Once gatherings are unrestricted by COVID-19, follow this plan to market your practice through a health fair the right way
Probably the last thing most chiropractors want to do on a beautiful Saturday afternoon is go to a health fair or street fair. Most of the time on a nice day it would be much more fun to be hanging with the kids, playing in the pool or just about anything else. But, if done well, going to a health fair and even better yet, organizing a health fair can be a big boost to any clinic.
Participating in a health fair
First, let’s discuss the key factors to make going to someone else’s health fair worthwhile. The most important step is actually picking the right health fair and making sure it’s a good fit for the practice. What do we look for?
Location — Is it close enough to the practice and will the people attending the event be local to your practice? Be aware that the event might be close by, but the attendees might be from out of town. This happens a lot with athletic events — most chiropractors have experienced the marathon right down the street, but when we are working on the athletes, we realize that they all came from 40 miles away.
Participants — Who is coming, and are they ideal patients? Senior health fairs are great if the office works with Medicare, but if it doesn’t, it’s a big waste of time. So check the demographics — are they potential good patients who can afford your care?
Formulate your plan
If we pick an event and location that works, the next step is to design your plan. If there are speaking slots, try hard to get one, as that is where you can get some recognition, and it can have the best potential for new patients. Attracting people to your table or booth is the next most important thing. There must be something to draw attention to your booth and get people to come over. That is probably the biggest reason for failure at a busy event — just having your sign up and nothing else makes for a lonely day. This is the mistake many chiropractors make; then they say, “This health fair thing doesn’t work!” You have to draw them in.
Here are some things that may draw a crowd: Sink a putt and win, prize wheel, spine models, free posture screening, and the old-fashioned spinal analysis machine (SAM) unit can still work. Decide which element you want to get the crowds, then make sure you have signage to market it.
Get off your butt
One mistake I often see is everyone sits behind the table and waits. Push the table back, get rid of the chairs and get out in front and engage. Set up your screening system and make sure to get everyone’s contact info: name, email, phone and address. Don’t forget the point of this fair is not to chat, make friends, or “get the word out” — the point is to get new patients.
Have appointment slots set out and make appointments right at the event. The next big mistake is not following up. Many people won’t be ready right then, so put them on a follow-up program. A good plan is to send a letter right away, then put them on your lead list and follow up with them regularly, such as putting them on the monthly newsletter mailing list. The keys to going to a health fair are picking a proper location, picking the proper event, having something to draw people in, and most importantly the follow-up.
Your own health fair
Even better than attending a health fair is having your own. This is the next level and can completely change the view of the practice in the community.
Just like before, picking the location is key. If it’s possible to do it on-site, that is the best, but it is very easy to do it somewhere else as well. Next, we need to invite the right people. Who are local health-related people you work with who can be involved? The local gym, primary care office, podiatrist, nutritionist, acupuncturist, whatever fits. Send emails inviting key people.
Charging vendors or not depends on a lot of factors. This event isn’t about making money; it’s about getting new clients and making the practice look like a leader in health care. Make a Facebook event page and maybe an Eventbrite page for the event, and mention that additional vendors are welcome. Create posters and flyers for your clinic and everyone else involved and make sure to include them in your emails and online. Have the other vendors promote as well.
There are a lot of details to making this work, but having a health fair that you are in charge of can have amazing benefits — deciding who can come, positioning in town, and cross marketing can be very beneficial. Health fairs that you attend, and that you put on, can be a valuable source of new patients in your clinic as well as a great tool for branding and to position the chiropractic clinic locally.
James R. Fedich, DC, owns a large multidisciplinary practice in northern New Jersey. He is also the author of “Secrets of a Million Dollar Practice” and host of a popular chiropractic podcast, Dr. J’s Path to Success. To find out more or to contact Dr. J, visit drjamesfedich.com.