Explore how strategic tactics turned one Baton Rouge grand opening from standard to superb.
Opening a new store or office location is always an exciting time for a company. You want to shout the news from the rooftops so that everyone will know you’re there and open for business. But when it comes to making a good first impression, getting the details right is what matters most.
In my career, I’ve helped clients with more Grand Openings and Ribbon Cuttings than I can count. You’d be surprised how little they’ve changed over the years. I suppose we take some comfort in the repetition of such a simple ritual by generations of hopeful entrepreneurs. No matter how high-tech and virtual our world gets, we’ll probably always want to mark symbolic beginnings in a tangible way, with a big ribbon and even bigger scissors.
But even as we continue to follow these tried-and-true traditions, we should be open to new ideas and tactics that can attract more people to our brand. One of BBR’s clients, Good Eats Kitchen, recently celebrated the Grand Opening of its first Baton Rouge retail storefront. The event drew hundreds of customers, local media and even the Mayor; a success by any measure for a brand still relatively new to the market.
Here are a few takeaways from their successful launch that you can try in your own business.
Build a Local Audience with a Facebook Location Page
If you have locations in multiple markets, it may seem daunting or potentially problematic to create and manage a Facebook page for each one. Good Eats Kitchen had a good following in its home market of Lafayette, but we needed to help them build their Baton Rouge audience. By creating a Facebook page dedicated to the new location, we were able to execute a “like” campaign targeted to adults in the area with an interest in convenient, chef-prepared, ready-to-eat meals.
Everyone wants more fans, so why was this important? Before you can use Facebook to tell an audience your big news, you have to first attract an audience. Otherwise, you’re a tree falling in the forest, making presumably no sound.
The new GEK store soft-opened just after Thanksgiving, and our “like” campaign started about a week later. In just a few weeks we were able to build their Baton Rouge following from zero to several hundred, using a combination of like ads and posts from the established Lafayette GEK page.
Sharing posts from a page with a strong following encouraged those who were already familiar with the GEK brand to share their endorsement with friends and family who may live or work in Baton Rouge. Coupled with strategic boosting, these Lafayette page posts helped drive a sizable growth spurt in our new Baton Rouge pages and circulate buzz within the new market.
Today they have just over 1000 likes, and that’s only about a month after their official Grand Opening. This quick uptick in followers gave GEK a solid base from which to officially launch the new store, and it met the minimum threshold of 400 followers needed to enable Facebook Offers.
Speaking Of…Use Facebook Offers!
This Facebook feature allows businesses to post an offer, such as an in-store discount or free item with an online order, on their Facebook page. Setting up an offer is free, but businesses must pay to promote the offer to their audience. Users then “claim” the offer by either printing it out or copying a promo code.
To encourage followers to visit in person and/or attend the Grand Opening event, Good Eats Kitchen created an offer that was good for a free meal (retail value $12.99) for anyone who signed up for the company’s Loyalty Club in-store. Nearly 30 users claimed the offer in the days leading up to the Grand Opening — but the real success came on their big day.
Give It Away
To make sure as many potential customers as possible would come to their event, GEK made the free meal offer available to anyone who attended. BBR helped them create a poster they could send to friends, current customers, and neighbors to post in other locations in order to spread the word.
The strategy worked — the company gave away more than 200 meals the day of their event, January 4, 2019. Over just a few hours, there was a constant line of people eager to sample their products. GEK’s founder and chef Boyer Derise understood that “tasting is believing,” so he wanted as many people as possible to have the chance to get hooked on GEK’s fresh, nutritious approach to “fast” food.
Tap into Existing Networks
Everybody knows it can be hard to make friends as an adult. That’s why so many people take up new hobbies or volunteer for charitable causes. Businesses too would be wise to look for local networks and groups to join who can help introduce them to the larger community and give them a source of early support. Good Eats Kitchen, for example, joined the Baton Rouge Area Chamber to build relationships with the neighboring store owners in the new Ichiban Shopping Center.
Connecting with these established businesses and inviting them to participate in the Grand Opening helped introduce Good Eats Kitchen to audiences it may not have had access to otherwise. After a little coordination, it wasn’t long before a full-on Ichiban block party ensued, with brand loyalists and customers from neighboring shops stopping by to greet the new kid.
We didn’t stop there though. Ensuring that all of our area media contacts received the invite played a significant role in amplifying our message. Their coverage helped turn what could have been a standard Grand Opening into a bonafide city event. The mayor even made an appearance.
Put Promotion into Practice
Despite all of this sounding like a simple checklist that magically bloomed into a roaring success after all of our boxes were ticked, specificity was the true MVP (most valuable promoter). It was choosing to use Facebook promotions. It was the type of promotions. And it wasn’t just inviting media. It was inviting the people best apt to deliver the message.
When you begin planning your own Grand Opening, remember this. Give thought to what you’re promoting, who you’re promoting to and what you expect to achieve from it. Many people get the steps right, but few nail the specific details that lead to a truly spectacular launch.
Interested in launching and promoting brands? Have an interesting story about your own promotion? Send us a message at [email protected]!