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When AMA Means ‘Against Marketing Advice’ for Drug Rehab

As an addiction treatment center professional, the three letters you hate to hear most are probably AMA – an acronym for “against medical advice.”

After all, you know that your staff has its patients’ best interest and long-term health and wellness at heart. You also know that the road to recovery takes both time and effort, and the chance at relapse is much greater when someone chooses to leave before they’ve completed the treatment program.

Believe it or not, this same concept applies to digital marketing, especially if yours is a new treatment center. For many reasons, some of which will be covered shortly, prematurely pulling the plug on your rehab marketing efforts can – like those patients who leave too soon – lead to undesired long-term results.

To save your addiction treatment center from this fate, we’re addressing areas where drug rehab facilities commit their own version of AMA – in other words, abandoning their marketing campaign “against marketing advice.”

In this post you’ll learn:

  • The average duration of time it will truly take for your addiction treatment center to see results with digital marketing activities
  • 3 specific digital marketing practices that will reward your drug rehab facility if it plays the long game without going ‘Against Marketing Advice’

Are we There Yet? When Your Drug Rehab can Expect to see Results for Today’s Digital Marketing Efforts

The question your kids incessantly ask during a road trip is also a common question marketers receive. ‘Are we there yet?’ Well, if your drug rehab digital marketing efforts began last week or month, probably not.

While it might be tempting to think of SEO as “just putting a keyword on the page”, the reality is that there are 200+ ranking factors to consider regarding organic visibility. It simply takes time to optimize for and then measure the impact of specific changes.

Given the opioid epidemic gripping the U.S., and some scathing industry takedowns like a recent episode of ‘Last Week Tonight’ adds credence to demonstrating the long-term efficacy for your drug treatment programs. Developing trust with the public doesn’t happen overnight, and neither do ethical SEO programs. Which SEO efforts are ‘worth the wait?’ We explain below.

Worth the Wait: 3 Long-Term SEO Strategies That Pay Off

1.) Content Marketing – If you’ve heard it once, you’ll hear it again – content is king. But why? Content marketing has the power to solve complex business problems while simultaneously building trust with struggling addicts and their family members. But if your drug treatment facility is just beginning a content program, or is a couple months into a program, don’t expect primed, inbound leads immediately.

SEO traffic for one Linkmedia 360 rehab partner increased significantly, but only after a full year of aggressive content publishing.

First, you need to understand that not all content is created equal. Included in those 200+ ranking factors is a website’s ability to provide a strong user experience. Publishing content just to publish is never the right approach. Instead, it’s worth taking several days or even weeks to understand what your site visitors actually want to learn more about. It might be tempting to just jump right in and start writing, but taking some time to plan before you publish can pay dividends in the long run.

Second, an addict’s (or his or her loved ones’) decision process is not a linear one. Before the internet became as easy to access as it is today, consumers simply didn’t have as much access to information. This gave businesses more control over the decision process.

Nowadays, consumers have access to endless amounts of information on tons of devices, and the preference has shifted to more of a self-educating model.
This means that the decision process is no longer controlled by businesses, and consumers have a non-linear approach to decision-making. In order to account for this, you need to develop more content so your treatment center appears in as many places along the decision process as possible. Creating more content takes more time!

2.) Technical SEO Site Optimizations – Back in 2008, I read the first of many articles that claimed “SEO is dead.” For the heck of it, I just Googled “SEO id dead” and got 31,300,000 articles to reach more about it.

Although there’s plenty of content claiming otherwise, the reality is that while SEO has changed significantly over the past 10 years, SEO is very much alive and well, and the places where it can have the most impact are on the technical areas of your website. For example:

  • Image optimization – believe it or not, about 1/3 of all Google searches are performed in Google image search. At minimum, every one of your site’s images should have an optimized image file name, alt attribute, and image title (for ADA compliance purposes). When you think about how many images there are on your website, it can take time to optimize each to its fullest extent!
  • Mobile load times – this is a huge ranking factor, and the solution to speeding up site load time can range from minifying your CSS to shrinking image file sizes to externalizing Javascript. Depending on what the opportunity is, it can take time and several team members to implement updates to improve site load times.
  • Schema markup – Schema markup is code that you put on your website to help search engines provide informative results for end users. If you’ve ever looked for a movie showtime or the hours of operation for a business in Google, you’ve seen schema markup at work. The problem is there are so many types of schema that it’s worth taking a little extra time to figure out the best way to implement it on your site. Fortunately, the folks at Schema.org have provided documentation to help you get started. Keep in mind that schema formatting can change over time, so allocate some time in the future to make sure your site is as optimized as possible for this important SEO element!

Schema markup at work for Linkmedia 360

3.) Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) – Regardless of the traffic source, CRO can have an impact on lead flow. The problem, of course, is that if you’re not mindful, that impact can be a negative one. Specifically, you need to be careful not to jump to conclusions based on personal biases about how your website should be presented to your visitors.

In order to maximize the benefits of CRO, you need to have enough traffic to your site (which can take time if your site is newer and/or not already well optimized), and you need to have patience (in other words, more time) to gather enough data that your test provides a more trustworthy actionable takeaway. Even our highest traffic sites require at least two weeks of testing before we implement (or don’t implement) a conversion element change.

Rome WASN’T Built in a Day? Neither Is a Sound Rehab Marketing Approach

When there is alignment between your drug treatment marketing team and your agency of record, remarkable results are possible.

Like the recovery journey, digital marketing efforts that are truly sustainable take time to implement. Quick wins for rehab marketing are certainly possible depending on the channel, but long-term success requires patience, and patience as they say, is a virtue.

If your rehab marketing team is struggling with determining which activities provide “quick wins” versus long-term strategies, contact our team . We want to help your drug treatment facility accomplish both short-term and long-term goals. In this case, don’t be patient.

About the Author

AgencyThoughtLeadership

Agency Thought Leadership

Digital Marketing Solutions

Linkmedia 360 offers a vast array of integrated digital marketing & media services including search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, paid advertising, email/marketing automation, conversion rate optimization, data science and web development.

Contact us to learn more about our digital marketing solutions for multi-locations business and occupancy-driven solutions for senior living communities, self-storage facilities and addiction treatment centers.

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