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How to Create a Virtual Grand Opening

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

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


At a minimum you’ll need a teleconference bridge line.  My
favorite one at the moment is Live Free Conferencing,
, 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, or sent out an
HTML invitation to your contact list through your email
broadcast service like,,
or an audio postcard through a service like
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

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

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

Online Publicity/Promotion

1.  Post the date and time of opening of your event on, 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.  See the list of services I use

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.  A great new service I’ve discovered for this is
Express Copy, which
will both print and mail your postcards.

4.  Send out press releases to your local media regarding
any "in-person" events you sponsor during this grand opening

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.

About the Author Donna Gunter

Best-selling author Donna Gunter works with successful business owners who are experts in their fields and established in their industry and are seeking a way to stand out from their competitors. Using her Ideal Clients on Autopilot System©, she helps them determine the exact strategies to generate more qualified leads and better-paying clients with automated systems. This proven system makes all their marketing easier and more effective and they find themselves positioned as the only choice for their clients.

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