Do you sell an online course in the traditional launch model? That is, do you have a short enrollment period every few months, backed by lots of urgent promotion? Do you go into Crazy Launch Mode — losing sleep, overdosing on caffeine, ignoring your family? Then, after it’s all said and done, do you hide your course away until it’s time to sell again?
If that describes what you’re currently doing, keep reading. We think you deserve to not work so hard. We want to help you graduate from the traditional launch model to the evergreen model. You’ll use marketing automation to streamline your processes and build stronger relationships with your students.
(If you aren’t selling a course of any kind yet, click here to learn the basics about launching your first course.)
Let’s start by take a look at the way you’re doing things right now.
The launch model was considered pretty cool when it first became popular, and many people still use it because that’s what they were taught to do or it’s what they’ve always done. And if you didn’t know any better, of course you would follow this process. That’s okay! We’re not here to judge, we just want to show you a better way.
Your current process takes your students through a sales experience in real time as you go through these steps:
- Collect opt-ins
- Send a series of emails
- Host a webinar
- Hit everyone with a sales pitch
- Then begin your course.
For that period of time, you’re running on all cylinders to get people excited about your course. Afterwards, you have an “off season” where you take a break to recover from your inevitable burnout. A few months pass, and the cycle begins again.
With the widespread availability of marketing automation services, there’s no reason anyone should stick with old-fashioned launches anymore. Why do we all use WiFi instead of dial-up? Because it’s faster and more effective. Why go evergreen, automating your launch instead of handling it manually in real time? For the exact same reason. It’s faster and more effective.
So, here’s the basic idea behind the evergreen marketing model.
Instead of running your sales experience “by hand” every few months, you set up an automated system that allows you to be in launch mode all the time. Some people call this “perpetual marketing” because it’s always running. Your course no longer has a specified enrollment period, because any time a new student wants to enroll, they can.
Your students will experience the same kinds of communication from you as in a traditional launch, but there’s a big difference: everything happens automatically. From the first Welcome email your readers receive after opting in, to the final sales pitch, everything is scheduled out in advance and you don’t need to touch it. Your course is always on, always selling, and always in season. Unlike a tree that loses its leaves in the fall, your evergreen course will always stay green.
There’s a second part to evergreen. We just discussed how it works as a marketing model, but your course content itself can also be considered evergreen. An evergreen course is full of content that’s timeless and always in demand. It’s what makes a course like “Learn Basic Accounting for Your Business” more successful over the long term than a course like “Learn Basic Bitcoin for Your Business.” Accounting is a topic that’s always in season, whereas Bitcoin…well, let’s just say it had one brief, shining moment in the spotlight.
The major advantage of going evergreen, whether with your marketing model or your course content, is that you’ll save time and sell more. But beyond that, it will help you build stronger relationships with your students that will pay off over the long term. With the time you save by automating your sales process, you can spend more time strengthening your bond with your students after they’ve purchased.
This kind of investment helps build student loyalty, increasing the likelihood that your students will become repeat customers and help spread the word about your amazing courses. (Read more about creating lifelong students here.)
Still not sure if evergreen is right for you? Ask yourself these four questions:
- Can your readers only sign up for your course during select time periods, leaving money on the table during your off season?
- Do you manually write, edit, and deploy sales funnel emails for each new launch?
- Do you spend more time working on launching than creating new products and improving your existing products?
- Are you more focused on making new sales than on building a long-term relationship with your current students?
If you answered “yes” to any of these, it’s about time you went evergreen! Here’s a look at how your new marketing model will stack up against your traditional launch.
|This is what happens in your traditional launch…||This is what happens when you go evergreen.|
|Your readers can begin the purchase process only during a set time period.||Your readers can begin the purchase process at any time.|
|Your sales page is only live during your sales period, not in your off season.||Your sales page is live all the time.|
|All of your readers are grouped together into a big batch (called a “cohort”) and will go through the sales process together.||Upon opting in, each reader experiences an individualized sales process that’s automated in advance.|
|Your readers receive an email funnel that is deployed by you in real time.||Your readers receive an email funnel that FEELS like it’s being deployed by you in real time.|
|Your emails are manually sent according to a specific schedule (ie the first email is on a Monday, the second email is on a Wednesday, etc.)||Your emails are sent according to a specific schedule, but they’re pre-scheduled and require no manual deployment.|
|Your email content requires updating from launch to launch: dates, times, links, etc.||Your email content is evergreen and requires very few changes over time.|
|You offer a live webinar to your cohort that requires your time, planning, and attendance.||You offer a pre-recorded webinar or other video content to your readers that they can experience at any time.|
|Your communication is very heavily focused on urgency and a “limited time offer.”||Your communication is focused on solving your readers’ problems and establishing a relationship, not forcing or scaring them into a sale.|
|When your reader purchases, they are still on the sales funnel list and continue to receive sales emails.||When your reader purchases, they move out of the sales funnel into a series of automated “onboarding” emails that welcome them to the course.|
|When your reader purchases, they aren’t offered any other products.||When your reader purchases, they’re offered an upsell now and a cross-sell later.|
|If your readers don’t purchase, they’re not offered any other products.||If your readers don’t purchase, they’re offered a downsell later on.|
A few key points from this side-by-side:
- From your reader’s point of view, a traditional launch and evergreen model both feel like a personalized experience, even though evergreen is highly automated.
- Because evergreen is all about marketing automation, it saves you time, money and effort without decreasing the reader’s positive experience.
- You’ll be in a perpetual sales mode, never shoeboxed into specific sales periods that reduce your overall profitability.
- Streamlining your process in this way gives you time to focus on what really matters: improving your courses, building relationships with your students, and doing what you love.
Are you ready to try evergreen? Once you do, trust us…you’ll never want to go back to a time-intensive traditional launch model again.
Or, if you have questions about going evergreen, fill out our survey here and we’ll get you the assistance you need.