How to Attract Customers on Your Opening Day

Attracting Customers on Your Opening Day

You’ve planned your business carefully, secured funding, and almost finished setting up shop. All your metaphorical ducks are in a row.

Before opening your doors to the public, strategize.

A well-planned opening day strategy ensures you get plenty of customers, generate media buzz, and sustain business in the long run.

You’re probably excited and nervous about finally opening your business. A solid opening strategy is key to making your first day unforgettable.

Here are some strategies to guarantee a successful opening day:

1. Develop your "story"

What story does your business tell?

Maybe you started your business to solve a personal pain point that the industry didn’t address. Or perhaps your story is about bootstrapping your business and never giving up on your dream, even in the face of adversity.

Think of your story as an elevator pitch – succinct, memorable, and deliverable in a few sentences or a short conversation.

Tom Smith of Insights From Analytics recommends doing PR outreach to local media and sharing your story. "Create your ‘story’ and make sure everyone associated with your company knows it," he advises. This ensures cohesive and easily packaged media coverage of your opening.

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2. Begin your social media campaign early

If you plan to wait until your business is fully operational to be active on social media, don’t.

Start building interest as early as possible.

For instance, one restaurant client planned an online social campaign, teasing the opening and showcasing the unique atmosphere and food, then shared press coverage of the grand opening on their social sites. This created a social media feedback loop.

Research and connect with local social media groups that align with your target customer base. By creating buzz early and targeting specific groups and influencers, you can build excitement before the doors even open.

3. Notify the press

With your social media campaign in progress, it’s time to ensure media coverage of your big opening day.

Utilize as many organic opportunities as possible, such as press releases, media advisories, and reaching out to local media networks.

Focus your social media campaign on your unique story or visually engaging aspects of your business. For example, invite media members for a sneak peek if there is something visually interesting about your business.

If your business lacks a significant visual draw, consider holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony to attract media attention.

4. Partner with your local Chamber of Commerce and hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony

Don’t hesitate to make your opening day an event worth writing about, increasing your chances of media coverage.

Partner with your local chamber of commerce for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, drawing local officials and fellow business owners. Spread word of the ceremony on your social channels and invite VIPs in your area.

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5. Incorporate paid advertising

Amidst the emphasis on a social media push, don’t forget about paid advertising.

Leverage coverage and information with paid advertising, such as social, PPC, or traditional methods. Determine through market research which channels are most effective for your industry.

6. Consider a VIP night or soft opening

A soft opening or VIP night allows you to work out opening day kinks while building buzz before the general public arrival.

For instance, you can do a media preview followed by a grand opening VIP event. Keep the soft opening to the general public but publicize the event. This approach ensures a smooth opening and generates publicity.

7. Offer discounts, giveaways, or sales for your grand opening

Make your grand opening special for attendees by offering discounts, giveaways, or holding a sale.

Choose the promotion based on your business type and demographics. For example, a frozen yogurt store coordinated onsite media coverage, youth games, and discounts during their grand opening. They also ran a social promotion offering discounts to those following the business on social media.

Consider partnering with local businesses for giveaways, deepening your business’s roots within the community.

8. Extend special pricing following your grand opening

Keep the hype alive after your grand opening by continuing to offer special pricing or discounts for a week or so.

This encourages people who couldn’t attend the grand opening to visit your new business as soon as possible.

For example, offer special package pricing for those who visit within the first few weeks.

9. Avoid the "reverse curse"

Beware of attracting too many customers, as it can be overwhelming and backfire. Have plans for growth in place.

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Be prepared to handle high demand and deliver high-quality service. Avoid potential issues by managing customer expectations and ensuring your resources can meet the demand.

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