How to run a successful online challenge


How to run a successful online challenge


If you’re a coach who wants to grow your email list, launch your thing and get more clients, you need to know about the magic of running successful online challenges.

In this post I’ll be breaking down why challenges are so awesome, how to set one up step by step and what you need to know to make it successful.

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Why challenges work so well for people running online coaching businesses

I think challenges are an amazing thing to do in your business, I’ve done several of them both as a business mentor as I am now, and also as a health coach as I was a couple of years ago.

Challenges have always been really effective in terms of helping me grow my list and launching my products and services.

When you’ve got a very specific and clear outcome for your challenge, people are going to want to sign up for that and get involved, another way that challenges help you grow your list is that (depending on the topic / your niche) people will often share that they are doing it with their friends and that can get new eyes on your business and on your list too.

Running a challenge can accelerate the know, like and trust factor. You can really demonstrate your expertise, your skills, how it is that you help people and through running the challenge people can get to know you and your personality too!

It just really helps people connect with you in a new way! You can give your audience a taster of what it’s like to work with you as you can really show what kind of results you can get for people.

What I’ve personally found with challenges is that I get a better understanding of what people are struggling with and what their dreams and aspirations are. When you understand what problems your people have and what they are hoping to achieve you can make sure your products and services are serving them well and you can also use that in your sales copy and reflect this back to people so they feel understood.

Of course running a challenge is primarily a great way to get more sales and launch your thing, in fact Denise Duffield-Thomas ran a challenge recently and had a million dollar launch, so even people with massive businesses are turning to the power of challenges to launch their stuff!

But you don’t have to have a huge business for challenges to work for you, even super small challenges can get great results.

Finally, challenges are a really good way to support your community for free. Many of my clients have worried about how financially accessible they are, and while I don’t think there’s any rule that says we have to do anything for free, challenges are a good way to serve people in a more focused way than general marketing. Just make sure you have an offer to invite people into at the end!

Here’s a full list of the benefits of running a challenge:

  • They accelerate the ‘know, like and trust’ factor
  • They can help you grow your email list
  • They can support your positioning as an expert or authority in your niche
  • They give your audience a taste of what it’s like to work with you
  • They work really well as part of a launch or to lead into a 1:1 coaching offer
  • They’re a great way to get in front of new people
  • They help you deepen your understanding of your ideal clients struggles and aspirations
  • They enable you to deepen your connection with your community creating more ‘super fans’
  • They are a great way to support your community for free

How to run your challenge

Step 1: Decide on your challenge topic and how you’re going to structure it

The first step is to decide on the challenge topic and how you want to structure it. For example, how many days do you want to run it for, what’s it going to be all about what you’re going to help people achieve, what the focus is etc

Step 2: Create the elements to make it work

The next thing that you want to do is create the bits and pieces that are going to fit together to make it work such as the sign up page, the thank you page, the systems inside your email list to be able to email people in the challenge, the workbook if you have one.

You might also want to set up your community. Most challenges have some form of community element and more often than not it’s a Facebook group. Honestly I’ve racked my brains trying to think of another online community option that works but that does seem to be the best one. Some people also use platforms such as Mighty Networks but they sometimes struggle with engagement.

Step 3: Promote it

After you’ve got that stuff ready, you want to promote it. You literally want to promote it every single way you can think of! Getting people signed up is obviously going to help make the challenge a success, but remember that a challenge can still work even with a few people.

There’s lots of things that you can do around promotion, even if you’re quite new in business and getting people to sign up for something that is going to help them in a very tangible way which is free, makes that promotion easier.

Step 4: Deliver your challenge

So at this stage you actually deliver the challenge! Send out your content, facilitate the community and support people to get results – basically bring the energy and show up.

Step 5: Offer your thing

Then at the end of the challenge, you want to give them that next step. So by promoting it you’ve gotten people on your list, you’ve nurtured them through the challenge and then at the end of that, it’s all about offering people that next step, whether that’s a one-to-one coaching package, a group program, a course, whatever it might be.

How to make your challenge successful

In terms of making sure that it’s successful and getting the results that you want it to get there’s a few things that you want to bear in mind. First thing is we want people to sign up, secondly we want people to engage with it, we want people to get a result from it and we want them to buy your thing.

So those are the four things that I think about when it comes to challenges in terms of what’s going to make it successful.

Those are the things that you want to consider when it comes to how we structure the challenge and what we put together and how it all works.

I know that that can sound like quite a lot of work, but what I found personally was that once I ran one challenge, it becomes a repeatable thing and you get a sense of how it works and once you’ve run one, even if the topic’s different, you’re able to repeat the process next time with more ease and less overwhelm. Usually the results make putting that bit of work in worth it.

Where people get stuck

People can get stuck and have run a challenge that doesn’t work well if they don’t promote it enough or if they don’t promote it to the right people. If they don’t choose the right topic to lead into the paid offer, and if people don’t engage in the challenge itself.

Luckily there are plenty of things you can do to make sure your challenge doesn’t flop and to make it a success.

I think the key thing is that you’re delivering something that has a specific outcome and that makes sense to be delivered as a challenge.

So yep, challenges can be amazing for building your coaching business. They rock in so many ways and can also be really fun to deliver!

Looking for some support to run your next challenge to help ensure it’s a success and not a flop? Check out my programme Enchanting Challenges which teaches you everything you need to know to run your own successful challenge including a live round in January, perfect if you’re thinking of running a challenge at the start of the year and would like some coaching and mentoring support while you run it.

For the next few days you can get Enchanting Challenges for £97 or 3 payments of £35 (discounted from £197, you can also pay in USD)

I’d love to know if this post has inspired you to try running a challenge, leave me a comment and let me know!


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