The end of summer brings an upswing in health and wellness fairs across the country. Undoubtedly, you’ve participated in at least one of these and know how expensive they can be. Think of all the costs associated with exhibiting at an event: booth space, marketing materials, branded tchotchkes to give away, travel tolls (depending on your state), food, your staff’s time AND the oft-forgotten opportunity cost of not being in your office to see patients.
That said, since health fairs often attract individuals who value natural healthcare, they can offer a great opportunity for you to connect with prospects. In this digital world, face-to-face interaction with prospects is limited. At a health fair, your ideal prospects converge upon one place, where they are all accessible to you! Like for any other marketing venture, if you have a plan for participating in health fairs and follow through afterwards (where most people fall short), your return on investment will be higher. Exhibiting at local events can be a successful marketing strategy for your practice.
First, decide whether you want to participate in an event. This can be done by asking a few questions:
Questions for Event Organizers: Are the event organizers targeting your ideal patient? Do their promotional plans seem adequate? How many attendees do they expect? Does this seem realistic? How many times have they held this event? Do they share attendee lists before/after the event for your marketing use?
Questions for Your Practice: Can participation in the health fair help accomplish your overall marketing and practice growth goals? Can you easily promote your participation through your regular marketing strategies (newsletter, ChiroTV Network system, advertising)? Do you have time to plan and prepare adequately, or should you make a note for next year?
Once you decide to participate:
Set your expectations (based on what you know) to measure the success of the show. Decide on a new patient goal or how much you want to grow your email list. Estimate how much everything will cost. Determining a few metrics ahead of time will give you a basis of comparison across events and will help you make decisions later.
Find ways to promote the health fair. This helps show your community support and brands you and your practice in the community. Helping to promote the show will enhance the event’s success and demonstrates that you are supportive of the community’s overall and lasting health. There are several ways you can promote your participation in the event.
Shine at the Show
First impressions are very important. There will be a lot going on at the show and you’ll only have a few seconds to attract attention. Your booth should look professional and stand out. Your team should be identifiable as a team, as in wearing the same shirt with your company logo.
Behavior is also important. Do not hide behind your table. Make eye contact with passersby and greet them. Ask them a question related to your booth theme. Invite them to partake in a free sample or demonstration. According to research, 80% of event attendees say free samples help them decide to buy. Don’t just give something away, however. Ask to add them to your email list or some other form of reciprocity. The bigger the giveaway, the more you can ask. If you would like to build your direct-mail list and need a home address, you’ll probably need to offer more than a pen.
A note: Before adding show attendees to your email lists willy-nilly, familiarize yourself with your country’s anti-spam regulations. This is the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States, CASL (Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation) in Canada and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in the European Union. These regulations outline certain proofs of permission required to add folks to your list and may levy fines for violating the rules. The email provider you use (MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc.) may have summaries and guidelines that are easier to understand than the legislation itself.
Many times, event organizers set up social media hashtags for their shows. Use your social media accounts to post in real-time. Talk about the event and post pictures of your team at the booth. There are also ways to use these pictures in your marketing when you return to the office.
Lastly, talk to your peers. You can pick up on trends, learn new industry information and possibly find some joint venture partners to help you reach your goals.
Follow Up Faithfully
This is where most event exhibitors fall down but is the biggest opportunity to increase your return on investment. Just a few tips for following up:
There you have it! Just a little bit of planning can help you make smart decisions about health fair participation and increase your return on investment when you do attend.