Phase 3 of Marketing Your Behavioral Health Company
This is going to sound counter-intuitive but your “After” marketing for behavioral health providers really begins at the beginning of your marketing efforts. If you have followed some of our earlier suggestions on branding and clinical philosophy, then you have set expectations for the level of treatment, care, and hope for recovery that all who seek you out expect.
If you have done some of this then your “after” marketing has already begun. It is the hope for lasting recovery, putting the pieces back – of time lost and relationships shattered that we want for all who suffer from Substance Use Disorder, Mental Health Issues, or Eating Disorders. By your efforts to convince those who need help to seek help, you have already started to paint the picture of what life is like once they are on the road to recovery.
Setting the Stage
We all know that the prospective client thinks his phone weighs a thousand pounds, picking it up and calling for help. That is one of the toughest calls he or she will ever make, even though we all know it is the best call they will ever make. This is a critical time that your “after” marketing begins. It matters a great deal how your admissions counselors answer the phones. This is the very first real personal impression that a prospect is given about your facility. Your counselors are your best ambassadors. They must be highly trained in your clinical philosophy, compassionate in their approach, and if they are in recovery themselves they must be resolute. Your admissions counselors must also be experts on the facts contained on your website, know your clinical staff, and have instant verification abilities for insurance.
Your admissions counselors have verbally painted a picture for the client in the admissions process and this picture must turn into the client’s reality. We all know that perception to reality is usually impossible to align. This can be overcome by constant communication with your admissions counselors and the clinical staff so that there is continuity in messaging to the client. Under-promising and over-delivering at this point will truly pay off.
Fulfilling the Promise
From admissions to assessment, to in-take, to treatment, your goal is to get the client into a place of lasting recovery. If there are any inconsistencies of your message along this path it will greatly hinder your ability to provide the treatment that your clients desperately want. Clients only remember what they want to remember and making them feel heard, comfortable and cared for requires great consistency. Your clinical staff is now in the position of creating a lasting “therapeutic alliance”. Simply put, clients put their trust in their treatment and it is your clinician’s job to establish and nourish that trust. Once this alliance is solid, some of the best outcomes happen. Your staff plays an important roll in the process as they have just as much interaction with clients as do Primary Therapists. As we have discussed, all staff needs to be trained in your philosophy and they need to exude compassion and concern. These traits help develop trust and trust develops recovery.
Discharge planners and Alumni Coordinators play a key roll in making sure that your clients feel the support and caring as their discharge date gets closer. These people help in maintaining the continuity of support and treatment upon discharge that is so critical for positive outcomes. They are also another support touchpoint in your treatment.
As you can see, it is a total facility effort that helps ensure your client the finest treatment and care that will provide the greatest outcome. It is because of positive outcomes, therapeutic alliance, and trust that you have built up with your client through this process that they will be part of your facility family for life. They will also know that you will always be there for them. If they happen to relapse, you will always be there to help pick up the pieces without shame or guilt and allow the healing process to begin in a safe and known space.
Your Alumni Coordinator becomes a lifeline as well as an anchor to your past clients. If your program is set up properly, your coordinator is reaching out to your “alumni” and inviting them to meetings on-site, outings, and general support. Many times they become aware that clients may become shaky in their program and may need additional support or even readmittance by behavioral health providers.
Alumni – Your Extended Family
Alumni are a great source of inspiration to current clients and to your staff. In our world, there is nothing better than having alumni come back to facilities and share what their life is like after the treatment they received from you. Because of the support they are getting from not only their family but from the outside structure that you have set up for them, they have learned that giving back and helping those in need is a big part of their recovery. A solid Alumni Program will mean that alumni will refer potential clients to you because of their programs and the need to help those in need.
Not only are family programs necessary for the recovery of your clients but also necessary for the healing of the family itself. Family aftercare and a structured program for them is important so that they too can continue the healing and recovery process. If you currently do this, our hats are off to you. If you don’t have a discharge family program in place, we urge you to seriously think about instituting one. Families can also be a great source of referral business based on how your client has gone through treatment and what they received while their loved one was in treatment.
The goal is for lasting recovery, the benefit is that you are getting the joy of seeing recovery and that most powerful of all marketing methods; word of mouth.
Circle of Excellence
If you follow any of our marketing methods or suggestions for behavioral health providers in these articles, then you are experiencing what a clear, consistent message, coupled with your wonderful service can mean to your marketing efforts. Remember that you are in the business of changing or even saving lives. Being excellent and demanding excellence will encircle you with great outcomes and a thriving business.