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How to Plan an Epic Summer Party for Your Patients
A patient walks up to the doctor—and the doctor says, “Grab a plate and join the fun! Hey—it’s a party!”
That’s right: it’s time to host an epic social and community event that moonlights as a marketing event. What better way to thank your patients while introducing your practice to the community in a personal way? A party allows people to interact with you and your team outside of a clinical setting. It’s downright fun for everyone.
What’s more, an annual shindig can strengthen practitioner-patient relationships more quickly than about any other marketing strategy, making it worth the time and associated cost. Your summer party helps guests get comfortable with your staff outside of a clinical environment. That’s a plus for kids who might normally feel anxious about seeing you.
TIP: You can bank on a lot of referrals and new appointments from just one fun event.
Here’s how to make your own summer party a time to remember.
Set the date
Clear the calendar as far ahead as possible and plan your party for a time when the most people can attend. Saturday in the late morning or early afternoon may be most convenient since it offers a workaround for kids’ sporting events and finishes up well before date night.
If you choose a weeknight, keep your schedule clear in the afternoon so you have time to set up and get ready. Some events may even work better on a weeknight; it all depends on what you have planned.
Before you set the date, it’s worth checking local and wider-community schedules so you’re not competing with any big community events.
TIP: The day and time may also depend on your theme. A pool party needs to happen in the afternoon when people want to beat the heat. A stargazing party would need to be after dinner and could go late, making a weekend your best bet.
Choose the menu
Want happy party goers? Give them something to munch on! The amount and type of food you offer depend on the kind of party and time of day you’ve scheduled. If your party covers the lunch or dinner hour, people will want to eat more. If you don’t want to offer a full meal, consider holding your event from 10 a.m. to noon or 2 to 4 p.m.
If you’re trying to stretch your budget, you can still please your guests with simple fare (hotdogs and drinks) or choose your menu to match your theme, like serving tropical drinks or smoothies for a beach-themed party. Sugar cookies or a cake with your company’s logo on them can be a fun marketing tool.
TIP: If you’re a dental practice and want to forego sweets, you still have a lot of savory options. Even a popcorn machine is a fun option that tends to be cost-effective and simple to operate.
Plan epic activities
Use your brand image as a jumping-off point for planning your party.
Maybe you’re a family dentist—so you want activities that families will enjoy, like a pool party or picnic in the park. If you target professionals or older patients, consider a local band for entertainment and serve hors-d’oeuvres or a dessert bar.
No matter your intended activity, make sure you book far enough in advance that you don’t run out of options. It’s no fun planning a bouncy house, slip-and-slide, or petting zoo for the kids, only to find that all the equipment (or animals) isn’t available on your chosen date and time.
TIP: While most people love outdoor events, look to local weather patterns and come up with an option B if you need to move indoors.
Add a cause
Consider adding an act of goodwill to your party itinerary. In this way, you make a difference in your community, expand your brand recognition, and build positivity for your practice.
Projects like these don’t need to be complicated to work well. You might hold a drive for back-to-school supplies, a food drive, or a service event (say, a park clean-up or home repair). Or sponsor a 5K and donate the entrance fees to a popular cause.
Depending on your preferences, you could also hold a raffle or silent auction for cool prizes, with the proceeds going to a charity of your choice.
TIP: Do a little research to find a cause that speaks to you and really makes a difference in your community.
Remember the swag
Everyone loves freebies. Why not offer some branded swag to guests? Some ideas for easily branded items include:
- Lip Balm
- Tote bags
- Water bottles
- Flower seed packets
- Boxes of mints (or fun-flavored toothpaste!)
Order your swag well in advance; then, come up with a few creative ways to offer it to your guests (wrapped up in the napkins at the food table, t-shirts that you shoot out by cannon, etc.).
Consider offering bigger prizes in a drawing. When guests arrive, have them fill out an entry card with contact information you can use later as for referrals to your practice.
TIP: Be sure to snap photos and take videos of a wide variety of guests, not just the top prize winners.
After the event
A day or two after the party, use social media to thank your patients for coming. Include pictures of the event, highlighting the good time your patients had. Send thank-you notes to any local businesses who helped sponsor, host, or promote the event.
Make sure any prize winners are notified and given the chance to come into the office and pick up their prize, then post pictures of them on social media as well.
TIP: As you get back to your daily routine, add potential patient names to your records, follow-up with them, and invite them in for an appointment.
Enjoy the results
A well-executed summer party can give your practice a boost that will help you grow through the rest of the year. Just as important, this kind of event will increase loyalty in your patients who come and enjoy the party, making them more likely to set an appointment for the coming months.
Don’t forget, all that camaraderie also translates into good reviews and more referrals from friends and family. The added exposure can also reach others in your community, even if they didn’t attend.
So go ahead and party hearty. It’s a big win for all involved!