Imagine a party with free booze, an awesome live band, amazing food, and no people. You wouldn’t call that a successful party. A party can only be successful with people there, so throwing a party starts with marketing. Word of mouth marketing to be exact.
If you’re throwing a party as big as Hard Halloween, you’ll have to do some real marketing. But in this post, I’m talking about house parties, birthday parties, and college parties, where your goal is simply to get your friends to come out. If every time you throw a party, all of your friends come out, then this post is not for you. However, most of us have had an experience where people whom you thought would come to your party decided to do something else that night.
Word of mouth marketing for parties is all about understanding and leveraging the conversations that goes on between your friends, when they aren’t around you. First, you want to make sure they talk about your party. Next, you want the conversation to be heading in the direction of, “Yeah, let’s go to his/her party.”
Get people to talk about your party.
Just because you received an invite to a party on Facebook doesn’t mean you’re going to bring it up the next time you see your friends. Nor are you necessarily going to call/text your friends about the party immediately. Sometimes, by the time the topic comes up, you’ve already discussed and/or committed to going to another event. What you want is for your friends to start talking about your party to each other before they’re thinking about what they want to do that day.
Start by making sure you get an event invitation out at least a week before. People get together on the weekends, and this is when you want your party to come up as a topic of conversation. I try and send out event invites on Friday afternoon, so it’s still fresh on their mind.
Then, text or call some of your friends that weekend, at night. Simply to check in and see how they’re doing. If they’re hanging out with friends, this could spark the conversation about your party next weekend. Be wary of texting people with the sole motivation of promoting your party, because it can come off as not genuine. But it’s alright to be a little more active with your text the weekend before you throw a party.
Make sure that conversation leads to a Yes.
Just because people discuss your party doesn’t mean they’ll decide to come. Every time I throw a party, I run through some mock dialogues in my head on how conversations about my party might go.
Common topics include: how’s parking? how are we going to get there? whose going to be there? were we all invited?
Make sure you address as many of these issues as you can in your party invitation and via texts (different people will have different concerns). For example, your friend’s friend may not want to go because she wasn’t invited. By simply writing “invite your friends!” on the invitation, your friend’s can comfort her that she is indeed welcome.
Aside from that, make sure that the party you’re throwing is actually going to be awesome. Make sure you share with your friends why it’s going to be awesome. Also, having one unique thing at your party can often spark positive conversation. I’m talking about having a tetherball court at your party, a six foot long ice luge, or a petting zoo.