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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

To achieve top rankings (to be found), websites must be set up in a way that works best with the search engines. That isn’t easy to do. We cannot tell a search engine what search keywords should find our client, nor can we force the search engines to put our clients’ sites higher in the results. But we DO have the ability and knowledge to make that happen. We spend a lot of time and expense each year keeping up on what it takes to stay at the top of search results and often retool our clients’ sites behind the scenes to keep their top rankings, without them knowing about it. To improve inquiries, our client sites are superbly focused, with a special focus on what is unique about the residential program. If the current website contains either too much or too little information, it will never achieve top rankings in the search engines. Marketing websites are most effective if they are thought of as being a brochure, not a manual or newsletter. Exceed creates websites that any client will be proud of, but more importantly, they generate leads. All sites are created on the WordPress 5+ platform, the world’s most popular online platform, so if a client wishes to take over their own site after the first year, they can do so easily.

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.

Basic Concepts: Exceed is privileged to work with some of America’s top therapeutic boarding schools, rehabs, retirement homes, military schools, and private academies. We focus on marketing via a strong online and search presence since that is where people look for such residential programs and schools today. Exceed handles all of the marketing and technical aspects for its clients so that even small facilities can have world-class online marketing and can be found right along with the biggest schools and programs.

Here is how Exceed works with its clients….

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.

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).

Over a number of years, new programs can build up their brand, reputation and name recognition, but to get started they will need to do a lot of “shouting” to get people’s attention, and that is incredibly costly on a national level. One way to keep costs in line is to gain “organic” (free) rankings in the search engines for important keywords (search terms) that people use to find such programs or schools. These free listings in Google, Bing, and Yahoo are difficult to gain for the most important terms since the competition is fierce and Google favors older websites. But Exceed has legal and ethical methods of doing so that are unique in the industry. One of many tactics we employ for our clients is that we link all of them together in a way that individual’s never see, and since we have so many clients in the same industry, the search engines look at that as a mark of approval on each website in that network, even if a site has no history and has had little traffic so far. So, why is it important to gain top rankings in search engines? Because with each drop in the position that a site shows up in the search engine results for any particular search phrase or keyword, far fewer people will click through to your website. The numbers of click-thru’s drop quite dramatically from Search Results Positions (SERP) #1 to #10, and then drop even more from #11 on (second page of search results). If your site is not found in the top 20 results for major-related keywords, people will generally not find your program and not visit your website.
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.


What Our Clients Say

Colorado Office
5550 Tech Center Drive Suite 306
Colorado Springs, CO 80919

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