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What’s your favorite way to launch your digital products?
For Zach Spuckler, the answer to that question is easy. He likes webinars, video series and every other kind of launch, but his favorite is the 5-Day Challenge format.
In the past few years that Zach has been running his business, he’s become and expert on that format. He’s also created products for his business, Heart, Soul & Hustle, to teach other online business owners how to run their own successful, profitable 5-day challenge launches.
Which is why I’m so excited to have him as my guest on episode 030 of the Rebel Boss Ladies Podcast. Zach is SO knowledgeable about 5-Day Challenges, and I feel like I learned a TON from him.
If you’ve ever considered running a challenge launch of your own, this episode is a must-listen!
5-day challenges have been Zach’s not-so-secret obsession for a while now. He spent years doing traditional launches, and felt burned out and exhausted at the end of every launch.
A friend recommended he try a 5-day challenge. This turned out to be incredibly successful for Zach, and required a lot less work than his previous launches.
“My launches were basically exhausting and hectic and we spent about three months planning for this launch that did about $20,000. And then we did a 5-day challenge. It took me about two weeks to plan and execute and we made about $20,000.”
Zach wanted to share the success and (comparative) ease of this launch with other business owners who were launching digital products.
“We ended up adding some stuff in, taking some stuff out turning it into a system. We really created a cohesive system that duplicates and scales really well for people in various industries.”
Zach has worked with all different types of businesses, from dog trainers to financial experts, to help them plan and execute successful challenges.
“It's been really cool to work with other businesses and that that's how I fell into it, just we were doing something that was working, we found something that works even better, we turned it into a system and here we are today.”
Zach wants to make sure that people know he doesn’t want to hate on other types of launch strategies – in fact, he really likes doing different types of launches. He just found that 5-day challenges were the least hectic and most successful for his business.
Previously, he was doing webinars to launch his products. While Zach still uses webinars, and wants to emphasize that there’s nothing wrong with them, they can also be a very difficult launch strategy.
“What I tell people is look, webinars are like very unforgiving because you've got 90 minutes to make the sale and do everything right… And so it's just so stressful to put everything on this one 90 minute session, to make sure that everything goes perfect, that everything converts, that all of your tech is good.”
The worst-case scenario? Zach has worked with a client who had thousands of people signed up for a webinar and put in months of lead up work, only to have everything cut out 20 minutes in.
While webinars can be very successful and a great way to launch, there’s also a lot of pressure for you to get it right for that one 90-minute session.
Challenges can fix this problem, because they’re a lot more forgiving.
Zach emphasizes that with challenges, you can jump in at any point and create additional material, clarify things, and work with your participants. “You've got five days so let's say day one, it doesn't work amazing right? It's not a big deal because you've got day two, three, four and five.”
When Zach’s noticed that people were confused during his webinars, he jumped in and created more content, like a PDF info sheet, that he could distribute on that day to keep everyone on track. If you confuse people during a webinar, however, you’re out of luck.
You also don’t have to do as much lead up work, like you would with a webinar. While some people put in months of work of lead up into a webinar, a 5-day challenge lets you build your credibility during the challenge instead of beforehand.
“with a challenge… that 5 days kind of builds the trust, connection and authority that you have to spend months building up with webinars or more traditional models.”
Finally, a challenge lets you combine different media so you can hit your audience from all different directions. You can use live videos, Facebook groups, email marketing or other creative ideas to reach your audience. All of this creates exposure, which helps you because the more people see something, the more they trust it.
“With a challenge, if they opt in they're going to get an email, they're going to see it on Facebook, they're going to see it as advertising and they're going to see a live video. There's just so much opportunity to create the exposure effect.”
By consistently showing up in people’s newsfeeds and inboxes, you’re building trust and authority. That makes them a great way to get started and scale your business.
Who is the best type of person to host a challenge launch? And why does it matter?
You want to make sure you’re launching in a way that matches you and the face of your business. Not every type of launch format may work well with who you are and what your product is.
Zach emphasizes that the best kind of person to host a challenge launch is someone who is very giving or service-oriented in terms of their audience.
“You have to you have to want to give back to your audience because when you do a challenge, you have to show up in a Facebook group. You have to show up online video. You have to show up in their inbox. Which means you have to be willing to show up and provide value.”
The second thing to consider is whether or not you’re feeling ready and confident to do live video. Being authentic and real in a live video in front of your audience is essential to ensure challenge success.
Zach has a great example of this. “Some of my best challenges, we did a challenge where I was on the road and I literally did them from a hotel room in a T-shirt. And that challenge converted crazy successfully, one of our bigger challenges.”
That challenge wasn’t anything special. “It was just me showing up on live video. So you just have to be willing to show up.”
Finally, you have to really believe in your product. If you’re running a challenge, that means you’ll be in front of your audience every day, talking about and pitching the product you’re trying to launch.
Zach emphasizes that you don’t need to be crazy confident, but you do need to be outgoing and ready to promote your product. “You don't have to be at 100 percent yet, but you have to be a personality where you're willing to put yourself out there, you're willing to be a little vulnerable, you're willing to kind of put your most authentic foot forward and see what comes of that.”
You’ve probably heard of the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it.” But with live video and challenges, a better phrase could be “fake it until you become it.”
As Zach said, you don’t have to be crazy confident, you just have to pretend to be the confident person you want to be and eventually you’ll get there.
The more you do challenges and live video, the more confident you become.
“So we have this saying, it's like your first launch is to learn, your second launch is to break even or make some money, and your third launch is to scale and profit.”
While you don’t want to be losing money at any point along the way, you do want to keep in mind that your first couple of launches may not be as successful as you hoped because they’re learning experiences. And that’s okay.
Zach says, “people who do their first challenge might be nervous or uncertain but by the second or third one you're confident, you're showing up, you know what to do.”
When it comes to the actual product that you’re launching, Zach does say that some types of products work better than others with 5-Day Challenges. There are a few things to consider when you’re deciding which launch format works best with your product.
First, think about your profit margins. Consider how much you’re paying for advertising and what your lead costs are.
“If you've got a $40 product it's going to be hard to run a challenge because lead costs are just higher with Facebook ads. And that's what we're advocates for.”
Zach says that you can run a successful challenge for a lower-priced product if you have a big audience and your lead cost is lower. But if you have a small audience, he recommends using a 5-day challenge for something priced at $197 or higher.
“It's great for services. It's great for coaches, it's great for digital courses. It's not as good for like one-offs or like mini products. Unless, and this is where the big caveat comes in, unless you got backend systems in place to up-sell, cross-sell, down-sell, and promote higher level products.”
Zach has worked with clients who sell lower-priced products and also offer coaching. If they’re able to move a few people into a high-priced coaching package, that makes the challenge totally worth it for them.
“It's all about understanding your business and what the value of a customer is to you… If you're going to convert at a 3 percent on your challenge and at your price point that means you're breaking even on your cost to acquire a customer but you've got back end offers in place? Great. And a challenge is a perfect fit for you.”
“If you're going to convert at 3 percent profit versus your cost to acquire a lead then it's absolutely a perfect fit for you. So you really want to look at what does it cost me to get a lead. And if I convert at about 3 percent, am I profiting on that lead? And that's where we'd like to start.”
Once you’ve decided to use a 5-day challenge as a good strategy for yourself and your product, you need to get traffic to the challenge.
Zach explains there are 3 types of traffic sources to get people into your challenge: organic, paid, and referral.
Paid traffic is through ads, like Facebook ads, Google ads or YouTube ads. Zach emphasizes that the more time you invest in paid marketing, the less time you have to spend on other types of marketing.
When it comes to paid ads, Zach prefers Facebook. “We really focus on Facebook ads because they're the lowest hanging fruit and they're easy to run once you learn the logistics of them.”
Organic marketing is using your audience and your different platforms to drive traffic. Examples of organic marketing are posting on your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. “Anything that drives people into your challenge organically.”
Referral marketing is whenever you put your name out in front of someone else’s audience. “Things like being on podcasts, asking friends to share, and creating a shareable domain” are all ways to get traffic through referrals.
Working with affiliates can be a good way to drive traffic and get great results. Zach himself has tried it and succeeded, and he’s talked with a lot of other business owners who have had equal success.
He does have a few reservations, though, especially if this is your first 5-day challenge launch.
“What I will say about affiliates is run your challenge at least once or twice by yourself without affiliates so you can get your numbers, you can get your math, because as you start working with higher level affiliates, people who have a bigger audience, they're going to say, well, “what's the earnings?””
When you work with affiliates, you’re not just responsible for making the sales. You’re also responsible for understanding the information and data that you need to give to your affiliates. Once you have that data after your second or third challenge, working with affiliates can help you take your launch to the next level.
If you’re considering working with affiliates, you should also think about your price point and how much you’re paying your affiliates. High affiliate payouts may mean that you’re lowering your profit margin.
Zach loves working with affiliates, but he also admits that when you work with affiliates you may be paying a lot more just to acquire a customer on top of all of the advertising, infrastructure and other expenses that you may have.
Overall, you need to consider the cost, but also the benefits, of working with affiliates. If you have affiliates in your 5-day challenge, you’ll definitely be reaching audiences you wouldn’t have originally reached.
You’re also potentially investing in a long-term customer, and building your email list and audience, which may be worth that slightly higher price point.
Even if you have a great product that will potentially be very successful in a challenge launch, you still have to pick a topic for your challenge that will work well with what you’re trying to sell.
Zach has a few recommendations when it comes to picking your challenge topic. He follows the PSP model (which wasn’t invented by him!) that stands for Problem Solution Problem.
The goal of the PSP model is to solve the immediate problem that your audience has, before you introduce the problem that your product solves. Even though you know your product solves one of your audience’s problems, they may not even know they have that problem yet because they’re thinking about something else.
“One of the easiest examples that I can give is in the weight loss space. The problem people have is they're like, ‘I want to weigh less.’ But how many times have we seen a clean eating challenge or a sugar detox and it's like, people don't want to eat cleaner sugar detox, they want to lose five pounds right?”
So instead of presenting your product which may focus on cleaner eating, you should address their immediate need of losing 5 pounds. That is a great challenge you could present relating to your “cleaner eating” product. After your launch, your audience may say ‘‘ok cool, the new problem I have is how do I create a long lasting weight loss plan?’ You say, ‘well now the solution is clean eating’.”
The difference is solving the problem that your audience thinks they have, and solving the problem you know they have. Zach recommends that you stop telling people what their problem is, and instead start addressing the problems that they perceive themselves having.
“That will tell you what to do your challenge on, that will tell you what to name your challenge and then you can move people through the process of building trust, building authority, building connection and then they'll trust you when you say here's the root problem here's what's really going on and we can solve that together.”
Even though you’re launching one product, you may have a few different types of customers that all may benefit from that product. They may be at different stages of the process, or at a different level of engagement with what you’re launching.
Zach suggests a few different ways to handle this. His first suggestion? Create multiple challenges so you can reach multiple people in your audience.
Zach does this in his own business. “We have challenges that we run for different products. Now we've since simplified our business and we only have one product but we add products that met people at different places in the market, people who are trying to get organic traffic, people who are trying to get paid traffic and people who are trying to launch…So we had a different challenge for each one.”
This can be tough from a logistics standpoint. Trying to run different challenges every few weeks could be nearly impossible to do for the long term, but it can be a really successful way to drive traffic to your launch.
It’s also possible to create a challenge that speaks to the majority of your audience, and this may be easier than trying to create separate, specific challenges. If you can identify the big challenges that the majority of your audience has, you can create really successful challenges that meet the audience where they are.
Zach has also done this in his business. “We did a challenge called “How to generate 20 leads in your first sale with live streaming”… Basically, we were meeting people who wanted organic traffic. We were meeting people who wanted to generate more sales. And those were the two biggest subsets of our audience.”
When it comes to engagement, keeping people engaged can be really challenging.
Zach knows this, and he emphasizes that you should think about an engagement ratio when you’re considering your own challenge.
First, make a Facebook group so people have a place to create engagement. That’s where you can send people to interact and engage with the challenge and each other.
Next, think about the ratio. “So for every hundred people who sign up to the challenge, only 40 to 60 are going to join the group. And of those 40 to 60, only four to eight are actually going to engage with your content. So just realize that part of it is a numbers game.”
This may not feel like a lot – for every hundred people that sign up, you may only have six to eight that are active in the group. But Zach emphasizes that this is still a good representation of your audience. Just because you only have a few people engaging in your group doesn’t mean that your challenge isn’t successful.
Another huge part of creating engagement is making sure that you’re asking for it in the first place.
For whatever you’re doing in your challenge, whether it’s a daily livestream, a post in the group, an email, or all of the above, make sure you’re including a call to action.
“A lot of people think that engagement happens naturally by just putting out good content but you also have to put the call to action out there to get the engagement.”
Zach’s final strategy when it comes to engagement is a bit more complicated – he runs all of the content within his challenge as an advertisement to everybody that signed up.
“One of the biggest challenges with engagement is that people don't see your content. You only get it like 20 percent open rate on email is average, Facebook reaches like 8 percent. So we take our content that we post on Facebook and we take our livestream that we post on Facebook and we run it as an ad to everybody that signed up for the challenge.”
It all comes back to the exposure effect – Zach wants to make sure he can take his content and get it in front of everybody that signed up for the challenge.
He uses exposure to build trust and authority. “The more they see our message the more likely they are to engage.”
If you’re considering using Zach’s strategy of using Facebook ads to make sure the people who signed up for your challenge see your content, make sure you’re budgeting that amount into your expenses.
The amount you should plan on really depends on the size of your audience, because you’ll pay based on how many people you’re advertising to.
Zach recommends allocating 15 to 20% of what you’re going to budget for your challenge on retargeting and engagement ads.
“If you're going to spend $400 filling your challenge, allocate about 60 to 80 bucks for retargeting which breaks down to about 15 to 20 dollars a day for the five days.”
The actual sales pitch part of the 5-Day Challenge can be the most difficult part of the challenge. How do you get the messaging right? And how do you not limit yourself when you’re pitching the product?
Zach says that it’s important to consider everything you’ve done previously leading up to your pitch before you make the pitch itself, and then transitioning your messaging.
“Leading up to your pitch it's all about delivering value, showing up for your audience, giving great content, making sure that you're connecting with them, and the minute the pitch happens it's all about the sales messaging right. So you've given value, you've showed up and now you're asking for the reciprocity of the sale.”
When Zach is transitioning to his pitch, he uses a strategy that he calls the bridge to connect what he just provided to what he’s pitching to his audience. “The bridge is basically saying look, here's what we provided up to this point, here's where you may still be struggling and here's my solution.”
Jumping right into your pitch can feel awkward, both for you (as the seller) and your audience. Having a bridge can smooth that transition and make it more natural.
Zach has a script that he likes to use when he’s pitching. “You say, ‘hey, thank you so much for hanging out with me over the last five days. We've covered X, Y and Z and I hope that you've really enjoyed that. Now I know that a lot of you are looking to take it to the next level, you may be thinking what do I do with X Y Z, right?’”
This is when you can pitch your product as the solution for the new problem that your audience has.
Zach once had a challenge to create a sales funnel, which solved his audience’s problem of wanting to make sales. When the challenge was over, they realized they had a new problem, which was getting traffic into the funnel. This is where his product, which was centered on how to create Facebook ads, came in.
The next part of his pitch went like this: “So if it was my funnel challenge, you were saying ‘how do I get traffic into my funnel? How do I actually start generating the leads to generate more sales? How do I test out this funnel that I've already created? And for those of you who are like having these questions and want to take it to the next level, I want to introduce you to my program.”
At this point in the pitch, you can explain your program, what you cover, and explain how it will be helpful to your audience in solving the new problem that they have.
This strategy makes pitching your product at the end of your challenge feel a lot easier and more natural.
“So we do three things: We basically move from here's what we've covered, here's where you might be stuck, here's my offer. I'll answer your questions at the end and then you pitch.”
Throughout this pitch process, the most important thing is having confidence in your product. If you act confident throughout your pitch, you’ll create a lot more authority for yourself, and a lot more willingness from your audience to buy it.
Don’t limit yourself or your product. Remember that at this point there will always be people who are completely open to the pitch, and “you’re not forcing them to be there, forcing them to buy from you.” Instead, you’re helping them – you’ve already given them a lot of value, and you’re providing them with a solution to a problem.
“Think about coming from a place of service when you sell… say ‘oh my gosh, what if people are struggling, what if they're stuck. What if they want the next steps? And I've got the solution.’”
If you think you want to try a 5-day challenge for your next launch but still need some more support, Zach is offering a great, free, on-demand Challenge Launch Masterclass.
“If you want to learn more about our 5-day challenge process we've got this automated webinar… you can register for an on-demand time that works best for your schedule and we'll walk you through how to generate more sales in your challenge.”
In the class, Zach will walk you through the process of how to fill, build, plan and execute your successful 5-day challenge.
//LINKS IN THE SHOW//
Check out Zach’s website here – http://www.heartsoulhustle.com/
Check out the 5-Day Challenge Master Class here – heartsoulhustle.com/challengeclass