So, Google Adwords took you down. If you’re like most other treatment centres, that has taken about 80-90% of your business off the shelf. They dropped the hammer on the 12th of January, 2018.
Given the sensitive nature of marketing for treatment centres that deal with addiction recovery, we knew this would happen eventually. The writing was on the wall back in 2013 when Google started getting aggressive with removing the ability to remarket to audiences in the healthcare industry.
They went on to clarify that any remarketing which might reveal a person’s medical condition or sexual orientation will now be off-limits. But they did it ever so carefully to not offend the treatment centres. So over the coming months and years, the remarketing lists slowly stopped working.
If they weren’t explicitly banned, they simply stopped accumulating users with no “Policy violation” error.
In some cases, they even removed branded retargeting for healthcare companies. Sure, don’t call out their medical condition, but don’t advertise either?
This is precisely when we knew the day will come where addiction treatment rehabs will get penalized or suspended. Even before the referral agencies began to engage in unscrupulous activities.
So what’s the solution then?
Well, if you’re like American Addiction Centers who had approximately ~$30 million to go buy up digital properties like rehabs.com, we recommend do it. Or go get LegitScript so you can do rehab marketing on Google Ads (which opens another can of worms where all your eggs are in the Google basket but that’s a topic for another day)
But if you’re not. Do what we did years ago for all our treatment centre clients. It took a lot of cajoling, but today they are thanking us because their business got affected by a mere 10-15%. In the coming months, that will lower down to 5-8%. And eventually, they’d ask “Google who?”
You have no choice but to look into alternative digital channels. These are the same channels we began prepping our clients for years ago. They leverage display advertising, video ads, mobile, native, etc.
You see, Google Ads and search engines typically are a bottom of the funnel system. They hit on keywords that bring you business. And many agencies focus on the bottom of the funnel. They go straight for “rehab near me” style keywords because people who type “rehab near me” are often done convincing themselves that they need to go to a rehab instead of AA.
But picking a treatment center is no ordinary feat. A lot of time & research goes into it. And during this time, if your rehab brand was shown on other channels, then the prospective admit doesn’t even need to run a few Google searches.
By focusing on the bottom funnel, what these agencies do is forget that 95% of the audience is barely problem aware. That they know they are addicted to substances. But they’re not even sure want if they want to stop the addiction. Appealing during these stages then becomes a no brainer. As you can see in the image above, everything above the green is that 95% of your audience.
A ton of admissions being left on the table!
Imagine how many more people your treatment center can end up helping! Imagine how happy the families would be when they say “a month ago we were looking around to see what’s happening to my son and I read something from your website… and today we’re here!”
This is a great opportunity. Life changing opportunity. By appealing to people at the end of their research period like you used to do, it was more of just treatment. But by being there for them during their arduous journey of researching addiction treatment, you remain a cut above your competition.
Did you know that when you advertise on TV or Radio, that 95% is precisely the audience you’re advertising to. So why not advertise to that 95% on the digital playground? This is where it all lies.
- It’s cost effective.
- It reaches exactly who you want to reach. You want to present your brand to mothers 45+? You bet!
- Remarket to those who are interested (yes, we have ways to remarket without needing to use Google)
However, the quality of your marketing needs to be good too. But in 2018, what were you expecting? Half-baked marketing campaigns don’t do any good for anyone. Do it right, or don’t do it at all. You’re charging thousands of dollars for a 30 day spot, ensure your marketing levels up for it.
And yes, absolutely. Continue with business development with your referral healthcare agents like doctors, detox clinics, ERs, TV, Radio, etc. But don’t forget there are plenty of different channels where you can appeal to your ideal admission. If you’re looking for rehab advertising, then there are many benefits of hiring an addiction treatment marketing agency like us.