How to Launch an Online Challenge in 5 Easy Steps5 minute read
You might be familiar with the concept of online challenges: generally, short-term online courses where participants are given daily tasks to complete with the goal of reaching a certain result by the end of the challenge.
Running an online challenge can be extremely beneficial for online course creators. In fact, these types of challenge courses are fantastic to boost engagement levels, create a feeling of community among the group of participants, and even upsell your premium product offerings.
Today you will learn how to start an online challenge in a few easy steps. If are not familiar with what challenges are or the benefits of online challenges, check out the blog post in the link and come back here later!
Step #1: Pick a Problem-Solving Topic
An online challenge is a more direct and generally shorter than an online course. The goal of a challenge should be to help your audience achieve a specific result in a relatively short time.
This is especially true if you are using online challenges as lead magnets to drive up sales and introduce new customers to your program.
So go and look back at your main online course and choose one smaller topic to focus on. Are there any pain points that your ideal customer is trying to solve?
Once you have identified your topic, start structuring and promoting your challenge around it.
For your online challenge to be successful, it is important to focus on one topic only and help students achieve one specific goal around a pain point. Why only one topic?
Short-term online challenges are different from your primary online course. The goal of a challenge is to introduce potential customers to your program and help them reach a particular result. So a challenge should not overwhelm participants by exposing them to all the same concepts you cover in your longer, more complex online course.
At the end of your online challenge, students should feel as they have received enough value and solved a pain point, but should also be left wanting to receive even more in-depth value from your other product offerings.
Step #2: Outline and Schedule Your Challenge
Once you have figured out the topic of your online challenge, it's time to start outlining its structure.
What content do your students need in order to achieve the end result and solve their pain points?
Try to structure your challenge by diving its content into digestible lessons and maintaining a consistent structure.
This is where you should decide how long your challenge is going to be and how many lessons it is going to include. Depending on the topic and goal of your online challenge, its length and structure can vary. (Generally 1 lesson per day at most is a good practice, with a total challenge length of 5-30 days being the most common.)
If you are using Heights Platform to run online challenges, you can easily edit the structure of your course and get a birds-eye view of all the lessons in your challenge and their launch date.
The picture above shows the end result of an example challenge, and on the right side is what you see as a creator when you are outlining the lesson structure.
Heights Platform also makes it easy for you to schedule the release dates of lessons inside the challenge. You can set a release date for when you want each lesson to become available to students. You can also set an expiration date for each lesson: this way, after a set amount of days, the lessons in your challenge will expire and students will lose access to them.
The expiration date adds urgency to your content and students are incentivized to log in as soon as each lesson is released, because they know that it will expire soon!
When you are structuring your challenge, you want to include an email to notify students that a new lesson is being released. Without Heights Platform, you would have to manually send out emails and manually release each lesson using different platforms that are not beneficial for you or your students.
You can set automated emails to be sent out on the release day of each lesson and customize them to add a personal touch!
Most creators who run challenges use Facebook groups or emails to send out new content, but this can easily become cluttered and hard to manage and digest for both you and your students.
Now, with the help of Heights Platform, you don't have to worry about this anymore. Facebook groups are easy to set up but are not the ideal tool to run online challenges, and students often get distracted and diverted away from your content.
Step #3: Create Content and Upload it
Once you have laid out the structure of your online challenge and you have a clearer understanding of how many lessons you will have inside, it is time to create content!
Consistency is key with online challenges. Make sure that the lessons inside your challenge are consistent in terms of length and medium. Each lesson should have a specific task or step your student can accomplish after viewing.
For most types of content, short lessons are best! A 5-minute video as a challenge lesson is going to be more beneficial to your learners than a video that is an hour long. You want to quickly communicate and explain the task so it is easy to digest, and then provide the next step/task in the next day's challenge lesson!
What type of content does your audience prefer and respond better to? In your main online course, do students resonate better with video, text, images or audio?
The goal of your online challenge is to maximize engagement and boost online course sales. So you should create content in the most engaging, entertaining way for your audience.
Step #4: Promote and Launch Your Online Challenge
At this stage, you have found the right topic for your challenge, you have structured its outline and created the content. All that is left to do is launch!
It is always better to build up an audience before launching a challenge or online course. If you already have a group of people on your email list or social media interested in your content, notify them about your new challenge.
If you do not have an audience yet, check out this article from our blog: 5 Tips to Grow Your Business With Content Creation and Build an Audience Around Your Online Course
Your online challenge does not need to be ready in order to launch. This is called pre-selling, a tactic where you start building an online course and allow potential customers to purchase it before it is even finished. All you need to do to pre-sell your online challenge is create a landing page where people can purchase it and learn about the upcoming course.
Pre-selling is a great way to validate your challenge idea and confirm that there is demand for your product. It also allows you to collect the email addresses of your ideal customers and grow your audience and email list.
Challenges are a natural fit with pre-selling because you ideally want all of your students to be signed up before the challenge starts.
Bonus Step #5 (For Heights Platform Creators Only): Re-run your challenge!
If you are using Heights Platform as your online course creation software, you have the option to re-launch a past challenge - and it is super easy!
It is very common for online course creators to re-start a challenge over and over again with new waves of customers. The problem is that without a dedicated tool, it is an extremely tedious and complicated process to schedule all of your lessons and email content for the new dates.
Without Heights Platform, to relaunch a challenge you would have to manually re-upload all the content and notify your customers as if it was the first time you were running the challenge.
Why should you have to work so hard for something you already did?
With Heights Platform, you can reschedule a past challenge to run again with one click of a button.
You can decide the launch date for the new challenge, and the system automatically calculates the launch and expiration dates of every single lesson, based on the settings you had in the previous challenge!
Learn all about the benefits of running challenges and how online challenges work inside Heights Platform: Introducing Challenges in Heights Platform: (How to Increase Engagement and Boost Online Course Sales)Create Your Challenge Today