As a private practice physical therapist, occupational therapist or speech-language pathologist, getting foot traffic in your clinic should be a top priority.
And, hosting special events is a great way to do this.
Perhaps you’ve recently expanded your clinic space. Maybe you’re celebrating a milestone anniversary. You have probably been wondering, “Should I offer a free workshop for athletes? Parents? Seniors? Chronic pain sufferers?”
Or, maybe you simply just want to meet your neighbors, rub elbows with referral sources or show appreciation for your clients.
There’s rarely a bad reason to throw open the doors of your clinic for the sake of celebration, education or networking.
In fact, hosting events at your clinic is a great way to literally open up to your community – to show them who you are, what you’re all about, and how they can reach a greater potential through rehab therapy.
That’s the good stuff.
But as anyone who’s ever hosted a neighborhood barbecue or holidays with the in-laws knows, planning a successful event – one that’s well-attended and achieves what you set out to do – takes some work. A lot of work.
So if you’re going to make the effort, you definitely want to get the most marketing mileage you can throughout the process – from planning through execution. That should go without saying.
Fortunately, I’ve worked with several private practice rehab therapists through the years in promoting a whole host of events at their clinics, from open houses and ribbon cuttings to special programs and workshops. And, I’m here to offer what I’ve learned throughout these experiences.
Here are a few tips to help you get the most mileage, and marketing success, when hosting events at your clinic:
Thrown-together events tend to feel … well, thrown together. Putting quality aside, however, planning your event early opens the door to more promotional opportunities.
Pull your clinic team together a good two-to-three months before your event to start the process of planning, prep, promotion and coordination.
Get Creative with Invitation Channels
Sure, you may want to send special hand-held invitations to your closest colleagues and referral sources. For the rest? Go digital.
Send invites through your clinic’s email list, create and invite from a Facebook event page, post and share from your blog, and create special digital art, such as headers, to use throughout social media.
Host with a Partner
If you’re new to this, don’t go at it alone. Coordinate with a neighboring business, one that provides a complementary service, or a networking organization like your local chamber of commerce.
Such a partnership not only eases (slightly) the burden of planning and hosting, but it often also means you can tap into their networks – email lists, social media platforms and other channels – to further promote your event.
Contact the Local Press
Get your event listed for free on community calendars in your local newspaper, radio/TV station websites, etc., by sending out a simple press release (or even just an email) about your event.
Tell them when and where your event’s happening, who’s involved, who’s invited, why people may want to attend, the cost (if any), and how people can RSVP or learn more info.
Take Names, Take Pics
During your event, absolutely make an effort to take photos, jot down a few notes and anecdotes from the experience, and get the names and email addresses of those who attend.
Obviously don’t make sharing such information an requirement for those who attend. But, offering special giveaways and promotions can be enough to entice most to share their names and basic contact info.
You’ll need this stuff because when the event’s over, your work still isn’t quite done.
Keep the momentum going even after your event is over. Blog about it, post pics, videos and highlights via social media, and send out thank-you notes to those who attend. (Email will work fine for this, but personal notes or calls may work better for your closest contacts, referral sources and leads.)
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