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Online challenges are super HOT!
They’re a fantastic way to boost your visibility, grow your tribe and skyrocket your sales.
I’ve done 4 online challenges in my time and I’ve learned a few things from trial and error!
So today, I’m sharing a few of the secrets I’ve discovered that’ll help you skip the learning curve and create fun, stick-with-it-till-the-end online challenges to boost engagement, growth and sales… and it’s all based on my Experience Formula 🙂
(Just in case you’re not familiar with The Experience Formula, it’s essentially a blueprint for how to get people hooked on taking action on what you teach, so that they actually get the results your program or service promises to deliver.)
Big Mistakes, Big Learnings
I ran my first online challenge — the 30-Day Video Challenge — back in 2013. It was built around a simple concept: create and publish one video a day for 30 days straight.
(I thought this challenge would be a great way for me to get better at filming videos.)
And WOW… I received SO much attention from that challenge!
Over 300 people signed up for it and — 6 years later — some of those people are still in my tribe because we connected so deeply over those 30 days.
Next, I ran my 30-Day Get Focused Challenge which was all about how to live your most focused, creative, fulfilling day over and over again for 30 days.
This one didn’t go down as well as my first challenge.
Why? I realized later that it was way too BIG of an ask… I was basically asking people to keep track of what they did all day, every day from the time they woke to the time they went to bed.
Since then, I’ve discovered the principles of micro-learning and now I can see exactly where things went wrong…
If you want people to take action (and keep taking action), you need to give them something they can do in roughly 5 minutes or less versus giving them a gigantic task that takes forever to get done (or an entire day, lol!).
Next up was my 30-Day Breakthrough Year Challenge which was all about strategic planning and starting the year on the right foot.
Again, this wasn’t a big hit because 30 days was way too long for strategic planning!
If I’d done something like a 5-Day Breakthrough Year Challenge to get people ready to rock their goals and then connected it to one of my programs, this challenge would have worked a lot better.
My most recent challenge was my 30-Day Facebook Live Challenge — and this is the one that really hit the mark!
It was super hot because it was easy for people to do, and we saw a ton of engagement and new people joining our tribe.
Okay, let’s talk about how you can create an impossible-to-resist online challenge that’ll help you grow your tribe and sales, based on The Experience Formula.
One of the big reasons challenges are hot with audiences in so many different markets is because it has a clear purpose or mission. This is principle #1 of The Experience Formula.
When there’s a clear mission, people understand exactly what they’re supposed to do, when they’re supposed to do it and for how long because every challenge has goals and a beginning and end.
For instance, my 30-Day Facebook Live Challenge had a clear mission — get your butt in front of that camera and record your own Facebook Live every day for the next 30 days.
Another thing that makes challenges so attractive and so irresistible is that people love ‘em!
Deep down, we all want to be challenged, we all love to grow and to become better than we are today — it’s human nature. Online challenges speak directly to that deep inner motivation we all share.
And when you land on a great topic for your challenge that leads into one of your programs or services, all of a sudden you get a bunch of people interested in taking action…
And down the road, a lot of those people will turn into eager clients and customers 🙂
Stepping into the Future (Self)
A well-designed online challenge can help people create their Future Self… which is Principle #2 of The Experience Formula.
The Future Self is a clear vision of who someone can be, what they can accomplish and how they’ll feel when they hit their goals (in this case their goal is to finish the challenge)…
And people get to transform into their Future Self during the process of completing the challenge.
With my 30-Day Facebook Live Challenge where people did one Facebook Live every day for a month, most people started out feeling awkward, nervous or scared about getting in front of the camera… but then they transformed into their Future Self over the course of those 30 days.
They reached the point where they could hit that “go live” button and not break a sweat!
So, there’s usually some kind of methodology — something you teach people in your challenge — that will help them transform into their Future Self.
With my 30-Day Facebook Live Challenge, I shared specific tools and techniques people could use to feel confident and shoot great FB Lives.
And yes you want to share high value ideas, insights and tips but don’t overdo it.
Don’t give people too much information during the challenge.
As I said earlier, you really don’t want to teach or ask people to do something that’ll take more than 5 minutes a day or you’ll overwhelm them and they’ll drop out of your challenge.
Again, the goal is to give them just enough to keep them excited, interested and moving forward with you as you take them through the challenge.
Winning Every Single Day
Constant wins… that’s another principle from The Experience Formula that’s a perfect fit for building a great online challenge.
In fact, I think this is exactly what awesome online challenges are all about: finding creative ways that let people win again and again.
Going back to my 30-Day Facebook Live Challenge, participants got to win every time they hit the “go live” button and got views, comments, likes and shares.
When you design a challenge like that — where people get to win every day — they’re going to want to keep winning and keep taking action.
And the best part is they’ll associate you and your business with all those incredible, positive feelings — that dopamine hit — that comes from winning 🙂
Creating a Powerful Container
Another core principle of The Experience Formula that’s relevant here is something I call “normalizing challenges.”
When you run an online challenge you need a container of maybe 7 days, 10 days, 14 days, 21 days, or 30 days (those are common timeframes for a challenge) to get people to the result they’re looking to achieve.
And you can bet people are going to have lots of fears, doubts and concerns come up during that time.
You’ll get to help people overcome all of it with your guidance and expertise, so they can keep going and finish the challenge.
With my 30-Day Facebook Live Challenge, people were worried that no one would listen to them or that they had nothing important to say.
Some of them felt they came off really bad on camera and I got to help them get over all of that to achieve their goal… do one FB Live and post it on Facebook for 30 days straight!
And the BIG Secret Is…
When you design your challenge, you want to make sure you choose a topic that’ll eventually lead right into an offer for one of your programs or services.
I’ve learned so much about how to run a successful online challenge from my good friend, Alina Vincent. She also happens to be a world-class expert on how to plan out and execute amazing online challenges that’ll help you grow your tribe and your sales!
The truth is, anytime my challenges didn’t lead to my programs, it was because I chose the wrong topic.
So let’s say you’ve got a very tactical-based program you want to sell. You could run a mindset-based challenge to teach people the step they need to take before they need to buy your product or work with you.
For example: every October, we do a massive launch for my 12-week online program, Experience Product Masterclass. If I were to do a challenge leading up to it, I’d probably go with a 5-Day Big Idea or Million-Dollar Idea Challenge where I help people come up with an idea for the program or service they want to create and then the Masterclass would help them create it…
See how that works?
What you don’t want to do is to have your challenge totally overlap with your program.
If you give away all your teachings in the challenge, then people will feel like they already have what they need and they’ll ignore your program!
It’s Naturally Viral
Data science reveals that if you can get people to do at least 3 things, they’re going to be much more likely to take the next action with you even if it’s a paid action.
So, if you do a 5-Day Challenge, you’re getting people to do way more than 3 things which is why online challenges can be so great when you want to launch a program or service.
Because here’s the thing about human psychology…
Once we start taking action, we’re much more likely to continue taking action that will align with our initial action.
It’s not just the momentum but it’s behavioral consistency that we really want.
Plus, people get to engage and interact with you, learn from you and start to win with you on something that immerses them deep into your program or service or expertise…
And of course, you can gamify your challenge with prizes and things like that to make things even sweeter!
If you want to know more about online challenges I highly, highly, recommend checking out Alina Vincent’s Visibility Kickstarter Challenge (it starts tomorrow!) .
Even if you have zero audience right now, challenges are definitely worth a try because they’re naturally viral.
Most people don’t want to try something new alone, they want to do it with a friend — so they’re much more likely to invite a buddy to join them and things usually take off from there!
And like I said, challenges are a great way to grow your tribe, deepen your relationship with your existing community and of course generate sales.
Right now, more and more entrepreneurs are seeing strategies such as multi-video product launches start to decline because attention span is just not what it used to be.
But challenges — where you’re doing 5-minute trainings or 5-minute actions every day for a short period of time like 5 days — are really working well…
And I always want to bring you what’s working so you can leverage those ideas and insights to grow your business and all that good stuff!
So, definitely go ahead and sign up for Alina’s challenge here. Make it happen!
And if there’s a challenge you’d love me to run, let me know in the comments below and if I like the idea, I will definitely consider doing it 🙂
Now go out there and Live Your Message!