Growing companies will eventually get to the point where they need to make the decision to move to a larger space or open a second office and when they do, there are two issues that always arise:
- How do I persuade clients to move with me?
- What’s the fastest, and most cost-effective, method to get new clients to my new office?
Our clients MHG Insurance Brokers recently opened a new office in Houston, Texas. MHG is an amazing organization that has a loyal customer base all serviced by their Fort Lauderdale headquarters or their Europe offices, but the Houston office is new and will be (hopefully) servicing a slightly different clientele. So, we developed the following pointers to set the stage and spread the word in Houston.
Set the stage
Plant your flag online: make sure you have claimed your new address on Google Maps and updated your website to include the new address. The first thing that potential clients will do when hearing about your business, is look for you online. If your address is not in Google Maps, or your website is a shambles, you will not get the business.
[Tweet “The first thing potential clients do is look for you online. Google Maps and a good website are a necessity. https://abaskmarketing.com #marketing”]
Ask your landlord for signs, make sure the building itself has good signage and your business is listed in the building directory. If the opportunity to place a large sign outside is available, google “construction sign printer” and visit your local printer for the largest sign the city will allow! While you’re there, be sure to talk to the owner and employees about your business. Our local choice for signs in Fort Lauderdale is Double Time Digital.
Once you have external signage, be sure to place your logo, website, phone numbers and opening hours on the door to your office. It’s incredibly frustrating to visit a business and not know whether they are closed down or just out for lunch! By this stage, you should have all of your marketing and branding materials created, so your logo should be front and center (if they aren’t created, you are fifty steps ahead of yourself and need to play catch up before anybody questions your credibility!)
The lowest hanging fruit is the easiest to pick. Your lowest hanging fruit are your current customers, previous customers, friends and family. Set up a newsletter, send out paper copies if need be, but blast it to the world that you have a new office! And be sure to tell them about your opening party or specials (keep reading for more details on each of these).
Always keep in mind: your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and What’s In It For Me? (WIIFM?) Don’t just tell your audience why this new office is great to you. They don’t care. Tell them why this new office is different from others and therefore great for them.
- “We will be offering cost-effective insurance solutions for all businesses, including high risk businesses such as insurance, agriculture and oil.”
- “Visitors will be able to enjoy the full range of Jamaican products, including coffee directly from the hills of Jamaica only available at our store.”
Join the local chamber
Chambers and networking groups are a perfect opportunity to spread the word about your new business, but chambers offer another opportunity many people don’t recognize: the ability to improve your sales technique. When starting out, many people are not comfortable talking about their business. They don’t know how to best phrase what they do. They can be overcomplicated or flippant. Practicing your sales technique is imperative to success. Watching the faces around you as you try to sell is like getting a business degree in your own business. And having the chamber meetings weekly to tweak your message until it works for you and others is invaluable. And then there’s the networking.
[Tweet “Chambers are an opportunity to improve your sales technique. https://abaskmarketing.com #marketing”]
Media List / Press Release
Invest in a media list as soon as you sign your lease. Any agency worth a dime can wrestle up an up to date targeted media list for you. This way you will be able to reach the media that cares about your product and start to build good faith with them. Be very careful however – journalists are just like the rest of us – don’t spam journalists with irrelevant content. We manage several media lists for various clients and make sure that we prune the list every time a release goes out. For example, when we sent out a promotion announcement for a Director of Operations recently, we included the Director’s alma mater newspaper. That same newspaper doesn’t give a hoot that the company also opened an office 2,000 miles away from their school though.
There is no faster way to receive no news coverage, or worse, bad press, than annoying a journalist. That’s why we always recommend using a marketing/ PR agency to reach the media (shameless plug: we can build, manage and maintain your PR strategy as part of your overall goals).
Ads depend on your budget and new businesses have very little budget for advertising. That being said, if you can advertise, make it very targeted at first to ensure the very best bang for your buck and don’t forget to include a reason for coming to your new locations, such as…
Opening party (see this as an opportunity to network)
Clients often ask if an opening party is worthwhile and my response is, “It depends on your expectations.” Use an opening party as an opportunity to network and make sure your employees are doing the same. Invite the neighboring businesses, friends and family and any potential clients. Make sure that you are offering something worth coming for and are hosting the party at a reasonable time (Thursday happy hours are your best bet).
You don’t get a second chance at a first impression.
If you can give a promotional special for your new opening, do it. The more traffic, the better. I recently worked with a new bar and the owner was very reluctant to give away anything to bring in customers until he knew whether he needed to. By the time he figured out that he needed to encourage more visitors to the bar, he was on his last legs. People had seen the new bar, but nothing had encouraged them to walk in and, after a while, they saw it as a sad little bar that no one went to.
Opening up a new office is harrowing, but ensuring your brand is developed before tackling the list above will help you to feel confident and appear credible. Once you have the brand in place, set an opening date and hit the ground running.
Tweet us if you are opening your new office and we will help spread the word for you!