TCEM 18: Marketing plans must go beyond AdWords | Behavioral Healthcare Executive Skip to content Skip to navigation

TCEM 18: Marketing plans must go beyond AdWords

May 3, 2018
by Julie Miller, Editor in Chief
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Addiction treatment providers might be anxious to see AdWords sales re-emerge in July, but experts at the Treatment Center Executive & Marketing Retreat in Hilton Head, S.C., advise that there’s far more to consider in your marketing strategy beyond AdWords.

Previously, the industry was spending $250 million a year buying the digital search-result ads from Google. According to Dan Gemp, president and CEO of Dreamscape Marketing, certain words were commanding $300 per click, and the rate of inflation of AdWords was not sustainable.

“AdWords is not special, and Google is a for-profit company,” Gemp said. “You don’t have to pay to play.”

He recommends focusing more on relevant digital content on your site and hiring more outreach representatives because those strategies are more efficient than sinking your whole marketing budget into AdWords. Increasing the number of blog posts on your site will boost your organic search results, which are far more effective than advertising. Generally, only 3% of clicks come from ads.

“There are 80,000 searches a day for substance use disorder,” Gemp said, and the majority of the searches originate from mobile devices. “You have to have a mobile first marketing strategy and an AMP [accelerated mobile pages] version of your site.”

Increased scrutiny is welcomed by ethical operators who want to see the profiteers driven out. However, Jeffrey Lynne of Beighley Myrick Udell & Lynne in Florida said that the new Google AdWords policy is not guaranteed to improve the industry and could have some unintended consequences.

“In the short term, it will eliminate the ability for the mom and pop providers to get their name out there,” Lynne said.

He believes that marketing is a necessary function that connects consumers with services they need. But it’s a question of the appropriate way to pay for marketing without violating the law.

He said marketers might consider a greater emphasis on the need for housing or sober living facilities.

“They are choosing housing before they’re choosing treatment,” Lynne said. “There’s a lot to be said about a safe and secure neighborhood.”


The Treatment Center Investment & Valuation Retreat brings together owners and senior executives from the addiction treatment and recovery community to meet with key members of the investment and financial community for an exclusive three-day educational, business, and networking event.

December 10-12, 2018 | Scottsdale, AZ