What’s the perfect way to celebrate the opening of your new business? A formal grand opening! Grand openings are the perfect outlet to share the excitement of a new business with the community and media. But, there are a lot of things to consider before the big day.
Make a plan
Before you start, it’s important to ask yourself a few key questions:
What is the goal? Is your goal to get media to attend? Have community members attend? Whatever your goal is, make sure is a SMART one—specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
What is the budget? Ask the decision-maker how much they are willing to spend both in man-hours and in advertising. It’s critical to know what your budget is before you start mapping out specific tactics to ensure your plan attainable and realistic.
Who are we trying to reach? Before you can start mapping out specific tactics, you need to know whom you are trying to reach. Community members? Media? Local business owners? You might have multiple audiences, which means you’ll need to account for multiple tactics and strategies to reach them.
What is the timeline? Give yourself at least 6–8 weeks to plan a grand opening. This will ensure you have adequate time to create collateral and place advertisements without rushing. Create a realistic timeline once you have an approved budget, plan and strategy.
Once you’ve defined your goal, budget and target audience, think about what strategies will help you reach those goals. Here are a few we recommend, along with a timeline:
6–8 weeks before ...
Get in touch with the local chamber of commerce. Grand openings mark an increase in business in the community, so they often will provide a ribbon and special scissors for a formal cutting, speaker from the chamber and guaranteed press coverage.
4–6 weeks before …
Secure advertising. Print and social media ads are ideal for grand openings, as they allow you to target segments of specific audiences. Pro tip: When negotiating print advertising, aim for the days that contain the most coupon inserts (often Sundays) for increased coverage. Also, take advantage of pick-ups to get your ad in additional editions in the weeks leading up to the event for a lower cost.
Raise your advertising game with a radio remote. Print and digital ads have their place, but really step up your game by coordinating a radio remote to be there during the event. Not only does that ensure you have an ad running during the event, it allows for increased exposure with live, on-air interviews.
3–4 weeks before …
Invite media. Send your press release or media alert 2–3 weeks before the event. If you’ve contacted the chamber of commerce, you probably will be guaranteed at least one story, but sending out a press release before and after the event will help you gain additional coverage. It also helps to follow up with personal pitch emails to confirm media attendance and coverage.
Consider giveaways. Prizes are a great way to attract community members—no matter how big or small. It’s also a great way to get partners and other small businesses involved if they’re willing to donate prizes in exchange for recognition at your event.
On the big day
Make sure to have relevant information—such as the schedule for the event, names of speakers, timeline/guests for radio appearance—handy to reference if media or other reps have questions. Also, ensure that your speaker is prepared to say a few words thanking the community, partners and other sponsors. Write talking points to help speakers stay on track and remember important information. Your job as the PR professional is to make sure the day goes smoothly and everyone has what she or he needs.
Ready for to celebrate the opening of your new business? We can help! Contact us today to learn more, and read about our work with Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union’s grand openings in Morristown, Tennessee.