A launch party is a fantastic tool to create buzz for a new company, new product, or other celebratory event. Everyone from small businesses, authors, artists, musicians, and large companies can use a launch party to announce themselves to the world and invite people to celebrate in their success. It can also be a great way to make new contacts and network with guests who come to learn more about what you have to offer. Here are 5 ideas to consider when putting together a launch party.
Location, location, location! You hear it all the time in real estate – it’s just as true for hosting a party. You want a venue that will meet your needs and still be cost effective. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive venue in the area to be a great party. Hotel conference rooms are always an option, but you could also consider a restaurant with a private room (which has the benefit of built-in food and drink), a park, a theater, or other such unusual space. Depending on the size of your party, you could ask partner businesses if they have space to rent in their offices or buildings that would be appropriate as well.
We all love free things. Offer to feed people and they will come. There are multiple options for providing food for guests, depending on your venue and budget. Here are a couple of ideas:
- Catering. Having your event catered is perhaps the most stress-free option, but it doesn’t come without cost. Carefully consider your budget and get quotes from local catering companies to explore your options.
- Food trucks. If your event is outdoors or on a street that allows food trucks, you could consider booking one or two food trucks to be at your event for 2-3 hours.
- Local restaurants or vendors. Involving local businesses in your event not only supports your local economy, it can create goodwill and networking opportunities among fellow business owners. Get in touch with some local small businesses and ask if they would be willing to sponsor or contribute to your event, and offer to promote their restaurant or company at the event itself and on social media.
- Friends and family. If you’re holding a truly small event—as in, less than 50 people—then you may be able to make enough food and drink yourself and with the help of family and friends. However, think very carefully before going this route. Consider how much stress this could add to your pre-event organization, and consider how much your loved ones will actually be able to help in the days leading up to your party. If it’s going to create too much havoc, you may want to consider another option.
Giveaways or Door Prizes
Who doesn’t like to win a prize? Especially if it’s something useful, fun, or unique. A popular door prize is Amazon gift cards, or gift cards in general. However, you can also give away free tickets to an event, coupons or discounts for a product or service, centerpieces, or items from partners and sponsors who have volunteered something for the occasion. I encourage you to think creatively with door prizes, as it’s a great opportunity to provide something memorable or fun.
Provide a backdrop or banner for guests to take pictures in front of. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Depending on the size, you can get a relatively inexpensive banner from online print sites like Vistaprint, some of which will provide designs that you can use. Guests can take pictures of themselves with your product, with other guests, etc., and post their photos on social media. Ask guests to tag you in their posts or use a hashtag to help spread the word about your event.
You may even want to hire a professional photographer for an hour or two to take photos so you have quality images to share on your company’s website or social media. Combined with your guests’ photos, you’ll have a comprehensive view of your event that you can share.
The most important tip: Be you. Be genuine. People are there to learn more about you and celebrate you. Host an event that showcases your business, your product, or your brand, and let people get to know you in a fun, low-key way. It’s tempting to try to go over the top with a fancy party, expensive catering or location, or swanky prizes. But if that’s not your brand, it’s likely going to fall flat.