Halfway houses provide an important service to men and women who are young in their recovery journey. Many experts and recovering addicts agree that halfway homes and sober homes provide a great transition from treatment into reality.
In addition, 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 a halfway house, only to lose their investment and never be able to build a successful home.
The purpose of this guide will be to educate, clarify and teach a current, or even a future sober living home owner the exact marketing strategies they should use. With the right marketing, running a halfway house can be a great addition to your life as well as the lives of your residents.
Let’s get started!
Online Marketing Strategies to Grow a Halfway House of Sober Living Home
The internet is the best way to grow your halfway house. Unlike addiction treatment marketing, there is a low cost of entry to start seeing some results with online marketing. If you are just starting your halfway house, you can get started with these strategies right away. Before you know it, you will be seeing results in the form of phone calls, leads and new clients.
Build a Website
Surprisingly, many halfway house owners don’t spend the time to build an adequate website. Designing and developing a website should always be your first step. Your website is your representation to the world. Almost every single person who admits to your sober home will look at your website at least once.
The website is the best investment you can make. It will open up new doors in many different ways. With a website, you now have the options to bring in clients through search engine optimization. You have a much better digital brand when people find you through direct search or when people Google your business directly.
There are some basic pages and pieces of information that we suggest every halfway house lists on their website.
- An about page – This is a great opportunity to tell your story. Living in a sober living home is a personal and emotional en-devour, so why is it you 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? Is there a back yard, or a hammock or some places to enjoy free time?
- The rules and regulations – Every good sober living home will have rules. Your clients need to know the curfew. Is there a probation period? 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 strategies for marketing your sober living home.
Local Search is the Winner
Almost all the time, halfway houses get their clients from the local community. This means that in order to effectively market your home, you need to get in front of people that have a close proximity. There are two ways to market your halfway house to the local search market. Let’s briefly go through them.
Google Business Page – Every sober living home should have a Google My Business listing. This is the first step 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 mean a lot. Be sure to 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 Philadelphia.” The top search results for that query will provide a great deal of traffic and clients for that sober living facility. Good search marketing can completely change your business. If done right, and under the right circumstances, being #1 for a specific search term can keep your census full at all times.
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 to get listed on as well. Many smaller cities have a chamber of commerce that you can list your halfway house on. 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 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 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 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 Treatment Centers
As is the case with most businesses, building relationships and networking with other 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. Treatment center 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 consulting services can guide you on your path.
Remember, opening a sober living home can be a profitable and fun businesses. However, you must never lose sight of the fact that these are real people staying in your home. 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.