Addiction treatment centers are everywhere and it seems like every day there are new rehabs popping up while others are getting shut down. There are many reasons addiction treatment centers are popping up including the fact drug and alcohol addiction is at epidemic proportions and there’s simply not enough centers to accommodate the need for treatment. There’s such a disparity, in fact, that of the 20+million Americans addicted to drugs or alcohol, only 10% of them receive the treatment they need. Of course, not all of the 90% are actively looking for treatment, but there is a percentage of people that are seeking treatment who can’t find and/or afford the level of treatment needed to get them on the path to sobriety.
Addiction treatment centers that get shut down, well, there are many reasons for this as well. I read somewhere that in 2016 in Florida alone, former attorney general Jeff Sessions subpoenaed hundreds of people and organizations in the drug and alcohol rehab space. Quite a few of them got shut down. If you find yourself asking why centers are forced to close down operations, it’s usually because they don’t have the necessary licensing, are running a sub-standard practice that doesn’t adhere to government guidelines and standards, or they are flat out running a shady operation that shouldn’t be in the business of addiction treatment.
So, how does someone seeking treatment for themselves because they think they have a drug problem or perhaps someone seeking treatment for a loved one because they’re drinking alcohol from sun up to sun down find the right rehab center for their needs? What will make them feel comfortable in choosing one center over another?
As the old saying goes, there’s no second chance for a first impression. As cliched as this saying is, it certainly holds true, especially online.
Potential patients or loved ones who have had enough and start actively looking for the best treatment facility to serve their needs, oftentimes start their search for options online by going to a search engine such as Google and plugging in keyword searches. Google, in turn, shows them what they believe to be the most relevant websites based on their search query.
If your website or perhaps your Google Maps (also known as Google My Business) listing pops up in the top 10 search results, that’s fantastic! But the battle for acquiring these potential patients for your facility has only just begun.
Let’s say, for instance, someone clicks on one of your listings on a Google search results page and goes to your site. What is going to build the credibility and trust in your facility vs. your competitors? Will it be your site’s ease of use? The site’s color palette and content quality? Perhaps it will be the range of services your center provides? Maybe it will be the accommodations available to them such as an in-ground pool or spacious sleeping arrangements? Maybe the images, videos, and testimonials? Perhaps it will be the accreditations and certification trust seals?
I believe all of the above (and more) play into the psyche of what pulls people into the conversion funnels your site has prepared for them, whether it be to call, conduct an online chat, submit an insurance verification form, etc.
People love clean websites that offer excellent treatment options, accommodations, and imagery that paints a beautiful picture of what it will be like to be at your treatment center, but don’t forget credibility in the form of certifications and accreditations are also very important.
There are quite a few of what I refer to as “trust” badges and seals out there that apply directly to rehab facilities. Of course, there are other trusted resources centers can use to build credibility such as BBB, but this article is mainly focused on addiction-specific certifications and affiliations and the badges/seals that come with them.
They’re out there. We see them every day. Business profiles such as Google Maps and social media profiles such as Facebook afford users the ability to write reviews about their experiences at treatment facilities and offer incredible insights into the experiences people have at facilities. Good, bad, or neutral, these ratings play a significant role in legitimizing a business and can be the difference between gaining new patients or scaring them away. Sites and social media profiles play a huge role in helping people to decide on what treatment center will provide the highest level of addiction treatment care.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMSHA) is, without question, the pinnacle of legitimacy in the addiction treatment space. It’s part of the US Department of Health and Human Services and offers the most comprehensive information available online today for not only addiction treatment, but for mental health in general.
The topics and resources SAMHSA offers include mental health information and resources for children, veterans and active military, service providers, publications, links to professional associations, and so much more.
As a government entity, it is one of the strongest endorsements a rehab center can get and requires all centers to go through a vetting process before they can get qualified as a part of the SAMHSA network. Once approved, it doesn’t get much more legit than SAMHSA.
The Joint Commission
I’m sure we’ve all seen it on rehab sites — The Joint Commission. Depending on who you ask, the Joint Commission is commonly referred to as the gold standard in legitimizing a center to operate in the addiction treatment space (other than SAMSHA, of course).
If you’re not familiar with the Joint Commission, it’s an independent, non-profit organization that offers accreditation and certification for healthcare providers committed to achieving a certain standard of care in the healthcare industry. In the case of the Joint Commission, it doesn’t just apply to addiction treatment as it crosses the full spectrum of the healthcare industry. According to their site, they have certified over 21,000 healthcare businesses across the US and have an international arm that spans worldwide.
National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers
Founded in 1978, the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) is an association focused on education and setting standards for quality addiction treatment. Unlike The Joint Commission, NAATP is ONLY focused on the addiction treatment space.
According to NAATP’s site, their mission is to “provide leadership, advocacy, training, and member support services to ensure the availability and highest quality of addiction treatment.” Based on feedback we’ve received from clients in the rehab space, the NAATP certainly lives up to their mission statement and provides a wealth of industry news, information, awards, and resources for both addiction treatment centers and potential patients who may be looking for accredited treatment providers or perhaps are looking to educate themselves on substance abuse.
Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities
The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) is a non-profit organization that got its start in 1966. CARF is not only a well-respected organization in the US but is recognized worldwide in not only the addiction treatment space but in the health and human services sector in general which includes aging services, behavioral health, child & youth services, etc.
I’m sure many of us in the rehabilitation industry have seen this badge on websites from around the globe and for good reason. CARF is a recognized and accredited source in the behavioral treatment sector and is always keeping up with the latest and greatest happenings in the industry.
LegitScript is new to the addiction treatment marketplace. It got its start last year in 2018 when Google decided to partner up with them to properly vet addiction treatment centers looking to advertise on Google’s Ad platform since they stopped allowing rehab centers to advertise on their engine and network of affiliated sites starting in September of 2017.
Unlike other certifications for addiction treatment centers, LegitScript’s certification is specifically geared toward advertising your center on Google Ads and more recently, running ads on Facebook and Instagram.
As I’ve written in other articles, LegitScript certification can take anywhere from 2-6+ months from the date of submission until you get approved (or denied) certification. If you intend on doing any online advertising on Google, Facebook, or Instagram, you must go through the gatekeeper that is LegitScript.
There are plenty of other certification programs and associations available to addiction treatment centers such as NCC AP, BHAP, ASAM, NAADC, APA, etc., but the above are the most commonly seen and utilized in the addiction treatment arena.
If you are already operating a facility and have certifications in place, but don’t have them placed on your website’s pages or other business profiles, get them on there ASAP.
If you’re opening up a facility, look into getting these types of certifications as well as state and local certifications and be sure to include them on your site, your Google My Business listing(s), and social media profiles.
Credibility and trust is everything when it comes to gaining new patients for your treatment facility. Always display certifications and accreditation badges on your website and be sure to watch your center’s reputation on review sites with vigilance and address negative reviews cautiously. Sometimes it is best to reply to certain reviews as the voice of your facility which gives those reading the reviews the “other side of the story”. However, there are going to be situations where it doesn’t make sense to directly engage a negative review because it could end up getting worse if it’s engaged in the wrong manner. Proceed with caution or hire a consultant or marketing agency familiar with the space to be your online reputation management sherpa.
I can’t state it enough. Credibility and trust is EVERYTHING for your facility, so make sure you’re overtly showcasing that trust in all relevant marketing collateral whether it’s online or offline. You won’t regret it and will take your center to a whole new level in terms of new admits for your treatment center.
Lead to Recovery has a proven track record of providing effective rehab center digital marketing services to treatment centers across the country. Click here to request a quote or call us at 855-473-6582 to learn more about the services we offer to help you fill your census.