How Sparkes Wellness sold out a private event in three days

Elyse Sparkes, both a student of “Digital Marketing for Everyone” and a swing dancing friend, teaches mindful movement training at Sparkes Wellness.  She recently sold out a private event at $450 per person in a few days.  I wanted to know how that happened so I asked her how she did it.

I saw this message on her Facebook recently.

Event Registration

And the next day.

Event full

How Elyse sold out her private event in a few days

This is what Elyse said when I asked her.

“I think the key was to not be afraid to talk about it (my ideas, the dates, what the “content” will be, etc) before it was perfect. First I asked via FB if anyone would even be interested and what they would like to see included. Then I included pictures and tidbits of information in my newsletter. Eventually I said when registration would open and created an early-bird email list for people who knew they were interested and wanted first dibs on registration (because there were only 6 spots available). I was open about my own excitement and made special images to put on FB which encouraged people to get on the early bird list.”

Insider Email

early email

Go Lean, young man, and avoid waste

The first thing I noticed is that Elyse lean tested her ideas.  The main idea behind lean startup is that you don’t really know what your customers want until you offer it to them for sale.  At that point they’ll either buy or not.  So instead of wasting a lot of time creating finished and polished products that your customer isn’t interested in, create a series of less finished and less polished products to gauge their interest.  Want to dig deeper into lean?  Here are two posts I wrote recently – the two key tools to lean startup and lean testing creative ideas.

Elyse used social media to engage with her audience and to find out what kind of retreat they would be interested in taking.  This is a better solution than just putting together the retreat, posting the event page, and hoping people will like it.  By the time Elyse opened the event for registration, she was pretty confident there was already interest in it.

Tie together many different elements of digital marketing into a complete strategy

In my digital marketing class, I teach a variety of different marketing tools as separate components and ask my students to choose ONE tool (like social or email) to start using better.  That is because it is easy to get bogged down in all the different options available and by focusing on too many things, accomplishing nothing.

However, over time, I encourage students to starting building a more complete digital marketing strategy by weaving together the different tools.  In this case, Elyse started by using Facebook (social) to test her ideas.  Then she used her newsletter (email) to inform her customers about the event.  After that she used the pre-registration list (preferred customers) to give interested parties early access.  And of course all this effort was about promoting an event that she put together with relevant partners that she advertised on her website.

Offering your own event to your clients

I think events are one of the most powerful tools available to you in digital marketing.  As you can see from the above example they form the center of an exciting digital marketing strategy, they offer your customer something extremely valuable, and produce lots of exciting content for your website, newsletter and social pages.  That is a serious win-win-win!

When thinking about what event you would like to offer, consider offering your customers more of what you know they like.  If you run a magazine about restaurants in NY, offer a special event at the restaurant of a new chef.  If you teach wellness classes, invite your students on a weekend retreat to relaxing Maine.  If you make furniture or any other kind of art, invite your customers into your workshop for a special working session.  For every business there is an exciting event waiting to happen where you can interact with your fans and clients.

Elyse’s original Facebook event update

Screen shot Maine

Success stories

If you decide to host your own event, let me know!  I’m currently focused on writing success stories based on my students and I would love to hear yours.




Posted in Digital Marketing for Everyone, Lean Startup, Marketing, Social Media, success stories, Testing ideas in the real world

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