A Disturbance in The Force

It’s no secret to anyone who works in healthcare that the behavioral health sphere is undergoing a massive paradigm shift and has been for a few years now. From more inclusive treatment approaches to emphasis on mental health disorders and more. The state of change means that behavioral health marketing is changing as well. 

If you are a substance abuse treatment center or mental health care provider right now, you cannot afford to be caught flat-footed and unaware of the ground moving beneath your feet. Staying lean, competitive and proactive begins with awareness.

Here are two behavioral health marketing trends that independent rehabs cannot afford to ignore:

Trend #1 – Behavioral Health Business Consolidation

Anyone who has been working in the substance abuse and mental health treatment space over the past 5-10 years or more is aware of the large-scale business consolidation occurring industry-wide. Why is it happening though? 

Simple. Existing healthcare conglomerates and private capital sense opportunity. Unlike hospitals and urgent care, the drug and alcohol treatment industry still consists largely of independent players and small to medium-sized businesses. 

What Does This Mean to Your Behavioral Health Marketing?

So, aside from any nascent anxiety about being gobbled up by a bigger fish, why should the independent SAMH treatment center owner care about this? Well, it represents a threat in terms of competition of course, but every savvy entrepreneur knows that while change brings risk, it also brings opportunities. This is the time to re-examine your entire digital marketing strategy. 

You can’t hope to match the behavioral health marketing spend of the larger conglomerates, so how do you stay relevant and visible? Start by focusing on what makes you different. What can you offer that they cannot? What can you say about your business that they can’t? Focusing on your brand identity, your business personality and character is essential now, more than ever. Remind people of why they prefer small businesses. 

Invest in local SEO, remind your audience that you have roots in the community. While you’re at it, do not sleep on social media. It’s one of, if not the most powerful digital marketing tool ever created. Most importantly for you, the greatest strength of social media marketing is that it enables more personal connection between people and brands. That puts the ball in your court. With the right social media marketing strategy, you can absolutely outmaneuver the behavioral health goliaths, especially in your own neck of the woods.  

How to Reposition Your Behavioral Health Marketing

  • Focus on your differentiators
  • Double-down on Local SEO 
  • Remind people that small business cares
  • Social, social social

Trend #2 – Mental Health Treatment On the Rise

Those who have been working in the substance abuse treatment arena for a decade or more will remember when mental health treatment was always on the back burner. Dual-diagnosis treatment was offered, acknowledging and meeting the needs of many. But what about all those admits you couldn’t take?

For the vast majority of drug and alcohol treatment centers, high psych, primary psych or mental health only patients were completely off-limits. 

It seemed to make little sense to make moves in that direction with so much uncertainty around reimbursements, not to mention the myriad of ways treating a different patient population could complicate your operations. 

What Does This Mean to Your Behavioral Health Marketing?

You’ve no doubt noticed more and more SAMH providers beginning to build more robust mental health treatment offerings. Many are beginning to treat primary psych and even psych-only patients now. If growth into mental health is part of your medium-term strategy and it should be, then your behavioral health marketing must begin to reflect that and help you get there.  

Even if you’re not quite ready to establish a mental-health only treatment track, if your messaging and marketing for behavioral health consumers isn’t directly addressing mental health, you’re off-target. It’s estimated that more than 50% of people with substance use disorders also have co-occurring mental health conditions. How well does your website speak to that population and their specific concerns? How about your social media? Are you still just mentioning “depression and anxiety” here and there? 

Is your content drilling down into specific mental health disorders, like borderline personality disorder? Are you talking about different treatment methods with authenticity and authority? Establishing your facility as a local provider of mental health services that go beyond conventional addiction treatment is essential to remaining fully relevant in this changing behavioral health marketing landscape. . 

How to Pivot Towards Mental Health

  • Ensure your content fully describes the MH services you already offer.
  • Details: Post original content about specific conditions & treatments.
  • Network with local mental health providers and consider collaboration.
  • Make sure your social media strategy isn’t giving mental health short shrift. 

Leverage Your Strengths and Stand Out

Independently owned drug and alcohol treatment centers remain highly relevant in the current landscape. But, they will need to adapt to retain clout, much less gain mindshare. Regardless of your plans for the future, keeping your center and its brand strong and visible must be a priority. The only way to do that is with a well-informed digital marketing strategy that’s in sync with your plans and goals for your treatment center’s future. 

Agile Marketing Group is the SA/MH treatment marketing partner you’ve been looking for. Contact us for a free consultation today and find out what Agile can do for you. 

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