One of the most popular events in the health care industry is the open house. While many practices enjoy opening their doors to the public in an effort to show off their facility and staff, few take full advantage of the marketing opportunities such an event provides. In order to make your open house a success, try implementing the following ideas. Chances are, you’ll impress current patients, win over new ones, and separate yourself from the competition.
- Choose the right date. You’ll want to pick a date that does not conflict with any other big events or celebrations. It’s usually a good idea to avoid scheduling around the holidays, for instance. Also keep in mind factors such as weather. If your area experiences frequent winter snowstorms, shoot for a spring event when people are less likely to encounter driving issues.
- Day and time are important, too. You’ll also want to carefully consider the day of the week. Thursdays work especially well; the end of the week is approaching but you won’t have to compete with weekend commitments. And pick a time that will be convenient to your patients, keeping in mind work schedules and family commitments. To maximize attendance, plan for 5:00 p.m. and limit your event to two or three hours.
- Plan well in advance. Provide at least six to eight weeks’ notice so people have a chance to clear their schedules. You’ll also need that time to square away all the details and get the word out.
- Have a goal for the event. While you might simply want a chance to meet with your patients in a casual setting, it’s best to have a specific reason for inviting attendees. Perhaps you are showing off a new office, introducing new doctors or support staff, or showing off new equipment or technology. Enticements such as these are more likely to convince people to attend.
- Market your open house. All the hard work you put into throwing a great event will go to waste if nobody knows about it. Effective marketing is the best way to get the word out. Mailed invitations to your patient database are great, but don’t overlook more contemporary methods. Email blasts and social media posts are very useful tools in promoting your event.
- Give the public an added incentive to attend. Socializing is great; doing so with food and beverages is even better. Everybody appreciates a free meal! You don’t need to serve a fancy six-course dinner; light refreshments such as cheese and crackers should suffice. Some practices serve alcohol; decide carefully whether or not to pursue this option as it may not be appropriate in some instances. Consider holding a raffle or giving out door prizes, or offering a complimentary service (perhaps a free exam or equipment accessory to all attendees). These are excellent motivators to get people to walk through your doors.