Have you ever thought about creating a 5-day challenge?
Free challenges are super popular right now, and for a good reason.
When done right, these challenges can be an amazing way to build your email list and drive sales.
I recently talked with Christie Miller, bestselling author, motivational speaker, and business mentor. She’s appeared on ABC, CBS, and NBC, and as a Jack Canfield certified trainer, she arms coaches with the principles and winning mindset they need to grow their online business.
As a former member of my Inner Circle, I can say that you will always find Christy walking the walk and talking the talk when it comes to health, wealth and happiness!
She has also mastered the art of using free 5-day challenges to grow her list and make sales, so I was excited to talk to her about her “secret sauce” behind creating successful free challenges.
What is a 5-Day Challenge?
A 5-day challenge is where you invite people to work towards a goal over a period of 5 days. Each day, you give them something specific to accomplish in order to help them reach that big-picture goal.
These challenges can be AH-MAY-ZING for building your email list, but make the most sense if you’re gearing it towards something you can sell.
Here are a few of examples of 5-day challenges I found online:
As you can see, 5-day challenges can work in many different industries and niches.
According to Christie, challenges are the best way to really set yourself apart as an expert, and to develop that “know, like and trust factor” you need in order for people to invest with you: “Your goodness, your badness, everything…they see you in your element, and your personality cannot be hidden at all”.According to Christie, challenges are the best way to really set yourself apart as an expert, and to develop that “know, like and trust factor” you need in order for people to invest with you: “Your goodness, your badness, everything...they see you in your element, and your personality cannot be hidden at all”.Click To Tweet
What Can You Expect From Your First Free Challenge?
Many people have this idea that when they start something new, it’s going to be revolutionary – that it’s going to change the world.
That’s why I asked Christie about HER first challenge: Did she use it to build her list or to make sales, and how successful was it for her?
According to Christie, she had 1,000 participants in her first challenge, and she converted 66 of those into her paid program.
While some people may not think that 6.6% is a great conversion rate, it actually is…especially for a first challenge. And her conversion rates have just continued to go up and up since that first challenge.
For instance, last year she ran a “Build Your Online Course” challenge, and had 723 people sign up. Of those, 125 people signed up, giving her her first 6-figure launch right around the $125,000 mark.
Now, THAT’S how it’s done!
The Draw (and Drawbacks) of 5-Day Challenges
Wondering why so many business owners are using 5-day challenges these days?
According to Christie, it’s because challenges are generally simple to create and run. However, if people aren’t using the right strategy, it isn’t going to work.
One of the biggest problems, especially among coaches, is that they’re actually over-serving their audience: “They really just want to give and give and give because they’re passionate; but also because there’s this little thing in the back of their head telling them they’re not good enough. So [they think they had] better just basically give all the information they have so that they feel like they’re enough”.
The problem with this, according to Christie, is that the challenge will actually backfire on you. You’ll either overwhelm your audience to the point where they can’t keep up, or you’ll help them so much that you’ve just solved their problem, and now they don’t need your paid program.
All of this can be scary for someone doing their first challenge!
That’s why Christie often tells her clients to dial down the pressure, and just have fun with the first challenge. Rather than trying to have a course all built to sell at the end, it’s probably better to use your first challenge for list-building.
Keep in mind that many people need multiple touch points before they jump in. So, when you use your first challenge to build a launch list, you’re actually building up your audience for your next challenge.Keep in mind that many people need multiple touch points before they jump in. So, when you use your first challenge to build a launch list, you’re actually building up your audience for your next challenge.Click To Tweet
How to Plan Out the Content For Your Challenge
Wondering where to even start with planning out your content?
Christie always likes to start with the end-goal in mind. What do you want people to do at the end of the challenge? Sign up for private coaching? Enroll in your course?
The challenge needs to be directly connected to what you’re offering. If it’s not, people aren’t going to join – it’s like serving up a Chinese appetizer and then offering Mexican food for dinner.
Think about your challenge as the warmup for your paid offering: What knowledge or beliefs would you like them to have on day 1 of your paid offer? That’s part of what you’re teaching in your challenge.
Another important part of planning your challenge is coming up with a great name.
According to Christie, it’s important to focus on creating a name that’s both descriptive, as well as transformational in nature.According to Christie, it’s important to focus on creating a name that’s both descriptive, as well as transformational in nature.Click To Tweet
A simple way to come up with a name is to make it outcome-based. For instance, the “Get More Clients” challenge, or the “Build Your Online Course” challenge. People understand what they’re getting, and know exactly what the challenge is all about.
In terms of planning out your actual content, Christie suggests using a really clever strategy: use your content to target people’s objections.
Here’s how this works: Whenever you want to enroll people in a course or in private coaching, they have a series of objections. If your challenge can either overcome those objections, or change a belief about themselves, it’s an easier process to get them over the finish line at the end to where you can really serve them.
For instance, let’s say clients often tell you this just isn’t the right time to take your course. In your challenge, one of your topics could be about time management, or why now is the time to work on this problem; this way when you get to the end of the challenge, that objection is off the table, and they are ready to enroll.
I LOVE this strategy!
What Types of Offers to Sell From Your Challenge
This is a concept that intimidates a lot of people: What do you sell to your participants at the end of your challenge? Should it be a $1,000 course, or a service that’s going to cost thousands of dollars? Can it be a low-cost product or service? What’s the best price point for your offer?
Christie has seen all sorts of price ranges, but they are generally between $299 and $997. And the nice thing is that throughout your challenge you can warm people up so that they’re ready to buy at the end – so you can just send them directly to the sales page.
You don’t even need to have built your paid offer before you sell them. In fact, this is what Christie recommends: “I don’t think anyone should build their course before they sell it. I think they should build it in the air. That’s what I teach. That’s how I’ve built my courses, so that I can zig and zag and react to the questions my students are asking, because there’s no way to know exactly what they want until you’re in the trenches with them”.
How to Deliver a Free Challenge Using Facebook Groups
Wondering about the nuts and bolts of actually delivering your content?
When delivering free challenges using Facebook groups, you can either set up a popup group and hold it there, or run it in your existing group.
Christie has used both strategies, and says there are pros and cons to each. For instance, when you create a popup group, you generate this initial rush of excitement in the days leading up to the challenge.
Personally, I love popup groups. You have this group of people who are all interested in the same thing, and who are together in one place for 5 days. The backside of this is the understanding that this is time-limited, and that after the 5 days are done you won’t continue to serve this group (unless you choose to).
Once in the group, Facebook Lives are a great way to deliver your actual content. Christie goes live in the group at the same time every day, usually around 9am. Then in the afternoon, she comes back and does a live Q&A.
During challenge weeks, Christie gives her all, but is also careful not to over-deliver: “When it's challenge week…I am there to serve. I eat, breathe and sleep the challenge, but what I concentrate on is that I am only coaching on these topics. This is not a free-for-all to get business coaching from Christie for a whole week. It is specifically on each day's topics, and I do not go beyond that”.
In terms of how much time she puts into teaching, she tries to keep her Lives under 30 minutes (with 15-20 minutes of that for teaching and the rest for administrative stuff), and her Q&As to around 60-90 minutes. If people have specific questions about the day’s topic, she’ll stay as long as it takes to answer them, whether that’s 10 minutes or an hour.
How to Keep People Engaged Throughout a Challenge
One challenge people run up against is waning participation throughout the challenge.
One strategy Christie recommends is giving away prizes to keep people engaged. If you have branded merch, you can give that away: for instance, water bottles, t-shirts, books, etc. Sometimes Christy will give away Amazon gift cards, but she always saves the biggest prize for last.
Don’t have a budget for prizes? Christie recommends asking a friend in a related niche if they have products they’d like to contribute.
Another reason Christie gets such great engagement in her challenges is that she sends out a welcome pack. This pack shows people exactly what to expect during the week, and gives them a little preview of why each day’s topic is important.
Sending daily emails is also very important. This is why Christie typically sends an email sometime after midnight with that day’s action guide. This ensures people always know what’s happening that day, and why it should be important to them. Each action guide contains around 2-3 pages, so by the end of the challenge people have 36 pages of incredible material.
How to Get People Into Your Challenge
Isn’t this the million-dollar question? If you don’t have a large email list or social media following, how do you find people to actually register for your challenge?
One strategy Christie recommends is finding promo partners who are willing to send out an email or social media post for you. These could be affiliates partners, or they could be star students or clients who will comment on your posts.
The fastest way to get people into your challenge, however, is with Facebook ads. There has only been a couple of times where Christie has had a close brush with not breaking even; but generally, she puts in a little money and gets a much bigger return.
When you’re running Facebook ads for your challenge, you’re not actually selling anything. You’re trying to get people in to your challenge for free, so you have to be willing to invest the money on the front side.
Here’s an example: For Christie’s last challenge, she spent $4K in Facebook ads, and brought in just under $50K in revenue (and according to Christie, that challenge didn’t even convert all that well).
Another way to get the word out about your challenge is to host your Lives on your public Facebook page, while holding the Q&As in the private group. This way, people can find you via your page, and then join your group (and challenge).
When Christie uses this strategy, she shares those videos in her group, but turns off commenting within the group; this way, people need to comment on the page, which is great for getting additional reach.
One strategy I’ve been using that could also work really well for free challenges using facebook groups, is gifting the first day of my paid trainings for free on my business page. I’m very transparent about it, letting people know this is the first day of my training. Once they see the content and get value from it, they’ll often go purchase the full training.
How to Pivot From Giving Value to Selling
This is another part of free challenges that can be really scary for people. How do you move from the first 4 days of teaching to the sales pitch?
In other words, how do you pivot to “the ask”?
Christie’s strategy is to do her day 5 teaching via a masterclass on Zoom so she can include slides. She wants people to show up eager and ready to learn, and her masterclass usually goes for about an hour.
For Christie, there really is a distinct move from serving to sales; however, her masterclass is also about serving. It’s not like she just stops teaching and moves into a sales pitch.
People are dying to get more by the end of the week because they’ve enjoyed that time with you. They see how connected and passionate you are about affecting a change for them, and they’re hungry to spend money with you.
It just makes a lot of sense!
So much of being an entrepreneur is about testing stuff to see what works.
When going into your launch, be sure to have a childlike curiosity. Her advice? “Remember: it’s not about winning and losing, it’s about gaining the knowledge that’s working for you”. She goes on to say, “Never ever look at something as a failure in your business. Look at it as an opportunity to dig in and see what works, and see what didn’t…and most of the time it’s us. We need to look at the person we need to become in order to get the results that we desire”.
Want step-by-step guidance creating your own 5-day challenge? Register for my latest training, How to Create a Profitable 5-Day Challenge.
Are YOU ready to create your own 5-day challenge? Tell us about it in the comments below!