While an often overlooked marketing niche, eating disorder clinic marketing is about bringing people life-saving information they may have yet to realize they need. Most people struggling with an eating disorder wouldn’t look for marketing or advertising on the subject. Instead, they might search online for information related to their condition. Therefore, effective eating disorder marketing is focused on providing education and encouraging those struggling to seek help.
The Importance of Eating Disorder Clinic Marketing
An eating disorder can be a difficult thing to discuss. However, the need to improve communication about eating disorders is vital. The American Society for Nutrition notes that the incidence of eating disorders is on the rise. In the United States alone, approximately 24 million people suffer from an eating disorder. While this is a significant number of people, the actual number is estimated to be larger due to a lack of self-reporting.
Although the discussion around eating disorders is minimal compared to other conditions, eating disorders result in over 10,000 deaths yearly. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic worsened this issue. A survey in the International Journal of Eating Disorders showed that individuals experienced worsening symptoms from existing anorexia, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorders due to stress and isolation from the pandemic. Many of these individuals still need help today.
PATHWAYS FOR EXACERBATION: Demonstration of how the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to worsening symptoms of eating disorders.
The Need is There, But the Approach Is Different
Since people are sensitive about discussing this topic, eating disorder clinic marketing needs to take a different approach to get clients than traditional marketing. In many cases, marketing for a mental health or rehab clinic comes down to connections, not selling a product or a service.
While marketing itself is usually about closing a sale, that’s not necessarily the case here. An institution working to solve eating disorders should focus less on “selling” and more on “helping” the client. This change of focus is crucial for the business to have the right tone and approach to marketing. However, the style and approach are only the first steps toward getting noticed.
The Digital Revolution in Marketing
The world has changed its marketing since the internet came on the scene in the 90s. Most businesses market online, not just because the medium offers the largest audience. The cost of online marketing is also much more manageable when compared with marketing through traditional means. For example, the cost of a radio or TV ad could run into the thousands and cost much more to get onto mass media. These types of media exposure have continued to lose their audience to the online space over the past three decades. With the rise in social media usage and easier ways to connect to audiences, digital marketing has become the top performer.
For eating disorder clinic marketing, digital channels offer many choices in what businesses can do to get new leads and drive more traffic to their business sites. In addition, digital marketing allows the institution to build relationships like no other medium can. In dealing with eating disorders, building relationships is crucial to success. Therefore, businesses should rely on digital marketing to form strong connections with potential clients.
Why is Digital Marketing the Best Approach?
Simply put, digital marketing offers an eating disorder clinic the best coverage for the lowest cost. We can say this because we understand how digital marketing works to build connections and help potential clients make up their minds. Digital marketing is a powerful tool for small businesses because it allows them to achieve the following goals:
- Low-Cost CPA: Out of all the marketing channels a business can invest in, digital marketing has the lowest entry cost and requires the least amount of money to see returns.
- Targeting: Digital marketing relies on targeting, which qualifies leads before they get an ad. This reduces the number of leads that aren’t a good fit for the business and increases the chance of a conversion.
- Raise Awareness: The goal of institutions engaged in eating disorder clinic marketing is to save people’s lives. Getting the message out to a wider audience increases the likelihood of this happening.
Treatment clinics can adopt the following digital marketing strategies to achieve these goals.
6 Effective Strategies for Eating Disorder Clinic Marketing
When developing a marketing strategy, the best starting point is to consider your target audience. Consider their time, lifestyles, where they consume content, what messages appeal to them, and their struggles. These factors have been heavily acknowledged as we’ve gathered this list of six effective marketing strategies:
1. Growing a Brand Through Social Media
In 2019, over ⅔ of all internet users were on social media platforms. It’s no secret that social media outreach has helped many brands become more well-known to their clientele. Forbes mentions that Americans spent over 1,300 hours on social media through 2020. Social media has become part of many people’s daily routines, and that’s why it’s one of the best ways to build a community.
For instance, according to Our World in Data, the most popular social media site in 2019—Facebook—had 2.4 billion users. Thus, 69% of all people who go online used Facebook. In other words, 31% of the entire world’s population used Facebook that year.
Groups and pages can set up marketing strategies to get more people to like and share their posts, reaching wider audiences. However, the power of social media stems from its use of targeted advertising. No advertising methodology is as robust as targeted ads.
The information social media sites get from their audience makes it much easier to target relevant ads to people. Therefore, they begin clicking through to your landing page or website. The goal of an institution’s social media marketing campaign should be about building the community. The marketing aspect comes in later on. Organic interaction with the audience can help build the brand and make more human connections with potential clients.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is still a crucial part of marketing, even though many people think it isn’t. In the early days of the internet, SEO was simple, and a business could rank on the top three pages in a search engine by stuffing tons of keywords into its content. Thankfully, this has changed for a better user experience. Currently, SEO allows a website to be human-readable while still letting the search engine know the intent of the content.
Search engines have shifted their focus from bare keywords to intent-based searches in recent years. Put simply, intent-based search hopes to match a searcher with a site that meets their needs based on their question.
SEO Topical Authority
Topical authority is an SEO concept in which a website gains authority on a given topic through a large quantity of knowledgeable, high-quality content. You or a marketing expert can build topical authority by updating your content regularly, answering all of your readers’ questions, and demonstrating expertise in your field. Since eating disorder clinic marketing is a specific niche, you have an opportunity to share your knowledge and rank higher than your competitors. These content pieces, such as authoritative landing pages and blog posts, contribute to topical authority on your website.
Why is Topical Authority so Important?
With Google algorithm updates over recent years, Google has aimed to improve the user experience by prioritizing informative content first. In August 2022, Google implemented its Helpful Content Update, applying a “people-first” approach to content. This update ranks informative content higher on the search engine results page (SERP). Therefore, topical authority plays an essential role in SEO for your business’s visibility. When you have a good amount of authoritative content on a topic, your website is more likely to rank higher than competitors with less or lower-quality content.
To think about topical authority from the user-experience perspective, imagine that you are trying to find the pros and cons of solar energy. Which website would you trust more? An Arizona website with one article focusing on solar power or a solar energy website with many articles discussing consumer experiences with solar panels?
Another crucial component of good content based on SEO is backlinks. These can be used in blog posts and landing pages. Developing healthy backlinks by linking to other authority sites increases a business’s authority score. This increase means that the search engine trusts information from this site more than others. To back this up, the website’s content should deal with factual information and avoid speculation where possible. The more factual the report, the more valuable it will be, and the more it suits the searcher’s intent.
3. Refresh Your Content
Content marketing is an excellent method of eating disorder clinic marketing because it allows the institution to show off what makes it unique. An essential component of a content marketing strategy is refreshing your blog and web pages. SEO will get your content out to the right audience, but only if that content is excellent and produced regularly. Search engines hate serving up stale content to their audiences.
Often an overlooked task, optimizing old pages and updating the message improves the user experience.
As cornerstone pages on our websites, landing pages need to be thorough, mobile-friendly, and optimized to be found. Occasionally, you may need to update your landing pages to add additional services or rank for better keywords. However, it’s important to consult with an SEO strategist to ensure that the updates will be effective. With that in mind, breathing new life into an old page can be highly beneficial with the right approach. In some cases, you may be able to increase your monthly search views significantly.
As mentioned above, SEO is a crucial part of getting these pieces found by search engines. Each new blog post on your website is seen as new content for the search engine. Fresh content means the site is likely to rank better on the search engine results page.
Since video content has become increasingly popular, a common misconception among some business owners is that people won’t read blogs. However, that’s far from accurate. When asked about blogs in 2023, HubSpot, a large developer of marketing software products, shared that “60% of people read a blog at least once a week.”
Additionally, according to their 2021 Marketing Statistics, blogs still ranked at nearly the top of primary forms of media used in content strategy, second to videos.
The key is to ensure that you provide your target audience with helpful information. With eating disorder clinic marketing, blog posts can be about many topics related to eating disorders. Most people struggling will find comfort in knowing they are not alone and understanding that there is a lot they can learn about lifelong recovery.
Here is a list of a few blog post ideas for eating disorder clinic marketing:
- The dangers of social media trends and body dysmorphia
- Common misconceptions about binge eating disorder
- When you may need inpatient care for an eating disorder
- Health complications of bulimia nervosa
- How to support a loved one with an eating disorder
- The role that mental health plays in anorexia
- Eight strategies to break free of binge eating
- How to prioritize wellness over weight loss
- The correlation between eating disorders and anxiety
4. Attract New Leads with Paid Ads
While organic search is unbeatable with results for the cost, paid search still has value as well. Google’s pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns may be pricey, but they allow you to use a highly targeted approach.
Since a common struggle with eating disorder clinic marketing is reaching those who need the message, PPC ads can be a great supplement to your marketing strategy. These ads allow you to bid for specific keywords and rank higher in the search for those keywords. For example, if a person searches “clinical therapy for eating disorder” and you have bid on those keywords with a purchase of a top-ranking spot, your clinic’s website will appear at the top of the search results.
Furthermore, Google’s PPC statistics show that at least 30% of searchers don’t differentiate between paid ads and organic results. These PPC ads can benefit new brands that haven’t established themselves through SEO topical authority yet. If PPC fits into your marketing budget, it can help your search rankings and increase site visits.
However, PPC ads are only as good as the content they lead to. For the ad campaign to be effective, you will need a high-quality landing page. This is where your target audience will be directed when they click on your ad. The difference between visitors bouncing off your page and staying for the information is in the quality of your content.
How to Attract Clients with PPC Ads
To convert clicks to clients, the landing page must have a clear empathetic message, a call-to-action, and your contact information one click away. Like SEO strategy, landing page creation requires specialized skills and an in-depth understanding of the audience. At Stodzy, we’ve created fully customizable landing page platforms where we build a micro-website with your potential clients in mind.
Since these landing page layouts can be duplicated and optimized to match search terms, the result will be a higher volume of quality landing pages designed for specific keywords in your PPC ads. Additionally, we ensure that you maintain creative control over which pages your traffic will go to, with lead generation that actually converts.
5. Gain Clients Through User-Generated Content (UGC)
As many businesses have observed, consumers see a significant value in the perspectives of satisfied customers. User-generated content (UGC) is content that is created and shared by people who have used a product or service. A 2019 Consumer Report showed that 56% of e-commerce consumers say they want to see more user-generated content. Understandably, people are more trusting of non-sponsored user experiences, and seeking help for an eating disorder is no different. Clients want to know that others have received compassionate and effective treatment at your clinic.
Examples of UGC
- Customer reviews on Google
- Testimonials on your website
- Social posts or sharing
- Case studies
The importance of UGC continues to grow. In fact, a 2023 Local Consumer Review Survey revealed that 79% of consumers give online reviews the same weight that they do with personal recommendations from people they know. Additionally, Google remains the most-trusted source.
Alumni Stories Move People
Not only does UGC prove that a business provides excellent service, but stories move people. When your alumni share their stories, this is a genuine help to others in more than one way. First, when people read a story describing how a person in similar circumstances found their path to recovery, this gives them hope and inspiration. For many, these stories are exactly what they need during a difficult time.
Secondly, when anyone struggling hears that another person had a positive experience at your clinic, this individual feels good about placing their trust in your team. Of course, you must always get proper permission and authorization before sharing patient testimonials.
6. Utilize Email to Stay Connected with Alumni
This approach serves the purpose of providing continued support, opening the door for additional treatment if needed, and gaining UGC through alumni recommendations. Although email marketing has been tweaked and diversified, it is still an effective digital marketing strategy. Email campaigns are a more personal way to stay connected with alumni. Since most everyone checks their email regularly, even the subject line can serve as a visual reminder.
The key elements to email campaigns for the eating disorder clinic marketing niche are empathy, connection, information before sales, and a thoughtful call-to-action (CTA). For instance, you can provide more details on an alumni program or tips for maintaining long-term recovery. Your CTA can serve as a place for asking them to attend events and subscribe to your newsletter or blog.
We can help you succeed with email marketing for alumni. Here’s how our email marketing strategy works at Stodzy:
Since relapse is possible after overcoming an eating disorder, providing your alumni with lifelong support is essential. In doing so, they are more likely to seek help sooner should they relapse. Alumni are also more likely to return to your clinic if they need help again, a place where they know they have a community of reliable support.
Additionally, let your alumni know that their unique perspectives from shared experiences are instrumental in helping others at the start of their healing journey. In your CTA, you can request a testimonial or ask them to join an alumni support group. Be sure to address any needs your alumni have before requesting a testimonial, and emphasize the value in their story.
Digital Marketing for Eating Disorder Clinics Can Be a Game Changer
Businesses now have many opportunities to be recognized and grow a community. The internet has made marketing easier to accomplish while significantly decreasing the cost.
Eating disorder clinic marketing can’t look to traditional advertising to raise awareness and connect to potential clients. Instead, they need to approach it in a less direct way. Blog posting and social media strategies can help get the message in front of the right eyes.