Large alcohol and drug treatment centers made a major shift in the past few years. In the recent past, large treatment companies marketed nationally and flew people into the closest airport. With residential treatment, this made sense. After all, folks were staying a minimum of 30 days and certain states were more treatment friendly. Treatment centers were able to help more people and keep their occupancy rates high.
Recent industry pressures from insurance companies, regulation in marketing practices, the opiate crisis, and Google changes have forced many treatment centers to downscale and begin thinking of how they can reach the people in their states and regions.
This makes perfect sense as most Google searches for addiction treatment related terms turn up localized results. Local treatment centers who properly leverage this opportunity will grow their brand, help more people get into treatment, and increase their census. So what are some action steps you can take as a treatment center owner, CEO, marketing director, or SEO?
- If you have not done so please, please claim your Google My Business Listing. Without a verified Google My Business listing you have little chance to show up above the fold for transactional terms related to drug treatment. Here is how to claim and verify your listing for free. Hint: if you do not want to share the physical location of your center for patient privacy reasons service areas are now an option for treatment centers.
- Create a Facebook business page and put the correct address and contact information on it. Use the same information that is on your Google My Business listing and website. Your business should have one consistent set of local contact info: phone number, address, and website.
- List your business in other local search engines, directories, industry sites, local chambers of commerce, etc. Hint: pay once – do not recur your memberships. Once the listing information is out there there is no need to continue to push it out constantly. A good way to get your local information in many places consistently is to use a service like Yext Power Listings or Moz Local. These systems are simple to use for any level of technical expertise. Again – the trick is to pay once so you do not get hit with recurring fees.
- Respond to reviews. Publically respond to ALL reviews good or bad. For positive reviews a simple “Thanks for the great review!” works just fine. Google provides canned responses within your Google My Business dashboard. For critical reviews, responding is even more important. By acknowledging and fixing their problem a customer will often change or remove their negative review. A simple solution-based response is best for public view. Don’t be tempted to respond to all details of a negative review publically. Rather say something positive and solution-focused like “We are sorry to hear about your negative experience. Our goal is for everyone to have a five-star experience with us and we missed the mark here. Please call us at xxx-xxx-xxxx so we can make this right.” It is also OK if you know who the customer is that left the bad review to reach out to them directly, and professionally to make the negative situation into a positive one.
- Actively manage your reputation. I suggest using a service like Podium.com or Birdeye.com. These services are invaluable for consistent, timely reputation management. They monitor the web for mentions of your company – Good or bad and provide you a centralized platform to respond. Another benefit of these services is an easy way to ask your best customers for reviews. Many of these reputation management services connect directly with your CRM, allowing you to text or email an invitation to review your business. People love all of the great reviews that come through, but I have found that using these systems allows a customer to easily reach out to your company directly with a perceived bad experience before they post it online. Most bad experiences can be fixed rather easily. Turning an upset customer into one who at minimum is satisfied or even a raving fan.
- Use Google Alerts. A Google alert will email you when your brand name is mentioned online. You can set up this alert so that as soon as Google detects your brand is mentioned on the web you get an email. This can tip you off to all kinds of information about your brand first before you hear about it from a customer.
- Create and promote local events connected with your business. Have a treatment center? Try doing a lunch and learn, or start a 12 step meeting at your facility or nearby. Coordinate a public education lunch or evening gathering. Then use Google My Business event posts, Facebook Events, Eventbrite, and your website to promote the event. This will boost your local visibility and citations related to your business location.
- Develop content focused on your local area. Make a quick video about how the opiate crisis has impacted your local area. Create a page that tracks addiction rates in your communities. Get testimonials from local clients and put them on your website with transcriptions and titles that let visitors and search engines know where the folks are from.
- Network locally. Join your chamber of commerce, get involved in local events that focus on your niche business. Reach out to local newspapers and online news outlets and share your expertise. Learn who your main news sources and journalists are in your area and reach out. Write editorials, comment, and share on your local news pages as your business.
- Coordinate your online efforts with boots on the ground face to face networking. If you have a regional business development representative make sure they know what is on your website, what events you are putting on, and have them spread the word. Build relationships with influencers, helpers, politicians, and council folks within your community.
- Give back. Most people who call your treatment center hotline will not fit the criteria for admission into your facility. Learn the local resources that are available so you can always help and leave anyone who calls better off than before they called you. Send people to other local partners you know and trust. The people you refer clients to can help or hurt your reputation and brand. Offer donations or volunteer time to local organizations that help indigent people affected by substance abuse. Become a business member of these organizations. Goodwill goes a long way in building your local reputation.
That is it. Eleven actions that you can take as a business owner to boost your local footprint and show up more often in the coveted “three-pack” for localized organic search results.