There’s nothing better you can do for your brand than to have a kick-arse, highly memorable and extremely effective launch party. Everything’s on brand, people love it, your customers and potential customers love it and people walk away thinking – I’ve got to tell 5 other people about this. Excellent! That’s what we want. But how do you do it? Last month we sat down with Jan Hill of La Fête Weddings & Events to chat all about her best tips for how to elevate your launch parties. If you’ve got a business, podcast, album, app, book, etc. to launch, you’ll definitely want in on these tips! You can watch the full episode below and also glance over the tips beneath that:
ESTABLISH YOUR LAUNCH PARTY GOAL: The goal, as Jan puts it, is to get your brand out there! It’s awareness! We’re creating awareness here. Jan says you want to make sure that your brand stands out no matter what. Some practical ways to do that:
- Printed Items (Promotional Items, Literature / Hand-outs, Cocktail Napkins, etc.)
- Signage all over the venue
- Decals: put temporary decals on the front of a custom bar
KNOW WHO YOUR TARGET CLIENT IS: In order to set the proper standard for expectations for your launch event, you need to start with your target client. Your target invitee. When you’re starting your business, you need to identify who your target audience is, who your target clients are, and based on that, you’ll be able to identify how you should market your business, what your brand needs to look like and what types of events you’ll need to do. That helps you set a standard for yourself and your business and that standard needs to get carried through from the first piece of marketing to the types of events you put on, etc.
ALIGN YOUR VISION FOR YOUR LAUNCH PARTY: You need to align your vision for your party with your vision for your business (or product, app, book, etc). You don’t need competing visions! This is a team effort and everything has to work together: the venue where you’re hosting the launch party, the decor, the types of food you provide, the takeaways. All of those need to be on the same level so that your brand is represented well.
Lay out your vision, do a floorplan, come up with design examples so that everyone can make sure they’re on the same page and everyone knows exactly what you’re looking for and how to execute to that.
TYPES OF LAUNCH PARTIES:
- Online: Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Periscope, etc.
- Soft Launch
- Intimate Launch Party for VIP’ers
GET YOUR LAUNCH PARTY ON BRAND: How do you incorporate your color schemes, logo, etc. into the look and feel of your event? “Have your brand everywhere at your event,” Jan recommends. That begins with the marketing and promotion of your event. Things to brand or have professionally designed:
- Your invitation
- The website / landing page for the event
- Post-event follow-up materials / communications
- Infuse your brand’s color scheme throughout the event: make sure your brand and logo pop!
- Your favors you give away: water bottles, etc.
The keys to this: (1) keep everything on trend and aligned with your logo and (2) show that you made an effort. Make people feel special.
BUDGET CONSIDERATIONS FOR YOUR LAUNCH PARTY: No matter what you do, make sure that your event matches the expectations you set for your guests through your communications and invitations. The level of quality you set in your communications needs to match up with the level of quality of the event you’re actually putting on.
- Marketing Team
- Photography / Videography
- Venue: very important, make sure it’s appropriate for your launch
- Vendor Team: set a target goal date so that everyone is on the same page with what they have to do.
- Favors / Swag Items for VIP Guests: consider a swag bag that has a few different things in there from everyone else. Maybe it’s a special item sponsors have given you, etc.
WOW FACTORS FOR YOUR LAUNCH PARTY: Speaking of color palettes, if you choose to involve secondary palette colors into your event that complement your primary brand palette, consider the time of year and the type of event you’re having. “If it’s a summer or spring-themed event,” Jan says, “use more pastels or more flowers.” One cool trend Jan loves: Boxwood walls. A Boxwood wall is a greenery wall that you can put your logo or signage on. Makes for a great backdrop at your event! Here’s an awesome example of a Boxwood Wall by Etablir Vintage Event Rentals in Walnut, CA. As you can see – you can add paper flowers to it or live flowers to dress it up – depending on the feel for your event. Wooden signage is also a nice accent for Boxwood Walls. Jan put on an event once where the accent word “Dream” was added to a Boxwood Wall. We love it!
THROW AN ONLINE LAUNCH PARTY: Do a Facebook live! Just make sure your background shown in the video and all the elements (your attire, any other participant’s attire, etc) are all on brand and flow with the look and feel you want to present to the world. Keep it on time, consider your audio (have appropriate mic equipment on hand to use), your lighting (very important) and your Wi-Fi (so you can stream well without interruption for your guests). Hype it up with communications and promotions of the “party” online – via e-mail, social media, etc. – and then follow-up your broadcast by boosting the post to your target audience, asking people to sign up for an email list, etc.
FOR VIP LAUNCH PARTIES: Consider the people that you want to know about your product. Maybe they’re influencers that are big on social media and have a lot of followers. For example, if you have a beauty product to launch, there are plenty of beauty bloggers that people follow – YouTubers, Vloggers, people who have huge followings on Instagram and Facebook. Invite those influencers out. Make your list of those VIP’s, make those connections, grab their attention with a really creative invitation. Narrow your list down and focus on the people you really want to invite to this. That keeps your costs down and ensures you can make it a quality event for those who attend.
FOR LARGE LAUNCH PARTIES: Consider having a VIP-reception an hour before everyone else comes – that way you have time to really speak to these individuals, grab their attention, talk to them about your service, your product, your book, etc. Get that time in with your target audience that you care about the most.
GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR LAUNCH PARTY INVITATIONS: Your invitations and pre-event communications set the tone for your event – and tone is extremely important. It’s your first touch-point with people about your brand. Jan did an invitation once for a DJ that was very high-tech (and high dollar) but it worked and got the point across! A DJ wanted to do a Client Appreciation Party a few years ago for both current and potential clients. The invitation looked like an acrylic mirror box and instead of it just having the information printed on there, when the invitation was opened, you could press a button and you would hear music coming out of these headphones that were on the invitation and his voice was actually speaking, inviting you to his event. Since it was an exclusive, VIP-invite event, even though the invitation was pricier than your typical printed invite (or electronic), he didn’t have to buy too many of them because it was a small audience. So that made it cool and still inside his budget to do. “Do something different that will catch people’s eye and make them interested in coming to your event!” Jan says.
LAUNCH PARTY FOOD: The time of day does matter. If you’re inviting people at noon, they’re going to expect lunch. If you’re inviting them around six or seven, that’s dinner time so you don’t want everyone walking around starving.
LEVERAGE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS: Use your relationships to elevate your business. Establish partnerships with vendors and other people that are wanting to elevate along with you – that’s an opportunity for them as well!
POST-LAUNCH PARTY FOLLOW-UP: For those who couldn’t make it to your event (especially your VIP’ers), tell them “Sorry you couldn’t make it, but I’d love to share this with you…” – and offer them a discount towards your product, a free trial or some other offer to begin building that relationship. For those who did attend, make sure you extend a thank-you. Invite them to join your email list if they haven’t already. Consider the appropriate next steps for them as it relates to your business efforts and map out a communication plan that fosters a good relationship with your new customer.
What tips do you have? What tips do you love the most? Let us know!
ADS CHAT 008 PARTICIPANTS:
Andrea D. Smith, The ADS Agency
Marketing & Branding Tips for Entrepreneurs & Career Professionals
ABOUT JAN: La Fête means “to celebrate” in French (think festive, festivities). Jan Hill is the owner of La Fête Weddings & Events. A native of Greenville, SC, she’s a proud SC State Alumni (a.k.a. a Bulldog) and a lovely member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.