Are you ready to learn how to run a group nutrition program? Do you see other nutrition professionals launching their own groups, but you need help figuring out how to start one in your own practice? If so, then you’ve come to the right place!
This blog post outlines how to successfully run a group nutrition program in your nutrition coaching, integrative health, or other healthcare business. Here I will break it down into eight simple steps so you can start implementing your group nutrition program today!
What I love the most about running group programs is that you get to set your own schedule and choose when your sessions are and who can (or can’t) join. It’s up to you how many people will be in the program, how you will hold it if it is available to your existing clients or only new ones, and everything else!
Before launching your program, you’ll need to make some critical decisions.
Step 1: Decide the Length of Your Program and the Problem You Solve
You want to design your group program for maximum engagement. Engagement will help with your retention rates and also give you amazing testimonials! Your program should last 4-8 weeks, especially if this is your first one.
If your goal is to provide support for people looking to make changes, I recommend starting at four weeks. However, if you want to help people make significant lifestyle changes, start your program at eight weeks or even longer if needed. Anything more than 8-10 weeks will decrease your participation rates. Sometimes a shorter program is better.
What if your modality needs more time? Have a “Stage One” and “Stage Two”! It’s an easy fix and allows you to give more attention – and demand higher prices – for the people ready to take their progress to the next level.
Once you’ve decided on the length of your program, you also need to decide what problem you want to solve. The problem you’re solving could be related to weight loss, weight maintenance, food sensitivities, or any number of problems. It can also link to mental health, sleep issues, chronic pain, etc. Pick something you think would benefit from an individualized approach but can address in a group program.
Step 2: Identify the Ideal Client for This Program
Once you know what problem you want to address, you’ll need to identify your target audience for your nutrition practice and the nutrition coaching program you’re launching.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Who do you want to help?
- What are they struggling with?
- What has been holding them back from achieving their health or fitness goals?
- Do they have easy access to resources?
- How much time do they have each week or month?
- Do they already belong to coaching groups or programs?
These questions will help you focus on exactly who you want to help and what problem you will help them solve during your program.
Maybe your ideal client profile is someone who has made some dietary changes but still struggles with keeping those changes sustainable over time. They might have lost weight initially but struggle to maintain that initial progress. Or maybe they are following a healthy diet, but they still feel like they are stuck at a plateau.
Take the time to determine precisely what outcomes your participants will get from your group nutrition program.
One of the most important things to consider when identifying your ideal client for your program is that your ideal participants are open to change. They are ready to do what it takes to see new results in their lives, and they are committed to the process, even when it feels hard or uncomfortable.
Step 3: Create Your Group Program
Now that your target audience is figured out, it’s time to create your group program. The best way to get started is to create a template you can use repeatedly. As you develop your program, some parts don’t work as well as others. That’s okay! Just go back and edit your program until it works for you.
Your group program should include a schedule of events or workshops, a place to host resources like PDFs or shopping lists and a link to the online community (I recommend Facebook groups) where everyone will come together. In addition, you may want to plan for some fun activities such as “clean out your cabinet” challenges, fitness challenges, and other fun things to keep participation rates high.
For your nutrition coaching program, you’ll need to include:
- A description of your program (what it’s about)
- An outline of your program (the topics and activities you’ll teach)
- Detailed instructions on how to complete the activities
- Grocery lists and appropriate food choices
- Weekly meal plans with healthy meals (and tasty alternatives for cravings)
- Fitness programs
- Health goals and milestones
- Any individual or one-on-one aspects included (like a personal nutrition session or customized plans with grocery lists)
- Your ongoing nutrition education program once they have completed your group program
- Links to all of your social media platforms so they stay connected after the group program has ended
Step 4: Your Online Coaching Model: How Will You Run Your Group Program?
One of the biggest questions I get when people are wondering how to run a group nutrition program is, “How does it all work?”.
There are infinite ways to run a group nutrition program.
It’s up to you to decide what works best for your business and practice. What feels like the most fun for you? What gives the best outcome for the participants in your program?
You could use an online platform or a private Facebook group. You could also hold local meetups every week, or you could send out meal plans via email.
Or you could have a combination of all of these packaged up in your signature program.
Whatever method you choose, it’s vital that you set clear expectations with your participants. Ensure that everyone knows they will be expected to participate in every activity. They should also be aware that they won’t necessarily receive personal feedback on their progress unless they ask for it.
Step 5: Build Your Mailing List or Presale List
Start building an email list if you haven’t already done so. Maintaining contact with people who might be interested in joining your group nutrition program is essential. You can accomplish this by having an active email list and an option to get notified of your upcoming offers.
Your email list should include your existing client base and people interested in working with you in the future.
Personally, I create a segment of email subscribers who could be interested in my upcoming offers. Depending on your email service provider for your business, this can be done in different ways. While I love and use Simplero for my emails (among many other things), there is a wide selection of reliable companies you can depend on to take care of your email marketing.
Other tried-and-true email service providers are:
Unless your email list is massive or you have a wildly complex email marketing strategy, I don’t recommend companies like Infusion Soft or Constant Contact. Regardless of what provider you choose, just make sure you have the option to segment your contacts into interest groups.
Lead magnets are one of the best ways to grow your email list.
A lead magnet is a free digital gift like a PDF, recipe list, shopping list, or video that you offer to potential clients who opt-in to your newsletter or email list. You can easily create a beautiful lead magnet like an interesting recipe book or a three-day meal plan in an afternoon or less!
Email marketing experts say you can depend on one dollar of monthly income per email subscriber. This article explains how to calculate the value of each subscriber on your email list.
Step 6: Launch Your Program
After you’ve built your mailing list and created your group program, it’s time to launch your nutrition program! Give yourself a pat on the back and maybe even a glass of champagne.
You’ve accomplished what most people only think of doing. Don’t sell yourself short on how much you’ve put into this.
You’ve Launched Your Group Nutrition Program, Now What?
So now that you have launched your program, what do you do next?
The easiest way to get the buzz out is to announce it to your pre-sale list. You can also post links to your group program on your social media accounts. Or you could send out an email blast or newsletter to let your clients and other subscribers know about your new program. Just be sure to give your pre-sale list an added bonus or a special “early bird” discount!
As soon as someone signs up for your program, you’ll want to encourage them to join your private Facebook group. Let them know that once they do, they’ll immediately receive access to the weekly healthy eating and nutrition advice.
Once you have enough members in your group, you’ll want to hold an official launch party where you can introduce your new group nutrition program. At the party, you may want to give away prizes and incentives to keep it fun and engaging. You can also provide:
- Information about upcoming events.
- Important dates in your program.
- Upcoming workshops.
- Other health classes that you offer.
Step 7: Give Your Participants an Amazing Experience
Once you’ve developed an effective group coaching program for your business, lead magnet, and sales funnel, you’ll be able to sign up lots of new participants for the next round! When you give your group participants an amazing experience and outcome, you’ll create a buzz around your offer.
That means you need to start focusing on the people who will be working through the program.
Suppose you feel overwhelmed or need help managing your time when creating and delivering your group nutrition program. In that case, this blog post on Healthy Time Management Tips for Health Professionals may help you. Consider bringing on a virtual assistant to help you!
Regardless of the approach you choose and what you include in your program, make sure to give your members everything they need to succeed. Include detailed instructions, resources to help them along their journey, and other support materials so they don’t get stuck.
At this point, you should have a pretty good idea of what your participants need to do. Make sure to include detailed instructions and any necessary follow-up activities in your automated emails. Most email service providers like MailChimp, Active Campaign, or Convert Kit allow you to set these up ahead of time and send them without any additional time or effort on your part.
Step 8: Your Ongoing Nutrition Education Program
Now that you have a great set of tools for teaching your participants how to eat well, take care of their bodies or skin, or whatever else you help your clients with, you’ll want to continue providing ongoing nutrition education.
To keep things fresh and interesting for your clients, consider a lower-level ongoing program where you give advice and support.
Sadly, this is one of those things that gets overlooked when health professionals are looking into how to run a group nutrition program. Not only are you leaving money on the table, your people still need your support!
Since your business is unique to you, only you will know what your participants will need after completing your group program.
It may look like:
- A fitness club that helps everyone keep motivated
- A monthly session that has educational materials on fad diets, grocery shopping, meal planning on their own, or keeping a food journal.
- Anything else you can share that helps them learn how to get the maximum benefit from what they’ve learned in your group program.
This ongoing plan is not a deep-dive program but more of an ongoing support group that helps you generate passive income in your nutrition practice.
Final Thoughts on Running Your Group Program
Creating an online program can feel like a daunting task. If you take it step-by-step and plan out your program materials, how much time you’ll spend each week or month, and add the tasks to your calendar, you can launch your program, grow your client list, and increase your revenue in no time.
While putting yourself out there may be outside of your comfort level, the payoff is well worth it.
Your clients need your extensive experience and expertise to overcome their obstacles and transform their lives!