2018 Year-End Event Guide
Tips to plan, promote, and execute a successful event to increase year-end sales
Why host an event? Hosting an event to showcase the practice’s top products and services towards the end of the year is a great way to encourage patients to use their benefits at your practice. Many successful trunk shows and events occur in the fall, before the December rush begins.
Once you have decided to host an event, begin the planning process by establishing a team and choosing a leader. Whether it is a doctor or a key staff member, this person will set expectations, assign tasks, and keep everyone focused on the goals of the event.
Black Friday is a powerful retail holiday to host an event, such as a trunk show, patient appreciation event, or an inventory blow-out sale.
8-12 Weeks Out
Decide the date, time, theme, and promotions.
Choose a date that fits the practice schedule best and limit the event to four hours to keep it well-paced.
This is also the time to decide on the theme of the event. This can be something simple, like a Black Friday sale or football event, or more extravagant, like a fall festival or holiday party. Use this theme to help drive decisions on décor, food and beverages, and activities. Start thinking about other details, as well, including vendors, promotions, gifts, and prizes. Planning these items early will help you develop your messaging and promote the event.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT DATE & TIME
Consider where your practice is located and what type of an event you are hosting. 10am – 2pm on Saturdays are ideal for daytime, family events in areas with foot traffic. 2pm – 6pm or 4pm – 8pm on a weekday would be better for more upscale events in medical or professional centers.
Work together as a team and be creative! Offer a free single vision lens with a frame purchase, hold raffles, have attendees pop balloons to reveal a prize or discount, or offer a special discount to patients who RSVP to the event on Facebook.
6 Weeks Out
Create the invitations and marketing assets.
Once the details are set, begin working on your invitations and any marketing pieces that will be sent out or placed in the office to promote the event. These can include the following:
• Email messages
• Facebook event
• Social media posts • Social media ads
• Postcards / letters • Flyers
• Counter cards
Use the online Marketing Toolkit to access a number of digital and print assets.
As you are creating your messages, remind patients that they can use their FSA dollars on their purchases. This is a great time for them to purchase a second pair of eyewear for the new year or upgrade their lenses.
4 Weeks Out Get organized!
Use your practice management software to identify key patients who have made significant purchases in the past. You can also identify those who are due for eye exams, encouraging them to get their new prescriptions now and use them to make a purchase during the event.
If you plan to send postcards to new patients, now is also the time to purchase a targeted mailing list using the information from your geospatial report. If you are using social media, schedule out your posts in advance and create the target audiences for your boosted posts or ads.
CREATING A MARKETING PLAN
The messaging for your event should be part of a larger year-end marketing plan. Use the Q4 marketing guide in the Marketing Toolkit to help you identify your target audiences and schedule your communications.
For tips on creating targeted audiences, visit Practice Management > Marketing > Education on Insight.
2 Weeks Out
Send the invitations.
Begin sending your communications and increasing your activity on social media.
Consider having staff make personal phone calls to the practice’s best patients and optical customers.
When booking appointments for the date of the event, concentrate on private-pay patients and those with better insurance plans. Try to limit the number of non-examination patients, such as contact lens checks or follow-up visits.
This is also a good time to review goals, finalize any last-minute details, and assign someone to take pictures for social media throughout the event.
Personal phone calls are a great way to invite patients to the upcoming event and to ask if they have FSAs.
Get together with the entire team and the frame reps before the event begins to review goals and responsibilities. Remind everyone to smile, interact with patients, and most importantly, have fun. Remember to communicate any details about payment and insurance upfront to avoid misunderstandings. As with any well-planned event, things do not always go as expected. Stay calm and remember to maintain an upbeat attitude.
Gift certificates are a great way to boost sales towards the end of the year. Consider offering gift certificates at a price that is 20% less than the redeemable value, and be sure to display signs around the office to promote them throughout the event.
Keep a list of behaviors or elements of the event that could be improved upon for a later review, but do not comment on them during the event.
After the Event
Have a short meeting with the team to review the day. Make notes of what to do—and not to do—for the next event, and celebrate everyone’s accomplishments. Be sure to do the following:
• Determine the cost of the event • Record the sales
• Compare with the revenue of an “average day” • Evaluate the approximate time spent per patient for each transaction • Evaluate discounts and insurances utilized
• Determine the effectiveness and sales of each frame rep
Send thank-you notes to the frame vendors who participated and to the patients who made purchases. Consider including a comment card or sending a survey for feedback.
Remember to keep the list of attendees so you can invite them to the next event.
KEEP THE COMMUNICATION GOING
Once the event has ended, stay focused on reaching out to the patients who did not attend. Communicate any special holiday hours and remind them there is still time to schedule their eye exam before the end of the year.