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AdWords for Addiction Centers (part 1 of 7)

This past September, Google clamped down on AdWords in the addiction/recovery industry, disrupting the PPC channel that drove intakes for a significant swath of treatment centers across the U.S.

In the months since the shakeup, has your addiction/rehab center cracked the code on generating highly qualified leads in a post-Google AdWords world?

In this step-by-step 7-part series, the emphasis is Addiction Center lead generation and lead diversification. Within the guide, your treatment center will learn sustainable lead generation channels to diversify lead flow. In Part 1, we’ll define each of these channels for you. Each subsequent part will take a deeper dive into each specific channel, providing ProTips to help your Rehab center drive qualified intakes ethically.

Guide Goals:

  • Arm your team with insights into what channels are ethically driving intakes for Addiction/Rehab Centers
  • Explore each channel in-depth and how they fit into an integrated, holistic Addiction strategy

Wake Me Up When September Ends: A Background into Google’s Addiction AdWords Shakeup

On September 14th, 2017, The Verge reported that Google disrupted the addiction/rehab industry and made sweeping changes to AdWords. Recognizing itself as one of the primary referral resources in the industry, Google restricted the availability of ads for keywords like “drug rehab”, “drug treatment program” and hundreds of other keywords, modifiers, and keyword variants in AdWords.

Seemingly overnight, addiction and rehab facilities that relied on the intakes driven by Paid campaigns saw their lead flows dry up. What was once an oasis for treatment centers gave way to an arid desert, with some addiction marketers left wandering aimlessly.

Et Tu, Google AdWords?

Of course, that’s not the complete story. Given both the nation’s current opioid crisis combined with previously unchecked and unethical business practices from addiction and treatment centers forced Google to step in. And when Google cracked down, it did so on the entire addiction/rehab industry, not just unscrupulous, fly-by-night treatment centers cheating addicts out of quality patient care and money. Unfortunately, the few rotten apples out there ruined it for the reputable treatment centers that genuinely had patients’ best interest in mind.

Granted, change was necessary and had to happen. The AdWords crackdown reminds us how quickly changes can take hold, and how treatment centers must continually adapt to stay competitive.

With a myriad of channels available to treatment centers, relying solely on one (like Paid) to drive leads/intakes sets census goals up for failure. Your Addiction/Rehab center must diversify its lead flow to capture as much visibility and demand as possible. This requires understanding which channels your treatment center needs to invest in to achieve these goals.

Bearing the above statement in mind, we’ve provided a definition of each channel that will be covered in future installments. When combined into a holistic program, these channels will drive sustainable leads/intakes. This isn’t the instant gratification game. Read on to learn more:

Channels Covered Within the Guide

Facebook: The world’s largest social network, boasting 2 billion active monthly users. Facebook is one of many social media channels, but for the purpose of the guide, drives the most awareness for addiction/rehab centers currently.

Programmatic Displays/Advertising: Merges automation with online ad buys. Programmatic advertising utilizes real-time bidding, or RTB, to auction online ad space to the highest bidder.

SEO – Local-3 Pack: These are the top 3 local results displayed on a Google SERP (search engines results page). The local 3-pack provides a business reviews (if they have any), NAP (name, address, phone number) information and other pertinent business details. The top 3 spots are reserved for local searches that receive the greatest search volume and relevance.

Local SEO: Searches with a modifier that has a local intent. “Ice cream stands NEAR ME” are a great example of this. Local searches will display the result that best matches the search term based on relevance and proximity.

Marketing Automation: Software that handles a facet of your organizations marketing on a consistent basis. Organizations utilize marketing automation for everything from sending emails to social media posts. Marketing automation enables organizations the ability to streamline tasks that may be time-consuming (but still beneficial) otherwise.

Content Marketing: A combination of all the words, photos, video and audio that a brand uses to tell its story online. Content marketing is utilized by all types of organizations and can take on many forms. Organizations customize their content marketing strategy to accommodate specific goals.

From Wild West to Regulation: What’s Next for Addiction/Rehab Marketers?

Google’s AdWords shakeup last September was anything but expected. But that doesn’t mean the opportunity to reach intake goals is diminished.

We’ll cover each of these channels and how they apply to your addiction/treatment centers intake strategy in future installments. Of course, if you or your team has questions before we cover each installment, contact us. We’ll be happy to help your treatment center find its footing in an ever-changing landscape.

About the Author

BrettBenko

Brett Benko

Senior Digital Solutions Specialist

Brett Benko is a digital solutions specialist. He has a knack for client empathy and constantly challenges himself to derive insight while obtaining tangible results. He graduated from Kent State University in 2012. He remains active in academia, having recently served on selection committees and charitable boards. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, writing fiction and poetry, traveling, and unabashedly sings karaoke (to mixed reactions) with friends.

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