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21 Oct 2016 Business Digital

Modernize your Marketing Mix Series (Part IV): Alumni Referrals and Community Building

Kelsey Galles
Kelsey Galles
Content Marketing Editor

Last weekend, I almost went to the opening of a movie I’d been eagerly waiting to hit theaters. What stopped me? A friend’s negative review followed by some quick research online, which ended up validating my friend’s sentiment. After I heard the movie was mediocre, no flashy trailer or other marketing tactic could change my mind — I no longer wanted to see the movie or even consider it.

This is a common example of the powerful potential of word-of-mouth marketing.

Word-of-mouth marketing is often thought of as an unplanned bonus, but why leave to chance one of the most valuable forms of marketing? Alumni referrals and community building should be considered a core element of your treatment facility’s marketing mix.

In part one , part two and part three of our series, we discussed how treatment centers can update their sales, referrals, paid media, and digital practices. In this final installation, we will discuss how treatment facilities can modernize their alumni referrals and community building activities to rally strong word-of-mouth promotion.

Traditional alumni referral and community building strategies

Treatment centers traditionally rely on alumni to speak to the effectiveness of their treatment programs. It’s common for facilities to utilize traditional in-person, event-based approaches that encourage alumni to receive a continuum of support post-treatment. Common alumni events include workshops, sober social reunions, and support groups. These practices should not go by the wayside, but should be extended via digital channels.

How to update your alumni referral and community building strategies

The core function of your alumni program is to offer continued support after treatment. Digital platforms allow for extended contact which, in turn, keep your alumni connected to each other and your facility. A successful alumni program can be amplified through the use of online tools such as social media, web conferencing, and online seminars.

Consider the following when extending your alumni programs online:

  • Build a strong online community where you can foster supportive and uplifting conversation, and provide guidance from your treatment professionals where appropriate.
  • In-person educational events can be difficult to plan at regular intervals. Consider online events such as webinars to provide support resources to alumni at a higher frequency.
  • Develop a cadence of communication by delivering a weekly, monthly or quarterly email newsletter to your alumni with strategies for remaining in recovery and accessing continued care.

The result of a strong alumni program is a trusting relationship between your facility and alumni. Don’t be afraid to tap into this relationship potential by asking alumni to participate in testimonial videos and online reviews that can be displayed prominently on your website. A combination of coordinated yet authentic promotion from alumni and word-of-mouth reviews will garner your facility a positive reputation and more opportunities to connect with those in need of help.

Are you looking to leverage the power of alumni referrals and reviews? Click here to learn how our digital platform  utilizes online reviews to attract potential clients to your facility.

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