Addiction Treatment Center Marketing Plan Primer

Most likely you are already doing “something.” The problem is that “something” might not be doing enough. Let’s face it, times are tough in 2010. You can do an elaborate marketing plan or you can do something fast and simple that works. Here’s the short list, list out all the ways that you are attracting clients to your treatment center. Hopefully you have 4-6 proven ways to generate leads that turn into referrals or conversions as I like to call them. This is my secret addiction treatment marketing strategy, find out what works the best and do more and do it better. That’s right, if it is working do more of it, refine it, test other methods or in some cases hire more people if it is on ground marketing.

What if what we are doing doesn’t work? Then you have two options, drop it or change it. And do it fast. As Einstein said, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” And as Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” So in my view this marketing game looking for high quality leads requires testing and tracking. Finding out what is working for your business and doing more of it. We don’t have the kind of time Mr. Edison had many years ago.

The internet provides a great platform for testing. PPC is the most optimal and controllable testing method I have found. The more qualified traffic you drive to your site or landing and squeeze pages you will be able to learn what types of clients are attracted to your business. Then you can target more of them. You do not want to have to convince them to get them into the treatment center. If you furnish what they are looking for then it is much easier to just have a “fit” vs. a hard closing sale.

At the end of the day Google wants two things from your web site, content and incoming links. Both are important and there are different schools of thought that will tell you one ranks over the other. What I know is if you do both all the time you will land on top of the Google Search Engine Results Pages, (SERP) obviously there is more to it than that but this will propel you in the right direction. The reason why this is so critical is because when a person is in a moment of decision they search for an answer and you want to be able to get between them and Google and field that call, you have a higher probability of closing the admission.

Here is some “bad news.” (Why is it bad news? Because it takes work). You want to keep adding content and incoming links to your site all the time, forever! You might ask how much new content does Google want? Well, as far as content goes in a perfect world I would shoot for 2 articles per day every day. If that is too cumbersome then shoot for 2 per week. You must keep adding quality content to your site if you want the Google Spider to come back to the site and index the pages. As far as incoming links go in my experience quality is better than quantity. I also think that you want to continually add more links, ask your suppliers, your friends and business colleagues for links.

Having come from the direct response marketing profession I’m a big believer in direct mail. Yup, good old fashioned US Mail. It is easy to test a small market or list and mail out postcards. But mail to them frequently at least 7 times, but make sure they are your target market. Measure the response, drive them to your web site with a special URL so you can track the effectiveness. An example here is if you are a low end treatment center you might want to send postcard to the higher end treatment centers and ask for referrals. Out of sight out of mind, so if you keep sending the reminders it helps a lot. Also, think about sending Holiday Cards to all of your alumni and ask for referrals. You can automate this task with Send Out Cards.

I’ve also spoken with treatment centers that are doing billboards on the main highways in their cities and that opens up the opportunity for a conversation between two people in a car. The thing about outdoor advertising is it can be expensive and you want to do it over a few months to see the real results. Again like any other medium you want to track the outdoor ad with a new URL and a new 800#.

If you have thought about writing a book now is a great time to do that since being a published author does so much for your brand. If you need help writing the book find a ghost author on or and get the book going. It helps secure speaking engagements and media interviews and press is the cheapest and most creditable way to generate eyeballs. Books are nothing more than lead generators to me and very fancy calling cards but they work.

Do you want to add some great corporate videos to your web site? You can do this for less than $1,000 per video. The thing I love about video is that it communicates so well and we all want to do business with people we know like and trust.

In the addiction treatment and behavioral health field we have several industry trade shows. This is a great place to meet your peers and establish new relationships. What I try and do is “keyword optimize” my name tag. So if I am a “Pet Friendly Treatment Center” I might title myself as “Pet Friendly VP.” Why? Because it is fun and silly and it is a great conversation starter, it is an ice breaker. You could do the same thing with Dual Diagnosis VP, you get the idea. I’ve done it at software shows where the introverts are plentiful and it even works on them!

In summary, the marketing plan will be determined by the company resources and staff available to help and it will be individual to each treatment center. Keep testing, do what works and keep refining it. If it does not work kill it or change it.

Jim Peake is an internet marketing consultant with special focus on the behavioral health and addiction treatment industry. He helps treatment centers improve their web presence and in lead generation online as well as offline. He uses advanced SEO and PPC direct response advertising for addiction treatment search engine marketing. His video marketing agency is at Viral on Video.

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