The Complete Guide to Marketing Your Drug Rehab Online

by David Greenspan
on August 25, 2015

Let’s play a game. You, a successful and driven entrepreneur, own a rehab – but not the type that helps people heal after an injury. Nope, you own a drug and alcohol treatment center.

While the treatment industry is booming (it’s currently valued at around $35 billion annually), it’s also incredibly competitive. Understandably so when the ROI of a single client is able to easily top $100,000.

That’s where marketing and advertising – and making sure you stay on the cutting edge of both – becomes not only a smart move, but downright necessary.

So how do you – the successful, driven, overworked, and tired entrepreneur – stay on that cutting edge? By turning to TM34 for help.

We’re experts in all things addiction treatment marketing. We, the founders and core team of TM34, not only cut our teeth working in the drug rehab industry, but we routinely develop innovative and unique solutions for our clients.

Did we go a bit heavy handed on the self-promotion there? We’ve earned that right. Read on to learn why there’s no better addiction treatment marketing agency than TM34!

The Long-Term Payoff of Organic Search

Let’s talk about drug rehab SEO. We don’t mean those ridiculous spam emails you keep getting from Indian agencies that promise “Top of Google for Only $89!!?!” We mean real, get your hands dirty, organic search.

In year’s past, it was enough to type your keyword 20 times at the bottom of the page and cloak the text. That guaranteed rankings, traffic, and success. Thankfully, Google & Co. caught up and this type of spammy SEO doesn’t work anymore.

real addiction treatment seo takes time not spam
don’t be the guy that uses spammy techniques

Then organic search marketing became all about bolstering your page with low-quality links. While this practice has largely been removed, it still works…for a short period of time. Those annoying emails you keep getting? That’s usually what they’re promising.

So, what does SEO look like in 2015? More importantly – what does addiction treatment SEO look like in 2015? Well, today it’s all about quality content.

Content is King

While content marketing – and the expression content is king – has been practiced for decades, it’s never been more valuable than today (and tomorrow). You want to market your rehab online? Invest in some next-level content.

Search engines want to satisfy their users. They want to provide relevant and high quality content. It’s how they maintain and grow their market share.

How do you win at organic search? Simple – you please the search engines. How do you do that? Through content that answers all user questions.

If you pair this type of content with conversion optimization techniques (CTAs that beg to be clicked, taglines that can’t be ignored) – you win at the internet. Your prize is undreamed of riches and a gold star.

It Only Costs Salary

Organic search, content marketing, SEO, blogging – the benefits are the same regardless of what you call it. Chief among these benefits? The price.

While Pay-Per-Click, banner ads, retargeting, and other types of paid search are an ever increasing expense, the price of organic search stays static. This is true whether you use an agency or hire a team in-house.

Now that isn’t to say there’s one price across all of the drug rehab SEO world. There certainly isn’t. You’ll find a number of different prices, models, campaigns, and quality everywhere you look.

Rather, the price doesn’t increase with your number of clicks. You pay whatever you pay and get the results that produces. It doesn’t matter if you get 10 clicks or 100 – the price doesn’t change.

Your Long-Term ROI

uniquely valuable and quality content

Paid search offers a way to own prime SERP real estate in a matter of hours. Organic search doesn’t.

It’s important – actually scratch that, it’s downright vital – to understand the difference. Paid search is advertising. Organic search is marketing.

While the two aren’t mutually exclusive, there is a difference. Organic search is going to take time to produce results. Generally speaking, there won’t be a noticeable increase in rankings, traffic, or conversions for at least three months.

TM34 once worked on a campaign where it took nine months to produce the volume of qualified leads the treatment center wanted. They stuck with us during those long months for one reason and one reason only – we were upfront about the investment in time that content marketing and brand building takes.

Seriously, it’s Huge

Once that ROI starts coming in though – it’s huge. The rehab in question, the one we worked with for nine months before producing results, is doing now business valued at over $5 million.

Once organic search starts producing results, oh baby does it produce some significant results. The reason is twofold. First, quality content is an inexhaustible resource. It can be shared over and over. It can be linked to again and again.

In other words – quality content will never lose value.

The second reason for the huge ROI of organic search paired with conversion optimization is the brand itself. Google, Bing, and Yahoo love brands. That’s just how they are. Once you become a brand, they love you, your sites, and your content.

It’s may help to think of search engine optimization like compound interest. It takes awhile to accrue, but once it does…it piles up to unimaginable heights.

Types of Organic Content

What the hell is quality content? More to the point – what the hell is content?

We’re not just talking about articles here. While it’s true the majority of people online prefer to consume their content via articles, there’s much more to content marketing than simple churning out words (as painful as that is for us word nerds to admit).

different types of drug rehab seo content
a world of different content for a world of different people

We’re talking about videos, image macros, podcasts, listicles, infographs, memes, quizzes, e-books, interactive websites themselves, and so much more. We’re talking about the next generation of content. We’re talking about a world of addiction treatment marketing that not only addresses visitors’ questions, but provides unique and valuable solutions to these questions.

And that’s the heart of what makes quality content. Quality doesn’t mean well-written blogs or stunning visuals. No, quality means unquestionably actionable and uniquely valuable. Quality means TM34.

The Short-Term Power of Paid Search

Paid search, also known as Pay-Per-Click and PPC, is how most treatment centers generate calls and leads. It’s the tried and true method of filling beds and building a constant revenue stream.

advertising online with paid search for drug rehabs

There’s just one problem – one kink in an otherwise perfect sales funnel – PPC is expensive.

In fact, addiction keywords are among the most expensive to bid on. It doesn’t matter if you’re using Google AdWords, Bing Ads, or a third-party ad network. “Drug rehab” will cost you a cool $30+ per click. Bump that price up to $35+ for “alcohol rehab.” You don’t even want to know how much insurance keywords cost.

With the high price – which, by the way, is ever increasing – you may be asking yourself why the hell anyone would use PPC. Simple – it produces results. Expensive results to be sure, but your phones will be ringing.

Get to the Top Instantly

The biggest benefit of running a paid search campaign is the low barrier to entry. You want to dominate the search engines? You want top real estate? It’s as simple as having money to spend and creating a PPC ad.

It generally takes Google a few hours to approve a specific ad. That’s how quickly you can start showing at the very top of page 1 for “inpatient drug rehab centers” or “Aetna approved alcohol treatment.”

Of course, that real estate doesn’t come cheap. You’re going to be competing with huge treatment conglomerates. You’re going to be going punch for punch with the AACs and CRCs of our industry.

You better make sure everything about your campaign is on point. You better make sure everything is optimized for conversion. You better leave no stone unturned and no typo uncorrected.

Your Ad Better Stand Out

Your future client’s journey starts when they click on your ad. What’s going to make them click on your ad though? What’s going to make you stand out from all those fly by night IOP programs?

Simple – TM34 makes sure your ad delivers unique value. Almost all treatment center’s PPC ads say the same thing. They’re all variations of “Get Better Today!” or “You Want Your Life Back?” or, even worse, “Top Quality Drug Rehab.”

what a treatment center ppc ad looks like
via Flickr user Muhammad Rafizeldi

Let’s ditch those generic promises and focus on something real instead. We’re going to bid on specific keywords and make sure your ad delivers. When someone searches for “heroin addiction treatment,” your ad’s going to be at the top and say something like “Never Go Through Withdrawal Again!”

Creative solutions that make you stand out from the crowd – that’s our promise to you.

Your Landing Page Better Convert

Once someone clicks your ad, they end up on your landing page. You know the #1 way drug rehabs lose money on paid search? They don’t build dedicated landing pages.

Rehab A uses their homepage. Rehab B uses their contact page. You? You’re going to build – well, actually we’re going to build – a landing page that’s unique from all other pages on your site and guaranteed to convert.

Your landing page for “heroin addiction treatment” is going to be different from your landing page for “alcohol detox” which is going to be different from your landing page for “how do I stop doing cocaine?”

Not only are we going to build you dedicated landing pages for each ad group or keyword, but we’re also going to use conversion optimization techniques to turn those landing pages into lean, mean lead generating machines.

You Better Manage Your Campaigns Correctly

You know what goes into making a PPC campaign successful? The types of ads you create, the locations you target, the keywords and ad groups you choose, the negative keywords you use, how much you’re bidding for each keyword, your ad schedule, and even the devices you target.

Yeah, it’s a lot to take it. It’s even more to manage all of those spinning plates correctly. Do you focus on the SERPs or display ads? Do you target cities in your state or out of state? Do you bid on general keywords that’ll generate a high volume of unqualified calls or specific keywords that’ll generate a lower volume of qualified calls? What negative keywords do you use? Do you run your ads on the weekend?

you better manage your paid search campaign correctly

That list could be increased by about 10,000 more questions. Good thing you have someone in your corner who knows exactly how to manage your campaign correctly.

TM34 knows which keywords to bid on, which negative keywords to add, when to run your ads, and where to target them. We’ve been doing this for a number of years now. We know what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t.

Geotarget or Lose

Are you a Florida treatment center? Then you don’t want to run ads west of the Mississippi. Why? Because that’s Texas, Arizona, and California rehab territory. You want to focus on the East Coast, Appalachia, and the Northern Midwest.

That bit of knowledge’s on the house. You can thank us later.

There’s arguably nothing more important than where you serve your ads. Don’t waste clicks and money showing ads somewhere you’re never going to get clients from. That’s amateur hour. That’s also what a lot of rehabs do.

You, on the other hand, can target your ads down to individual cities. Pick wisely and not only is your ROI going to explode, but you’re going to save money that can be reinvested into things like retargeting.

Retarget or Lose

drug rehab advertising retargeting
your site could be attracting clients…but it’s just sitting there

On average only 2% of the people who visit your site are going to convert right away. That means even the most optimized landing page is only going to pull in a fraction of the leads it could be producing.

How do you manage to reach the other 98%? Simple – with retargeting.

This means serving ads to people who’ve visited your site and left. It’s done through a complicated mix of magic and site tracking info (aka cookies).

If someone visits your site organically – after searching “signs of opioid addiction” and finding a semantically dense page written by yours truly – and leaves, we’ll rope them back in with a display ad for your quick and comfortable detox.

Or, even better, we rope them back in with social retargeting. They leave your site, hop on Facebook, and see a sponsored post from your treatment center. They check you out, see some great reviews, and call admissions.

Need we say more?

Don’t Underestimate Social Media

Social Media Marketing, aka the bastard child of organic search and content marketing, is how you turn your company into your brand.

While just about every business knows they should be on social media – and most are – almost no one is doing it right. That’s true for those in the addiction treatment industry, those in the shoe industry, and even those in the taxidermy industry.

addiction treatment social media marketing
all this at your fingertips…and you’re posting cat pictures?

We’re not kidding when we say social media can be one of your biggest assets. It offers an unrivaled chance to connect directly with potential clients and the world at large. So stop treating it like an afterthought tacked onto a marketing campaign.

Start taking proactive steps to maximize your reach and engagement. Start taking proactive steps to maximize your return on investment. Or don’t, but trust us – you don’t want to see what happens then.

Build Your Brand

Let’s get one thing out of the way from the jump – your company is not your brand. Your brand is the emotional connection between your company and the public.

Keeping that in mind, social media offers the most bang for your buck when it comes to drug rehab brand building. The links, photos, videos, memes, and all the other content you’re posting define who you are. Make them top notch or don’t even bother.

Posting the same #recovery meme every other treatment center is posting? Forget about that. You want to stand out by posting behind the scenes photos of your staff, pictures of your property, and honest words of encouragement from your alumni. You want to start your own hashtag and get it trending.

Speaking of which…

Go Viral or Go Home

viral marketing for drug rehabs
want to go viral like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?

There’s no reason your statuses, pictures, videos, and posts should be sitting alone with no likes, shares, or retweets. A lot of treatment centers seem to think the content they produce isn’t “sexy” or attractive to the average social media user and settle for simply posting and calling it a day.

They’re just not using social correctly.

Go viral or go home. For that matter, let us go viral for you. Let us generate buzz and build your brand. In other words – let us teach you how to hit critical mass with your social efforts.

While reaching peak levels of viral success – the 1,000,000 likes and shares – is still hard to achieve, there’s absolutely no reason not to try! A correctly executed viral campaign that doesn’t produce those lofty results will still produce significant social chatter. It’s still going to help advance your brand’s message and add value to your digital properties.

Connect with Potential Clients in Active Addiction

One of the biggest benefits of using social media to market your treatment center is its unparalleled access to potential clients. We’re not talking in generalities here – there are people using social media who are currently in active addiction and you can reach them.

Channels like Tumblr, Instagram, and Reddit allow you to directly interact with people who can’t stop using. Don’t believe it? Search #junkiesofiggg on Instagram. We’ll wait.

Back? What did we tell you? Those potential clients need treatment. They need help and we’re here to show you how to give it to them.

Don’t send a generic direct message to people posting addiction hashtags. Craft a carefully considered and deliberately persuasive appeal. Repeat. Not only will you experience significant results, but you’ll be helping those who need it most. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Build a Relapse Funnel

While it may sound callous, return clients account for between 10% and 25% of most treatment centers’ revenue. What if we told you there was a way to supercharge that 25%?

Well there is – it’s called building a relapse funnel and it offers some serious ROI.

This is a proprietary technique that TM34 isn’t about to reveal to the world at large. Call us today at (561) 320-6279 to learn more.

Create Referral Relationships

Finally, social media can be used to build long-term referral relationships. You know that LinkedIn account you’re using to post job offers? There’s a lot more it could be doing for you.

It’s important to note there are some seriously shady places building relationships like this. Be careful when navigating the murky waters of LinkedIn. In fact, you probably need a tour guide. You probably need someone to help sift through real addiction professionals and fly by night referral agencies.

addiction referral relationships

Well, we’re here to help! Let us teach you and your marketing team how to use social media to generate reciprocal, long-lasting, and legitimate referral relationships.

Or keep posting jobs and the same two photos of Rob Lowe celebrating 25 years sober. The choice is yours.

So What?

Don’t go off half-cocked. PPC, social media marketing, and SEO for your treatment center are incredibly competitive fields. If done right, they also produce huge results.

We’ve just waxed poetic for nearly 3,000 words. We’ve introduced ideas you’ve never even thought of before. It’s safe to say that we – the crack creative geniuses at TM34 – know what we’re talking about.

Call us today (561 320-6279) and we’ll take your treatment center to a new level of marketing success. It’s that simple.

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