Grand Opening Basics: How To Get People To Line Up To Your Business

You’re ready to launch a new business or a new location, but how do you get the word out and get customers? Throw a party! Better yet, throw two. A day before your public grand opening you might consider a VIP/Media event to let the movers and shakers in your community get the exclusive first look. This is a great way to begin to build relationships with those in your community who can influence others. Give them a great experience and word-of-mouth will help build your brand.

What do you need to think of to pull off a successful business launch?

First you need to think of who you want to target. Who is your ideal customer? Think of age ranges, gender, disposable income level, business-to-consumer or business-to-business. Once you have your ideal customer in mind you can decide what kind of experience you want to create and draft your invitation list. Consider inviting your Chamber of Commerce, suppliers, mentors, key government officials, neighboring businesses, employees’ spouses, media, bloggers, family and friends.

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DSW Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting

What type of experience do you want VIP’s and media to have? Do you want champagne and caviar? Popcorn and cupcakes? Or something in between? Live music or a DJ? A Performance Artist? Do you want guest speakers? Make your event compatible with your business and consider giving out free samples or coupons. Offer tours or demonstrations. At minimum, have the best staff you can get on hand to provide the best customer service experience. No matter what type of event you have, you want to make sure your guests feel welcome and taken care of, just as if you had invited these guests to your home.

Select a date. For the best chance of success, plan at least 3-4 months in advance and try to avoid holidays and other major events. Try to schedule your VIP/Media event on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday to attract business people and community leaders. Weekends are usually already busy for people with their families and who likes Mondays anyway?

Select a location. Ideally you want to host at your own business location to get your first customers in the door, but if that is too small, consider renting a larger venue to host a VIP/Media event.

Decide on a budget. Events that take place earlier in the day tend to cost less. Consider food, beverages, entertainment, décor, advertising, photography and printing costs.

Email Save the date cards out 4-6 weeks in advance for your VIP/Media event and consider advertising your grand opening in traditional and social media.  Email and mail invitations 2-3 weeks in advance with an RSVP deadline. Depending on your capacity, you may need to track your attendance if your space is limited; or on the other hand, if you don’t get the numbers you were planning for, you may need to send out another round of invitations. You should plan to invite 3-5 times more people than you expect to host.

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Eastlink Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting

Have a program or agenda and a checklist of everything you will need to have a successful event. You may want to have a media kit available with a fact sheet about your business, brochure, business card and a copy of a media release.

After your event, send a thank you to those who attended. Invite them to follow you on social media and tag themselves in your photos or subscribe to your mailing list.

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