You’re excited! Whether this is your first location or one of several, a grand opening is always a special occasion. Yet hosting a successful event to help market your business can seem like a daunting, overwhelming task. What can make it far less stressful to undertake? Thorough preparation beforehand. That raises a question: What exactly do you need to do?
PS, if you’re a new business looking to get started with your marketing, check out our 6 free marketing plans.
What type of business you’re opening will narrow down the type of opening celebration that would be appropriate. A pizza party might not be the best fit for a law practice, for example. Yet, it might be perfect for a new family-friendly restaurant.
The first step to planning a successful grand opening is deciding what kind of event it will be—an open house, a ceremony, a sale, or something else. Just make sure that whatever it is, the idea aligns logically with your business. There are few things worse than confusing your potential customers from the start.
Of course, you want as many as possible to attend this special event. It’s one of the first major milestones for your business and you want people to join you for the occasion. Plus, it’d be bad for your reputation if only a handful of people were to come.
That’s why choosing the best date is so important. Be careful of scheduling your event too close to popular holidays or at the same times as sporting events, festivals, and other large events in your city. You don’t want to risk your attendees choosing another event over yours.
The time for trial and error is not on the day of your grand opening. You want everything to go off without a hitch; you want to impress.
Therefore, it’s in the best interest of your business to do a “dry run” at least one to two weeks beforehand. That way, your staff will have your processes down pat and there will be no hiccups or mishaps the day of.
During construction, make arrangements whenever possible to be at the construction site. Doing so will allow you to chat with passersby and other business owners in the vicinity. You can answer any questions, get them excited about your new business, and even pass out business cards, brochures, and flyers.
What about when you’re not able to be on-site? A highly visible, branded “coming soon” sign can pick up the slack. Especially for those that pass by often, it can make your business more memorable. If you include the date of your grand opening and perhaps even some exciting details as a teaser, those people just might stop by when the big day arrives.
If you don’t yet have a website, you need one. An online presence is very important in business today. If you start to build it before doors open, that presence will be even more valuable since you can use it to advertise your business and encourage people to support your grand opening.
What if you’re simply opening an additional location and already have a live website? Leverage various parts of your site to draw attention to your coming location! You could use sidebars, popups, the locations page or section, the contact page, or some other clever spot.
Of course, you want your customers and clients to join you for the grand opening. However, it’s also wise to invite suppliers and people you might partner with in some way.
If you have a method in place to collect email addresses, use email to reach out. You should do this well before the scheduled date so that everyone can arrange their affairs to be available. You may even encourage people to RSVP, which will help you to plan accordingly.
Email will also ensure that people have something to refer back to should they forget the date, time or location. Then, shortly before the event, you can send out a reminder to ensure that you get the best turnout possible.
In addition to reaching out to your target audience and suppliers, you should also get the media involved. Media coverage—whether via the newspaper, radio, TV or some other means—will take care of much of the necessary advertising work. This will generate excitement and allow you to focus more of your attention on preparation.
If you have any social media following at all, then you have a great opportunity to let your audience know about your grand opening. And you don’t just want to let them know once and call it a day. After all, the lifespan of posts and tweets isn’t very long, which means that people can quickly forget what they’ve seen.
You want to start talking about your grand opening at least a couple of months beforehand and continue creating hype all the way up until the day. Of course, you don’t want to “spam” people’s feeds with constant posts about your opening. However, you do want posts to be enthusiastic and frequent to keep your business top of mind.
Needless to say, preparation is absolutely vital to a grand opening worth attending and talking about. If you want a good number of people to show up and leave happy (with intentions of coming back), use the tips above. You can’t go wrong!
If you’re a new business looking to get more established in your area, use one of our marketing plans from our free eBook below: