Open houses are great ways to increase visibility and get foot traffic for senior living facilities. They’re especially effective for lead nurturing, as they provide the perfect opportunity to ask questions, interact with staff and see the lifestyle you offer
But like any marketing effort, there’s a lot that goes into an open house – and you can’t just throw one at the last minute.
In order for your event to be successful at both bringing potential leads in your doors and converting some of those leads into real, paying residents, you’ll need to start planning long in advance of your actual event date.
Want to make sure your open house is an all-out success? Here’s the event promotion timeline you should follow.
A Step by Step Open House Event Promotion Timeline
Your absolute first step is to nail down the big details – the date and time, the venue, etc. – at least a few months out. Smaller details like entertainment, activities, vendors, food and other items can be determined later and promoted once you’ve figured them out.
Once you have the big-picture items in place, you can (and should) start promoting immediately. You should:
- Create an event page on your website and add an event to your Facebook page. You want to get on people’s radars ASAP before their calendars start to fill up. Make sure to include
aRSVP or contact form on your web page, so you can capture leads and get an idea of a head count. Use that contact info to send out updates closer to the event date.
- Blog about it. Write up a quick blog post to announce your upcoming open house, and give what details you have
forthe moment. Share pictures from past events, and post the blog on your Facebook, Twitter andsocial media accounts. Get creative and add on an event-specific hashtag, too. This will make all future updates more shareable.
- Seek out potential partnerships. Reach out to your community and find other businesses who could help you make your event a success. Try local restaurants for food, media partners who can film, photograph or live stream your event, or even musicians who can provide entertainment. Keep in mind: You want to partner with businesses that have the same audience as you, so stick to organizations that cater to older adults or their family members.
- Email your leads and newsletter list. Send an email to any lists you have – leads, past customers, family members, newsletter subscribers, etc. – and let them know about your upcoming event. Be sure to include details of any freebies (like food, drinks or activities) that might entice them to pencil you in and stop by.
- Issue a press release. Type up a press release to send to local newspapers, magazines and news sites announcing your open house. Make sure to include your high-level keywords in the release, too, as this will help you appear in Google Alerts and search results for potential leads.
You can also add your event to any local calendars in the area, too. Check your city’s website, the sites of any local publications and even your nearby YMCA or community center.
Starting the Sale
Next, it’s time to set up the smaller details – the things that will really sell your event. Line up activities, food, music, vendors
Then, open the gates for pre-sale, early bird tickets – and offer a discount for those buying before a certain deadline. Send out an email reminding potential guests that ticket prices will go up on XX date and that reserving their spot now can save them serious cash.
You can also:
- Take out advertisements and paid promotions. Launch a few ads on Facebook and Twitter, or take out a spot in a local senior magazine. Also, try investing in Google Adwords to ensure you’re found for your top-level keywords.
- Attend local senior events and gatherings. Rent a booth at the upcoming health fair or have staff on site at the annual senior NYE bash. Reach your target audience directly where they’ll be
,when you know they’ll be there.
- Get influencers and partners to sell, too. Ask your partners to promote your event on their social media accounts, websites and in any marketing collateral they might have. Reach out to potential influencers – maybe a well-known senior or two in your area? – and see if they can help you get the word out, too. Offer them a special incentive or even a free ticket for their assistance.
You can also use those early-bird buyers to your advantage as well. They’re obviously excited about your event, so leverage that excitement and encourage them to share your event with the friends and loved ones. Incentivize them to do it with freebies or discounts on other services, if possible. Make them want to promote you even more.
The Final Push
As your event date approaches, it’s time to make one final push to up your attendance. Send out an email to your lists, and remind them one last time about all the great things your event has to offer. You can even offer a quick last-minute discount if they buy in the next 24 hours.
Make sure to post on social media, write out a blog and have your partners do the same in the days leading up to the event. You want that event to stay fresh and top of mind for seniors in your area.
Following a detailed