Halfway houses provide an important service to men and women who are young in their recovery journey. Many experts and recovering addicts agree that marketing halfway homes is not only a profitable business venture but sober homes also provide a great transition from substance abuse treatment to reality.
In addition to the services provided to recovering addicts, halfway houses can be a great business. A successful halfway house is a win on all parts. For one, a well run halfway house can produce great revenue which will improve the quality of life for the business owner. Also, a well run halfway house can be of great value to someone in their recovery. It is always a win-win when an entrepreneur can make money and help people at the same time. That’s the way it should be.
However, we have seen over and over again when people make investments into sober living homes, only to lose their investment and never be able to build a successful home.
The purpose of this guide is to educate, clarify, and teach a current, or even a future sober living home owner the marketing strategies they should use. With the right halfway house marketing, running a sober home can be a great addition to your life as well as the lives of your residents.
Let’s get started!
Online Marketing Strategies: How to Build a Successful Halfway House
The internet is the best way to build and grow a successful halfway house. Unlike substance abuse treatment marketing, there is a low cost of entry associated with online halfway house marketing. If you are just starting your halfway house, you can begin with these simple marketing strategies right away. Before you know it, you will be seeing results from your online marketing in the form of phone calls, leads and new clients.
Building a Website for Your Sober Living Home
Surprisingly, many halfway house owners neglect spending the time to build an adequate website. Designing and developing a website should always be your first step. Your halfway house website is your representation to the world. Almost every single person who admits to your sober home will review your website at least once.
A website for your sober home is the best investment you can make. It will open up new doors in many different ways. With a website, you now have the option to bring in new clients through search engine optimization and other online marketing strategies. You have a much better digital brand when prospective clients are able find you through organic search or when people Google your business directly.
There are some general pages and pieces of information that we suggest every halfway house lists on their website.
- An about page – A website’s “about page” offers a great opportunity for you to tell your unique story while also developing an effective marketing strategy. Moving into a sober living home is a personal and emotional endeavor, so it is important to evaluate why are doing the work you are doing. This connection means a lot.
- Pictures of your home – Would you ever move into a new home without at least seeing what it looks like? What do the rooms look like? What does the kitchen look like? Do your bathrooms have full baths or shower space only? Is there a back yard, or a hammock or some places to enjoy free time? The more detailed your pictures are, the better. It is always a great idea to accentuate the ammeneties your sober home offers.
- The rules and regulations – Every credible sober living home implements guidelines and rules that are to be followed by every resident. Your clients need to know their curfew. Is there a probation period? What daily chores is each resident responsible for? How much is the rent? List all your rules out in a clear and precise manner.
Now that you have designed and developed your new website, you are ready to get started on some real digital marketing tactics. Next, let’s take a look at some of the best and most effective online marketing strategies for your sober living home.
Local Search Marketing
Halfway houses primarily gain new clients from within the local community. This means that in order to effectively market your sober home, you need to get in front of and market to the people that are within close proximity to your halfway house. There are two ways to generate leads and beat your competitors through local search marketing. Let’s briefly go through them.
Google My Business Listing – Every sober living home should have a Google My Business listing. This is the first step to take when marketing for any local business. A Google business page will give you the opportunity to be found in local map searches and will also be a place where you can collect great customer reviews.
The reputation of your halfway house is hugely important. Good reviews are an important aspect of online marketing. It is important that you provide the best care and services possible and do everything you can to make your clients happy.
Local Organic Search – Marketing your halfway house within the search engines is also a great opportunity. Let’s imagine that someone goes to Google and searches for “halfway houses in Boca.” The top search results for that query will provide a great deal of traffic and clients for that sober living facility. Quality search marketing strategies can completely revolutionize your business. If done right, and under the right circumstances, being #1 for a specific search term can grow your census.
Local Business Directories – When running any kind of local business, you will need to get involved with local directories. The obvious choices for these services are websites such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, or even the Yahoo Business directory. But, many times, there are other local directories and local websites you can market to and acquire a listing on as well. Many smaller cities have a chamber of commerce that will allow local residents market their business and you should be able request a listing for your halfway house. Other cities have local news sites with business directories.
Many times, these websites have a strong local following as well as trust built within the community. If you can reach out to your local paper and get a listing in their business directory, it could be a huge source of referrals from you.
Digital Advertising and PPC Services
We have all hard about the changes to PPC within the addiction treatment industry. These changes have not (at least not yet) effected the sober living home marketing landscape. If you are running a halfway house, you can still perform effective marketing and lead generation through PPC.
Let’s be candid here. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could potentially lose a lot of money advertising on PPC. There are very specific tactics that are important to follow. If you do not follow these tactics, you could be spending money and getting absolutely no return. Let’s look at some best practices when using pay per click to build your halfway house.
- Send traffic to a landing page – A common mistake is to send all paid traffic to the homepage. This is usually the least effective way. You want to create landing pages that have the highest likelihood of converting the visitor into a client.
- Scale into success – PPC is all about data, measurements, and adjustments. We start off slow, do some tests and adjust our campaign with real data. We continue this process over and over again until we have build a super successful PPC campaign.
- Find the perfect position – It’s not always about getting the top bid. It’s about adjusting to make sure we get the best bang for our buck. Sometimes this means floating around position 2 or 3. Sometimes it could even mean going further down. But finding the sweet spot is what will get us the lowest cost per acquisition.
Business Relations and Referrals from Rehab Centers
As is the case with most businesses, building relationships and networking with other health industry professionals is very important.
With the right referral relationship, you can build a steady flow on new clients to your halfway house. Again, this can be a mutually beneficial relationship to you and your network.
The most common example is to work directly with a treatment center. Rehab marketing is a specific skill set that is separate from halfway house marketing. Once a client graduates from a treatment center, ideally, that client will most likely go to a halfway house so that they can transition into the realities of life while still being able to focus on their recovery.
If you can build a reputation for having an amazing halfway program, there is no reason why a treatment center wouldn’t refer their clients to you.
You will be doing the treatment center a service by continuing to care for their clients. You will be helping the client by providing a great service for them and you will be helping yourself by growing your brand and your businesses.
As we have already touched on a few times, these mutually beneficial relationships are a make-or-break for the success of your sober living home.
Many times, the hardest part is getting started.
Do you dream of opening your own sober living home? If this is the case, you need to be sure you are in it for the right reasons and you need to take the appropriate steps.
Do you have the right housing? Does your state require any type of license? These are all important questions to ask yourself before you embark on such an important job. Our drug rehab consulting services can guide you on your path.
Remember, opening a sober living home can be a profitable, mutually beneficial, and fun business. However, you must never lose sight of the fact that these are real people staying in your halfway house. It is a different business than, say, selling a commodity or a product that you have no emotional connection with.
The better you treat your clients and the more services you provide, the better your business will be.