Podcast #102

Explore the Digital Landscape of Behavioral Health with Joe Crosby of Odyssey Behavioral Healthcare

Join Cardinal’s CEO, Alex Membrillo, and Director of Digital Marketing at Odyssey Behavioral Healthcare, Joe Crosby, for an enlightening episode of Ignite that unveils the innovative strategies driving Odyssey's success across 9 states. Whether through localized SEO initiatives or nationwide residential care campaigns, Odyssey's digital approach is crafted to shepherd individuals through their distinct paths to healing. Join us to uncover how Odyssey is reshaping healthcare marketing, ensuring accessible support for those in need.

Episode Highlights:

Joe Crosby: If you’re looking at the patient journey, I boil it down to two levels. There’s the top level of the funnel where it’s, ‘Hey, I think there’s a problem. I’m going to go do some research.’ We want to hit those really high-level keywords of, ‘Hey, do I have depression? Do you have a drinking problem?’ Things like that where we want to get them to the website. We want to help them learn more about where they’re looking for.

Then once we have them on the website, I think the second part, and this is what we’re going to be building out this year, is a little bit more of a secondary, like, I’m here now and I want to know more so let’s build in some subscriptions and things like that through some marketing automation, whether it be drip campaigns or things in that realm where it’s a little bit more email focused.”

Episode Overview

This engaging episode of Ignite, delves into the intricate world of behavioral healthcare marketing with Joe Crosby, the Director of Digital Marketing at Odyssey Behavioral Healthcare. Hosted by Alex Membrillo, this episode is packed with insights and discussions that unravel the nuances of reaching and engaging patients in need.

Joe and Alex discuss various aspects of healthcare marketing, focusing on the behavioral marketing strategies employed by Odyssey Behavioral Healthcare. From understanding the patient journey to differentiating between inpatient and outpatient treatments, Joe provides valuable insights into the dynamics of healthcare marketing in today’s digital age.

You’ll hear a detailed exploration of the challenges and opportunities in healthcare marketing, with a particular emphasis on leveraging digital platforms for maximum impact. Joe shares his experiences and strategies for optimizing SEO, driving organic traffic, and improving conversion rates through targeted marketing campaigns.

Moreover, the conversation touches upon the importance of integrating marketing with operations, ensuring seamless communication and efficiency in patient engagement. Joe also sheds light on the evolving landscape of healthcare marketing, including the adoption of new technologies and platforms to enhance patient experiences and outcomes.

Whether you’re a seasoned healthcare marketer or just diving into the field, this episode offers valuable insights and actionable strategies to elevate your marketing efforts and make a meaningful impact in the healthcare industry. Tune in now to gain valuable insights and stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of healthcare marketing!

Related Resources

Announcer: Welcome to the Ignite Podcast, the only healthcare marketing podcast that digs into the digital strategies and tactics that help you accelerate growth. Each week, Cardinal’s experts explore innovative ways to build your digital presence and attract more patients. Buckle up for another episode of Ignite.

Alex Membrillo: All right. Ignite fans, welcome back to all three of you. Can’t wait for this episode to get kicking. This is going to be really cool. We got Joe Crosby hailing all the way from Franklin, Tennessee, which as you guys may not know, is like the hippest, coolest, and most expensive place to live in America at this point. Joe, welcome to Ignite.

Joe Crosby: Thank you. I am not rich. I am not by any means living in a mansion, so that’s false information.

Alex: [laughs] The problem is it’s so expensive that everybody’s in tiny homes now They’re in shacks, especially the ones like Joe, that have lived there their whole lives. [chuckles] They’re not a transplant. You know you might be the only non-transplant in Nashville.

Joe: I think you can count them on one hand, honestly.

Alex: Atlanta is the same thing. Y’all’s soccer team doing really well or has a big fan base similar to the Atlanta thing because everyone came to these cities with football teams and basketball teams, but not a soccer team. Y’all built the biggest soccer-only stadium in America.

Joe: Is it really? I didn’t know that.

Alex: The more you know. Anyways, we’re here to talk about healthcare marketing. We get to talk about behavioral marketing, which is my favorite part of healthcare marketing, don’t tell all my other clients, but near and dear to my heart because I’ve been through all these facilities, [laughs] and had a therapist for many, many years, so I love learning about the patient journey and this’ll be fun, Joe. Tell them where you work and a little bit about Odyssey, please.

Joe: Odyssey Behavioral Healthcare. We are in nine states across the country. I wish I knew the number of locations because we’re always expanding. We treat a range of clients from eating disorders to psychiatric to outpatient centers, all kinds of stuff.

Alex: What is your purview there within marketing?

Joe: I’m the director of digital marketing. I started back in June of last year, so I would consider myself pretty new to the game. The approach of digital marketing, it’s not new to the company, but this position is new. It’s something that coming into make a lot of changes, increase our game in the digital world. That’s really what I was brought in to do.

Alex: I love this to focus on digital. This is so cool. That is a new role and I think when groups are smaller, not Odyssey’s size quite yet, say one state only, they usually have the head of marketing and they just have to know enough about digital hire agencies where the expertise comes in. Then I love that y’all scaled enough and then hired a head of digital. I’ve seen that now at some of our smarter, more scaling-up type clients that are growing faster and saying this is a big enough thing.

It’s important to understand marketing as a whole in the traditional side, and we have to help with the liaisons and enablement and all that stuff, but digital is its own monster that requires someone smart like Joe, that can keep agencies and vendors honest. Let’s talk about it. Odyssey has several different treatment modalities. We got inpatient and outpatient. How do the journeys differ? How do you think about them differently and how you’re going to attack them from a marketing perspective, get patient eyeballs over your way?

Joe: Again, I’m fairly new to the behavioral health space. I’ve learned a lot in the time I’ve been here. What I’m finding out is, we call them levels of care. There’s different levels of care within the company. There’s like you said, outpatient, there’s IOP, which is intensive outpatient, there’s partial hospitalization, there’s residential, and within those, there’s psych, which is psychiatric, so you think things ranging from depression and anxiety, all the way to alcohol abuse and things like that, where you’d have like a detox facility. We have two detox facilities as well.

When I’m looking from a digital perspective, now, if I’m looking from a [unintelligible 00:03:56] perspective. They’re going out to facilities and talking to people and saying, “Hey, this is who we treat.” They’re getting referrals for people and they know what they need. They have the background of seeing a therapist, of going through these treatments and they know what they need to come into. Versus all of our digital clients who come in, they just know they need help. They don’t necessarily know what level of care they need. They don’t even know what the levels of care are. They just know they need help. They do a Google search, they find us, and then they get into the system.

When I’m targeting outpatient versus residential, it’s not necessarily a different thing other than, I might be targeting some different keywords. I might be targeting an outpatient center near me or something like that. It’s the same type of person. You’re not necessarily looking for two separate people. Again, a big part of it’s educating on those levels of care and saying, “Hey, this is what we offer within levels.”

Alex: If it’s going to be an education process, how do you know what kind of landing page? Are you landing them on location landing pages? I should probably know because I know we do y’all’s [unintelligible 00:05:07] Are you landing them on location pages? For the interest of our listeners that might not also know. Is it like a location page or is it more of an educational journey of like, hey, these are all the different treatment levels that we have?

Joe: This is a good point where it does differ between outpatient versus residential. If we’re looking at an outpatient, they’re not staying there overnight for an extended period, for a month, two months. They’re coming in a few days a week for five or six hours a day. It’s going to be a little more local. I’m going live 30, 45-minute drive from that location, so we would be looking at more location-based campaigns if we’re looking at a Google campaign specifically.

In an SEO campaign, you’re going to be targeting a little bit more localized keywords and things like that, versus think of a more traditional rehab center where someone might come in from California to our location in East Tennessee. It’s a beautiful location. It’s a destination place where people will go. We can target those across the country and you can still do some local campaigns, but we’re looking more a little broad. When I’m building up these landing pages, they might be a little bit more condition-based as opposed to location-based. That’s probably the difference in the two.

Alex: I’m suffering from this and then targeting is going to be wider, a little bit more education on the experience, rather than just saying, “Hey, it’s therapy or outpatient in Nashville 3-0-whatever.” Okay, got it. Let’s talk about all the four different forms of advertising, marketing that Odyssey entails. Whatever you’re comfortable sharing. What is every which way online, Mr. Digital, that you guys try to get patients interested?

Joe: This year is going to see a lot more, I will say that. Traditionally it’s broken down into organic which could encompass. We’re looking at stuff coming in from Google, stuff coming in from Bing, stuff coming in from listings, referrals, and then advertising. The paid media, generally looking at Facebook and Google. Pretty basic. I don’t want to say basic structure, but pretty, what you know is simple. It is simple and streamlined. We’re looking at we’re going to add a lot more email in. We’ve looked at some programmatic, things like that.

Those are what we’re looking at for this coming year. Our big push right now, we are with the need and the want of every level of the company for data. We are just tightening down on our attribution and our data sourcing and things like that. Looking at different platforms where we can close the attribution gap.

Alex: We’re going to get to that in a moment. That’s exciting and you have to do in a HIPAA-compliant way. That’s a fun pay for you guys this year. We’ll get to that in a few minutes. I’m excited to chat about that. I like what you said and oftentimes about your marketing, all of the marketing strategies that you imply. Oftentimes as marketers, we feel inadequate if we’re not doing the latest and greatest marketing strategy. Like, guys, 9 times out 10 search SEO and social advertising is quite enough, guys.

Odyssey’s grown to nine states and we don’t know how many facilities, just on the basics. Show up when people are looking, that’s good for a while, and then you layer on Facebook ads and stuff, and then you’re educating and demand generating and stuff like that. Joe, feel no shame. You guys have done the basics and this got you a long way and now you’re looking at expanding. Let’s talk email. How are you guys going to use that? It’s tricky and behavioral, right? You don’t really want reactivation if it’s an addiction or eating, but what is it? How are you guys going to utilize? Is it education and improved outcomes and other things?

Joe: If you’re looking at the patient journey, I boil it down to two levels. There’s the top level of the funnel where it’s, “Hey, I think there’s a problem. I’m going to go do some research.” We want to hit those really high-level keywords of, “Hey, do I have depression? Do you have a drinking problem?” Things like that where we want to get them to the website. We want to help them learn more about where they’re looking for.

Then once we have them on the website, I think the second part, and this is what we’re going to be building out this year, is a little bit more of a secondary, like, I’m here now and now I want to know more so let’s build in some subscriptions and things like that through some marketing automation, whether it be drip campaigns or things in that realm where it’s a little bit more email focused. Getting more of our content to them that is related. Putting in some funnels where they can select what kind of content they want to receive. If someone’s on our eating disorder side, if someone’s interested in anorexia, they may not be interested in another area of that. We want to make sure they’re getting the content that they’re asking for. These are going to be some focuses of the onsite engagement that [inaudible 00:09:44]

Alex: Smart. You’re using it as a capture tool like, “Hey, subscribe for more information.” Then you’re going to educate people along the way so that they understand what are the treatment levels, modalities, do I actually have a problem in this or that? I love that. You’re going to use it as an education board piece and then build the funnels to take them down, left, right, or center, so not everybody’s getting the same content. That’s not easy, Joe. You’re going to have to build lots of content, lots of segmentation, make sure everybody’s going in the right direction. If you guys, listeners, I think we might be up to six now by this point in the podcast, are hearing this is like not so simple to just do email. You have to create a segmentation, the volume of content, then monitor it.

One director of digital might not even be enough. Joe’s going to need help, email specialists or vendors or agencies. Oh my gosh, not an easy undertaking. Don’t just do email. Joe, I saw an update yesterday from the Google that said they’re going to start banning domains if the unsub or spam rate is like above 0.03%. It’s going to get even harder to get through to patients because a lot of us have Gmail.

All right. Very fun. Email, and then you mentioned some programmatic and stuff like that. Let’s talk a little bit about conversion. Y’all are spending a good amount of money to get people to the website. How do you think about UX and conversion? Your site’s interesting because it buckets people into several different. Are you on the [unintelligible 00:11:06] Are you going to a residential, outpatient? I love that. How do y’all think about UX and do you look at data before you’ve made these assumptions and bucketed people?

Joe: There’s two levels. There’s our corporate website which is odysseybehavioralhealthcare.com. It gives the rundown of everything we’re doing, but then we also have our branded websites too. One of our newest brands is Astor Springs. It’s the first company-grown brand. They started from nothing. It’s the first one that comes to mind where we started out with nothing and now it’s grown to this great website. It has really good engagement. We’ve started to do some remodeling and rebuilding of our other sites based on this site because it looks great and it functions great.

I guess if you’re looking at the UX of things, we focus on two conversions and it’s calls. That’s our top calls. I want people calling in because our mission teams are great. They’re phenomenal. They’re going to get people where they need to be. Then form fills. Form fills are not the best because there’s a low, and this is telling how the sausage is made, but there’s a little bit of, we’re looking at data to see why is there a drop-off when these forms come in? Because our mission teams, they’re on it. We get the form, they’re calling within 30 minutes.

They call within 15 to 30 minutes so it’s an immediate, even within an email campaign, it’s an immediate response, but there’s a big drop-off of once that lead comes in. As opposed to calls, when we get a call, we’re on the phone with them immediately. Between those two we are always optimizing for calls. Making sure the phone number is very visible everywhere anyone’s looking. Then I guess, secondary to that, call tracking. We’re tracking everything.

Alex: What do you guys use for call and [unintelligible 00:12:51]

Joe: Invoca.

Alex: All right. You’re with Invoca. Good enterprise solution. All right. What is the drop-off? Calls you got a lot [unintelligible 00:13:00] high acuity and it’s like a point in time need, right? Somebody who’s having like probably an acute issue and so the call is really important. But are the emails or the email, they’re not converting into residents or appointments?

Joe: It’s almost like you can’t get back in contact. We’re either getting spammed or we’re getting, which I don’t think it’s not, because you’re getting names, you’re getting phone numbers, you’re getting email addresses. There’s a definite drop-off and it’s something we’re looking into as, I guess you look at it from a psych. Again, we break down psych versus eating disorder. Eating disorder is not as big of a drop-off. Psych though, we’ve found that people, they just go to Google, they just go down the list. They’re calling, they’re calling, they’re calling. By the time we get them after 20 minutes, they might have called 10 more people.

Alex: It could be like email form has to be called back immediately.

Joe: Which we’re seeing that they’re doing.

Alex: It’s not that.

Joe: Admissions team is crushing it. They’re on top of them every time. That’s one of the pieces of the puzzle that we’re working on. Again, our call response, we’re on top of that. The calls are great. It may just be that email is not the focus and that’s okay. We just know that’s okay.

Alex: Every business is [unintelligible 00:14:12] on these high acuity points, high needs calls. That’s good that you guys have a phenomenal admin team. That’s fun. That was this integration between marketing and ops, like Joe, now you’re having to look at the ops side. Why are we not converting? Our marketing jobs are skewing into ops jobs. We heard it at Scaling Up, our little conference we put on last month. MOPS.

Marketing and ops integration. Even the PE guys are like, we want marketing sitting with ops, because too often ops isn’t ready for sending traffic to the wrong places or saying the wrong things and we can’t convert. You guys are all over it and have it all integrated. Let’s talk about attribution and the name of integration. What is your number one KPI you look at? Is it admins or whatnot? Then what is the missing pieces? You guys don’t know where an admit or a resident is coming from and that’s why [unintelligible 00:14:58] Tell us the whole story of what you’re trying to solve.

Joe: We utilize our CRM that looks at, it’s leads, it’s inquiries and it’s admissions. Lead is just any call coming in or any form fill. Then it’s triaged by the admissions team. It becomes an inquiry if it passes. Then it goes through a medical and a payment verification. Are they medically good to come in here medically? Are they good to come here, insurance and payment and all that fun stuff. Then it goes to an admission. Those are the KPIs.

Alex: What is the attribution piece? I love it. We’re getting to hear how the sauce is made. Joe is telling us exactly what they track and how they do it. Then the attribution, what was missing? Because you mentioned early on.

Joe: Lots and lots of UTM data basically, is what’s coming in from Invoca. Everything’s tied to that, to that campaign, to the source, the medium, we’re looking at those things. That’s what is tracking directly into our CRM. We’re watching exactly where this stuff’s coming from.

Alex: Part of attribution that’s gotten tricky this year, Joe, is that now we have to run all of our BI and analytics and attribution in a HIPAA compliant manner, which means Google analytics, unless you have a CDP, not HIPAA compliant, blah blah blah. Y’all are big enough and serious enough to get the attention of some not so fun lawyers. What are you guys doing to stay HIPAA compliant and you are not under oath and this will not be held against you, should you say anything that’s illegal.

Joe: The [unintelligible 00:16:24] GA4 conversation where they just don’t even want us. They don’t want us anymore. They don’t want our data. They don’t care about us anymore. We’ve got to go find a new friend to play with. We’re looking at, we’ve shopped around. We’ve looked at heap, we’ve looked at mixed panel and, we’re online to get one of those on board pretty soon. That’s going to be big. There is data, especially what GA4 is and was pushing into our BI tools that it’s limited.

They’re throttling some of the data that’s coming out so we’re looking at these other things as, okay, we’re going to get a more holistic approach or holistic picture of the data that’s coming anyway. It’s probably a good thing at the end of the day. Yes. We’re going to relearn the system. We’re going to relink everything. We’re going to have to do a lot of fun stuff, but we’re going to get a better view of our data at that point.

Alex: I’ve been saying this for months. I said, guys, not only are you not going to get sued, but you’re going to get a better view of how things are running because these things are HIPAA, they’re made for healthcare, they understand more. Some are very sophisticated, like mixed panel heap, and they’re going to give you more information than Google analytics ever could. Oftentimes we’ve found that our clients that have moved to these alternatives, to Google analytics, et cetera, and CDPs.

The CPL comes down, the cost per booking comes down, the leads they’re driving improve. Not only do you not get sued, but your marketing improves and you’re feeling like that may happen too. Now this is to date myself. This is January 17th of 2024. We’re recording this. It’s the beginning of new year. You’re looking at, you’re going to do some things differently. You’re going to improve, you’re going to run some programmatic social, you’ve got email, you’re onboarding for reactivation, retention, education. Anything big in ’24 you’re saying enough of that, didn’t work, I want to do something different this year?

Joe: Maybe not scaling back. I think we’re scaling forward with our SEO work because our organic traffic is our strength. That’s where the majority of our clients are coming from. We are doubling down and exciting news, we recently hired another digital marketing person so I’ve got a digital marketing manager on board now who’s getting nitty and gritty and all of the details. She’s already going through the sites, making mobile optimizations, looking for things that are, crunching images and just all these little things that just, you wait to do them, but then they build up. She’s just knocking all this stuff out. We are doubling down, tripling down on our organic growth because that’s where we’re seeing the huge clients coming from. We’re also revisited some of our vendor contracts and now we’re working with Cardinal, which has been phenomenal.

Alex: Oh, you don’t say.

Joe: We are doubling down on our advertising initiatives and getting really focused because there was a lack of focus in the past that we are excited to get focused with, down to the keyword level. Organic. Again, going back to organic and ads, we’re getting really focused on what we’re [inaudible 00:19:13]

Alex: Back to basics. When people are in a point of need, where do we go? To the googly moogly. Is it going to always be like that? No. At some point, something is going to serve us an ad or something, knowing we’re not feeling that well. The watch will detect our heart rate is down. We’re a little sad and stuff like that. I haven’t been outside as much. Hey, maybe you need to go see Odyssey. We’re not there yet. Google is so important. Guys, Joe’s investing a lot into SEO. It’s not dead. It’s not been dead since I started this company and you have big companies like Odyssey that are investing a lot into their organic presence.

He’s right. Some of the best patients come from there because there’s someone that has educated themselves to spend probably more time than anyone else learning about their condition and seeking treatment options and then they finally reach out. [unintelligible 00:19:55] I love it but oftentimes that’s someone in a point of need that might not be serious tomorrow about getting help. SEO guys, still invested in. I hope your media agency doesn’t end up sucking, Joe, so that you guys have a great year.

Joe: I’ll let you know if they do.

Alex: Please do. [laughs] Joe, this has been a blast, and I’m in Nashville all the time. We’ll go hit game terminal, play some Pitball, go watch some soccer and do something. This has been fun. Any parting words you have for all the healthcare marketers, maybe eight now, that you’re excited about next year? Something you want them to know.

Joe: Me and my wife listen so we’re up to nine. We just got to focus on HIPAA. We got to focus on data. That’s where it’s at.

Alex: All right. I said HIPAA. Hip to the hip. I love it. That’s right, Joe. This has been fun. I love talking behavioral, and y’all have some high acuity, some low acuity. This is very fun. You’re running all the different kinds of marketing channels and investing in digital marketing to where you now have two people. This is cool. One day, Joe, we won’t call it digital marketing. Let’s call it marketing because we have taken over as like the only real type of marketing at this point. Joe, thank you for joining us on Ignite.

Joe: Thank you, sir.


Announcer: Thanks for listening to this episode of Ignite. Interested in keeping up with the latest trends in healthcare marketing? Subscribe to our podcast and leave a rating and review. For more healthcare marketing tips, visit our blog at cardinaldigitalmarketing.com.

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