A pandemic and a new mega abortion facility in the area would have caused most pregnancy centers to take a big hit.  ThriVe St. Louis’s name is indicative of how it maneuvered the treacherous landscape over the last year. 

When the shutdown began, the largest Pregnancy Help Center in the St. Louis metro area immediately pivoted to a telehealth model because women were still seeking abortions. 

“Our staff couldn’t bear to turn them away, so we never really closed,” ThriVe Executive Director Bridget VanMeans said.   

The fear of their clients amplified, as they continued to be extremely stressed out.  When you add a pregnancy to that, it makes the stakes even higher. 

“They are either coming in quickly to get a pregnancy test because they are more nervous, or they are waiting longer (to come in), which is an interesting phenomenon.  It’s radically changed the way we are servicing the clients with the addition of telehealth and the amplified safety practices, but we are staying the course,” VanMeans noted. 

That course is outstanding, considering Planned Parenthood opened a new mega facility across the Mississippi River in Fairview Heights, Ill.  It’s a phenomenon VanMeans refers to as the “Missouri Miracle.”

“Our strategy was already having a catastrophic effect on Planned Parenthood.  That is why they built in Fairview Heights.  It’s important for people to understand that,” VanMeans stated. “They are not as aware of the ‘Missouri Miracle’ as we are because they just think Fairview Heights was built and all the girls went across the bridge.  Going (to Illinois) happened because our strategy was working.” 

A key component of that strategy is what Vitae brings to the table with its digital ads and search engine optimization (increases website traffic) and the research-based website that is inviting to women.   

“Vitae is a critical, irreplaceable piece of our strategic puzzle.  We’re moving the needle not just from abortion-vulnerable women to the abortion-determined women, but also to the abortion-scheduled women and those looking to schedule an abortion,” VanMeans explained. “The campaign has been essential to get us in the top three (search results) for women as they are doing their very first searches to make an appointment for their abortion.  It’s a priceless and completely vital component to our strategy.” 

On a monthly basis, Vitae is sending around 300 women to ThriVe in St. Louis and St. Charles.  As an example of the effectiveness of Vitae’s ads and website landing pages, the national conversion rate is 2.7%.  The conversion rate of Vitae’s landing page for Thrive is 22.15%.  They have three brick and mortar clinics on the Missouri side, four mobile units which are sidelined during COVID, along with an affiliate in Granite City, Ill. (ThriVe Metro East).   

Being one of Vitae’s Alpha Centers gives them around $65,000 in marketing services, which in turn frees up funds for ThriVe to spend elsewhere, like radio ads on urban stations and strategically-placed billboards.  They are also able to experiment with different social media buys.  They will soon be on TikTok, a platform for short-form videos. 

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