How to Start an Online Business in the Health Niche
It’s been one of the hottest niches since the invention of e-commerce… since the beginning of recorded history really: health and wellness. People, no matter what their background, culture, or economic status… want to be happy and healthy. And they are willing to buy products or treatments that will help them do that.
It’s one of the best markets out there for doing business online. In fact, health and wellness is a $3.7 trillion industry globally!
That means there’s plenty of room for new businesses. And you can get your piece of that pie now.
Solo entrepreneurs like you can succeed, working from home or wherever you happen to be with your laptop. There is little or no startup cash needed, and it’s a low-cost business to run… if you do it the right way.
The evidence for the strength is all around you. What is one of the most popular stores in your local shopping plaza? The one selling vitamins and supplements, right? TV infomercials featuring pills for various ailments are on 24/7. Books about better health are flying off the shelves.
There are so many different markets… so many different subniches in the health industry, too. People getting older want relief from arthritis. Folks with chronic conditions like diabetes want to get better and get rid of those needles. Overweight folks facing multiple health issues want to shed the pounds.
Those with back pain want to be able to live a normal life. Not to mention people want to extend their life by taking supplements, vitamins, and more with anti-aging ingredients.
Alternative health — which rejects much of the prescription medications and invasive treatments of mainstream medicine — is especially popular.
You might be asking. I’m not an expert in health… how can I run a health-oriented business?
Identify the Top Niches — Market Research
When it comes to your business’s niche, it should be in an in-demand profitable niche market so you know you’ll sell. Ideally, you’ll find a niche you’re passionate about too. Perhaps a condition you suffer from. Or an issue one of your family members has faced. That makes you can expert!
But remember that you want there to be demand. So study industry trends, study the best-seller lists on sites like Amazon, see what’s selling on late night informercials and on store shelves. What’s on daytime TV talk shows? What are people talking about on Facebook? This should give you a long list of products that are trending right now for you to center your business around.
Let me give you a shortcut. Here are some of the top niches in the health market today:
- Digestive health/healthy gut
- Weight loss
- Back and neck pain
- Hair loss
- Reproductive health
Finding Products to Sell
The great thing about having an online business in the health niche, or really any e-commerce niche really, is that you don’t have to create your own products.
In fact, you don’t want to, especially as a newcomer to the industry, because of the time, money, expense, and risk involved. Instead, you’re going to leverage the work and expertise of others. And don’t worry — it’s a good thing.
You have a couple of options here:
With an online drop shipping business model, you promote products through your website and marketing efforts. You take orders from customers. Then you contact your drop shipping partner or partners, usually a manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer and order the product at a lower price. They send the product to your customer for a fee. And you keep the difference.
The big advantages here are that you don’t have to get involved with storing a big inventory of product or shipping orders to customers. You hand off that responsibility to your partners.
Like drop shipping, with affiliate marketing, you hand off the “grunt” work of selling online to others. But there are some crucial differences. In this business model, you market and sell products through your website, blog, Facebook page, email list, or whatever online property you have. But when it comes to buy… you’re done.
Every click on the “buy” link for a product leads your customer to your affiliate partner’s page to complete the transaction. Each link is unique to you. That way, your affiliate partner can give you a commission (usually between 5 percent and 25 percent) for every completed sale. The affiliate partner takes care of order processing, delivery, and customer service. Perfect.
Another attractive option with affiliate marketing is to promote digital information products, which offer much higher commissions.
I recommend white labeling only when you have some experience in your business. In this model, you work with manufacturers who already have a supplement (sometimes you can work with them to create a custom formulation), for example, and put your own label on it.
They’ve done the scientific research to make sure it’s effective. You study their work. And if you feel comfortable, you put your company’s name on it and sell it as your own.
Marketing Your Online Health Business
Next, it’s time to market your new online health business. You have a variety of options available to you. And most are low cost or free ways to drive traffic to your website.
Getting high rankings in the Google search results is key to success in online business these days. Back in the old days, you could “stuff” your site full of relevant keywords and get this “organic” traffic.
But now Google wants to see genuinely useful content full of solid information. That means to engage in effective content marketing you have to ad useful advice, tips, and more related to your niche on a regular basis through your website and/or blog.
The content should be closely related to your niche and can be written. But video is also very highly-regarded by Google today too. No matter what type of content you publisher, you could offer health tips, review types of supplements, suggest cures for certain conditions… there’s really no limit to what you can produce.
Social media is huge these days. Your customers are there on Facebook and other social networking sites, so you have to be there, too. You should definitely have a Facebook page for your business. Post regularly about your products, link to related news, link back to your website (when you post a new blog entry, for example), videos, comments on trends, and even personal stories. Let people get to know you and your company. It’ll speed up the process of them coming to know, like, and trust you.
Make sure you post regularly and engage with your customers through comments. And comment on the pages of other companies and organizations in your niche too. Start a conversation!
If you want to drive traffic to your health website faster, and you have some money to spend, you can try the paid advertising route. But I would suggest doing this only when you have your business in place and systems running smoothly, so you can convert as much of that traffic into sales as possible.
With pay-per-click, or PPC, ads you sign up through a search engine; Google has the biggest reach. You write very short text ads that appear on the search results page, as well on the websites of people, known as publishers, who have signed up through Google AdSense. The idea is that your ads appear in the right context based on keywords. So when people are searching for health information related to your specific niche, your ads pop up. You pay every time somebody clicks on the ad.
When the person clicks it should take them to your website, a landing page to collect their email address, or something like that. And be sure to track the origin of each click so you know which marketing channel is getting the best return on investment.
Starting Your Online Health Business — Next Steps
If you’re passionate about health and wellness, this niche could be right up your alley. You know the topic, you know the products as a consumer… and now you can use that expertise to create a booming online business.
Even if you don’t have a personal interest in this niche, that shouldn’t be a barrier. You can become familiar enough to make it work… and there’s plenty of money to go around.