Free Masterclass vs. Free Challenge – Which One Is Right For You?

by Louise Blakely in Podcast
June 17, 2023 0 comments

Episode 48 of the Online Course Creator Show

Struggling to decide between hosting a free masterclass or a free challenge for your online course launch? In today's episode, I guide you through the pros and cons of each option, ensuring you make the best choice for both you and your audience.

In this episode, I share:

  • Do launch events like free masterclasses and challenges still work?
  • The pro's and con's of a free masterclass and who it is best suited to
  • What to consider if you're thinking of doing a free challenge, and how to make it work for you and your audience
  • Why your decision needs to be guided by what suits your audience, and how you want to show up, rather than what anyone else is doing.

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Enjoy the episode!
Lou xx

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View full transcript here: 

Welcome to the Online Course Creator Show. I'm Lou Blakely, a launch strategist who helps female online entrepreneurs turn their knowledge into a profitable, freedom based business with online courses. Now, today I am talking about a topic that comes up a lot. It comes up with every single new client who I work with who hasn't yet launched, and it is probably something that you may have thought about too. If you've considered launching, or if you've already been through a launching process, there's no doubt this question would have come up, and that is do you do a free masterclass or a free challenge or bootcamp? So this episode is all about basically what each of these entail, why they're different, when to use one versus the other and actually figure out which one is best for you, because I do believe that this decision needs to be made based on what works for you, what works for your personality, the way you like to show up, but also what works for your audience and when we can get into the place where both of those things are aligned. I think that is the sweet spot.

Now, before I dive into the meat and potatoes of this episode, i wanted to personally invite you to book in for a free 30 minute launch game plan session. So if you're thinking about creating an online course or you want to grow your existing online course and you'd like some advice and direction, let's get together on Zoom and map out your game plan to achieve your goals. You can book in for that 30 minute session by going to

Now let's dive into today's topic. So firstly, i just want to address something. I get asked this all the time, and that is do these types of events, these launch events, still work? which is like usually the free masterclass versus the free challenge. There are other launch event styles. I have talked about an email launch before, which the title of the episode is about the lazy launch. I'm going to link that below, and there are various other ways that you can launch. I'm not talking about those on this episode. I am specifically talking about free masterclass versus a free challenge or bootcamp, because they are the most common And actually I think, if you're just starting out or you're going into launch for the first time, these are the two that you are probably going to choose one of the two for various reasons. But the question I get asked all the time is do I have to do either? Do these type of launch events still work. Do people even watch masterclasses or webinars Or do they even take part in challenges? And my answer to that is yes, 100%. They still work. They are definitely still worth doing And, yes, they have been around for a while. Right, but you know, if you look around the internet and look at the people who you know are doing really well, i guarantee you they are doing some kind of variation of a launch event. Now, there's so many reasons why launch events, i think, are absolutely essential. Firstly, they are vital for becoming visible, to kind of say hey, i'm holding this event, come and join me. You know, when we think about how powerful it is to even have the ability to run these events without having to go and hire out a room, somewhere like a conference room, and do all the marketing needed to get people to turn up locally, like we are so lucky to have the ability to do these at any time on the internet at very little cost to us, but we are able to shop powerfully in a way that creates that visibility and kind of calls people into our world. They are also fantastic in building trust because we are sharing our expertise, we are showcasing how you help people. You are giving them an opportunity to be in your world and actually see how you operate before they decide to pay you to go deeper into that world. So, like you are able to give them a snippet, you are showcasing what you are all about. I mentioned before there are other options for launch events and some of those require payment, like we've seen a massive increase in, like low cost courses and all of that kind of to attract like people who are willing to pay for that short event. However, i truly believe in from my testing that if you do have a smaller audience, free launch events are still the way to go because obviously they're free. You are way more likely to get people to sign up for something that's free And as you go through the process of what content you share in that kind of thing and you showcase what you know, how you can help people and where you can help them go, you're just going to get more people in your world right And when you are first going into launching, i think that's really important. Rather than getting too granular on what the best strategy for you is, it's more about getting maximum people into your world And actually the launch event is so important because the amount of people that you're able to impact during your launch event is actually going to directly impact the revenue you make from your launch. So, masterclasses first, free challenges which one is right for you? Let's take a look at like what each one is, and I'm sure you guys know this. I just wanted to cover it off in case you know. You're wondering what's a masterclass versus a webinar, or you know Something like that. So essentially, they have the same thing, just with a different name. Also, sometimes I can see these like one hour kind of. You know, 45 to 90 minute sessions online. Sometimes we called workshops, but I actually recommend to stay clear of that unless it is a paid workshop. So a free masterclass or webinar is a free online event that usually goes anywhere from between 45 to 90 minutes. You show up, you teach, you share value, you paint the picture of how you are able to help people, and You can either do this by sharing slides or you can just talk direct to the camera. This is where I think that it's different for every person whether you know what you want to do, what you feel comfortable doing. So, generally, the format of such a class and it is really like a class, right, you, everyone turns up at the same time and you present live, and then there can be a Q&A section at the end. So generally how this a class like this is formatted, it goes for around 10 minutes of introduction, 20 to 30 minutes Pure content and then moving into selling for the remaining 20 minutes or so, with time for Q&A at the end. Now, conversely, a free challenge or bootcamp I use these interchangeably, like these words. They are Kind of like the same thing. But I think whether you call something a challenge or a bootcamp kind of depends on the actual content That's inside of it. Like, obviously, a challenge is, you know, there's an expectation that every day some kind of challenge is completed, or Overall, whether that's three to five days I don't recommend going any longer than that Some kind of challenge that you've set is achieved, whereas a bootcamp could be like a deep dive or you know, bootcamp has that kind of We, when we hear the word bootcamp, we think of fitness and like doing the work every day, and that's what a bootcamp is Compared to a challenge. So with this type of launch event is usually some kind of community included, such as a Facebook group, and The challenge material gets presented in there or via email or a mix of both. This is sometimes a set of challenges, daily lessons or a daily activity. It just depends on what is best for your audience and what content you decide to To present. And this is actually a huge topic, and watch out for next week's episode, because this is actually what I'm going to be covering. So the goal of this launch event is to get them to complete all the days of the challenge So that they achieve a micro win, and then you offer them the next step, which is your paid program. So, strategically, it's very important that you set this content up correctly and, as I said, that's coming soon in an episode. So which one is best for you? Which one should you choose? And my answer to that is that really depends. I have helped people achieve success with both of these Launch events. I think that they are both just as successful as the other, but they're actually used in different ways and, yeah, that's what we're getting into. So I Want you to think about who is your audience? What are they more likely to show up for? What are your goals when it comes to your launch? What works best for the time that you have available, like this is all stuff that you need to consider. How much time does your audience have available, how much and this is a big one How much do you like to interact with people and how much energy do you have? These are all things that are really important to consider when you're deciding between a free masterclass versus a free challenge or bootcamp. So I'm a believer that this is how you choose which one to do, which one is best for your audience and for you as a person. What everyone else is doing is actually irrelevant. So you could be looking over the fence that someone who is Has an amazing success right with masterclasses, but you know that is Based on what they're best at. So I don't want you to look at what other people are doing. I want you to look at your audience and you personally. Okay, everything else is irrelevant. So, to help you figure out which one, i'm going to share with you the pros and cons of each and who they best suited for, and if there's a certain situation where one is a better option. And, as I said before, both of these work. It's just about finding the right one for you. So let's dive into the pros and cons of a masterclass or webinar. So these are absolutely perfect if your audience is time poor and won't show up for a longer period of time. So if you know your audience is just not gonna show up every day for three or five days, then Masterclass is probably better for you. So A real pro of a masterclass is that you decide the date and time of your masterclass. You show up for one hour, everyone comes on and then you open the doors to your product at the end of that time and then the doors are open and you can move on to the next thing. So masterclasses generally require less energy from you and they're over much quicker. Okay, so they're very good for an audience that is short on time. You're really good at showcasing your expertise and builds incredible trust within a very short period of time, and the other advantage and I think this is quite a big advantage of a masterclass is that once you nail it, you can use it in like an evergreen funnel if you did want to go down that track. Now there are some cons of a webinar or a masterclass that I want to talk about. So showing up live on the internet requires technology to go your way. It relies on your internet working, and sometimes we're using webinar software and that kind of thing, and it relies on that tech going well on the day and if it doesn't, you know there's a small risk there for sure. The other con is that it needs more tech than other options. So, as I mentioned, you may be using webinar software, which I do recommend. However, you can also just use a Zoom room and then it's all got to be connected, so landing page software, and it will require integrations from one software to another, that kind of thing. So if you're a tech phobe, there is going to be a learning curve with this one or you're going to have to get someone to help you set it up Another. I don't know if this is a con, but if you're a person that really shies away from, maybe, public speaking, you get flustered with presenting and managing a crowd at the same time, and I do recommend always getting an assistant to help with the chat and manage the Q&A and the group while you're actually presenting. But if this is not what you want to do like, if that just like you, just like no way, i'm not doing that then your masterclass probably isn't for you. So how is a masterclass be suited for? It is about what suits you and it's also about what suits your audience. I think that's like a 50-50 split there. I cannot say that enough. So is your audience the type to turn up and take notes and be ready to learn? Do they have time to show up? So I think you know, if your audience is like the type of person who wants to show up and learn you know, maybe they're a student like a typical student and they don't necessarily mean need that like kinesthetic style of learning then I think a masterclass is really good for them And, in terms of you, if you don't like presenting and talking and would rather be interactive, i think there are better options for you. However, if you love to teach and I actually find that people who were teachers are really good at online courses, because if you love to teach then I think this not only masterclass is a good view, but I actually think the online business model, online course business model is actually really good for you. Now, who doesn't it suit? So, if you're in the fitness niche or something that requires a little bit of action, like I was saying, that kinesthetic way of learning, and you know they like to learn step by step, then I definitely don't think a masterclass is the right option. I think a challenge is better And, as I mentioned before, it doesn't suit anyone who has an audience that is just not tech savvy and literally would not show up online at a certain time, would not know how to do that. Luckily, i think one advantage of the pandemic is that there's not many people really that don't know how to do that, which is great. But if you just absolutely do not have either yourself have what you believe the ability or staying power to be able to learn the tech, set up the tech And your audience is kind of in that same boat, then there are better options. So let's move on to a free challenge or boot camp. So these are perfect when you want to go a little deeper and it's going to require more than one session to present what you want to share in your launch event. They're also great if you want to build a deeper relationship with your audience and you want to build that deeper relationship really fast. So in a challenge, you can get to know people and really learn a lot for them really quickly as you're creating conversation and interactions as well as sharing your as well as sharing your expertise, building trust and all of that kind of thing. I have found challenges to be super powerful in this way. So the advantages or the pros of this type of launch event is that it allows you to build that deeper relationship with your audience really fast, builds trust rapport more than any other launch method. It can create that community feeling. It is reasonably low tech like it is definitely lower tech than the master class option. The other advantage of it is that you can automate a lot of it. So emails, reminders, scheduling posts, etc. You can like scheduling posts. What I mean there is that there are parts of the challenge where you will need posts going into your community and all that kind of thing. The other cool thing about a challenge is that you can actually craft it according to what works best for you. So you choose exactly how you want to present it. So it could be the lessons are seen up via email and then the group community is just for support, or you could show up by doing live training every day, or you could actually do pre recorded video. I was working with one client and we sat down and mapped out her challenge And one of the things as we were crafting the content and the strategy for the content, we were also talking about the delivery, of how that would be delivered And we talked about she's got four kids super busy, doesn't can't really guarantee that she's going to be available for three to five days to show up live at a certain time, and it actually Worked for her life. So we decided that she was actually going to record the videos in advance and then drop them into the group at the same time Every day and that worked perfectly for her. So I think that's a huge advantage of a challenge is that you can a hundred percent structure it to suit you in your life. Another advantage is that you'll get a lot of feedback and intel on your audience when done well with that community side of things. So you'll find out. You'll be able to find out where people are struggling, at what point and what you're teaching, which can be super valuable. You can see if they're getting stuck in a particular part of your challenge And you can even promote conversation to find out more about what they want and find out what words they're using to describe their Problem all of that great market research that we love. Now, there are definitely some downsides or some cons to a challenge that you could you should consider before you decide to Go with this kind of launch event, and I think the biggest one is it's spread over three to five days, so it's actually effectively adding that time period to your launch, whereas when you do like a masterclass, it's over in an hour and then you can open the cart to your online course and then you go, you move into that Open cart phase of your launch, whereas with a challenge, it's like that three to five period where you're actually still showing up quite a lot before you even open the doors. Okay, so it requires a longer duration that you need to show up Energetically. So that's definitely something to take into consideration. But, as I said, you can choose Exactly the delivery format that you want. That was going to work for you. The other con of a challenge and you know, i think with a good strategy, this, this one, can actually been be avoided. But without that strategic Assistance on what content to actually create, it can be super easy and super tempting to actually Overtach in a challenge and leave people with a list of things to do, give tutorials and sometimes create a state of overwhelm. Therefore, people are leaving the challenge with a list of things to do rather than creating a need for your next Thing, which is your paid offer. So it's really important, if you're doing a challenge, that the content is strategically created to take them on a journey, and This is something that I help people with in my coaching. But, yeah, they just be mindful not to overtake and then create like. I believe that no one should leave a launch event with a list of things to do Or feel overwhelmed, and if they are, then you need to take a look at the content that you're sharing. Now the other con and there are obviously ways that you can mitigate this but there will be a drop-off of engagement over the time period, and You know this is just life. I think people sign up for things. they'll turn up on Monday full of energy and by Thursday they may have dropped off. So this is why I don't want you to go any longer than five days with a challenge, and I don't want you to think that this is personal or that your challenge isn't good. It is just life, like if you think about yourself, i'm sure there's been times where you felt extra motivated and you want to complete something and then maybe on Tuesday There's a massive curve ball and your whole week kind of changes. So Just be aware of that, whereas it's much easier to get people to stay on for an hour on a master class and then it's done, okay. So Maybe you're already getting an idea, just from what we've covered so far on which one is better for you. So who is a challenge best suited to? so again, it is all about what suits you, but it's also about your audience and that kind of, and we get those two coming together And it's suiting everyone involved, then I think we're on to a winner. And I also have to say, if you are in the fitness niche, then challenges, i believe, are the better option over a master class, and That is the one niche where I definitely say that wholeheartedly. But you want to think about your audience. So will they show up every day for a period of time over that three to five days or a portion of that? Are they motivated and ready to take action? Do they? are they that type of kinesthetic person that actually wants to show up and not only learn something but put it into action that day? Are they the type of people to do that, or are they more passive learners? And if they're a more passive learner, then the masterclass is something you should consider. Now, when it comes to a challenge, i think there is a certain personality type that really thrives in a challenge situation, with presenting challenges, and I know that I am one of these people. I used to run my SEO SEO website and five days challenge. I absolutely thrived, personality wise, and that because I love connecting with people, i love chatting to people, i love having two way conversations, and the brilliant thing about a challenge is that you will get responses, and if you're a manifesting generator or a generator, then you are basically created to respond to inspiration. When you're in that kind of community environment and people asking you questions and that kind of thing, it gives you something to respond to and that's where many of us thrive, okay, so for me, i know that challenges are great because I really feel like I've got that momentum. I'm having conversations with people, i'm learning more about them and I really love that part. So interaction is a really big part of a challenge. If you are an extreme introvert and you don't really want to have those conversations, then a masterclass is actually probably a better option And also it may not suit you if your audience simply can't commit over a period of days. So, for example, if you have a corporate audience they're like executives and they're super busy they may be able to find the time to tune in for an hour masterclass or actually watch the replay is probably more of the strategy that you want to go with for them, whereas showing up for like an hour a day, which is probably a little bit long, or just showing up consistently over a period of days is probably like just right out of the question for them. So consider what is good for you and what is good for your audience. I've dived into the free masterclass and I've dived into the free challenge and hopefully by now you're getting a sense of which one could work best for you. Now, when it comes to your launch event, you really want to have as many people at the party as possible. In fact, the number of people you attract into your launch campaign at this point will determine the revenue that you make from your launch. So it's really important that you choose a launch event that feels good to you, that feels an alignment that you're proud to be putting on, because you will need to be sharing it and talking about it a lot. It's also important to think about what kind of launch event will not only attract your ideal audience, but will work and with their life as well. So, as I said, if you've got a corporate audience, make it easier to access and at a time that is outside work hours, as an example. You can't really do that with a challenge, but you could definitely do it with a masterclass. Also, consider, of course, do they have time to follow along with a challenge, which can take a little bit more effort versus showing up for an hour on the masterclass. I also want you to remember if you haven't done a challenge or a masterclass yet or maybe you've tried one or the other just remember that your first one is not going to be your best one. It really is about getting in the game, getting started and then improving with experience over time, as you start to learn what works best for you and what works best for your audience and before you know it, you'll be a pro and know exactly what works for you. So I hope this episode has helped you get clearer about which one is right for you and you've gotten to know the difference between these two different types of launch events. So the free masterclass and the free challenge. I hope you now understand when one should be used versus another, and also like which one appeals to you, as I went through those pros and cons and who they're best for and that kind of thing. So I hope you're inspired to get out there and take action on the one that resonates with you the most for your next launch. Thanks so much for listening today. If you learned a thing or two in this episode, i'd love for you to take a screenshot of this episode in your podcast player and share it to your Instagram stories. Don't forget to tag me @loublakely_. And don't forget if you're interested in a free 30 minute game plan session with me, simply go over to and book it in. I'd love to meet you. Have a great week and I'll see you in the next episode.

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