You’re ready to launch your author website—it’s time to party! And the best way to celebrate and get eager visitors lining up at your virtual door is to invite everyone to a fun-filled virtual launch party.
Pre-Launch Prep For Your Virtual Launch Party
Schedule a date and time: You want to allow yourself enough time to plan every aspect of your virtual launch party. You also want to give your guests enough time to save the date on their calendars! Choose a weeknight: More people will be available after work hours, and your event won’t conflict with anyone’s weekend plans.
While some launch parties are all-day affairs, that can leave you with a lot of time to fill. You don’t want visitors getting bored, and you don’t want to be exhausted halfway through your planned activities. For maximum engagement and entertainment value, the party should last from two to three hours. And be sure to note the time zone when you send your invitations, or you’ll have guests who are on Pacific Time arriving when your Eastern Time launch party has already ended!
Create social media buzz: Use social media to spread the word about your website and your upcoming launch party. Pin an image of your invitation on Pinterest. Create a Facebook Event Page to invite family, friends, and colleagues, and ask them to share the news. Make a hashtag that’s unique to your launch party (for example: #AuthorKMoneyLaunchParty) and use it in your Twitter and Facebook feeds. A hashtag will make your launch party invitations more shareable, and it will be easier for anyone interested to find out the details of your event.
Send out email invitations: Create a brief and visually appealing launch party email invite. MailChimp has free, ready-to-use templates available. But don’t overload your potential guests’ email inboxes—too many emails can come across as “spammy” and annoying.
Get organized: Just as you would plan all the appetizers, drinks, and decorations for an in-person get-together, it’s important to plan your virtual content, activities, and party favors (aka giveaways) in advance—you don’t want to be scrambling for ideas to keep guests interested during your event.
Test the technology: Make sure every aspect of your author website works smoothly. Ask friends and family to help by giving your site a dry run—click through links, check for typos or grammar errors, and test navigability. And make sure you have enough bandwidth to support a large surge in traffic on your website. Check with your hosting provider; if you don’t have enough bandwidth, your site may crash when visitors start pouring in! Web Design Relief offers unlimited bandwidth in our Hosting Care Package.
Check any other technology-based elements you’ll be using for your virtual launch party: webcams, microphones, and links to other sites. You can even use Skype or Google Hangouts to broadcast your event in real time—but do a few practice runs before your big day.
It’s Virtual Party Time: Now The Real Fun Starts!
Interact with your guests: Answer questions about yourself and your writing in conversations with your visitors on Twitter and Facebook. Be pleasant and approachable—your author website launch party is your best opportunity to promote your official author brand and publicize your work.
Post your party content and links: Throughout the course of your virtual party, post links to interesting videos, funny memes, and informative blog articles on all your social media platforms. Post party-themed images and graphics about every fifteen to twenty minutes—let everyone know where the fun is!
Play games and give away party favors (freebies). You can ask visitors to answer questions that you tweet and post about your book’s characters, such as…what color are the protagonist’s eyes? Or a scavenger hunt for items you’ve hidden on your website: Asking how many horseshoes appear on your western-themed site will get guests clicking on your pages. Offer digital freebies—such as an audio download of you reading your work or a bonus chapter of your book—to the first ten visitors who leave a comment on your site or the first twenty-five email subscribers (a great way to grow your mailing list!).
With smart planning, memorable content, and positive interaction during your author website virtual launch party, you’ll have an event that makes a great impression on your guests and earns you lots of new followers and fans.
QUESTION: Have you ever attended a virtual launch party? What attracted you?