Challenge groups are at the heart of our business. I won’t lie—it’s a challenge to get them started, but once they take hold, they’re gold.
What is a Challenge Group?
Hopefully, you’ve been in a Challenge Group already with your sponsor and know from firsthand experience exactly what it is. In case you haven’t and you’re not totally clear on exactly what it is, it’s an in-person or private online group (for most of us, that’s on Facebook) where everyone motivates, works together, and holds each other accountable to accomplish the same (or similar) health and fitness goal. Having been in one is NOT a requirement from running your own!
Benefits of Challenge Groups
There are oh-so-many benefits to challenge groups. Here are several:
- Fosters a sense of community that both serves group members and entices new ones
- Gives people a safe and private place to experience and share their journey
- Allows you to efficiently and systematically deliver your message
- Provide a clear and consistent direction to your customers to help them reach their goal
- Serves as a forum for you and your group members to educate, motivate, share, and hold each other accountable
- Builds momentum in your business
Challenge Group Ideas
Here are some ideas for theming your Challenge Group. Remember, these are just guidelines to stimulate your own ideas.
The obvious Challenge Group is to do a 21 or 30 day round either focused on a single program or the program of the participant’s choice. If you do focus solely on one program, be aware that you may be limiting the number of people who will be interested. Depending upon your customer avatar, that may be okay for you or it may not.
You can offer it for free or it can be a “paid” group. At the minimum, you should only allow people in who have assigned you as their coach in Team Beachbody. If you’re comfortable, you can require participants to either subscribe to BOD, purchase a program, or buy Shakeology from you; while you can share the concept of a Challenge Pack with them, you don’t have to require that they buy Shakeology this way).
If you’re requiring a purchase, you have to go the distance to run it professionally. Be clear and firm on what the group membership requirements are, when the challenge begins and ends, and what your expectations are for group participants (how often will they need to report in to the group and what do they need to report on?).
If you do go this route, always have something free to offer those who are not ready to dive in all the way yet—like a free one week challenge group, tips and motivation on your like page, your e-newsletter, etc. If you’re consistent and persistent, the odds are they’ll eventually come around!
If this is your first Challenge Group, I recommend starting with one of the shorter challenges below.
One Week Themed Challenges
People are much more willing to step up for a short-term challenge that doesn’t intimidate them so much—especially if they’re totally free, so consider doing mini-challenges to help potential customers get their feet wet.
Get creative with the theme—drink more water, eliminate sugar, caffeine or gluten, eat clean, vegan or paleo, self care, personal development? Ask your Sponsor if they have any resources for you to center your group around. You can also use one of Beachbody’s “Quick Start” guides as a template.
The upside of these short groups is that when a participant experiences a small victory, they will likely want to keep up the momentum. There is a downside—you have to work hard to build a solid relationship with each participant in a small window of time and convince them to invest further in their health.
A Shakeology Challenge
Give potential or existing customers a chance to try Shakeology for a week with your guidance. With this group format, they would be required to either purchase one of the Taste Sampler Kits from Beachbody or (7) packets of Shakeology directly from you (priced at $5/packet plus shipping costs). Share Shakeo recipes, testimonials, plus snippets of workouts and your favorite eating plan.
How to Setup and Run a Challenge Group
Remember to create your group at least a week ahead of the challenge start date in order to do some pre-challenge prep (i.e., setting your expectations, guidelines, etc.). Here’s a little how to on setting up your private group on Facebook:
1. Open Facebook and click on GROUPS on the left sidebar menu.
2. Click on + CREATE GROUP, give it a name, and make sure it’s a closed group.
3. Write a group description that clarifies the purpose and direction of the group, sets forth your expectations of group members, and any group rules (I highly suggest adding a rule that members are not allowed to sell or solicit other members).
4. When you create a group, you are required to add at least one member. At this point, I suggest adding another coach, close friend, or family member; you can add the rest of the your members when you’re done with the setup process.
5. Add a group photo (this is where the photo editing software comes in handy), description, and customize the URL. The group description is where you’ll include what you are requiring of participants (daily or weekly checkins, etc.) Designate anyone you want to be an admin of the group. You can also choose whether to allow anyone to post or require admin approval of every post. I prefer keeping things wide open to encourage interaction and would only choose the approval option if there is an issue in the group (like if the group gets big with high engagers). I definitely suggest that ONLY you (and any other admins) are able to add new members to the group so you can record them on your roster and get to know every member.
6. Delete any newsfeeds posts that were created during your setup (like “NAME just updated the group photo, description, etc.”) and post your welcome message (with a good image!).
7. Add people who have given you permission to the group. I don’t suggest adding people without permission unless you want to ruffle some feathers! I suggest sending each member you added a private message to let them know they’ve been added along with the link to the group. (Remember, you named it so it will look something like this—https://www.facebook.com/groups/name)
8. The day before the challenge starts, have everybody introduce themselves to start building your community.
Tips for Running Your Challenge Group
I’ve put together some tips here that we’ve learned over the last decade.
Tip #1—Get Trained. Take advantage of the challenge group training that is available in the Coach Training Academy (News and Training > Coach Training Academy > Beachbody Challenge Group Training). This will give you an overview and will educate and inspire you on your very own group.
Tip #2—Get in the Proper Mindset. Expectations will deflate you, so it’s important to keep them in check. Know that it’s tough for ALL of us (even us veteran coaches) to get people to join and commit to a healthy journey so lose the expectation that if you build it, they will come flocking. And, forget perfect—it ain’t gonna happen. You’re going to make mistakes and learn from them.
Tip #3—Focus on Quality Over Quantity. It’s totally fine to have groups with 2-3 participants in the beginning. If you only end up getting one person, check with your Sponsor to see if you can work with them in their Challenge Group and get them the help they need. They may just turn out to be your best testimonial!
Tip #4—Make Your Group a Reflection of YOU. Take what you learned in the training (and any other info you get from corporate or us) and let them serve as guidelines for you. There are no set rules. As long as you adhere to Beachbody’s policies and procedures guide, feel free to color outside the lines!
Tip #5—Don’t Assume People Are In the Know. As coaches, we probably know something about challenge groups, but most won’t. Tell them exactly what it is—and repeat yourself! They may never have been in any Facebook group before and are likely to be a bit shy about posting initially. It’s up to you to make people feel comfortable. Don’t be afraid to tag people to gently encourage them to engage. A word of advice—people may be scared by the word “challenge” so I encourage you to omit it from your group name and marketing.
Tip #6—Be Professional and Organized from the Start. Have clear Challenge Group requirements and/or guidelines, beginning and ending dates, and expectations for your participants and communicate them in the group description. Create a group roster (even if you just have a few people in the group) where you can note important details about each member, including their results, to allow you to connect with them and hold them accountable more effectively. You can use Excel, Numbers, a Google Sheet, or EverNote—whatever works for you. You will appreciate having these in the future!
Tip #7—Plan Your Dates Carefully. It’s typically best NOT to run your group so that it includes a holiday—unless it’s specifically a holiday challenge. In general, it’s best to start on a Monday.
Tip #8—Extend Group AND Personal Invitations. Announce your upcoming Challenge Group on both your like page AND your personal profile, then contact people personally through email or Facebook Messenger to extend a personal invite. Share your personal story in your post and include an inspirational photo. Tag anyone you’re comfortable tagging—this will likely extend your reach quite a bit! Post numerous times at different times. Don’t skip the personal invite as it’s MUCH more effective than just the Facebook posts. Not only does everyone not see all of your posts, but people want to feel personally welcomed and connected.
Tip #9—Have a Pre-Challenge Prep Period. It’s a good idea to open up the group at least a week (a bit longer for 21 or 30 day challenges) ahead of the challenge start date and post a daily task to get your participants ready. If you’re running a “paid” group, this is where you will include the deadline to order their product. This is when you reiterate what your expectations are of each member (i.e., daily checkins, etc.)—remember that you are there to challenge them and hold them accountable and having expectations is how this is done!
Tip #10—Use FUN Ice Breakers to Get Members Comfortable.
Ice breakers make people laugh and relax them and are a great way to warm people up to interacting in the group. The key is to encourage people to be personal enough that some bonding starts to happen, but not so personal that they’ll resist from shyness. Some ideas—ask everyone to post pictures of their pets, the person who is most supportive of their health and fitness journey, a family picture, something seasonal. Just something fun that YOU would do and that gets people talking!
Tip #11—Lead by Example. Actions, particularly YOUR actions, are going to create the energy in your group. They have demonstrated that they trust you by joining the group and they will most likely follow your lead. Your group is YOUR accountability. Be vulnerable and share your slip ups—and share your refocusing and restarting.
Tip #12—Do Use The Healthy Bod Challenge Contest as a Motivational Tool. We created The Healthy Bod Challenge contest to help our coaches. It’s an awesome and super fun tool to help motivate and recognize people for their successes.
Tip #13—Recognize Your Most Active Participants. Active participants breathe life into your Challenge Group. Appreciate the heck out of those who are engaged. Monica creates a simple graphic with their profile pic and a shout out for their successes and/or contribution. Not to state the obvious, but these are your coach prospects so put time and effort into building these relationships. When the time is right, send them a private message about coaching (AFTER you’ve completed the First 30 Training, of course!).
Tip #14—Reach Out to Your Inactive Participants. It’s going to happen—sometimes even the most initially enthusiastic participants will disengage. Don’t take it personally. Do send them a private text, email or Facebook message to see what’s up. Sometimes this might be just the spark they needed. Accountability is a huge part of a Challenge Group, right?
Tip #15—Have a Plan of Action at the End of the Challenge. As the end of the Challenge Group approaches, make sure you present a clear plan of action (usually an invitation to your next group) to keep those who want to continue engaged and those who didn’t make it a second chance. Consider offering a little perk to those who invite new participants to join. Remind them that this challenge was NOT just a quick standalone fix, but a door to changing their lifestyle.
Tip #16—Have Fun! Enjoy educating, motivating, and inspiring people to live healthier lives. THIS is why we do what we do! Be thinking of fun ways to make the groups more personal and increase engagement.
Tip #17—Do NOT Give Up. This is arguably the MOST important tip. As with EVERYTHING in this business, persistency and consistency are key. Don’t give up on yourself OR your existing or potential customers! Most people need to see you (and others) experience success for quite awhile before they step up. Keep being an example, keep up the group, and keep sharing the experiences and successes of those that are in it (no matter how few at first)!