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How To Create a Successful 5 Day Challenge For Your Online Course

If you’re a coach or online course creator struggling to get traction organically and tired of feeling stuck, chances are you’ve done your fair share of research on how to increase traffic, grow your list and make sales. 
You’re not ready to test just another funnel to fill your course.
You’re not ready to spend on paid ads.
You don’t have a killer email list to sell to.
And most importantly, you don’t want to spend days creating a course, only to launch and find out no one wants it. 
A simpler and more affordable way to market an online course

A 5-Day Challenge Strategy

You don’t need a huge following or any following.
You don’t need a massive advertising budget.
And the real kicker is…
You don’t even have to create your online course before you sell it!
Yep, you read that right. 
Challenge launches can help attract and convert leads way faster than any other method out there. It is actually considered one of the secret sauces to many for selling premium online programs and high ticket services. 
But this is not some quick fix or instant solution to speed up your sales. The work you will put in during the 5-day challenge strategy is more of a solid foundation to build a business and a roadmap to 5-figure launches.
So, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s get to it! 

Table of Content

  • What is a 5-day challenge strategy?
  • What makes a successful 5-day challenge?
  • How to run a 5-day challenge? 
  • How to get new leads and generate buzz about your challenge
  • How to make money from your 5-day challenge
  • Top Takeaways

What is a 5-Day Challenge Strategy?

You invite your target audience to register for a free online event about a topic or pain point they’re concerned with and work towards a goal over 5 days. Each day, you present content and challenge the participants to accomplish a mini task to produce a quick win and help them reach that big-picture goal.
It is the simplest, fastest, and lowest risk launch strategy out there. 
Because across the 5 days preceding the “sale,” you will show your ideal client you can help them… by actually helping them! 
Why 5 days? Why not 7 days or 14 days? 
Even if you think it would be manageable, people tend to lose interest quickly, and anything more than 5 days can be seen as too much of a commitment.

What Makes a Successful 5-Day Challenge?

The most successful challenges are those that give the participants that ‘aha’ moment by the end of the challenge, which will convince them to buy the course or service you were trying to sell in the first place.  
Your content must always speak to your target audience with logical and emotional steps. 

6 Core Elements To a High-Converting Challenge 

#1 Simple and straightforward tasks

You need to avoid big, complicated tasks from the registration to the challenge itself and leave little to no confusion by thoroughly explaining everything in the challenge. 

#2 Build a community

Even if all tasks are simple and clear, the biggest factor that matters is engagement and building a relationship with your audience. Support them and take time to answer their questions. But it takes two to tango. The engagement should not only come from your end. Set some rules or even rewards to encourage them to engage with you.

#3 Focus on small wins

Experts sometimes tend to forget what it was like to be an absolute beginner. Understand where they are coming from and avoid overwhelming them with novel tasks even if you consider them easy and doable. 
Pro tip: Be micro-specific with what you want to deliver. Instead of trying to make them experts in a certain field, pick only one real, tangible, and simple outcome from the challenge.

#4 Be authentic 

Though it may seem super obvious, sometimes we lose ourselves trying to make the sale. You cannot please everyone, and it’s normal to lose some registrants along the process. And this is exactly why you need to be authentic so you can draw the right kind of people into your business.

#5 Create urgency

Add urgency to the mix by mentioning that only a few spots are available, which requires quick action from serious buyers who don’t want to miss this. 

#6 Set deadlines

Whether it’s a project deadline or the last date to pay your bills, these dates usually stick with us. A deadline should be an integral part of whatever you decide to offer. Without a deadline, most of the other sales approaches don’t work so well. 

How To Run a 5-Day Challenge? 

Plan your challenge

There are 3 main criteria to hit in the planning phase: 

  • Relevance with your online course
  • Offering a solution to a problem your ideal client is facing right now
  • Providing real and tangible outcomes while still leaving them wanting more by day 5


Name the challenge 

  • Choose a straightforward and clear enough name that explains the benefits and the expected outcomes participants will get from the challenge. 
  • Make it sound catchy but not super hype-y. 
  • Avoid too long names. They are difficult to be memorized by your audience, and, from a technical point of view, they make it difficult to get a nice URL.  

Set the goals of the challenge

To set the goals of your challenge, you’ll need to find what makes sense to you by asking questions like: 

  • What is the current stage of your business?
  • How was your performance the past few months? 
  • How helpful has your product or service been to your current customers? 

Remember to make your goals SMART

Organize the pre-challenge setup 

Here are a few technical things you will need to set up before starting the challenge. 

  • Buying the domain name (you can use and setting up the lead capture/notification for the challenge (you can use
  • Create a simple and clear landing page to provide all the details about your challenge and present a content brief.
  • Create a signup form you can place on your website, landing page, and social media channels.
  • Host your course on Teachable, LeadPages, or Facebook. If you’re using Facebook, then set up a Facebook group page, but this is quite different from creating a regular one, here’s how.
  • Group Type: Choose the Social Learning type to be able to add all the units and lessons there.
  • Description: Make it informative but brief and include the link to the landing page for tracking purposes and collecting emails.
  • Apps: If you will not be streaming your live videos via Facebook and using an app instead, then connect the app to your Facebook group. 
  • Hide Group: Make the group visible to anyone so it can be searchable.
  • Sections: For Social Learning groups, you can add or remove elements to organize the lessons and make them easier to access. 
  • Membership Requests: Although you need to make the group visible to anyone, you or your team must control who gets to join. Include questions when someone requests to join the group to help filter out who is eligible. For example: Have you signed up for the 5-day challenge, what email address did you use to sign up, and what type of business you run?
  • Pinning Posts: Pin all posts in the group for that respective day, so they show in the Announcement section at the top.
  • Units: For this type of group, announcements turn into units that members can use to go back to all the other lessons.
  • Events: When you schedule live streams, you can turn them into events to notify members.
  • Create an email series and an opt-in form.
  • Create an email list just for the challenge.
  • Create an initial welcome email for those who sign up.
  • Create a triggered series of emails scheduled in 24-hour increments.
  • Create a wrap-up thank you email for the last day of the challenge. It’s important to let them know how they can continue to connect with you after the challenge. 

Generate Buzz About Your Challenge

How do you actually get new leads? 

This is the most important piece of the puzzle. Otherwise, all this hard work isn’t going to mean much.

1. Don’t be shy to tell your friends and connections about your challenge and put your effort into it like any other big event.

2. Livestream videos (Facebook Live/Instagram Live): While your videos can be pre-recorded, live streaming can amplify your reach.

Happy young attractive Asian ethnic model filming vlog on mobile phone on tripod and showing eyeshadows at table with cosmetics

3. Instagram stories: Since stories are typically more popular and engaging than posts, use your Insta stories and Facebook stories to promote your challenge.

4. Hashtags on Instagram: Use relevant, trending, and active hashtags to attract your tribe.

5. Create a challenge hashtag, use it whenever you mention your challenge, and encourage all participants to use it too.

6. Build anticipation by giving hints at your challenge in the pre-launching weeks, which ensures people are ready to sign up on launch day.

7. Offer badges or banners for participants to post on their own blogs or channels. We’ll let you in on a little secret: most people who participate in challenges love to show others what they are up to.

8. Facebook group: If you have a Facebook group, announce that to the current members in your existing group, this is a great way to boost engagement and interaction.

9. Create a Facebook event and invite people: Even if you can only invite your friends to the event, encourage them to share it with their friends and help spread the word. 

10. Encourage registrants to share with their friends via social media: Reward those who sign up and share about your challenge on social media with a discount or a special offer; this can have a huge impact on your reach.

11. Cross-promote your challenge with another colleague: If you know colleagues in complementary fields who would be happy to share about your challenge, figure out a win-win deal where you can both benefit.

12. Promote blog posts: Write a blog post about a topic you’ll be covering during the challenge and promote it. Emphasize how your challenge is designed to help them and what they can expect (include a link to sign up).

13. Offer prizes for meeting key goals along the way to motivate your participants. This keeps your members engaged and helps you generate buzz about your challenge – both inside and outside the group.

14. Use Facebook ads. We understand how intimidating it is for beginners to pour their hard-earned money into paid ads. But there’s a reason that 90 million online course creators use Facebook ads, and when they work, they can be business (and life) changing! 

Want more help with Facebook Ads? Click here to check out our Facebook Ad tips from Think Orion’s Facebook specialists to help you create campaigns like a pro.

How To Make Money From Your 5-Day Challenge

Creating a 5-day challenge can be a lot of fun, but that’s not enough. You need to make money from it, right?
There are some direct ways to generate immediate sales, while others are more indirect and will take longer. It’s good to have a combination of both.

Subscribers are automatic leads

Requesting an email address while signing up for your challenge is the first step at getting leads for your business. All those who opt-in enter your marketing funnel, and you can now continue to keep the communication going even after the challenge is over. As long as you continue to offer valuable content to them, you build trust and credibility. Even if they’re not ready to join at the moment, you’ll be their first choice whenever they are. 

Promote your paid offerings during the challenge

Plug your offerings throughout the challenge by linking them in your content or offering discounts to the subscribers.
Another way to do that is by including a product tutorial as part of the challenge. For instance, if you’re doing a vegan diet challenge, you could create a video showing how to make a healthy vegan smoothie – using your favorite protein powder, which just happens to be available for sale on your site!
Pro Tip: End your 3-7 sales emails with a promo for the full course.

Offer paid bonuses and upgrades

Even if your challenge must be completely free, you can still offer paid bonuses and upgrades. 

For example:

  • Ebooks
  • Offer the whole challenge at once to those who don’t want to wait 5 days to complete it. They can work through it at their own pace.
  • Use a plugin (e.g. Restrict Content) to offer paid bonus content like in-depth tutorials, step-by-step and how-to guides, etc.

Promote an affiliate product

Promote someone else’s products during your challenge for a fee. For example, you can join Amazon’s affiliate program and include Amazon affiliate links in your content. The other and better option is to find relevant products via affiliate networks like Clickbank, Shareasale, or CJ Affiliate.

Final thoughts

We hope this post has gotten you excited about creating your own 5-day challenge. When done right, it can be one of the best tools to grow your name, build your email list, create a community, and increase sales. 
Let’s end this with some key takeaways to keep in mind.

Top Takeaways

1. Let yourself out in the open; you are sharing your knowledge and skills, so don’t let any insecurities hold you back. 
2. Always share special content that isn’t always available.
3. Put a lot of effort into adding bonuses and prizes to your 5-day challenge. The more you offer and promote incentives, the higher the participation will be.
4. Be prepared for full inboxes and get ready to provide timely responses and answer all inquiries.
5. The more you test your paid ads, the better. That includes testing variations for the copy, the image, running it through different audiences, etc.
6. Design a proper marketing plan with clear strategies.
7. Take one step at a time, and do not send links until you make sure your pages and funnels are ready.
8. Do not overlook the technical bits.
9. Making the challenge for free might end up attracting the wrong audience, and that will contribute to less engagement than what you would like.
If this is the first time you run a 5-day challenge, remember not to beat yourself up too much.
Good luck!

Manno Notermans

Manno is a wanderer of the world looking to make an impact and change the world for the better. He has over 10 years of experience working in various marketing positions. Manno’s main focus the past few years has been accelerating the growth of businesses, increasing revenue, and profit with out-of-box creative ideas and implementations.