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Grand opening ideas and marketing strategies

Start your business off on the right foot. In this article, we'll explore grand opening ideas that will benefit your company during, and after, your launch.

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A grand opening event is one of the most exciting—and admittedly stressful—times for a business owner. It’s your first big marketing push and your introduction to the community.

With proper prep work and a solid strategy, the benefits of your grand opening can extend far beyond just a single day. With tactics such as SMS marketing, you can use your grand opening as an opportunity to capture leads, conduct surveys, host sweepstakes, and later on, run remarketing campaigns. In this article, we’ll go over steps and strategies that will help you ensure the success of your grand opening and your business.

What to do for a grand opening

Many business owners focus on the wrong aspect of their grand opening. They’re busy finding the right music or deciding on raffle prizes. Don’t get us wrong, throwing a memorable, fun event is important. But don’t lose sight of what you’re actually trying to do: launch a successful business.

Treat your grand opening like any other marketing effort: decide on a target audience, set goals, launch the initiative, and measure the effectiveness afterward.

Who do you want at your grand opening?

One of the most important jobs you have as a business owner is understanding exactly who you’re trying to sell to. No matter what product you offer, targeting the right audience is key to setting yourself up for success. This same principle applies to your grand opening. Below are a few questions you should ask yourself before moving forward with the plans for your grand opening event.

  • Who is interested in my product/service?
  • Who can afford my product/service?
  • Where does my target audience spend time?
  • What needs, challenges and frustrations do they have?
  • What media do they currently use?
  • What drives them to make decisions?

Set your marketing goals for a grand opening

Defining relevant KPIs is just as important as the grand opening itself. Here are four goals you can set for your grand opening:

This is one of the most common metrics. How many people actually showed up? Set a realistic number prior to the day of the event, and take count of how many attendees show up.

Leads generated
Your grand opening event is the perfect opportunity to generate leads. Ask attendees to provide their contact information so that you can follow up afterward with offers. One easy way to collect this info is by using text messages. Our data collection tool lets ask for info such as first name, last name, and email. Not to mention you’ll also be gathering valuable phone numbers while you’re at it.

Attendee feedback
You may have had thousands of people at your grand opening, but if they didn’t have a good time, they won’t be coming back. It’s a good idea to survey guests after your event.

This will help you gauge their satisfaction and determine if your business is living up to expectations. When conducting surveys, choose a method that has a high completion rate. Text messages have a 98% open rate, making them the ideal method for surveys.

Social media impressions
Encouraging people to post about your grand opening on social media can extend the reach of your event. If you’re targeting millennials, it’s helpful to know that 48% attend events so they have to something to share on social channels. Use a tool like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to monitor your social media mentions. Find out whether or not your small business successfully reached the friends, and friends of friends, of your attendees.

Pick a date

This step is deceptively straightforward. However, choosing the right date can have a huge effect on your event attendees.

Consider your target audience
Use the work you did to understand your target audience to help guide your decision. Does the group you’re going after prefer to go out in the mornings or at night? Would they prefer a post-work event or would weekends work better for them?

Avoid holidays
Even if you’re throwing a themed event, you should still avoid holidays such as Halloween, Easter, or the 4th of July. No matter how enticing your grand opening may be, it will be challenging to compete with family events.

Don’t host your grand opening right away
It may be tempting to host your grand opening on your real first day, but it’s better to wait a couple of weeks. This will give you time to identify issues, solve them, and be better prepared to deal with crowds.

Generate interest before a grand opening

You know who you want to attend, you’ve picked a date, and you’ve decided on a few goals. You’re ready to start generating interest for your grand opening. Marketing grand openings is slightly different than promoting other events because your brand or space is new. That means you might not have an existing audience to market to.

Generate publicity
If you’re after a local audience, you should consider radio, TV or newspaper advertising. You can pay for ad space in a local community paper, or you could make your event newsworthy by supporting a cause or trying to break a record, or doing another type of publicity stunt. Another benefit of a newsworthy event is that you can also invite journalists to cover the grand opening on the day of.

Social media
Sponsored or promoted posts about your event will help generate interest. If you don’t have an audience yet, it’s still important to make sure your profiles have up-to-date info. This way anyone searching for your business will find it, and event attendees will be able to tag you on the day of.

Make a Facebook event
Make it as easy as possible for people who are interested in attending your event to find info such as date, time and location. A Facebook Event from your Facebook Business Page makes your grand opening info shareable.

3 things to do during your grand opening

This is it. Opening day. No need to stress because you’ve done the legwork and are prepared. Now you just have to make sure the event runs smoothly and that guests have a good time. Try these fun tactics during your event to keep people engaged, while promoting your business.

Sweepstakes and giveaways
Encourage guests to provide their contact info by hosting a sweepstakes. Our text to win feature makes it easy to host a giveaway. To enter, all your attendees have to do is text in a unique keyword to your number.

For example, an ice cream shop could have people text “BRAINFREEZE” to 508-123-4567 to win a year’s worth of free ice cream. When you’re ready, our system will randomly select a winner for you.

Special promotions and offers
Reward the members of your community who joined you for your grand opening celebration. Create a keyword that you only promote at the event. You could have a sign that says, “Thanks for being here for us on day one! Text THANKS for a special gift.” Give your guests exclusive discounts and start building customer loyalty.

Conduct a poll
Don’t just use your grand opening to attract customers. Use it to build relationships, too. With a Text to Vote Poll, you can gather useful customer information while asking guests to provide their opinions. A restaurant, for example, may ask guests to vote on the next special side dish to add to the menu.

What to do after your grand opening

At one point your grand opening event probably seemed like an insurmountable task, but you managed to pull it off. Congratulations! But it’s not to kick back and take it easy—yet. There are a few things you should do after your event.

Measure your success
Take a look at the KPIs your established and review whether or not you meant them. Use what you learned to adjust your strategy for future events.

Say thanks
Once you’ve kicked off relationships with customers, make sure to stay in contact. Use the contact information you gathered using text messages or your POS system to follow up. Send a quick email or text message thanking your attendees for making it to your grand opening.

Send exclusive offers
Give your grand opening event attendees a special gift. After a few days or weeks, send out a discount to get people back in the door again!

Now that you know what goes into an effective grand opening, and how to use business texting to make it a success, you’re ready to start planning! Sign up for a free 14-day trial to try our platform out before the big day. Successful local businesses choose SimpleTexting for their grand openings to send out invitations, host contests, gather feedback, and more. If you need any help, just ask. We’re here every day of the week.

Alfredo Salkeld
Alfredo Salkeld

Alfredo is SimpleTexting's brand manager. He's passionate about using his 10+ years of marketing experience to help small businesses grow.

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