Whether you are a retailer, retailer developer, museum, restaurant or amusement park, grand openings provide an opportunity to increase awareness among your target audiences, drive attendance, drive sales and increase employee excitement. In order to achieve these benefits it is critical to document a solid marketing plan.
While your marketing strategies will depend specifically on your target audience, your objectives, the opportunities and challenges, there are 10 specific marketing strategies that should be highly considered as part of any grand opening.
Publicity and Media Relations: Securing media coverage is an excellent method for establishing and continuing to build awareness for your organization. Develop a strategy to achieve media coverage before, during and after the grand opening.
Identify unique hooks to help continue to secure coverage beyond a new business is coming to town. Is there something unique about the space you are building or renovating (e.g. LEED certified, historic renovation)? Is there something unique about the business? Are you hiring a large amount of employees? Is there a topic that your key employees/spokespersons are experts on?
Also, consider how you can provide media an experience. Can they tour the construction zone? Can they test your products?
Blogger Relations: While grand openings are mostly focused on a specific market, there are likely local bloggers in the community you can contact to help achieve your goals. Determine who are the key bloggers your target audiences follows and determine the best way to engage these bloggers into the pre, during and post grand opening activities.
For example, host a private blogger event prior to the grand opening. Ensure to provide the bloggers with key messaging and clear expectations… especially if you are providing compensation (free product to test, gift certificates or payment).
Social Media: If you don’t already have established social media accounts, determine if you can sustain social media as an ongoing marketing strategy. It is not a good business practice to open accounts for just the grand opening and then abandon them. Building your social media following, developing content and managing those account is an ongoing commitment.
If you do decide to move forward with opening new accounts, determine which social media outlets your target audiences are following and develop accounts. Develop an editorial schedule of when and what to post. Photography and videos are well received on social media, and provide an opportunity to further expand the reach of your grand opening activities.
If you are a national organization and have national established accounts, determine if you need to localize your social media efforts by developing local social media accounts.
Advertising: From print, radio, television to billboard and bus stop advertising, there are many different advertising outlets to consider. Determine a budget and brainstorm the best advertising opportunities that will reach your target audience. Don’t overlook local events – like minor league baseball or film festivals – or local entertainment venues – like zoos or a theater distract – that offer some unique advertising/sponsorship opportunities.
Direct Marketing: Direct mail or email marketing offer an excellent way to target your audience directly. Providing an offer is key to help increase the response rate. Determine the best way to measure the direct marketing from coupons to unique web landing pages and unique toll free numbers.
Learn about the next five must consider grand opening strategies by going here.