Top 10 Business Mistakes Drug Rehabs Make
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Top 10 Business Mistakes Drug Rehabs Make

Posted on Apr 5, 2015 by Jim Peake

addiction-rep-lpo-image-drug-rehab-business-mistakes-09-15-16Having worked with over 100 drug rehabs in the past half dozen years I have seen a lot of rehab businesses make many mistakes and they collectively make the same mistakes.  It is too bad that there is not some sort of manual to build and maintain addiction treatment centers.  For the purposes of this article we will only focus on residential and inpatient drug addiction treatment centers.

    • Too Many Drug Rehabs are Undercapitalized — This could also be said for many other industries as well. What I mean by this is too many businesses don’t even put a line item in the budget for client acquisition until it is too late.  Reaching clients whether it be on ground marketers, radio, TV or the internet they all require time, effort and money.  If you budget $1,000 per acquisition/customer then you will have a tough time making it in the drug rehab industry.
Making Mistakes

Danger only lies 6 feet above

  • Acquiring Additional Facility Space (beds) — without any consideration for additional marketing funds.  “If we build it they will come” is not a business strategy.  Do you know how many times I have heard this?  Too many to count on both hands.  “But look how beautiful the place is?”  It does not matter, someone is going to have to fill this new building and it does not happen magically.
  • Lack of Attention to the Rehab Website(s). Too often the website is looked at as an expense and not an asset and it can be an afterthought.  The bottom line is a great website is a company asset.  A poor website is a detriment to the business.  Websites require an investment in time, design and content creation…..and the content creation cannot stop, it must continue throughout the year.  A marketing/SEO/social media team must be assigned.  You can do this internally or hire it outside help.  Then there is the technical aspect of websites that too are often overlooked.
  • Google Analytics – too many centers don’t have it and the ones that do don’t have it configured correctly.
  • Google Webmaster Tools – too many centers don’t have it and the ones that do don’t have it configured correctly with Google Analytics.  This is where you can find out what keywords users are typing in to find you and this is where you can find out who links to you
  • Google Adwords – You must have a bank of negative keywords in your Adwords Campaigns: unless you are looking for more Medicare, MediCal, Social Security, TriCare, Mass Health and the list goes on for state funded insurance you are going to pay through the nose for calls that are useless to you and your business.
  • Call Tracking – Most everyone does some form of “drug rehab call tracking” but more often than not too many centers are doing “call counting.” Great we got in 100 calls last week but do you know where the “good calls came from?”  Too often there is someone “recording” the calls manually and the caller will tell them, “I found you on Google or I found you on the Internet.”  Guess what?  That information is absolutely meaningless and chances are your completion is going to eat your lunch.
  • Leads and Admissions Reporting – Too often reports that come in are complex and disjointed. A CEO or a business owner needs clear and concise reporting, daily, weekly and monthly.
    1. How many visits
    2. How many calls
    3. Visit to call ratio – Is my website converting visitors to callers?
    4. Cost per call/lead
    5. Cost per admit

We can’t do this unless there is participation from the drug rehab.  We need the rehabs to “score the calls.”  Was it a good call and which of the good calls were admissions?  If you don’t provide this information then you will suffer by spending money on ad sources that do not produce for you.  I heard this from a Google Analytics professional, “if you don’t  measure it you can’t manage it.” Drug Rehab Call Tracking into Google Analytics

  • Hiring Marketing Teams Outside the Drug Rehab Industry – too often a team might have had past success in mortgages, automotive, telecom or some other industry and they try to take their experience to the drug rehab space and promise too much. We see this happening all the time.  It does take time to master the drug rehab space and you don’t want to be the guinea pig for the outsider marketing firm because they will be cutting their teeth in drug rehab on your dime.
  • Bringing the Past Into the Present – Too often I hear, “you wouldn’t believe how the other company “ripped us off!” Once we dig in under the hood and do a comprehensive website audit and marketing strategy we find a lot of things.  Some of these things are absolute incompetence.  Whose fault is it if the business hired an incompetent firm?  Some of the incompetent firms actually believe they are offering high value services, then they realize along with the drug rehab that this is not working.  The other problem is sometimes you can have a very capable firm marketing your addiction treatment business however they were never given a proper budget to market it in the first place.  If you are opening a new business or trying to accelerate an existing business make the investment in time and resources to do your homework on the next firm.  Is what they are telling you making sense?  Is it confusing?  If it is confusing then keep searching.
  • Bonus Are you Really HIPAA Compliant? – Are you using HIPAA compliant encrypted software on all your computers that are handling PHI (personal health information?) Are your employees HIPAA Certified?  You want to look into this and discuss with competent legal counsel.


Jim Peake

Jim Peake – Jim has over 30 years of direct response advertising marketing experience. He was the catalyst for putting the Internet in the front page of every newspaper around the world for the first time with the chess event Grandmaster Garry Kasparov vs. IBM’s Deep Blue super computer in the mid 1990’s. Jim’s main area of focus today is helping drug and alcohol treatment centers market their businesses in a hyper competitive market.

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