3 Tips – Establishing a Marketing Budget for a Drug Rehab Treatment Center
I am often approached by existing and new businesses in the addiction treatment field with requests on how to market their businesses. As far as I’m concerned this is pretty straight forward. Build an audience large enough and tell them about your drug and alcohol treatment center and a percentage of them will pick up the phone and call you for treatment.
Then the question comes up “how much should I allocate in marketing funds to sustain my business?” My answer to this is pretty simple, 20% of what your monthly revenue is based on a 100% census. For example, let’s say you have a 10 bed facility. You are charging $10,000 per month for treatment. This means that $20,000 EVERY MONTH needs to go to marketing, or two patients out of the 10 need to pay for the marketing. Anything less is not realistic no matter how you are marketing the business unless you have a contract with the Fire Fighters or Airline Pilots unions.
To be even more blunt about this I would recommend that if you are a brand new treatment center or just starting out I would allocate at least 40% for your budget to get established or $40,000. Here’s the reason why. It is like boosting a rocket off the launch pad, it takes a pile of energy to get the rocket off the ground in the first 2+ miles before it heads off into space. Same holds true with the drug rehab industry you need a lot of energy to be noticed amongst the established players and to be noticed by Google most importantly:
3 Tips on How to Spend Your Marketing Budget
1) Build a brand and a great website(s) that converts visits to calls (I would build more than one website, this is a whole separate topic, see Building Outposts)
2) Be prepared to publish a lot of quality content, often and forever
3) Testing different media – Onground Marketing/Sales, SEO, PPC, Direct Mail, Billboards, Elevator Ads and tracking different media is a must – without this you are better off investing in a few days at a Las Vegas Casino.
Drug Addiction Treatment Websites
The value of a website is the same as a fishing net is to a fisherman. The net has to be big and wide and not have any holes in it. This is what your website needs to be like, a big fishing net that catches fish, but your fish are families and addicts who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling, food, sex and other addictions.
The single biggest factor that will make your website convert is TRUST. Let me repeat that, TRUST is what will convert visits into phone calls. It starts with the brand and identity…..the LOGO. If the logo sucks it says a lot about the business. As my mentor said to me, “how you do anything is how you do everything.”
Remember in the movie Jaws Brodie said to Quint, you’re gonna need a bigger boat.” Well in the case of marketing in the drug rehab industry, “you’re gonna need a lot more than one website!”
Drug Rehabs Need to be Publishers?
Wait a minute! WTF? Did you say drug rehab centers need to be publishers? Yes! We all have to become publishers. Just like you are reading this article, I am a “publisher.” I don’t like it, but we all have to do it. People who seek addiction treatment and Google are looking for information, they want up to date high quality information. Do you have a program director whom is an industry leader and published author? Yes, great! Strap a microphone on him when he or she wakes up every day. Every waking minute they are basically publishing quality content that your audience wants to know about!
I say this to drug rehabs all the time, “you have to become as good at generating leads in the addiction treatment space as you are at rehab or else you will fail.” The reason I say this is because it is so competitive in this space it ranks right up there with insurance and mortgages.
Testing and Tracking Addiction Treatment Marketing
Being a professional marketer we all assume that all media is tracked, however in reality it is not. Installing Google Analytics is a breeze so tracking website activity and social media is simple to do and it does not cost anything to do so. Do you know how any people who visit your website view your site from a wireless device like an iPad or an iPhone? Do you know how many website visits you had last month? Do you know how many calls you had last month to the drug rehab?
We have to not only track the web activity but more importantly we must track the phone calls. Do the phone calls come from the web or did they come from a billboard advertisement? What is the cost of generating a call from the web vs. the billboard? How are the conversions/admissions rates different?
We at Addiction-Rep know the answers to all these questions. We set up these testing and tracking systems for you and manage them. They require full time management, we are a white glove service. You can also go to Google or Infinity and have them set up your tracking for you. I promise you there is a steep learning curve in this area but it is well worth the investment whether you do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you. I will say it has to be done to sustain the long term viability of the addiction treatment center.
Any questions or comments please call us at 781-405-5815.