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.
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.
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:
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.