Here’s how to do:
- Pick a timeline. Decide when to have your event. Most events only need about 90 days of planning, but check the Internet for a free timeline template that best matches the type of event you’re planning.
- Select your media - Launching a Facebook and Instagram page is a good first step for generating interest and anticipation for your store, as is a Twitter account. Just remember that social media has become a “pay to play” medium. You’ll have to purchase promotions in order to build an audience and to have that audience see your content.
Reach out to the local press with a Press Release announcing your upcoming event. Make sure your website is attractive, up to date, always has fresh content and is connected to your social media account feeds.
- Send out invites - As you gather friends and followers from social media, apps like Constant Contact and Eventbrite can help you create a variety of marketing tools (newsletters, surveys, and e-vites) to get people psyched about attending the big event.
- Keep on top of the RSVP list. If too many people are planning to come, there will be pushback from your neighboring businesses, not to mention the Fire Department. In addition, keep in mind your store’s capacity, have the Fire Exits well marked and extra security on hand for celebrities and big-wigs.
5. A note on Grand Openings. A Grand Opening is likely the most important event you’ll ever have, so it’s advisable to budget for and hire a Certified Special Event Professional (CSEP), who will negotiate permissions, publicity, liability insurance and everything else. If you don’t know any CSEPs, you can contact the International Live Events Association (ILEA) http://www.ileahub.com for the one nearest to you.
6. Training matters - Get your team ready…to welcome prospects and customers and to sell your stuff during your event.
Best of all, have fun. Special events are a key marketing tool for success with retail stores. Suggest you have some type of sales-type event monthly to ensure awareness takes hold and that consistency of message occurs.