The Ultimate Guide to Addiction Treatment Landing Pages

One of the most controversial assertions in treatment marketing is the idea that landing pages are a crucial part of any treatment lead-generation strategy.

The pushback usually comes in two varieties:

We just spent a ton of money on our homepage, and the company who designed it said it would help us convert more visitors. You’re telling me our homepage isn’t good enough?
We already have landing pages. You’re saying they’re not good enough?

Controlling for the competitiveness of the search terms you're running ads against, the numbers should tell-the-tale: either you're converting a good number of your site visitors into calls and form submissions, or you're not.

In my experience there are two major reasons why you don't hear much about landing pages in treatment marketing:

  1. They're harder to do than just running PPC ("pay per click") ads to your homepage, so most agencies don't do them.
  2. There's more money in redesigning your website (and the more pages you have, the more a web design firm can charge you), so most web-design companies just do that.

But you probably picked up that neither reason has anything to do with landing pages' effectiveness as a way to get more - sometimes multiples more - results for your marketing dollars.

If you're skeptical about the difference a "full-stack" relevancy strategy, including landing pages, can make for your center, read this first. If you're already a "convert", however, keep reading.

The purpose of this post is not to convince anyone of the value of landing pages, but rather to show you how to create the best landing pages for your treatment center.

Because, in the direct-response world where I cut-my-teeth, marketers take-as-gospel another assertion that's controversial in treatment marketing: that some landing pages convert better than others. A lot better.

For proof, check out this split test, from the great blog (formerly Which Page Won).

Consider this - both pages communicate essentially the same information. Both have snappy company logos and official-looking accreditation symbols.

If copy and design doesn't matter, the pages should have converted visitors into mortgage-applicants as roughly the same rate.

But it turns out the page on the left converted 64% better than the one on the right. Why? Design, and copy. It matters.

With that in mind, let's look at the crucial elements of a good treatment landing page.

Make-Or-Break Element 1: Design

Pretend you were setting up an art gallery. (Just humor me;)

Say you wanted to draw attention to a particular piece of art in the room, so that people would consider buying it. Which room layout do you think would be more likely to show off your art piece better?

This one?


...or this one?


It's the same with your landing page, except the "art piece" you're trying to put front-and-center is the action you want the visitor to take.

In the treatment world, that's usually picking up the phone.

Now, all-else-being equal, which design do you think is more likely to display that preferred action more prominently?

This page...

...or this one?

If elements like copy, relevance, and proof - all of which I'll discuss below - concern deciding the best action for visitors to take, and persuading them to take it, design is all about a much simpler question: can a visitor see it clearly.

With that in mind, let's look at 3 landing page design principles that usually prevail in split tests, assuming all other factors are equal.

Choose Just One Desired Action

Say you've got a homepage, with a menu bar, a bunch of links to click, and a ton of text.

Then, any visitor to the site is choosing amongst many different options.

Just as with our art gallery, we'd assume they'd be less likely to make any one choice, and we'd be right.

Unbounce founder Oli Gardener explains why:

The ratio of links on a landing page to the number of campaign conversion goals. In an optimized campaign, your attention ratio should be 1:1. Because every campaign has one goal, every corresponding landing page should have only one call to action – one place to click.

Most of the best addiction homepages have an attention ratio of 1:2, because visitors can either click to call, or fill out a form, as in this example:

Lately, we at Admit Scout have been experimenting with single CTA landing pages (at least above the fold), and so have centers like this one:

Could your center convert better with a landing page on which the only option was to call? It's worth testing.

Make Sure Visitors Can See What You Want Them To Do

Once you've settled on the singular action you want site visitors to take, you'll want to make sure they can see it.

Version B of this split test converted 14.5% better simply because the button was a more visible color.

Here are the two best practices:

  • Make your "desired action" stand out visually, often with a button with contrasting color.
  • Make sure you put it above-the-fold. Pages on which a visitor had to scroll to find a "click to call" or a form submission reliably converted worse than those with easy-to-see actions above-the-fold.
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Repeat Your Desired Action Multiple Times On The Page

Many visitors will want to scroll to read more.

If you're only giving them one place to click, they'll have to scroll all the way back to the top in order to call you or fill out your contact form.

"But wait," you're saying. "Didn't you just say to choose only one action you want visitors to take?"

Yup. And I'm not backing down from that.

You're still going with only one option...'re just repeating it multiple times, as this center whose page I've displayed to the right does.

So design is important, but it's not the be-all-end-all.

Otherwise, why not just run ads for treatment to a beautifully-designed landing page for burgers?

Make-Or-Break Element 2: Relevance

We at Admit Scout aren't the first to use what's called "full stack" strategies (though I'm hard-pressed to find anyone else in treatment marketing using them), but they're powerful.

Generally, "full stack marketing" refers to an approach that sees the customer journey holistically, from website-searcher fat-fingering things into Google, all the way down to customer, in contrast to one that focuses on just one "silo" of the customer journey.

In treatment marketing, we use "full stack" to mean we consider and optimize every element a prospective addiction patient is likely to see between web searching and being admitted for treatment.

In a well-implemented full-stack strategy, if a potential client Googled "best detox santa barbara", she would see an ad with "detox" in the headline...


...then a landing page dedicated specifically to detox...

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The opposite of that strategy would be the one most treatment  centers use:

Multiple keywords that empty out into a generic ad, whose headline may-or-may-not match the search intent. (The ad below was another search result for "best  detox santa barbara".)

This center is likely paying more to rank on the first page for this keyword than the previous one.

...then multiple ads all emptying out onto a generic webpage, even if it's a "dedicated landing page".

The reason why a "full stack" approach seems likely to result in more visitors picking up the phone is pretty intuitive:

If you were searching for "sub-acute detox in Albuquerque", which center would you be more likely to call?

One whose landing page said "sub-acute detox: get sober now", or a more generic one, where you had to go hunting to see if they even offered the service?

Marketers call this "relevance".

Can a visitor tell, within seconds, that this webpage is dedicated to his exact problem?

How much of a difference does relevance make in converting visitors into calls?

A big one. In this split test, the page on the left converted 115% better simply because the page headline matched the headline of the ad that was emptying into the page.

As a post-script, some marketers found an elegant "end run" around dedicated landing pages: GCLIDs.

A GCL ID - or "Google Click Identifier" - is a way to make a webpage responsive to the source from which a visitor is arriving on the site. In the example below, this center still runs the "detox" campaigns to their homepage, but this string of code in the URL...


...means that instead of displaying the generic homepage, this center's homepage will display some text specific to detox:

So - how well do GCLID-responsive homepages convert relative to dedicated landing pages? It depends...

The center above is likely to convert decently, because its headline is relevant, and because they get at least a C+ at the next strategy I'll discuss - differentiation.

Would a dedicated landing page with the same info, but with no distracting menu bar or irrelevant slider photo, convert better?

If I were a betting man, that's where I'd put my money. A clean landing page takes advantage of the two principles we discussed above: the attention ratio, and the clarity of the call-to-action.

A marketing firm with the capacity to design and publish dedicated landing pages will likely favor a landing page strategy. GCLIDs are a decent "plan B" for marketers not able to use landing pages.

But say your visitors see a perfectly relevant landing page. They're still not going to call you if they think you're exactly the same as everybody else (unless you're the cheapest, which you don't want to be).

Make-Or-Break Element 3: Differentiation

In my career as a direct-response  marketer, I've gone deep into customer psychology, inventing systems to help copywriters determine the best approach to use to maximize conversions in multiple industries.

Luckily, in addiction treatment, your landing page and ad copy can be relatively simple.

In treatment marketing, your website visitors will be mostly aware they have a problem (though they might be in denial about it), and mostly aware of the solution. As a result, two copy elements have the potential to make the greatest impact.

We already discussed the first: relevance.

The second is differentiation.

Is there something your center is the best in the world at? We often encourage clients to put it front and center on their landing pages, as in the hypothetical example from before:

Screen Shot 2017-08-06 at 9.45.14 AM.png

"If you can't be the first in a category," say 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing authors Al Ries and Jack Trout, "create a new category."

In the landing page above, our hypothetical treatment center is no longer one of 55 options for opiate rehab...

It's now "the only five-star evidence based program in the country".

Our visitor is no longer choosing between us and 54 other undifferentiated centers.

They're choosing between the best in the world at the specific thing they need, and everybody else.

One word-of-caution: try to differentiate along parameters your best clients care most about.

Nobody cares if you have the largest lawn-chairs.

Potential clients do, however care about the following:

  • Do you have a better result rate than everybody else?
  • Do you offer a newer/more-evidence-based/better approach than everybody else?
  • Does your facility offer a feature all your clients love, that hardly anybody else offers?

Make-Or-Break Element 4: Reassurance

If you're reading this, it's a fair bet you've seen a lot of accreditation symbols on websites...

...and a lot of HIPPA symbols...

On the internet, prospective clients are bombarded with spammy marketing.

If you provide a legitimate, valuable service, you want to give a website visitor a quick "signal" that you're not scammy, or "fly-by-night".

Like the "authority bar", of places my marketing articles have been published, on our homepage...

...or a video one center published on its Facebook page of its founder on Real Time With Bill Maher.

All are flavors of "proof" or "authority" in marketing parlance.

The psychological principle that underpins it is one Robert Chialdini discusses in his books Influence and Presuasion. We want to focus our visitor's attention with a low attention-ratio, clear calls-to-action, and bold claims about what makes us different.

But here's the thing about bold claims: they increase the reader's skepticism.

That's why it's best to back them up with  "proof" whenever possible.

When I was writing sales pages in my direct-response days, I had a formula for any results-driven pitch:

Headline: Bold, results-based, claim

Immediately below: testimonial or photographic proof of that claim

Here's an example I did for a client called Deep English:

In treatment marketing, proof is but one category of reassurance. 

If everything we're doing in steps 1-3 is about making it clear to a visitor that we solve his specific problem, and making it as easy-as-possible for him to pick up the phone, step 4 is about reassuring him he'll have a good experience with us, and what we are who we claim we are.

Accreditation symbols are one category...

...and testimonials are another good one, because they let site visitors hear from others like them, rather than taking the site-owner's word-for-it.

The final category of reassurance that your site visitors will want to see is answers to their questions.

"Do they take my insurance?"

"Will I have to travel?"

"What's the first step to getting this started?"

A tried-and-true way to address these common questions is ye old bullet point:

Bullet points let a reader skim the relevant information quickly, whereas blocks of text require more effort to read.

Word-of-caution: it might be tempting to include the proverbial kitchen sink when listing features of your center on your landing page.

After all, if reassurance is good, more reassurance is better, right?


Split tests are unequivocal: there's a high-price for larding too much information onto your landing page, as in the test below.

Version B, with its sleeker design, less logo-clutter, and "just the facts" bullet points, converted a whopping 98% better than version A.

So how are you supposed to choose the most pertinent information to display?

Decent: use your instincts. What are the top four things you would want to see if you were an addict, or the family member of an addict, visiting your own page?

You'd probably want to know how you were going to pay for it...

You'd probably want to know what to expect next...

For an outpatient program, you'd probably want to know how much time it would take...

And, if your center has a differentiator like "75% recovery rate", it's a fair bet you'd want to know that too.

Better: ask your best clients. But there's an even better way to acid-test what should go on your landing page: asking your alumni.

"When you were considering entering treatment, what were the top 1-3 'make-or-breaks' you needed to see before shortlisting a center?" 

Surveys are great because they reveal fine-grained things that only our clients can tell us.

Maybe confidentiality was more important than the fact that insurance verification was "free", for instance, so you could display the confidentiality element more prominently, and repeat it throughout the site.

Want to see what we'd do for your center? Just click here to book a no-obligation 15 minute chat.

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