How to Plan a Successful Grand Opening for Your Business or Franchise
If you want to get your new franchise location up and running quickly, a grand opening event can help you generate immediate sales and build your customer base instantly. Too often money is spent on office or store space, supplies and marketing materials, but little is left over for a grand opening. Don’t make this mistake, because a grand opening can help determine the initial success of your business.
Here are 6 tips to help you plan a successful grand opening event for your franchise:
1. Spend time understanding and targeting your ideal customer
You can spend lots of money sending out coupons and invites without really thinking about the type of person likely to respond to your invite. If you’re opening a children’s clothing retail store, you don’t want to send invites to childless Millennials in their 20s. Take the time getting to know your customer and figuring out how to reach them before you rush full steam ahead with event logistics.
2. Have a soft opening and a grand opening event
If you’re lucky, people in your community will already be attracted to your business or franchise because of brand recognition. If you try to hold an event that’s too large for your infrastructure, you may find yourself in over your head on the day of the event. Host a soft opening and once you have the hang of how things run, plan a larger scale event. This also allows time for early customers to spread the news of your opening through word of mouth.
3. Offer free samples or provide giveaways
Everybody loves free food or giveaways, but be careful about handing out free swag or food without a strategy. Ask guests to sign up for your marketing emails in exchange for a coupon or gift certificate, or have them post about your business on social media to receive a free item.
4. Involve the community
Especially if you aren’t a food franchise, it may be difficult to garner a lot of support for your grand opening. Consider smart ways to involve the community. Host a neighborhood fundraiser in conjunction with your opening, or involve nearby business owners in the event as well. Not only will this help you reach more prospects and customers, you’ll also have the chance to interact with people who may know the community atmosphere better than you do.
5. Use a mailer to invite people
Too many people think direct mail is ineffective, but it remains one of the most effective marketing tools [link to Alexander’s direct mail blog post]. A creative and bold mail piece in your target audience’s mailbox may be sufficient, but consider adding coupons or promotions in the mailer. An unusual sized direct mail piece, sent to well-targeted consumers can produce great results. As always, be sure to include a call to action.
6. Host a social media influencer event first
Many franchisees have found success reaching out to bloggers and online influencers to invite them to a VIP event and encourage them to take pictures and videos, and share thoughts and observations with their social networks. You can provide them with promotional items as a thank you for giving their time to participate in your event. Then be sure to watch their blogs and social channels for their posts about your business and make sure to comment and express appreciation.
We wish you luck as you plan and execute a successful grand opening event. At Alexander’s we love grand openings and would be happy to help you. If you’d like to tap our experience and grand opening expertise, please contact us.