Making connections and increasing awareness of your practice in your community will help to amplify your brand presence and build your referral base. Through appearances at senior centers, health fairs, and other public events, your practice can take advantage of these opportunities and create a strategy for participation. Often the purpose of events such as these is not to make an immediate sale, instead success can be measured by the number of new contacts you leave with – people who showed interest in your practice by signing up for your newsletter, liking you on Facebook, entering a drawing for a free procedure, etc. In an effort to help you get started, below are five simple tips to keep in mind when creating your event marketing strategy.
- Promotion Let your community know what events you will be attending throughout the year. Social media is a convenient and cost effective channel to use for this type of promotion. Does your practice have a Facebook page? Schedule posts at least one week in advance to let your followers know what, when and where the event is. Make sure to provide details if you happen to be hosting a giveaway or promoting a specific service, in order to help create excitement. Adding photo or video content to your posts is also important. According to Social Media Examiner, visual content creates a whopping 87% interaction rate from fans. However, be aware that not all photos are created equal. Not only must you share high-quality photos, you must also share content that pertains to your event.
- Setup Your exhibit space should be well thought out and directly connected to the look and feel of your practice. This could include a branded pull up banner and tablecloth, as well as a tablet to stream video content or photos from your practice. Refrain from simply placing an assortment of brochures out on your table, hoping that a potential patient will pick one up. Rather, we recommend displaying your core marketing materials vertically so that they are easy for attendees to scan as they are walking by, along with some digital content that you can share with those who would like additional information. If you have access to it, video content is great for attracting attention at events. Make sure your videos do not contain a lot of dialogue, which can be hard to hear over the noise of the crowd.
- Giveaways Unfortunately, it sometimes takes more than an attractive set up for someone to want to stop by your exhibit. If done right, giveaways can be a vital component of your event marketing success. One type to explore is the branded giveaway; such as a pen or notepad with your logo on it. If you decide to use this kind of giveaway, make sure that it is useful to the attendee and, if possible, directly related to your practice. Don’t make the mistake of offering an extravagant and unrelated incentive – for example, an iPad. The majority of attendees will give you their contact information to be able to receive a prize – while most of them will not actually have any interest in your services. This can create false hope and disappointment during event follow up. If a raffle or drawing is the direction you take, we recommend giving away something such as a free LASIK or laser assisted cataract procedure. That way, you know that the attendees entering are legitimate leads. It is also important to get as much information as possible from each entry. A five-question quiz, or brief and focused self-assessment, can work for this. Be sure to ask each entrant for their email address and to check a box confirming that they have opted in for electronic marketing.
- Atmosphere In order for your attendance at an event to be successful, you must bring energy to it! We recommend thinking about this as if you were the host or hostess of a party. You wouldn’t be sitting on the couch in the living room looking through your phone and eating a candy bar while guests arrive – would you? The same goes for events where you are representing your practice. Make sure you are on your feet, ready to greet attendees and answer their questions. This goes for body language as well. You wouldn’t believe the difference a smile, good posture and open arms can make in the amount of leads you obtain. Communicate your expectations with everyone who will work your event as it relates to phone usage and food/drink consumption.
A good way to create energy at your exhibit is to provide an interactive activity. An activity creates curiosity and allows attendees to feel more comfortable with their surroundings and more willing to interact with you. For example, Sightpath Marketing Services is currently offering a Summer Selfie Marketing Kit that practices can use to engage current and prospective patients at both internal and external events. The kit provides your practice with photo booth style items (props, frames, etc.), as well as marketing materials to help you promote before and during your event.
Follow Up Possibly the most important part of exhibiting at an event is following up with your leads. Email and direct mail follow up can be effective, especially if they are done in a timely manner. In other instances, a handwritten note or postcard may be a good option if you want to make a lasting impression. It takes an average of 5-7 communications to convert a lead to procedure, so be patient and continue to contact those in your database.
Event marketing can make all the difference when it comes to brand awareness and relationship development. Before you commit to appearing at an event, be sure to carefully consider the audience and all resources required to make a good impression. If you’re not sure if the event is right for you, or how to get started, contact your Sightpath representative. For more ideas about how to be successful at an event, be sure to view our two part event marketing series in the webinars section of the Resource Library.
-By Caitlyn Roe, Marketing Coordinator at Sightpath
All Sightpath Medical customers receive access to a a full range of practice-building resources. From staff training and sample forms, to video tutorials and monthly webinars, we are here to help. Customers can access the Resource Library, here. Additionally, Sightpath Marketing Services can help create interactions and energize a referral network to drive procedures, with ongoing practice development support on a variety of levels. To learn more about Sightpath Marketing Services, click here.