Funnel Friday Ep 01: The Free Challenge Funnel

Funnel Fridays is where we break down popular marketing funnels so you can build and deploy them yourself with Thrive Themes!

If you’re looking for an efficient way to:

  • Build an email list of potential client
  • Create a valuable opt-in offer without having to spend weeks writing an ebook
  • Capitalize on a current marketing trend that’s exploding on social media

Then creating a Free Challenge Funnel might be exactly what you should focus on. 

More...

The Puzzle Pieces of a Free Challenge Funnel

I’m sure you’ve come across them on social media… Whether it’s a 30-day declutter challenge, a 7-day Yin Yoga challenge or a 28-day fitness challenge, challenges are everywhere. And for good reason!

The premise of a Free Challenge is to deliver information via email which means that all of these challenges have one thing in common: They allow you, the creator, to show up in your audiences’ email inbox EVERY DAY for the duration of the challenge.

This makes challenges an excellent way to engage with your audience and to give valuable information all while building a relationship. And because people buy from people they like, it gives you a head' start to pitch your products and services.

That’s exactly what Abby Pollock is doing masterfully with her free “Made to Move” challenge.

Let’s deconstruct the building blocks of this Free Challenge Funnel in this first episode of Funnel Friday.

Puzzle Piece 1: The Lead Generation Sign up Page

A free challenge funnel starts with an email opt-in.

Made to Move it Lead Generation Page

Abby’s lead generation page has the following blocks:

Hero Block with Signup Form

What's this page about?

The hero section is what people will see before scrolling.

Notice how this area is distraction free, no menu, no logo, no social share buttons… The only thing you see when arriving on this page is the lead generation form. There are only 2 choices. Sign up or close the page. Which is the essence of a good landing page.

Abby is doing a good job at keeping it simple and making it super clear that this is a 28-day challenge around movement and having the opt-in form front and center.

I would have liked to see a little bit more information about what you’d get when signing up because the value of the offer is not immediately visible (you have to scroll to the Benefits Block to understand everything you’ll get during the challenge).

Text Block with Social Proof

What's this challenge all about? Why should someone sign up?

Here we can find the explanation about the challenge and see social proof of people who already benefited from Abby’s training programs.

It’s a great way to show off the value of the challenge. It demonstrates that other people enjoyed the challenge and used it to get the desired results. For anyone who's not familiar with Abby and her work, it alleviates the fear of this challenge being a waste of their time and inbox space.

Benefits Block Explaining the Challenge 

What is included in the challenge?

This is great, it explains in detail, what people will get when signing up. This is exactly what I would have liked to see above the fold.

Never assume people know or understand what they will be getting when signing up. Use a benefits section to make it crystal clear.

Testimonials Block

Provide social proof!

The more social proof you can provide, the better! Don’t forget that when you’re asking people to sign up, you’re also “selling” and the price your visitor has to pay is their email address (and the permission to show up in their inbox). That’s why, even on a lead generation landing page, testimonials can boost your conversions.

FAQ Block

Answer lingering questions.

Basic lead generation pages typically won’t need an FAQ section, but a challenge can raise a couple of questions. That’s why having an FAQ section on your Free Challenge lead generation landing page is smart.

Footer

Provide legal information.

You’ll usually need disclaimer and privacy links if you want to send paid ad traffic to your landing pages. The footer is the perfect place to provide that.

Overall this is a really good lead generation page that nails the fundamentals of a high converting page:

  • A valuable opt-in offer
  • Clear communication
  • Enough information to alleviate confusion
  • Social proof
  • No distractions

The lead generation landing page is by far the most important component of any funnel and in the step-by-step tutorial video you’ll discover how to build this page from scratch.

But first, let’s have a look at the rest of the pieces and how they fit together.

Puzzle Piece 2: The Confirmation Page

In the Made to Move funnel, there is no confirmation page, only a confirmation message.

A confirmation page gives you the opportunity to add additional information (such as social share buttons, in-depth instructions, or even an upsell offer...). While a confirmation message has the advantage of being quick and easy to set up.

It’s up to you to decide what you prefer.

In the step-by-step tutorial video, you’ll learn how to set up your funnel with a confirmation page because it allows for more flexibility.

Puzzle Piece 3: The Welcome Email and Email Follow-up

The welcome email with link to the starter pack PDF

The whole Free Challenge idea is based on the premise of delivering information via email.

In your email marketing service, you’ll set up a welcome message (that will deliver the final puzzle piece, the starter pack PDF) and an email follow-up sequence.

The follow-up emails

Depending on your email marketing service, you can trigger this series of emails by adding a tag, adding people to a group, or to a specific list.

In the step-by-step video I’ll demonstrate how to set this up using a tag to start an automation in ActiveCampaign.

Puzzle Piece 4: The Starter Pack PDF (the Smart Part!)

Well designed Starter Pack PDF

This is the smartest part of how Abby sets up the “Made to Move”- challenge!

The moment someone signs up for the free challenge, they are sent a Starter Pack PDF that gives instructions about the challenge -- and how to prepare for the challenge -- but more importantly, it gives them the opportunity to buy her premium products.

Premium offer

Genius.

Sprinkle in some scarcity by offering a reduced price before the free challenge kicks off and you have an explosive mix of a super desirable opt-in offer (the free challenge) and a FOMO driven sales offer.

How to Create a Free Challenge for Your Business?

I believe that with a bit of creativity, you can find a “challenge” for just about any industry and online business… The way to make sure this challenge is valuable for your business is by creating one of two types of challenges:

Type 1: The Bitesize Challenge to Sell the Full Offer

What’s one thing you can teach your audience that will show them you know what you’re talking about and will make them confident you can help them further?

This works perfectly for online course creators and coaches.

Imagine...

  • You’re selling a copywriting course. You could create a 7-day Challenge to write better headlines.
  • You’re selling a dog training course. You could create a 10-day Challenge to make dogs stop chewing shoes.
  • You’re selling management coaching. You could create a 21-day Challenge to conduct better one-on-ones and motivate employees.

After the challenge, if you did a good job, your audience will be impressed with what they learned and will want to learn MORE (and buy your course or join your coaching program).

Type 2: The Product Ascension Challenge to Prep for the Full Offer

What’s something your audience needs to know BEFORE they can fully appreciate your offer?

This works perfect for service providers, course creators, software vendors and e-commerce.

Imagine:

  • You’re selling a list building plugin. Before really seeing all the benefits of the plugin, the 7-day list building challenge will show advanced strategies that can easily be implemented with the tool.
  • You’re selling an online business program and before someone would buy, they need to be clear on what business to build. You would thus create a free challenge to validate a business idea.
  • You’re selling an ergonomic chair. You would create a free challenge on how to reduce back pain.

The goal here is to make your offer the logical next step in their buying process. 

Step-by-Step: Create a Free Challenge Funnel With Thrive Themes

What do you think?

Are you going to use the free challenge funnel in your online business?
Did you already use it? What were the results?

And also, what do you think about Funnel Friday? Is this helpful?

Let me know in the comments below!

Author: Hanne Vervaeck

Hanne knows exactly what companies have ever retargeted her (she keeps an updated file). And when she's not busy discussing high-level funnel design over cocktails with the equally geeky, you'll find her discovering a place for the first time

  • Maurice Jackson says:

    Funnel Friday, an excellent idea!

    Although I’ve yet to watch/read today’s training fully I think it’s worthwhile showing examples of how the funnel can be deployed for both service providers and ecommerce sellers.

    It’s always beneficial to see how things look in the real world with examples rather than just relying on a ‘How To Do It’ type video.

    Nice One!

    • Hanne says:

      Hi Maurice,

      The exact same strategy would work for products as for services! Give it a go :)

  • tom says:

    Thank you very much! Very well done, I appreciate it. Especially how-to-do-it recipe.

    • Hanne says:

      You’re welcome Tom. Glad this was useful.

  • Joanne T says:

    Thought this was really helpful, especially breaking down the hidden sells in the pdf, I hadn’t thought of that way of delivering small paid products and it would definitely work for me. Thanks!

    • Hanne says:

      Right :D That PDF is masterful! Such a good idea to sell products without pushing too hard.
      Happy you can see how to use this on your site, Joanne!

  • simone says:

    Very helpful. Thank you!

  • Gordon says:

    Love it. Great idea.

  • very nice initiative. Thanks a lot Hanne and Thrive Themes

  • Karen McCamy says:

    This is excellent, Hanne! I haven’t watched the full training yet, but doing a “tear-down” of a real-world example is always a great learning experience!

    Showing exactly how it’s done in Thrive is invaluable!

    Love that this is a new series! <3

    • Hanne says:

      Thanks Karen <3 Happy you enjoy it

  • Ivan K says:

    Thank you, Hanne! As always very interesting and useful videos. As for the “28 Day Challenge”, I have some doubts about excessive focus shift on the pdf file. Will it be convenient on mobile devices? Wouldn’t it be more convenient to do it using a site instead of a pdf file?

    • Hanne says:

      Hi Ivan,

      PDF has the advantage of being easy to send and easy to save for people. I do not believe there is a problem with mobile (smartphones can open PDF’s without issue).

      But of course you could slightly adapt the strategy, send people to a “starter page” on your site instead of a PDF.

      The PDF just has the advantage of feeling more premium and valuable (especially when it’s nicely designed like the one I show in the challenge).

      • Ivan K says:

        Thank you, good reasoning.

      • Christian D says:

        Hi, if this can help someone… What I do is create a page with Thrive builder then save it as PDF file with the plugin FireShot so I don’t need to spend 10 extra hours mastering my InDesign skills. Usually the PDF is available as a download. (I have to admit I picked the Idea from the “create an open PDF” post

      • Hanne says:

        Thanks Christian,

        You actually just gave me a great idea for leadmagnets :D

      • Karen McCamy says:

        I do the same! I use Architect to create the nicely designed “page” then upload into Beacon where it’s saved as a PDF! Architect has spoiled me as far as layout & design are concerned! :D

        Didn’t know about FireShot! I’ll have to check it out! ;-)

  • smith.davidjr says:

    Hanne,
    I have always liked your material, and you never seem to disappoint. This was a very helpful video and it really makes me think that it is important to have a challenge. I am waiting for a soup to nuts video from you that will refresh all of us who are stuck with one site, one look and one theme. Please let me know when you and if you will create such a course. Also, I think it would be helpful if you guys created a course that not necessarily certifies you in using Thrive Themes, but badges you or stamps a person as well-versed in using your products. I can’t do everything, but to become more of a super guru, I am looking for that A-Z training to improve my skills and take them to the next level. I appreciate you and all your efforts. Have you guys ever considered Zoom webinar training? Just curious with that also. Thanks again. Also, how would you deploy this funnel?

    • Hanne says:

      Thanks for the compliment and the suggestions :)

      In Thrive University I already created several courses on how to make a website:

      How to Build a Personal Branding Website with Thrive Theme Builder

      How to Build Your First WordPress Website

      Maybe those can already put you on the right track?

      We’ve been thinking a lot about an A-Z course but it’s really hard without a clear goal.
      Eg. An A-Z course on how to create an Ecommerce website with Thrive Themes is completely different from an A-Z agency website…

      But we invest A LOT of time and effort in our documentation: If there’s any feature or element you want to learn more about, you’ll find full instructions here: https://help.thrivethemes.com/en/

      And finally we do webinar trainings on a fairly regular basis :) Planning on somewhere before Christmas.

  • Joseph Philip says:

    This is an eye opener.

    Thanks so much for this.

  • nunm says:

    testing your commenting system

    • Hanne says:

      What do you think? Like Thrive Comments?

  • Ratty says:

    I thought this was helpful to view how a funnel can be implemented. However, I offer adventure activities. I don’t offer discounts. So I struggle to see how I could implement a funnel. Can you suggest an idea? Thanks

    • Hanne says:

      Hi Ratty,

      No need to offer discounts :) Just use the exact same strategy but without discounts.
      For local businesses it might be harder to implement. But you could still do something around your area… Eg. the 10-day outdoor activity challenge in xyz town.
      Stay active during Covid, go into nature :D
      Then send them 10 ideas of things they could do outside. Make sure to pitch your activity at the next step.
      Let’s say day 4 is a hike (you give them a map etc.) and then you link to your activity and why it’s even better.

  • matthollingshead94 says:

    This is awesome!

  • Ashao says:

    Wow, unreal timing! I’m just working with a client on a challenge! Thanks!

    • Hanne says:

      I knew it ;-) Glad this is timely for you Ashao

  • Hichem says:

    Many thanks Hanne for this, I like the way it had been dissected no BS just fact and clear direction, I look forward to next Friday for a new funnel.

  • Matt Z says:

    Thank you, Hanne! This is very informative and has inspired me to add a 21-day challenge as an option for my new subscribers.

    • Hanne says:

      Ow yay :D Let us know how it goes!

  • Jon D says:

    Yes! Funnel Fridays is very helpful. I’m Glad it’s in a post I can come back to. Also, the breakdown of each block on the Landing Page was great! I now have a template to model. Thanks.

    • Hanne says:

      And it’s SO easy to mimic with blocks :D Happy this is helpful Jon

  • Pamela says:

    Great information. Very clearly presented. Thank you.

  • finn.m.ulbaek says:

    Funnel Friday is a great idea. There are a lot of practical useful ideas that I can use right away. Thanks

  • Francisco Zuniga says:

    Wow, that free PDF with came with the first email was a high quality product with great pictures and top of the line design! I think it over-delivered since nobody who signs up expects to get something so nice, but it did have the CTA buttons inside there. The entire thing looks so professional that it gives me an idea that everything from this person will be top of the line.

    • Hanne says:

      Right?! It gives a very positive feeling around the brand and makes people feel confident to invest.

  • Moe Arora says:

    Fantastic idea! Thank you…

  • Peter Whent says:

    The timing of this is perfect. Creating sales funnels is right at the top of my “to learn” list at the moment. Thanks for this funnel and look forward to the next few Fridays.

    • Hanne says:

      Perfect timing Peter. A valuable skill to learn for sure :)

  • Philipp K says:

    Amazing short and crisp video. Really looking forward to future episodes of this.

    One question: If you were promoting an affiliate product what would be the free giveaway prior to the challenge?

    I can neither discount the product (as it’s not my own) nor do I want them to right away buy something (strongly believe in ‘provide value first’)…

    • Hanne says:

      Hi Philipp,

      Depend on the affiliate product ;) But I would go with the “what do people need to know to benefit most from the product”-approach.
      If the product is a photography drone for example, I would do a “impressive pictures” challenge.
      If the product is SEO software I would do a 7 day to find the best keyword challenge
      etc.

  • Peter W says:

    Hello Hanne,

    I just finished my first procrastination challenge. In Active Campaign I planned every mail seperatly the first time.

    I will be tweaking the challenge based on the experience this first edition has given me. The plan was to automate the mails. You have made this so much easier with this video.

    Also, I love the personalisation on the confirmation page! This is new to me and will absolutely be integrated in the next edition!

    Thank you and keep up the good work. This kind of tutorials is only one of the reasons I’m a fan of Thrive Themes!

    • Hanne says:

      Thanks Peter. Amazing to hear you’re already using this strategy and that the video will help you for the next one :D

  • Mary H says:

    Thank you Hanne, I look forward to this for each week. I have been trying to figure out the best way to build a product funnel in Thrive Theme. The other thing that I want to do is build my email list. I will go through this and learn everything I can. Thank you so much! I look forward to next Friday :)

  • simone says:

    Thank you so much! I especially appreciated the video on how to create the sales page. It saved me a ton of time!

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