04 Dec 6 steps to create an email challenge that converts
Do you struggle to get engaged email subscribers on your list?
Do you want to break free from the hustle of social media and sell more confidently and consistently?
Email challenges are one of the most effective ways to launch a course, sell your services, book out your coaching calendar or even sell physical products.
They can be done on a low budget, and even automated to save you time.
You don’t need a massive audience to get results from an email challenge either.
When people let you into their inbox, it’s a sign that they trust you – which means they’re considering purchasing from you, or at least curious to find out how you can help them.
With the right email sequence, you can nurture that trust and convert them into a paying customer and loyal fan – and an email challenge is a great way to let them ‘try before they buy’ so you attract and convert more of your ideal customers.
1. Find the right pain point
The key to a successful challenge is getting people to sign up and actually do the work.
But that’s only going to happen if your challenge promises (and delivers) a result they want.
The most effective result is one which takes away a pain point they’re currently experiencing.
The result your challenge delivers needs to be irresistible to your ideal customer and aligned to the product or service you’re trying to sell.
Start by researching what pain your audience is experiencing.
Talk to previous customers about how your product or service helped, read through your testimonials and reviews, and connect with potential customers on social media, inside Facebook groups and at networking events to gain a better understanding of where they’re struggling and what results they’re looking for.
For example, when I created my Instagram Engagement Challenge, I knew that my audience wanted more Instagram followers and were feeling frustrated with the algorithm – blaming it for the lack of engagement on their posts and slow audience growth.
I also knew that the algorithm wasn’t entirely to blame, and more followers wasn’t necessarily the solution to making more sales on social media.
They were actually struggling to create original content that resonated with the audience they already had, which is why engagement was low.
If they continued to grow their audience with low engagement, no amount of followers would convert to customers.
So the content and tasks within my challenge focused on getting to know your audience and creating the right content to nurture a relationship with them.
But my landing page, and the name of the challenge itself, focused on increasing engagement and overcoming the algorithm – because that was the front of mind problem for my audience.
2. Keep tasks manageable with the 10 minute rule
The number 1 reason people don’t finish online courses and programmes is because they’re feeling overwhelmed by the content.
Your email challenge should offer your audience an opportunity to “try before they buy” and sample the type of results you can deliver for them.
The secret to keeping your challenge engaging is to keep it bite sized.
Remember that your ideal customers receive potentially hundreds of emails a week.
As excited as they are for your challenge, if it takes too much time to read and complete each task, your participants are going to drop out – which means you’re going to lose valuable sales leads.
Stick to the 10 minute rule.
It should take each participant no more than 10 minutes a day to read the email and complete the task inside.
Successful challenges are all about instant gratification. You want your participants to see instant results for the small amount of effort they’re putting in, so they feel the positive benefits of working with you.
3. Leave them wanting more
Another reason not to overwhelm your participants with content is you don’t want to give the entire solution away, or encourage them to take the DIY approach.
As helpful as your challenge is, you still want to make sales at the end of it.
Over-delivering on value is a great way to show how great you are at what you do – but you need to strike a balance between establishing your credibility and giving away too much for free.
Ideally your email challenge should give your audience a taste of the results you can achieve for them, create a sense of excitement about what’s possible and make them aware of the gap between where they are now, and where they want to be.
At the end of the challenge you want them to be thinking about what could be possible for them – if they can generate these results in just a few days, what could happen if they committed to your full programme?
For example, with my Instagram Engagement Challenge, I focused on encouraging my participants to believe that Instagram is the right platform for them, and with the right strategy they can overcome the algorithm and make sales on the platform.
I shared practical tasks that would help them increase their engagement, then upsold the long term strategy for this, which was taught inside my course.
4. Don’t neglect the sales sequence
A crucial part of your challenge’s success is asking for the sale.
Do it too early and you’ll lose the trust of your participants, do it too late and you might miss your chance.
Within your challenge you need to demonstrate that you are the right person to solve the problem for them. Include testimonials, results and success stories wherever possible, and share your expertise to build authority.
You also need to build trust by getting them results.
Once they’ve experienced the type of results you can deliver, they will be keen to hear more about how you can help them.
At that point, you can start introducing your sales pitch.
You won’t need to go for the hard sell because you’ve already built a good relationship with your subscribers, but you also shouldn’t go too light touch either.
The best sales pitches are those which blend into the rest of the email content and focus on how you can help your audience – rather than just straight up pitching to them.
During your challenge you should offer social proof in the form of testimonials, case studies etc, then follow up the challenge with a series of strategic sales emails.
These emails should overcome core objections that would prevent someone from purchasing, showcase the results they can expect and recap the reasons to buy now.
You could even strengthen your sales sequence using retargeting Facebook Ads to people who complete your challenge and visit the sales page but don’t purchase.
5. Optimise for success
One of the biggest appeals of an email challenge is that you can automate it.
With the right email marketing software you can set up a workflow which triggers an email to send each day from the day someone joins your list.
You can also use tagging and segmentation to identify who purchases as a result of your challenge, who visits the sales page but doesn’t buy, and who doesn’t complete the challenge – so you can take it a step further and send targeted content to your warmest leads.
But before you put your entire challenge on auto-pilot, it’s important to test and refine it, to make sure it’s optimised for success.
Start with your landing page
Make sure you can measure how many people visit your landing page, and how many people subscribe.
(Depending on what software you use, you may also be able to track which platforms your subscribers come from – which can help you improve your marketing too).
Targeting the copy on your landing page to your ideal subscriber is the best way to increase the number of people joining your challenge. You may also want to experiment with different colours, designs, page length etc, to increase your conversion rate.
Work on your subject lines
Your subject line will influence how many people open your emails.
You need to ensure a consistently high open rate throughout the challenge to make sure people complete it, reach the sales pitch and convert to a paying customer.
Remember that people might prefer to store up all the emails and work through them at once, rather than read them as they come through daily.
You might want to number your emails or include the challenge name, to make sure they can easily find them in their inbox and read them in the right order later.
Just because someone signed up at the start doesn’t necessarily mean they will open every email or complete the challenge – so just like your regular newsletter, you need to make sure you choose a catchy subject line to keep the open rates high:
6. Measure your conversion rate
As you scale up your challenge and attract more subscribers, it’s essential that you monitor your conversion rate – the number of subscribers that convert into paying customers at the end of the challenge.
Your conversion rate will, in part, depend on how warm your leads were already when they subscribed.
If you promote your challenge to an existing audience who already know, like and trust you, you’re likely to get a higher conversion rate than you’ll achieve when you start promoting to a cold audience through social media advertising or other channels.
Understanding your conversion rate will help you calculate how many subscribers you need to attract to hit your sales targets.
For example, my Instagram challenge, which I used to sell spaces on my Instagram training programme last year, converted 10 paying customers from 331 participants – a conversion rate of 3%.
19 subscribers who didn’t purchase the course did go on to become paying customers for other offers later, bringing the total number of conversions to 29 long term – a conversion rate of 8.7%.
This is because I continued to nurture them through my regular newsletter once the course launch was finished. (Read the full case study here).
However, if you’re using an email challenge as part of a specific launch, you need to focus on your short term conversion rate. For example, if you’re aiming to sell 100 spaces on your course at a conversion rate of 3%, you will need 3,334 subscribers.
If you’d like to explore how a 5 day email challenge could bring a more consistent stream of potential customers and warm leads to your business, I can help.
Book a free initial chat with me to find out if a 5 day challenge is right for you and how we can work together to create the perfect challenge for your customers.