October 23, 2012 |

Marketing Matters: Grand Opening Marketing

By Scott Anthony

Uncle Maddio's grand opening sign Your grand opening is the BIG BANG of your business. Your opening marketing must be explosive enough, setting in motion the creation of your business. This is a golden marketing opportunity. Do the work. Business is not a ‘Field of Dreams.’ You must draw people in and prove your merit.

Accomplish these Big Bang goals and your energy will keep on generating sales:

  • Create Top Of Mind Awareness (TOMA) and Word Of Mouth (WOM)
  • Good first impression. Food, Service, YOU
  • Differentiation. Feature signature items and capitalize on your uniqueness.
  • Database. Nosy neighbors, cherry-pickers and people in search of the best pizza at your fingertips – get their information

Step 1: The soft opening. Recipes perfected. Employees trained. Invite friends, family, community members for a free meal. Coach your staff to give the ultimate customer experience.

Step 2: Create TOMA and WOM. How? Several techniques need to be implemented. In this econ- omy a new business opening and creating jobs is newsworthy. A press release will tell the media how you are contributing to the community, without you paying for an ad.

Offer samples. A simple placard offering a free slice will draw crowds, getting them to taste what you know is the best pizza in town. ‘FREE’ will have people beckoning friends and family to do likewise. Samples generate the elusive WOM and TOMA.

A single piece direct mailer will impress. Target a weekly mailing of 1,000 or more menu mailers. A well designed menu mailer will showcase your unique products and set you apart from your com- petition. The menu should not include discount coupon strips. If you want to build a solid business don’t lay a foundation of coupon clippers. Stand behind your product by offering combinations featuring the quality and value of signature items.

Step 3: Every order gives you opportunity to obtain customer data. You now possess that price- less database. This is a crucial time to get customers hooked. Want to really impress people? Use your database to follow-up with a handwritten Thank You card. That will seal the deal. Do it within a two- week period to really make it effective and include a bounce back offer.

Step 4: ATR = Awareness, Trail, Repeat. People are bombarded by marketing messages. Once you have direct mailed a carrier route, send out a few drivers within 10 to 14 days to door-hang the same mes- sage/offer in the same area. Send an e-mail blast of that same message the next week. You need to make several impressions on the same people –– not just one impression on several people. Get your message ingrained and get results.

Step 5: Keep the Big Bang going and expand your universe. Once you have saturated an area with your message and gotten the maximum response move on to the next target area. Maintain the original customer base with postcard reminders, e-mails, box-toppers…or other low cost database marketing tactics.

Once established you won’t have to invest as heavily in marketing, but building marketing momentum takes energy. You have a lot invested in your pizzeria, your opening marketing is an investment where you should not scrimp and save.

Scott Anthony is a Fox’s Pizza Den franchisee in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.He is a monthly contributor to Pizza Today and a frequent guest speaker at Pizza Expo.