As of yesterday, September 14, 2017, Google is banning Pay-Per-Click ads on Google and Adwords for searches such as “addiction recovery” or “drug rehab” as reported by this article in the New York Times. The announcement was just made, so some ads are still being allowed to run, but will be shut off shortly.
You probably read our post last month on how Florida had just enacted new laws banning third party websites, call centers, and many referral sources. Google states that it is doing so for the same reason, too many dodgy outfits that didn’t have the best interests of those struggling with addiction at heart.
The Silver Lining
Here at Circle Social, a rehab advertising agency, we have been strong advocates of centers not relying so much on Google Adwords, particularly due to the extremely high cost of clicks, often anywhere from $70-$100, which is a ridiculous amount of money to pay for a click when you can get them for $1-$5 from sources like Facebook.
Heck, you can get full on leads with name, number, and email for cheaper less than $50 through most other channels. Here’s a campaign we just ran last month that generated over 200 leads for less just about $2 each on Facebook.
This is a bold move by Google, but one we applaud, as it enables legitimate treatment centers to come again to the forefront.
What Can We Do?
When we first started helping addiction recovery centers with their digital marketing, we were shocked by the prices of Google PPC and couldn’t understand why centers were even using it anymore.
What we have warned clients about has happened, you have to build a reputation to maintain a stable business. If you rely too fully on only one channel, your entire business could topple since you have nothing else supporting it.
The future of recovery centers is going to depend upon building up their reputation in the space across channels. Facebook will obviously be one of the most important channels, but Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Twitter, and email marketing will need to come into the forefront as well.
Own Your Future – Your Email List
In particular, building an email list that your center owns will be of the utmost importance. Sure, Facebook marketing and lead generation is a hell of a lot cheaper than Google Adwords, but who’s to say they won’t make the same move Google did some day, as we’re willing to bet these dodgy centers will find ways to abuse different channels as well.
So every online marketing channel should have a core objective of building up the center’s email list to futureproof the business. That way, even if one channel goes down, you still have all the contact information collected from those individuals and can continue to reach out.
The same goes for your website. Organic SEO on Google is not something they can change as you own that. They may update the algorithm, as they constantly do, to prioritize more local information, but you can always work to optimize your site for keywords of your choosing.
For both these reasons, centers will have to build up high value offerings of content in the form of videos, blog posts, guides, and other helpful information that allows them not only to market online more effectively, but to also build up their reputation within their target demographics.
A Brave New World – Let Us Help
This is exactly what we do. We help recovery centers build out comprehensive digital strategies that not just drives leads, but secures the long-term health of the business.
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