You’ve been building your business for months … or years. And the day is finally here when you can tell the world about your project. A grand opening or launch party is a great way to tell the public about your brand, get your name out there, meet new customers and celebrate your team’s hard work that led to this important accomplishment.
Hosting a grand opening or launch party is no small feat. From choosing a venue to inviting guests, ordering promotional clothing and materials, the to-do list is lengthy. Before you blow up the balloons and roll out the red carpet, read our top 10 tips for success.
1 Define Your Objective
A grand opening or launch party is likely an important detail in your marketing plan. A party is a perfect opportunity to raise awareness about your product or company’s existence. But before you start opening up your wallet, you should first determine what you want to get out of your launch party or grand opening. Are you looking to educate potential customers about your new product? Raise funds? Build an email list? Create local buzz? Determining your objective will help you make the tough decisions when it comes to planning how much to spend on each area of your party. Do you need to host your event in a cool venue or offer an unforgettable experience to your guests? Or do you need to spend money on free samples, coupons, giveaways and prizes?
2 Pick a Safe Date
When selecting a date for your launch party or grand opening celebration, be sure that your date doesn’t conflict with other major events or a busy holiday time.
3 Give People a Reason to Go
From free or heavily discounted products to taste tests, prizes and more, you’ll need to give people a reason to attend your event. Tell people what they’ll receive when they attend. Will you have an open bar, a DJ? Giving your guests a little incentive is a great way to get them through the door.
4 Organize a Stunt
A publicity stunt is a great way to attract media attention to your grand opening. One of our clients, OKO Bagels in Oakville, staged a picket line in front of their shop. Signs read “I’m Nothing Without Bagels” and “Bagels Over Donuts” demonstrated love of the bagel. The stunt attracted the attention of passersby, and also the press.
5 Invite the Right People
Your launch party or grand opening is a great way to begin building relationships with your community.
Be sure to invite not only your customers, but suppliers, investors, local influencers and media. Be sure to give people enough notice about your event. Consider inviting a local political representative to do the ribbon cutting. These type of photos typically end up in the local paper and can deliver some great PR for your new business.
6 Hire Help
As the host of your grand opening or launch party, your job is to connect with every individual who walks in the door. But if you’re also bartending, taking photos and running the door, you’ll quickly find yourself pulled in too many directions that you won’t be able to effectively service all of your guests. While it can be a challenge when bootstrapping to spend money on extra hands, the cost to your reputation if you don’t might be worth it.
7 Arrive Early
If your event starts at 6pm, be sure to ask a few friends to come to the party early so that if prospective clients, media or suppliers show up right on time, they aren’t the first ones there. An empty room can leave a poor first impression.
8 Create a Unique Hashtag for the Event
Encourage your attendees to post their photos of the event by giving them a hashtag to use. You can even hold a contest for the best post.
9 Don’t Forget the Swag
Send your guests away with a custom souvenir or promotional giveaway to remind them of your company and your event. The more creative your giveaway, the more they will remember you. A custom t-shirt is a great fun reminder of your company, plus, when your guests wear their shirt printed with your logo on it around town, they’ll be promoting your brand for you for FREE!
10 Collect Information
Use your grand opening or launch party to gather information about your guests. They were interested enough to come to your event, these early adopters are who you want to share your upcoming news with. Consider hosting a raffle to collect individuals’ names and email addresses or ask them to sign up for your newsletter in order to enter a draw to win a prize pack.