A practice’s Open House is a momentous event in the company’s history. Whether you’ve remodeled your practice, opened a new location or you’re beginning a brand new practice, you won’t want to skip hosting an Open House! Having an open house provides an opportunity for potential patients to interact with you and your staff in a carefree setting and conceivably expand and strengthen your patient base. For those with an established patient base, an Open House serves to bring patients, friends, family and colleagues together to celebrate a revitalization of your practice, and affirm your appreciation of their continuing support. An Open House can be as simple or as elaborate as you would like, but there are general guidelines you can follow to simplify the process.
Inviting Guests and Targeting an Audience
Once you’ve figured out what you hope to achieve by having an Open House, you should have a general idea of what your invitee list will look like. If you decide to use this as a marketing opportunity your target audience should be your local community, existing and prospective patients, and your industry network contacts. If you’re less concerned about gathering a patient base, reach out to friends, family and colleagues to join you in celebration. Feel free to include your patients as well!
Immediate Gratification or Delayed Satisfaction
Choosing a date for your Open House is a topic more subjective than the others discussed here; take the following questions into consideration before setting your timeline:
-Has your office been up and running successfully for at least two months?
-Is your office design completed, including staged with decor the way you had envisioned?
-Is your team acclimated and familiar enough with the new office to conduct tours and answer questions?
What time of year is it? (In winter, some people will be away for the holidays which would make this time of year less ideal for an appreciation-type event; in summer, many families go away on vacation which would make this time of year less ideal for kid-centered events. Generally, September and October are favorable months to host events.)
Are you financially ready? If you’re low on funds after your build-out, don’t rush into hosting an Open House just for the sake of having one. I would say 6-8 months out would be ideal, but really, anytime within the first year of opening, works as well.
Spreading the Word
Consider who’s attention you are trying to capture- existing associates or new patients. If you’re hosting an appreciation Open House including mainly close friends and family, a great option would be to send out Evites and avoid social media. Minted is a great resource with great free templates and an invitee tracker so you know who has received your invite, and whether or not they plan on attending. If you decide to use your open house as a network and advertising opportunity, there are a few affordable things you can do to spread the word:
-Make flyers to hand or mail out, and post on local bulletin boards.
-Make a PDF version of your flyer, and have your marketing manager e-blast it to your network and contacts.
-Reach out to your local Chamber of Commerce and your county’s Economic Development sector. Ask them if they can post an announcement on their digital and print platforms, conduct a ribbon cutting ceremony, and/or put together a press release.
-Don’t neglect your social media channels! These are always great free and cheap resources.
Host a Great Event, without Breaking the Bank
One way to mitigate costs is to partner with neighboring businesses who can use the opportunity to cross-promote their business by sponsoring your event. Not only are you strengthening your relationships and building your network, but you will also cut costs in the process.