Challenges seem to be a “thing” right now. I listened to a great podcast by Amy Porterfield where she interviewed Zach Spuckler, a Facebook ad expert who runs challenges fairly often. That inspired me to run my own!
I kicked it off in a blog post last month called FREE TRAINING! Create Your First Video in Just 5 Days.
The goal of most free challenges is to:
· grow your email list,
· provide valuable free content,
· engage with participants every day of the challenge,
· have FUN, and
· offer something at the end (a paid course or membership)
My main goal was to learn all the technical aspects of what’s involved since I had never done one before. And there are a LOT of components to learn. These include:
· creating FB ads,
· setting up an email sequence,
· recording daily video trainings,
· creating additional training cheat sheets,
· leading daily Facebook LIVE sessions, and
· creating a “next steps” sales sequence to my paid course
Wow. I’m exhausted just reading that list!
But I knew I would learn much more by creating a challenge myself than by participating in more of them, so I jumped into action.
The challenge, Create Your First Video in Just 5 Days, focused on teaching students how to create a video using just two things: your iPhone and iMovie, a free app for the iPhone.
I picked this topic because I LOVE to make videos myself and taught myself how to make them. What’s possible today using only your iPhone and one app is pretty incredible!
I was very excited to see what students would create and post inside our private Facebook group.
Here's a recent one of mine. I make these nearly every day!
Providing value to my email subscribers is incredibly important to me as I grow my business. And engaging with them directly as often as possible is FUN!
I planned to offer my paid course, Mastering iMovie on your Mac, at the end of the challenge. But I had zero expectations around selling it.
I wanted students to come away with a fun and engaging experience, having learned new skills, and having gotten a taste for my teaching approach and supportive style and personality.
So, what did I learn?
Give yourself enough prep time! I put undue pressure on myself by picking an arbitrary date in May with only about 2 weeks to prepare.
This was great in one sense because I was forcing myself to get everything done. But it didn’t really allow enough time for one key element: filling the challenge!
In the two weeks leading up to the challenge, I spent 80% of my time building all the content:
· recording the video trainings
· creating a pretty workbook and daily PDF training documents
· writing all the email sequences
· scripting and recording the FB video ad
And only 20% of my time trying to fill the course through three marketing channels:
· Facebook ads
· Email marketing, and
· Organic traffic (Instagram & Pinterest)
My initial goal was to get 200 sign ups and I reached a total of 90. That’s still AWESOME and I’m super happy about it. If I invited 90 people over to my house they wouldn’t fit! However, next time, I’ll reverse those percentages.
The Facebook live sessions were the most fun for me while also being the scariest part of the challenge. I was LIVE inside our private Facebook group every day for 5 days straight!
I’m not a big “in front of the camera” kinda girl so this really took me out of my comfort zone every day.
There were several people who were SUPER SUPPORTIVE in these live sessions (you know who you are!) and I am so thankful they joined live and engaged with me.
It feels really awkward talking to your laptop camera! When comments and questions come through, and you realize people are actually there, it’s a whole lot easier.
I still need to gain more experience talking to the camera while also reading and responding to comments as they pop up.
CONTENT & OPEN RATES
I provided the training content to students in three ways:
1. via email each morning,
2. in a daily video training, and
3. in the daily FB LIVE sessions
There was also a comprehensive workbook with step by step instructions covering the entire 5-days of content and daily assignment PDFs. These were available on the training site as free downloads.
Open rates stayed pretty steady throughout the challenge at about 35-40%. I’m not sure there is much to take away from this since my sample size was small.
I included an assessment for the course on day five and need to circle back to all participants to encourage them to answer the 3 short questions I asked:
1. Rate the class (great, good, only okay)
2. What was most valuable (email assignments, video trainings, Facebook lives)
3. Did you make a video (yes, almost, no)
I’d LOVE to get feedback because I know there is always room for improvement!
The weekend “selling” period when I was telling students about my paid course, Mastering iMovie on your Mac, coincided with Mother’s Day weekend. My original plan was to send 6 emails over Friday, Saturday and Sunday but I just couldn’t stomach that. And I didn’t think my audience would appreciate it either.
I sent three and supplemented them with an impromptu FB live on Saturday to answer some great questions about Mastering iMovie on your Mac that students had asked. That was a fun Q&A!
My last email went out mid-day Sunday. I offered a limited time discount on Mastering iMovie on your Mac that expired at midnight that night. Learning how to schedule emails was key since I was having 10 people over for dinner on Mother’s Day and needed to focus on that!
In conclusion, I’m very happy with everything I learned from the entire experience. It was never about the money I might make from selling my paid course. It was about learning all these new- to-me online marketing tools, providing value to the students in the course and enjoying the beautiful videos they made and shared during the challenge!
I hope these tips help you if you decide to run a challenge of your own. My best wishes for a successful one if you do!
Remember, It’s Never Too Late To Create.
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