Have you ever thought of hosting aspecial event for your referral sources or patients? I don’t mean an open house—I’m not a fan. I mean working with one of your manufacturer’s reps to bring in an amputee athlete or a former Paralympian to demonstrate exercising, golfing, running or to give an inspirational talk. Consider bringing in someone to make a presentation about new technology— something high-tech, but practical and relevant. We have worked with clients who have been fortunate to have an Otto Bock Road Show come to town, and it has been very successful. We have also conducted educational events to teach golf to patients. You may be able to include an educational event for therapists to get CEUs.
The benefits of events like these are tremendous:
- You become recognized as an expert in your community, offering a high level of education or activity to patients or referral sources.
- You build loyalty among patients and gain exposure with referral sources.
- You build a positive corporate image.
- You might even get media coverage if the event is especially noteworthy.
As with everything you do, being organized and a having a plan to maximize the outcome of these events is important. Here are some tips:
- Create a budget for refreshments, promotion, and facility rentals. You don’t need a huge budget, but depending upon the event scope, there will be expenses. Be sure to plan for them. If you are working with a national manufacturer, ask about resources available to you.
- If needed, book a facility. Depending upon the event, you may not be able to hold it at your office. Consider a library or hotel or, if it’s an outdoor event, a park or golf driving range. You may not have to pay—ask first, as an event for people with disabilities, you may get sponsorship support from the facility, and there might not be a charge.
- Create a flyer or postcard to send to your patients and referral sources. You may want to send out more than one. Make it colorful, informative, and make sure all of the important info is included. Proofread it before you print!
- Post the info on your Web site and Facebook page.
- Send a news release to the local media to promote your event.
- Contact the media and ask them to cover your event. After sending a release, follow up with an e-mail or phone call. If you’re not sure whom to contact, ask for an editor. You might be surprised about the interest. If your event is sports related, contact the sports editor.
At the Event
- Ask attendees what they liked, and if they’d attend events in the future.
- After the Event
- Send thank-you notes to those who participated and/or donated time or services, plus ask for their feedback and suggestions.
- Post photos on your Web site and Facebook page.
- Plan your next event!