Beyond Treatment: Effective Marketing for Long-Term Recovery Programs

Walking into kindergarten versus high school classrooms are two totally different experiences. The kindergarten classroom is decorated with bright colors, has plenty of educational toys and books to enjoy on a cozy reading rug, and a perfectly printed alphabet hung up above the board.

In stark contrast, a high school history room might be decorated—if you’re lucky. But the wall hangings feature somber-faced autocrats who presided over the world’s stage in previous centuries rather than welcoming cartoon characters. And there’s definitely no cozy rug—just a bunch of hard desks arranged in rows.

At their core, these diverging classrooms are trying to appeal to the same market: school-aged children. But one of these classrooms is designed for students who are far more advanced in their educational journey, while the other is meant to whet a thirst for knowledge in new learners.

Addiction treatment marketing faces the same problem of widely differing audiences in the same overarching field. You want to appeal to people who need to start their treatment journey, but you’re also trying to reach those who are in long-term recovery. These groups are looking for completely different types of support and services when selecting a program.

And yet, your addiction treatment center wants to help them both. So how do you do that? How do you differentiate your marketing to appeal to one group without alienating the other?

Good question. Today, we’re going to focus on recovery marketing—as opposed to treatment marketing. Here’s what you need to know.

1. Learn About Your Potential Patients

First and foremost, you need information about your prospective patients, and that means determining if they’re new to treatment and need acute care or if they’re in recovery. Have they ever been in treatment before? If so, for how long and how many times? This is essential information to uncover because most people with a Substance Use Disorder average two to five stints of treatment before achieving long-term recovery.1

In addition to learning about the treatment history of prospective patients, collect their basic demographic data. Add a more detailed contact form to your website, ask qualifying questions when potential patients call in to your center, or use permission-based cookies to learn about your web visitors.

2. Target Your SEO

Nine out of ten Americans turn to Google2 for medical information before calling a doctor or other treatment provider. So when someone struggling with an SUD needs help, guess where they look first?

In terms of how to target your SEO, keep in mind that a person seeking recovery support and someone in need of immediate detox and inpatient treatment both have a different search intent and won’t be using the same keywords and phrases. So if the goal of your digital marketing strategy is connecting with more patients in or near recovery, you have to adjust your SEO strategy for the searches they’re performing.

Of course, finding and ranking for the right keywords is never easy. But it’s not impossible! There are steps you can take to help you determine the best target keywords for different digital marketing campaigns. First, do your research using a keyword tool or by running your own test Google searches to learn what patients in recovery are searching for. When you build out your list of search terms, make sure the phrases are three to four words long, since 70% of all searches are for long-tail keywords.3

3. Focus on Results

Focusing your marketing on results is necessary, but can be a little tricky. You certainly don’t want to over-promise results to vulnerable prospective patients. But when someone is in sustained recovery, you can be a little more optimistic about what’s possible. Remember, 85% of people relapse within the first year of recovery,4 so tweak your approach if you’re targeting recovery patients who’ve been sober for a year or less.

Remember, the way you market your programs is part of expectation setting for your current and prospective patients. Setting realistic expectations to help your patients succeed in their recovery journeys is a critical step. Realistic expectations build trust with your patients and contribute to combating the stigma around relapse.

A Good Website Makes a Great First Impression

Need help crafting marketing campaigns targeted toward those seeking help with their long-term recovery journeys? Dreamscape Marketing can help. Call us at 888.307.7304 to schedule a strategy session and get started today.


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