If you want an influx of new clients in 10 days or less, running a free challenge is one of the best ways to do it! A free challenge can open the gates for people to learn more about you in a no-risk way and see how you may have the solution to their problem.
Social media is great, but it's a long-term strategy that takes time to build awareness and trust. When you run a free challenge, you are dramatically expediting the know-like-trust process because people get to spend more time with you over a few days, so they experience what it could be like to be a client.
In this post, I'm going to break things down so you can see how a free challenge can lead to getting new clients in a very short period of time.
Benefits of Launching a Challenge
If you struggle with figuring out a way to get in front of your ideal clients, a free challenge can be the perfect solution. A free offering like this introduces people to you without having to overcome the barrier of skepticism and price. Once people are in your challenge, they can experience what it will be like to work with you in your coaching programs.
Build Your Authority
A free challenge is a fantastic way to establish yourself as an authority and a trusted resource.
An easy way to facilitate your free challenge is to create a Facebook group for the participants. (You want people to sign up via an opt-in page so you get their email address so they can get your daily challenge content too). Once they join, they will have access to not only your support and knowledge but also the support of fellow participants. Some of the most successful Facebook groups are structured so that they function as a community. You are the leader, but you also want members to interact with, and support each other, not just you.
Since Facebook groups don’t face the same organic reach challenges as Facebook fan pages, the people that really want to see the daily posts, won’t miss a thing. Hosting your own Facebook group elevates your status as a leader since you are bringing people together for the challenge.
Once the challenge ends, you will have a group full of people, and some of them will be ready to take the next step with you to become a client or join your group program.
Build Your Sales Funnel
The end goal of any free offer should be to convert some of the members to paying clients. In this manner, your free program acts as the first step in your sales funnel. The top of the funnel is where people enter with a free offer like a challenge. The middle is where you offer a low-cost, short-term program (30 days is a great option). The bottom of your funnel is your premium coaching program or higher-priced, longer-term program. By providing consistent value over time, and gaining their trust, you keep moving people down the funnel. People that know, like, and trust you are going to want to continue to do business with you, and they will also refer their friends. No need to complicate this. If you only offer 1-on-1 coaching, you can offer a 30-Day program for that as the first step.
At the end of your challenge (5-7 days is the perfect length of time), you can offer the next step in your sales funnel. This is where you offer a way people can continue their progress and accelerate their results. Once the challenge is over, one option is to lead people into a lower-cost group program for 30-days. At the end of the 30-day program, you can lead them to join your intermediate program. Each program you offer should go up in both price and level of support.
Over time, your programs can build upon one another, so that each program acts as a lead-in for the next one. When you think of your programs as a process or a journey, you’ll be able to find ways to offer more than one program to clients and potential clients.
Topics for Your Challenge
There is a wide range of themes and topics for any type of challenge, so think about what your audience would be drawn to and appreciate the most. One option is to do a 5-day challenge that addresses a common struggle you know your ideal clients face such as menu planning.
You want your daily topics to be easy to implement, and easy to have small wins along the way. This will keep people motivated and ready to take the next step.
Keeping Your Participants Engaged
Who doesn't love incentives? Even though this is a free challenge, you can still offer PRIZES for participation. Prizes are optional, but it makes it more fun for participants and it keeps them coming back to your group which is where they get to know you. One easy way to do this is to let everyone know you'll be drawing a name each day for a prize. The more they comment and post, the more chances they have to win. If you're using a Facebook group for the hub of your challenge, you can either just pick a name at random, or you can use a tool like randompicker.com to select a winner for you.
Prize ideas include: A journal, exercise bands, cookbook, motivational book, gift cards (an eGift card from Amazon is easy). You want to pick prizes that are light-weight and easy to mail. If your winner lives out of the country, an eGift card is a good option. Look for items that are on sale when you're out shopping, and you can build a nice assortment of prizes to make it fun for people to stay engaged in your Facebook group.
Build Your Business with a Free Challenge
A free challenge is a great way to kick off and fill a new Facebook group with your ideal audience, and it's also a great way to re-energize an existing group that may have fizzled out. Think of the free challenge as an amazing way to introduce yourself to your target audience in a fun way, and have them get to know, like, and trust you in a short period of time.
The great news is that you can run your challenge 3-4 times a year to continue to build awareness and get new clients – rinse and repeat!
How to Get Started
If you want to run a challenge, but you don't have the time or aren't sure how to put one together, I have something that may interest you.
I created the 5-Day Menu Planning Challenge, so you would have an irresistible free offer to build awareness, grow your email list, and get clients QUICKLY.
You get EVERYTHING you need to PROMOTE, FILL, and RUN an incredibly successful challenge in a matter of days.
Check out the 5-Day Menu Planning Challenge HERE.
As a health coach, I’m sure you’re bombarded with a long list of things you have to figure out to get your business up and running – and make it profitable.
Last week, I was speaking with a health coach that just graduated from the health coach training program. She had no idea where to start with her business, and she was feeling lost and a bit frustrated.
Boy, can I relate to this because I remember feeling the exact same way when I graduated.
Do you ever feel like you’re alone on your own deserted island left to figure it out by yourself! Well, I’ve been on that island too, and it’s no fun.
Since this is such a common question that comes up, I wanted to take some time to share my experience and ideas to help make things easier for you.
In this post, I’m just going to address the topic of 1-on-1 coaching because that’s where most coaches start out. I think it’s a great idea to get practice this way, build your confidence, then move on to online coaching and group coaching from there.
One of the first hurdles to overcome is deciding how to structure your 1-on-1 coaching program. I struggled with this when I was first starting out, and I know there are many other coaches that feel the same way, and they get stuck in paralysis mode.
The good news is that I dove in head first to figure it out — and now I get to help other coaches fill in the blanks when it comes to creating top-notch health coaching programs.
Smart systems are a huge part of any successful business, so I created a step-by-step system that made all the difference in the world — to me and my clients. Having a structure to your coaching programs will save you time, energy, and frustration, AND allow you to earn more money.
Taking the time to map out the kind of journey you want to take your clients on will make coaching so much more enjoyable for you, and will allow you to help more people.
When I started out as a health coach, it took me a good three hours total for each client session. I would have to prepare session content ahead of time, scramble to find resources, and then send a recap email to each client. Oh, my!
I quickly realized that this was not a model I could continue with if I wanted to have a profitable business (and not lose my mind!).
Get ready to get unstuck, my friend. I’m going to break it down for you so you can get started mapping out your own program. My hope is that the simple steps I’m sharing today will get you on the road to coaching with more confidence.
I’m also going to share the EXACT topics I used with my own coaching program (including the order of the topics).
Let’s get started!
1. Get clear
Think about who your ideal client is and what their top struggles are. What problem do they want to have solved? If they could wave a magic wand, what would they want to change?
If you aren’t sure about this right now, don’t let it hold you back from getting started. If this isn’t clear to you right now, it will become more clear the more clients you see.
When you can get clear on your niche, you’ll be able to resonate so much more with that group of people, and it will be easier to become the ‘go-to’ person in that market. If you try to be a coach to everyone for everything, you end up being too general, and this usually leads to frustration and not enough clients on your schedule.
2. Map it out
Decide what journey you plan to take your clients on. If you want to take them from point A to point C, what does that look like? Write down the ideas that come to you.
How long will your coaching program be? I recommend offering more than one way for people to work with you. Having a short-term introductory program is a great gateway to your other offerings.
Will your 1-on-1 program consist of three months? Six months? I recommend offering a 90-day program (three months) and then the option to continue month to month or for another 90 days. People tend to commit to shorter programs more easily than a longer term program, so you are likely to get a higher enrollment rate.
How many sessions will you offer per month? Many coaches offer two sessions per month. This allows clients some time to implement what you covered in the previous session. If you plan to include more sessions per month be sure to charge accordingly.
3. Prepare ahead of time
I can’t tell you how many hours this will save you each month! Not to mention how much more professional you will come across to your clients.
Do you have pre-prepared sessions ready to go? These sessions can be an assortment of the most common topics that come up for your clients.
Program topic examples include: Goal Setting, Meal Planning, Mindset, Primary Food, Stress Management, Implementing Healthy Whole Foods, etc.
Find out what area your client is struggling with the most, and then tackle that topic. If one of the challenges are that your client eats out too much, addressing the topic of menu planning would probably be ideal. Talk about the roadblocks around that issue then figure out what would work best for the client. They receive a recap of that session (topic info, handouts, action items) to review, and then at the next session see what has worked well for them and what needs more focus.
It’s helpful for you and for the client to have a complete session of content all laid out and ready to go. Your clients are not going to remember everything that was covered, so when they can get the information in writing, they can refer back to it.
Of course there will be topics where you have nothing prepared in writing, but when you can have 80-90% of it done, it’s so much easier.
Stay open to changes though. I always let my clients know: “This is about YOU. I have a great plan to help you, but none of it is set in stone. I have plans to cover a certain topic, but if you need help in another area, we will tackle that first.” This way, the client knows you do have a plan, but it is flexible based on their unique needs.
When I finished my health coach training program, I knew I needed more to offer my clients. I felt like there were a lot of different topics I wanted to cover. I had in mind the journey I wanted to take my clients through: It would be simple, not restrictive, and very step-by-step where one success built on the previous one.
I went to work to create 12 comprehensive sessions. This way, I would never run out of topics to cover, and I could break them up and use them for a 3-month program or a 6-month program. (I could also use the content online, for lunch and learns or as posts for blogs or social media).
What topics would be the most helpful to your particular audience? What do they struggle with the most?
Here are the session topics I put together for my clients (this is the order that my sessions were typically delivered, but it was always flexible):
1. Goal Setting
2. Why Diets Don’t Work
3. Fueling Your Body
4. Exercise Strategies
5. Menu Planning
6. Mindful Eating and Portion Control
7. Boosting Your Energy
8. Understanding and Conquering Cravings
9. Why It’s Not Just About Food and Exercise
10. Deciphering Food Labels
11. Stress Reduction and Self-Care
These are topics that anyone and everyone can benefit from. You can just cater them to each client since everyone is unique. Each person will have some similar issues, but they will also struggle with different things at different times.
Brainstorm and figure out what makes the most sense to you and to your clients.
The sessions need to be easy to understand and very simple to implement. The worst thing you can do is overwhelm your clients with too much information. Think “baby steps.” Once you have your client go through the session content, you can see what habits they have pretty much dialed in, and which habits can be focused on at that time.
Remember to have your client focus on no more than two new habits at a time. Sometimes focusing on one at a time is best depending on the client. This is the best way to set them up for success.
Small wins will help build your client’s confidence and keep them motivated to keep going.
A great book that I found extremely helpful when I was a new coach is: “Coaching Questions: A Coach’s Guide to Powerful Asking Skills,” by Tony Stoltzfus. This book is full of fantastic high-mileage questions that you can add to your coaching toolbox.
Another great book is “Motivational Interviewing in Health and Fitness” by Dawn Clifford, PhD This book is an amazing resource for health and fitness professionals. It includes great examples and sample scripts to help you coach more effectively.
4. Options for delivering your 1-on-1 coaching
There are two popular options for delivering your 1-on-1 coaching programs. Think about what appeals to you the most. The decision will be based on your goals, needs, and lifestyle at the moment. You may also decide to offer a combination of the two.
Phone/Skype – Virtual
I did all of my 1-on-1 coaching via phone and Skype, and I loved it. This gave me the most flexibility, and I didn’t need to rent space or have strangers come to my house. My clients loved it because they didn’t have to travel to an appointment.
A huge benefit of virtual coaching is that you can have clients from anywhere in the world. Skype (or Zoom) is amazing for this type of coaching.
You can either email your coaching content to your client before of after your session so they can review it. I like to send it ahead of time so they can look at it ahead of time, then we can dive into the areas that they need help with the most. But you can do what works best for you.
You would charge the same fee for this type of coaching as you would in-person coaching.
You’ll have to decide where you would like to meet. Is there somewhere that is private that meets your needs and the needs of your client? Will you have to pay rent? Can you join forces with another health professional to provide services at their facility? This will have to be figured into the price of your coaching program.
As you think about your coaching program and the level of support you want to provide for your clients, get really clear on what that looks like. Write it down and map it all out. Do a brain dump if you aren’t quite sure.
I know I included a lot of information here, and I hope it gave you some great ideas. I recommend you take action by reading through this again, take notes, brainstorm, and then plan out the structure of your own program.
If you have time to put your own program together, that’s fantastic. Not everyone has the time, patience, or the desire. Believe me, I know how many hours go into putting something like this together (and it always takes more time than you think it will).
If you want to have a coaching program that’s already done for you, has been tried and tested on hundreds of people, you can find out about the Coach with Confidence program here. It’s a completely customizable program that includes all of the topics I listed above.
Okay, you’re ready to rock this!
You can also grab your free Discovery Session Guide HERE, where you’ll get a comprehensive template and scripting for your initial consultation. You’ll know EXACTLY what to say so you’ll feel more confident about turning prospects into paying clients.
If you plan to launch an online coaching program, be sure to check out this post where I break it down for you, step by step.
Have questions? Not sure where to begin?
JOIN our FREE mastermind group on Facebook where we share ideas, troubleshoot and brainstorm. If you are a certified health coach, fitness professional or nutritionist, be sure to join us.
Social media marketing can seem a bit elusive and confusing sometimes. Everywhere you turn there seems to be another expert telling you what you need to do to in order to succeed at social media. It can be difficult to cut through the noise and get to the heart of how you should really spend your time and efforts. Social media alone isn’t going to bring you clients. Rather it should be part of an overall strategy to get new leads which will then result in getting new clients.
Social Media as a Marketing Tool
When you are using social media, it can be tempting to get caught up in the numbers. As business owners, we sometimes obsess over our follower count, the number of likes on our posts, and the number of comments we get. We worry about algorithm changes, and how many of our followers are even seeing our posts. We agonize over whether paid advertising is worthwhile, or if we should just work harder to try to gain organic traffic.
While a lot of fans, followers, likes and comments are great, the ultimate goal should always be to add value, and get people on your email list. You don’t own your social media followers, and they can be gone at any moment, so you want to get them on your email list to stay in touch.
Here’s the bottom line; Posting on social media will not grow your business unless you have a strategy. There are plenty of health coaches who have great social media profiles, yet are struggling to gain clients. They are the perfect example of why you don’t want social media to be the only method of communication you use. Social media is one part of the strategy – and you always want to be thinking about how you can invite people in to get to know you more to see the solution you have to offer.
Some of your post posts will share valuable tips, important updates or recipes, etc., and that's great. But be sure you are also including a way for people to get on your email list. Some online marketing experts recommend that approximately 20% of your posts should lead people to a free offer where they can opt-in.
For tips (and copy and paste scripts) for building your email list, see this post – How to Double or Triple Your List-Building Results
Social Media as Part of Your Sales Funnel
Sales funnels are an important strategy in any successful business. Very rarely will anyone purchase your services the first time they hear about them. It often takes multiple exposures to your business before they make the decision to purchase. Think of a funnel where social media is at the top. You use your social media posts to persuade your followers to sign up for your free offer. When they sign up for your free offer, they agree to be added to your email list.
So, the steps in your sales funnel are:
- Social Media Post
- Free Offer and Subscription to Email List
- Email Campaign to Educate and Promote Your Services
You’ll want to design a series of automated emails that go out to all new subscribers to your email list. The purpose of these emails is to add value and establish trust with your new subscribers. You can also let them know about the programs you offer, and how they can solve a problem your subscribers may be facing.
Just be careful not to focus too much on the hard sell. The key is to provide value. When you provide valuable information for free, you establish yourself as an expert, and set the expectation that if they become your client, you’ll be able to help them overcome the challenges they may be facing.
Once they are on your email list, they are part of your warm market – you are no longer a stranger. When you get people on your email list, you get to stay in touch with them on a more personal level. After the initial series of welcome emails, you should have a regular schedule of emails so your subscribers know when to expect the next email in their inbox. Decide if your schedule will be once a week or something else. Whatever you decide, be sure to stay consistent. This consistency will help to build your relationship with your subscribers, and will ultimately lead to more of them becoming clients.
Social media can be an extremely powerful tool for marketing your business. When used properly, it can encourage your followers to sign up for your email list, and ultimately convert to clients. By providing value in your posts, and a clear call to action, you can take the first step toward developing a relationship with potential clients and grow your business.
Have you joined our free mastermind group for health coaches yet? If you are a certified health coach or certified fitness professional, come on over and join the fun! Be a part of something amazing!
CLICK HERE to join us!