Planning an Attention-Grabbing App Launch Event


Congratulations! You’ve worked so hard on developing your app, and now it’s time to spread the word about how awesome it is. There are over 13000 apps made by Australian publishers in the market today, so it’s important to get your voice heard among them. One of the best ways to stand out in this robust market is to throw an attention-grabbing launch party. To pull this off, you need careful planning and a whole lot of creativity.

An app launch event is an excellent way to showcase your app, build local buzz, and sign up your first users. To reach this goal, you need to understand the costs involved, look for the perfect location, invite the right mix of people, and serve great food. It takes considerable planning and a zealous team to stage an attention-grabbing launch party.

But don’t worry, planning a launch event doesn’t have to be scary or overwhelming. Read on to learn how to plan a rockin’ party that will be the talk of the digital world.

Should I Host an App Launch Event?

Think of your app launch event as a massive advertisement for your business. Whether you’re an established business with a new app or a promising startup, you need to get the word out to users, customers, investors, influencers, and the press. Even a tiny spark of interest in your app can spread like wildfire if you handle your event like a pro.

Meeting your target market face to face will help you build a personal relationship with them. This allows you to bring your business closer to your audience and build legitimacy and trust around your app. It gives your users a chance to ask questions and have firsthand experience using your app. If you can show your guests a great time, it will open a range of exciting opportunities – think sign-ups, partnerships, free publicity, and massive social media engagement!

Every person who shares a photo from your event will effectively be promoting your app to their entire audience. Your app’s launch is clearly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – and this article will help you make the most of it!

How Much Does an App Launch Party Cost?

The expenses involved in holding a launch event will totally depend on the size and scale you choose to run with. If you’re on a tight budget, you could make it happen cheaply, but it would take some careful planning to ensure you don’t compromise on quality.

It would be best to peg your budget for at least $5000 – $8000 or upwards, excluding salaries for you and your staff. The most strategic way of determining the costs is to estimate each element of the event, depending on what suits your needs – or if you have a set amount to work with, you may want to start there and work backwards to figure out what you can afford. We’ve broken down the budget, so you can get a ballpark figure of how much money you need to set aside.

Manpower

The biggest, yet often most overlooked, expense is your time. Expect to spend between 40 and 150 working hours making this event a reality. If you peg your rate at a minimum of $35 per hour, the total would be $1400 to $5250 for your time alone.

If this app is your passion project and you’re not drawing a wage on your labour, that’s understandable – but that doesn’t mean your time is worthless, either. If you’re working another job alongside developing your app, this may be the opportunity cost of your time versus your income-earning activities.

The more efficient your planning is, the less time and money you need to spend, but this isn’t the time to cut corners, either. If you really want to knock people’s socks off, you may even shell out for a professional event planner to take care of all the details. This may seem like an unnecessary added cost, but it can pay off in terms of event quality and freeing up your personal time.

You’ll also need to account for staff working on the night, including valets, greeters, ushers, MCs, waiters and bar staff. Your venue package may include some of these people or it may be up to you to staff your event.

Venue

The location that you choose is crucial to the success of your event. There are hundreds of events venues in Sydney, for example, that cater for events of 15 to 400 people. Prices range from $60 per head to a $5000 minimum spend per evening.

The best way to estimate venue hire costs is to get in touch with some of your favourite restaurants, bars or other locations that could work for your event. Their events staff will be able to tell you exactly what their capacity is and how much you can expect to pay.

Catering

Free food is always the fastest way to people’s hearts, and your event is no exception. You don’t need a fancy sit-down dinner or a large buffet spread to make everyone happy. Remember, people move around during parties, so be sure to serve something that’s practical. You should set aside a budget of $20 to $40 per person for finger food, or get in touch with your events caterer of choice for a reliable quote.

You may also want to serve a few alcoholic drinks to amp up your event. This will cost you about $5 per head, per hour depending on your selected beverages – but if you’re aiming to keep a lid on the costs, avoid an open bar On the other hand, if you’re aiming for maximum attendance, all-you-can-drink is a sure-fire drawcard – but be sure your budget can handle it!

Decorations

Decorations can define the atmosphere of your launch event and give it the aesthetic it needs to shine in social media real estate. If you want photos galore flooding social media, provide an irresistible backdrop (or even a photo booth).

You can either buy, rent, or order décor for your party. If you plan to buy or rent, be prepared to shell out the following:

  • Signage – $100 to $300 or more per piece
  • Lights and lanterns – $50 or more per piece
  • Centrepieces, backdrops, and other props – $40 to $200 or more per piece
  • Tables, chairs, couches, and service bar rentals – $65 to $200 per piece

If you’re looking for bespoke designs or other custom-made pieces, prepare to pay extra. However, these one-of-a-kind creations can really make or break your event.

Swags

Swags or take-home gifts are a thoughtful gesture to the guests who took time out to celebrate your work. These gifts will make them remember your brand and spark good memories of the event. The average budget for giveaways is usually $5 or more per head, but you can really choose your own budget on this one.

Entertainment

No good event is complete without entertainment. Remember, your guests need to have such a good time that they can’t help but rave about your app. Entertainment can be as simple as hiring a DJ to keep the party rocking from beginning to end.

You can hire a DJ in Sydney for around $450 for an audience of 100 people. For a larger event of 100 to 200 people, it will cost you in the realm of $650. If you aim for live music, be ready with at least $2000 for a 3-piece band.

Other entertainment ideas include:

  • Magicians: $330 – $1000
  • Roving Artists: $ 150 – $ 200
  • Dancers, Performers and Circus Acts: $ 250 – $1000
  • Comedians: $150 – $3500

What Is the Best Way to Hold an App Launch Event?

Your launch event will set the tone for your app, so it’s essential to start on the right foot. You need to drum up hype to get your audience to download and use your app. Making it seem cool and chic – or alternatively, extremely useful – is the aim of the game.

Here are tried and tested ways to hold an app launch event, from free events to the most exclusive and the ever-versatile pop-up launch

Free vs Paid Launch Events: Which Is The Better Option?

Some event organisers often shun free events, thinking that it won’t serve their purpose of drumming up interest. But as with any strategy, it has its pros and cons.

Pros of Free Launch Events

  • To reap the benefits of a free event, you need guests to register, even if they don’t actually show up to the event. This will still get you leads that can be a base for your CRM efforts.
  • There are no limitations on who can attend, so this can get you three to four times more registrations than paid events. Remember, customer data is marketing gold.
  • Free events can drive more brand awareness because people are more willing to share the information with someone else. Free stuff is always good news.
  • Not worrying about ticket sales will allow you to keep your focus on promoting your app. There’s no pressure of reaching a certain number of attendees, so there’s room to be more creative.

Cons of Free Launch Events

  • Sometimes, the leads that you get during free events are not of high quality. Since anyone can sign up, there is no guarantee they are interested in what your app has to offer. They are just there for – you’ve guessed it – free stuff.
  • You can get poor guest turn-out. Usually, only 20-25% of the total registration attend a free event. Since they have no investment, there is nothing to lose if they don’t show up.
  • There is no guarantee of any income. You will be racking up significant expenses to stage your event. Not getting any paying attendees means you will not get your ROI, or at least break even immediately after your event.
  • People already have a preconception that they will be required to make a purchase. They are already used to free events having a catch, so they avoid them like the plague.
  • For a free event without pre-registration, you won’t have an accurate number of attendees. Since you don’t have an exact number of guests to expect, your venue size and catering services might end up being disproportionate to the actual number of guests that attend.

Pros of Paid Launch Events

  • The attendance rate is high. Compared to a free event that only has an attendance rate of 25%, you can expect at least 75% of registrants to attend a paid event. Since those who registered already invested in tickets, they’re more likely to want to get their money’s worth and will think twice before skipping it.
  • You’ll get high-quality leads. People pay for pleasure when they know they’ll get value in return.
  • If people are willing to pay to attend your event, it means they are already interested in what you have to offer, so it won’t be hard to introduce them to your app.
  • Depending on how much you charge, you may be able to get some, if not all, your money back. If luck is on your side, you may even earn income from the event. Paying guests can cover expenses such as venue, catering, entertainment, and staffing which could help ease your cash flow.
  • You’ll get a more accurate attendance number in advance. This means that you can prepare your venue and supplies accordingly and have enough space (and food) for everyone.

Cons of Paid Launch Events

  • There might be fewer leads. A high attendance rate does not always mean a high registration rate. People think twice about dishing out money to pay for something they are not familiar with.
  • In today’s culture of influencers, people are already used to getting stuff for free. Therefore, a paid event may not be enticing for your target audience. While a higher percentage of registrants will attend, your overall numbers will be smaller.
  • If you’re charging for tickets, you’ll have to shell out more on the venue, decor and entertainment to ensure you’re offering value. To ensure people are willing to pay, you may even need to hire a high-profile entertainer or famous comedian, at a cost of up to $15,000.

Pop-up Launches

Pop-up launches are temporary events usually done in unique and unexpected venues.

Pros of Pop-Up Launches

  • A pop-up launch is a way of directly reaching an audience without high outgoing costs like rent and utilities. It is an excellent way of going to where your potential users are instead of waiting for them to come to you.
  • Pop-up events give you the flexibility of time and space without being confined to standard rules and regulations. It gives you greater control of the experience you want to provide your guests. For example, if you’re launching a sports-related app, you can launch the event near a stadium where a big game is happening.
  • It is a new and exciting way to break into a potential user’s routine, resulting in a relevant connection. Pop-ups provide a sense of adventure, which makes your brand more memorable. It’s also great for scoring lots of organic social media coverage!

Cons of Pop Up Launches

  • Since the set-up is not typical for an event, like a public park or a sidewalk, for example, you may have to contend with zoning and licensing issues
  • You may not have the usual amenities such as parking and restrooms. You may also need to hire extra staff to provide security and maintain the safety of the attendees and venue.
  • It is a challenge to find the perfect spot, and some people may not be open to your novel idea, especially if it has not been done before. You can end up spending too much time searching for a location, which could take focus away from the launch activity itself.
  • There’s a lot more that can go wrong with a pop-up launch, from destructive gatecrashers to a visit from law enforcement if you’re causing a disruption. Even if you do your homework, holding an unconventional event can be a risky endeavour.

Making the Most Of an App Launch Event

Here are some of the best ways to make the most of your app launch event.

Set a Measurable Objective for the Event

This first step usually sets the tone for the whole event, so don’t skip setting an objective. Veer away from generic goals such as, “to spread the word about our app”. Instead, you should aim for a specific niche and target market to get better results.

Lay out the numbers: the dates, an estimate of ROI and the number of registrants you want to get for your events. Using measurable goals can allow you to quickly evaluate your event based not only on quality but also on quantity.

Choose a Unique and Memorable Venue

Gone are the days when your only choice to hold an event is a boring hall or a generic function room. There are now unique venues that can create the buzz that you need for your launch. Think of art galleries, neighbourhood bars, museums, parks, or even an abandoned building. Make sure that your venue reflects what your app stands for.

By choosing a unique launch event venue, you can save on decorations since the place is already interesting to begin with. This means you won’t need to go all out with sprucing up the site, and you’ll be able to funnel those decorating funds into other aspects of the party, such as food or entertainment.

Launch Event Themeing to Suit Your App

When thinking of an event theme, make sure that it is related to your app or the industry it belongs to. Remember that the launch is an opportunity to showcase your product and leave a lasting memory on your guests. Therefore, your themed launch event must drum up excitement for your brand in a way that the guests can’t wait to download, use, and spread the word about the app.

The activities of the event must also revolve around the theme to complete the picture. If, for example, you are launching a dating app, you could hold a wine tasting, play romantic music, give salsa or tango lessons – anything that can inspire a search for “the one”.

The event giveaways can also be in line with the theme. So if, for example, you’re launching a digital marketing app, you can give away gift certificates for a related webinar, credits that they can use on the app, or a personalised tutorial for their business.

Invite the Right People to Your Launch Event

Your event’s guest list can make or break your launch. Aim for a perfect balance of quality and quantity. Think of people who can get the most out of being there and have a good reason for showing up. It would be great to bring a sense of exclusivity to your event by inviting valued clients. Make them feel that they belong to a select group and that you value the business they bring to your company.

Also, invite influencers that can tip the scale in your favour. Be prepared to offer them a deal based on their attendance and social media posts, whether that’s free attendance or something of value surrounding your app (eg. a membership or points). Remember that one tweet or Instagram post from a notable influencer is going to be worth a mint.

Consider also inviting people who can amplify your messages, such as journalists or those in PR. Make sure to give them a great time so they’ll put in a good word for you.

Capture Attendee Data for Your CRM

It is vital to note that one of the key reasons you’re holding the launch event is to collect data for your Client Relationship Management (CRM) system. The attendee data is a treasure trove of information waiting to be utilised for your company’s marketing, sales, and product development efforts.

One way of capturing data is to ask potential attendees to fill out registration forms. Be careful with drafting your forms, as asking for too much information may turn people off, while asking for too little may leave you with unusable data. Try to strike a perfect balance that will make both you and your attendees comfortable.

Social media monitoring is another effective way to collect data. This digital playground provides an opportunity for guests to become active members of your community. Remember to make the event hashtags visible throughout the event by including them on presentation slides, signage, swag, and other event materials. Also, encourage participation on your Facebook page through fun and relatable content.

Maximise Product Demos and Promotional Material

You only get one shot at making a good first impression, so your product demos must make an impact on your guests. Don’t just talk to your guests – get them involved and let them experience your app firsthand. Walk them through your app and let them have fun with it (and ensure that the wifi in your venue is stable for uninterrupted interaction!).

Practise the demo as many times as possible to look for potential loopholes or glitches and be prepared to answer any question imaginable. You need to be confident that your app is the answer to their problems.

The promotional materials such as swag, signage, posters and social media ads must also be aligned with your theme and the message you want to convey. Small details such as fonts and colours may seem irrelevant, but they all contribute to the overall feel of your event.

Use PR and Media Strategies to Promote Your Launch Event

Don’t underestimate the value of traditional PR for your event. Well-written press releases can still create buzz – you just have to pitch them to the right publications and websites. Remember to talk about the event with a passion that can easily rub off on the reader and include a clear call to action for optimum success.

Invite journalists to cover your event. You can make the most of your headliners or guest speakers by setting up an interview with them and writing a blog post that can keep potential attendees excited to meet them in person.

Use Social Media to Promote and Capture Your Event

It is best to plan and schedule your social media content ahead of time when planning an event. On the day of the event, assign someone to share live updates, reply to comments in real-time, and team up with your sponsors and partners to make a cohesive social media campaign. Enlist their help in promoting your event and tag them in your posts so they can easily share them. You can even make post templates for your staff so it’ll be easy for them to spread the word using one unified message.

Of course, don’t forget to create a hashtag for your event ahead of time. It may be cliché by this point, but when you’re able to browse all the photos and videos from your event with one click, you’ll be glad you did. Reshare all your favourite snaps on social media for hassle-free organic content, ready to add social proof to your feed.


Related Questions

What Is an App Launch Strategy?

An app launch strategy includes several steps that lead to the actual launch. It involves development, testing, goal setting, positioning, building excitement, and timing. Devising an effective strategy allows you to make the right decisions that can help you reach your target.

How Should I Pitch My New App to Journalists?

The secret to grabbing the attention of busy journalists is to write a captivating press release highlighting how your app is going to do something out of the box. Make it as clear and concise as possible, and ensure you’re targeting and pitching to journalists who will have an interest in your story. You should also show that you have extensive knowledge of the industry you’re in, and include elements of your personal story as this will make you a more desirable talent for a story. Also, don’t be afraid to follow up.

How Do I Invite People to a Launch Party?

Gone are the days of mailing out complicated, hard copy invitations. All you need to invite guests to your launch party is a captivating invite sent via email or social media. Make your invite stand out by using appealing fonts and images and highlight the important information to make sure it’s noticeable. You should include a company logo or image of your product, so guests know what you’ll be launching.

Just remember to include the following:

  • What the party is celebrating
  • Event details; time, location, theme and dress code
  • Schedule of the event and,
  • RSVP date

Travis Goddard

Travis Goddard took over Soultrap’s ownership in 2019, along with business partner Elliot Cryer. As a Navy sailor and marine technician, Travis is a true believer in working hard. That’s why he channels his energy and passion into Soultrap Bar - so when the daily grind ends, Sydneysiders can play harder.

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