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Archive for 2008

How to Create a Virtual Grand Opening

Put Structure to your Marketing

Grand openings and ribbon cuttings don’t have to be limited to businesses that have retail locations. If your “real estate” is your website and you work out of your home, this great public relations opportunity is available to you as well, although you will have to plan it a bit differently than someone with a brick and mortal location. A few years ago I attended a “ribbon cutting” for a client’s new website and had a great time meeting people all over the country on a teleconference bridge line.

Since I’m only a few months away from a new website myself, I wondered how to powerfully take advantage of this wonderful promotional opportunity. I made some posts to some discussion lists to which I belong, and the ideas listed in this article are the results of my information requests.

Here are some ideas to spice up your virtual grand opening/ribbon cutting:

Technology

At a minimum you’ll need a teleconference bridge line. My favorite one at the moment is Live Free Conferencing, http://freeconferencing.liveoffice.com/, because you can record the call at no extra charge, the bridgeline holds up to 250 callers, the moderator can mute the entire call if needed, and they offer the ability for muted callers to ask a question via their webcontrol panel.

If you’d like more interaction with your visitors, you will want to use webconferencing/virtual conference room software. There are a number of these services out there, so I recommend that you do a search and try and few before deciding on your provider.

If you’d like to invite a group of people to your event, you can use an invitation service like Evite.com, or sent out an HTML invitation to your contact list through your email broadcast service like aWeber.com, EzineDirector.com, ConstantContact.com or an audio postcard through a service like AudioAcrobat.com. In order to have your attendees register for this event, you will need to create a contact form on your website that feeds into your shopping cart or autoresponder service.

Event Activities

  1. Virtual ribbon cutting. You can do this via a web cam and actually cut a ribbon that’s draped over your monitor which is displaying the home page of your new site and show it via your webinar service/virtual conference room service. Or, you might find an animated graphic of a ribbon cutting and show that via your virtual conference room instead.
  2. Have people register for your event and give out door prizes. You can spotlight your business colleagues by requesting door prizes for them. Electronic info products are the easiest door prize to award, as you don’t have to mail a physical package to the winner. If some of your door prizes do require mailing, however, you need to request a mailing address from everyone who registers for your event.
  3. Hold a teleseminar during the grand opening that’s partially educational, partially promotional. You can make a special offer to all those who attend the live call.
  4. Give a virtual tour of your new website via webinar/virtual conference room software.
  5. Host a roundtable session at your event that permits attendees to give a 30 second commercial of their businesses. Schedule this at the end of your event so that it doesn’t detract from your offerings.
  6. Hold a scavenger hunt on your site during your grand opening. This hunt creates a reason to have people visit the site and visit multiple pages. Create a 3-5 page report or something that’s easy to compile that showcases your expertise and is of value to your visitor for the prize. You might use roll-over images to give clues or find a funny graphic or and hide it in various places throughout your site in obvious and not-so-obvious locations. You could also place audio snippets around your site as well and put clues in those audio files.
  7. Sponsor a message board and/or chat room on your site. At specific times post a series of questions, polls, etc. that will make your visitors interact. Ensure that the questions are relevant and of interest to your target market. This will instantly create popularity for your website, as well, for keywords pertinent to your target market.
  8. Give away prizes every hour (or every 10-15 minutes for shorter events) and tell your visitors that they have to be present in the webinar room/on the teleconference line to win. Between giveaways, talk about your experience, your offerings, and offer free on-the-spot help for a problem faced by your target market.

Online Publicity/Promotion

  1. Post the date and time of opening of your event on CraigsList.com, on the boards for your city/area and surrounding areas.
  2. Send out invitations through Evite or though your email broadcast service.
  3. If permitted, post the particulars about your event on various lists/discussion groups to which you belong.
  4. Send out press release regarding event through online press release services.
  5. Create a post about your grand opening/ribbon cutting on your blog and invite attendees to post their comments on your blog

Offline Marketing

  1. Join your local Chamber of Commerce and they will offer to hold a ribbon-cutting for you. For virtual/at home businesses, most chambers will do this in their office rather than your home. Many times a photo or article about the riboon cutting will appear in the local press and in the chamber newsletter.
  2. Plan a couple of local talks and/or book or product signings to coincide with your grand opening
  3. Send out postcards inviting people to your new website and grand opening and offer them a free gift for dropping by.
  4. Send out press releases to your local media regarding any “in-person” events you sponsor during this grand opening time

Grand openings are held to generate good will and begin relationships with business colleagues, current clients, and prospective customers. Now, as the owner of a virtual business, you can foster that same good will by sponsoring a virtual grand opening for your new business or new website and get your new venture in gear.

Online Business Resource Queen (TM) and Online Business Coach Donna Gunter helps self-employed service professionals learn how to automate their businesses, leverage their expertise on the Internet, and get more clients online. To sign up for more FREE tips like these and claim your FREE gift, TurboCharge Your Online Marketing Toolkit, visit her site at Get More Clients Online.

Subscribe to GrandOpeningHelp.com and keep getting tips and ideas on how to have a successful grand opening.

This post was submitted by Donna Gunter.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dale Obrochta - November 21, 2008 at 10:55 am

Categories: Grand Opening Marketing, Grand Opening Tips, Grand Opening Website   Tags: , , ,

A Grand Opening For Your Franchise!

If you are starting a new franchise and you want it to be a success from the beginning you are on the right track. And if you want to effectively get the community and people aware of your new franchise, a grand opening is a must! A grand opening is a great way for you to attract people to your new franchise and get business started right away. It is a great way to get your franchise going faster and stronger than if you didn’t have one.

Tips to conduct a successful grand opening for your franchise:

  1. Pick a time and date that will benefit you the most. Since you will want as many people as possible it should be during a time when most people can attend. So, Sunday at 10am is not good since a majority of people may be in church. During the week is better and during a high traffic time.
  2. Invite people in the community such as the mayor, city council or other government officials. This will not only get them there but others who respect those you invited.
  3. Make it look like something is happening. You may have many great things planned inside for your grand opening, but if nothing is out of the ordinary on the outside how will people know. You should have grand opening signs or banners, balloons, ribbons, and things of that nature. That way you will attract those who may have heard and those who are simply passing by.
  4. Plan a great opening day with giveaways, door prizes, games and refreshments. You may even have a ribbon cutting ceremony, guest speakers, D.J’s or other forms of entertainments for all. Have something for everyone, something for the adults and also something for the kids! You want to make the day memorable. That way people will want to come back and they will also tell their friends about. Word of mouth can really boost your business!
  5. You may even be able to get a little more publicity if you ask for it. You can contact newspapers, television stations and other means and invite them to your grand opening. If they do attend chances are they will add it to their feature in the news or newspaper, this is a great promoter for business. For the best response you should invite these individuals two to three weeks in advance and then call them a few days before the event to remind them.
  6. Plan your grand opening event for about a month after you actually open. This is a good idea that way your franchise is running and you will have worked through any glitches of problems before you invite everyone to “check you out”. You will also have a well trained staff that can cater to the customer’s needs. Customer service will be key to your success!
  7. Don’t forget to invite your personal support group. Invite your friends, family and previous influential contacts. Not only will they provide support for you but the community likes to see that you are human.

Give your franchise the best grand opening by following these simple tips!

For more information on an automotive franchise visit BumperDoc auto body franchise and start your path to business ownership.

Subscribe to GrandOpeningHelp.com and keep getting tips and ideas on how to have a successful grand opening.

This post was submitted by Samantha Mccartney.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dale Obrochta - at 9:38 am

Categories: Grand Opening Delegating, Grand Opening Franchise, Grand Opening Tips   Tags: , ,

3 Grand Opening Ideas That Set the Stage For Your Business

While there are no firm statistics, professionals have noticed that the majority of businesses that close within the first two years did not have an official grand opening event. Those same pros continue to surmise that if you create a successful grand opening, you’ll set the pace for the weeks and months ahead. This has never been truer than it is today, as we see company after company closing its doors or downsizing. But what can be done for your particular business? Which types of grand opening ideas can draw the attention of customers as well as the media?

Bring in the Big Guns… or Cups or Tacos or Puppies or…

Here’s a phenomenal grand opening idea: Create a giant inflatable balloon of your product or logo and place it on the rooftop of your business. For instance, a Mexican restaurant could place a giant, inflatable taco on its roof with a banner that reads, “Now Open.” A local veterinary clinic could put a massive, inflatable puppy or kitten on their rooftop with signage declaring, “Grand Opening!”

Why giant inflatable balloons? Because they attract attention of all sorts. People busily going about their routines don’t even notice most of the advertising that comes their way. According to the Newspaper Association of America, Texas A&M University and the Journal of Concerned Scientists, Americans are exposed to well over 3,000 advertising messages each day from a variety of sources. Our senses are on overload and, therefore, most of the ads we view are blocked out.

However, place a 30-foot-tall giant taco up on the roof (higher than most of the other clutter like billboards, storefront banners, etc.) and drivers down your street suddenly wake up and smell the guacamole.

Gain Press Coverage

Your business can make good use of this second grand opening idea: Use inflatables to bring the press to your location. Inflatables are an exceptional way to garner media coverage. While yet another Mexican restaurant grand opening might not be considered news, a restaurant with a giant taco on its roof that drew in massive crowds is. Likewise, while a photo of a restaurant storefront isn’t an overly exciting picture, that massive taco is definitely a photo opp just waiting to happen.

Bring the Crowd Inside

Unless you’re hosting a sidewalk sale, having a crowd of customers outside your
door won’t do you much good. You have to bring the people inside your business. Grand opening idea number three is to use smaller, sealed inflatables as giveaways.

For example, sticking with the same Mexican restaurant theme, you might say the first 100 customers get a free, miniature, inflatable taco. You could create practically anything you want: inflatable mariachi singers, inflatable sombreros… the list is endless. Because everybody loves to get something free – and because they can be branded with your business name and address – sealed inflatables make the perfect giveaways.

As a business, you can’t neglect the importance of your grand opening. Use ideas that create a buzz in your community and that will attract the press. When you do it right, you’ll find that word-of-mouth advertising kicks in and the business just keeps on coming!

Stephanie Meacham is Vice President of Landmark Creations who has designed and manufactured custom inflatables since 1986. Looking for business grand opening ideas? Visit Landmark at http://www.landmarkcreations.com today.

Subscribe to GrandOpeningHelp.com and keep getting tips and ideas on how to have a successful grand opening.

This post was submitted by Stephanie Meacham .

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dale Obrochta - November 20, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Categories: Grand Opening Events, Grand Opening Food Ideas, Grand Opening Inflatables, Grand Opening Tips   Tags: , , ,

Grand Opening Sales

Make the Grand Opening Sale Special

No matter if this is your first or your 100th store grand opening; people will expert some type of sale.  In fact most store grand openings use sales as a tool to lure in customers, but be creative in your sales marketing and reap profit and create loyal customers.

Many businesses try to discount the entire store thinking this will give them the greatest

exposure and the largest variety of customers.  This works great if you’re a convenience store and not specializing in a horizontal market. If you’re a specialty store, you want to make sure you attract customers who will use the products you’re selling and develop loyal customer base.  Understanding your consumer demographics is as important to your grand opening, as well to the success of your business.

Sale items should be clearly marked and should show savings.  Make it easy for the customer to see the saving you’re offering.  If you offer repair services, show a comparison chart of your rate compared to competitors.

Become creative in your grand opening sales.

  • Offer useful products on sale that will brand a particular product or service to your store. The goal is to generate sales, but also create loyal customer base who will retune for future sales.
  • Offer discounts on multiple product if purchased the day of the grand opening.
  • Offer discounts on related products purchased together – Snow shovel, salt, and door mate reduce greater if purchased together.
  • Offer free assembly or delivery on large ticket items, if purchase at grand opening.

Making your store grand opening profitable is not difficult, it just take serious planning.  The sales planning you do now; will pay off in future sales.

Subscribe to GrandOpeningHelp.com and keep getting tips and ideas on how to have a successful grand opening.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dale Obrochta - November 10, 2008 at 12:56 pm

Categories: Grand Open Advertising, Grand Opening Food Ideas, Grand Opening Sale, Grand Opening Tips, Re-Grand Opening Tips, The Purpose   Tags: , ,

Marketings Greatest Secret

Do you know what the best type of Marketing is for your company?

How about a Yellow Pages advert? Pay per click? Maybe some direct mail followed up a telemarketing campaign?

Well whilst each of these are perfectly valid marketing routes and one’s any forward thinking company should at least test the very best type of marketing for all types of business is the type that is FREE!!!

That’s right Ladies and Gentlemen, if you’re working with a tight marketing budget (or indeed with no set marketing budget at all) then you can now get exposure for your product, service or company in the form of PR (or Public Relations).

For large companies PR is big business. They will think nothing of employing staff with the sole intention of getting the name of their company in the media (be it written press, television, radio or online). And because the PR market is seemingly dominated by the larger companies small companies shy away from using PR in their marketing mix.

If this applies to you then good times could well be ahead as PR is a vital part of the marketing mix for smaller companies in particular as they often don’t have the time or money to spend on often expensive advertising or other marketing.

Successful businesses of all sizes use PR to promote their business, build their reputation and become a recognised expert in their particular field. And the beauty of PR is that everyone is an expert in something. And by passing on your expertise in a particular subject in the right way you become newsworthy.

And that is the real secret when it comes to good PR. It has to be interesting and newsworthy. Nobody cares that you’ve just launched a new website or that Mrs Jones in Accounts has just become a Grandmother for the second time (both subjects I’ve seen in press releases and both subjects I’ve seen in journalist’s bins!!). And if you’ve ever attempted PR only not to have it published then I wouldn’t worry too much about it as you’re amongst the 99% of companies who send out PR that isn’t newsworthy or interesting.

Here are a few words on Why PR is important.

Communication lies at the heart of today’s modern society. Be it on the internet, television, pod casts or whatever medium you choose. And with so many firms competing for the same business as you, how do your customers differentiate between you and your competitors?

The answer lies not particularly in the size of your Yellow Pages advert but how you project yourself and what your firm has to offer.

PR has a huge sway in the minds of consumers as the perceived third party endorsement that comes from editorial coverage can be substantial, maybe even more so than advertising that can cost hundreds or thousands of pounds.

PR done well can result in increased exposure, increased business and increased profits. And if you want your business to be the best it can be then becoming good at PR is something you want to do.

And remember, it’s FREE!!!!

About the Author:The Marketing Buzz are Small Business Marketing Experts and offer all types of Marketing Services to Help You Grow Your Business.

Subscribe to GrandOpeningHelp.com and keep getting tips and ideas on how to have a successful grand opening.

This post was submitted by Marketing Buzz.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dale Obrochta - November 7, 2008 at 10:46 am

Categories: Grand Open Advertising, Grand Opening Marketing   Tags: , ,

Creative Marketing Ideas

Trying to figure out what marketing ideas will work and won’t, is always a difficult choice for a business.  Trial and error are how most people start a business while cleaver people do some research and find clever, innovative marketing ideas to help them achieve their financial goals.  Here is a document on Creative Marketing Ideas that can help small businesses improve their marketing along with improving their current marketing positions.

Subscribe to GrandOpeningHelp.com and keep getting tips and ideas on how to have a successful grand opening.

This post was submitted by Dale Obrochta.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dale Obrochta - at 9:50 am

Categories: Grand Open Advertising, Grand Opening Marketing, Grand Opening Tips, Grand Openings Restaurants   Tags: , , , , ,

Jewel Grand Re-Opening in Chicago

Jewel-Osco of Chicago will be having it grand re-opening on November 1, 2008. Magical Balloon-dude performing his kids balloon entertainment form the hours of 11:00-2:00 pm.

Company : Jewl – Osco

Contact Name: Anthony Zuehlke

Email: na@yahoo.com

Event Address: 1224 South Wabash

City, State, Zip: Chicago, IL

Telephone Number: 312-663-4477

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by - October 24, 2008 at 9:14 am

Categories: Grand Opening Announcements   Tags: ,

Grand Opening Babies R Us & Toys R Us

Grand Opening of 2 great stores located in Algonquin, IL

Grand Opening sales happening Oct 24-26

Company : Toyrs”R” Us

Contact Name: N/A

Email: na@yahoo.com

Event Address: 826 S. Randall Road

City, State, Zip: Algonquin, IL

Telephone Number: 847-458-0439

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by - at 8:19 am

Categories: Grand Opening Announcements   Tags: , ,

Podcast for Small Businesses

The Small Business Administration offers a Free Podcast on small businesses topics.  These are free podcast provided in mp3 format for users to download and listen too.  Here are the most current podcast topics:


Getting Started:

Simply click on the podcast icon () to listen to each program.

SBA Programming:

Financing a Small Business
Featuring Jim Hammersley, Director Office of Financial Assistance Loan Programs
U.S. Small Business Administration
SBA’s business loan programs provide a key source of financing for viable small business that have a real potential, but may not qualify for loans from traditional sources.
( Transcript )

Patriot Express Initiative
Featuring Bill Elmore, Associate Administrator Veterans’ Business Development
U.S. Small Business Administration

Members of our nation’s military community now have increased opportunities to start
or expand small businesses thanks to the Patriot Express Initiative.
( Transcript )
The SBA’s Long-Term, Fixed-Rate Loan Guaranty Program

Featuring Jim Hammersley, Director
Office of Financial Assistance Loan Programs
U.S. Small Business Administration

SBA’s Certified Development Company (504) loan program provides long-term, fixed-rate loans for small business owners who want to expand their businesses. Learn more about this loan program.

( Transcript )

Check List for Starting a Business

Featuring Wendy Baumann, President
Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

How can a prospective entrepreneur know if he or she is ready to start a business? This checklist helps you identify what you need to know and what you need to do to start a small business.

( Transcript )

SBA Programs Support Entrepreneurial Veterans

Featuring Bill Elmore, Associate Administrator
Veterans Business Development
U.S. Small Business Administration

U.S. veterans who want to start or expand their own small businesses can receive assistance including  SBA loan guarantees, management advice and government contracting programs to sell products and services here and overseas.

( Transcript )

Is Entrepreneurship for You?

Featuring Cheryl Mills, Associate Deputy Administrator
Office of Entrepreneurial Development
U.S. Small Business Administration

Each year more than 600,000 new businesses are started in the United States. Many will succeed while others fail. Find out if you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur and how training maybe be the key to success.
( Transcript )

The SBA Small Business Training Network—Log On!
Featuring Jim O’Connor, Director
Small Business Training Network
U.S. Small Business Administration

To succeed in business entrepreneurs must stay competitive. An essential ingredient to being competitive is training. Learn how SBA’s online Small Business Training Network—a virtual campus—can help potential and current small business owners start, grow and succeed.
( Transcript )

Selecting a Business That Fits
Lou Davenport
SCORE District Director Eastern Pennsylvania

It is said, the secret to starting a successful business is to “Find a Need and Fill It.” However, starting a business must be pursued for the right reasons or it is destined to fail. It is important that you select a business that blends with your interests, skills and expectations.
( Transcript )

Disaster Preparedness for Business Owners
Lori Adamo
President, Code Red Business Continuity Services

Business disasters can occur at any time and any place. It’s a good idea to have an emergency plan, before the disaster hits.
( Transcript )

Financing a Small Business
Carl Knoblock
District Director, SBA Pittsburgh District Office

Many entrepreneurs lack the financial resources to start or expand a small business themselves, so they seek financing from family, friends, venture capitalists, and small business loans.
( Transcript )

Creating a Business Plan
Don Martin
Business Counselor and Trainer from the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center at Kutztown University

If you are thinking about starting or expanding a small business, having a good business plan may be the difference between success or failure. Learn how to develop a good business plan.
( Transcript )

Making Your Business Plan Work for You
Featuring Ernie Post, Director
Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center
Kutztown University
Kutztown, Pennsylvania
A business plan is a tool to help you effectively manage your business. But if your business plan is sitting in a drawer somewhere find out how to put it to work for you.

(Transcript)

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dale Obrochta - September 22, 2008 at 1:46 pm

Categories: Grand Opening Tools, SBA Podcast, The Invite   Tags: ,

10 Tips to Writing a Good Press Release for a Grand Opening

  1. Define what the press release is going to highlight.
  2. Keep it to the point-press releases are no more than one page.  Structure the first ten words of the first paragraph to be the focus of the press release. These ten words are the most important and will determine if the reader continues reading.
  3. Write the press release so it is interesting, informative and newsworthy.
  4. Print the words “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” in the top left-hand margin in all caps. Follow this line with relevant contact information: name, title, address, phone number, FAX, website URL, email address and event location.   Assume they know nothing about your company.
  5. Create a headline, centered, bold type just above the first line of the body of the press release. A headline normally highlights the important, significant or shocking fact in the press release.
  6. Create a dateline – the first line of the body of your press release – that includes the city where the release is generated and the date (i.e. Chicago, IL. – March 28, 2008).
  7. Begin with a brief description of the news, who is attending–making sure you cover the who, what, why, when and where.
  8. Center these marks, ” # # #” at the bottom of the page to indicate the end of your release.
  9. Wrap up the last paragraph with a “for additional information” line, a place to find more details at and give the URL to link to more PR information.
  10. Ask yourself, “Do they have all the information?” Make it as easy as possible for media representatives to reproduce this information and make sure you have enough substance to issue a press release. Click here for press release templates and examples

Learn How To Get Your Grand Opening
In Newspapers, Trade Journals, and Written About In Blogs

How to create a grand opening press release

Only $4.95

Buy The eBook and STOP Wasting Time Searching
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Subscribe to GrandOpeningHelp.com and keep getting tips and ideas on how to have a successful grand opening.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dale Obrochta - September 17, 2008 at 8:26 pm

Categories: Grand Opening Press Release   Tags: ,

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