Part I: Why Do Challenges Matter?

Virtual challenges are a powerful tool for increasing your following

by Peter Mansour

What is a challenge?

As a content creator, the biggest challenge you face is growing your base with followers that are engaged and active.  Growing a userbase it one thing, but developing a base of users that are actively engaged, is significantly more valuable- and significantly more difficult to accomplish.

That’s where challenges are useful.  By challenges, I’m not talking about eating a Tide-pod on TikTok, or applying your lipstick without your hands (who thinks up this stuff?). I’m talking about challenges that help users reach a goal.  It’s something that provides your users the tools to succeed.

These kinds of challenges are sort of like a class or course, with the added element of social support and engagement. These challenges take place over a set time-period and with regular check-ins.  They are generally short- the structure is usually a Week, 15 days, or 30 days and promises a pay-off at the end.

Some examples could be:

These challenges are typically free.  Their purpose to create deep engagement and keep the user coming back.  The most successful challenges have a social component that allow your community to interact with each other, strengthening their connection with you.  The power of a group is significantly more powerful than doing something alone. It ads validity to the exercise.

Do challenges work?

Challenges can be a powerful weapon in your digital marketing toolkit. They can help you to acquire new customers, build e-mail lists, and position your brand.

Nathalie Lussier created a 30-day list building challenge. In 4 years, this free challenge has brought in over 50,000 sign-ups. She still commonly sees 20 subscribers per day.


Pedro Adao is the founder of 100X Academy. He decided to give away his $3,000 person challenge for free. The challenge gathered over 19,000 participants which allowed him to upsell service over time.  This first Challenge resulted in over $110,000 in gross sales. Pedro now routinely uses this strategy of offering a free mini challenge followed by a premium upsell. Using this model, Pedro was able to make $2 million in his last challenge.

So why are these challenges so effective?

Challenges offer value

Unlike other marketing devices, challenges provide user with something useful. It is perceived as getting something for free that would usually cost something.  At the same time, you are proving to your user that you are an expert in your field demonstrated through the content you provide during your challenge. You build trust and solidify an ongoing relationship.

Challenges prompt an action

Challenges are about action.  The perceived value combined with the time-based opportunity can be quite enticing to a user.  For example. a casual user may not actively be looking to improve photography, but the attraction of a photography challenge kicking off soon, may be enough to prompt the user to give it a try, rather than lose the opportunity.

During a challenge, users can only derive the full value of the opportunity by acting on the challenge.  This action strengthens the engagement, solidifies the user, and moves them significantly along your conversion funnel. Users who have already engaged with you and received some level of value are much more likely to buy premium services from you in the future.

Challenges bring in the best leads

When someone joins a challenge, you have a very strong signal that a person is interested in your content.  Not only did the user click on your message, but they went through the time and effort to fill out a sign-up form, provide you with their information, and commit to acting your you content for the length of the challenge. That makes these leads extremely qualified and much more valuable than a simple email capture tool.  If someone has completed your challenge, you can feel confident that this user would like to hear even more from you!

Challenges are viral

Completing a well-crafted challenge can instill a feeling of pride in a user.  Those who successfully complete your challenge and begin to see results, often want to share their accomplishment with the world, which generates even more traffic.  Furthermore, challenges play on our innate desire to do things with other people.  Coupled with the promise of value, challenges can continue to drive user growth for quite a while, as demonstrated in Nathalie Lussier’s 30-day list building challenge.

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