After all the hours of sweating over design details, tweaking, and perfecting, your product–your baby– is ready to launch. The hard part is over! Wait, but is it? Well, maybe the biggest part of your project is over, but making sure everyone knows about and loves it is a whole other project.
This isn’t your average cocktail party or trade show, though. It’s not just about marketing or showing potential clients a good time (don’t get us wrong, that’s definitely part of it, if not the best part). You might know the basics of how to do this, but do you know how to perfect it? There are some specific points that need to be considered to make your launch party a highly effective event. We’ll consider 12.
- Know your target audience. Oh, this again. That’s like, Marketing 101. And it’s one of the basics for good reason—it’s a must. Yea we know that sending out launch invites to the planet seems like a smart idea math ratio-wise, but experts and evidence are firmly in the camp of focusing on a more specific audience. Investing in relationships with attendees who are more than merely curious or looking for a free buffet has oodles of value—it builds brand loyalty, a marketing side effect that can take on a wonderful life of its own.
You can’t create an event to please everyone (well, at least not do it well without diluting the purpose and creating a confusing mish-mash of a party). Zero in on your target audience and create a launch that appeals specifically to them.
Depending on your industry and product, you can also make this an opportunity to connect with the community. People love hard-working people that are just like them and often like to support local entrepreneurs who can provide something solid.
- Create buzz and anticipation. If you launch it, they will come. But only if they are dying to see it for themselves first. You can take a cue from Apple, a company who is kind of a master of mystery when it comes to this. They create so much hype before an announcement and since no one has any idea what it will be, everyone is holding their breath waiting for them to say or launch the next thing.
Chances are, your company isn’t as big as Apple and you don’t have the same volume in following. But the fundamentals are the same—get the media and the public excited about what you have coming up. Some ways to do this? Come up with a killer social media strategy, get bloggers and vloggers involved, do an email blitz, do a press release with all the details, get the local media involved, have a contest for free tickets to your event.
- Location, location, location. It’s not just finding a suitable sized venue, there are other things to consider here, and a lot depends on the size of your launch, your product, and your intended audience. Think about whether you want to draw people with a unique venue, a location where people want to go and stay (like a mini-vacay), a venue that appeals to your local demographic (in that case you may not want to ask people to travel too far), a venue that is linked to your industry? Put some real thought into it—the location/venue could be a deal-breaker or maker for attendees.
- Do your theme right. Of course, it would be fun to throw a Game of Thrones or Star Wars themed event, who wouldn’t love that? But does it have anything remotely to do with your product? Your industry? Can you find the 7th degree of connection to your industry? If not, you’re headed in the wrong direction. Your launch party isn’t just a fun event for your friends, it has to have a point. A profession-related one. Or at least be able to integrate a relatable theme. For example, you can do a Treasure Hunt theme and hide “Easter eggs” that relate to your product. Time to get creative.
- Make the atmosphere memorable. It might be a work-related event, but it doesn’t need to feel like it. Most buyers and sellers wouldn’t mind a break from the work routine and atmosphere is everything. It’s going to set the mood the moment anyone walks up to your event. The thing is, how you create the right atmosphere for you? Is it going to be a hot rager or elegant and sophisticated? Casual and fun? Mingle or dancing? Comedian or magician? There’s a boatload of choices and it’s ultimately up to you to decide (we can’t do everything for you) but you need to do you, as in let it reflect your company style.
- Activities that matter. Closely related to the theme and atmosphere are activities and entertainment you bring to your event. Like those, you want activities that relate to the theme, your brand, your product, and or your industry. You’re not just there entertain but educate and sell in an entertaining way. See here for some ideas that include visual storytelling and living art as ways to introduce your newly launched product.
- Mimic the feel of VIP exclusivity. Nothing makes people want something more than not being able to have it and offering something that’s hard to obtain creates a rush. That feeling of exclusivity just makes you feel so…special. Limiting product quantities (overall or per customer) so those who get it have a sense of being one of the elite or first to be in on the latest hot trend creates a demand and a buzz. Create a VIP area or offer for elite customers and let them know they made the cut with special invites. You won’t have to beg people to try your product, you’ll have made them want it bad.
- Be the standout. Sure, conformity is “safe”, but that’s because it hides you in a forest of look-alikes. Trendsetters aren’t looking for same, they are looking for something that jumps out at them in a “this is unique and will be the next hottest thing kind of way”. How do you stand out (without being unprofessional or perceived as a fly-by-night kind of operation)? Every brand is unique in some way—capitalize on your company’s one-of-a-kind-ness. Got something quirky? Be proud and flaunt it. Does your brand have a unique style? Let everyone know you’ve got what no one else has. Use these companies that are killing it with uniqueness as inspiration for your own.
- Let your product inspire. Let your launch be a vehicle for building brand loyalty. This goes a step beyond targeting the right audience, you want to help attendees to see how it benefits them. Inspire people by letting them know how you achieved your goals and help them to see how your product helps them achieve their goals. People who find benefits and can see how a product benefits them not only buy into and keep coming back for more, they tell others about it. And that’s brand loyalty, baby.
- Speak for your own product. When hosting an event, likely you are relying on event staff, industry speakers, and testimonial givers to help sell your product. But who knows more about it than you? NO one is going to pitch better and work harder for your product than you. Plan your event so that even if you don’t give a speaker-type talk, you still have plenty of freedom to mingle, network, talk in depth about the product, and answer questions.
- Don’t skimp on the details. When you’ve got a big event going, it’s tempting to think “eh, who’s gonna notice anyway” when it comes to details. Trust us, the people who need to notice will. Besides potential customers, you may have media, bloggers, vloggers, and others present whose job it is to notice everything and then tell others about it. Besides that, details help to create a whole picture of your product and company (think many grains of sand that make up a whole beach), and people often buy or commit based on what they can see, hear, touch, and/or taste.
- Let attendees get handsy. Ooo, not like that you saucy little minx. We mean to create an interactive, hands-on experience where people can try the product out for themselves. Are you more likely to be into something that you can try out and see the features for yourself? Are you more likely to buy something or find it to be a “must have” if you’re into it? Them, too.
You’ve got an amazing product and you can’t wait to share it. Take a cue from some of the giants like Google, Magento, and Moz. They didn’t get where they are by hiding their new products under a rock and hoping an internet troll found it, loved it, and told the internet world how great it is. They know that a launch party event is one of the most successful ways to unveil your latest (or even first) creation. Doing it right can be a game-changer.