As you may know, Mindful Marketing specializes in marketing for addiction treatment centers. From SEO to email marketing, we work extensively with our facilities to build an effective all-around marketing plan. In the process of working with our clients and investigating what others are doing, we’ve found a few things that many people seem to neglect. Here are 5 things you should know if you want to effectively market your treatment center in today’s online world (and the rapidly-changing landscape of digital marketing as it moves forward).
1. The Behavior and Trends of People Looking for Help
This is hands-down the most important thing to know. Whether you’re producing blog posts or hoping your page ranks for a specific term, you need to actually have the data. Many SEO’s out there claim that keywords no longer matter with Google’s recent algorithm updates, but this simply is not true. A good SEO campaign knows what search terms to target by looking at the search volume of each term and the difficulty to rank for that term.
That is, you need to have an estimate of how much business it’s going to bring you to be on the first page of Google for a term, and how hard it is going to be to get to page one. You can see some data from Moz’s Keyword Explorer below, a powerful tool used to estimate search volume per month and the difficulty in ranking.
The volume is the estimated amount of searches done a month in the United States for the term. The difficulty number is a measure of how difficult the term is to rank for. Higher difficulty means it will be harder to reach the first page of search results. Although this is just data from one tool, it’s critical to take a look at. This information should guide your design, content creation, blog posts, and marketing efforts.
The interesting piece in this example is that it appears to be easier to rank for the term “Miami rehab” than it is to rank for “addiction treatment Miami,” but there are twice as many searches a month for “Miami rehab.” In my opinion, you should obviously be targeting the term that is both easier and has higher search volume!
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In addition to knowing the volume and difficulty of search terms, it’s also important to take a look at trends. Google Trends is a free tool where you can dive into search trends and what is going on in the search community. Below are a couple examples of data from Google Trends showing data for a few search terms, along with an explanation of what it means and why it’s important to take a look at.
Heroin Epidemic, Opioid Epidemic, & Opiate Epidemic
You’re probably (hopefully) aware that the United States is in the midst of what is being called an “opioid epidemic.” In the data below, you can see the term “epidemic” really took off in early 2014. This chart shows the different terms used to refer to this epidemic. The reason this data is useful is that we can see that although searches are rising for all three topics, the term “opioid epidemic” is increasing in popularity at the highest rate. What this data tells me as a marketer is that I should be using the term “opioid” instead of “heroin” or “opiate” when producing content.
Twelve Step & Refuge Recovery
This graph shows the popularity of searches for “twelve step” and searches for “Refuge Recovery,” another recovery program and support group. To be clear, this isn’t saying that there are now MORE searches for Refuge Recovery than twelve step. Rather, it’s showing that twelve step is becoming decreasingly popular as a search term while Refuge Recovery is gaining in search popularity. Data like this tells me that although twelve step terms still have a significant amount of searches a month, it may be worth investigating these up-and-coming recovery programs, much like we did in a recent post for a client called 12 Step Alternatives.
These are just a few examples of ways in which you can look at the search terms people are using. You may also tune into social media hashtags to see what’s trending and follow popular blogs in the industry like The Fix or AddictionBlog.org to see what they’re posting about.
2. The Value of the Snack Pack
You’ve probably noticed that Google started showing local listings in search results in the last few years. What started as a pack of many listings has evolved into a pack of just three local listings. These listings that show up on the home page, which we call the snack pack, are incredibly valuable for many reasons.
First, if you’re in the snack pack then you’re showing up ABOVE organic search results. If someone is searching from a mobile device, they can click your listing and call from the very next page. A user can get directions, see operating hours, find reviews, and look at photos. Because this appears as data from Google, people find it pretty trustworthy. We’ve seen huge increases in phone calls and conversions when our clients begin showing up in the snack pack for appropriate terms.
Here is some real data from one of our clients over the past 30 days (4/25/17 – 5/24/17). This is data just from their Google My Business listing, not including the additional traffic to their actual website. To give some background, they currently show in the snack pack for several search terms, and have been with Mindful Marketing for eleven months. When we started with this facility they didn’t show up in Google for any terms, including the actual name of their facility.
This chart shows the amount of traffic received from “direct” searches (searches for the client’s facility name directly) and “discovery” searches (searches for terms related to rehab, treatment, etc.). You can see that 74% of the 1,514 clicks on the listing on the map came from discovery searches, meaning 1,120 people found this client by searching for relevant terms. This points to the value of being in the snack pack for reaching new people.
This graph shows the relationship between photo views, website visits, and phone calls each of the last four weeks. You can see a close correlation between photo views and phone calls placed, as photos are one of the primary pieces of information looked at among treatment facilities. We’ll discuss that in the last section of this post.
This graph shows the phone calls over the last four weeks from the Google Local listing alone, grouped by day of the week. You can see that Mondays and Fridays are by far the busiest, accounting for just under half of all total phone calls. This information is important to see and understand because it can help dictate when you run ads, when you have full admission staff on duty, and when to prepare for intakes.
The snack pack is incredibly valuable, providing valuable exposure and insights. You can see this client, a high-end treatment center, has received 29 phone calls over the last four weeks from showing up on the local listings. That’s just over one phone call a day from the listing, in addition to the calls and leads they’re generating on the website. Furthermore, they can clearly see which days are more popular for calls, and the value of photos on their listing.
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3. Where to Create Leads
You know the value of converting users to phone calls and admissions, but where exactly do you do this? Many treatment center websites will either slam the user with the phone number 10 times on the home page or only include the phone number on a contact page. It’s no use driving people to your website if you’re not converting the people to admissions, and you need to know how to do that.
Make sure you’re easily contactable. There’s a few factors to this. First, find the happy place with your phone number. We have switched where we place the phone number for our clients, what color the phone number is, and how many times it appears on the landing pages. We’ve found that it’s crucial to have the phone number above the fold on the landing page, in the footer of the landing page, and once somewhere in the middle of the page (sometimes in a call-to-action, sometimes in a sidebar). When we put the phone number more than three times, calls actually decrease.
Second, as a treatment center, you should absolutely have live chat on your website. You can run it for next to nothing, your admissions staff can get chats straight to their computers AND mobile devices, and it greatly increases conversion rates.A study by EMarketer found that 63% of website visitors were more likely to return to a website that offers live chat.
Below is a chart showing some data from three of our clients. It has points for the month before installing live chat, the month immediately after installing live chat, and the second month after installing live chat on the site. Note that the number represents the total amount of leads generated in the form of phone calls placed or insurance submitted for verification and does NOT include the actual live chat conversations!
You don’t have to be an expert in math to see that the numbers went up. When people use live chat, they’re more likely to get a personal touch and build trust with you. This makes it more likely that they will place a phone call or submit their insurance for verification. Furthermore, people tend to trust websites with live chat even if they don’t actually use the live chat!
Finally, you have to track your user activity and phone calls. Know what’s working and what is not. Many companies go at their marketing hoping to just make something work. However, when you appropriately track all the information about users, where they come from, what they’ve searched, how they’re reaching out, and what devices they’re using, you can discover what is creating admissions and what is a waste of time.
4. How to Become an Authority
I know the last point was about creating conversions, but it’s also important to know when to not direct everyone to call. In conversations with our clients and new facilities, people are often focused solely on converting clients. Yes, this is the ultimate goal, but in order to do so you have to consider other factors. Namely, you have to build brand awareness, build positive associate with your organization, and stand out from the crowd.
When you are recognized as an authority in the field, people will respect your name more. When you give people a positive association with your brand, they’re more likely to remember and recommend you. When you stand out from the crowd, people will be more likely to convert down the road to you than your competitors.
From an SEO perspective, useful content will generate both links and traffic. If you create something different from your competitors, you can get backlinks to your domain, building your overall site’s authority.
One of the best ways to accomplish these goals is to create content not pushing the conversion. There are of course a ton of ways to do this, but we’ll focus on a few that we’ve used (don’t worry, we’re not giving you all of our secrets). First, create content that is truly of use to the community. Good examples of this are Atlas Recovery’s page on 11th Step Meditation Practices and Changing Tide’s page on 4th Step Inventory Worksheets.
These pages include worksheets and guided meditations, and are truly of use to the community. They’re likely to get some natural backlinks and shares. Both of these two examples pop up on page one of search results for their search terms, ensuring they’ll reach more people, get more links, and build more brand awareness. They are offering something freely to the community without any ask in return.
Another way to do this is to create content that gets shared and reaches more people. There is the classic example of the infographic, such as the one from Crownview above. Infographics show information in an easy to understand manner, and are super likely to generate links. Of course, they’re also branded and build both positive association and awareness.
You can also try creating videos like Atlas Recovery’s guided meditations (note: we recorded those meditations as our owner is an empowered Buddhist teacher and leads meditation groups across Northern California), podcasts (get links on iTunes and Google Play), and fun tests and quizzes like Elevation Behavioral Health’s Test Your Knowledge About Addiction or Changing Tide’s Which Recovery Program Are You?
Finally, produce content that makes you personable and relatable as humans. This can be a blog post from a personal perspective, sharing honestly and openly on social media, or producing videos and sharing photos of yourself. Below is a beautiful video from Changing Tides Treatment of the owners, Berkeley and Stephanie Dains, which shows them as humans sharing their mission and experience.
All of these pieces of content share one thing in common. They aren’t super heavy on the “sales pitch.” They all are indeed a sales pitch, but the user doesn’t necessarily feel this. As a marketer in the treatment industry, you have to build trust. People in the state of vulnerability and fear caused by addiction want someone to treat them with kindness, compassion, and expertise.Make Quizzes, Podcasts, & Infographics
5. What People Want in a Site
The final point we have to share is that you need to know what the people want to see in a website. The bottom line is that user experience is as important as ever, both for creating conversions and for SEO. That’s right, a better user experience indeed impacts your rankings in search engines. For example, factors Google has confirmed effect rankings include page loading speed, mobile-friendliness, the presence of pop ups, and how cluttered the website is.
Let’s start with mobile-friendliness, as it’s a complete necessity these days. Google uses a mobile-first indexing, which means they look at your mobile site in determining your ranking, not your desktop site. For SEO and showing up high in search engines, your mobile site matters more than your desktop site.
This also holds true for user friendliness. Here’s a chart of percentage of users by device, separated out into three categories: computer, tablet, and phone. These are different clients, and you can see the trend toward mobile devices.
You can see that more people are coming to the sites from mobile devices than computers, and tablets are used for a considerable portion of sessions as well. Having a mobile friendly site is an absolute must.
Loading speed is also important to address. If you want people to come to your site and stay on your site, it has to move. According to KissMetric’s study, 40% of people will abandon a website if it takes over three seconds to load. Furthermore, they found that a one-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. Think about that. You’re losing about one in every fourteen conversions with each second your page takes to load.
You can see an example of a poorly-optimized mobile page at www.OCSoberLiving.com. We don’t know this program at all, and they may be a wonderful facility offering great care. However, the site is not mobile-optimized. An example of a site that is optimized for mobile devices is www.DetoxifySD.com. It only takes a moment on each site to see which one looks like it was made to show up on your mobile device.
Many facilities use pop ups to try to generate phone calls and leads. However, pop-ups simply don’t work. First of all, your site is likely to pop up lower in search results with pop ups. Google calls them “invasive interstitials,” and is penalizing sites that have pop ups on landing pages that block the user from seeing the content.
Furthermore, studies have found that engagement from users garnered through a pop up is much lower than that of those who convert otherwise. Furthermore, it has been found that 70% of US users are annoyed by pop-ups, and people tend to trust brands less that use pop-ups. Usability has a great article on the pros and cons of pop ups here.
What’s the most popular page on most of our clients’ websites, and the page that over 75% of callers visit before calling? The page with photos of the facility. Yes, it is perhaps a bit sad that people are more interested in what your facility looks like than what your program is like. Whatever gets somebody in the doors though. I went to treatment because of a court case, so who am I to judge? If people want photos, make your photos accessible!
These are five things that you must know if you are to effectively market your addiction treatment facility online. They aren’t a cure-all. This isn’t some magical potion. However, you need to know the behavior of your users, the value of the snack pack, where to generate leads, how to become a respected authority and build trust, and what your users want if you are serious about competing.
You can use the form below to contact us with any questions, or the live chat box in the bottom right. We’re here to support you, and are happy to offer free consultations, walkthroughs, audits, and suggestions.
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