A grand opening is an exciting milestone for any business. Whether it’s in honor of a new facility, relocated store or a significant expansion of an existing location, this is the opportunity to make an introduction that’s worth remembering. In order to do that, you first need to get the message out there and make an authentic connection to your community. Here are some of the top things to best prepare everyone for your grand opening:
Get your brand out there
Creating brand awareness is the first step to catching people’s eye and getting them excited about your grand opening. Leading up to the event, it’s important to connect with your target audiences via social media. Creating a specific Facebook page, flyer or paid social ad that shares all essential information for the upcoming event are all great ways to get the word out.
If your event is private/invite-only, focus on getting the message out there through all your channels. Email lists and private Facebook events are both great solutions. Hey, and personalized, handwritten invites will never go out of style. Be sure to emphasize what makes your event special and why their participation matters.
When promoting your grand opening, be sure to mention in the above materials if you’re serving food and drinks and who’s providing it. This will be sure to whet appetites and increase interest. In the invitation, be sure to give them a little sneak peek of the event and what they will be doing to entice them.
Depending on budget, you can put together a nice swag bag for attendees. Branded koozies, totes, iPhone covers, t-shirts, hats, water bottles, cookies—these are just a few items you could brand and share with people.
Consider also making a branded hashtag, which everyone can use during your grand opening as well as after it’s over.
Create a guest list
Another big first step is the guest list. After all, what’s a grand opening without all the people? Talk to your current customers, potential customers, local business owners, suppliers, city officials and your media partners about your upcoming event. Let them know how much you value their support and are interested in strengthening your relationships.
The second people walk into your grand opening, they should know what they’re doing and where they’re going. Welcome signage is essential. It will make your guests feel welcome and give them a good first impression. Other signs, like an itinerary or directionals to specific spaces where speeches, tours and workshops will be, are also important.
Creative stations and savory snacks
Let’s be honest: some people will attend your grand opening for the food and drinks—and that’s okay! An imaginative station full of delicious eats and Instagrammable displays is often the big hit of any event. Well-displayed snacks and drinks will get everyone to relax and stimulate conversation. Mini pairings, chef action stations or build-your-own options are all excellent ways to keep your guests engaged and well-fed.
Provide tours of the facility
If you have a brand new facility, chances are everyone is going to want to explore it! Appoint staff to provide tours so that your guests can get a better feel for the space. Do you have a new learning lab or interactive space people can experience? Be sure to spend a lot of time in that area and explain the stages of its creation and what it means to your business.
Invite speakers and entertainment
Grand openings are inherently inspiring because they showcase newness and innovation. That’s why it’s always a good idea to capture the excitement through an engaging speaker and group of entertainers. A speaker who is able to provide a bigger picture of the experience and build excitement can have a dramatic effect.
Do you have any connections to local musicians, improv troupes or other entertainers? A solid dose of entertainment will leave a lasting impression, and it can certainly make a splash on your social.
Swag for the win
Everyone loves a good swag bag, and there is no shortage of interesting ideas on the internet. Be sure to fill your bag with unique goodies that people might actually use and have a connection to the company’s grand opening. Travel chargers, a desk plant, sunglasses, a book, healthy snacks and virtual goodies like a free app or e-gift cards are all practical takeaways.