Planning Your Business's Grand Opening
Opening a business is exhilarating, and you deserve to celebrate the occasion. A grand opening ceremony can reward your hard work by establishing your business's place in the community. Below, we'll discuss how you can make your grand opening event a success with helpful steps to take and tips to try.
How to Plan and Throw a Grand Opening for Your Business
Celebrate your new business with these grand opening ideas:
1. Choose the Date
Planning your opening day starts with setting a date. Choose the day wisely — your decisions can have a significant outcome on the event's success. Here are some helpful date-choosing tactics to try when planning your grand opening:
- Consider conflicts: Look out for holidays and community events that could sway attendance. You can set the best date by checking the calendar for holidays, hot-ticket concerts, big sports games and other events important to the local community. Work around them, or select a date close to these events so more people are in town.
- Decide when what you offer is useful and relevant: The businesses that tap into market behaviors see the best opening-day results. Host your event when the public needs you most, or better yet, just before peak season as a way to build awareness.
- Work in a soft launch: Plan a soft launch before your grand opening so you have time to see your business in action. Every new business will have some kinks to work out, so give yourself time to solve any issues before hosting a crowd.
- Make it a multi-day event: Hosting a full weekend of fun or a week-long opening celebration will give the community more time to engage with your event.
2. Plan Your Event or Promotion
Planning an event itinerary well in advance will help your grand opening run smoothly. Give yourself at least a few months to sort out the details and order any decorations or goodies to give away.
Here are some things you should keep in mind when planning a grand opening:
- Your budget: A grand opening is an investment that can boost your first-year success, so dedicate 20% of your year's marketing budget to the event.
- The event type: Your grand opening can be anything from a luncheon to a product demo, an opening-day sale or a benefit gathering. There are tons of grand opening ideas out there, so use your creativity and plan something memorable.
- Your audience: Considering your customer base's interests and lifestyles can help plan an event they'll enjoy.
- Day-of activities: You can make your grand opening more successful by filling the time with unique event activities and offerings. Consider serving food, hosting a guest speaker, booking a band or doing something else to liven the day.
- Gifts and giveaways: Commemorative memorabilia can ensure customers remember how much fun they had at your event. Brand these gifts with your logo or brand name, which will remind guests to return to your business.
- Pre-event organization: There's a lot to keep tabs on when planning, so practice diligence in your organization and communication with everyone involved.
- Rain preparation: Set a backup date in case inclement weather dampens the day. Or, have weather-resistant canopy tents on standby and incorporate indoor activities to save the day.
3. Partner With Local Businesses and Organizations
Your opening day is an opportunity to form alliances with the other businesses in the area. In many cases, it's helpful to partner with related businesses to establish connections with a common audience. Concert venues and music shops make an excellent pair, for instance.
Any partnership will help, so keep an open mind. Your connections can cross boundaries of all sizes. A new skateboard shop may forge a connection with an established bike shop just as well as a real estate company can partner with a restaurant.
Once you've built a list of partnering businesses for your grand opening event, here are some things you can do to ensure both parties benefit:
- Tag each other in promotional social media posts to share followers.
- Share flyers in your partners' stores to spread awareness.
- Display one another's business cards at your front desks.
- Support other businesses' events by attending and setting up a vendor tent.
4. Promote Your Event
Promoting your grand opening is the next step after solidifying all the details. Whether your grand opening is the official first day of business or you plan to have a soft opening for a couple of weeks, advertise for at least a few weeks leading up to the event. This means you'll need to plan your campaign even further in advance. Businesses have seen success using numerous promotional tactics for their stores' grand openings, like:
Formal event invitations can give you a head start in building community rapport. Try mailing, emailing or handing out announcement flyers with information about your business or event. If applicable for your business, consider including an offer code or coupon with your invitation to encourage attendance.
Social Media Campaigns
Facebook is one of the most powerful sites for event promotion, so use it to your advantage. There are many ways to promote a business on Facebook, and they're all easy to implement. Start by creating a public event, then add your partnering businesses as co-hosts. From there, you can invite guests, host digital contests, boost your promotional posts and implement other tactics.
Traditional Media Coverage
Digital marketing is growing as a go-to approach, but traditional media holds a firm position in society. Consumers rely on traditional media outlets as much as ever, even if the ways they access them are changing. Some studies point to greater trust in traditional media, and trust is valuable for any new business. Reach out to local media outlets with a press kit that introduces your business and provides grand opening details.
Eye-Catching Promotional Displays
Research shows that visible signage is powerful as a marketing tool. Setting up vibrant promotional displays outside of your store is a great way to draw attention to your store and signal that something exciting is happening.
Many new businesses will order custom feather flags that display their brand name or event details in bright, bold colors. Other options like Air Dancers® inflatable tube men or giant inflatables can help your store stand out before the event and on the day. Try custom signs to reach foot traffic and passing vehicles with your promotional campaign.
Spread Brand Awareness for Your Opening Day With LookOurWay
LookOurWay is passionate about helping new businesses reach audiences with effective tactics. Looking for more tips? We're always providing useful information and advice for businesses — check out our blog today.