One of the best ways to make your mark in your local market is to embrace your community with open arms—and an open house (so to speak). Community events are a great way to draw potential patients to your clinic—especially if your practice is in a small town or a tight-knit community. You can use events to showcase what your practice is all about, or even just to interact with patients in a relaxed setting, when your mind isn’t buzzing around productivity requirements or Medicare's latest data-reporting program. But hosting a successful community event isn’t as simple as posting flyers and crossing your fingers: as with any marketing endeavor, you must have a strategy that oozes intention. So, let’s get down to brass tacks and discuss some healthcare open house ideas.

Is PT Valuable? Why Outcomes Data is the Proof We Need - Regular BannerIs PT Valuable? Why Outcomes Data is the Proof We Need - Small Banner

The Occasion

Determine your goals and define your audience.

Your first to-do is deciding what you’re trying to accomplish with your community event—and who you should invite. Are you hoping to attract a new subset of patients? Holding a grand opening and trying to nurture community awareness? Celebrating a clinic milestone? Trying to generate new patients and referrals by unveiling a new product or service? Whatever the purpose behind your event is, you need to define your target audience and figure out what you want them to take away from the event.

Plan the event around your audience.

So, you have an audience in mind, and you know what you want your audience to do after attending your event. Great! Now, you need to plan your event around your audience and goals. After all, the general public won’t be interested in the same event as, say, potential referring providers. Let’s run through a couple of examples:

Example One

You’re interested in sliding into the sports therapy market—specifically with patients who are long- and mid-distance runners. So, you decide to host a community event where you provide a free running gait analysis and injury screening. You reach out and invite the local running and track clubs as well as the local community college track team.

Example Two

It’s the grand opening of your practice’s new geriatric location, and you want to encourage patients to check out your clinic (and maybe court some physician referrals, while you’re at it). You decide to host an “open house” event at your clinic, where you’ll offer food and drinks, deliver a short presentation about your practice and the treatments you provide (along with their benefits), and spend time mingling with attendees. You reach out and invite existing patients, the local senior event clubs, and other local providers.

Create an event you’d like to attend.

Really think about what interests your target audience, and feel free to get creative! You don’t have to limit your events to educational seminars or procedure demonstrations. This article, for instance, suggests an art show as a potential event for an ophthalmology clinic. Your PT clinic could host a coordination olympics—or a class on proper stretching.

Even if you’re sticking with a more formal, informational event, don’t be afraid to plan fun activities to keep the atmosphere relaxed (e.g., raffles, office scavenger hunts, or live music). And don’t skimp on the refreshments, either. You don’t need to break the bank to provide attendees with an expensive meal, but saltines and water aren’t going to cut it.

The Logistics

Pick your location, date, and time.


Figure out where you’ll host the event. There are benefits to hosting it inside your clinic (e.g., it’s cheaper and easier to plan), but there are perks to renting nearby rooms or venues as well (e.g., more seating and a better presentation space). It really depends on what type of event you’re planning.


You also need to set a date for your event. Typically, Thursday is the best day for a healthcare event because it won’t conflict with weekend plans—but you’ll also want to be sure that your shindig won’t conflict with any big local events or holidays. And don’t forget to account for the weather! Nothing kills a party like a big ol’ blizzard.


At this point, I’m probably sounding like a broken record, but picking your event’s time is yet another strategic decision you must make. If you’re competing with typical work hours, then you’re going to have a tough time reeling in attendees. For this reason, most events have the best attendance when they occur in the late afternoon or early evening.

That’s not always the case, though. If you do decide to host a weekend event, then an early afternoon or late morning start time may serve you better. You’ll also need to decide if you’re leaning more toward an open-house situation where people can filter in an out at their discretion, or an event with scheduled activities and a concrete start and end time.

Set your budget.

Your event doesn’t have to come with an intimidating price tag—it can be as inexpensive as you’d like it to be. But sometimes, spending a little moolah gives your event the pizzaz it needs to really be successful. Take these costs into consideration when calculating your budget:

  • Food (e.g., charcuterie boards, vegetable trays, fruit platters, finger sandwiches)
  • Drinks (e.g., water, soda, juice, ice, alcohol*)
  • Decorations (e.g., balloons, flowers)
  • Staff (e.g., PTs and/or office staff who stay after hours)
  • Advertising (e.g., flyers, ads in the local newspaper)
  • Miscellaneous (e.g., location rentals, swag, live music, equipment rentals)

*Note: While there’s nothing technically stopping you from serving alcohol to of-age adults, it’s not necessary—and it can potentially detract from your event.

Track your RSVPs.

If you’re hosting a class, you might want to create (and track) a registration list, and even cap the number of attendees. On the other hand, an open house might not merit an RSVP list at all—unless you want to get an accurate idea of how much food you’ll need. In any case, if you decide to track your RSVPs, you’ll want to make the process as simple as possible for attendees. Provide them with a phone number to call or an email address to contact, and create a spreadsheet of all respondents.

Clean up the joint.

If you’re hosting the event in your clinic, take the time to spruce up your space. There are few things less welcoming than a dirty, cluttered space, so wipe the blinds, vacuum the carpets, wash the windows, and eradicate all dust bunnies before your event takes place. Address any repair needs in your location (think dripping faucets or chipped paint), and make sure your clinic has a neutral smell.

Cover your legal bases.

If you’re planning anything beyond an open house and a quick slideshow presentation—in other words, if you want to host a yoga class, offer injury screenings, or provide free wellness services—then you need to make sure your event won’t accidentally cross any legal boundaries. Check in with your legal counsel to make sure you’re under the umbrella of your liability coverage, and verify whether you need attendees to sign waivers. Also, if you plan to host a class, ensure that your instructors are certified.

The Marketing Strategy

Market your event digitally.

You can’t have a party without party people! Post about your event on all your social media pages (including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn), send emails to the patients and contacts you think might be interested in attending, and put event invites on your practice’s website. Additionally, you could tap your personal network and ask other local businesses to promote your event. If there are any local event websites or guides, reach out to see if you can get on their digital calendars.

Consider in-person or traditional marketing.

A great way to secure event attendees is to find, meet, and invite them face-to-face. If you’re trying to attract specific subsets of patients—like the runners I mentioned previously—figure out when and where the local running clubs meet, and get permission to show up and pitch your event in person. You can also post flyers in community spaces or take out ads in the local newspaper.

And there you have it! I hope you feel prepared to host a community event at your PT clinic. It’s a great way to promote your practice and give back to the community in one fell swoop. I wish you luck, and happy hosting!

  • The PT's Guide to Building Better Referral Relationships Image

    articleMar 20, 2019 | 9 min. read

    The PT's Guide to Building Better Referral Relationships

    We’re big fans of patient-centered marketing —especially now that all 50 states have direct access laws that allow PTs to, at minimum, evaluate patients without a referral. But that doesn’t mean you should rely entirely on word-of-mouth to bring in new clients. After all, many states have limited direct access laws that prevent PTs from having full control over their patients’ medical journey—and many payers still require some degree of physician involvement in therapy care plans. So, …

  • What’s a Value Prop, and Why Does Your PT Clinic Need One? Image

    articleApr 1, 2019 | 6 min. read

    What’s a Value Prop, and Why Does Your PT Clinic Need One?

    We’ve written a gazillion posts about the importance of selling the value of physical therapy—as well as the value of your specific services. After all, so few of the patients who could benefit from receiving physical therapy are actually receiving it. Thus, it’s clear that most of the general public still doesn’t understand what this profession is capable of —namely, helping people restore function, improve wellbeing, and recover from injury without relying on dangerous, costly interventions such …

  • Stalled Out: 5 Reasons Your Patients Aren't Progressing (and What to Do About Them) Image

    webinarDec 22, 2017

    Stalled Out: 5 Reasons Your Patients Aren't Progressing (and What to Do About Them)

    If life is a highway, then it’s a wild, bumpy one. And while our patients want to ride it (all night long), with all those twists, turns, and potholes, they’re bound to get banged up. Fortunately, you’re here to help get them back in top form. But, helping patients achieve their goals is hard work—for you and for them—and while everyone strives to be a Ferrari, it’s common to plateau at Pinto. And that’s when the risk …

  • Common Questions from Our Physical Therapy Patient Retention Webinar Image

    articleMar 28, 2018 | 12 min. read

    Common Questions from Our Physical Therapy Patient Retention Webinar

    Strive Labs co-founders Ryan Klepps and Scott Hebert recently joined WebPT president Heidi Jannenga for an insightful webinar about improving patient retention and reducing early patient drop-out. We know this is a super-relevant topic, especially because the cost of diminishing patient visits represents a $6 billion problem that not many people in the industry are talking about—at least not yet. As a result, we received a slew of great questions that we couldn’t get to live on …

  • FAQ: Make Google Do It: How to Use the Internet to Win More Patients Image

    articleApr 18, 2019 | 22 min. read

    FAQ: Make Google Do It: How to Use the Internet to Win More Patients

    Earlier this week, Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC, and Scott Hebert, PT, DPT, hosted a webinar that dove into the depths of digital marketing in the age of the almighty Internet. Though they covered a lot of ground, they weren’t able to address all the questions that filtered in during the hour-long presentation . So, we took it upon ourselves to compile (and answer!) the most commonly-asked questions of the bunch! Don’t see the answer to your …

  • [Quiz] Is Your PT Clinic Marketing to the Right Patients? Image

    articleMar 25, 2019 | 1 min. read

    [Quiz] Is Your PT Clinic Marketing to the Right Patients?

    We’ve been talking about the importance of marketing directly to patients for a while now. After all, patient-consumers are taking an even more active role in their healthcare decisions . But even PT clinics that do market their practices to patients often do so without having a strategy in place. And that’s concerning, because if you’re not thinking strategically about how you’re spending your marketing dollars—not to mention your time—then you’re probably not going to see the …

  • Knock Out Patient Dropout: 8 Ways to Increase Retention and Revenue Image

    webinarFeb 12, 2018

    Knock Out Patient Dropout: 8 Ways to Increase Retention and Revenue

    In one corner, we have a highly skilled rehab therapy provider known for delivering amazing clinical outcomes through noninvasive, movement-based treatment. And in the other corner, we have a discouraged, disengaged patient whose quality of life has taken a major hit due to musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. [video://]   If you’re a rehab therapy provider, you’ve probably seen this battle play out more times than you can count—and we’re betting that more often than not, your therapy …

  • Common Questions from our Art of Discovering and Selling Value Webinar Image

    articleMay 16, 2018 | 12 min. read

    Common Questions from our Art of Discovering and Selling Value Webinar

    Earlier this week, WebPT President Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC/L, and guest host Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA, hosted a webinar designed to help physical therapists learn the art of discovering—and selling—their value. While PTs have historically shied away from sales, in today’s evolving healthcare ecosystem, it’s absolutely imperative that all providers—and especially specialists such as rehab therapists—excel at positioning the benefits of their services in such a way that resonates with patients, payers, and referral sources. At …

  • Common Questions from Our Stalled Patient Progress Webinar Image

    articleFeb 7, 2018 | 9 min. read

    Common Questions from Our Stalled Patient Progress Webinar

    Earlier this week, Dr. Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC/L, the president and co-founder of WebPT, teamed up with Charlotte Bohnett, WebPT’s director of demand generation, to host a webinar on common barriers to patient progress —and strategies for overcoming them. During the question-and-answer portion of the presentation, we received quite a few audience questions on the nuances of fostering patient engagement and moving patients toward their therapy goals as efficiently as possible. We’ve compiled the most frequently …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.