Don’t take lightly the effects a successful grand opening party can have for your business. This is your first impression. This party will showcase your brand identity and forge brand ambassadors as walking advertisements. You must make a statement, be sure it’s memorable, and keep a positive vibe. Word-of-mouth is still the number one form of advertising in this social driven society. Throw a party that gets people talking.
Obviously you’ll have to create a timeline, set an event date, and budget. Allow for some planning time — about two to three months, suggests entrepreneur.com. It doesn’t have to be uber expensive to pack a punch. But, if you have some money to spend on it, do so. Regardless, this isn’t any random pizza party. This is the beginning of your future.
Typically, a grand opening will take place at or around a business’s property, unless it is a brand launch party or there isn’t enough space available. If a venue is necessary, choose wisely and book ahead of time. Keep in mind, you will need 6-8 weeks for invitations to be sent and RSVPs confirmed. If you’re having the party at your store, be sure to check with city ordinances about outdoor setup, noise and time restrictions. Once the venue is set, it’s time to create!
While there are many ways to get the word out, services like Pitney Bowes stamped, personal envelopes makes the event that much more intriguing. All of the senses are summonsed when your guest receives a well-crafted, unique and textured invitation. It makes them feel special and encourages them to believe in your brand, and makes it more real. You will want to back up the direct mail with trade publication press releases, an e-mail campaign, online advertising and become a presence on social media to get people talking.
Don’t forget to send invitations to news marketing contacts and editors of all kinds — print, television, radio. Use trigger words like VIP, exclusive and “you’re invited” to offer a sense of exclusivity.
When drawing up your guest list, consider the term, “Grand Opening.” The words alone suggest something of enormity: grand hotel, grand entrance, grand gesture. With that in mind, your invitations list should target friends, neighboring businesses, suppliers, media, employees, potential customers, your city’s chamber of commerce, former colleagues, your builder, lawyer, architect … get the point? Invite everyone you can to come to the event. It’s kind of a big deal.
When deciding on food, drink and possible giveaways, consider the level you want to take your business. We’re guessing the answer to that question is, “to the next level.” Go big. Get it catered with passed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. Have live music and indicate it’s a semi-formal event (cocktail attire).
The actual purpose of your grand opening is to attract customers, generate buzz, draw media attention, foster goodwill with other businesses and have a little fun showing off your hard work. If this sounds overwhelming and you just don’t have the time, an event planner can take the weight off your shoulders allowing you the freedom to celebrate your great accomplishment.