Treatment Centers

Marketing Strategies For Drug And Alcohol Treatment Centers

The Need for Addiction Treatment Marketing

Drug rehab marketing has of late assumed much significance as addiction is a worldwide epidemic, which is not only destroying the lives of millions, but more common to any country than most of us realize.
Statistics show that in 2011, the US had an addict population of around 20.6 million over the age of twelve. The figure unfortunately, keeps growing and has cause for much alarm.
It is estimated that around 300 people die daily from drug overdoses, the figure having tripled over the last two decades; 2.6 million Americans are addicted to both illicit drugs and alcohol; over five million emergency room cases are drug related; around 7 million addicts suffer from some form of mental illness; around 9.5 million people drive under the influence of alcohol and/or illicit drugs; and the highest population of illicit drug users fall between the age groups of 18 to 25, with 90% of them starting to smoke, drink, or use drugs before they turn 18.
The statistics for alcohol addiction per se are also depressing. The additional problem is that alcoholism by and large, is left untreated in most cases because consuming the substance is legal. However, due to effective rehab marketing campaigns undertaken by the federal government as also some of America’s most well-known detoxification and rehabilitation centers, the rate of alcoholism has shown to be declining.

However, it continues to be a matter of concern, particularly with the pre-teens and young adult’s groups. Moreover, men are more prone to binge drinking; 9.1% of males above the age of twelve

drink heavily five 5 or more days in a month as do 2.6% of women.

The underlying major problem, however, is that over 95% of those needing urgent treatment for alcoholism avoid it on the excuse that they don’t need it even though statistics show that more people are treated for alcoholism than for abuse of any other substance.
Finally, there’s nicotine and tobacco addiction, that record the highest figures. Tobacco-related loss of productivity and healthcare costs touch a whopping $190 billion in the US every year. Moreover, the illicit drug use rate is seen to be 9.5 times higher for teen aged smokers.
It is also proven that tobacco is responsible for more deaths annually than all other substance abuse-related deaths put together. Psychologists opine that tobacco users are also more prone to alcohol and drugs abuse and over 40% of smokers tend to indulge in binge drinking.
Thus it becomes absolutely clear why rehab marketing is required and the importance it has to tackle a global menace today. Who would like to have an alcoholic and/or a drug addict for a husband, wife, mother, father, son, or daughter.
However, the good news is that with the growing awareness about this global menace, more and more rehabilitation centers are coming up and strategic, sensitive and ethical marketing tailored for the rehabilitation of such unfortunate victims is gradually becoming the order of the day.

How to Market Your Drug Rehab Center?

You may set up a state-of-the-art drug rehabilitation center with all modern amenities to treat addicts both physically and mentally and to detoxify them. But the question that now arises is: How are you going to market your venture?
The competition in this sphere is also growing fiercely and you are functioning in a crowded marketplace where you need to get yourself heard. Rising above the din isn’t always easy because that extra challenge lies in de-stigmatizing the disease so that you build a relationship of absolute trust with your patients.
Your prime objective therefore, should be to adopt ethical marketing practices that positively influence opinion while also building your reputation as a trustworthy treatment center that helps unfortunate people make some real life changes. So here’s what you basically need to do:

  • Develop a unique value proposition by refining your image and creating a brand that makes you different from your competition. Remember, strong brand building is mandatory for your success.
  • Maintain regular contact with law enforcement programs, community leaders and healthcare providers for increasing referrals.
  • Apply precision target marketing methods to analyze, understand and reach out to prospective patients and/or their family members who generally tend to be reluctant or even skeptical about seeking help.
  • Stress more on awareness and community outreach. This is important as even though addiction is known to be a disease, it continues to be widely misinterpreted and misunderstood. This calls for creation of effective and strong public relations campaigns and use of publicity techniques that aid in de-stigmatizing the condition and positioning your facility as a trustworthy resource for care and information.
  • Evolve a sound and effective digital marketing strategy that maximizes your website’s potential to attract new clients as also referrals by “word of mouth” by strategically using social media.

Your prime objective therefore, should be enhancing your reputation while maintaining the highest ethical standards of marketing, standing above your competition, attracting new patients and finally and more importantly, increasing your revenues and bottom line.

Ways & Methods

Seeking professional help to learn how to market a drug rehab is often advisable for newcomers to the business. This is more so as marketing such facilities can be a sensitive and delicate matter.
You may want to refrain from using intrusive methods to advertise your services to a potential clientele, but at the same time also desire to quickly and effectively reach out to local individuals, in need of your services and help. How then could you achieve this?
The right blend of digital marketing strategies and optimization of website search engines is usually the most cost-effective and fruitful way to reach your alcohol and drug rehabilitation center to the right people at the right time. Therefore, should you decide to handle your rehab marketing yourself, here’s what you need to do:

Create a customized healthcare website that attracts prospective patients

As you embark upon the website’s creation, you need to set up a team comprising a strategist, designer, writer, programmer, SEO or search engine optimization specialist, and a project leader to supervise the overall operations.
Brief them in details on what exactly you expect your website to yield for you and they will act accordingly to deliver a product customized to your specific needs and requirements.
This is of course, a time consuming process and the final product gets delivered after much trial and error. Your patience here will play a major role in getting the desired result and hurrying the venture unnecessarily could only mess up things in the long run.
In sum, a welcoming and warm website for your drug and alcohol treatment center should basically focus on the vision that you have for it. You could adopt the three-step process of first identifying what you intend to offer and what the basic characteristics of your establishment are.
Will it be a single gender facility and offer detox services only? Or will it be an all-encompassing facility catering to all genders and age groups? Look at the websites of your competitors and then decide what you want from yours.
Step 2 would involve intelligent and proper use of the business’ logo, colors and images that tell all there is to know about your organization. The final step is the development process where the site should be coded to perfectly match the approved design.
This could take about a week’s time and will be delivered on a staging server so that it can be viewed and played around with as the final product is developed. Once this is complete, take a walk through the live site before launching it officially in the cyber world.

Use Search Engine Optimization effectively to attract traffic:

Your website may be your introduction to prospective patients and finally bring them to your doorstep.
However, remember that an attractive and professional website becomes useless if people are unable to find you. The hard fact is that the top five to ten listings garner 90% of the visits in a search. So if your website doesn’t feature there, you’re living in Internet “Siberia.”
Additionally, it may so happen also that your website has certain flaws that prevent it from hitting the top spots and makes it impossible for potential patients to find you on the major search engines like Bing and Google.
It also pays to bear in mind that even though hitting the top spot is essential, it’s more important to sustain that position. Here today and gone tomorrow just doesn’t work because public memory is short.
You need to formulate your SEO strategies in a manner where your website will not only show up during a search for rehab center or practice.
Rather it will appear on any relevant search related to the rehab services you provide. This is primarily because most searchers of rehab services usually don’t start with your healthcare organization’s name because in most cases they don’t even know it.
That’s why it’s more important for you to know how prospective patients search for rehab facilities and you need to brief your website creation team to optimize your site accordingly.
This would require carefully studying and reviewing your target audience, desired cases, customized and specialized services you offer, your center’s location and a SWOT analysis of your competitors who are already vying for same top spot as you are. This also calls for considering on-site content, off-site links as also social indicators.
Regular checks also need to be performed on your website’s effectiveness after its launch from the medical marketing angle. This would tell you whether it’s actually working or requires some major changes to yield better results.
SEO comprises multiple smaller processes and practices that get frequently updated because they are perpetually changing the way they decide to display the most important information to users. Thus it takes a lot of dedication and hard work to keep your website current and your ranking high. The frequency of doing SEO varies and is generally based on specific site needs.
Rehab centers require SEO because it gives them higher website traffic, phone calls, contact forms in less time and expense. Moreover, its other benefits would be:

  1. Increased visibility and rankings in SERPs or search engine results pages. The higher your page appears, the more are its chances of being clicked, especially if it’s on the first page.
  2. Link building and enhanced authority which implies that Google determines a site’s placement in its SERPs through the site’s authority which is determined by way of the quality of links and numbers pointing to the site from other websites.

Create a customized healthcare website that attracts prospective patients

It goes without saying that today’s virtual world is ruled by content and content alone. Ignore it and you’re inviting trouble. It’s not only a prime determinant of SEO success but content quality heads the Periodic Table of SEO’s Success Factors.
In other words, powerful content is a solid support to all associated SEO efforts. However, it has to at any cost, be different from its competition. Content that’s run-of-the-mill doesn’t work.
The strategy to create and post content on your site, therefore, involves first asking yourself if it’s attractive enough to attract a reader’s attention and spend more time on your pages; and whether at all there’s something of substance and real value to the visitor, which is unique, different and most importantly, useful to him.

Any robust rehab marketing plan rests solidly on improved website content, design and graphics that ensure that each page loads in the minimum possible time. This is due to the fact that any user expects a website to load fast. Secondly, search engines could change your website rankings if it doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to.
For instance, Google is now able to detect when a visitor touches base with a website and immediately leaves it. If this happens frequently with the same website, Google is likely to drop its ranking in its search results on the premise that site is unable to deliver an acceptable user experience.

The content creation process should start with first knowing your target audience. Fig 1 shows the four levels most consumers breeze through before taking a decision.  Thus it’s your job is to identify such people, while also ensuring that your website and its content speak to them at each stage of the process.


Awareness refers to those individuals who fell that a loved one or they themselves have an addiction crisis. This stage needs to work on “evergreen” content that is searched for on a monthly basis by most visitors and calls for information on topics like Am I A Drug Addict? Or, Symptoms of Addiction.

This content focuses on helping and educating visitors and increasing their self-confidence. This content acts as a family’s information resource.


Once an addict or his family members identify the problem, having acquired some basic knowledge, they generally tend to move into the next level or the “Interest” phase. In other words, they search for more information on the type of addiction which is affecting their lives.

They zero in on specific terms like alcoholism or causes of addiction, for instance. The content should be developed accordingly to not only cater to their needs but is based on scientific and factual information on other associated topics to allow them to learn more about the disease.


Once the user has had his desire to understand his illnesses satisfied, he may want to change and start leading a healthy lifestyle. This usually happens typically before the “Rock Bottom” phase.
He searches for information on treatment procedures, the time taken and costs involved. The content is created accordingly to cater to these specific questions also focuses heavily on conversion by way of a form completion or phone call.


This is for “rock bottom” addicts and their families who are desperate to make a positive change. The Action phase focuses on shorter, call-to-action pages. The search is generally for terms like “Alcohol treatment + city name” or “Drug Rehab + city name.”

The content here should be created to connect in a manner that calms the addict, promises him help and raises his survival hopes. The copy focuses on the positives of healthy living, warns addicts of the negatives of addiction, and increases their confidence to remain sober after treatment.

Once you touch upon all areas of this decision-making process, you will be branding yourself as a trustworthy provider of hope and knowledge. You are also the prime resource for everything they need to know. These in their totality will make your conversions much faster and easier.

Get into online advertising:

Research shows that digital advertising yields you the fastest and highest return on your investment.

Patients are reachable now through Bing, Google and other popular search engines. SEM or Search Engine Marketing as also PPC or Pay-Per-Click campaigns are known to place your ads at the top of results shown by Google when a patient search for services that you offer.

This again calls for analysis of your competition and subsequently creating a winning strategy that makes use of appropriate keywords, geography, ads, time, extensions, landing pages as also mobile and desktop bidding strategies.

Once the strategy has been implemented, you would be required to perpetually monitor and optimize your campaign to ensure the best returns on your investment.

An additional advantage of online advertising is that it keeps showing your ads to prospective patients, even when they aren’t into active searching.

Apart from PPC advertising, it’s also advisable to place your ads on Google’s Display Network as also other media platforms online. When people click on your advertisement, you pay a nominal sum but this helps you reach patients while also simultaneously building your brand online locally.

Paid searches on Bing and Google is also one of the quickest ways to get your center noticed. This scores over SEO which might take a few months to realize its full value because Paid Search is instant.

Keywords for addiction treatment facilities are expensive on Google AdWords and may cost up to $50 per click if you’re vying for the top position. This implies that your budget could be wasted on clicks that don’t convert into leads and into clients thereafter. That’s why it’s important to identify what works and what doesn’t to avoid unnecessary expenses.

Your strategy for PPC Management should therefore, stress on:

Targeted campaigns that have appropriate budgets
Enhanced quality scores by way of ad group & ad creation, as also optimization of landing pages
Enticing copy that induces an effective call to action
Campaign monitoring on a daily basis for the best results
Data driven decisions based on detailed analysis

However, with the larger players paying substantial amounts to Google for keywords related to drug rehab treatment, it’s often harder for newcomers to compete in the space for paid search.

Which is why professional help may be required to lower costs per click, drive more visitors and reduce the monthly budget. The right agency could even lower your cost to $10 per click, depending on your facility’s location and cut your Google spend by almost half.

Advertising on Facebook and other social media platforms is another effective way of creating brand awareness. This is possible through paid ads and following up with prospective clients through retargeting, after they visit your site.

You could also advertise your facility’s services on certain online directories because it’s really a cost effective way. The results could subsequently be tracked and shared through a dashboard that displays the results 24×7.

You get to see the total number of clicks, number of inquiries by way of calls and form fills, average cost per click and inquiry as also call details like call length, outcome, and time. There are facilities to even record incoming calls to know what conversations took place.

In sum, marketing of drug and alcohol addiction treatment facilities has undergone a sea of change ever since digital marketing began its unstoppable march. Proactive and automated processes are gradually being implemented to get feedback and subsequently generate positive reviews on your facility.

This aided by word-of-mouth publicity works wonders in creating the brand image. Moreover, e-mail alerts from unsatisfied patients could goad you to take corrective measures immediately before your image gets tarnished.

Since marketing for drug rehab now relies on B2B and B2C outreach strategies, you need to be aware of both concepts and apply them accordingly.

However, do remember that it is a business of trust and giving hope to the unfortunate few who have come to you for help. Honor their needs and help them lead normal and healthy lives. And, of course with a little effective marketing, you could see your cash registers ringing away!