Even if you have your app ready, there might be some promotional activities that you would need to be engaged in so that you can spread the word about it! There are many ways to do it including email marketing, content marketing, digital marketing or advertising, but more than 30% of the marketers still believe that hosting a launch event brings in more effective results than any of these other strategies for promotion.
However, what you mustn’t forget is that planning the event would take months of planning and a considerable amount of money and that still wouldn’t ensure a successful event. Let’s begin, therefore with an unbiased assessment to figure out whether your app really does need it. We are listing out a set of three questions for you to ponder on and if your answer to all these three is ‘yes’, an app launch event is a cracking idea for you!
1. Is your business regularly engaging customers?
When you host an app launch event you are hoping that it will introduce the app and would boost the image of the company and brand name. This would in fact work very well for a well-established brand. But for a business that hasn’t yet managed to gain popularity, it might become more of a challenge to attract a crowd to the event. It is possible that a lot of people commit at the initial level, but it is not improbable that they decide to back out at the later stages or even at the last minute. The experts in the event organization or management industry follow an estimate of about 50% people dropping out for a free event. It is therefore important that you capture the attention of your target customers before you begin planning your event. This attention can only be garnered through regular engagement with the customers.
Let us consider the following two scenarios to understand this question better. In the first scenario imagine that you have a popular take-out or home delivery food joint with a great market share and have been delivering delicious food in record time for all your customers. Even though you have a great number of customers, you probably have never spoken to any of them for longer than absolutely necessary. This essentially means that you don’t really have a relationship with your customers. In the second scenario consider an ice-cream parlour where you have a lot of locals coming in, chit-chatting with you and your staff as they decide which flavour they want to buy today. You have trained your staff to offer personalised service to everyone and you probably know a great number of people by their name and almost every regular by face. You have been active on the social media and have attracted a good customer base by engaging them in some contest or promotion.
If you are in a scenario like the first one, hosting an app launch party might not really bring in much for you. You might not even be able to convince many people to attend the event since you don’t really have a relationship with them to speak of! However, if yours is a scenario similar to the second one, you must explore the opportunity of an app launch event for the promotion of your brand new app!
2. Are your pockets deep enough and do you have the manpower for it?
For a decent app launch you might be looking at a budget of somewhere around $5000 – $8000. The expenses that a typical launch event would entail include the following:
- Venue rental
- The Food & Beverage
- Any additional equipment
- Tips for the servers
- Materials for promotion
- Internal resources
These costs, for some of the companies might not fit in to their marketing budgets. One great way to lower the expenses is to look for sponsors and launch partners who would be willing to cover some of the expenses in exchange of marketing or branding. This might have a flip side to it as it may take the focus away from your own brand. Another point that you mustn’t overlook is that even after the launch is over, there needs to be money left to conduct marketing activities in order to keep your app on the top the minds of your customers. Once the event is over, you still need to consistently follow it up, or else the event won’t really be successful. You need to set this budget aside too!
Apart from the money, you’d also need the muscle for it. Apart from the money, you would need human resources like in-house staff, freelancers or vendors to handle all the above tasks as well. Especially promotion of the event is an important task which would need to be initiated months ahead of the event. In case you outsource all this to an outside agency, make sure that you are aware of the charges that might entail.
3. Would your app generate revenue for you?
If your app is going to bring in some kind of money for you, then your financial health is good enough for you to host the event. In case the app was created only for the convenience of your customers, take a beat to think whether you want to do this or not. If your app is only going to be a medium to connect with the customers and not allow them to buy anything then it is definitely not a great idea to host a whole event for its launch. However, if you have an app that would help you get bookings for your business or let people make their purchases through it, then it is definitely going to be a big revenue stream for your business. In this scenario it is a good idea to host an event because the cost is going to be recovered through this surge in revenue.
Now that you are sure it is a good idea to host a launch event for your app, what are you going to do, where are you going to begin, and what would make your event a success? Here are some tried and tested tips to help you out with the planning and hosting of this event!
1. Set a clear & measurable event objective
This is a point that is oft overlooked but is of great importance and value. When you have clearly defined event objectives in front of you, it helps you identify the success criteria once the party is over. Your event objective may be anything from ‘increasing the number of your yearly events by 15%’, to ‘increasing sales by 30% at the end of the event’, to ‘lay the foundation of an ongoing relationship with three new media outlets who would write pieces about you in future.
2. Set a budget
It is very easy to go overboard in the process of planning an event launch, hence it is important that you have a line item for everything that would feature in your budget. When you have a clear and detailed budget, the event proceeds in a planned fashion and the risk of things going out of hand is minimised.
3. Find yourself a unique event venue
Location is one of the most important factors whether it is real estate or the venue of your launch! Find a unique venue that would make your event memorable while still staying true to the image of your app and brand image and personality. However, one critical factor is that the venue be accessible and easy to reach. When you have a unique venue for your event, you are essentially making it an exclusive little gathering.
4. Know who you should invite & create strong client relationships
When you are hosting an app launch party, it is an iconic moment and a milestone for your business and of course you would want your friends and family there. But do not lose focus and fail to invite those that fall in the suitable target market. Think long term and figure out the people that you would want to work with and send them an invite when you plan your event. This would help you establish stronger relationship with the suitable clients.
5. Let it be an exclusive event
When your event is an exclusive one, the curiosity levels are higher and the attendance too is going to be higher. Mention on the invite that the event is by invite only and that you would need to carry it with you so that your name is checked off the invite list. Everyone wants to feel special and when entry is for select few, those few are going to make it to the event for sure!
6. Create a thoughtful goodie bag in line with your brand philosophy & image
Don’t be a cheapskate, spare some thoughts and loosen your purse-strings a little when you select the giveaway. Don’t just create a goodie bag with the standard run of the mill pens, T-shirts and tote bags or folders. Go an extra mile and create a small care package with a branded wine bottle or branded personal care cosmetics or skin care products. Pick out a product that is memorable and reflects your business, product or service and attach a specially designed brand sticker.
7. Send out media invites
It is important that the media is aware of your brand, your business, and your app. Make sure that media personnel including relevant bloggers are invited to the event. It would help you increase brand awareness, app awareness, and would help create a brand recall in the media fraternity as well. In the invite, make sure that you include a page of media advisory including the who, what, when, and why of your event.
8. Hire event planners or other help for the event
There are thousands of mundane details that need to be looked into when planning the event and on the day of the event. However, if you and your valuable human resources are engaged with these details, your focus might shift from your guests and the fact that you should be drumming up your business (which is the whole point why you are doing this!). The hired agency or team should reflect your brand, in addition to meeting your event needs and company values.
9. Good Food, Great Wine
It’s hard to resist and fight good food, and when it is paired with the right kind of alcohol, be it margaritas, wine, or the bubbly, the combination might melt many a hard heart. Plan what you are going to serve according to the duration of the event, the temperature of the surrounding, and the space. And one more thing that we can’t emphasize enough is to have enough to last for the entire duration. It is off putting if you run out of food or booze before your event is over. If you need a bartender or server, make sure that you have multiple and not just rely on one and make the guests wait in line for their food or beverage.
10. Engage social media
This is a world where social media reigns supreme and whether you design a special D.I.Y. snapchat filter or use hashtags, get your event out there in the digital world. Use hashtags well and share your event on Facebook and twitter. Make the hashtags unique, relatable, and let them reflect your brand and a little bit about the event maybe.
However, if you are reconsidering the whole launch event thing, there are a lot many more options for you to choose from, when it comes to promoting your app in a more direct manner.
1. Bring on the influencers
In your market find the prominent influencers and develop strong relationships with them. Keep them in the loop as you go developing your app and let them know that you would be open to sponsoring them in exchange for promoting your app to their followers.
2. Use the blog
If you have a blog that has a decent followership, use it well. Write a blog post about the app that you are going to release and share it on all your social media accounts. Promote this blog digitally in the best way you can and raise awareness about your upcoming app.
3. Use your brick and mortar establishment to announce your app
If your business is being run currently through a brick and mortar store, use this space to promote your new app. Post stickers on your walls or windows with QR codes for your app. Print and distribute flyers and visiting cards with the QR codes that the customers can use the direct download link to your app and install it on their devices.
4. Multiple Pop-up launches
It might be a good idea for some people and certain businesses to host several launch events on a smaller scale in various locations instead of one big event. This might be as small as a booth for you and your team where you would offer food and drinks to people and have fun letting them know about your app.
5. Host an open bar
You can collaborate with a bar, pub, or club in the area and host an open bar there. Put up standees or banners with your QR code stickers. The people who download your app get free drinks.
There are some definite advantages of hosting an app launch party, but it is definitely not for everyone. Hence if you plan to host one, take some time, step back, and assess whether it is the best thing to do for you as of now. Take a look at your market share, brand impact, brand recall, marketing budget, app type, and other such factors before deciding which would be the best way for you and your business to go.