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Online challenges are one of the best ways to bring new clients into your health or fitness business, or so you’ve been told…
But while it’s true that fitness challenges are a great way to engage people, if your goal is to grow your business, to bring in new clients or to launch a new program or offer then there’s a very specific method that’s going to make sure your challenge gets results (for you AND your challenge members).
It’s no secret I love online challenges. I’ve used them in my own businesses extremely successfully and they’re one of the most effective ways to turn someone who’s never heard of you into a client FAST.
People buy from people they know like and trust…when you host a challenge and someone sees your face, hears your voice, or gets assistance from you every day to help them achieve a small goal, your ‘KLT factor’ just got amped up big time.
Before planning your challenge, fully understand why you’re creating it. Coaches can create and issue challenges for various purposes including:
Want to get build a Facebook group but got nothing to sell yet? Then your challenge will be more focused on community and engagement and building your email list.
Want to use a challenge to get people interested in a larger offer such as your online program or membership? Then your challenge will need to give members a quick win but entice them into wanting more AND you’ll have to have a clear call to action to convert challenge participants.
Once you’ve identified your goals for creating a community growing challenge, it is time to shift your focus to the goals of your challenge participants.
Most participants enter a challenge with a specific pain point in mind. They are seeking the tools, skills, and tactics to ease their pain and believe your challenge will provide them.
Your goal is to identify the pain point your audience is coming from and create a challenge that addresses those needs in a short but effective time frame. (We find that 5 days works really well…but test your audience to find what works best for you.)
When you’re planning your challenge, there are a few key questions you need to ask.
Successful challenges are the ones that effectively match their goals, give the members a small victory on a longer path to success, and flow into a further offer to keep the momentum going.
The Dance Fit
Why does this challenge work? It shows the participants that 10 minute workouts are doable and effective, it measures their progress through the content and there’s a clear follow-on offer for those who want more results at the end.
The Betty Rocker 30 Day Challenge is a free 30 day challenge that uses 15 minute workouts to get clients results while offering them constant upgrades to get accompanying paid nutrition guides or to extend the challenge. Participants are made to feel like one of the gang while getting results and are much more likely to become paying customers.
Before you start to spread the word about your challenge, ask yourself “What Results Will This Challenge Give People? What Objections Can It Overcome? What Win Will They Achieve? What Is The Next Step?”
Just remember to provide in-depth and actionable materials so that your students feel there is real value in completing the challenge and are likely to stick to it.
Most of all, they need to feel some sense of urgency to complete the challenge, such as a time limit to gain certain rewards or a special price for participation available to students who sign up early, or that the content of the challenge will be removed after a specific date.
(In my own challenges, we’ve made the content only available to members after the challenge ends to encourage participants to join the paid community, or given deadlines before special content was taken down.)
To charge or not to charge? There is no right or wrong answer here (good news!)
However, there are a few key details you might want to keep in mind as you consider the pros and cons of charging for your challenge or offering it free.
Since the primary goal of your challenge is to grow your own community and expand your own pool of potential clients, offering the challenge free of charge is a great way to do this.
(I’ve seen both paid and free challenges work really well, but I’d consider a free challenge if you’re trying to reach new people and grow your email list and a paid challenge to your existing email list who may not have bought from you yet.)
Look for things you can add to your challenges that will add value and make it worth paying for – or paying a premium for.
You might even consider some additional material on the sign up confirmation page or in the challenge emails.
These add-ons include things like:
The possibilities are limitless when it comes to attracting an audience for your challenges whether you charge a fee or not. The decision is yours, experiment and see what works best for your tribe.
Content reigns supreme when creating challenges that will help you and your participants achieve your goals. The key for creating a successful challenge doesn’t lie in the quantity of content, but the quality of it.
In fact, in fitness or wellness, the more you can achieve for a client in LESS time or LESS effort the more valuable your services are.
Content comes in many forms including audio, video, the written word, infographics, and many more. Your content may include some or all of the following:
Ultimately, your content needs to provide your audience with a roadmap to follow to their intended destinations.
Each piece of your challenge needs to inch them closer to achieving their own goals.
You can create your challenge from scratch or you can use a done-for-you challenge that has all the main content, action steps and challenge materials already laid out for you!
A challenge overview;
Daily reminders that include a short WHY;
The action item of the challenge;
A reflection task, such as posting in a group or checking in with a buddy;
A bridge to the next way to work with you (such as a webinar, Facebook live or email follow up towards the end of the challenge.)
Ultimately, the way you design your challenge is entirely up to you. For fitness challenges an easy way to set up your content is inside a private Facebook group with daily posts and a daily email reminder. This is great way to grow engagement and community. You can easily host videos on Youtube too – just be sure to add a link to join the challenge!
You've got tons of choices here!:
In fact that you don’t need to zero in on one single method or format of delivery for your challenges. You can use one form of content or delivery to build upon others.
For example, if written content offers the meat and potatoes (for example an exercise list or an action item for the day) a video could break this information down into greater detail, but showing the exercises or the action item.
Then you can move things forward again by offering live Q&A sessions where participants can ask questions they have – such as how to modify or advance the action item.
Each step covers the same basic information while going into greater depth and detail to help your challenge participants understand the information better.
More importantly, the more tools you provide them to help accomplish their goals, the closer you draw to accomplishing your own goal of growing your community.
While you may agonize over every aspect of content creation, your audience is likely to be a little less selective. They want access to the content you offer and the more flexibility you can give them the better.
Some participants may have preferences related to video, audio, or text, etc., but most people are happy to get the content in a way that works on their schedules. We’re busy these days, we don’t need lots, we need easy! Right?
The idea of a challenge is to accomplish a goal but some participants get overwhelmed at the idea of BIG goals or trying to figure out how to reach that goal by themselves. Break your challenge down into daily action steps your participants can easily complete so they can move forward.
(You'll end up with more raving fans if you can get them to complete the challenge!)
Mapping out your challenge tasks should be relatively simple since you have already identified which struggle you’re helping the participants conquer.
Once you have that major goal identified, simply break down the necessary steps to reach that goal. Think of it as a step-by-step challenge where each of your tasks build upon the last to reach the final, major accomplishment.
Delivering your challenge tasks is easy; getting your challengers to take action is not.
One reason people drop out of challenges is because they don’t have a way to report their progress or don’t feel a need to check in with the other challenge participants.
Facebook Groups are a tremendously popular way to keep challengers engaged and active, which helps you become their leader who can solve their problems and gives them a sneak peek at your coaching style.
Setting your group as Private or Closed will encourage people to engage since their personal posts won’t be shown to all of Facebook’s users.
However, your own personal effort of coming to the group every day to post encouragement or to answer questions about the challenge is what will make a difference.
What happens to a group when the leader disappears, even for just a few days? Nobody talks. Action grinds to a halt and the group disbands rather quickly, so show up in your group and comment on posts!
Even if your challenges are part of a membership site and only paying members can participate, you can still form a Facebook Group for accountability. Most people opt for the Facebook Groups over forums because they are so simple to set up.
Another way to encourage challengers to take action is to offer an incentive to finish the challenge.
For example, Robin Long from the Balanced Life Pilates Challenge offers a Pilates equipment bundle to a lucky winner who completes the challenge. It’s a win-win for both Robin and her members and people LOVE the competition!
Keeping your community engaged with you and with each other is always a challenge which is why being consistent with your interactions is vitally important. People want to know, like, and trust you and they can’t achieve those things (which ultimately lead to new clients) unless you’re available and visible to them.
Encourage everyone to join in, even if their accountability ends up being a private email to you at the end. Describe the benefits of the networking opportunity among the group members. Better yet, encourage your challengers to team up with an accountability partner so they can check in on each other privately instead of in front of the whole challenge group.
The frequency of accountability really depends on how frequently you’re publishing a new task.
If your challenge is 4 or 5 days long with a daily exercise, then it’s reasonable to expect daily accountability.
If your tasks are weekly, then it makes sense to publish a mid-week cheerleading post and accountability closer to the end of the week, especially if your weekly tasks are very involved.
One new toy that Facebook has implemented is the use of “units” inside of Facebook Groups.
When setting up the type of group you want, select the “Social Learning” option which adds the “units” tab to the group’s home page margin.
When you click on that Units tab or button, all of the challenge posts appear in order and you have the option of clicking “I’m Done” when you finish the task. No more scrolling or searching to find the relevant challenge tasks.
And no worries…after changing to Social Learning, your privacy settings remain the same, which is good news for those with Private or Secret groups.
To spur even more engagement among challengers, consider doing a daily competition.
Choose any prize you want (that won’t break the bank if you’re doing one each day) or choose a winner each day and draw a champion at the end of the challenge who receives a great prize.
The choice is yours and you may have to experiment to see what’s best accepted by your audience.
Your challenge won't sell itself so you’ll need to get a marketing plan in action too.
Other ways to market your challenge include: publish on social media; participate in other social media groups or communities; write consistent blog posts with SEO in mind; search out interview opportunities; approach influencers about promoting your challenge (make the offer of becoming an affiliate); and approach popular bloggers who also serve your audience
“WHATEVER YOU DO – DON’T SIMPLY CREATE A FACEBOOK GROUP AND LET PEOPLE IN!”Elle who wants you to succeed!
The aim of the challenge is to get people to proactively sign up. This does two things:
To make this happen, you’ll need a landing page with your challenge details and a simple sign up form so that people can join your challenge.
After the challenge is complete, it's important to have a plan for what you'll lead your participants into next. Don’t just assume they’ll stick around or stay active with you on social media. Plan out your sales funnel along with what kind of content you’ll continue to share for best results.
A sales funnel is a pathway that guides your potential clients toward your products and packages.
Think of an inverted triangle where the widest part is at the top and a tiny point is at the bottom. At the top of the funnel is where your free items are to attract the most potential clients, such as your challenge.
I like to consider a sales funnel a client nurture journey, where every step of the way they get to know you and your product. But to make the journey smooth it helps to offer a progressively more personal (and expensive) way to work with you.
Instead of offering your free challengers a VIP program worth thousands of dollars, guide them to your membership, a short course or group coaching program.
The smallest tip of your sales funnel is where your most expensive product or package is offered. Some people will leave your funnel before this point, others will hang out above this point because it’s where they are most comfortable spending money.
(Take extra care with the people who make it all the way down your funnel because they know you best after sampling most of your paid offerings and they are the ones who will become your best referral sources or affiliates!)
Keep in mind people will take their time traveling down your sales funnel. It’s not a race to the finish line; it’s time to develop a relationship with these future clients so they feel comfortable spending their money with you.
Ultimately, a challenge is a great way to grow your email list and get new clients into your business.
Are you ready to map out your challenge? Don’t overcomplicate it, remember to keep it simple and most of all have fun!
Download my FREE Challenge Guide Workbook that goes with this post and get creating now.
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