Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you have either seen, heard of or participated in a social challenge.

Challenges are an excellent way to increase engagement with your audience and build your list with potential prospects. If you’ve run challenges unsuccessfully, or you’re thinking about running one but haven’t yet, you’ll want to keep reading. I’ve observed, and even participated in challenges where so major mistakes were made. Most of the challenges, I didn’t get past day 3 and my guess is that other participants had a similar experience.

It’s important to make sure your participants make it all the way through, especially if you plan to promote something at the end. If they can’t make it through your challenge, chances are high that they won’t purchase or bite on what you offer at the end.

Here’s why:

Not surveying/studying their market– here’s a sad fact: most people don’t even know what their target market wants. They create a challenge they “think” will be great for their audience but it’s really not what they want. The result- very few sign ups and very little engagement.

Not promoting enough– typically I promote my challenges anywhere from 4-7 days before the challenge starts, but I also have a large list and huge social media following. If you’re not quite there, you’re going to have to do a little bit of extra promotion to get the amount of sign ups you desire. Don’t be shy to promote the heck out of it- everywhere. And if the budget allows, Facebook ads are a great way to target your ideal peeps.

Making it too complicated– this is a HUGE mistake I see in challenges I’ve participated in. Too much text, too many things to do, too complicated to figure out, 10-30 minute videos, etc. The result- people don’t complete the daily prompts and fall off the wagon. When you think of creating a challenge- think simple. What can you ask the participants to do that is easy to implement?

Too many action steps– to piggy back off of the above, I see way too many challenges that prompt the participants to do 3 to 5 things each day. Make each day one actionable step (two if they compliment each other) and leave it at that. The point here is not to give away the farm. The point is to have them take small action that will lead to a bigger result. You’ve got to remember, we live in a society where instant gratification is the norm. So cut out all the fluff and make your prompts clear and concise.

Making it too long– 14, 21, 30 day challenges are way too long. Period. Stats show that most people drop of after day 10 and the amount of people who actually complete the challenge dwindles. Keep your challenge 5 to 7 days long (10 days MAX). We think we’re giving more by making it longer, but in fact you’re just making it more likely that the person won’t succeed.

Not results oriented– the entire point of the challenge is to have people actually finish it and get a specific result. You want to show people you can help them by actually helping them. You want them to experience some type of result or win by challenge end. This gives them an idea of what they would get if they actually worked with you long term. Sure photo challenges, video challenges and gratitude challenges are awesome, but they aren’t results oriented.

Copying what others do– just because someone has a successful challenge within their target market, doesn’t mean it will work for you if you copy their format. You have to figure out what works for you and your target market. Where are they? What do they want? How do they want it delivered? Periscope challenges are getting popular now, but it doesn’t make sense to jump on that bandwagon if your people aren’t there or if you have a tiny following.

Tomorrow, I’m going to be sharing my BEST tips for running a challenge and why it’s something that should really be planned out and strategic for best results.

Why listen to me? Because I’ve seen it all, done it all, and tested a variety of different things when it comes to challenges.

I ran my first challenge in January 2014- you know before doing challenges was even a thing. Since then, I’ve hosted over a dozen challenges with a total of over 7,000 participants.

P.S. I did a short 10 minute interview with Ryan Lee about challenges and how they have increased the engagement with my audience and lead to bigger profits. You can take a listen here.