An Essential Guide to Influencer Marketing for Health and Wellness Ecommerce Brands

GRIN also recommends this free guide: How to Get ROI from Influencer Marketing.

woman meditating in a forest

Health and wellness is now a $6 trillion dollar industry (and growing). Thanks to technology, it is easier than ever before to deliver products and services to customers, clients, and patients all over the world using health and wellness influencer marketing.

Graph depicting value of the health and wellness market worldwide in 2019 and 2025 in billion US dollars
Image via Statista

With the growth of health and wellness brands, many consumers are wary of misinformation while trying to save on medical costs. As a result, succeeding in this industry requires ecommerce brands to think carefully about how they can demonstrate credibility.

Health & wellness industry: An overview

Health and wellness refers to a broad range of products and services that address one’s quality of life, including (but not limited to) nutrition, mental/emotional health, fitness, work-life balance, and spirituality.

This industry is often referred to as holistic because it addresses every aspect of what it means to be happy and healthy. Additionally, traditional medicine is pushing health and wellness into the future thanks in large part to telehealth trends.

An Essential Guide to Influencer Marketing for Health and Wellness Ecommerce Brands 1
Image via The University of Vermont

Many health and wellness products/services overlap with other industries. For example, fitness and nutrition often foster their own communities interested in an active, diet-conscious lifestyle. Similarly, nutrition supplements often find their way into mental/emotional health conversations.

Because of the personal nature of the health and wellness industry, consumers tend to be apprehensive about who they trust. Specialized expertise builds credibility with audiences, and product word-of-mouth is key for brand success

Because consumers tend to be suspicious of companies they don’t know, brands can achieve instant credibility with health and wellness influencer marketing–partnering with industry experts and key opinion leaders on social media, aka influencers.

Ecommerce

A surprising amount of health and wellness products and services are now sold online. And this trend is real for both traditional medicine and lifestyle brands.

One major impact of COVID-19 is an increased awareness of preventative care, emotional wellbeing, and accessing health and wellness products and services from home. 

As a result, consumer online demand for holistic products and services has exploded. Not only has this forced traditional brick-and-mortar brands to adapt, but it has also opened the door for new health and wellness categories.

Among those ecommerce brands meeting the growing online demand are…

  • Fitness
    • Apparel
    • Workout equipment
    • Virtual coaching
  • Nutrition
    • Meal prep
    • Recipes
    • Virtual coaching
    • Supplements
  • Telehealth
  • Mental health services
  • Health & wellness apps
  • Health & wellness wearables
  • Wellness tourism
  • Alternative medicine
  • CBD products
  • Mindfulness & spirituality education

Creators

Health and wellness creators include a mix of credentialed and non-credentialed influencers. Social media users frequently flock to those authoritative voices that resonate with their values or showcase a lifestyle to which they aspire.

A number of health and wellness influencers are entrepreneurs who seek to inform audiences for their own brands or product collaborations. Others nurture their online communities to share tips, information, or uplift others.

But what they all have in common is a deep desire to help their followers.

Influencer marketing in health & wellness

When it comes to influencer marketing in the health and wellness industry, marketers must exercise care to adhere to safety protocols (both legal and ethical), partner with reputable creators, and grow their brand. To do this well, earning consumer trust is key.

“Influencer marketing is the most effective way to build a valuable brand—IF it’s done well. What’s the secret? Trust. When people trust someone’s endorsement of your brand, when they can sense the relationship is real, they believe it—and they’ll buy.”

– GRIN, Authentic Influencer Marketing

Once they earn this trust, marketers must think about what type of creator and content will best attract their ideal customers. 

Most effective types of content

Depending on your brand, certain content types will do a better job of showcasing your product than others. Some brands can resonate with a target audience just by means of posting an IRL (in real life) image on Instagram with a thoughtful caption.

health food influencer cooking in kitchen surrounded by ingredients

But many brands prefer to educate their audiences with the help of industry experts. These informative posts include:

  • Tutorials (blogs, videos, image carousels, etc.)
  • FAQs (blogs, videos, live events, etc.)
  • Product reviews or unboxing
  • Experiential marketing events serving niche audiences

Finding the right experts/creators

Just because a creator doesn’t have formal degrees in a particular field doesn’t mean that they can’t endorse your product with authority and authenticity. That said, many health and wellness creators are fully credentialed therapists, doctors, dieticians, etc.

What’s most important is that you know who your audience is. Using tools like Buyer Personas can help you narrow your focus to your ideal customer types. The influencers you collaborate with should match your ideal customer profile and maintain strong relationships with members of your target audience online.

FTC guidelines

“When consumers see or hear an advertisement, whether it’s on the Internet, radio or television, or anywhere else, federal law says that ad must be truthful, not misleading, and, when appropriate, backed by scientific evidence.”

Federal Trade Commission

Health and wellness brands and creators must follow FTC guidelines for “truth in advertising.” That means that any marketing messages that mislead consumers are subject to federal prosecution in the United States. 

Violating FTC marketing laws can result in one or more of the following:

  • Frozen assets (both business and personal)
  • Fines
  • Payment in damages to plaintiffs
  • Incarceration
  • Business closure

Both brand decision-makers and creators can be held liable for injury or death resulting from a marketing campaign that misled a consumer. For this reason, health and wellness brands (particularly those that offer food, beverage, or medical products) must be cautious about claims related to improving one’s physical wellbeing.

How to run a successful health & wellness influencer marketing campaign

Step 1 – Define your target audience.

Knowing your target audience is always important in marketing, but being able to pinpoint your audience niches is especially critical for health and wellness brands. The more specific you can get with your ideal customer profiles, the easier it will be to find creators who represent that audience. More importantly, a well-defined target audience will make it easier for you to reach like-minded customers.

Step 2 – Set your campaign goals & KPIs.

Every influencer campaign needs a clear set of objectives. Take a moment to record two or three high-level goals (increase brand awareness, drive sales, etc.)  you’d like to achieve with the help of your health and wellness creators.

After setting campaign goals, you can break down each goal into measurable key performance indicators (KPIs). To help you create strong KPIs, identify performance metrics (engagements, link clicks, etc.) that demonstrate how well your campaign is working. You can use these metrics to craft your KPIs using achievable numbers and deadlines.

Step 3 – Recruit your top creator prospects.

As you peruse the selection of health and wellness influencers, create a shortlist of some of your favorites. You can reach out to them privately in a direct message or email, track replies, and manage creators that show interest in your brand.

A key piece of your recruiting process will be having your creators test your product or service for themselves. Before you onboard them into your program, it’s critical to identify people who genuinely love your brand. This mindset ensures campaign authenticity and best results.

Step 4 – Compose a campaign brief with guidelines & terms.

A campaign brief is the official agreement between you and your creator on what they will post in exchange for payment/gifts. Within this brief, consider adding the following:

  • Campaign goals & KPIs
  • Type(s) of post that are acceptable
  • Any key tags, hashtags, links, promo codes
  • General guidelines to generate best results

Step 5 – Launch your campaign & track post performance.

Having properly planned your campaign, it’s time to launch. The more you can do to track your creator posts, the easier it will be to see how well your campaign is doing. By keeping track of engagement and performance metrics on a spreadsheet (or within an influencer marketing platform), you will be able to find out who your top performers are, as well as which messages resonate most with audiences.

Step 6 – Evaluate results, refine strategy, & relaunch new campaigns.

After each campaign, reflect on what went well and what didn’t. Over time, you’ll know how to make the most out of your creator campaigns.

Many marketers include their top health and wellness creators in discussions when assessing a campaign’s effectiveness. After representing your brand to their audience, they are likely to have amazing insights that will both improve campaign results and also inform your product development team. 

Examples of great health & wellness influencer campaigns

1. Hims & Hers

Forhims.com and Forhers.com offer a full scope of healthcare and wellness products catered to men and women respectively. To raise awareness and earn consumer trust, Hims & Hers launched brand ambassador programs, #himspartner and #herspartner

The brand announced their ambassador programs with the help of Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez, both of whom are ambassadors for the company’s wellness and skincare products.

2. Nutrabolt

Nutrabolt creates beverages and supplements for those on an active lifestyle. It oversees Cellucor, C4, and XTEND products and leans on health and wellness influencers to grow their brand.

One of Nutrabolt’s favorite strategies is to showcase their products among fitness instructors. Not only do instructors demonstrate industry knowledge, but they also use and love Nutrabolt products. 

3. Highline Wellness

Like most CBD brands, Highline Wellness had many challenges marketing their products on social media. They were unable to produce traditional ads and changed their strategy to include influencer collaborations.

The brand intentionally chose creators of all sizes across several different health and wellness categories. Macro influencers built brand recognition and credibility, while micro influencers reached niche markets to drive sales.

The campaign was so successful that Highline maintain the  #highlinewellnesspartner ambassador program for their top influencers.

5 health & wellness influencers to watch in 2021

1. @jessiepaege

When it comes to mental health, sexual health, music, and fashion, Jessie Paege encourages followers to be true to themselves, love each other, and embrace life to the fullest. She is a brand ambassador for Bellesa and an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.

2. @meharbhagat

Mehar is not a doctor or personal trainer. But her charm, inspiration, and insight have caused many conscious fans to engage her posts. She encourages her followers to try different recipes for nutrition and gut health while also identifying fitness regimens that prioritize personal delight over weight/appearance goals.

3. @jonathanblakenyc

Jonathan Blake is a motivated personal trainer, massage therapist, and nutritionist. Within a weeks’ worth of posts, he will deliver crossfit tutorials, delicious recipes, and inspirational thoughts. Fans love his mentorship style, as well as his eye for beautiful, visual content.

4. @fitsoulkitchen

Nancy Odogwu is an investment banker who launched a health food blog and is now a beloved nutrition and recipe creator. In addition to her mouth-watering, Southern-style dishes, she is a Weight Watchers ambassador and proud mom to three boys.

5. @shainamarie.b

Shaina Fata is an ISSA-certified personal trainer and CBD advocate. She is also an expert yogi with a health and wellness blog. She offers live classes, workout programs, and hundreds of free video tutorials on Instagram. 

Conclusion: Leverage trusted health and wellness influencers to connect with engaged, niche audiences.

The future is bright for health and wellness influencer marketing in 2021 and beyond. For those brands that nurture long-lasting relationships with the right health and wellness creators, the future is even brighter.

Key opinion leaders in nutrition, fitness, medicine, and mental health can add instant credibility for products within their fan base. Additionally, authentic endorsements from health and wellness advocates with engaged online communities can help brands boost awareness, sales, and product development.

Stop wondering whether your brand is making an impact with customers online. Manage influential customer relationships in just a few clicks with GRIN today.

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