Lately I’ve been head over heels in event planning mode, not just for myself but for my employer as well. I’m strategically planning four events at one time. One being my personal launch party, details coming soon… AND the other three are community events for my company. I’m going to focus on my party at the moment to try and get my point across. I’m in the process of planning a launch party, lately I’ve seen and received many invitations to attend launch parties, whether it’s a new service, product, business or brand being launched! Many of these invitations are set up on an online event platform and have a cost attached to them. I personally don’t think there should be a cost attached to it. Why should I pay to come to your launch party? What am I getting for my money? Are the proceeds benefiting a particular cause? Aside from you promoting yourself, will there be food, open bar, swag or a celebrity speaker? Even with some of my questions I feel they should be complimentary at a launch party.
Now, in my mind if I am launching something new and fresh I want it to be publicized, I want media and potential clients to attend along with colleagues, friends and family. I’ll plan a press release strategy to get all local and national press outlets in the loop. I’ll design Evites and printed invitations to the event and send them out to people on my guest list but, I am NOT going to charge you to come to my launch party. Planning an event takes time; you need a budget, a vision, and what you hope to gain from hosting a launch party. I personally want a great turnout for my party and to be able to share information, showcase a new project, gain clients and have my guest’s network and connect with one another in a laid back but, classy atmosphere. I plan on having swag, there will be a cash bar and my venue doesn’t allow food but, I’m trying to work something out to be able to at least bring in light h’orderves.
If you have a small budget then you can try to trade or barter with people or businesses where it makes sense to cut costs. If you can guarantee the venue a particular headcount maybe they’ll give you the venue at no cost on a slow night because you’ll be bringing people into their establishment and they can potentially bring in decent revenue for that evening vs. not hosting an event and it being just another slow night. Also let them know that their business will be mentioned in all promotional and advertising materials. Try to pitch for sponsorship or to get an investor to help with the event costs and advertising. This will allow you to plan a great party and invite everyone on your list without having to attach a cost to it to help pay for the event or recoup the money you put into the event, budgeting is essential! Now if there is an organization involved that is benefiting from the proceeds of the event tickets well, that needs to be disclosed on the invitation and in all press kits. Otherwise I still see no reason to charge for a launch party.
You want to give your guests a reason to attend, whether it is a free consultation, or discount offered on your products or services. Themed parties are very popular, have a theme and stick to it throughout your planning process and at the event itself. Stay true to your brand; and potential sponsors will be motivated to help and participate if it makes sense to them and they’re a good fit. You can also look into virtual launch parties if that might work better for your brand, business, product or service. Now, I plan events all the time and some of them do have costs attached to them but, NEVER with launch parties! Most launch parties I’ve attended were FREE. Showcase your product or services and make it available to attendees but, don’t sell your launch party ticket? What are your thoughts on this? I want to know…