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Your company is just about to open its doors to the public - an exciting and nerve-wracking introduction of your baby to the world! All your hard work, time, and financial investment is about to be tested and judged by the public. What could happen?

Maybe you imagine a line-up out the door, a batch of for-sure regulars raving about your company, sporting t-shirts with your branding on it. Or… perhaps the more sinister and anxious side of you fills your mind with images of terrible Yelp reviews, an angry and unsatisfied customer using multiple accounts to hate-tweet you, people shaking their fists at your doorstep.

But, what if the reality is… nothing? It’s true for many businesses - you launch, you open your doors, but no one comes. At least the hate-tweets you were panicking about would have provided free press. So, how do you prevent a bust grand opening from happening?

Well, you can’t expect people to know you exist if you don’t tell them. This is especially true for larger cities where you are in the thick of the competitive space. To draw in the crowd you need a launch event, of course!

Planning an event that aligns with the needs and interests of your customer persona or target market guaruntees a successful launch party.

1. Your launch event does not need to be expensive
Potential clients appreciate free things, and will often step out of the comfort their homes for them. Are you opening a coffee shop? Offer a tasting. Sample your coffees and pastries - you don’t need to provide full meals, a teaser is perfect in these situations. Are you a new photography studio? Let the first few clients receive one portrait for free (and encourage them to share it across social media, of course). Don’t have a physical item to give your clients? Then provide a gift card or discount card for your service to the first 100 individuals. Think of what you can offer - you don’t need to purchase swag, host at a fancy venue, or give away your life’s work. It's the little things!

2. Your launch event needs to align with your target market and persona(s)
Who is your target market? Are they young students, older business owners, stay-at-home parents, or sports enthusiasts? You need to understand your target market, as you cannot offer these two groups the same type of event. Cater to your audience’s needs to get potential clients through the door.

3. Your launch event needs to secure those guests - don’t let them just click “attending,” make them want to attend
Many individuals passively click attend to free events on social media (whether through Facebook, EventBrite, or other means) and honestly aren’t going to go. What are you offering to your guests to get them to attend? Are the RSVPs filling up fast? Are you offering freebies? Let them know and keep them enticed!

4. Go crazy on social media
It’s important to make sure your list of attendees understands how appreciated they are. Prior to the event, add them to your social media channels and let them know that you are so excited to meet them at your event. During your event, take pictures to post (with permission), and ensure you tag people’s social media handles. Give them the attention online that you want back.

5. Don't forget the follow-up work!
Don’t just follow up on social media - get even more personal. E-mail your attendees individually to thank them for coming, and consider offering them an e-gift certificate for their next visit (and let them share that offer with friends and family). Keep them interested in the conversation surrounding your business by making them feel involved in it. Remind them what a huge part of the launch success they were to you.

Posted by Samantha Lloyd

Samantha is the co-founder and CEO of DevoKit. When she isn't busy running around like an overly-organized and well-prepared chicken with its head cut off, she can be spotted reading the Harry Potter series for the umpteenth time or pretending to have opinions about wine and cheese pairings (all cheese goes with all wine, let's be honest). Her goal is to encourage other women to explore their interests in technology and engineering fields.

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