From the Office Manager’s Desk: 7 ways to get the most out of Halloween

October 2, 2012
Jill Nesbitt
Issue 10

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Kids costumes at trick-or-treat, pumpkin carving and, of course, loads of candy! There are all sorts of delightful opportunities for dental practice marketing in October. So, if you’re looking for ideas to have fun and market your practice at the same time, don’t be afraid to...

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Kids costumes at trick-or-treat, pumpkin carving and, of course, loads of candy! There are all sorts of delightful opportunities for dental practice marketing in October. So, if you’re looking for ideas to have fun and market your practice at the same time, don’t be afraid to...

Decorate the office. For a few weeks, transform your lobby or reception desk into a haunted mansion. One of my dentists always brings in a dancing ghost that stands at the front desk and starts singing every time a patient touches it. Admittedly my secretary team is ready to scream after one week of this dancing ghost, but the patients get a kick out of it every time.

Host a pumpkin carving contest. An orthodontist in our area hosts an annual Halloween pumpkin carving contest – for all the general dentist practices in the area. She delivers a pumpkin to each GP office with the contest rules – the pumpkin must be carved by a certain date, then her staff picks it up and they judge winners in their office. They display all the pumpkins in their orthodontic practice for the patients and families to enjoy.

Offer a Halloween candy buy-back program. The way this works is you let families know their kids can bring in any unwanted candy from trick-or-treat and you’ll pay them $1 per pound. You need a scale and some cash – then you ship the candy to the troops. You can register here to increase your media coverage.

Give out a coupon to visit your practice along with your trick-or-treat candy. In my practice, we’ve printed out special business cards with a new patient discount and taped them to the candy our staff hands out at home. You also can take advantage of the new ADA promotion “Stop Zombie Mouth” and buy or print some cards for kids to download a free video game and learn how to keep their teeth clean.

Dress up in costume. Our staff picks one day that we all dress up in costume and we take loads of pictures. Provide fun Halloween stickers for clinical staff members who are limited in their costume choices to wear and hand out to patients. We also have a carry-in that day that everyone enjoys.

Host a costume contest. This is great for ortho and pediatric practices. Promote a costume contest where patients who come to their appointment dressed up are entered to win. Using your DemandForce or Dentrix eServices, you can find all patients with an appointment on a certain day and send them a special invitation to participate.

Take pictures and video of everything. Costume photos, pumpkin photos, videos of kids weighing their candy and getting paid $1 at a time – all of this makes for great press on social media. You know video increases your SEO, so make a two minute video of kids in your practice at Halloween and share it on your blog, post it on Facebook – and make sure it links back to your ‘Schedule an appointment’ page on your website.

Enjoy the month of October, the Halloween holiday – and all the wonderful dental marketing opportunities that follow! Here’s to filling our schedules with loads of new patients.

Jill Nesbitt is a dental consultant and practicing office manager for a multi-specialty private dental group. Nesbitt has managed the practice for 14 years, has state-level quality training, and coaches dental teams to improve the business-side of their practices.