HUGE changes came down on the 1st of July for treatment centers in the state of Florida. First, we want to go on record that we agree with what has been done in Florida. For a long time, we have all known about the patient brokering happening down there. However, with the new legislation being VERY broad, treatment centers trying to market the right way are also suffering.
So, what can you do? What does this law mean for your center in terms of online and offline marketing? First, let me be clear, we are NOT a legal resource and we highly recommend contacting a local Florida attorney to understand exactly what you can and can not do. However, we had our attorney review things and here is what you need to know.
- STOP BUYING LEADS. If you are in Florida, you can no longer buy phone calls.
- You must update the way you answer the phone when potential clients call you. You MUST mention that you are in Florida. "Thank you for calling XYZ a Florida recovery center, how can we help you?". But don't use that, its horrible.
- You must review everything on your website to ensure it is 100% factual. Any mention of "best" or "voted number 1" or anything like that needs to be verifiable.
- When you are using Adwords to target areas outside of Florida, you need to mention that you are a Florida based treatment center in the ad.
- You must work with a Florida licensed marketing agency. Yes, that is a real thing and we are currently going through the process.
Okay, so catch your breath for a minute. This is actually a good thing for a lot of the better centers in Florida. I agree, the law is a HUGE overreach and is very vague. And, you KNOW, they are going to be looking for those that step out of line to use as an example. So, here is what you can do.
Branded is Your New Best Friend
Your pay per call campaigns are gone, but you can still generate leads the good old fashioned way. The use of SEO, Paid Search, Social, TV and Radio are still 100% okay as long as it is branded to your center. This means, your TV commercial that generates callers must be about your center, specifically. Your paid search campaigns must go to your centers website. You can no longer buy those $40 calls (but lets be honest, that was a crap shoot anyway). We have seen clients do much better when they purchase the TV themselves and generate interest in their business. People are tired of the same old fake doctor telling them that addiction is a disease. They want something more. With a branded TV or radio spot, you not only get the direct response calls, but your organic and paid search will increase as well. Built a great commercial and they will come. Calls that is.
You have held out long enough. It is time for SEO
The day is finally here. You MUST do SEO now. Local rankings drive a lot of traffic for centers, and can be a large intake machine for your center. Now, I know, it takes a long time, and costs a lot, but in the end, it is worth it. We have clients that get just 110 calls a month and generate 10+ intakes at a $300 cost per admit. So, jump on it. The sooner you start, the sooner you get the results you want. Plust there will be a lot of centers shutting down over this new rule, and those that are positioned well, organically, will be able to rise to the top.
Your New Immediate is Paid Search Marketing
Update your PPC campaigns, or begin one. You can target anywhere in the country you want and a good PPC managment company can hyper target for better cost per admit goals. (Yes, we do that). Yes, placement services have made the cost of Adwords go up, however, they will quickly run from Florida as patient brokering is a serious offense now. This leaves it open to centers that can move quickly and have quality landing pages to drive visitors towards. Estimate about $15,000/month in budget directly with Google and a 15% managment fee to see a quality cost per intake.
Hope Is Not Lost
As I said, hope is not lost. In fact, if you own a center that offers quality treatment and doesn't play the "game", you will do well with this new law. Just reset your prospective and expectations. If you are interested in our services, we are not able to work within the state of Florida as of yet, as we are awaiting our licensing approval. However, if you give us a call, we will update you as soon as it is approved.