Whether you’ve got a required budget to spend because of your franchise agreement or you’re starting your own home-based business and need to drum up some local support, the way you market your grand opening could be the first steps you take toward success. With a lot of excitement in your community or online for what your business is about to offer, you can set the stage for long-term success right now.
The first step in this process is to think about what problem you solve for your local community. If you solve hunger pains, then the process is pretty easy! For someone else, like an artist, the issue becomes a little more complicated. Figure out the value you provide and you’ll be ready to implement these effective grand opening marketing ideas.
Effective Grand Opening Marketing Ideas
1. Bring in the Local VIPs
One of the fastest ways to get excitement for a grand opening is to have local VIPs attend the event. They will naturally promote the event in their own way and you’ll offer them additional community exposure that furthers their interests in return.
2. Hit the Street
Customers need to see the goods/services you’re going to offer in action so hit the streets and show them exactly what you’ve got. You could hand out samples to people, give demonstrations, or even schedule a series of workshops held in a public space that are free to attend.
3. Hold a Series of Neighborhood Events
Neighborhood events create an intimate level of excitement with customers because they’ll get the chance to interact with you on a 1-on-1 basis. The more fun that people have during these events, the more likely they are to visit you during your grand opening to extend the fun even more.
4. Engage Local Media
Local media outlets love having a feel-good story to report about so give it to them! Invite them to come do live broadcasts and even pay for the cost of it if your budget allows for it. Have press releases ready to submit to all of your local media outlets and make yourself available for interviews when reporters have a chance to meet.
5. Make the Event Family Friendly
Grand openings that encourage family participation will help to bring in an extra demographic that you might not normally reach. If you’re selling adult products, proceed with some level of caution of course, but otherwise if you create excitement with local kids, you’ll have local parents show up to experience your new business.
6. Hold Your Grand Opening on the Weekend
Even if you’re only open during the week, open up on the weekend for the first time to get the maximum amount of traffic possible. Most people work normal business hours or swing shifts during the week and this could limit their participation. Have it on Saturday and you’ll create a weekend event that people will stop by when they’ve got a few minutes.
7. Put Together Stunning Visuals
If you’re grand opening looks like it will be dull and boring, then that’s the perception people will have of it and only a few brave souls will bother to attend. Make a splash with your exterior visuals, give people enough time in advance to see them and plan for your event, and you’ll create a buzz that will generate strong initial sales.
8. Do You Know Someone Famous?
You don’t need to pay for a celebrity endorsement to benefit from the perception of one. If you know a celebrity or local professional athlete, then see if they’ll come do a public appearance for you. Pay them for the appearance if necessary because people will come to meet a favorite personality… and come to your grand opening in order to do it.
9. Big Prizes Have Big Results
Prizes are a great way to motivate people and if you’ve got an awesome prize, you’ll get awesome results. Grand openings that give away free products will help to promote the item, but when you give a boat or a car away or even a vacation package that is a bit exotic, people will show up for the chance at free stuff like this.
10. Door Prizes Are Always a Good Idea
To create a lot of excitement, limited door prizes to your first visitors can create a good buzz that may cause people to camp out overnight for a chance to get. If you’re giving away free tacos, that might not be good enough. A 1 in 250 chance to earn a new car? That’s worthwhile.
11. Have a Cookout
Free food will always draw people out for a visit so invest in a little catering or just do the grilling yourself if your budget is limited. Good smells will always bring attention your way because it encourages investigation and that might give you added exposure you wouldn’t have had previously. Just be careful about foods with potential allergens in them. If someone shows up for a good time and they can’t eat anything, you’ll turn them off in a major way.
12. Encourage Public Photography
Having your visitors post photographs of your grand opening can provide a lot of free publicity for you on social media. Encourage the process by offering to pay for the best photos in the form of discounts, free products, or straight-up cash. Make sure you’ve got a solid work-for-hire contract to have the winners sign so you have air-tight usage of the images to promote your business in the future.
13. Have a Real Ribbon Cutting
People driving by a real ribbon cutting with really big scissors are bound to stop for an investigation. It’s exciting to open up your business for the first time and your community will love to support your endeavor. Work to build relationships as you implement all of these marketing ideas and your first day in business will be packed… as well every other day once people realize how much value you can provide them.