Phase One of Marketing Your Behavioral Health Facility
What does “Before” in the context of Marketing your Behavioral Health Facility actually mean? The answer is quite simple. Our experience in the industry, talking with hundreds of clients, many loved ones and hundreds of referrers all pointed to the same issue. That is that until someone actually needs your service they do not know that you exist. Imagine that you are thirsty and go into your local 7-11. There are hundreds of choices of beverages. What happens is that you stand there and try and decide what you want at that moment. The same thing exists when potential clients, loved ones or referrers know that a problem exists and their search for the answer begins. They end up searching the internet for a facility that may resonate with them.
Becoming the “Go-To” Behavioral Health Services Facility in Your Market
Once the potential client, loved one or referrer begins to search the internet, you are now one of many. Like the bottles in the drink case. How to choose? Many factors come into play that will hopefully make your facility the one that resonates enough so that the client, loved one or referrer like what they have seen and pick up the phone.
If you have been watching your Google Analytics, I am sure you wonder why your clicks to call conversion rates are so very small. It’s like standing in front of the drink case; so many choices, so many decisions to make.
Everyone Knows Your Name
I am sure that you have heard of branding and what it means to companies and now even people. Whether you are Coca-Cola, Nike, or Kim Kardashian, brands are how these entities are consistently thought of and recognized. Many advertisements that you see on TV, Outdoor Billboards, Radio, Print, and Digital are not expressly promoting a product or service as much as they are promoting their brand. Think of the Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign. The situations presented in the advertising are about some type of competition in life or sports. The actors are wearing their shoes but it is not about a particular model of the shoe but about the lifestyle or sport. When you go to buy athletic footwear, you think of Nike.
Going back to the analogy of the drink case in the 7-11, you automatically think of one of the big brands because you know and trust the product that you want. This is what branding does for a product or service. It reduces the noise of competition and puts your message into the minds of prospective clients, loved ones or referrers. It lessens the need to search.
Message to Remember
Before you can begin to brand yourself, you must first decide on a clear and concise message that will tell the general public what you do, how you do it, and how it will relate to the prospective client. Think of “Just Do It”, “Have it Your Way” or its “The Real Thing”. This is the power of the message of the brand. This message, to be powerful must be incorporated into all of your literature, advertising, and your website so that it gains traction and is instantly recognizable. Once you have settled on your message, it is time to decide how best to brand yourself within your community or nationally if that is your draw. As I have mentioned earlier, you new message needs to be incorporated in all of your materials, advertising, and your website. Your logo, colors, and message are all now part of your brand.
Now it is time to begin the “Before” part of your marketing behavioral health facility. We all know that most people won’t admit or even know that they have a problem of addiction, mental health or an eating disorder; until some life-changing event makes the need for your type of care immediate. It is the “Before” type of marketing or branding that will eliminate the need for many to search, research and possibly choose a competitor’s facility. Because you weren’t ranked on that particular search page, or your PPC ad wasn’t running at that time, not because you weren’t the best choice for the client. They just didn’t know you even exist.
You Don’t Need a Crystal Ball
Getting your message to the “Before” audience isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Its not some crystal ball, some crazy digital metric or a mass database as some would tell you. Its a process of getting your facility in front of as many people as possible over a long period of time. There are many components of marketing your brand of which when used in concert with each other will make you the household name in any market so that when the need arises they come to you first.
Behavioral Health Outreach is a Start
If you have an Outreach department, then you may already be using part of the “Before” marketing, Outreach must include not only the traditional areas of concentration which often produce right away, but they must also reach out to community organizations, companies, unions, schools, professional and business associations within your area. And I am sure that there are many other areas that can be touched. Think of this as getting your brand out in front of people that may not have the need now but we all know that statistically they or someone they know will need help. This can be presented in the form of education and giving back to the community.
They Know You Before They Need to Know You
It is now time to take the next step of getting in front of as many people as possible because given the statistics of Addiction, Mental Health and Eating Disorders, a large percentage of them will be affected by these disorders sometime in the future. This type of marketing for behavioral health facilities can be broken down into two main categories: Traditional marketing/advertising, and digital marketing/advertising that includes social media marketing.
The digital forms of media for “Before “ Marketing are:
- Video on Demand
- Social Media
- AMP/Banner ads
- Local Marketing
“Before” Marketing Pays for Itself
By putting together a comprehensive marketing plan utilizing many of the above forms of media, you will see your ranking rise in SEO because of dramatically increased organic search volume. You will also see your direct traffic skyrocket. You will see a dramatic increase in the number of calls that your admissions department gets. Those Google Analytic conversion percentages will become your friend and not the mystery that they are. The potential client, loved ones, or referrer now know your name, purpose and the need to research has been minimized for your facility. Over time, a broad and coordinated marketing approach will actually save you marketing dollars because of your market recognition. I cannot stress enough that for this to be successful for you, all facets of your advertising and marketing should be in working in concert with each other and the message needs to be consistent.