Last year my lovely client Megan Yelaney grew her business from $150K to $750K. Ok, now that I have your attention — wanna know her top secret way for building trust when you’re launching? While creating the desire AND the need for whatever program you’re putting out into the world? Megan’s a master of launching free challenges that convert BIG. Today’s episode blazes through what a free challenge is, how to leverage a free challenge to create an engaged online community, and the three mistakes to avoid if you want to see more sales, more clients and less stress with this next launch of yours.
Today we are talking to Megan Yelaney about what it takes to create a free challenge that builds trust, jam packs your Facebook group with kindred clients, and — of course — sells the daylights outta your program.
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:
WE COVER TOPICS LIKE:
What even is a free challenge strategy and how it can help build trust with your audience
How to feel good about launching and launching regularly (like every other month, regularly!)
How Megan’s clients signed their own clients before they even launched using her free challenge strategy
Three common mistakes newbie free challenge creator make .
How setting boundaries on your energy can help your clients grow .
The must-know things you should do for a successful, no-stress free challenge + launch
AND SO MUCH MORE!
Three mistakes most entrepreneurs make with their free challenges (We both know you’re doing AT LEAST one of these)
Dig, if you will, a picture. Of you popping in your earbuds. You’re jamming out to one of your favorite songs. “Good As Hell” by Lizzo. You are feeling fearless.
But let’s take this moment waaaaaaay back to its studs. To the part we NEVER think about...
An artist wrote that song.
A studio then had to greenlight and record that song.
A marketing agency then promoted that song.
Spotify made sure you had easy access to that song.
On your iPhone, which, followed the same exact cycle.
Idea. Creation. Promotion. Access.
You’re logging in via WiFi, which follow the SAME CYCLE AGAIN.
Idea. Creation. Promotion. Access.
All of that allows us to hear a single song.
Now, think back if you can to the first moment you heard your favorite song.
How empowered it made you feel.
How that song gives you an extra ounce of courage to face whatever is weighing you down.
Now, whenever a new song comes out by Lizzo, you listen.
‘Cuz she’s a bad bitch. And she makes YOU feel like a bad bitch too.
Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!
That’s how Megan Yelaney, today’s podcast guest, describes free challenges. Last year she used her free challenge launch method for her Mastermind in June and had a $141k launch.
That’s more than most people make in a year...all earned through a SINGLE launch.
I mean. That’s powerful right there.
Here’s what she said about it:
Too vague of a free challenge
Not promoting their free challenge enough.
Why would you want to create a free challenge too?
They are gifts that keep on giving to you, your business, and your audience because they build trust.
So what is a free challenge exactly?...
A free challenge can be any length, but Megan Yelaney recommends five days because that’s what she has found to be the sweet spot between giving your audience incredible value and building enough desire to opt in to your paid program.
During these 5 days, you're intentionally sharing content that’s so value-filled, it’s out-of-this-world. As your audience experiences little wins toward their goals — because of the free epic content you’re dishing up — trust is built.
Finally, you end this challenge with an invitation to work with you and experience even more results by purchasing one-on-one coaching, a mastermind slot, or self-paced program.
Because they’re already headed toward their goals with your free content, the next question becomes, “What more can she offer me? What else might I accomplish if I spend money to work with her?” and purchasing becomes a no-brainer!
You can leverage the power of trust building through free challenges by avoiding the three mistakes newbie free challenge creators make.
Your challenge and program don’t fit together seamlessly
“Honestly, it was a super easy launch — half of the slots were full before we even launched. It almost seemed too easy, but then I realized I’ve been launching free challenges for two years now and giving my audience incredible value every time. And I was like WOW, this is the benefit of investing in your audience and being intentional about community building. My work was paying off BIG time.”
Free challenges are the gift that keep on giving.
“My super successful clients are the ones who treat their free challenge like a REAL launch.”
Real as in, the kind that have thousands of dollars hinging on them!
When “The Greatest Showman” came out, it didn’t just hit the theatres like BAM without giving you any warning, did it? No! There were mooooooonths of trailers, interviews, and soundtrack drops to build anticipation and get people talking.
When the musical finally did hit the theatres, what did you do? You got a ticket. But you had been looking for it. Waiting for it. Watching for it. Maybe even put it on your calendar.
Bottomline: The Greatest Showman didn’t just come out of someone’s back pocket and hit the theatres. It was prepared for.
It’s the same when you’re launching something too. You don’t pull it out of your back pocket and say, “Hey, it’s for sale.”
Instead, you tell your audience about it. You give your audience a sneak peak on its creation. You tell your audience how impactful it will be and why you created it in the first place. You take them on a journey with you that builds anticipation and gets people talking (or at least looking forward to the offer becoming available).
Treat your free challenge the same way with these three steps:
ONE: Do a LOT of warm up.
If you want to be successful in free challenge launches — or any kind of launches — you need to be like my clients that have the most successful launches. They're not dipping in and out of social media and email. They’re not showing up during a two-week launch and ghosting. They are showing up ALL THE TIME. And continually giving away bucket loads of value.
On IG. On livestreams. In Facebook groups. In funnels. In email. In stories. On YouTube. On their business page. On their personal page. In their podcasts.
It might be similar content across all these platforms, but they’re dropping it ON THE DAILY.
And that ISN’T just when they’re launching, babycakes. It’s all the time.
They’re consistently growing their audiences and giving them value, so that when they DO launch, momentum is already working in their favor. You know the idea that an object in motion tends to remain in motion? That’s what’s happening here. Getting a launch off the ground when you HAVEN’T been doing all these things? You’re forcing an object to move that’s been sitting there for a bajillion years. That object doesn’t want to move. It isn’t PERSONAL. It’s PHYSICS. Blame Newton if you want to, but it doesn’t make it any less true.
ALWAYS show up for your audience. Just don’t stop being there for them and giving them crazy amounts of value. This communicates that you’re actually there for THEM and not just their money.
TWO: Promote the actual challenge for two weeks.
You want as many people as possible in your challenge. So, have a short launch but a long promo for the launch. During your promo give value, specific value, that is related to what your audience is trying to overcome and achieve. Share testimonials. Share tips. Share resources.
Megan’s clients have signed clients during their promo period because they were giving away so much value before they even got to their free challenge or invitation to buy!
THREE: Prepare like a crazy person.
You don’t know what’s gonna happen during launch week. (And things usually do.) Someone (you) could get sick. Or hurt. Tech could break. You could get into it with your spouse and be an emotional wreck. Launches tend to create chaos for many people, because they represent stepping into a new life. And if you’re not prepared for it, you’re gonna get derailed.
While launching once, Megan’s dad went into the hospital. He needed surgery, and Megan was the one right by his side. While she was tired emotionally because of all that was going on, she wasn’t overwhelmed — because she was prepared.
She literally had three weeks of content all written and planned out, so all she had to do each day was show up and take action. She didn’t have to be creative. She didn't have to drum up some magical inspirational piece and find a pic she would be horrified to share on social media. She just showed up and posted as planned.
Make sure your challenge name is SUPER specific.
Megan’s first challenge was called “Intermittent Fasting and Fat Loss for Women”. What are you going to learn in that free five-day challenge? How to leverage Intermittent Fasting to lose weight.
You knew exactly what you’re getting yourself into and whether or not that’s something you want to get yourself into, right?!
The goal here is to be a mind reader and speak directly to their pain points.
The question you need to be asking yourself and answering with your free challenge is: What does your client need from you (not what you want to give them)? And how can you solve a small piece of that problem so they’re ready to invest in the rest of the help?
If you want to feel good about launching and launching often like Megan, who frequently launches monthly, always precede your launches with some free strategy that gives a lot of value, and you will feel like you earn your right to launch.
Because you’re not talking about what you want to talk about. You’re talking about what your audience wants to hear about and what you know they need to hear.
There are a lot of free challenge creators who have built stellar challenges. They use all the right launching strategies, a two week promo period, show up consistently for their audience, give incredible value, and even have a professional sales page. But their launch still falls waaaay short of the goal.
One of the reasons is often because the challenge didn’t cover specific and value-full content directly related to the offer you’re launching.
Being intentional about the content you’re sharing in your challenge matters! If you’re just sharing stuff willy nilly, you won’t evoke enough need and desire in your audience to compel them to buy your program when you offer it. There won’t be a common thread, vision, or story for them to follow.
The quickest and most effective way to make sure you’re building need and desire is to create your challenge as an overview of the content in your program, but on a much more surface level.
Your goal is to give your audience quick wins related to yoru program and their goals every day of the challenge.
They will start covering ground and getting closer to their goal. Wahoo! You’ll pitch your offer on the last day, and it will be a no-brainer for them to opt into your program because you've already brought them SO FAR.
Basically, you’re giving them the first two steps in your free challenge and your paid program gives them the last three steps and includes templates...customization...coaching calls...all the fancy extras.
Megan has one-on-one clients, a sold out masterclass, and a jammin’ membership, but they’re full of people who found her through free challenges. She said, “Once your audience is in and you give them INCREDIBLE value, they are lifers.” They might not buy stuff from you immediately. But you built trust with them. They’ll hang around and most likely they’ll buy from you.
They’re worth spending your time and energy on to do right.
And they’re worth getting into the world.
In the comments below, let us know — have you ever launched a free challenge? How did it go?
Megan is a business coach who helps online coaches get booked out and scale to 6 figures. She specializes in client attraction and launch strategy. She loves traveling, singing, being a super aunt, and encourages everyone to embrace their #prettyawkward while building their business!
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Lauren Vanessa Zink helps rebels with big hearts and big shit to do in the world find their voice, nail their messaging, and write incredible, sales-making copy. Armed with a B.A. and red lipstick, she’s taken tens of thousands of coaches, consultants, and creatives from “Who are you?” to “Holy cow, where have you been all my life?” When she isn’t working on a client launch or writing about herself in the third person, you can find her playing at one of San Diego’s awesome dog beaches with her fur baby Sphinx.