Marketing your addiction treatment center isn’t just about bringing in business–it’s also about making sure patients who need help can access your services. With more than 20 million Americans struggling with substance use disorder, your treatment center needs to connect with prospective patients.1
Addiction treatment centers vary not just in location, but also in treatment philosophy, substance abuse specialty, follow-up care, and alumni programming. Prospective patients may be looking for detox, long-term care, crisis stabilization, or short-term inpatient rehab. One consistent factor is their clear preferences about medication, counseling, and additional therapies they desire from their addiction treatment center.
Digital marketing builds a presence for your center in your community and makes your services more accessible to those looking for the promise of hope you offer. More patients than ever are doing research online–but the digital space is also crowded with other treatment centers. This guide walks you through how an addiction treatment marketing agency enhances your digital footprint and makes your center more attractive to prospective patients.
What is Digital Marketing for Addiction Treatment Centers?
Digital marketing covers any way your addiction treatment center uses the internet or other technology to connect with prospective patients. With 93% of North Americans using the internet, digital marketing isn’t really a choice anymore–it’s a necessity.2
Fortunately, those interested in addiction treatment services are already searching for the information you’re uniquely capable of providing. Digital marketing is about cutting through the internet’s noise to reach your ideal audience.
Your website, blog, and email newsletter are all forms of digital marketing. But are you making the most of this opportunity? By ramping up your existing efforts and ensuring your center is using a combination of content marketing, paid advertisements, social media, web presence, and email marketing, you’ll connect with more patients who need your services. If the many components of digital marketing sound a bit overwhelming, don’t worry. An addiction treatment marketing agency knows the ins and outs of this field and amplifies your marketing efforts.
Website Design for Addiction Treatment Centers
If you wanted a prospective patient to find your addiction treatment center in the real world, you’d give them your physical address. Well, you need to do the same in the online world where your website is your digital address. Here, prospective patients get their first impression of your center, your program, and your values. Show visitors the most important information as quickly as possible, which means your website’s navigation needs clear priorities.
Consider what information is most impactful on your website by putting yourself in the shoes of someone coming to your site looking for care. This person is looking for addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one. So what information can you share to draw them in? Key questions to include are:
- What services can visitors find at your treatment center? This includes counseling for substance use disorder, but also special offerings like music therapy.
- What does your treatment center look like?
- How can a patient start the intake process, and what does the process look like?
- What insurance does your treatment center take, if any? What are your pricing structures for treatment without insurance?
- Who has your addiction treatment center helped in the past?
- What is and is not permitted at your center? Will patients also have to quit smoking? Are visitors allowed? How are psychiatric medications handled?
At first glance, this feels like quite a bit of information to present. But once again put yourself in a prospective patient’s shoes. If you were looking for treatment for yourself or a loved one, these questions represent the basic information you’d need in order to decide if a treatment center is worth pursuing.
When you have your website’s content ready, prioritize navigation. How easily can visitors find the information you’ve spent time creating? Get a few third-party reviews of your website from trusted colleagues. Use Google Analytics to visualize how your navigation works with data on how visitors use your site. As you start understanding which links lead to the most conversions, you’ll begin seeing the strengths of your website. Better yet, seek professional advice from an addiction treatment marketing agency and get tips and guidance specific to your field.
Finally, make sure your website is optimized both for desktop and mobile. Your website’s mobile function is critical since almost 60% of searches come from mobile devices.3
Branding Your Addiction Treatment Center
Not all addiction treatment centers are the same. Those searching for addiction treatment are in a vulnerable place and are hoping to turn their lives around. But each patient’s goals are unique. One may want a nourishing, restorative, and rejuvenating center, while another may be searching for a rigorous approach to behavioral change.
Conveying what your addiction treatment center does and doesn’t offer to your audience is crucial to connecting with your ideal patients. Before anyone decides to use your services, they will want to know what kind of experience they can expect. This guides prospective patients toward the right choice and the care they need.
Addiction treatment center branding establishes a personality and set of values for your center. Going beyond aesthetics, your brand also tells prospective patients about your philosophy and your approach to treatment. When developing your branding, ask yourself these questions:
- Does our addiction treatment center build off a well-known model of care, such as the 12-step model or harm reduction?
- Does our addiction treatment center focus on dual-diagnosis clients?
- What is our approach to medication-assisted treatment (MAT)? Do our patients expect this offering? Or will our patients be asked to abstain during their treatment?
- How does our treatment center position itself within a continuum of care?
The answers to these questions inspire you and the staff of your addiction treatment center to show up for work day after day. More importantly, they tell prospective patients what to expect when they get treatment at your center. Your branding makes the answers clear and attracts your ideal audience.
Once you have a strong sense of your philosophy, inspiration, and identity, use visual style to make your brand cohesive. Moving from concepts into visuals takes plenty of skill, so lean on the expertise of an addiction treatment marketing agency.
Consider whether the tone of your text and images conveys the message you want to communicate. Does your center use language about changing behavior and getting one’s life back on track, or about nourishing the heart? These send different messages to patients about your brand’s personality, and each caters to individuals at different points of their recovery journey.
Your imagery, tone, and style are used across all marketing platforms. So, creating the right branding is foundational to your digital (and non-digital) marketing strategy. An addiction treatment marketing agency will put together a brand strategy or style guide to define how you present your services. A style guide includes:
- Preferred language
- Marketing concepts
- Tactics for establishing your brand
- Communication guidelines
When your team is on the same page about your mission and identity, patients understand whether your center is a good fit for their needs. Great branding also ensures you stand out from other centers in your region and attract more leads.
Content Marketing for Addiction Treatment Centers
When choosing an addiction treatment center, prospective patients are looking for an authority they can trust with their care. Who works at this center? What is their experience? What is their philosophy? Are they up to date on the latest research and news in the recovery space?
In addition, many individuals searching the internet aren’t even sure if they need treatment. They’re looking for answers about how to know if they have a problem, what treatment options are available, and how to talk to a loved one about getting help. There’s a lot of content on the internet, but not all of it is useful or accurate.
Content marketing speaks to both of these needs. Creating informative, factual content establishes your center as an authority on treating substance use disorder. But more importantly, great content gets your website in front of patients who are just looking for answers. Content marketing allows you to reach users at every phase of the recovery process and connect them to the services they need.
Content has many meanings. An addiction treatment marketing agency excels at creating all forms of content. For the best results, use more than one type of content to connect with your audience. Articles, newsletters, white papers, video content, e-books, and podcasts all appeal to leads in different ways and some mediums are better at conveying certain information than others.
Your addiction treatment center’s content marketing plan should include:
- YouTube videos showing the types of therapy offered at your facility
- Well-researched white papers discussing new breakthrough treatments
- Podcast interviews with alumni from your center sharing inspiring stories
There are plenty of options for turning your unique approach and philosophy into longer-form content to educate leads about difficult concepts. Content marketing is an opportunity to weigh in on a broad range of topics and draw attention from new audiences online.
If someone Googles “how to get help for a loved one with addiction issues,” what do they see? Hopefully, the first result is an informative video or blog article on your website. Providing prospective patients with the crucial information they’re looking for is the first step toward building trust. Once they decide your treatment center is the perfect fit, the intake process is just a click away.
Addiction Treatment Center SEO Tips
We’ve now explored how to present your addiction treatment center in the digital space. But how do patients in need actually find you in the vast, wide world of the internet? This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.
SEO is a set of strategies for telling the algorithms behind search engines that your content is helpful and deserves to appear when users search for relevant topics. In short, the better your SEO strategy performs, the closer to the top of the first page of search results your program’s website will appear. Since 75% of search users never go past Google’s first page, a solid understanding of SEO is required.4
Search engines are complicated systems. But, simplified, their goal is to put the most relevant results in front of searchers. The best practices for SEO are always changing as Google and other search engines update their algorithms. So the expertise of an addiction treatment marketing agency goes a long way toward ensuring your center is making the most of this opportunity.
The first step of a solid SEO strategy is finding the right keywords. You want users to find your addiction treatment center’s website. But what are they typing into Google? Start with a list of topics relevant to your center and then break them into subtopics. If you start with “drug counseling,” you might add “drug counseling for alcohol,” “drug counseling for heroin,” “addiction counseling,” and “recovery counseling.”
Google Analytics tells you which keywords are currently bringing leads to your site. Identifying the keywords you’re ranking with now allows you to expand on your existing foundation. Then, use Google Analytics to track your success and see whether your new targeted keywords are bringing more visitors in.
You also need to ensure search engines can understand your website. Tags tell Google’s crawler bots what your center offers, so be sure your tags include all your primary offerings. This aspect of SEO lets search engines quickly index your site and present it on the results page when users search for relevant topics.
PPC for Addiction Treatment Centers
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is another great way to expand your reach online through targeted messages. Your addiction treatment centers can pay a fee to be featured on particular websites or the search engine results page (SERP). Conveniently, you only pay when a user actually clicks on your website.
The first step toward launching a successful paid ad strategy is securing your LegitScript Certification—the accreditation required by Google to run PPC campaigns targeting addiction related keywords. A LegitScript certification is how Google knows which addiction treatment centers are legitimate and offering real help to those in need. Before this accreditation, bad actors could bid on substance use disorder (SUD) related keywords to take advantage of those looking for treatment. Securing your LegitScript certification is critical before exploring paid advertising options. If you need assistance through the accreditation process, your addiction treatment marketing agency can help.
PPC advertising lets you share text, videos, and images on:
- Social media
- Search engines
These are the banner ads, sponsored posts, or sponsored search results you see on the web every day. Sponsored posts and search results blend right in with the rest of the digital landscape, making your content look more organic and less like an advertisement.
PPC is optimized by algorithms, so an addiction treatment marketing agency experienced with these campaigns is essential to have on your side. They’ll help you answer the following questions:
- Where are you directing your leads?
- Who is your target audience?
- Are factors like location or time of day important in reaching your audience?
- What is your budget for PPC?
Your SEO keywords are also useful when setting up Google Ads, which is the most popular PPC platform on the market. You might end up paying more to show advertisements on sites with larger audiences, but you’ll also get more leads. Setting a clear agenda and priorities alongside your marketing agency means your treatment center can care for more patients.
Lead Generation for Addiction Treatment Centers
All of your marketing efforts are ultimately about getting leads. But what does this mean? A lead is someone who takes an interest in your addiction treatment center. Meanwhile, lead generation refers to finding more of these interested individuals through your marketing, work in the community, and alumni referrals. Aim to turn website visitors into leads whenever possible.
If your digital marketing strategy isn’t generating new leads and leading to conversions, it isn’t working. For addiction treatment centers, the reach of your marketing efforts is crucial. Substance use disorder affects people across all demographics. Since you never know who will need your services next, you need to connect with as many new leads as possible.
Imagine part of your treatment center’s content marketing strategy is to create a downloadable flier with the heading, “How do I know if I have substance use disorder?” Many visitors will download this resource to contemplate or to start conversations with loved ones. If you ask for their email address before they click download, that visitor becomes a new lead. They’re aware of your center and interested in your services, and their contact information allows you to continue the conversation.
When in doubt, always ask for contact information. This includes grabbing a full name, email address, and list of services someone is interested in whenever they:
- Book an appointment
- Sign up for an event
- Download an offering from your website
- Complete a survey
- Make a subscription
Collecting information is the right move whenever a visitor engages with your website, but this is doubly true for any paid offerings. Existing patients already trust your center and the services you provide, so cultivating those leads is crucial.
Tips for Addiction Treatment Center Digital Marketing
We’ve now covered the core pillars of a digital marketing strategy for your addiction treatment center. As new technologies emerge, search engines change, and the digital world continues to evolve at a rapid pace, digital marketing will also change and adapt. By understanding how your website is reaching audiences, developing a clear brand, and continuously expanding your reach, you engage more deeply with those who need your help.
The success of your digital marketing strategy depends on your goals. So before you dive in, answer these questions:
- How will we define success in our digital marketing strategy?
- How will we know when we’ve achieved our digital marketing goals?
These goals will guide your strategy and keep you motivated when you’re up to your ears in algorithms.
If you’re not sure how to start with digital marketing, or you prefer focusing on other aspects of running your center, you are not alone. Working with an addiction treatment marketing agency makes a huge difference!
The right agency turns your baby steps into leaps and bounds, removing the learning curve and bringing expertise for navigating the evolving digital world. An agency’s outside eye also finds ways to distinguish you from competitors and communicate your brand visually and tonally.
Interested in taking the next step and working with an expert for your addiction treatment center’s digital marketing? Dreamscape Marketing is ready to help. Call us today at 888.307.7304.
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