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Lettter from The Editor

Josie and Jim Herndon

Happy Holidays & New Year!

Many Blessings from Josie & Jim Herdon

Holiday festivities are here and will be bringing heaps of happiness and joy. We are thrilled to welcome the blessings of family, friends and fun this winter, and are especially excited to spend time with our new grand-babies!
Saturday, December 19, 2015/Author: Josie and Jim Herndon/Number of views (967)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating

Part 2: Effective Web Exposure within the Recovery Industry – X

Part 2: Effective Web Exposure within the Recovery Industry – X

Author: Ron Prosky/Saturday, December 19, 2015/Categories: Featured Member Content, Marketing

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In my previous article for the Spring Edition - - I spoke on a number of primary and critical elements within the scope of effective web exposure relating to our industry. For those of whom have yet to read it, let me assure you that it’s a riveting page-turner! Well…something like that.

There is no question that the substance abuse treatment industry is unique on numerous levels. Let me also say this: I have worked in a number of industries over the course of my adult life and it saddens me to say that, I have seen and heard of more impropriety in this industry than in any other I had previously worked in. And impropriety is nothing new to me given that I was in residential mortgage just prior to the 08/09 crash. There are many reasons as to why this is, but as I see it, the biggest has to do with the fact that our clients are often times desperate, impressionable, carrying limited knowledge, and extremely parched yet easily quenched with words of hope and promise, many of which are at times inaccurate.

This leads me into the first focal point…

• ONLINE REVIEWS/COMPLAINTS: Not surprisingly, I probably get 2 to 3 times as many calls relating to combating negative reviews than for anything else web related. Online complaints on sites like and can cause significant harm to your organization for years to come; and in many cases I have seen complaints which reference some type of promise or assurance made by an admission rep, many of which were never lived up to during the course of treatment. Moreover, pushing these items further down on search results is an enormous amount of work, quite expensive and most of all, holds no guarantees. These sites index very well on search results, especially when the writer knows how to effectively utilize keywords within the title and body content. Know this: “Anybody can say anything about anyone or anything at any time without any oversight or credibility assurance whatsoever.” While sites like Yelp provide strong algorithms designed to combat frivolous reviews, and, for instance, are just the opposite since they have the potential to earn substantial revenue from each new claim posted on their sites. And to make matters worse, while Yelp and Google+ allow the creator to retract their initial claim in the event that a resolution is reached, the other two do not! If I post a complaint about your facility on for instance, and you subsequently reach out to me and ultimately make good on the matter, my hands are tied in that. I cannot remove the original complaint. The company provides an explanation on their website as to why this is, but I personally disagree with their rationale.


o The amount of revenue you will lose by an effective online complaint will likely far exceed that which you will gain by allowing admission reps to cut corners in closing the deal — not the best phrasing but true nonetheless. That said, consider offering a strong bonus plan for each admission that leaves a positive review on a 3rd party site upon completion of the program. Conversely, the staff should be aware that their position is potentially jeopardized if a complaint is filed and posted resulting from a false claim made during the initial admission process.
o Discharges: If someone is discharged for relapse or another serious infraction, be sure to engage it from a kind, professional and comprehensive approach. Speak to all parties on the confidentiality waiver if need be, offer a partial credit on future treatment, drive them to the airport or train station or detox or whatever, refer them to another program and even offer to forward some unused funds. Point being, leave them and their family with as pleasant a taste as possible given the unfortunate circumstances. When someone spends 30+ grand on treatment and their loved one gets discharged 10 days later with zero refund and/or a canned and cold discharge process on the part of the facility, it creates enormous animosity that screams for an outlet.
o If you do get hit with a complaint from a site that offers the creator the freedom to remove it down the road, swallow your pride or unwavering assertions. Make contact with them with the intent to try and make good on matter. Of course, any agreement reached must state the caveat for removal. For complaints on sites that do not offer the freedom for removal, the best you can hope for is to reach out and make good on the matter. Then, have the creator login using the same screenname and post a comment or rebuttal highlighting his or her recent positive experience. The comment or rebuttal should contain a note of the creator’s displeasure in being forced to leave the original complaint intact on the site.
o Every successful program graduate (and their families when applicable) should be invited to leave their testimonials on sites like Yelp, Google+, Facebook, Linkedin, Yahoo Business Listings, BBB,, and so on. If you don’t already have profiles on all these sites then please take a moment, fire your current web marketing team, hire a new one, then resume reading this article. Onward…If you place a client review/testimonial on your company website, be sure to include at least their first name, last initial (or full name if agreed) as well as the city and state of residence. Onsite reviews must include such information in order to gain greater credibility. Lastly, be sure your web marketing team incorporates rich snippets (schema) into your onsite testimonials so that they display accordingly on search results, thus totally setting you apart from the competition.
o If you find yourself needing to hire a web firm as a means for pushing complaints further down in search results, be sure they provide an in-depth explanation of the process, timeline, fee schedule, etc. And just know that any firm guaranteeing results is one that probably shouldn’t be trusted from the get-go. Oh, and you’re probably better served by not using an offshore firm. Yes, they’re cheaper, and yes, their quality of work is dramatically inferior most of the time.

Moving on, let’s go over a few other web factors that complement those covered in my previous article…

• STEP IT UP AND RISE ABOVE: Most facilities and services are using homepage slider images arrays. They’re above the fold on the homepage and totally drive the first impression experience, and thus very important. For those using Wordpress websites, have you ever heard of the “Layer Slider?” It’s a great way to set you apart from the other countless sites your prospects are visiting. It is one of several prominent Wordpress plugins that integrates the slider images with layered custom text, thereby creating a very unique landing page experience for the viewer. Here’s an example of one we recently did for a high end sober living in Beverly Hills, CA - This particular version is probably not formal enough for a site focusing mainly on clinical expertise, but can be easily formatted as such.

• PAID ADVERTISING: If you are engaging in Google or Bing/Yahoo PPC campaigns, keep in mind a few realities that are often missed. One, focus the ad content on your sweet spot and weed out the rest. You should have a clickthrough rate (CTR) no higher than 1.5% unless of course you have money to burn. Two, be sure to integrate some longer tail keywords in order reduce the per click cost, but at the same rate, be sure the ad group is set to “phrase match” rather than “exact match” otherwise you’re asking too much of your audience (I never suggest using “broad match”). Three, choose your geographical regions appropriately. If you charge 40 grand per month you have no business appearing in Detroit, Mississippi, Camden, NJ, Gary, IN and so on and so on. You could literally be so bold as to write “rehab for rich people” in the ad and sure enough, you’ll get many clicks from those far outside that demographic. Four, definitely be sure to use ad extensions. I have no idea why most campaigns fail to use these, it’s a no-brainer! Extensions like call, callout, sitelink, location and reviews are so easy to use and they can effectively bulk up your presence, thereby further setting you apart from others above and below you. The truth is, in many cases you can spend half as much while simultaneously doubling your conversion. As for other paid advertising avenues, from my experience very few actually garner quantifiable results; and those that do will often times become overridden with competing listings, thereby becoming less effective. For instance, a couple of years ago the site was the best deal in town six ways from Sunday. Though it still comes up extremely well on Google search results, what used to be an onsite results page with 1 or 2 secondary pages has now become 8 or 10 secondary pages in some regions. Elsewhere, if you’re going to do banner campaigns or paid listings, make sure you at least have a proxy phone number and designated landing page for tracking purposes…don’t rely solely on the advertiser’s internal tracking stats.
• JOINT COMMISSION: It is pretty much the gold standard industrywide and for those of you accredited facilities, you should absolutely highlight this fact on your site, more than once. For those of whom have yet to gain this notch on your belts, be aware that more and more insurance companies are requiring Joint Commission accreditation these days. If you rely on insurance payments and are not yet accredited, the time is yesterday!

As always, there is much more that could be said about effective web development and marketing within our industry. There are many criteria by which a website and overall web presence is judged. Keep in mind that building a new website is less than half the battle. Optimizing and promoting it is where the real effort and expertise comes in. I always suggest for those in big markets, i.e., CA, FL, AZ, TX, to have at least 6 to 10 thousand dollars set aside for SEO/SMO, whereas you could actually build a beautiful new site for as little as 3,000 dollars. These are necessary expenses that merit good quality work; don’t cut corners here!

With all that said, I welcome all your questions and comments at (954) 598-1430 or email at or I’ll see you on the next issue…

Ron Prosky Biography
Originally from Denver, Colorado, and now living in Hollywood, Florida, Ron has been working in the field of web marketing within the behavioral health industry since 2009. Having worked his way to director of operations at Sober Nexus, LLC, he parted ways in 2012 to follow a passion that soon after materialized in the form of ATRI – Addiction Treatment Reviews & Information ( Ron is also currently leading a team in the process of launching a new company, operating as “Addiction Web Marketing Pros.” The company website is slated for launch in early July 2015. For questions or comments please contact him at or or by phone at (954) 598-1430.

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