Is Google AdWords Effective For Rehabs?

adwords-for-rehabsJim just opened up the doors to his new treatment center, and he’s looking to get admissions in as soon as possible. He’s excited, scared, but ready to serve and help struggling drug addicts and alcoholics get great treatment. 

Jim has talked with friends, family, and colleagues about how to jump start his treatment center admissions. Google AdWords keeps coming up from people that he trusts. Jim does some research and finds out what Google AdWords is all about.

Jim consults with a Google AdWords Partner, a third party that is certified to assist businesses with AdWords. They recommend a budget of $10,000 per month (excluding service fees) with a one-year commitment. Yowza, that’s a big commitment with no guarantees. 

What kind of results can Jim expect from Google AdWords?

It depends. Establishing a solid foundation is the key to long term success. You and I have learned this in other areas of our lives. The same principles apply to Google AdWords.

Anyone can go to, set up an account, a campaign, and an ad. Viola! The ad is online, with ZERO foundation. 

A foundation for success:

Before going live with a Google AdWords campaign, a lot of work and thought needs to be completed. 

This can be broken down by:

  • Goals: First and foremost, what are the concrete goals desired? If Jim is spending $10,000 per month with Google AdWords, how many admissions does Jim want in order to bring a positive Return On Investment (ROI).
  • Keywords: This is what people will be searching for on in order to see your ad. Keywords should be a minimum of 2 words. Best practice: Find the keywords that are relevant, but have less competition than “addiction treatment facilities”. These keywords cost less, and convert better on average.
  • Potential Customers: Who are they? What are their pain points? What is the intent of the search they are doing on Google? Personas should be identified, and addressed in the language of the ads and landing pages.
  • Landing Pages: Sending all traffic to the homepage is a bad idea. Send users exactly to the intent of their search query. Landing pages should answer any and all questions, and give the user the next step in the conversion process.
    Best practices: Run landing page variant tests to see which pages outperform others and why. Always be optimizing!
  • Ad Copy: What makes Jim’s treatment center different than his competition? Ad copy needs to stand out, and have a clear call to action.
    Best practices: Create 2-3 different ad variations for each keyword and test them against each other. Call to action should remain the same, and should reflect messaging on landing pages.
  • Tracking: Getting clicks is great, but we want to know what keywords are performing and what keywords are not.
    Best practices: Google Analytics, Conversion Goals, Call Tracking, Retargeting Lists, and Heat Maps.
  • Campaign Structure: Throwing all keywords into one ad group, under one campaign isn’t a good idea. Have a 24 hour hotline? Create a separate campaign with unique ad copy for after hours, when the hotline is used the most.
    Best practices: Create one ad group for each keyword actively being bid on.
  • Measure: This goes back to goals. Once data is starting to be collected, it’s important to not jump to conclusions until enough data backs the assumption.
    Best practices: Monitor campaigns daily, but don’t make any changes until 100% confidence in change being made.

How does this all work? Show me the numbers

The average cost per click for a treatment related keyword is over $100. Let’s assume that the average cost per click is $120. With a $10,000 per month budget, Jim would get 83 clicks for his campaigns.

If we assume the average conversion rate is 10%, Jim would get 8 leads. Out of 8 leads, 5 become admissions.

The average cost for treatment that does offer detox services is $27,399. 

Jim did use a Google AdWords Partner to set all of this up for him, and they charge a $2500/mo retainer for the services they render.

Total cost to Jim is $12,500, and resulted in $136,995 in revenue for his treatment center. That’s more than a 10×1 ROI.

Jim is happy and he knows that the results will get better over time.

These results can’t be guaranteed, but with the right strategy and Partner in place, these results don’t have to be impossible.

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Blake Denman

Blake has more than 14 years of local SEO and paid search marketing experience. He founded RicketyRoo in February 2009. Outside of running RicketyRoo, Blake enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and Goldendoodle, June, hiking throughout Central Oregon.
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