Are you planning to open a new dental practice?
Do you have an existing practice, but you are moving to a new location?
If so, hosting a grand opening for the public is a great marketing move for you and your practice. A grand opening is an important event for any business, and it is especially important for a business that is brand new or simply new to the area. It introduces your dental practice to the community in a personal way, and it will help create a buzz about your new venture.
Grand openings also create an opportunity for people to interact with you and your team outside of the clinical setting, and they can (and should) be fun! By hosting an event for the community, you will have an opportunity to draw in new patients or give existing patients a sneak peek of your new office.
Making a connection with people through this event is also a great jumpstart to building a customer base in your new area.You may also wish to invite referring specialists, local businesses, and well-known people within the community in an effort to begin to develop business relationships and create word of mouth about your services.
Here are some tips to help you have a successful grand opening for your dental practice:
1. Scheduling the event.
Your grand opening doesn’t have to happen before you open your doors to the public. Often, it’s a good idea to have a soft launch of your practice in order to smooth out any kinks and get the business running without any issues.
Once you are off and running, plan your grand opening to celebrate in a big way!
Choose a date and time that is convenient for your target audience, and also choose one that is not too close to any major holidays where people might otherwise be busy. Make sure that the time of your event will work for anyone working full-time by scheduling outside of business hours including early evenings or weekends.
If you choose to have your grand opening on a Saturday, we recommend having it in the late morning or early afternoon to best accommodate families with sporting commitments.
If scheduling a weekend grand opening, plan 2-4 hours for your event to give people plenty of time to come by and check the new practice out, eat, and enjoy whatever you have planned. If you are scheduling around lunchtime, plan for people to eat more.
If you plan on serving less, a mid-afternoon time slot would be ideal. Weeknight evening events are best held for a shorter time period, 1 ½-2 hours. The size of your expected guest list may also be used to determine which time slot is best fitting.
2. Plan for your space.
If you are introducing your practice to the community, you will obviously want a lot of foot traffic within the office itself. If you are in a standalone building or strip mall, you can also utilize space in the parking lot to attract people to your event with banners and signs.
Make sure this is approved by the building manager as well as the HOA or any other tenants. Look at opportunities to pair with another business in the building to reach more people! This is a great chance to develop partnerships with other businesses that could lead to referrals for both parties.
3. Decide on your budget and where to spend.
If you aren’t sure where to start when determining your budget, first try to get an idea on the size of your event. If you are planning on inviting a very large list of people, you will obviously be spending more on food, drinks, and entertainment.
While these items aren’t mandatory, offering a nice variety of food and drinks and some form of entertainment will ensure a greater number of people attend your event, and those that do attend stay longer.
Get creative so that you can still stay within budget. Ask local restaurants for deals in exchange for promoting their restaurant, host a BBQ, or keep drinks limited to those without alcohol (which are more affordable.) You can also look for local bands and entertainment that are generally more likely to fall within budget.
4. Promote, promote, promote.
Make sure that you let people know about your grand opening in advance so they can plan appropriately. You can promote your event through social media, dental flyers, and word of mouth. If you already have a list of clients, send out a save-the-date about 2 months in advance.
Create an event on your Facebook account, and contact the local newspaper and chamber of commerce to publish your event on the community calendar. Ask the chamber about scheduling an official ribbon cutting event, and be sure to allow them ample time for scheduling.
The local chamber will invite other local members and ambassadors, and they will do their own marketing of your event which is a great way to grow your attendee list. The chamber should bring their own ribbon and scissors as well as a photographer.
You can also request attendance from the Mayor, though that is not always guaranteed. As the date approaches, send a press release to the local media.
Solicit the newspaper to send a photographer to cover the event for the community events/society section.
Have additional photos taken by you and your staff so that you can share the success of the event on your social media pages once the grand opening is over. This is also a great time to announce any promotions/specials that coincide with the event.
5. Pair with other local businesses
A grand opening is the perfect opportunity to team up with local businesses. Cross-marketing is an effective way to not only grow your customer base, but to develop a strong rapport with other people in the community.
Talk to other businesses in the area to see if they want to use your grand opening as a way to tell people about their business as well. Local bakeshop? Have cupcakes at your event with their business cards on the table.
See if businesses are willing to donate one of their items to use in a raffle. There are countless ways to partner with local businesses that will be mutually beneficial.
6. Have some fun activities at your grand opening.
This will help to attract people to your event and keep them entertained while they are there. You can have music, food, and games or anything that would appeal to your target audience.
For example, if you are a pediatric dentist, having games or attractions that appeal to children would help attract your target audience and show that you are child-friendly!
Balloons, face-painting, and jump houses are easy ways to keep kids entertained.If you are selling a more elite experience, perhaps a wine and cheese event would be appealing. Think of your target and what would be the best way to attract them to your business.
7. Build your customer database.
When hosting your grand opening, it is critical that you gather information from everyone that attends. With this information, you can contact and continue to promote your practice; without it, you have missed a huge opportunity to build your marketing database.
To gather this data, it is best to offer something of value in exchange for their contact information. You can do this by having a contest with an entry form, setting up a table with informational brochures and forms, or placing sign-up sheets around your store.
Once the event is over, follow-up is crucial. Make sure you are following up with everyone who visited your office, not just those who showed interest in scheduling an appointment.
Following up soon after your grand opening ensures you are still fresh on the minds of those who attended.
By sending a thoughtful message, you can stay connected with all the patients you met and improve your chances of converting them into long-term patients in the future.
Tracking your referral sources is important for a few reasons.
First, you need to know what’s working so you can keep doing more of it.
Second, you need to know what’s not working so you can stop wasting time and money on it.
Third, tracking helps you build relationships with the people and businesses who are sending you referral business.
By understanding where your referral traffic is coming from, you can better tailor your marketing efforts to attract more of the right kind of leads. If events like your grand opening are successful, you will know that hosting future events is money well spent!