How To Create A Challenge With ActiveCampaign (2024 Tutorial)

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how you can create an automation to deliver your 5-day email challenge with ActiveCampaign 🙌

First, I’ll explain to you what a challenge is & why you probably want to create one 🚀

After that, we dive into the techy stuff of creating an automation 🤓

Let’s dive in!

Video tutorial

I also created a video tutorial of this article.

So either watch the video or scroll down to keep reading 🤗

Template: get the importable challenge automation for ActiveCampaign here.

What is a challenge?

A challenge is basically a mini-course sent through email designed to help people achieve a specific goal.

The lessons can either be completely written, or you can link inside your emails to a video lesson.

And usually, you want people to take some kind of action after each lesson.

That’s why including homework is such a great idea.

You do not only want people to consume consume consume, but you also want them to take massive action.

So think about including spreadsheets, fill out the blanks documents etc.

And the length of the challenge is totally up to you.

I’ve seen challenges that take 30 to 90 days.

But also a lot of 5-day challenges.

In this guide, I especially want to focus on the short 5-day challenge.

Why create a challenge?

When you’re reading this article, you probably have the intention to start doing a challenge soon.

But maybe you still have some doubts.

I think there are a lot of reasons to start a challenge.

But here is my top 4.

Reason #1: Grow your email list

If you’ve read any articles about email marketing, then you know that it’s important to grow your email list.

Whatever kind of online business you have, you need an email list.

And a challenge is a great way to get people on your list fast.

And even if they don’t convert during your challenge, you can still email them later on.

I’ve seen people take my free funnel challenge and sometimes convert up to 12 (!!) months later.

So having an email list is definitely an important asset.

Reason #2: Establish trust

People buy from people they trust.

You showcase your knowledge.

Reason #3: Get people engaged

Onboarding new subscribers is superduper important.

And a challenge is a great way to do that.

Reason #4: You can completely automate it

And because it’s automated, it’s consistent.

Which means you can better track how it’s performing.

Creating the challenge automation

Finally, let’s dive into the techy stuff 🤓

We’re going to create an automation for our 5-day challenge.

First, people are going to get a welcome email that will give a quick summary of what’s coming up.

And then, we send the lessons every morning at 10 AM.

The first thing you need to do is create a new automation:

create automation button in activecampaign

Make sure to create one from scratch.

activecampaign start automation from scratch

Then, what I like to do, is to already add all the emails you want to send into the automation.

You don’t have to write them all yet, it’s fine if they’re in draft mode.

add all challenge emails to automation

And as you can see at the top, I also added the tag [Event] Sign up: challenge as a trigger.

So whenever someone fills out a form to take part in the challenge, I add that tag to start the challenge.

But we obviously don’t want to send all the emails at once.

So after the welcome email, we add a wait until action.

add wait until action

And below are the settings for it.

In this example, the challenge starts at a fixed date on the 4th of April at 10 AM.

(later in this guide I’ll show you how to make it evergreen)

wait until condition settings

Which will look like this:

activecampaign automation overview with first wait

So now, the “Day #1” email will be sent on the 4th of April at 10 AM (in the subscriber’s timezone).

Then, we add a 1 day wait after that email.

add 1 day wait

This means that day #2 will be sent exactly 24 hours after day #1, so also at 10 AM.

And then repeat that a couple of times for each day.

add 1 day wait between each email

And that’s our basic setup.

But we’re not going to stop there.

What do we do with people that join the challenge on or after the 4th of April?

For those people, we want to put the challenge on evergreen.

Which means that the challenge will start one day after they join.

To do that, we have to add an if/else at the beginning of our automation.

add if else to automation in activecampaign

And we set a couple of conditions to check if it’s already after the 4th of April OR if it’s already after April.

check if they join the automation after the 4th of april

This way, if someone joins the automation on or after the 4th of April, they’ll follow the yes-path.

contacts follow the yes path in activecampaign

To those people, we want to send a different welcome email.

Instead of telling them that the challenge will start on the 4th of April, we’ll tell them it will start tomorrow 🙃

So go ahead and add a new email.

add different welcome email

And after that email, we add two wait actions.

We first wait until midnight, and then until 10 AM.

Why two wait actions? Because we want to avoid that someone who signs up at 7 AM already gets day #1 a few hours later at 10 AM.

Add two wait actions

After the last wait, we want to continue to day #1.

To do that, we insert a Go To action.

add new go to action to automation in activecampaign

And then you connect it like in the screenshot below.

go to day 1

And then we simply have to end our automation after day #5.

I’m doing that by waiting until midnight and then adding an End automation action.

end automation

And that’s it!

This is the automation you need for an evergreen or date-based challenge.

Here’s a full screenshot:

(warning: it’s looong!)

full challenge automation overview

So now, go ahead and let me send you an importable version of this automation here 📩

And if you like, you could also start an evergreen 3-day limited time offer at the end of your challenge.

But I’ll leave that for another tutorial 🙂

Over to you

That’s it!

Now I would like to hear from you.

Did this help you to create your challenge?

Or do you still have any questions?

Whatever it is, let me know in the comments below.

I would love to hear from you!

Avatar of Max van Collenburg
Max van Collenburg

I'm addicted to travel, love a good cappuccino, have two cute cats, and craft actionable content for online business owners that want to grow their business with non-sleazy marketing & automation. More weird facts about me here.

2 thoughts on “How To Create A Challenge With ActiveCampaign (2024 Tutorial)”

  1. Avatar of Christina Hooper

    What about the front-end part of the challenge — setting up the opt-in pages, allowing for VIP upgrades that you need to take payment for, segmenting the leads so you have your VIPs on a different list. I’ve been using ClickFunnels, but it still requires being integrated with something like Drip or Active Campaign for automation sequences like this. I’ve been struggling to find something that’s truly an all-in-one solution for building challenge funnels.

    • Avatar of Max van Collenburg

      Great question Christina! I might write a guide on that in the future.

      There’s a lot of moving parts, but you can take a look at my toolbox if you want to know which tools I’m using.

      I’m building almost everything within WordPress, and then use ThriveCart embedded on my checkout pages.

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