take your medication.
A great way to encourage your customers to habitualise using your product is to recommend the best time to take or use it.
Associate it with another activity you know will be a part of their daily routine.
This recommendation should be established consistently through your marketing, messaging and even the packaging/instructions of the product.
For example, a moisturiser may be best to use at night, so the brand could specify it’s best applied after brushing your teeth, before the customer goes to bed.
Another example could be a supplement that needs to be taken daily, could recommend customers take them after eating breakfast.
2. The Routine: The habit itself – i.e taking a supplement, drinking a protein shake, applying moisturiser etc
3. The Reward: Arguably the most important step, this is the ‘prize’ awarded after completing the habit, that makes us want to repeat it.
This could be the dopamine that comes with feeling accomplishment or seeing improvement towards your goal.
You should always aim to reward your customers as much as possible.
But it’s difficult to know exactly if or when your customer has used your product, so you can’t reward them as soon as they complete their habit.
So instead, the best way to create that dopamine for your customers is to help them internalise the benefits and rewards it will give them.
If they remember the good your product is doing them, when they use it, they will naturally feel rewarded.
To do this, you need to consistently drip feed this positive information to them.
Find out what makes your customers feel good about themselves, which is most likely making progress towards their personal health goals.
Consistently praise them for their progress, emphasise benefits and the good they’re doing for themselves to create a rewarding feeling that makes them want to keep using your product long into the future.
4) Provide role models
We all have an ‘ideal self’, made from our hopes and desires.
But often this can feel impossible to achieve, leaving us feeling unmotivated and unfulfilled.
The right role model can be great at motivating us to work towards our ideal self, as they mirror our goals, and prove it’s doable.
It’s much easier to attach ourselves to a person, rather than a brand.
Role models have loyal fans, so you can use them to create loyal customers.
A great example of this is Gymshark and their “Gymshark athletes”: essentially brand ambassadors that are used to promote the brand.
Gymshark carefully picks who they showcase, as each athlete needs to completely embody their customer’s ideal self.
If customers admire these athletes, and see that they’re wearing Gymshark whilst making progress towards their fitness goals, they’re more likely to support the brand to be like them.
This is a much more organic and effective way to connect with customers and build habits, as they’re fuelled by the feeling of admiration to motivate them to keep going and stay loyal to you.
5) Support them when they’re struggling
Progress is never linear, and your customers are only human.
Most are bound to forget to use your product every now and again.
And all of them will face rough patches where they want to give up on their goals when the going gets tough.
Show, don’t tell your customers you care by being there for them when they need you most.
You can use your data and customer behaviour tracking to find common points where they tend to ‘fall off’ and stop using your product or interact with you.
For example, customers who are taking a protein powder to increase their strength, may not feel the effects until a few months down the line, despite consistently taking the supplements.
This can be quite disheartening for them, and motivation can drop to 0 if customers feel like they’re not making progress.
They probably will begin to question if your product even works at all, and giving up on using it will be the first thing they do.
If you want loyal customers, stay loyal and be there for them.
Offer support, advice and encouragement that connects with their situation, motivations and goals.
Don’t generalise, or your messages will be inaccurate and come across as disingenuous. Look at YOUR data, listen to YOUR customers, support THEIR needs at the right time.
Remind your customers what they’re working towards. Use what you know they care about (their goals) to encourage them, then your marketing messages will be really effective.
Offer them rewards for sticking at their habits, or incentives to keep going.
This could be as simple as a discount or a free guide with advice to help them.
These messages can be placed into a pre-planned sequence, and triggered to send at the right time, automatically using marketing automation software.
Helping customers overcome the struggles that stop them using your product is the best way to build loyal customers.
6) Break old habits
Forming new habits is hard.
And it can be even harder to form a habit if you’re trying to replace an old one.
So it’s important to ask yourself:
- Do my customers need to break any old habits before using my product?
- Are there any other lifestyle habits they’re trying to break or improve on related to their health goals?
- How can I help them overcome these?
For example, a customer taking a supplement to increase their energy may also need to break unhealthy eating habits to support their goal.
If you were that supplement company, you could then send them a guide on how to implement healthy eating into their diet, more information on the benefits of certain foods for the body to increase energy, or even healthy meal recipes to improve energy levels.
Supportive resources like this go beyond simply advertising the product to customers, putting their personal needs before your own.
Your marketing shouldn’t be about you, it should be about your customers.
So going above and beyond to help them overcome their other struggles to achieve their goals shows you really understand and care about them, helping you form a genuine, loyal relationship.
Informative resources like this also demonstrate your knowledge. If customers feel helped by your advice, it gives them a great customer experience and increases their trust in you tenfold.
And customers that have a great experience and trust you are much more likely to stay loyal.
7) Make the right impression
You can follow every single one of these steps to help guide your customers into forming habits, but at the end of the day, if your company comes off as disingenuous then these efforts are simply a waste of time and money.
Customers can suss out disingenuity and dishonesty a mile off. If you come across like you’re only out for their money, it won’t take long until they take their custom elsewhere.
After all, the market is oversaturated with companies that provide similar products or services.
So impressions matter.
Here’s what you can do to ensure that you make the right impression to your customers:
Whilst communication with your customers is important, it’s vital that you don’t bombard your customers with emails or marketing.
Effective communication often incorporates timing.
Believe it or not, way too many companies are too trigger happy to ask for customer feedback, with some waiting as little as three days before asking for a review.
The customer probably hasn’t received the product in the post yet, and even if they have, they most likely haven’t witnessed the effects of using the product.
So, the request for a review will seem irritating and desperate.
If you’re emailing your customers too often, your messaging won’t seem genuine, and your messages will just become white noise in their already overcrowded inbox.
Emailing your customers at the appropriate time, in a way that’s neither pushy or rude will improve your customer engagement.
And if your customers are engaged, they’re more likely to support your brand, follow your advice and most importantly, form habits with your products.
It’s a tricky tightrope to walk, but you can get it right with the help of an expert.
It’s extremely difficult to influence your customer’s behaviour. But following the aforementioned steps will help you build loyal customers in a way that feels natural and rewarding for them.
The key takeaway is: understanding what your customer wants to achieve through your product is paramount to creating perfectly tailored content to motivate and inspire them to keep using it.
This can be discovered through asking about their health goals at the beginning of your relationship.
Then mapping out customer journeys through messages that consistently:
your customers, is the best way to motivate them to build healthy, happy habits with your product: creating loyal customers that last a lifetime.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can put these plans into action and build a loyal customer base…