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20700 Ventura Blvd Suite 128, Woodland Hills, CA 91364
Marketing secrets for behavioral health facilities

Stand Out From
Your Competitors by Marketing Your Behavioral Health Company

Three Phases
Marketing Your Behavioral Health Company

Phase 1 of Marketing Behavioral Health Facilities. Before. Phase 2 of Marketing Behavioral Health Companies. During. Phase 3 of Marketing for Behavioral Health Providers. After.

Phase 2. During.
This phase of marketing is the most active phase for all of us, as this is the point that the potential client, loved one or referrer have come to realize that there is a problem and its time to take action. Think back to the analogies that I used in part 1 about standing in front of the refrigerated drink section in 7-11. The customer has now made the decision to purchase and is beginning to decide what to buy; soda, water, juice, power drink, and the list could go on. What is going to make the potential consumer choose in this phase and what is going through the consumers mind? Carbonated, diet, brand preference, flavor, healthy, hydrating, energy-boosting or even meal replacement… 

Branding Kicking In

What makes a consumer purchase a particular product?  There are many reasons such as; familiarity, word of mouth, exposure, consistency, connection, quality, convenience, trust, problem-solving ability, and many other factors. Many of these reasons are answered in branding your facility. In part 1, we discussed a number of important factors in branding your facility. You must have a clear, concise message that addresses the problem that people need to solve in coming to you. This will make you stand out in the crowd. If you project the same look and feel as your competition, you will be forgotten.

You also need to understand your market and speak to them. All of these are beginning pieces of creating a memorable brand. Let’s go back to the analogy of deciding what drink to buy.  Think about Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Gatorade.  By doing that, you have just narrowed down the multitude of choices you are presented with, those brands have essentially have focused the consumer’s attention to them through their branding. That is what powerful, focused branding can do for you.

Consumer shopping a known brand

But They Spent Millions to Get There

TV Advertising

The next question to answer, once your messaging has been settled, is how to let people know that you exist. Coca-Cola spends millions a year as do the other national brands so everyone knows about them. That is true, but you are in the Direct Response business. Direct Response has dramatically grown from slicers and dicers on TV to almost every product and service that is advertised.

The other factor in promoting your behavioral health services is that you know that 10-15% and perhaps even higher numbers of adults and adolescents are beginning or in the throes of one of the disorders that you treat. That is a huge number. If you have followed some of the suggestions made in my previous article, then you have seen an increase in your direct traffic, phone calls, and organic traffic. That means that not only were you letting the public know who you are but it is also reaching people that need you now. From this increased traffic and calls, you are also increasing your census. Welcome to Direct Response and it is paying for itself. 

How Does My Behavioral Health Company Stand Out?

As you have all seen, Google has made being on the first page of many of your keywords almost irrelevant, but it is not.  Now SEO can only be a part of your marketing plan and not the entire plan.

Now when you search for a keyword phrase, there are 3-4 ads on the top of the search results, followed by the local “3-pack”, and a local ad above the 3-pack. Finally, organic listings appear followed by more ads. And the top organic listings are usually dedicated to aggregators.  Then more ads below the organics listings. 

Have you noticed how small the Ad icon has become on Google designating that the listing is an ad? Some people do not recognize or notice the difference between paid placement (PPC Ads) and organic listings.  This means that relying solely on SEO and organic traffic as many used to do a few years ago may not be paying off as well in today’s cluttered climate. Standing out goes back to the first article in the series that I wrote and it’s all about branding, and messaging to the general consumer.

Search Results on the First Page of Google

The screenshots below illustrate the anatomy of a typical search engine result page for a behavioral health company.  To see the entire first page, you would tap page-down twice. So in effect, the first page appears over 3 screen pages as shown below.  Organic listings do not appear until you have gone past the first screen (above the fold), and past the aggregator listings.

Page 1. Above the Fold
The results shown before scrolling down are paid PPC ads and local 3-pack listings including one paid local listing.
SERP Page 1 Section 1
Page 1 Search Results. Above the Fold.
Page 1. After scrolling down once
More local listings, followed by listings from aggregator sites and finally some organic listings.
SERP Page 1 Section 2
Search Engine Result Page. Middle section, after scrolling once.
Page 1. After scrolling down twice
More organic listings, followed by paid PPC ads.
SERP Page 1 Section 3
Search Engine Result Page. Middle section, after scrolling twice.

In the past few years, Google has been adding new sections to its search results page, pushing down organic search results.  Although SEO and organic rankings remain an important part of marketing for rehab centers, it can no longer be the sole marketing focus.

Organic Search Engine Listings

This summary illustration shows the typical search page results on Google’s first page when one searches for a geo-targeted keyword phrase, specifying a city name or zip code.

The organic listings for individual treatment centers are highlighted in green and the other listing types are in red. Organic Local Listings are mostly driven by your Google Business profile page as well as your profile on other directories.  Traditional SEO practices also help elevate your ranking in organic Local Listings.

Traditional SEO helps rank your pages for the non-local Organic Listings.  Over time, Google has pushed these listings lower on the page, making room on top for maps, local listings, featured questions and other listing types that Google considers more relevant.

This illustrates that even if you have top organic listing for a particular keyword phrase, the searcher has to scroll down once or twice to find your listing.

Google Page 1 – Geo-Targeted Search Results
Google Page 1 - Geo-Targeted Search Results
Typical Listing Types

Everyone Knows My Name

Consumer searching for a brand name

For those of us old enough to remember the TV show, Cheers, the theme song was about going to a place where you felt wanted and comfortable. Those characters went to the same place every day because it was like home. That is the power of what I am talking about. Taking away the decision process. Reducing the need for the consumer to search, so that you are not fighting to be seen on a keyword search results page.

By establishing yourself in your marketplace you will see a dramatic increase in “Direct Traffic” and also “Organic Traffic”.  By having your message prominent on your home page, they will know that they are where they want to be because you have instilled your message. They will feel like they already know you and they will come to you directly, eliminating your competition from search.

Word of Mouth

We know this to be one of the most powerful forms of marketing that there is. By consistently marketing your brand, it will create word of mouth. When the crisis arrises of addiction, many people ask friends and other loved ones if they know of facilities or therapists that can help. If you have done your job, your facility will naturally come to mind. How many times have you heard someone say, “you know, I just saw that on TV” or in some other medium. To use today’s terminology, a properly run campaign is the definition of viral and the benefits will be seen in more direct hits and organic hits to your site with more calls generated.

Word of mouth

Behavioral Health Outreach and Marketing – A Potent Combo

Your outreach coordinators are having their meetings, doing their conferences, giving tours and creating solid relationships within the potential referring universe. They are armed with swag, brochures and solid expertise in why your facility is right for a potential client in crisis. The moment a referrer and client realizes that it is time for a higher level of care, the referrer discusses this with his or her client and makes a suggestion to the client. Your brochure may be handed to the client or it may be one of the 50 other brochures that the referrer has in their office. If you have followed some of what we have discussed, your facility will come to mind for the referrer and the potential client and you will have cut through a lot of the noise that the referrer and the client may have to go through to make a decision.

We have also seen that there is implied credibility when marketing is done properly. Your outreach coordinators may have an easier time getting in to see potential referrers, greatly increasing your chances of establishing an important referral relationship.

It Comes Down to This

If you have done your job to the best of your ability, you have decreased the noise of competition that surrounds a potential client. You have implanted your image, name, and purpose in them so that searching for the right place becomes more or less just the decision to enter treatment. There is an old adage in marketing when a consumer is given a choice of products. Many times the easiest choice is to not choose at all. You want them to think of you first and make the call.