Launch parties are a great way of creating a buzz around your startup. Entertaining potential customers and showing off your new venture to clients will certainly help your enterprise get noticed, but what else can a launch party do for your brand?
- Raising brand awareness
Event planners, Snapdragon, note that “an increasing number of brand launch events are finding innovative ways to boost brand awareness, including not only social media but smart technology and augmented reality.”
Launch parties are about more than giving people a good time, it’s about selling your brand in a memorable way. It’ll help your business if everyone has a great time, but the main aim is to promote your brand, which means finding ways to link the two goals.
Inviting journalists and bloggers is a great way to turn your party into a story. If your soiree can give people something to write about, your reach will expand exponentially.
Similarly, you can gain online traction for your company, increasing brand awareness, by including social media walls – whereby guests can submit photos with a clearly displayed hashtag. Looking to event planners as inspiration, photo-booths are popular right now, but why not take this to the next step by having a green screen room (where you can share the photos) or a localised Snapchat filter for your guests. It might sound gimmicky, but simplicity works.
Leyland Pitt, professor of marketing at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, when discussing launch parties, explained that, “the people you want to invite should be linked to 50 or 60 other people who they’ll tell about the product and will then refer them to you.” Identifying the big influencers, as Pitt suggests, will require market research. But these efforts are likely to be lucrative.
The milieu of your guestlist should depend on the industry you’re entering. The launch of a new fashion brand would ideally be attended by models, designers and photographers. But such clientele might be less suited to a party launching a new insurance firm. An on-brand guestlist is going to create the right impression, and will make sure your business starts out by moving in the right circles. An events planner will also help you choose the right venue to suit your guestlist – whether that’s a bar, a conference room or a stately home.
If you’re looking to operate locally, prioritise inviting local businesses and nearby companies that you might want to work with or alongside. Being welcoming is sure to win you favour. Working on a national or global scale will require you to cast your net a little wider, but you should be just as selective with your invitees.
- Offering samples
If your startup produces a product, offering samples at the launch party or as a take-away gift can be a great way to get some initial feedback. If you provide a service, branded merchandise giveaways, like a T-shirt baring your company name, can be another way to raise brand awareness.
If you don’t have the funding for freebies, then a little business acumen can tide you over. For instance, entrepreneur Francis Arden was highly resourceful when organising the launch party for his startup modeling agency. He made sure that the costs for the event were in fact covered by sponsors.
But if your launch party is going to take place on a humble scale, there’s no reason you can’t sell your product rather than offering it for free. Just remember that short-term costs can result in long-term gains.
- Getting sign ups
It’s important that your guests don’t cease to engage with your startup as soon as they stagger home from the launch. That’s why it can be a good idea to encourage your attendees to sign up for a newsletter or a special offer as they arrive at or leave the party.
You can even use the opportunity to conduct some valuable research. Asking guests to fill out a questionnaire will help you to build up an initial mailing list and sample audience. This can be invaluable for your online advertising; whether through Facebook or Google Adwords, any pay-per-click campaign using real persons and data will be vastly more effective.
A launch party is the ultimate combination of business and pleasure. Organisation, research and confidence are the key ingredients to hosting a bash with the potential to skyrocket your startup.