Last updated on 09 May 2022 by Cara Hartley (Legal writer at TermsFeed)
As a health coach, your mission is to help people change their habits and level up their health. To be effective at what you do, it is crucial that your clients feel that they can trust you, and building that trust often begins when users first encounter your website.
As a health coach, you might collect users' personal information directly when they sign up to join your email list, to take a course from you or to become a client. You may also use less direct means of data collection, such as through Google Analytics or cookies.
Personal information is defined as any kind of data that can be used to identify an individual, either by itself or when combined with other pieces of data, such as birthdays, addresses, and financial information.
As a health coach, there are a few common types of personal information that you may collect from users, including contact information, ID numbers, online identifiers, and sensitive data.
The contact information you collect might include names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers, all data you need to have in order to keep in touch with your clients.
If your health coaching business is covered by insurance, you may also need to collect ID numbers. ID numbers can include social security numbers, driver's license numbers, and insurance policy numbers.
Online identifiers are something you might collect as a part of your marketing strategy to target the kinds of people who would be interested in your coaching services. Online identifiers can include cookie IDs, IP addresses, location data, user names, browsing history, and user-generated content, among others.
Sensitive data that you collect might consist of medical records, race, and sexual orientation, and should be treated with special care.
Not all data collected is considered personal information in every circumstance, and rules over what constitutes personal information may change depending on what country you are operating in, or the country your users live in.
Privacy laws from other countries may apply to you if your users are accessing your website from those countries. Global privacy laws that may apply to your website include:
These clauses include how and why you collect users' personal information, what you do with it and who you share it with, and how users can access and change their data at will, among others.
Let's look at some examples of each type of clause.
You should let users know what kind of information you are collecting. You might collect data such as contact information overtly through subscription forms, or you may collect personal information such as IP addresses through website tracking.
You should also let users know exactly how you will be using the information you collect.
Many health coaches use website tracking or analytics software to get an idea of who is accessing their site and when. This kind of information is extremely helpful for advertising purposes. You should let users know if you are using tracking tools as a part of your marketing plan.
You might also offer courses, newsletters, or membership services via your website. Any sign up or subscription forms used to collect data should be mentioned in this clause.
Here's how Feel the Lean notes what types of information it collects when users purchase or require goods or services from the company:
You should not only let users know how you collect their information and what kind you collect, but what you actually do with their information.
There's no good reason to be collecting information without a plan for what you're going to do with it. As a health coach, there are a few different things you might do with the information you collect, including using it for marketing purposes or to enhance your users' experiences.
Here's how Feel the Lean notes how financial information it collects is used solely for completing a transaction approval or funds transfer:
Letting users know that you are using their information for essential purposes is important. You should also tell them whether you share their information with third parties, as seen here:
Michelle Tam offers an informative and humorous take on how she collects information using cookies and what she uses the information for on her Paleo-themed website:
Health coaches often share the information they collect with payment service providers, affiliates, and apps used for things such as automated email responses or appointment booking.
Let users know how and why you collect their information as well as any third parties you share it with. Now it's time to let them know how long you plan on keeping their information.
If you don't have a legitimate reason to store users' personal information, then you should take steps to safely dispose of it. Let your users know how long you plan on keeping their information, and for what reasons.
Anna Victoria tells users that her website keeps any comments made on her website indefinitely so that her team can avoid holding follow-up comments in a moderation queue:
Next, we'll take a look at informing users about how they can access, edit, or delete their personal information.
More and more health coaches are adding Privacy Policies to their websites to comply with local and international privacy regulations and to show that they value their users' privacy.
This article is not a substitute for professional legal advice. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor is it a solicitation to offer legal advice.
09 May 2022