By Bridget Kochersperger
The grand opening of a new store or restaurant is one of the most exciting days in an entrepreneur’s career, but there’s much to be done before the celebration begins. For owners and general managers, the months and weeks leading up to the big day are filled with securing permits, ensuring construction stays on track (or adjusting when delays inevitably happen), hiring fairs, and staff training.
While you’re busy with the day-to-day details of running a business, you also need to be building a customer base, ensuring your local community knows who and where you are, and building excitement for your grand opening. A strategic PR campaign is vital to this process. Below are just a few PR strategies that are critical to ensure a successful grand opening and long-term success for your business.
Tell Your Story
It’s a fact: if you don’t tell your story, someone else will. By using public relations strategies and tactics, you can take an active role in the conversation. It’s important to first determine your point of differentiation and to frame your story around that. Then, make sure at every touch point your prospective customers see a strong, compelling, and consistent message. You have many channels at your disposal, from owned channels like your website, point-of-sale materials, e-newsletter and social media channels to earned media opportunities through your local news outlets.
Earn Third-Party Recommendations
Earned media is one of the most effective and efficient ways to reach your target audience, so it’s important to implement a strategic media relations strategy within your grand opening plan. Through earned media placements you will be able to reach more of your potential customers, and you’re also getting a critical third-party recommendation.
You know your business is top-notch, but telling your customers that yourself will never hold as much weight as if they hear it from a trusted friend – or even better, a trusted source in the community. If the local news anchor or long-time reporter is talking about your store in a positive way, it’s an instant and powerful third-party recommendation and one that your customers will trust.
Leverage Social Media
As a business owner, you know it’s important to have a presence on social media because so many of your would-be customers are active on those sites. However, using social media successfully to reach your target audience takes more than simply being there. It’s important to spend the time to cultivate your fans, share engaging content, play by the platform’s rules to maximize organic and paid content and be present to listen and engage with your fans.
Engage Your Community
The customer experience rarely ends in-store these days. More than ever, consumers are turning to social media and review sites to share their experiences, good or bad. They’re also using social media sites to ask questions, and they typically expect an answer within 24 hours. Engaging with your online community is an incredibly important element of customer service, and can lead to real-time feedback and the opportunity to correct any missteps as your business takes off.
Amplify Your Message Through Online Influencers
Members of the media aren’t the only trusted sources in your community. Online influencers—like parenting bloggers and social media superstars—have a built-in audience that trusts them to share only products and services they truly believe in. Working with the right local influencers for your store gives you the opportunity to amplify your message, receive that third-party recommendation, and build your customer base all at once.
Preparing to open a new business can be exciting, intimidating, and overwhelming all at once. With a solid PR plan in place, you’ve got one less thing to worry about. Time to open the doors and enjoy your opening day.
About Scooter Media
Scooter Media is a full-service communications agency in greater Cincinnati specializing in public relations and social media.