Ground Marketing For Your First Open House
Ok, so first… let’s see why you want to do an Open House… or actually better yet, let’s understand what an “Open House” is.
An “Open House”, according to the Cambridge Dictionary is “a day when an organization… allows members of the public to go in and see what happens there”.
There is also another definition that states: “a party at which visitors are welcomed in your home”.
So, now that we understand exactly what an Open House is … you must have a reason for doing this Open House in your dental office. A good way to know “why am I having an Open House” is to pick which definition you like best or which definition you want the community to correlate your practice with.
Now I know… you’re probably thinking to yourself… “what I really want from this Open House is for the community to know and see me and…. get more new patients”! No worries… we will get to that very soon!
PICKING A DEFINITION
Definition 1: A day when an organization… allows members of the public to go in and see what happens there.
With this definition, you are more likely going to be “showing off” your beautiful office. Letting the community know all of the technology you have in your practice, letting the community see your multiple payment options, the latest procedures you have learned, and the cutting-edge look and feel that your dental office manifests. With definition one, the community or people attending the Open House should say to themselves “wow, I’ve never seen an office like this, it’s remarkable and has the latest and greatest…..” OR they may something like “Whoa! Who made this office Steve Jobs?!?!” (yeah… we’ve heard this before).
Definition 2: A party at which visitors are welcomed in your home.
Definition 2, personally, is my favorite. If I had an office and I was throwing an Open House, I would strive for this definition. Here you will be inviting people to party (throws confetti), you will be inviting people to get to know you and the team, to feel the atmosphere and culture of your practice, and to enjoy themselves… this Open House definition should do more than just dentistry… it should leave the people who attended saying to themselves “wow, how awesome would it be if they were my dentist”? The people attending should leave with a remarkable experience.
So decide which Open House Definition you will pick and keep reading… go ahead…. I’ll wait…. Or you know what?! You can pick both, no one said you can only throw one Open House anyways!
Once you decided which Open House you want to do first, it is important to stick to that theme.
For example, let’s say you pick Open House 1, if you really want to show the community the latest and greatest technology your practice has to offer them… make sure you show them the BENEFITS not the features. People want to know how can this technology benefit their lives, they don’t care about how much the piece of technology cost, the gadgets and the types of lasers the piece of technology has. The same goes with the latest procedures/ techniques that you have learned… how will this benefit the people who attend the Open House and how will it awe them and leave them wanting more!
So now, that we have that down and you picked which of the two Open Houses you want to do, it’s time to pick the elements you will need. We will also discuss what each element will do for you. Basically, I call the perks, giveaways, and freebies ELEMENTS because…. It just sounds cooler.
THE ELEMENTS YOU WILL NEED FOR YOUR OPEN HOUSE.
I will list the Elements you will need according to the Open House you decided to go with.
Open House Definition 1
Ok, really quick, if you pick Open House Definition 1, then you must have high end/ semi-high- end elements to hand-out and use. This even includes the food!
Below is a list of elements you will need for Open House Definition 1:
- Hygiene Kits
- Flyer Outline
- Sign-Up Sheet
- Folders/ Packets.
- Something Unique
- BIG PRIZE
- Name Tags
Don’t worry… I’ll break down what each thing means and how to use it to your advantage!
Open House Definition 2
Really quick, here you don’t have to use thaaaaat many high-end elements.
- Hygiene Kits
- Custom Social Media Filters
- Sign-Up Sheet
- Yard Signs
- BIG PRIZE
- Name Tags
Ok, so let’s start with Open House Def..… you know what…. it’s getting too long to continuously type each Open House definition… so I will call the first definition “OHD1” and the second definition “OHD2”!
Now….. the purpose for each element.
Why HYGIENE KITS? I don’t want you to over think it on what you need to give out for people to take home as freebies… everyone needs paste, floss, and possibly a toothbrush (unless they have an electrical one). So, all you need to do is give hygiene kits as freebies to take home! Just give them more of a sophisticated name like “Travel Size Kits”. Regardless, it’s free… they will love it!
The FLYER OUTLINE is just a flyer of the 1-2 major procedures you really want to focus on! There is no need to put all the procedures that everyone does under the sun on your flyer. We know you can do fillings… implants… Invisalign… etc. JUST PUT 1-2 PROCEDURES ON THE FLYER OUTLINE! Now on the Flyer Outline you can put your information and then put what BENEFITS these procedures have in a person’s daily life. Then state how the latest technology/ procedure that you learned helps make this possible… and that’s it!
The PAMPHLETS are where you can go into much more detail about your practice, the technology that you have and what benefits it provides, the latest techniques and procedures that you learned, who you are as a doctor, who your team is, who you are (or want to be) in the community, and maybe put a QR Code on their so people can go onto your website or any social media platform. Here’s the thing .… you don’t only have to have ONE pamphlet theme for the rest of your practice’s existence! Create more pamphlets as you start to understand your community and their needs. So, if you feel like the first pamphlet you made didn’t have all the information you want… that’s ok! Keep it simple! Don’t over-do it on the pamphlet either… keep it simple and clean. Steve Jobs didn’t look at the phone and said to himself… “this needs more buttons and switches” he kept the design simple and the rest was history!
The FOLDERS/ PACKETS are basically where the pamphlet and flyer outline should be. This helps the attendee to keep any paper work (and future paper work) in one place and it looks much more organized. Wells Fargo Bank or any bank can just let you go with your documents in hand once you open up a bank account with them BUT… they don’t. They put all your paper work in a folder/ packet for you… for organization, convenience, and generosity.
FOOD & DRINKS are pretty obvious. If you want the people to stay longer, mingle, and honestly… like you more… then provide the people with food and drinks. Now the drinks don’t have to be alcoholic BUT if you are picking OHD2 it would be better… if you are picking OHD1 then maybe have a coffee bar with a barista, or different kinds of lemonades, or a wide variety of drinks. When it comes to food you can either have someone cater and not worry about the food side OR you can just serve appetizers and dessert or a buffet style type of meal where they line up and pick the food that they want and put it on their plate. But honestly, I recommend to just have someone cater… it saves a lot of headache.
MUSIC is a major role! Remember music sets the mood and kills awkwardness… nobody wants to be sitting alone… in silence. Music can also create a memory or a more peaceful environment. Music can make magic! So, if you are doing OHD1, I recommend picking music that is not distracting BUT music that you and your team like! Create an environment that doesn’t distract people too much. If you are doing OHD2 then BUMP THAT MUSIC from time to time! Remember it’s a party, so when that time comes that people are eating or just mingling towards the end of your Open House, play great music! Maybe even have a DJ… however, make sure you mark and know the quiet spots in your practice. Don’t play the music too loud that people can’t talk at all inside the practice.
The SIGN-UP SHEET is simple. The goal here is to sign-up new patients from the Open House. Although, they are at your practice and they could schedule right then and there… still have a sign-up sheet. Here’s why:
Your Sign-Up Sheet is where your attendees will check-in… meaning someone in your team who will be the GREETER will instruct each attendee to sign-in and write down where they work, what’s their job title, and either their email address or phone number. Everyone (except children) should sign-in. This is also their entry for the GRAND PRIZE which will be explained further on.
The BALLOONS would probably work best with OHD2. Have these balloons outside of your practice… on the street sign…. Heck… put them on your employee’s car! Create a scene with balloons! Let the visitors know where you are and let the community know that something is happening!
The YARD SIGNS can be put in front and around your practice to invite anyone from the community. See…. the Yard Sign is like a last minute invitation for anyone who just saw the sign and wants to go to your Open House. The Yard Sign should be simple stating “FREE FOOD & PRIZES at (dental practice name). Just look left” or “follow the signs” or “just follow the balloons”… or you could say “TRAVELING SOON? FREE TRAVEL SIZE HYGIENE KITS!”
Now, with NAME TAGS it’s pretty obvious why we need this, to know everyone’s name. However, I challenge you to be insanely creative in this aspect! Do something great with name tags like maybe lanyard name badges, or VIP name badges…. really be creative here!
The BIG PRIZE is important for OHD1 and OHD2. Why? Because this gives the people a reason to sign-up and exchange information. Now what I mean is, during your Open House, make it known that you are giving away a MAJOR PRIZE…. like an Apple Watch. Anyone who wants a chance to win needs to sign-up… this is where the SIGN-UP SHEET comes in… and people will sign-up. You can even have 2 MAJOR PRIZES like an Apple Watch and FREE Whitening. Now, do NOT announce the winner at the Open House. Let it be known that you will call the winners the next day or the day after.
The SOMETHING UNIQUE has to be something that represents your brand that the attendees can take home. For example, let’s say you are going with OHD1 and you have Virtual Technology in your office… well… have some Take-Home Virtual Reality Goggles as a take home gift for everyone who attended. Or it could be T-shirts with your logo on the shirt. Whatever you decide, make sure it is unique and speaks about your brand.
Now the CUSTOM SOCIAL MEDIA FILTERS are for… you guessed it… social media. This is free advertising for you and goes beyond the Open House! Let’s say the people at the Open House are having a great time, then of course, this calls for a SELFIE… they open Snapchat and take a picture and see your dental office’s custom filter on there… they will use this custom filter and their friends and family will not only see this but it will create traction and brand awareness for you. This is almost… almost… the equivalent of having a Photo Booth but WAY more affordable. If you want to know how to create your own Social Media Filter here is a video on how to do this.
Now that we know what each element can do and will do, let’s move on to attracting the community to your Open House.
ATTRACTING LOCAL BUSINESSES TO YOUR OPEN HOUSE
I actually spoke about this on a podcast episode not too long ago, if you want to take a listen here it is, just fast forward it to the time 10:58 to start listening about this topic.
Now, when going to attract a business there is nothing fancy I need you to buy or nothing fancy I need you to wear. All you need is yourself and maybe a coffee in your hand.
So first think of the local businesses around your dental office that you would like to have attend your Open House.
Make a list.
Now that you have your list of potential businesses you want to attend your Open House all you need to do is figure out a date when you would like to visit them. Once you figured out the date then it’s go time….. BUT before you go… I want to teach you a tactic we teach our clients…
it’s called the (wait for it)…. BOOMERANG EFFECT.
THE BOOMERANG EFFECT
Yes, you will need to learn this tactic in order to successfully attract the local businesses to your Open House.
So let’s just jump right into this tactic.
First, you will need your list of business that you want to attract in hand.
This is what you will do:
Go to the business, with nothing in hand, leave any information in the car…. And just casually walk in and say:
You: Hi! I was wondering if I could have some of your information? Perhaps some business cards, pamphlets, or special offers you have?
The business: Uhhh sure, why?
You: Well, I am actually with the dental office right down the street from you guys and we are having our open house in (you could say the exact date or you could say “in about 2 weeks” etc.)and I really wanted to put your information in our office and in our hygiene kits/ giveaways because there will be tons of people coming and I really want to support specific businesses from the community, like yours!
The business: I LOVE YOU..(ok… they may not say these words but they will say “YES OF COURSE THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THINKING OF US”).
Then from this point on the business will ask you something along the lines like “when is your Open House” etc. When they ask this let them know exactly the time and date and then invite them. Mention how you would love to have them there especially since their business’s information will be displayed. You could even tell the business “I have the Open House information in my car let me go grab it really quick so you guys can come”!
The business will be SO much more inclined to show up for a number of reasons.
- Reason 1: You have created rapport with them
- Reason 2: You are marketing their business
- Reason 3: Since they feel like you are doing them a favor, they feel like the least they can do is show up to your Open House.
- Reason 4: They will also see your Open House as an opportunity to get closer to the community as well.
This Boomerang Effect will work WONDERS when executed properly. Continue to do this with as many businesses as possible.
Now if some of the businesses say something like “ok we will try really hard to attend” or “we will check to see if the team can go” and you haven’t heard back from them and the Open House date is getting closer… feel free to visit them again OR call them to see if they will attend! More than likely, just because the boss can’t make it… doesn’t mean the rest of the employees can’t! We have experienced many times where the supervisor has to work or is too busy but the employees end up coming and bringing their families! So encourage everyone to come… including their families!
Although your Open House should be a joyous occasion don’t forget the main objectives… to show the community who you are and what your practice is all about. With this… you also want to attract new patients. So here are a couple things I recommend you do to assure this:
- Have a New Patient Concierge.Meaning everyone who attends who is not a patient is a New Potential Patient. Have 1 or 2 team members (or actually have your whole team if possible) be in charge of giving the attendees an office tour, making sure they have a drink in their hand, letting them know about the Social Media Filter, the food options, making sure everyone signs up for the GRAND PRIZE, and that everyone is being catered to. No one should feel lost… no one!
- Everyone is a winner!This doesn’t mean if your Grand Prize is an IPAD everyone will get an IPAD. This means maybe one person will get an IPAD and the rest of the 2nd place winners or Runner Ups will receive FREE WHITENING or whatever incentive you want to give out. If 100 people participated and gave you their information and only one person won the Grand Prize, you still need to give the other 99 leads a reason to come in… these 99 leads are warm leads waiting for you!
- Continue to visit the local businesses that did attend.Just because the Open House is over does not mean the relationship you have built with the local businesses is over too. Continue to visit them, grab more of their information, offer these businesses a specific or exclusive in-house membership plan, do lunch & learns, think of ways you both can partner up… continue to build rapport with the local businesses!
- Do more than just one Open House.Remember practice makes perfect… Open Houses are a fantastic way to bring the community to you. The more you do Open Houses, the better you will become.
- Make sure your team has, knows, and understands how to execute the game plan.Your team must, although they are there to enjoy themselves in the company of the community, have objectives. They each need to make sure they go above and beyond to complete their objectives… remember it’s still work… BUT … fun work!
- Lastly, have fun!
I hope this article will help you out in creating, planning, and throwing your next Open House! Like I said if done properly and consistently, it will do magic for your practice.
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