Create an Online Nutrition Group Program

When I was a freshly registered dietitian looking to become a private practice dietitian, I knew I wanted to run a group program, I just didn’t know how. Over time I’ve made a few successful group programs and I want to share with you how to create an online nutrition group program from scratch.

And no, this isn’t going to be some general advice you find on random blogs, this is real advice I give my mastermind friends and that I use myself. (BTW if you’re not in a Mastermind, definitely try to get a group of dietitians or business owners together weekly/monthly to bounce ideas off of, it’s incredibly helpful).

So let’s get started on how to create an online nutrition group program.

Table of Contents

How to Create an Online Nutrition Group Program - Tayler Silfverduk, celiac dietitian

First, Your Nutrition Group Program Needs a Clear Transformation

Perhaps the hardest part of creating a virtual nutrition group program is figuring out the transformation that it offers. This is something I struggled with because “my strategies can help everyone” I used to say…

Regardless of if your strategies can help everyone, you need to talk to your target market as if it can specifically help them change their life. That’s why the transformation of your online nutrition group program offer is essential. It’s our guiding light when it comes to nutrition group program development.

What I’ve learned about a selling transformation is that it needs to be specific and identify where the person is now and where they want to go. Generally I see these statements in the “Go from x to y” format. Examples of transformations include:

  • Go from fearing food to trusting every bite you put in your mouth.
  • Go from hoping your gluten-free lifestyle is keeping you safe to KNOWING deep down in your bones it is.
  • Stop letting celiac hold you back and live your life to the fullest.
  • Stop feeling so restricted by your gluten-free needs and start finding freedom.

Now, I am not the magician of transformations that sell. I can’t tell you what the transformation you offer is and how well it will be received. However, I do know that figuring out your transformation can be easier than you think.

Some ways to figure it out include:

  • Look at the problems your clients come to you with. How did they describe them verbatim? That is a great place to start. For me, a lot of clients came to me with the problem of fearing food. They either didn’t understand how to stay celiac-safe or they were scared of how food would make them feel. I used this information to be my guiding light in the development of my group program.
  • Don’t have clients yet? No worries. Send out a poll to your target audience, either on Facebook, Instagram, or your newsletter, and get them to tell you their struggles in their own words. I sent an email saying “I’m looking to create new content for you, help me make it the most helpful by filling out this quick poll”.  Then I used their exact words from the poll to sell the transformation.
  • Another powerful way to figure out the transformation you offer is to start a focus group. Send out a story, post, newsletter, etc. on social media saying something like “I’m looking for 3-5 people struggling with (x problem) to start a conversation around (y). If you’re interested in joining us, contact me”. You can even offer an incentive like a small gift card to Starbucks to get people to come. In the focus group, you can ask questions about their needs. These needs will help you build out a strong transformational model that will sell. The bonus to this strategy is you also have a group of people to directly sell to once you get it all fleshed out too. For more tips on running focus groups, check out this resource.
How to Develop an Online Nutrition Group Program - Tayler Silfverduk, celiac dietitian

Second, Develop a Method

When I first made my online nutrition group program that I created did not have a method guiding it, and it was kind of a mess. It was still helpful and my group members got a lot out of it, but it was definitely… a lot. In other words, it made the customer experience rough…

The solution I found to make it more cohesive was to add a method to organize it. Adding a method to my group programs has made for a much better user experience on both ends of the online nutrition group program. As a creator and editor of the group program, I know what will be relevant each week and what won’t be. And as a participant, you have a clear path marked out for you that you’re following. This clear path is also helpful in marketing the program…

I develop methods by thinking of a word that represents the number of modules I want and represents the goal of the program. Then I turn the word into an acronym for the steps/modules I walk them through to achieve the transformation I set above.

For example, the Celiac STRONG Program is:

  • S – Shift Your Mindset
  • T – Tap Into Knowledge
  • R – Refine Skill
  • O – Own Your Comfort
  • N – Nail Reactivity
  • G – Go Explore

Or the IN TUNE With Celiac Program is:

  • I – Identify Your “Why”
  • N – Notice Diet Culture
  • T – Tune Back In
  • U – Unpack Food Fears/Beliefs
  • N – Normalize Food Peace
  • E – Enjoy Life

Each letter represents a new module and theme to keep the participants on track in the program and to keep me on topic in the program development.

Third, Start Marketing The Program

This is going to feel super uncomfortable but marketing and taking payment before you create an online nutrition group program is important. I didn’t take this advice once, and I ended up making this enormous course that no one wanted.

By marketing the online nutrition group program you’re creating before you’ve fully created it, you can make sure you don’t spend weeks on making something no one buys. I personally, don’t start making my group programs until I’ve sold at least 1 seat if not 3. You might decide differently.

Now, you might feel uncomfortable marketing something you haven’t made. After all, if you haven’t made it, how can you sell it? The answer is: you use the method and you use the transformation to sell it. And as you get inquiries and questions, you can start filling in your program outline with specifics that people are asking for or about.

For example, create problem-awareness content around the problem your program will solve. So for me, I’m solving the problem of fearing food so I can create content highlighting why fearing food is a problem and advertising my program as a solution.

I personally take to my newsletters (here’s a really great resource on creating newsletter campaigns to sell) and Instagram posts, reels, and stories to promote my group program. However, I’ve seen people run a free training with a pitch for their program at the end, offer free transformation calls or even free programs to get people on board (I’m trialing the free program method right now to compare success rate).

In the case of what the best method to use when marketing and selling is, I’d say choose the one you’re most comfortable with and go ALL in. Some people are really successful at selling on social media, other’s are really good at using their network to their advantage. And remember, people need something like 12 exposures to your offer before they buy. So it’s also say that it’s never too early to start weaving in your new online nutrition group program offer.

How to Create an Online Nutrition Group Program - Tayler Silfverduk, celiac dietitian

Fourth, Create the Online Nutrition Group Program

So you’ve got the transformation, the method, and you have enough people signed up that it’s time to actually start creating the online nutrition group program. WHERE DO YOU EVEN BEGIN!?

Okay, so if you’re doing the whole program live (as in giving live presentations weekly) then all you need to do is create the presentations, practice them, and make the handouts/forms. 

If you’re like me and your presentations are recorded and weekly meetings are more for support, Q&A, and accountability then you’ll need to have everything done on the back end before each new module launches.

If you’re recording your lectures and you have the pro version of canva, you can record on there. Or you can use the application loom. Or, if you’re lucky like me, you can use the software your webcam cam with.

One note about keeping presentations and modules effective; I’ve found adding an objective slide at the beginning of each module helps me keep the presentation on the topic and helps the participant know what they should be getting out of the module.

I also want to say – I’m no expert in curriculum development or course creation but I have found adding an element of activities for each module has been helpful. From forms helping the participants reflect on what they’ve learned and how they will apply it, to forms walking them through specific concepts and applying them to their own life. Adding activities helps with engagement and ensures transformation.

Other things to consider adding to your group program include:

  • 1:1 sessions scattered throughout (your pricing should reflect this)
  • 1:1 sessions weekly (your pricing should reflect this)
  • Weekly check-in forms with chat support as needed
  • 24/7 group chat for Q&A and real-time support from the group
  • Weekly meal-plans
  • Weekly recipe packets
  • Optional training or bonus training to add more value

And what I’ve seen is every business and business coach will have an opinion on what to offer. I personally believe what you offer in your group program should be a compromise between what you want to give and what your clients need. So if you don’t want to give weekly meal-plans, but your clients will find meal-plans helpful, can you give them a tool to help them meal-plan for themselves as a compromise?

Additionally, on the topic of actually creating the online nutrition group program, I’m a big question person. Meaning, I like to use questions to help me evaluate if I’m staying on course.

So when I’m actually creating my online nutrition programs, I ask myself as I’m creating materials if this “is relevant to the transformation?” and I’ll ask myself “is this relevant to the module goal?”.

If the answer is yes, I keep creating. If the answer is no, but I really want to make whatever I’m making, I’ll see how I can fit it into another endeavor of mine or I’ll put it on pause until my program is done.

Lastly, decide where you will host the program. I use practice better (here’s an affiliate link to join) so naturally I host my program them. I’ve also heard success with hosting nutrition group programs in Facebook groups, Kajabi, Teachable and other Electronic Health Records.

Fifth, Don’t Get Discouraged

My last tip on creating an online nutrition group program is not to get discouraged. Keep plugging away at creating it and it will happen.

I know it feels like a lot to take on and likely none of your training has prepared you for this OR alternatively you feel like you don’t have the time. And remember, even if you get one slide done a day, that’s one more slide in the direction of a final presentation or module.

And if you need help brainstorming module ideas, transformation ideas, marketing ideas, etc. I’m happy to offer a pick your brain session to you!

You can click this link to book!

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