Welcome to Part 3 of “Build Your 7-Figure Evergreen Machine.”

In this series of articles, you’ll learn how to evergreen your business – transforming your sales cycle from the old-school launch model to an automated “sell while you sleep” evergreen model.

Disclaimer: The following information is aimed at people who have a proven product with a bare minimum of 100 paying customers. If you’re just getting started, we recommend you start with some beginner material (like this or this), and bookmark this article for later. If you do have a proven product, catch up by reading Part 1 and Part 2 first.

In Part 1, we talked about the value of automation. In Part 2, we showed you the steps to automate your sales funnel. In Part 3, we’ll teach you how to evergreen your customer experience to create repeat buyers.

In most marketing, your end goal is “the sale.” To this end, many businesses devote over 95% of their energy toward converting customers. But this isn’t enough. The problem is, very few businesses spend enough time on what happens after the sale. Once the credit card goes through, they tend to drop their customers like hot potatoes. No ongoing communication, no special attention, no cross-sell opportunities. Customers feel left behind.

This is called Post-Purchase Neglect, and it’s a big issue. We can’t deny that “the sale” is important – however, it’s just as important for you to focus on what happens after the sale as what happens before.

So, let’s reframe and shift mindsets. From here on out, a sale is not the endpoint in your process: it’s the midpoint. Everything that happens after the sale is just as important as what happens before it. And what happens after the sale?

The customer experience.

Ask any successful entrepreneur, and they’ll tell you that a positive customer service experience is vitally important to building a sustainable business. Instead of ignoring customers after they buy, you need to pay attention to them. Instead of neglecting them, you need to delight them.

Changing Post-Purchase Neglect into Post-Purchase Delight is a key component of a successful evergreen funnel and a successful business.

Why focus on your customers after they’ve purchased? Two reasons. First: customers who have a negative experience are more likely to refund, and that’s money left on the table. Second: customers who have a negative experience are less likely to buy from you again – and that’s even more money left on the table. Recurring revenue from repeat customers should be your biggest profit generator, NOT one-time sales, and a fantastic customer experience is one of the best ways to make it happen.

You should already have your prospect funnel and your sales funnel in place. But there’s one more evergreen funnel you need to create: your customer funnel. Think of it as the third part in the trifecta of your lifecycle emails: 1. Prospect, 2. Sales, 3. Customer.

The evergreen customer funnel begins as soon as someone clicks the checkout button on your sales page. The moment of purchase is the most important one in your entire customer relationship, because your customer has just made a decision to invest their time and money into your product. They’ve committed to you! This is their emotional high point – they’re ready to go, they’re motivated, they’re so excited that they gave you their credit card information. From here, it’s up to you to keep those positive emotions flowing.

1. Create a great post-checkout experience.

One of the worst things you can do right now is to tell your customer to check their email to get started. All of a sudden, their Buyer’s High transforms into Buyer’s Doubt. You’re pulling them out of the flow of things, sending them AWAY from your site and into their inbox. And what if the email isn’t there immediately? What if it gets stuck in their spam folder? What if your customer waits 10 seconds, 30 seconds, two minutes, ten minutes, or even longer for the email to arrive? You better believe that during that time, your customer is feeling nervous, uncomfortable, or even annoyed. They’re thinking that they just gave you their hard earned money and their trust, and they can’t even access their product. The trust and commitment you’ve built come crumbling down.

This is compounded by the fact that many of your customers may not be used to buying things on the Internet. Even if they are avid online shoppers, your product may be their first big-ticket Internet purchase – especially on a site they’re not used to, like Amazon. There’s a large emotional hurdle to get people to pull out their credit card for a big-ticket purchase, and you want to make sure you instill confidence in every step of the checkout process.

Because this is the moment when your customers are most vulnerable, it is incredibly important to build a foundation of trust and establish a comfort level. Instead of sending your customer to check their email, you should get them straight into the courseware immediately. If you’re using Summit Evergreen, this is easy to do. The customer should purchase, enter straight into the Summit Evergreen system, choose their password, and have instant access to their product. This is 100% the most effective way to make your customers happy they purchased and keep their emotional upswing going.

2. Make some content available immediately.

Remember, the post-purchase experience is all about delighting your customers. What better way to do that than immediately giving them access to the content they’re excited about? When your customer logs in, there should be something there to greet them. Even if your course is dripped, and they can’t access every lesson right away, they need to be able to consume some of the material to keep them feeling good about their purchase. You can easily monitor whether your customers are logging in (and follow up if they aren’t) using Summit Evergreen.

3. Send a welcome email.

They should also receive a welcome email right away. You can use Summit Evergreen’s email templates, which are designed to look great on desktop and mobile and include your logo and branding for consistency. You absolutely have to make sure your welcome email looks its best. Every touchpoint of the customer experience needs to do its part to delight the customer…even the design of your welcome email.

In your welcome email, thank your customer for buying, and pump them up! Tell them that they’re in for something special. Get them ready for what’s to come with a syllabus that outlines the course content they’ll be receiving. Just like in your sales funnel, you have to tell people what to expect so they feel more comfortable. And of course, include their log in information and a link to the course so they can easily find it. (We provide an easy template for this when you create a new product in Summit Evergreen.)

It helps to think of your welcome email as if you’re a remodeling contractor. Imagine if you had a client who needed their house remodeled, and you never communicated to them what you were going to do and when you were going to do it. You just showed up at their house with a crew of guys and some demolition equipment. Your client would be horrified. They’d never let you in the front door without an explanation of what was about to happen. Well, your course customers deserve the same explanation so they can feel comfortable with the process. That’s why your welcome email is so vital.

4. Maintain ongoing communication with your customers.

You should continue to drip emails and content throughout your course, providing helpful hints, giving reminders of what’s coming up next, and asking if there’s anything your customers need. Ongoing communication goes a long way in maintaining your customers’ peace of mind and keeping your positive relationship going. Now, assuming you’ve got a six week course with weekly dripped lessons, your ongoing email content should look like this:

  • Beginning of a new week: short email announcing the lesson for the week and getting everyone pumped up for it
  • Middle of the week: email announcing that the new lesson has gone live, and a link to view the lesson in Summit Evergreen
  • End of the week: email telling your customers “good job” on the lesson if they’ve logged in, and reminding them to check out the lesson if they haven’t logged in

This should continue for the duration of your course.

5. Send presents – special unadvertised Bonus Content.

Now, when your course is about ⅔ complete, it’s time to really amp things up. It’s time to give out Bonus Content. This is a fun extra that wasn’t advertised on your sales page and that your customers aren’t expecting, like an extra video lesson or worksheet. It should be a complete surprise, almost a random act of kindness on your part. People love when you go above and beyond (and they love free stuff!), and this is the perfect way to do it. This is a perfect example of Post-Purchase Delight.

You can make your Bonus Content even more exciting by using the Summit Evergreen survey feature to allow people to choose what type of Bonus Content they want. Maybe they want to learn about Technique A, maybe they want to learn about Technique B. It’s fun for them to pick, AND their choices provide valuable data you can use to see what your customers are most interested in (and it might inspire you to create your next course based on your customers’ preferences).

The Bonus Content does a couple of things for you. One, it delights your customers and generates goodwill that will come in handy as your course comes to a close. Two, it’s a good retention strategy if a customer wants a refund at any point. By telling them “I’m happy to refund you, but you won’t receive the Bonus Lesson,” it makes them stop and think, and possibly reconsider. It’s a good way to entice people back into the fold.

6. Create more opportunities to add value.

When your course has only one week left, it’s time for a Cross-Sell. This is the moment when you invite your customer to become a repeat customer, and it’s the culmination of all the good work you’ve done maintaining your customer experience funnel.

To do a cross-sell, you have to know what your previous customers tend to purchase after finishing this particular course. For example, after they go through Course 1, you might find that people typically buy Course 2. You can track this data in Summit Evergreen or Infusionsoft to figure out what your cross-sell product should be.

Next, you have to make it easy for your customers to buy. Timing and ease are everything. If you try to cross-sell too early in the first course, customers won’t be interested. After all, they’re still in the middle of a course, and they’re not ready for a second one yet. You also have to make it easy. Summit Evergreen lets your customers buy their second course from within the platform itself, and it’s simple to switch back and forth between their purchased products without going to different URLs or logging in to different accounts. These things make a huge difference in getting customers to say “yes” to a cross-sell.

A seamless cross-sell shouldn’t even feel like a sales pitch. It should feel like you’re offering a valuable opportunity to your customers. If your customers are happy with their experience so far, they should be delighted to hear about it.

A quick recap of what we’ve learned in this series so far:

The definition of Evergreen
“Evergreen automation allows you to scale and segment both your process and product to give customers the right content at the right time without manually managing each relationship, resulting in predictable outcomes (and predictable income).”

How to automate your prospect funnel and sales funnel
When you automate your prospect funnel and your sales funnel, you gain control that the traditional launch model doesn’t afford. You can easily segment, optimize, test and tweak your email sequences for maximum impact. Evergreen funnels are the most valuable tools in your marketing tool belt.

Turn Post-Purchase Neglect into Post-Purchase delight
Your initial sale is the midpoint of your customer relationship. The rest of the work that you do from then on is aimed at keeping your customer happy. You stay in frequent contact, you make sure they always know what to expect from you, and you deliver on it. Sometimes, you over-deliver, like when you give out Bonus Content. You do everything you can to make sure your customers are over the moon about their experience with you.

The evergreen customer funnel is the #1 way to grow committed customers who have a long-term relationship with your products. It’s how you reduce refunds. It’s how you make cross-sells happen. It’s how you turn one-time revenue into recurring revenue. And at the end of the day, that’s what we all want for our businesses, isn’t it?

We’ll be back next week with the fourth and final part of this series. Stay tuned!

About the author: Keith is the co-founder of Summit Evergreen, and helps course authors, product creators, and self-funded businesses increase their revenue from their existing traffic.