Why You Should Run A Free Challenge
200k subscribers in one year
2k-30k subscribers from one launch
$8,000 in sales in one week
All from running a challenge.
These numbers might make you think of a cringe-worthy Facebook ad from some business guru, but these are real numbers generated from a free health challenge!
Have you heard of Simple Green Smoothies?
These ladies used a 7-day smoothie challenge to build an audience of over 200k subscribers in just one year.
Running a free challenge is the hot topic in the online marketing world these days – mostly because of stories like Simple Green Smoothies. You may have seen a few free challenges yourself, whether it’s a list building challenge, a green smoothie challenge, or a spring cleaning challenge – they’re everywhere!
Challenges are gaining attention because they work. Running a free challenge is a great way to build your list quickly, engage your audience, and launch a paid program.
You too can leverage this trend to build your list of subscribers.
Let’s break down how to create your own free challenge to give your business a big boost this spring.
Why do challenges work?
We all know that having a compelling free offer is the best way to build your list and generate interest in your offerings. Challenges are like a free offer on steroids! While PDF downloads and video series are great, challenges are more engaging and build a sense of community with you and your participants.
People are eager to sign up for free challenges for a few reasons:
- It’s free
- It is usually over a short period of time, so the commitment is low
- There’s a community with support and accountability
- They produce results
As a bonus, challenges tend to be very shareworthy on social media. This means you’re likely to have participants eager to do marketing for you.
How To Set Up Your Own Challenge
Setting up your challenge requires some careful planning and upfront work, but the payoff will be worth it. Plus, once you run your challenge once you’ll be able to do it again and again to bring in new clients.
As a special bonus, I’ve created a Free Challenge Planning Guide & Worksheet to help you get started and on the right track.
Pick Your Challenge Topic
The only way your challenge will be successful is if your audience gets excited about the potential results. Ideally, you want someone to read about your challenge, sign up, and tell all their friends right away.
Pick a problem or issue that your audience struggles with and map out the results or feelings they want to experience – go from where they are to where they want to be.
Now, how can you address this in a short time period? You want to run your challenge for 5-7 days, so you’ll have to break the problem down to something very specific. If you only had 7 days to get someone on the right path, how would you do that?
Decide what to promote at the end of the challenge
Running a free challenge to build your list is great, but the real goal is to get paying clients. How does your free challenge lead into your paid program?
Since you only have a few days to run your challenge, by the end of the challenge your participants should be thinking “what next?”
You want your audience to experience a few small wins during your challenge so that they start craving even more results. This will get them primed for your paid experience.
If you’re stuck on what your offer should be, connecting a free challenge to a cleanse or detox works nicely and flows really well.
Create A Landing Page
You don’t need to go super high tech or hire a professional to set up your challenge. You can use Leadpages to quickly and easily way to setup a landing page that promotes your free challenge.
Your email marketing provider may even include a way to create simple landing pages with a form. Remember, all you need is a way to collect email addresses!
In terms of the copy, your landing page should include:
- A catchy title for your challenge
- An enticing tagline
- Highlights of the challenge and what they can expect
- Results results results – focus on the benefits and outcomes, not just the process
- A signup form above the fold (don’t make readers scroll to sign up)
To give you inspiration, here’s an example of a simple landing page from Simple Green Smoothies:
Create A Facebook Group
While a lot of your challenge content will be delivered via email, you want to create a Facebook group to enhance the whole experience and create further engagement with your participants.
Running a free Facebook group can be a great way to attract new people to your business – before, during and after your challenge! A lot of coaches are successfully using Facebook groups as a cornerstone of their online marketing strategy.
My friend Kathleen LeGrys from Health Coach Solutions says that this has been a game changer for many of her clients.
She even put together a free guide to help you with this crucial step in your challenge!
How to Start a Facebook Group For Your Health Coaching Business.
Before the challenge begins, start posting teasers or a countdown to get everyone excited. During the challenge, you will want to pop in to the group a couple of times a day to answer questions, post content, and even do Facebook live videos.
Facebook live videos are actually a key piece of this whole equation. We will come back to this.
Create An Email Sequence
Scheduling all the emails for your challenge ahead of time ensures that you aren’t scrambling to write & send emails while your challenge is going on.
Below is a list of the emails that you’ll need. Schedule these to go out automatically during your challenge so that you can focus on engaging with your participants.
1. Thank you email– send an email immediately after someone signs up to say thanks for joining and provide them with the key info they need to know about the challenge. You can include the schedule, let them know what they can expect, and invite them to join the special Facebook group for the challenge.
2. The day before the challenge starts – send a heads up that the challenge is starting tomorrow and remind them of what to expect
3. The challenge content – each day during the challenge, send the details via email, whether that’s a meal plan, a recipe, a workout guide, a meditation, etc. Use the daily emails to explain the task or activity for the day and get into the “why” behind it. Your challenge should be a mix of actionable steps and education.
4. The wrap up and paid program invite – at the end of the challenge, you will recap what people have learned and accomplished and introduce your paid program as a way for them to continue with their results. I highly encourage making this offer time-limited to increase urgency.
Get On Facebook Live
During your challenge, I recommend you get on Facebook Live every day to reiterate what you’ve shared with your audience in the daily email. This gives your audience a chance to really connect and engage with you. Encourage everyone to join the live event and come with questions so you can offer even more support.
On the final day of the challenge, you’ll introduce your paid offer during your Facebook Live event. Tell your audience all about how they can continue working with you and keep up the momentum. Tie in a time-limited bonus or early bird discount to encourage participants to sign up right away.
Keep Your Community Engaged
When your challenge is over, your relationship with your new audience is really just beginning. You’ll want to add your new subscribers to your main email list, so they get your newsletter and other emails that add value and build trust. Keep in mind that those who don’t purchase your paid program right away, may be interested in the future.
Kathleen LeGrys, an expert on managing successful Facebook groups, says it’s important to keep your Facebook group running after your challenge:
“Once the challenge ends, you’ll have a group full of loyal followers. Keep the interaction going even after the challenge is over. Providing consistent value over time will help to build your relationship with your followers, and make it more likely that they will convert to paying clients in the future. Encourage members to invite their friends and coworkers to join your group too. Promote your group regularly to your email subscribers and social media followers.”
Your new audience members may become clients over time, but only if you make the effort to keep the relationship going.
Now I’d love to hear from you!
Have you ever run a free challenge? If so, how did it go? If you haven’t run a challenge but are interested in setting one up, what ideas do you have for the topic of the challenge?