There has been a lot of talk about using challenges as a list building and profit-making strategy in the online world recently. Everyone from Amy Porterfield to Nathalie Lussier are talking about them and I couldn’t resist the temptation to try it out myself. So with Launch Mastery opening its doors again soon, I’m taking the opportunity to give it a shot and take you behind the scenes of planning a challenge.
A challenge can be described as content and activities that are rolled out over a number of days. They’re often accompanied by videos, live streams, worksheets and often a forum where your community can gather to cheer each other on. Effective challenges are designed to solve a problem for your participants and are attached to a desired outcome.
Some examples of great challenges include:
- The 30 Day List Building Challenge by Nathalie Lussier
- Denise Duffield-Thomas’ recent Manifesting Challenge
- Live More Challenge by Sarah Jenks
I planned out my challenge using an Asana board with a column for each day. Using this function in Asana was a breeze and allowed me to capture ideas, organise topics and communicate my vision with my team. In this Asana Board, I also mapped out every aspect considered in creating the challenge including any random thoughts or ideas to discuss with my team.
Top considerations when planning a challenge
Choosing a topic
When planning a challenge and selecting a topic, you want it to be contained and attached to a clear and achievable outcome. Your challenge should never just be a ‘lite’ version of a paid offering as it removes the ability to effectively upsell (more on this soon). Instead, pick one aspect that people are struggling with and one objection that they might have for signing up to your program (where possible) and use that to guide your choice of topic.
In my case, the main objection people have to signing up for Launch Mastery is the belief that “planning a live launch is too overwhelming and I don’t have time”. With this in mind, I chose a topic for my challenge that allowed me to show my tribe that you can create a launch plan in just five days. This topic also allows me to position Launch Mastery as the next step after doing the challenge.
Focus on the outcome
Outcomes are key in creating a challenge. As well as having an outcome for the challenge as a whole, I used Asana to map out the outcome for each day of content. Once I was clear on the topic and outcome for each day, I added activities that would allow participants to achieve the outcome. This was all created using an Asana Board which made all of my ideas visual and really clear to understand.
Keep it simple when planning a challenge
It’s easy to give your challenge participants all of the information that you have on a topic but for a challenge to be truly effective, it must be simple to accomplish and achievable. This means making each day’s content and activities achievable in 45-60 minutes including reading the email, watching the video, tuning into the live stream and doing the activities.
Another part of keeping it simple was the decision to include a community forum or not.
Pros of having a community forum include the opportunity for participants to ask questions and implement content from the challenge alongside other community members. This increases the perceived value of the challenge and can ultimately increase the results that participants get from doing the work. Community forums also allow you to connect with participants on a deeper level and are a great space to do live streams (another important factor to consider when planning a challenge).
Cons of having a community forum include the time required to facilitate and maintain the community and how that fits into your business strategy. Knowing that I didn’t have the time or resources to continue a community forum after the challenge finished, I decided not to include a forum as part of my challenge.
This decision might also change depending on whether you are hosting a live or evergreen challenge. I decided on creating a live challenge to generate some hype for my Launch Mastery e-Course which is currently only launching once a year. Live challenges also create a sense of urgency and are a great lead into your main offering (which I’ll talk about more soon). However evergreen challenges are a great long-term list-building strategy which would suit someone who was launching new offerings or courses every couple of months. A community forum would work really well with an evergreen challenge.
Create a teaser for your main offering
At the start of this blog post I wrote about challenges being both a list building and a profit-making strategy. So how do you get people buying?
First of all, you want your challenge to be a teaser for your main offering. This means allowing your participants to get a feel for the paid course experience. To do this, I’ve taken a leaf out of Nathalie Lussier’s book (or blog) and am hosting the challenge on my membership site. This not only allows participants to get the VIP experience but also allows me to naturally upsell my paid offerings.
I’m also using teasers throughout the content of my challenge while still giving them the content that they need. For example, the challenge might include a worksheet to help them decide on their budget but I will also let them know that they get a complete launch budget calculator as part of my paid offering. It doesn’t have to be over the top and can be very subtle but it is important to reference back to the benefits of the paid offering.
Second of all, you want your paid offering to be the next logical step after they complete your challenge. This means the content in the last day of the challenge should be centred around the next problem that your participants will come up against.
For example, my challenge walks people through the process of creating a launch plan in just five days. But there are a lot of steps that need to happen after creating your launch plan and it’s in the last day of challenge content that I address these steps and position Launch Mastery as the next step in the journey.
And this is how a challenge goes from a list-building strategy to a profit-making strategy!
Want to see planning a challenge in action? Stay tuned over the next six weeks and all will be revealed very soon!