How to Run a Million Dollar Challenge: Real Stats and Lessons
Have you ever wondered about exactly HOW people have million-dollar launches?
Like - what are the logistics? What were their stats? How much profit did they really make? How much team support does it really take?
Well, as a chronic over-sharer and someone who values transparency, I'm going to tell you all the juicy behind-the-scenes info about my recent 5-day challenge that resulted in $1.21 revenue (Australian dollars).
Now, I'm not going to lie. It was work; the money didn't just fall from the sky. There's a lot of moving pieces in a launch (most people vastly underestimate how much). But it wasn't stressful for anyone in the team, including me. It's what I called "chilled hustle", ie. CHUSTLE.
It's also not my first launch. I've been full time in my business for ten years building my community and my list. I've made more than $20m online, so I'm not a novice at this.
Can you get these exact same results? Probably not.
I'm just being honest!
But... and this is a BIG BUTT... everyone starts from zero. My first launch had 1 person, then 6, then 20.
So why not start now?
These lessons can be scaled down or up to any launch size, whether you're getting your first client or you want to break through the 6 or 7+ figure launches.
Stick around to the very end to get all the launch and conversation statistics (if you're into that kind of thing).
What was the launch?
A free 5-Day Money Manifesting Challenge with daily videos, handouts and support in a pop-up Facebook group. Even though the challenge itself was 5 days, the promotional period was around 24 days.
Each day I taught tips from my Manifesting Formula, all about finding mindset hacks and practical strategies in making more money. One of my favorite topics!
The "upsell" was an invitation to my Money Bootcamp, my flagship program with over 7,000 students. This is where I serve people to uncover the money mindset issues holding them back.
Why did we launch?
As someone with ADHD with young kids, I'm always reluctant to add too much complication into my business. So I keep things deliberately simple but with one overarching motto: "all roads lead to Money Bootcamp".
I do not reinvent the wheel for funsies, and I'm very intentional about every marketing launch. Basically, I'll always choose an easier life for Team DDT, which means I won't add complicated launches without a good reason.
Enter my good reason...
As well as my beach house, I own a rose farm in the country. Both of these properties represent substantial financial investments. And guess what? Both are the result of launches! (If you bought Money Bootcamp in our October 2018 launch, you helped us buy the farm!)
I love helping people, but personally, I need an emotional goal to do a big launch. It keeps me going! It makes me excited and helps break through any of my launch resistance or fear (which is really normal, by the way).
During our last quarterly meeting, my accountant questioned why we're adding a million dollars of renovations to the farm instead of investing that money into something else.
Fair question! But our farm is such an incredible place of inspiration and healing for our community, and well... I want it to be super nice and pretty. But wouldn't it be nice to raise the money without guilt?
So after I left my accountant's office, I asked myself, "what's the quickest, least stressful way to make a million dollars?"
Seth Godin says before you get outside investment or a loan for your business, "When in doubt, raise money from your customers by selling them something they truly need – your product."
So, I wasn't going to create a new product or course; I already have something people want. I just had to tell more people about it.
Again, you don't need to reinvent the wheel - launching is the best way! Tell people how you can help them!
You might not need such a significant cash injection. But I highly recommend connecting each launch with some sort of exciting and emotional goal.
Yes, helping people is a fantastic reward. But in my experience, you need something extra to help get through the resistance.
So, this was an impromptu launch with less than a month of planning. It felt like my early biz days where everything was a bit maverick and spontaneous!
When you have a big goal and a clear plan, there's almost no better way to spike momentum and income in your business than with a launch.
Nine Strategies for a Million Dollar Launch
Let’s dive into the strategies we used for the Challenge. These are our top tips if you’re thinking about running something similar in your business.
- Invest in a Team
- Use Systems and Templates
- Share Useful Content
- Set up a Group for the Challenge
- Bring in a Messenger Bot!
- Nail the Follow Up
- Give Away Cash Prizes
- The Launch Echo
- Work on Your Mindset and Anchor the Goal
1. Invest in a team
The reason we could run such a big launch with just a month of planning is that we had additional team capacity.
Earlier this year we realized that Mark, as head of marketing and sales, was a bottleneck in the company. It was limiting our growth in both areas. Every time I came up with a new idea or suggestion, he’d say NO (with a panicked look on his face) because he was drowning under his current workload. We decided to hire some new team members to bring back the creativity, joy and FREEDOM to try some new things!
The new hires:
Copywriting and marketing support: there are SO many emails to write during a launch. As well as help writing newsletters and social media content. Mark and I do this together but having extra hands here has been incredible.
Ads management: we used to do this in-house (Mark) and this can be a lot of work. We do mostly Facebook ads but are experimenting with other channels. Outsourcing this freed up a lot of Mark's energy.
Community support: Up to 5,000 students, I answered every single question in Money Bootcamp myself (including weekends). Two years ago, I added a community manager to help - and this year we added two more (including weekend support). This extra capacity means that we can expand our customer group without creating stress or overwhelm. This team was also invaluable during the free challenge!
Admin support: this includes customer service, maintaining the website and blog, and all the million other things. Our admin team can also do simple graphics, create handouts etc. It's worth finding people who can do beyond the basics.
As much as I love a lean team, having extra capacity meant that the launch was so much less stressful. It's still not a big team (and nobody is full time) but I have to admit I should have done this earlier!
But trust me, I understand what it's like when you have to do everything yourself. But you don’t need to have a big business to hire in support and free up more time for you to focus on creative and highly profitable high impact activities.
Start with the most stressful thing for you! (You can start small… some of our new hires only work 5 hours a week.)
What do YOU need to actually launch:
- Tech support
- Video / audio production?
Remember, you don’t have to do all of the work yourself! But some of these areas will be holding you back.
ACTION: What could you outsource or hire a part-time team member to do? This will help right now in the short term for your sanity and energy levels but also in the future when you want to work on your next launch.
2. Make Things Easier - Use Systems and Templates
There are a lot of moving parts with launches and it can be easy to overcomplicate them. You also don’t have to reinvent the wheel - you can shortcut your success with systems and templates!
We used to think we had to make everything completely unique (or it was cheating somehow) and experimented with different pricing and bonus strategies with varying success!
We learnt how to launch from Jeff Walker and his Product Launch Formula and use the principles Jeff teaches in every launch we run. We've made millions of dollars with this framework.
Some people resist following a system because it feels like a cookie-cutter approach. But it's smart to follow a framework and put your own personality and glitter on top.
It's exhausting starting from scratch.
As soon as I decided to do a challenge, I found an awesome resource in the “The 5-Day Challenge Toolkit” from my friend, Zach Spruckler. It’s got everything in it: recommended schedules, email swipe files, ad ideas and everything we needed to set up the basics of the Challenge.
So many people sell Canva templates now so you don't have to start your handouts from scratch.
We even used the AI copywriting app, Jarvis, to help wordsmith some of our emails, video scripts and ads. I love editing but sometimes starting with a blank page is exhausting.
There’s no shame in finding shortcuts with other people's systems and templates - if you can get a better result, quicker and easier, why wouldn’t you?
3. Create Useful Content
Once we had the logistical framework in place, we knew we had to provide awesome content to ensure everyone GOT THE RESULTS during the challenge!
The best part of a free challenge is helping people with useful transformation and a positive experience so they want to continue the party with you!
How did we deliver this:
- A pop-up Facebook group
- A daily video
- A daily handout and challenge workbook
- A daily Facebook live for Q&A
- Bonuses like meditations and visualisation audios
Each of the workbooks and daily tasks were super practical and goal orientated. Helping people learn the basics of manifesting money was the perfect intro to Money Bootcamp and people then actually had the money to invest! Win-win.
The trick is - how much content do you provide?
I like to be super generous but also, it has to be doable in a challenge. Too much and people will feel FULL. Too little and they won't get the value.
Creating video content
You can totally do this yourself - my first course was created using an iPad, or you can outsource it.
For this challenge, we were in total lockdown and couldn't use our regular video production team so we had to do it ourselves around kids and dogs.
Honestly, it was super frustrating doing this with Mark, especially when he forgot to charge the iPad, and figuring out all the lighting and audio that our video guy Dan Turner knows inside out.
There was a LOT of swearing!!! Check out this bloopers real...
4. Set up a Group for the Challenge
You gotta get visible, baby! We had 16,339 people register for the challenge and having a pop-up Facebook group was an efficient way to serve them all at once.
Let's face it, the key to a successful launch is the number of people who see your content and offer. A limited time group creates buzz and gives people a taste of working with you.
- We encouraged people to share the group with their friends.
- We asked people to do the challenge with an accountability buddy.
- The group was set up as "admin post only" which meant people could only comment on the challenge threads, not start their own posts.
- We did all the videos and live streams in the group but asked people to register their email address for updates and reminders.
With a group that size, without guidelines and support, it could quickly get overwhelming. We had between 1,500 and 1,900 people live on each of the daily Facebook lives and 1,300 people on the 90-minute Masterclass at the end of the Challenge.
Some of the lives got over 10,000 comments! This was much higher engagement than when we’ve launched before without a Facebook Group.
Our guidelines were simple; no spamming, no unsolicited contact to other members, no bullying or harassment. We removed just a handful of people.
Restricting members to only post on certain threads meant we could focus the group. Our audience comments were limited to the daily video, a daily wins post and the daily live broadcast.
We increased the hours our Money Bootcamp community team members were working so they could jump in whenever needed and provide support. They spent a lot of time responding to comments and answering questions to really encourage that feeling of community.
You could easily run a similar challenge at any size! Imagine even 100 of your potential customers in a group together?
5. Bring in a Messenger Bot!
We decided to experiment with technology and set up an automated Facebook Messenger Bot. It was like having another super-efficient member of our team to sent participants reminders about the daily videos and lives.
We have dabbled with Messenger Bots and ManyChat before and had problems with some of Facebook’s changing messenger rules so I was nervous about jeopardizing my business page. I'd hate to have my ad account banned (it's happened to biz friends).
We created a completely new “Team DDT” Facebook page and were careful to follow Facebook rules. For example, it's really hard to message people in Europe because of the strict privacy rules. Screw this up and you can get banned.
But the cool thing about bots is that we could customize them to our brand. Our bot was named "Lucky Bee" and she even had jokes!
Over 7,000 people registered to get daily Bot reminders. We found that the bot worked very well for the first two days of the Challenge - it really helped more people remember to join the live calls and stay engaged.
But we soon had Mercury Retrograde glitches (it's a real thing!) and had our page temporarily banned (thankfully just our backup page). Luckily we appealed and it was turned back on.
The lesson we learned with the bot was that it’s very cool trying something new but be wary and don't rely on one thing! Follow the rules and always have backup plans!
6. Nail the Follow-up
As they say, the fortune is in the follow-up. A free challenge can generate a big spike in interest, but it takes work to convert this into actual sales!
The big thing is - you have to ASK for the sale. Don't just assume everyone will want to work with you afterwards.
- Tell people what's next (joining your paid offering)
- Tell them WHY it's a good next step
- Tell them how your offer is different from the free challenge
- Give them limited-time bonuses and incentives to join
- Actually close down the group
I ended the 5-day challenge with a live 90 minute webinar to wrap up the lessons and to introduce the next step - joining Money Bootcamp.
After that, it was a 5 day email campaign and outreach via Facebook messenger.
I hosted impromptu Q&A and bonus Facebook lives in the Group and my team spent a lot of time in the comments and our inboxes answering questions about Money Bootcamp and how it can help.
A new tactic I decided to implement this year was certainly high-touch and took some effort but with each sale being worth almost AUD $3,000, I wanted to play full-out.
I recorded over 500 personalized video messages via email or messenger. People loved getting the videos and it was an awesome way to start conversations.
It took a LOT of work but it was SO much fun. Obviously, I couldn't make 16,000 videos so we tried to be smart about it.
First up, I downloaded a spreadsheet of all our challenge participants and created a nerdy pivot table to find the most common names and all the variations. Names like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Michelle (all which had over 100 participants) and then working down the list.
I also went through the comments of all the videos and lives to find people who participated in the challenge so they'd get a video too.
Why so much work?
I had a big goal and I wanted to make sure as many people as possible saw the offer. I believe in my Money Bootcamp and I had extra bandwidth.
The fortune is in the follow up!
The work doesn’t end when you make the offer. Your sales results are not at the whim of some mythical launch god during the open cart period - you can take inspired action and meet the Universe halfway to make your launch goals happen.
ACTION: How can you take your follow-up to the next level in your next launch? What simple thing can you do to connect with and surprise your audience to start more sales conversations?
7. Give Away Cash Prizes
Another strategy that worked well to keep people engaged and excited was giving away cash prizes on each daily call, which increased our turn-up rate especially as the prizes went up every day (just as engagement usually drops off)
The prizes increased from $200 to $1,000 and in total, cost less than $3,000.
An additional unexpected bonus was that 4 of the 5 winners selected during the Challenge went on to join Money Bootcamp with their prize money!
ACTION: How can you reward and incentivize participants to take the next step?
8. Don’t Underestimate The Launch Echo
Jeff Walker talks about the long term benefits of a launch being called a “launch echo” - the upside and future momentum built by launching.
People who don't buy in your launch might join in the future!
Check out our October Key Metrics:
- Total List Size +7.7%
- Social Media Followers +4%
- Unique Website Visitors +28%
- Pinterest Reach +58%
- YouTube Views +8%
- Podcast Downloads +5.9%
Launches are the best way to build momentum in your business - they help you build your revenue AND audience quickly by focusing on giving away great value free content.
Do not underestimate what a launch or challenge could do for your business whether you’re established or just getting started.
9. Work on Your Mindset and Anchor the Goal
Any article from me about how to achieve anything in business wouldn't be complete without mentioning your mindset, right?!
I know that doing a launch or Challenge is going to bring up your fears and blocks. We’ve all got them - those limiting beliefs about whether you can do this, are you good enough? Will people like this? Argh, they all start rearing their head when you’re getting this visible!
It’s so important to look at these blocks before your launch. Clear the way before you so you can be successful in your execution. Work on clearing and upleveling your thinking about what’s possible for you and your business months (or weeks) beforehand. My book Get Rich, Lucky Bitch is a good place to start if you’re new to this work.
And remember, during the launch things can (and will) go wrong - tech, engagement, emails, links, or slow sales. A strong mindset will help you stay resilient so you can keep going. I’ve seen so many people get frustrated, scared or thrown off course during a launch and just throw the towel in. Running a successful launch takes persistence and belief.
Read my article here about my launch preparation tips that nobody is talking about - things that will help reduce your stress levels and the chance of getting thrown off course.
As I said at the beginning, mindset is so important in a launch, so I recommend you tie the launch to a big goal or dream - and not just a monetary target. What are you playing for? What will this launch help you and your family achieve and how will you celebrate?
You’ve got this, gorgeous! Get a big goal, get determined and take action.
The Real-Life Stats from a Million Dollar Challenge
Now it’s time to take a look at the real life, actual stats from our most recent campaign. We’ll show you exactly how we structured the content and the outcome of each stage of the process. Use it as a cheatsheet for your own million dollar challenge!
In case you weren’t playing along, here’s an overview of how we structured the campaign:
The Structure of our Million Dollar Challenge
1-10 October - Promoting the 5-Day Challenge
Lead generation and having people join the pop-up Facebook group. Marketing channels used: social media, email and ads (FB, IG, LinkedIn and, Pinterest)
8 October - Open Facebook Group
We decided to keep the group closed until 3 days before the official start of the Challenge to maximise engagement. When we did open the group there was a huge spike of people joining, introducing themselves and engaging with the warm-up content that ensured the Challenge was at the top of participants' social media feeds.
11-16 October - 5-Day Challenge
I produced daily training videos, workbooks and Facebook Lives in the Challenge group, all focused on the five steps of my money manifesting process.
16-18 October - Promoting Masterclass
Lead generation and reminders for participants to join a live money manifesting masterclass to bring together all of the learning from the Challenge. This is where I pitched the opportunity to continue working with me via joining Money Bootcamp.
18 October - Masterclass
Extended live training and sales webinar with an offer to join Money Bootcamp. Also included a prize draw and special bonuses for fast action takers.
18-24 October - Open Cart
Promotion of the Money Bootcamp special offer with sales emails, ads, social posts and sales by email and messenger.
This campaign was the main focus of our marketing and entire team for October as well as most of September, when we were planning content and promotions.
The Results of our Million Dollar Challenge Launch
The headline results from this Challenge exceeded our expectations and hit the majority of our targets. Here’s a breakdown:
* Australian Dollars
We had three main sources of leads for this Challenge; our existing warm audience and list, paid ads and participants sharing the Challenge/inviting friends. While ten thousand of the leads were from our existing list, one of the huge positives from running this challenge is that we got 6,500 new leads. Some of these people joined Money Bootcamp right away, but the majority will go on to read our newsletter, read one of my books and hopefully join Bootcamp in the future.
We average between 2% and 3.5% conversion of overall leads when we run a large promotion like this for Money Bootcamp. So for every 100 people who opt-in to take part in the launch and receive our sales emails, 2-3 people join. This might sound low, but it’s important to know that these numbers are actually pretty good. Standard is 1-2% conversion.
The other important stat we look at is the number of people who saw the sales page during the launch and the conversion rate of this group. We had about 6,000 unique visitors to the sales page so a conversion rate of over 6% which is high. This really is the beauty of doing a launch and having special bonuses and a deadline, because our normal sales page conversion rate outside of a launch is much closer to the industry standard of 1-2%. For future launches we will work harder to get a higher percentage of the overall 16,000 leads to see the sales page which would drive up numbers further down the funnel.
Cash & Costs
We had more people pay in full this launch than previous promotions so we received a higher percentage of the total revenue upfront (nice!). The launch cost us about $140,000 excluding the charitable donations we do after each launch / from each sale. This was about $70k in ad spend and $70k in team and production costs. Refund requests are inevitable and we’re relaxed and never triggered by them. We have a 14-day refund period and would expect around 15-20 refunds from this launch (around 5%).
Thinking of running a 5-Day Challenge or Launch?
Challenge launches are really effective due to the high engagement, focused timeline and “shareability” of the content/group.
The sales and lead generation from these 3 week will have a long term impact on our business (and our rose farm!).
If you’re thinking of adding a launch or a Challenge to your business we recommend checking out Zach Sprickler’s Toolkit and to go deeper with launch training.
Plus make sure you register for Jeff Walker’s Launch Masterclass which is coming up from 5-8 November - click here to reserve your spot now.
This article might sound like a lot, especially if you’re just starting out, but we hope that us lifting the lid has helped you.
Here’s to making your next launch better!
Denise & Mark xx
Affiliate Disclaimer: I’m proud to be an affiliate partner of Jeff Walker. If you invest in Product Launch Formula in the future, I may receive a commission but at no extra cost to you.
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