Professional Development Technology

Importance of Building a Strong Online Presence

For RDs, the importance of developing an online presence can’t be underestimated.

In an age when internet usage exceeds 2.4 billion users per day, more and more consumers are turning to the internet as their go-to source of health and nutrition information. As nationally recognized nutrition experts, we have a duty to be present online and represent our ideals of health and wellness in a clear and interactive fashion for the general public that’s actively seeking our guidance.

The beauty of the internet is that it’s possible for all dietitians to develop their own website for minimal startup costs, making a distant business dream an attainable reality. Today, your online presence essentially is equivalent to your typical “brick and mortar” storefront of the past. If you’re considering or currently pursuing an entrepreneurial business venture such as private practice, it’s absolutely critical to have a solid web presence, starting with your website, to attract and retain clients.

Having a strong online presence can mean the difference between success and failure for any entrepreneurial dietitian. Without it, consumers may not know how to find you or know whether you exist.

Here are some tips on how to use the internet to build your private practice and boost your brand:

  • Start a blog. Many people have a static website but not an active blog. If you fall into this category, starting one is essential. Blogging is a great way to tell people who you are, what services you provide, and who you can help. This will lead your ideal client directly to your website where they can purchase your products or services.
  • Get social. Being present on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube is a great, free way to build your brand and reach potential clients. With the evolution of telehealth and video coaching, location no longer limits your sphere of potential clients.
  • Learn more. The internet also is a good way to learn about current trends from peers and boost your general knowledge about a variety of nutrition topics to which you may not be exposed. This knowledge will be helpful while working with clients in your private practice.

E-Mail Marketing
Once you attract readers and potential clients to your blog and website, you’ll want to stay in contact with them in the future. This is where e-mail marketing comes into play. Whether your goal is to retain more clients or make more sales, collecting e-mail addresses on your website to start building an email list is critically important to your bottom line.

Here are a few simple ways to developing an e-mail list:

  • Ensure you have an onsite pop-up or stationary box where visitors can enter their name and email address.
  • Offer a free gift in exchange for their email address, such as a mini-eBook or exclusive article.
  • Send them a welcome email with their free gift thanking them for their interest in you and your company.

A thoughtful e-mail marketing campaign is the first step to internet marketing success for dietitians. It helps to build relationships between you and potential clients. It also helps solidify the notion that dietitians are trusted health and nutrition experts. This will, in turn, help build the successful online business you love with enthusiastic clients who support your work.

— Emily Kyle, MS, RDN, is a nutrition communications specialist based in Rochester, New York. She’s owner of Emily Kyle Nutrition, a nutrition communication and consultation company that crafts communication messages for various brands and companies, and she blogs about evidence-based nutrition information, and plant-based, whole foods recipes at emilykylenutrition.com.

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