Case Study - 19 Qualified Leads in Two Months

Every treatment center is different.

That's why applying lessons learned generating leads for one center to another can be as much art as science.

And that's exactly the challenge we faced working with a well-known out-of-network recovery center in Utah.

Which of the tactics we'd brought-to-bear for our California clients would work, and which wouldn't? Among the questions we had were these:

Are the type of people who are a good fit for a California center the same as those for one in Utah?

How big a role will the geography play? Will travel to Utah be a bigger non-starter than to California?

How important is culture? Will people perceive a Utah center differently than a California one?

What’s-more, where would we draw the line between running a "controlled experiment", in which it would make sense to duplicate the offers and creative from past clients as much as possible to control for things like audience and geography, and "tossing out the script" and developing brand-new creative from source materials like surveys and client testimonials.

Finally, we were off to a “slow” start because we made a mistake: starting a new ad set from scratch in week 2 instead of duplicating an existing ad set - an error that probably cost us 2 weeks of solid lead generation.

As usual I’ll skip to the end...

The Results

Despite the slow start, we crossed the two-month mark strong, with 19 qualified leads, at a rate of 4-qualified-leads-per-week (we got five in the last week), and an advertising cost of around $550-a-qualified-lead in the last two weeks.

What does this mean?

If we sent your center ten leads with private insurance either from their employers or through family, at an ad cost of $5500, how many do you think you could admit?

It depends on the quality of your follow-up, but most centers to whom we communicate these numbers get pretty excited about the potential cost-per-acquisition.

Sidebar: if the phrase “cost-per-acquisition” is a non-starter to you, you can probably stop reading right here. We don’t believe in shady or unethical advertising, but we also don’t believe that advertising, writ-large, is unethical. Beth Israel and Kaiser Permanente advertise, and, provided you provide a service that helps people, so should you.

Ok - stepping off the soapbox, and back to the case study.

Oh yea - here’s a screenshot of the results:

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Now, let’s talk about how we did it, where we messed up, what we did well, and what we’re doing differently for new clients.

How We Did It

At the time we began this campaign, the standard procedure was to start with an audience that had performed well for previous clients, adapt the creative a little, and try to beat it.

We spent several weeks split testing geographies, with fixed interests in the audiences.

Initially, results were great.

The first week of the campaign, the client received a call from a lead who intended to admit.

However, after two weeks, we needed a way to “boost” the performance, and we arrived at the solution we now use for all new client campaigns: fixed-geography, variable audience campaigns.

A colleague who was reporting amazing results in a different industry gave me the idea.

Essentially, it’s old-fashioned, human/analog research.

A Little Background

What are “audiences”, anyway?

Well, you can get really complex with this stuff, but essentially there are only two things that can affect the performance of your campaigns:

There’s whom you show your ads to - that’s audiences…

...and what you show them - that’s copy, graphic design, landing pages, branding, and everything else.

To understand just how important audiences are, imagine showing a steak ad to a vegan.


Not only do we not want to do that, we want to do the opposite of that. We want to show ads to as specific a group of people as possible: people who are likely to resonate with the ad.

When it comes to audiences, Facebook allows you to use a bunch of different parameters.

The three that we’ve found make the biggest difference to our campaigns are…

  1. Income
  2. Geography
  3. Interests

Income and geography are self-explanatory.

But interests are a little more nebulous.

They can mean anything from movies, Hollywood actors, and music stars, to very specific, issue-oriented Facebook pages people happen to “like” publicly.

Our big revelation from this campaign: interests are doing the heavy lifting when it comes to audiences.

You heard me right: once you start with “good enough” copy, the audience can make-or-break a campaign.

What We Discovered

In weeks 4 and 5 of the campaigns, we went “back to the drawing board”, and did exhaustive research to determine which interests to target.

We had an initial spreadsheet with over 100 “candidates” - facebook pages, celebs, music, TV, movies, etc - and eventually narrowed it down to ten “finalists”.

Audience Research.png

We then ran campaigns split testing those audiences, and recorded the results after a few days.

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We chose 3 “winners” for each category of our ads. (We run at least two different campaigns to catch people in different “stages of awareness” about their problems/need-for-solutions.)

When we finally dialed in one “best guess” audience for each category and started throwing some serious budget at it, that’s when the qualified leads started spilling in.


Original audience research has several big advantages:

First, every client will have a completely unique audience, which allows us to scale without worrying about one client “cannibalizing” another’s audience, or audiences getting “stale” as the same people see ads for multiple centers…

...let alone the type of bidding wars we used to see with Adwords, where every treatment center in the USA shared a small set of well-known keywords in-common.

Second, the results speak for themselves:

Qualified-insurance leads at an average of $550 ad-spend each.

Could we do this for your center?

Just click here to find out.