11 Steps to Throwing a Successful Launch Party 🚀🎉

Splore
7 min readMay 24, 2016

What do you get when you combine delicious food, bottomless margaritas, and a whole lot of art on Cinco de Mayo? You get yourself a Splore Launch Party.

We celebrated the official launch of the Splore app the only way we knew how, with good people, good vibes, and good art. Throwing a launch party requires extensive preparation and a dedicated team, but the process doesn’t have to be back-breaking. We, at Splore, got you covered. Here are 11 steps to throwing a successful launch party for your startup and/or app.

1. Location, Location, Location!

DJ sets up for Splore Launch Party. 5/5/16

The saying does not just apply to real estate. Location is essential when throwing a launch party. The party should be in a central area that is accessible to your target crowd and it helps if the location is a bit quirky. We chose the G2 Art Gallery in Venice beach because Venice is known for being one of the premiere art centers in Los Angeles. Our target audience for Splore are artists and photographers and what better way to attract that crowd than to throw a party at an art gallery in a city big on art and photography? Also, let’s be real, saying that you went to an art gallery for a launch party sounds totally worthy of bragging rights

2. “But I always say, one’s company, two’s a crowd, and three’s a party” — Andy Warhol

Guests at Splore Launch Party. 5/5/16

In the words of the art master himself, a party begins at three people. If you are planning to have a little more than three people at your startup or app’s launch party (we recommend that you do), there must be space to accommodate all those extra individuals. The venue should be large enough so everyone has enough room to move about and communicate, but not so large that there are empty spaces or rooms. At our launch party, the venue was a relatively good size to accommodate 200 people. Although, the room with the bar and art became increasingly crowded as the night went on and more people continued to pour in (severely outnumbering the 200 we had planned for), everyone still had a blast. We could have fared better with a more open concept space, but we worked with what we had and it was successful.

Lesson learned: It is better to underestimate the number of attendees than to overestimate.

3. Channel your inner cookie monster

Food is key to any successful party

A good way to start thinking about food and desserts for your launch party is to ask yourself, “What would my inner cookie monster want?” Free food and desserts are the key to people’s hearts and, unsurprisingly, many attendees will show up to the party just for the free food. We, at Splore, consider ourselves foodies and spent quite a bit of time and energy deciding what kind of food and desserts to have at our launch party. After some heated debates and broken hearts, we decided to go with food that does not need to remain hot and is easy to pick up and eat. Cold finger sandwiches and skewers are examples of good food options because they are quick and clean. Cheese and crackers are always a good combination to have for quick bites, but choose cheeses that are not too smelly, otherwise your venue will smell like lukewarm bleu cheese.

Desserts are also essential to satisfy the masses of sweet teeth at your event. Again, it is essential that these desserts that are easy to eat in one bite are definitely recommended like individual sized doughnuts and cookies (cookie monster would be proud).

Pro tip: In general, it is nice to sponsor local restaurants and bakeries in your event because it helps integrate you into the community and you can get some good food at a serious discount. If you can afford it and your venue is outdoors, go with a food truck. Food trucks are always a great way to draw a crowd.

4. Bottomless margs makes the heart happy

I cannot stress this enough: make sure you have enough alcohol if you are providing it at your event! If you promise free, bottomless, drinks, you have to meet that hefty promise. The quickest buzz kill (pun intended) at a party is when the bar runs out of drinks.

Pro tip: Have a separate station for people to grab beers, waters and non-alcoholic drinks so they do not have to wait in the cocktail line.

Lesson learned: Having more than one bartender for a big event is essential! It is not fun for people to wait in a long line to get their drinks.

5. DJ, spin that track

Professor Moses spinning at Splore Launch Party. 5/5/16

Having a carefree, upbeat atmosphere is vital for a launch event. There is nothing more instantly satisfying than hearing catchy music at a party that makes you want to dance. The music sets the mood for the entire event and you want to have music that keeps people satisfied. Having a live DJ is definitely recommended and encouraged. We loved having Professor Moses entertain our guests for the night.

6. Get your brand out there

Intern Annie promoting the Splore brand. 5/5/16

One of the most unexpected benefits at our launch party was having a robust promotional table. This table did not only have promotional items for Splore, it also featured promotional items for the artists that were showcasing their work at the event, and any partners that helped us throw the launch party. Again, people love getting free stuff, so why not take advantage of that opportunity? For an app start up, having some sort of sticker and/or phone screen cleaner is a great idea. Have a person at the promotional table that is sociable and can speak positively about your app. Remember, the people behind the table are essentially selling your app or startup, so it pays to have someone who knows what they are talking about. This is the perfect opportunity to market your app and encourage people to download it.

7. Ruffle up some competitive feathers with a killer raffle

Raffles are always a fun and easy addition to any event. Again, people like free stuff!

I’m sensing a theme here. Raffle off some unique items, preferably some items that are related to your app or start up.

Pro tip: Contact local businesses and ask if you can partner with them for the event. That way, you can have one of their items raffled off in the event and gives you a more robust raffle. It gives them publicity, they are more likely to help you in future events and sponsor your own items and, most importantly, it makes your attendees happy. Win win win win.

8. Vogue

Guests pose for a picture at the photo station. 5/5/16

Photo banners are fun marketing opportunities at a launch party event. There is something so enticing about taking pictures in front of a backdrop that makes people feel like a celebrity. Once the photos are posted on Facebook or Instagram, it becomes an instant publicity tool.

Pro tip: Find a professional photographer to document the event so you are not left with blurry iPhone selfies circulating the internet.

9. D.I.Y. Snapchat Filters

Our own Snapchat Geofilter “Cinco De Sploro” used at the launch party. 5/5/16

Yes, you can create your own snapchat filter. Yes, it is everything you ever dreamed of and more. Visit the Snapchat Geofilters info page to learn how to make your own.

10. #Hashtags

Create a hashtag (or 3) you can use to promote the event on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. It helps if the hashtags are unique and related to your app. The ones we used for the event were: #DiscoverSplore #CincoDeSploro. These were effective because they directly referenced the app and the date of the event itself.

11. lt’s all about networking

Co-Founders Chris Karimian and Samy Abbas pose with JJ Marketing team, Ambar Januel + CJ Johnson. 5/5/16

Sponsorships and partners are a great way to reduce the cost of your event and improve your brand image. This is also a great opportunity to develop good relationships with other brands and encourage them to promote your app. Who knows, later on, those partners may come to you for an event they throw in the future. Our amazing partners for the event were:

We are going to take this time to spotlight our amazing artists that featured their talent at our event. We encourage you to check out their work:

  • Ann McFerran
  • Dylan Jong
  • Chris Rivera
  • Planet Winter
  • Mike Serobyan
  • Evanimal
  • Jasmine Karamzadeh
  • Rebecca Heinicke

Written by Niki Hashemi. May 23, 2016.

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