A grand opening is a social event where you introduce your products or services to the community. Your goal is to come up with unique and exciting grand opening ideas that will draw a large crowd. It’s your first opportunity to attract new customers, get people talking, and start building relationships with your future customers.
Most grand openings are set in the new business where customers can make their first purchases. Often, the excitement and hype surrounding the event encourages people to go ahead and buy. One exception is new restaurant businesses that have “soft openings.” Only a few select guests attend these events where the restaurant tries out some of their food items before opening to the public.
Another exception is for outdoor-based business, such as swimming pool sales and installations, or new car dealerships. These types of businesses can still hold their grand openings on-site, but with a little more strategic planning. Whatever your type or size of business is, the grand opening ideas below can help make it a lasting success!
1. Use Inflatable Advertising
Do you have a flagship product that you want to get out there from the start? Is your business based on a holiday, event, or specialized group? Custom inflatable advertising lets you create a larger-than-life advertisement that no one can miss. Choose from inflatable costumes to deliver mobile messages. Helium blimps and balloons take your logo to new heights. Feather flags are good for grabbing attention within a certain distance. Inflatables come in a range of sizes and designs that people literally can’t miss.
2. Look for Bulletin Boards in Local Businesses
Design some eye-catching fliers and take advantage of the free space. Use drawings or pictures to get the main idea of your business across. You want to include information about the event, but only as it relates to your business. Take the time to come up with a professional design. If you don’t have the artistic talent, either recruit the help of a friend or hire a pro.
3. Get the Word Out on Social Media
There’s no better way to spread the word than on social media. Create a Facebook event page with all the details about your business and the grand opening. Let them know about all the entertainment, prizes, and anything else that will draw a bigger crowd.
4. Place Newspaper Inserts in the Local Newspaper
Most people have certain parts of the newspaper that they read and then skip the rest. Putting an insert in it where the other sales papers are found is more likely to get their attention. Target the biggest circulation day. This may differ depending on the days that the newspaper runs. Usually, it’s either Saturday or Sunday. Ask the newspaper office. They probably charge more to advertise on their biggest circulation days, so they’ll be glad to share the information.
5. Mail Postcards or Invitations
Both are great grand opening ideas, but for different types of businesses. Postcards are a great idea for heavily populated areas with a large population that might be interested in your business. Invitations are better for specialized businesses, such as services or supplies for medical professionals. Invitations are a more formal way to advertise when you have a smaller market.
6. Hire Local Talent
A local singer, musician, or band will serve two purposes. First, they will provide entertainment for everyone that shows up. Second, their friends, family members, and fans will show up, too. You want to draw as many people to your event as possible. Think about the atmosphere that is right for the event when you choose the entertainment. You want someone who contributes to it, not a contrast.
You do have other options than musical talent. A live art demonstration, storyteller, or comedian might be a better choice for your needs. Try to match the tone to your business. For instance, people visiting your new baby boutique probably don’t want to hear rock music. If you’re catering to video game enthusiasts, don’t hire an orchestra. Know your target customer and their age to determine which type of entertainment will appeal to them.
7. Get a Mascot
Have someone in costume outside your event doing a last-minute ‘song and dance’ to lure them inside. Storefront entertainment will bring fun to the entire event. Try to make it something related to your business, such as a food item or animal. Who can ignore the charm of a dancing dog?
8. Give Out Samples
If giving out samples of your products is feasible, do it. There’s no better way to introduce your products than letting them try them firsthand. Things like makeup, perfume, cappuccino, or baked goods work great as samples. On the other hand, appliances, furniture, and other big items aren’t an option. Consider sponsoring a contest for one large product instead. You may also include some smaller items for the second and third places as a good-faith consolation prize.
9. Serve Food
Even if your business isn’t food-related, people love to eat. You don’t have to cater a full meal to get the job done. Hot dogs, pizza slices, and sweet treats are common favorites. Take advantage of the setting to advertise your business, too. If your event is outdoors, set up tents with your business name and logo. They work well indoors too.
10. Invite a Celebrity
Let’s face it, no one wants to hear a long, drawn-out story about how you fought your way to success. This is especially true since you are just getting your business off the ground. But bring them the chance to hear from a local football hero, a renowned artist or author, or the actress who got a bit part in a Hollywood movie. Anyone who has the status of celebrity will bring people of all ages to your event.
Don’t Forget the Kids
If your business is a family-friendly one, then you need grand opening ideas that are family-friendly, too. Kids don’t have the same interests that adults do, and vice versa. The main idea is to keep kids occupied while their parents look around and shop. Although it’s a good idea to try and find unique ideas to appeal to the adults, some of the most popular ideas for kids are still the best. Try a combination of attractions to give them more than one thing to do.
11. Set Up a Photo Booth
Photo booths are popping up at all kinds of events from reunions to weddings. Kids love making photos with funny glasses, silly hats, fake mustaches, and all kinds of props. It’s a great way to create a memento of your grand opening that is a visual reminder to shop with you.
12. Rent a Bounce House
Bouncing on air is one of those things that never grows old with kids. They make a safe place to play that’s away from the crowd and merchandise. Set up indoors or outdoors and let kids jump to their heart’s content. If your event is indoors, keep it simple. If it’s outdoors and the weather is hot, look into bounce houses that incorporate water into their design. Advertise your entertainment to have kids begging their parents to attend!
13. Bring in a Rock Wall
You’ve probably seen rock climbing walls in the mall where kids can safely try their climbing skills. It offers a super adventure that they will want to try again and again. The bottom line is that they love it and will spend lots of time at it.
14. Sponsor a Contest for Kids
Get them involved in the fun. One idea is to have a drawing or coloring contest. Create a coloring sheet that’s related to your business or your mascot but still fun for kids to color. Get the coloring sheets out in advance of the grand opening. Make them available to download on your Facebook Event website. Talk with other businesses about passing out the sheets. Come up with some great prizes kids want to win and make attendance at the grand opening mandatory.
15. Hire a Face Painter
This option is a lot more low-key than some of the other grand opening ideas for kids. But it is a popular one, especially for the younger bunch. Face painting and coloring are activities that kids of almost any age will enjoy.
16. Offer a How-To Class
Don’t just tell them how great your products are; show them how to use them! Almost every business owner has some ‘tricks of the trade’ that make using their products easier, better, or more interesting.
17. Create Gift Packages
People like to feel special and giving them gifts is one way to accomplish it. Yours might include everything they need to perform the project you demonstrated in the how-to class. Another option is giving out samples of your products. Whatever goes into the package should relate to your business. For example, if you have a craft and fabrics shop, a seam ripper, thread and needles, measuring tape, and a pack of pins would make a great gift package.
18. Choose Promotional Products They Will Love
Nothing helps you promote a business better than promotional items. The most effective ones are those that have a real value. Products like tote bags, flash drives, ink pens, and caps are some great choices. Have them printed with your brand and logo and the owners for advertising on the go. Reconsider items like plastic cups that aren’t as usable. Visibility is the key to getting the most from your promotional items.
19. Give Them Coupons or Special Offers
You know that online businesses use special offers when you sign up for their newsletters or open an account with them. You get extra savings and the business gets your contact information. There’s no reason not to do the same at your grand opening. Make it worthwhile to fill out the required information. (One-time 50% off one item, Buy one item get one free, etc.) Even if they don’t end up buying anything now, you have the info you need to reach out to them later on.
20. Host a Giveaway
People love to feel like they’re getting something for their efforts. Retailers increasingly offer giveaways to the first so many customers for special events, such as Black Friday sales. You can give the first 25, 50, or 100 people at the event a gift certificate or special gift.
Another option is to raffle off something larger and more enticing. A weekend trip, shopping spree, or the newest iPhone are some things to consider. These are all things that appeal to a broad range of people.
Keep the Connections Going
Your grand opening isn’t the beginning and end of your marketing efforts. It’s a chance to make connections with your target customers. Now, it’s time to build on what you’ve already accomplished. Use the contacts you made online and on social media to keep in touch. Sponsor more special events in the future and make special offers to your followers.
Be receptive to your customers’ comments, and follow your online reviews starting right after the grand opening. Expect a few criticisms along the way, but pay special attention to those several people share. Some of your best marketing ideas will come from your customers. It also helps you retain customers when they know you’re listening to their opinions. Every business, whether it serves customers locally or globally, needs online exposure to remain competitive.
Everyone that shows up at your grand opening won’t be accessible online. That’s why you need at least one method of obtaining contact information. You can mail out postcards or special event letters using the information provided. This is a great way to increase sales during special sales, new product promotions, or seasonal specials.
Make sure you get the most from your grand opening by getting the word out there to all of your target customers. Contact Inflatable Gurus for custom inflatables that bring your advertising to life!