May 29, 2023
min read

Why Challenges Are a Great Way to Build Your Email List (& How to Begin)

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Nutrition professionals need a tool in their arsenal that attracts clients, bolsters their email list, and positions them as an authority.

Offering online group challenges is a great way to smash all these objectives with one single program.

Not only are group challenges fun, but they’re good for business.

After reading this article, you’ll know what an online group coaching challenge is, how it supports email list growth, and how nutritionists, dietitians, and health coaches use challenges to grow their business.

But first… what is an online group coaching challenge?


It’s a great way to help your audience and potential customers reach a small goal within a set amount of time.

Examples of an online group challenge include:

  • Drinking 12 glasses of water each day for an entire week
  • Sticking to a healthy meal plan for two weeks
  • Participating in Hatha Yoga for a whole month straight
  • Abstaining from alcohol for a whole month straight

You get the idea!

You can probably see how exciting these challenges can be, both for the wellness pro and their audience.

A huge perk: running online challenges are a great way to bolster your email list. So if you have four email subscribers and one of them is your Aunt in Alaska, you might want to keep reading.

Why you should grow your email list with an online group coaching challenge


The most successful nutrition professionals in the wellness industry have a loyal following of raving fans.

And email marketing is the most personal, direct way to cut through the clutter and share important updates and information with your audience.

Not only is email marketing one of the cheapest forms of marketing, but it’s also one of the most effective.

Here’s a doozy for you: according to Hubspot, 59% of marketers say that email offers their biggest return on investment, and 59% of customers say that email marketing influences their purchasing decisions.

According to Content Marketing Institute, 74% of marketers who use email consider it to be the most effective distribution channel for their content.

Here are some reasons why a challenge might be the most effective way to attract new nutrition clients:

A challenge boosts community engagement

Instead of keeping your audience passive by talking at them, you’re making your audience active participants of your mission. Not only does this get a conversation going, but it also shows people whether you’re able to help them or not. Which leads us to our next point…

A challenge offers a glimpse into what it’s like to work with you.

What people love about a good challenge: it offers a tangible result. People end the challenge on a win, which makes a strong case for them to sign up for your nutrition or health services.

A challenge positions you as the expert.

The very fact that you’re able to guide people to a tangible result with your years of experience in the wellness field will show people you know your stuff.

Online challenges train your audience to open emails from you.

Since email will be the main mode of communication during the challenge, your members will have to open your emails in order to participate in the next step.

This elevates your emails, so people don’t view your emails as “junk to be deleted”, and turns them into loyal followers.

Is great for word-of-mouth social sharing, which increases awareness of your brand.

“Why are you doing yoga every day?” “I’m in a challenge with this fitness guru, want to join?” Friends will invite friends to the challenge, broadening your reach and brand awareness. It’s a win win.

How do you structure an online challenge?

how to have a successful challenge launch

So you decided you want to bolster your nutrition business with a challenge. But how do you even begin?

STEP 1: Decide on what the challenge will be.

Really, you’re figuring out what RESULT you want your audience to achieve. Think of it this way: what has worked well for your clients in the past? What’s a problem that a lot of people seem to have, that you can help with?

Of course, it’s a good idea to stick with your niche, or “zone of genius.” If you stray too far from how you actually help most clients, the challenge won’t be as relevant to your brand. And what’s the use in that?

Not sure what problem people have that you can solve? Dive into some market research: scourge forums, websites, social media accounts, and comments on videos and blogs to discover what your target audience might be struggling with.

STEP 2: Outline your challenge.


How long will your challenge take? What are the steps in each part of the challenge? How will your audience be able to measure success? How many emails will you send your audience?

Start developing the content for the challenge so you’re all prepared and ready to go.

STEP 3: Promote your butt off for about a month.

Once you’ve figured out what problem you can solve for your audience, it’s time to spread the word.

Hit the pavement across all your platforms, and don’t forget to put a little ad spend toward it either.  (Popping some ad spend on social media can increase your reach.)

Maybe even try your hand at some Public Relations. Go on podcasts and get quoted in articles that talk about your upcoming challenge.

And of course… update your website and meal garden profile with your opt-in call to action!

Step 4: Get the resources you need for a successful online challenge.

You’re going to want to keep all the challenge resources in one spot, where people can easily access everything they need to continue on the next step of the challenge.

For nutrition and health-based challenges, Meal Garden is a great way to keep all your resources in one place -- whether you’re showing daily video, offering worksheets, or supplying meal plans or recipe collections to keep people on the right track.

If you don’t have a mail provider for an email list, it’s time to sign up for one now. Most e-newsletter platforms are free to join, like Mailchimp, and offer templates so you can ensure your newsletters are well designed and professional-looking.

STEP 5: Let the games begin!

If it’s your first challenge, don’t panic if you’ve only succeeded in getting a handful of people in your challenge. Four is better than zero!

And don’t forget -- as you move through the challenge in real time, remember to stir the pot by offering topics of discussion, asking deep questions, and  supporting the community by offering individualized support. A lot of health coaches and nutritionists do this via a facebook group, but there are plenty of other ways. Opening a Slack account is another great way to foster a private community.

Meal Garden’s 14-Day Healthy Kickstart to the New Year Challenge

Here at Meal Garden, our mission is to make it as easy as possible to run a nutrition business. We know how many hours it can take to design a challenge, put together recipe collections, and implement an entirely new challenge.

That’s why we’re offering our 14-Day Whole-Food, Plant-Based client challenge as a gift to you.

Use this challenge -- and modify it in any way you want -- to grow your email list and increase lead generation to start your year off right.

This program includes:

  • 2 meal plans: plant-based Mediterranean meals, and Vegetarian Budget Friendly Allergy Free.
  • 3 recipe collections: including 12 Plant-Based Sides & Snacks, 15 Energizing Plant-Based Breakfasts, and 20 Easy Plant-Based Lunch & Supper Ideas.
  • 6 dietitian-created resources, including 12 tips for healthier eating, healthy tips for dining out, how to read a nutrition facts label, and much more.

Click here to access the 14-Day Healthy Kickstart Challenge, to start getting your audience eating well… and working with your business.

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