When given the choice between fries and a tall soda or a bag of sliced apples, most of us wouldn’t hesitate to take the deep fried and sugary treats over nature’s desserts. If we could take the elevator a couple of floors up a building, we’d pass on the stairs. And staying at home to watch the basketball game seems like the preferred option for many instead of actually hitting the court to shoot some hoops.
Big brand marketing for fast food and the conveniences of technology make healthy living a tough sell for anybody. The faddish comings and goings of miracle diets that have been applied and discarded even faster by the “get fit quick” crowd have only made the rest even more skittish about buying into the lifestyle that they’ve been led to believe is just too much work for too little results.
So what’s an entrepreneur who thrives on selling the healthy lifestyle in this high-fat, high-carb, high-tech, low-effort world to do?
Forget the Hard Sell
The quickest way to get your audience to ignore you is to try and force your message onto their long-held worldviews. People, especially adults (who probably make up your entire target market), do not like being told what they believe is wrong, and that they are better off living following a totally different view on life.
The only time that approach works is when the people are already willing to listen (which I hope is the case with you, dear reader).
Don’t bother rattling off a list of repercussions for unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise. They don’t want to hear it, and chances are, they already have a general idea that they will one day have to face the consequences. However, the future is always so far away in most people’s heads that it never really is an issue until it comes, so it’s easy to think it’s better to enjoy all the cheeseburgers and the milkshakes today than think of the diabetes or the clogged arteries tomorrow.
The alternative of preaching the benefits of a healthy lifestyle isn’t exactly the best way either. At least, not in the method of solely talking about improved cardiovascular performance through exercise or enhanced memory through proper dieting. These benefits should always be tied with what the person you are selling to is already hoping to achieve.
Appeal to Emotion
Like any successful consumer product (not basic needs), it’s not always about the features or the price that make people continuously patronize the business selling it. It’s the story that’s communicated in the marketing that entices consumers into trying it out, and the consistent messaging of that story that keeps them buying.
Apple’s branding allowed it to connect with the young urban professional crowd that believes in the importance of aesthetics and simplicity, establishing that base before branching out to a more mainstream audience that adopted it and has now made the brand ubiquitous.
For the healthy lifestyle, there are multiple bases you can touch upon to build an honest connection with.
The promise of a longer life to be able to play with one’s grandkids is a suitable angle to approach from when dealing with middle aged persons. The joy of having an active relationship with their grandchildren is an emotional goal worth striving for a lot of people, so it’s a relatively easy touchstone to aim for.
For young men and women, you can present the argument for losing weight to boost confidence in their social encounters. The longing to better their chances at connecting with their peers is the ultimate goal, not exactly the relief in their joints from carrying the extra weight or the stronger immune system.
Another possible perspective to explore is tapping into the more adventurous or goal-oriented crowd. The cleaner diet and the more disciplined exercise routines helps these people break free of whatever physical or mental limits that are holding them back.
Whether it’s appealing to the young or the old or the go-getters in life, the key thing to remember is that you need to tailor the story that falls in line with your audience’s vision. In the case of the healthy lifestyle, it’s nourishing them with fitter minds and bodies that let them do more and further their human relationships.