How to Build Your Email List With a Challenge Funnel


What he is saying:

If you’re looking for a really interactive way to build your email list, I’ve got just the thing!

There are so many ways to build up your email list with a lead magnet. You could do a cheat sheet or a checklist, a guide, a video series. Or you could kick things up a few notches and get really interactive by hosting a challenge as your lead magnet.

Essentially, you’re challenging your audience to accomplish something or reach a goal by the end of a specified period of time. This is great because it not only promises information, but an actual outcome. People get really excited about this and they’re much more likely to share that with their friends!

Of course, I’m gonna give you some examples. But before we get there, I just wanna go over a few kind of ground rules for a challenge just to keep you on track. So it should be really closely aligned with what you offer or it should seamlessly lead people into what you offer.

I recently had a web consulting client who offered meditation and mindfulness classes. So we created a meditation mastery challenge for them. And that gave everyone who opted in to it a simple short assignment every day. And each mini assignment brought the person closer and closer to mastering the art of meditation. So by the end, they were much more interested in it. They really saw the benefits. And they were much more likely to actually pay money to attend classes.

So what’s involved in a really successful challenge lead magnet? First thing you need to choose the outcome, action, or transformation that you’re promising. If you do patio construction, it might be “How to Transform your Deck into a Tranquil Outdoor Living Space”. If you’re a cross-fit trainer, it might be as simple as “How to Lose 10 Pounds”.

The trick is to make it all about reaching that end goal, not about the journey getting there. That’s why I said “Lose 10 Pounds” and not “10-Day Cross-Fit Challenge”! Next, you have to decide on a reasonable number of days that this is gonna go on for. Generally 30 is the max, don’t go beyond 30, but definitely go shorter if you can. Some popular numbers are 5, 7, 10, and 21 for some reason. And you’ll definitely wanna give it a great title that really entices people to wanna join in.


Here are a few really great challenge examples that I found:

  • From David Siteman Garland and it’s called “Outline Your Darn Course”. It promises 5 short videos over 5 days, and at the end of those 5 days, you’ll have your online course completely outlined. And since this is one of the most difficult steps in making an online course, people would be very interested in getting some help with it.


  • Next, we have the “30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge”. This promises 30 days to a healthier you. It’s got recipes and shopping lists to encourage people to stay on track.


  • Now this next one is actually just a blog post, but they could vey easily have made this into an actual challenge! It’s from Credit Karma and it’s called the “30-Day Debt Loss Challenge”. So every day, for 30 days, they’ve got a quick money saving tip. And that could definitely have been sent out in an email every single day. Some of these tips include committing to one money free weekend, and to skip Starbucks for the next 27 days!


So once you decide on the goal, the title and the length of the challenge, you’re gonna wanna start putting together those daily mini assignments. Generally they should take the person only 5 to 10 minutes every day to accomplish. And if they do them in order, by the end, you’ll have taken them to their promised goal. You’ll deliver each of these assignments one a day via email, and in those emails, you can do just about anything.

One of the things I like to do is to break it up. Maybe on Day 1 it’s a short video. Maybe Day 2 is kind of a podcast episode – an audio training. Then the third Day maybe it’s just a quick tip in the body of the email. I really recommend having at least one audio or video training in the series. That goes a long way to getting them to know you and trust you. Then finally, once the challenge is over, you can seamlessly transition into promoting whatever it is that you sell. Whether that’s a product or service and promote is as the next logical step that they can take to go even further and get even better results.

You’re gonna put these emails together in sequence into your autoresponder program like Drip or Mailchimp and you just put it on automation. So that whenever anyone opts in for the challenge, that’s their Day 1 and they go through the sequence. Then when someone opts in two months from now, that’s their Day 1 and they go through the exact same sequence.

Challenges are really fun and interactive ways to build your list, and you can really build up a lot of authority and trust in the process. And yeah, this absolutely takes more time and planning than putting together a simple checklist. But if you do it right, the rewards on the other side of it can be huge – I promise you that!


The above is an e-Learning topic in the WSQ Social Media Management Course.