How does your community view your business? Is your practice a participant or a spectator? Hosting an event can be an effective way to engage your current patients,
while also encouraging a few new faces to set foot in your door.
How does one begin to plan for such an event? Below are some helpful hints to create a successful community event. Choose a date and stick to it! The plan has got to start somewhere. The trick is to find time within your schedule that won’t disrupt the flow of
your business, while still being convenient for patients to participate.
This can be a challenge, but I have found if you keep the event to just a couple hours it’s easy to manage and can fit into a normal workday. A few hours in the afternoon has served us well in the past.
Planning ahead is another must. We’re all used to planning six months ahead aren’t we? Develop a calendar or timeline and share it with your team. Remember to communicate with your team, so everyone is on the same page and knows their role in the event. Post all pertinent information in a visible place so everyone knows what’s going on and they have all the details.
Communicate! This means with everyone: your team, your patients, the local newspaper, radio, television media and local business community. Use your social media channels for
an easy means to communicate to the masses. You can upload your event details to
your Facebook and/or Google+ pages. Our practice also prints up fliers to distribute
to patients coming in weeks prior to our events.Patients are usually willing to help spread word.
Use local media
Gather local media contact information. Most media outlets still utilize a fax line as well as an email tip or contact-us type email. Save this information in a spreadsheet so it’s readily available for the next event. Find a reporter’s email address or Twitter handle name. Once you have collected media contact information, create a press release and send it out often. For example, I send out a press release four to six weeks ahead of an event, and
every day the week prior to the event. News changes so quickly nowadays, and frankly, it’s easy to push aside a feelgood story in wake of higher ratings.
Are you collecting your patients’ email addresses? It’s easy to do and most, if not all, practice management software accounts for email. Having a database of email addresses
will help you to better communicate and market to your already existing and loyal patient base. I like to email patients about a month ahead of our event date, then two weeks
prior and then again the day before the event. This keeps it fresh in their mind, if not on their desktop or phone. Be sure to include the date, time, address, phone number, website and any other links to your social media outlets. If you don’t have time to create your own email blasts, many websites and marketing firms can help put them together. Some websites even offer this service for free.
You can take the text right from your press release. On the day of your event, be sure to collect the names and email addresses of all who come in and contribute. That way, you can communicate with them next year when you run the event again. Keep things light
Plan to decorate or do something to keep the event light. We trim a tree during the holiday season for our food and toy drive. And for Halloween, we decorate the office with ghouls and ghosts and even dress in costumes ourselves. We also encourage kids to come in costume as well. On the day of the event, take photos and video. Use your Smartphone. It’s fast and convenient and you can upload in an instant.
Remember to update your website, your Facebook page and other social media as your event is happening. Be sure to keep your posts light and fun. This helps create that coveted “viral buzz” we hear so much about. At the end of your event, don’t forget
to thank all involved and those that participated. A successful event will help engage
your patients, your neighbors and even your colleagues. It’s a fun way to promote your business and build rapport and respect within your community.