In this issue we want to discuss and explore the power of events for the benefit of brand building and business development. Over the years we gained a lot of experience about the impact of quality events and how a poorly planned event can be a waste of time.
Let me give you two examples of events that are distinctly different in execution and results:
A doctor was asked by a local High School soccer team to become the team doctor. The doctor spends over three years on the sidelines assisting the team but never got involved in any other way.
Another doctor was invited by the local soccer club to hold an ACL Injury prevention workshop. The workshop was attended by ninety people, where they learned about ACL injuries and how to reduce the risk of injury. At the end of the event the doctor handed out educational material with a reference to his practice and website.
Which doctor do you think was more successful and generated a measurable amount of business? The answer is event 2 was more successful. The first doctor put a lot of time into the High School team by being on the sideline. When players got hurt, they came to his practice but beyond the injured players, no one really knew the doctor or knew what services the practice provided. The same was true for the people in the stadium. Despite all the time and effort the doctor put into the team, it did not yield a lot of business and did very little for brand building and exposure.
The second event had a big impact on business and brand exposure. Educating the players, coaches and parents created instant credibility and allowed the doctor to be presented as an expert for knee injuries. The week after the event two parents made appointments for their kids and one for her husband. Within the first month after the event the presentation was downloaded from the practice website over 100 times, which put the material and brand in the hands of potential patients. The doctor now gives the ACL clinic annually to the soccer club, and since the word has gotten out, the doctor has also been asked to do the clinic for two more clubs.
The two examples demonstrate the Dos and Don’ts, which are very important if you want to engage with the market. The following are some guidelines to plan successful events:
- Do what you love: Hold an event on a topic that you are passionate about. This will make it fun for you and the audience you are speaking to.
- Beware of your target group and preferred service: If you are part of a bigger event, make sure that you will address your target group. For example, if your audience is parents of athletes your message will be different if they were other physicians, case managers, younger athletes etc. Doing events to the wrong target group does not help your brand exposure and doesn’t create any business.
- Have a clear objective: Once you know your target group, create a clear objective. Is your event for the purpose of increasing physician referrals, gaining new patients or getting more workmen’s comp? Your presentation will than be modeled around the objective you wish to meet.
- Commit your audience: Whenever possible, have participants pre-register for your event. If you provide an event for the community but there is no form of commitment, your audience will be less likely show up.
- Utilize the media: Events are a great way to get media attention. By providing content for an editor, you are now building a relationship with the media and getting free exposure for your practice.
- Make yourself known: Provide the audience with a clear understanding of your department, practice and/or yourself. Always provide informational material that is branded with your logo, website and contact information. Being a team physician is a great service for the community but it will only benefit your practice if you actively get your name and practice out to the audience.
- Follow-up with your audience: Always collect contact information for anyone who participates in an event. Follow-up with them within 1-2 weeks after the event thanking them for their participation and provide them with you contact information.
Events can make a great impact on your practice as long as they are done right. If you plan appropriately and keep your audience in mind you will see a guaranteed return on the time you spent. Events should be well thought-out, something you are passionate about, marketed properly and have a clear objective in mind.