12 impactive marketing tips for rehab centers

Few industries face circumstances quite as unique as the addiction treatment industry. On one hand, addiction treatment providers have a moral mission and offer an invaluable service. As Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) remain prevalent in the U.S. and show alarming trends, rehab services offer a suitable remedy. On the other hand, it’s this exact demand that has populated the market to a notable degree, leaving providers to seek marketing tips for rehab centers to diversify themselves and rise above the competition.

As a full-service digital marketing agency in New York that works with a number of treatment centers nationwide, we at Digital Dot deeply and thoroughly understand these conditions. Counting many addiction treatment providers among our clients, our insights into it come from both research and experience. In this article, we’ll consolidate and offer some actionable tips for rehab centers to consider.

Quick facts about addiction treatment

A hooded person sitting in front of a body of water.
In such pressing times, addiction treatment has become a substantial industry.

As a brief introduction, here we can note that rehab centers do face some challenging circumstances. To elaborate on this, consider the following:

  • Substance use treatment is more pressing than ever. In 2017, the HHS had to declare a nationwide opioid epidemic which continues to this day. The opioid crisis impacts Americans of all ages, races, genders, and backgrounds at alarming rates.
  • Treatment for SUDs is increasingly demanding. Rehab centers often have to treat underlying mental health conditions alongside substance addiction. NIDA finds that 37.9% of adults with SUDs also have mental illnesses, and 18.2% of adults with mental illness also have an SUD.
  • Addiction rehab is a crowded business. Finally, addiction treatment has become a massive industry, with over 15,000 treatment facilities now in operation across the US. MarketResearch reported the industry was worth $42 billion in 2020, with “moderate but steady 5.2% annual growth” projected through 2025.

These circumstances don’t make things easy for rehab centers – and especially not for their marketers.

Marketing for rehab centers; 12 impactive tips

With this in mind, here we can share the most substantive marketing tips for rehab centers we’ve found of use. These will range from Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing to branding and beyond so as to cover different bases. As we do, for text economy, we’ll be citing past articles on each for you to read at your leisure.

#1 Start with local SEO

Starting with the fundamentals, rehab centers will typically rely on local audiences. Virtually all rehab programs, from medical detox to inpatient and Partial Hospitalization Programs and even aftercare, require some physical attendance. Telehealth has indeed evolved in strides but doesn’t quite cover all the needs of moderate and severe cases of addiction. As such, most individuals will seek services from local treatment centers.

To cater to this fact, rehab marketers should begin with a strong local SEO strategy. Their Google Business Profile (GBP, formerly Google My Business or GMB) will often be a primary lead generation source. Therefore, it’s vital to claim their GBP listing, optimize it for search engines, and polish it for conversions.

#2 Pay attention to general SEO and search intent

A young person in bed using a mobile phone.
As customer journeys often begin with simple Google searches, general SEO remains invaluable for marketers.

In much the same way, general SEO deserves due attention as well. Despite the local focus of rehab centers, simple Google searches are often the first step of customer journeys. Individuals with SUDs may look up their symptoms, their loved ones may look for informational content to confirm a suspected addiction, and so on. Therefore, despite the obstacles to SEO success along the way, this strategy should not be overlooked.

On this front, marketing tips for rehab centers should account for the industry’s unique circumstances. Marketers should optimize for voice search, as it remains prevalent, and cater to mobile users who now surpass desktop users. But most importantly, as we’ll cover next, they should match the user’s search intent, targeting valuable keywords through informational content. Lead generation matters little if audiences bounce immediately, after all.

#3 Don’t neglect PPC

Similarly, PPC marketing should not be neglected either. It does tend to require some careful budgeting, which smaller and upcoming rehab centers may not afford. However, it also comes with substantial benefits – which, as the PPC agency New York businesses trust, we have to note.

For one, PPC comes with the distinct advantage of highly focused targeting. This will allow Google Ads and other paid ads to only target audiences your business deems valuable, like local audiences. In addition, PPC ads only cost once a user actually clicks on them – hence the name. Therefore, with enough optimizations for conversions, paid ads will generate a reliable Return On Investment (ROI).

#4 Develop a unique selling proposition (USP)

A magnifying glass held over a cityscape.
With ever-fiercer competition, rehab marketers need to diversify themselves from their peers.

For ads or content of any type to successfully convert, however, they will need to offer a distinct USP. This is one of the most fundamental methods for improving your conversion rate, as we’ve covered in the past. It is quite challenging, however, and not quite as simple as other marketing tips for rehab centers on this list.

To develop your own USP, consider such selling points as the following:

  • Do you have a unique specialization? Expertise in any specific area of addiction treatment, such as psychiatric care or pharmacotherapy, can diversify you from your peers.
  • Are your credentials outstanding? Highly qualified staff, accreditations and seals of approval, and notable contributions to local communities can foster trust as well.
  • Can you leverage your portfolio? Success stories can entice audiences all by themselves, especially if they span across different cases with different challenges.

How you approach your USP along these lines will still heavily depend on you and your branding efforts, of course.

#5 Adjust your content marketing strategies

Next, before touching on other marketing channels, we should make a crucial note on content marketing on the whole. That is, you need some mighty efficient content marketing tactics to succeed, starting with your content’s substance itself.

To put this into perspective, consider your primary audiences. They largely consist of individuals with SUDs and their families and loved ones, not general consumers. As such, you will need to address their informational search intent. Craft your journeys around helpful, insightful content, and avoid going for a hard sell. Demonstrate your expertise, and humanize your content to resonate with them. Your audiences need to solve a pressing problem at hand, so your first goal should be to offer solutions.

#6 Leverage social media

A selective focus photo of a person using social media on their phone.
With their powerful focus on enticing visuals, social media can be a very effective marketing tool.

Content marketing requires diverse channels, however, and that’s where marketing tips for rehab centers need to return to the fundamentals. Namely, to make full use of social media – a channel that somehow remains underused.

Social media marketing does present challenges, and it may not immediately spring to mind when marketing rehab services. Especially in this crowded industry, success may not come easy without social media marketing agency services New York offers. Still, much like PPC, social media marketing offers highly targeted marketing, ample audience insights through built-in tools, and much more. With very few exceptions, most social media platforms lean heavily on visuals, too, which can best promote your facilities, staff, community contributions, and so on.

#7 Lean on the power of video marketing

On the subject of visuals, there’s no denying the sheer power of visual marketing in 2022. The industry’s subject may not easily lend itself to typical video marketing strategies, but it can still leverage them effectively.

Indeed, video marketing comes with an array of advantages, like:

  • Presenting information-rich content in a digestible way
  • Attracting the attention of audiences in busy feeds
  • Leveraging shareability to raise brand awareness and boost SEO

Using these qualities to your advantage should definitely deserve your attention. Consider visualizing your portfolio, your research, or your community contributions. Offer video tours of your facilities, and promote the staff behind your programs. The possibilities are endless, and the medium is equal parts flexible and powerful.

#8 Expand your email lists and use them

An illustration of a person’s hands sending out emails through a mobile device.
Email remains the king of marketing, deserving every marketer’s attention.

Speaking of endless possibilities, marketing tips for rehab centers could not exclude email marketing. The king of marketing for many, successful email marketing campaigns alone may benefit your business more than most channels.

This is a rather vast subject, however, so here we may cover the fundamentals. The groundwork for stellar email marketing should start with:

  • SEO optimizations, ensuring enough lead generation to fuel your lists
  • Alluring capture forms, so that website visitors give their email addresses; these could include informational material, program discounts, and more
  • A comprehensive email marketing tool, through which you can process and manage leads

With these in place, you may use email in an array of ways. You can start with a captivating newsletter, keeping leads engaged and customers retained. Then, you can implement referral programs, encourage word-of-mouth, promote your accomplishments, and more – effectively set up drip marketing campaigns. Perhaps most importantly, you can also use email to communicate with alumni, maintain open communication channels and boost your branding.

#9 Polish your web design for conversions

In all cases, and regardless of your marketing channels of choice, your website itself will often need to convert visitors. It will often be the first touchpoint of customer journeys, so its design should offer unmatched usability and visual appeal. As a web design company New York has trusted for years, we could not exclude this from our marketing tips for rehab centers.

We’ve written about how web design affects conversion rates before, but here we should reiterate the basics. As we do, you can use the following as a lens to examine your website:

  • Audiences and search engines value loading speeds. Neglecting it hampers both your SEO and conversion rates, so remember to keep your website lightweight and responsive.
  • Accessibility is always a quality worth pursuing. Especially in the rehab industry, your audiences may include individuals with visual and other impairments. Keep your color contrast, page layout, and alt text accessible to all visitors – in line with SEO guidelines.
  • Conversions require immediate visual clarity. Finally, all visitors value visual clarity and a clear layout hierarchy. Keep your CTAs and key information visible and close to the top.

To substantiate the point of loading speeds specifically, we may cite Google’s own research on visitor bounce rates:

Statistics on how page load speeds correlate with bounce rates by Google.

#10 Improve your trust signals

Still, perhaps above all else, conversions require trust. General audiences will not convert unless you build customer trust through your brand, as all marketers know. This is particularly true for the rehab industry, where audiences in need are increasingly wary of shady treatment providers.

With this in mind, improving trust signals may be among the most crucial marketing tips for rehab centers and marketers. Among other practices, consider prominently featuring the following:

  • Reviews on your website and social media; act as a genuine testament to your services’ quality
  • Accreditations and seals of approval; being certified by such bodies as SAMHSA will immediately help build trust
  • Your portfolio; past success stories will deeply resonate with audiences in similar circumstances

Alongside these, remember to steer clear of shady marketing practices too. Marketing trends to avoid aside, purchased email lists, black hat SEO, and similar practices can strike massive reputational blows.

#11 Revisit traditional and outbound marketing

Having covered digital marketing, albeit rudimentarily, we must also address the ever-present debate of inbound vs outbound marketing. In the digital age, increasingly more marketers turn to innovative, digital-first, inbound marketing – a somewhat understandable choice. Still, the rehab industry has much to gain from traditional and outbound marketing too.

To reiterate the above, addiction treatment providers often rely on local audiences. SUDs affect all ages too, including older individuals with less access to or fondness of technology. And finally, holistic omnichannel marketing requires non-digital channels too. As such, traditional marketing channels are still worth your time.

A gray laptop showing statistics and pie charts.
Combining digital-first with traditional marketing strategies should always deserve some effort.

Consider billboards and fliers, print ads, and even cold calls. If you’re particularly active in your local communities, consider in-person events and event sponsorships. You can even combine some such practices with digital marketing, using one to promote the other. How exactly you do so depends on your brand, of course, but possibilities abound.

#12 Maintain a stellar brand image

Finally, marketing tips for rehab centers can’t exclude a fundamental piece of advice that holds true for all marketers. That is, to maintain a consistent, stellar brand image as you satisfy different customer needs.

Branding and public relations are a vast topic as well, and an industry-sensitive one at that. Therefore, we can’t quite delve into its depths in this already lengthy article. We can, however, explore the basics and let your brand direction and creativity handle the rest.

  • Remain consistent. From your tone to your subject matters, consistency is key to a solid brand image. Make sure your public information is identical across channels and platforms, consolidate your tone, and stick to your niche.
  • Remain professional. In most industries, but especially in the rehab industry, projecting professionalism holds immense value. Keep your web design and outreach sleek and serious, and avoid visual flair and jargon where unnecessary.
  • Engage with your audiences. Marketing benefits aside, engaging with your audiences also helps denote a trustworthy brand. Respond to comments, concerns, and criticisms consistently and professionally, resolving problems as they appear.

While these do require effort, their benefits cannot be understated. Beyond all else, Oberlo and Lucidpress note a stark increase in revenue through brand consistency:

An infographic on the importance of brand consistency and its effect on revenue.

Conclusion

To summarize, marketing is becoming increasingly complex and challenging. Between fragmented customer journeys and changed customer behaviors after the pandemic, obstacles abound. The rehab industry specifically faces additional challenges as well, including sensitive offerings and a crowded, competitive landscape.

With these factors in mind, we hope you found these marketing tips for rehab centers valuable and actionable. From a stronger focus on local SEO to a consistent brand image, we have found these to be notably substantive. While how you approach each will ultimately depend on you, their principles should help your business grow and thrive.

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