Here’s How We Operate
From the beginning of Exceed, our key tactic has been to ensure that our clients are found at the moment when individuals are in their greatest need and searching for help. In general, people seeking a school, rehab, or therapeutic program will not go around asking their friends for their recommendations, and especially not on social media. They are embarrassed by their situation and don’t want to broadcast it to the world. They will generally go online to search for help, quietly, and on their own.
So, our key approach has been to provide our clients with a strong organic and paid online search presence — to be there when people need them. It continues to be the most powerful and least costly method. We call these efforts “Time of Need Tactics” (TNT). The individuals who therefore land on our clients’ websites prequalify themselves by the search terms they use, their location, their demographics, etc. The ad copy or organic listing information that they saw before clicking through to the site further qualifies them. We, therefore, get the most targeted individuals visiting our clients’ websites, versus the shotgun approach of general advertising. Of course, when TNT helps individuals find our clients, they must also have supporting information and credibility in order for the searcher to go to the next step of inquiring.
While we make great websites, searchers won’t trust the website or what it says anymore, so if the website at all interested them, they then back up and look at what others are saying about the client. If bad or marginal things are said about the organization, or if nothing is said online, they will not inquire. That’s why we put a lot of emphasis on gaining positive reviews and have built an online tool that helps make this happen for our clients. Today, we focus a lot of effort on building a “Credible Online Persona” (COP) for each client. This includes improving what is on social media, gaining press coverage via press releases and articles, and through affiliations with other credible groups. Such third-party recommendations are very powerful.
Why an Entirely New Website is Often Created By Us
How We Got Involved in Marketing Schools and Programs
Our Founder and now Senior Consultant, David Bolthouse, has been a lifelong marketing consultant to many leading companies. He has founded and operated three advertising agencies. When his teenage son got into trouble with self-destructive behavior, the boy’s counselor said he needed to be placed in a residential program. That counselor recommended a local program, which turned out to be disastrous. Two weeks after enrolling, his son was attacked and nearly killed on campus. So, while recuperating, a lot of research was undertaken to find the best program in the nation. What David eventually found was a small, mostly unknown program. He was impressed with the program and the industry, so he started to help by providing professional marketing tactics. His help has grown nationally. Residential programs had taken notice of the explosive growth of the programs helped by David, so Exceed was formed. Later, Exceed moved its offices to Colorado Springs and is now led by Karl Schaller.
Our concept from the beginning has been to do almost everything under one flat fee; a fee far less than what most marketing firms charge for this type of work. Exceed clients are never caught off guard by added fees that are typical of most marketing or advertising agencies. Exceed also refuses to hold anyone to a long-term contract. If the client wishes to back out of the relationship after the first year, they can do so and take their website and all we have done with them. Exceed requires at least a full-year contract, since it invests many tens of thousands of dollars in the first several months of working with any client.
Expertise & Connections:
Exceed has built up expertise in the residential therapeutic industries such that its connections and the directories it operates help quickly boost clients to prominence in the search engines, where most prospects go to find such programs.
Exceed Does It All:
Exceed works from the standpoint of doing whatever is needed to generate good qualified leads and referrals for clients, and to do so with minimal direction from the client. Much of our focus is on making the main marketing website generate many more qualified leads. We create world-class websites that work on all devices and are specifically designed to generate response and top rankings. Our team takes a lot of time upfront to learn and understand each client’s standards, positioning, history, and terminology.
After decades of hands-on experience and consulting in brand consulting and advertising, we know that brand protection and positioning are important, and we build that into everything we do. When the Exceed team sees something that is needed to push a client forward, we dive into it with no added cost to the client. When we see a client’s engine rankings slipping or leads are falling off, we are “all hands on deck” to do whatever it takes to turn that around. We spend a great deal of time and expense upfront getting each client to be ranked highly nationally and regionally on the major search engines. That also includes managing online advertising, which many larger clients need to participate in at times.
The marketing website is a key factor in being found online, so we entirely manage and troubleshoot a fully responsive website for our clients. Any changes that need to be made (including photo changes, staff changes, etc.) are done quickly and without added cost. Exceed also manages ancillary sites, social media, directory listings, hosting and email accounts, so no one on the client’s staff has to deal with websites whatsoever. Should a client wish to leave our services, all content created for the client is transferred to the client.
Building Top “Organic” Rankings is Key:
Exceed’s proprietary systems and custom plugins work with the website to cause it to jump to the top in the search engine rankings, and it regularly reports what keywords the clients are ranking highly for. Search ranking is important, because like “location is everything” in terms of a storefront, location in the online search engine results is everything when it comes to a client being found by parents who don’t know what to look for to help their teen; they just type in search terms like: “boarding schools,” “military schools,” “help for my teen,” etc. Exceed knows search engines and keeps up to date on them; we attend many search marketing conferences each year. We also know what keywords work to bring in qualified leads, either through “organic” search (the natural listing of sites on the search engine) or through “paid” search (or “pay-per-click”). Some residential programs don’t even need online advertising once their rankings are established. However, if they do need advertising, either to boost their momentum or to fill in the gaps, we will set it up and manage it daily, so they don’t lose their shirts on it. To build long-tail response, over time Exceed also adds hundreds of pages to our client’s websites, all of which will be feeder pages causing interested individuals to come to the website as they search for answers using various search “localized” terms. These pages are “white hat” and unique enough that they have never been considered “thin content” by the search engines. As a result, Exceed helps clients be found by searchers in the region and all over the country. Most clients achieve a doubling of site traffic from organic search each year for the first 3 years, and more gradual growth thereafter.
Marketing And Sales Help And Referrals
Exceed also helps client get better in the form of handling and managing leads. We have built a custom Lead Manager System that our clients use to manage and follow-up with leads and referrals. This system is forever free to our clients, even if they cancel our services.
Exceed Helps Clients Build Momentum
Search engine rankings and resulting traffic to a client’s site build or fall off based on various factors that the search engines build into their algorithms and now with Google’s “RankBrain” machine learning. They put websites higher in search results based on their momentum. Contextually relevant links from other similar sites and site traffic are major factors to achieving top rankings and more traffic. The greater the momentum, the more people will be visiting your website and for less cost. It is paramount to be found in the search engines and by the right keywords. If you are not found in the way that people search for such programs today — by the Internet — you will not fill your beds. And that is can be especially true if your facility is located in a remote area. Fact is, you may not be able to depend on attracting any more than a handful of enrollments from your local area each year. Instead, you need to be able to cast a much wider net to catch the attention of people all over the nation. Furthermore, if your program or school is not especially low in cost — nor highly desired due to its reputation, location, campus, or special services — it will be difficult to pull in residents from a distance of 250 miles away or more (more than driving distance).
We stand ready and able to take
your residential program to the next level
and that is for every bed to be full. Our history has shown that after a few months of hard work, our clients evolve from their old state of struggling, to the happier state of stability, prosperity, and growth.
Search rankings are important for advertising, because the search engines apply a “relevancy factor” to the keywords that are bid for with online ads (called “pay per click” advertising). A highly SEO-optimized website will have both strong organic rankings and least costly pay per click bids as well. The cost per click is a bidding process and those bids can vary widely depending on how relevant the term is to your website. This keeps advertisers who have deep pockets from monopolizing the entire web and putting their ads everywhere, regardless of how relevant their product is to the searcher. That would make for a bad search experience for the user, and the search engine’s reputation would be damaged, so they deem relevancy to be critical. Both SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay per click advertising) are often required in order for people to find a residential program’s website in the numbers needed to fill a larger program or school. Individuals will search using phrases like “boarding schools for girls” or “residential treatment centers for teens” or “rehabs for women”, and unless your program is found by those terms (either organically or via paid ads where we bid on these key phrases), you will not get leads. We also help our clients to be found through our own online directories. With each client’s participation with Exceed, they also gain free featured listings in our growing number of highly ranked directories.
But that’s not all…a number of streams must be cultivated for generating leads in addition to your online presence and online marketing. These other streams include referral services, loan sources, counselors/therapists, schools, government officials, juvenile authorities, and social media. For the most part, national advertising venues will be too costly for most programs, but every effort should be made to gain free publicity locally, regionally and nationally.