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Come one, come all! Create an open house worth attending
An open house can be a great way to promote a new practice or service offering, network with current and potential patients, and leave a positive impression with the community. But, you may be wondering: Where do I start, and how can I make the most of my efforts?Planning and implementing a fantastic, buzz-worthy open house is easier than you might think. All it takes is a little hard, focused work and a commitment to delivering value to key audiences. Read on to learn a few tips to add to your event-planning arsenal:

Determine your audience
Whether you’re inviting 100 or 10,000, who you invite is just as important and how many. According to WebMD.com’s Medscape Today, healthcare organizations should invite both current patients and potential customers to yield the most effective attendance. Try using the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of your invites are non-patients, including community leaders and well-networked professionals, and 20 percent are current patients. When estimating attendance to establish an event budget, other healthcare organizations have anticipated a five percent turnout. While that may seem low, keep in mind that there is value in the event marketing beyond the actual number of attendees and that those who do attend will spread the word post-event.

Market effectively
Create a cohesive look for all materials that promote the event. Save the date cards, invitations, in-office Signage and programs should reflect the tone of your event and keep your logo in the forefront. In all promotions, be sure to list the direct benefits attendees will receive from visiting, such as a chance to win great branded prizes like a $100 Callaway Golf Gift Card or ProTravel Gift Set. Also mention the opportunity to network with important community members and any free food and beverage.

Reflect your image
When planning the remaining details, be sure to keep your organization or practice’s image in mind. Are you vying to communicate quality care? Then consider having catered appetizers versus the quick grocery-store deli run. Trying to promote spa-like services? Professional-purchased plants and floral arrangements can have a calming effect on attendees and really speak to your brand. Contact vendors two weeks before your event to double-check orders and final counts.

Make a great first impression
It’s the day of your event! Help guests find their way with colorful Yard Signs that bear your company logo and directive arrows. Plan reserved parking for VIPs and guests with mobility issues, and provide shuttle service from remote lots. Valet parking is also an option if your budget allows.

Give a warm welcome
At the registration table, invite attendees to sign in with their name, address and e-mail to build your internal mailing list. Then, secure enough staff to greet each guest personally and guide them to food and hospitality areas. Should inclement weather arise, plan for coat racks and umbrella or boot storage.

Create a lasting memory
Before your guests leave the open house, give them a token of your appreciation:

  • Small table favors are always appropriate, like Note Clips that serve as a branded gift and a business card holder.
  • Make your open house truly memorable by mixing in photography. Consider hiring a photographer or staffing a teammate at a central location to take pictures throughout the event. Then, have a portable print station set up where guests can print photos to take home. This could be especially popular if you have a local “celebrity” guest who is willing to pose with attendees. Provide logo’d Magnet Photo Frames with each picture to seal the deal!
  • For an extra special occasion, create individual swag bags. Choose to imprint Gift Bags and fill them with everyday items that will keep your brand front-and-center, like Sport Bottles, Phone-shaped Key Tags and colorful Retractable Pens.

As your event winds down, don’t forget the final thank you. Plan to give a short speech that says kudos to everyone who helped in the planning and all who took the time to attend. Then, before you know it, you’ll be seeing the same open house attendees as patients or customers.

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