You Are Cordially Invited…Open house events still work, and these fetes can be a great way to reward your existing patients and bring in new ones.

Try these event-planning tips to get your party started:

Save the date. Schedule open-house events after or before your typical hours of operation.

Cater the event. Wine and cheese, “Skinny Girl” cocktails and appetizers, signature drinks, energizing grab-and-go breakfasts, antioxidant infused teas, and other theme-based offerings that dovetail with the time of year are always crowd pleasers. Save alcohol for evening events only.

Wow your guests. Consider live filler or facial demos so patients can see what a treatment looks like and provide a time for questions and answers. Other entertainment options include free skin analysis, makeup applications or blowouts or updo’s. Outside-of-the-box entertainment can include a magician, psychic or caricature artist, or cooking or mixology lessons. Avoid making patient seminars all about selling products and services.

Set the mood. Fresh flowers, candles, music, or other theme-related décor can set the stage at your event. Letting guests take home orchids is always a big hit! Make sure that someone on your staff or a professional photographer is taking photos at the event.

Goody Bags. It’s all about the swag. Guests should receive loot bags filled with discounts and samples of promotional products, and especially skin care. Consider a raffle for attendees with the chance to win a free service or procedure at the practice.

Book a Treatment. A well planned and executed patient seminar can score big at the register if you manage every detail. Collaborate with your vendors to make this happen. For example, an offer of a minimum of 20% off a treatment or service to be booked and paid for on the day of the event, and to be scheduled within a specific time period (30-90 days) is always popular. Buy one, get one offers are another strategy that can be effective.

Bring a Friend. Include a plus one on every invite. Encourage patients to bring friends and family for additional discounts. For example, if you are hosting a a bridal beauty seminar, suggest that moms bring their daughters or brides bring their bridesmaids. Offer any guest who brings a friend to your event a special gift, such as a skin care product or makeup application, as an incentive to spread the word. Every new guest who enters your practice presents an opportunity to convert them to become a patient or client.

RSVP. Thank each attendee and add them to your mailing list after the event, with their permission of course.

The After Party. Always publicize the event via your social media platforms, and post photos on your blog or other social media networks after the event. If you are taking photos of guests for publication, always ask them if they mind having their photo posted as a courtesy.