Last time I talked about diminishing returns of doing the same type of public special event over and over again at your facility.
You understand the value of welcoming people to your facility and providing a positive experience, but the value of drawing new faces is immensely greater than seeing the same visitors time and time again. Make no mistake, you’d rather have a regular group of people, like seniors, clinical referral sources and family members, coming to your building than not. But, in developing that strategic marketing plan with targeted special events, you need to diversify to draw differing crowds and balancing your marketing target mix.
When you have something that works and draws a great crowd, it’s easy to go back to the well. Maybe it’s a CEU presentation with a popular physician, or a free senior picnic or well-publicized health fair. If it worked in the past, it may very well work again, but don’t be fooled, you can’t rely on just one type of event in a well-rounded event schedule.
So who should you be targeting?
Generally, there are three major categories. There are subgroups of each, but let’s keep this simple.
They are: the senior population, the clinical community and the general community. Rocket science? Not exactly. However, I’ve seen many facilities that have left one or two of these groups out of their event planning calendar. A facility that has the not-to-miss spring senior picnic often has no other event to draw the general public, which will include many future decision makers. Or, a facility may hit a home run connecting with case managers, social workers, physicians and their staff, but drop the ball in opening its doors to the senior center crowd.
In all honesty, the most difficult events for health care professionals to conjure are those that draw the general public. You know, people who would otherwise have no reason to ever think about a nursing home, let alone stepping foot inside one. Sometimes, as senior care professionals, we get so caught up in the people we care for, the work that we do – we can’t step out of that mindset to ask ourselves: what would make my non-health care professional friend or family member step through the front door of a long-term care center (if not to see a family member)?
The answer: first, start with an idea that has nothing to do with health care. Start with something that is just fun. Why does health care always have to be so damn serious all the time?
From pet psychics to chocolate fests, to interesting lectures (that have nothing to do with knees, hips, blood pressure, etc.) or coffee house style music and entertainment – the sky is the limit when it comes to making your facility and venue.
My favorite was when a visitor would come in and say “I never thought I’d come to a nursing home for something like this,” or sometimes you’ll hear, “I’ve never been to a nursing home.” Perfect! This is exactly what you want. The word of mouth has extended past the usual suspects.
So, you’ve brainstormed with your staff and you’ve come up with some ideas. How do you follow through and make your events successful, and how do you get the most word of mouth bang for your time and energy buck?
I’ll get to that in Part 5.
President of OneEighty Media, Inc., John Krol serves as Director of Accounts and lead communications consultant for this full-service marketing, communications and advertising firm. John’s extensive experience in journalism, broadcasting, public relations, government relations, SEM, community outreach and marketing provides a unique perspective for businesses looking to re-energize and diversify their marketing efforts.