June 2, 2014 | Marketing

The Ultimate Guide to Internet Marketing for Addiction Treatment

Internet marketing for addiction treatment is its own special field of expertise. For one thing, it’s extremely difficult. Yet, it’s also extremely important. Most marketing is done out of pure self-interest. When it comes to treatment, however, there is undoubtedly some altruism. The bottom line is that it saves lives. Studies suggest that about 80% of treatment admissions find a facility through the internet — whether through Google, social media, or online advertising, each one of those leads has the potential to spare someone the pain and agony of addiction.

Building a Website

Websites are the cornerstone of any effective marketing campaign. It doesn’t matter if you are on page one of Google for hundreds of high-value keywords. The simple fact is that bad user experience, slow page loading, and other design/development issues come first.
Internet marketing for addiction treatment starts with building a responsive, engaging website that consists of the following:

  • Intuitive sitemap and site architecture
  • Testimonials for credibility
  • Sliders promoting the treatment center’s philosophy and facility
  • Staff profiles so patients gain a sense of familiarity
  • Live chat functionality (HIPAA compliant with confidentiality regulations)
  • Smart, effective utilization of calls to action and contact forms

Strategy & Implementation

Due to its extreme competitiveness and the difficulty of converting addicts (the hardest conversion of all), it is essential that internet marketing for addiction treatment be strategized accordingly from the start. There are a variety of techniques and strategies that treatment centers can use, and most campaigns will likely incorporate a mix of them.

Search Engine Optimization

Many times, we have heard treatment centers say “SEO is bulls**t” or “it doesn’t work.” We can’t blame them for thinking this, but their sentiments are often misguided. It’s all a matter of how SEO is done. If done correctly, it not only works but also brings more results than they could have imagined.

  • Niche: Determining your niche makes SEO much more effective. For instance, don’t try to rank for “drug rehab” when “inpatient rehab” is both more relevant and easier to accomplish.
  • Location: Ranking nationwide is possible, but if you want to fill beds ASAP then determining a few key locations will be much worth your while in the short run.


Pay-per-click may not be as effective as SEO in the long run, but it does perform where SEO often lacks: producing results. With a PPC campaign, conversions often take place within an instant. It also allows you to compete with facilities that have much higher budgets than yours. by outbidding them for ad space on high-value keywords, treatment facilities can get more bang for their buck.

Social Media

Although many do not appreciate it, social media management is essential to internet marketing for addiction treatment. It’s less direct than search engine marketing, but it’s more effective at:

  • Building brand awareness and making a name for yourself and your facility.
  • Establishing the “voice” of your treatment center: its values, its mission, and how it brands itself.
  • B2B networking with other treatment centers and establishing contacts that turn out to be extremely effective.

Internet marketing for addiction treatment is both an art and a science. It requires knowledge and experience not only with marketing itself but with addiction and rehabilitation. Don’t leave it to novice marketers and those unfamiliar with treatment to handle your marketing efforts — the lives of your patients depend on it!

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