Welcome to Part 2 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, but haven’t read Part 1 of the series yet, start there.
In Part 1, we talked about the value of automation. In Part 2, we’ll show you exactly how to automate your funnel for maximum results.
Your funnel begins after someone opts in to your email list in exchange for some kind of carrot content – a free PDF, checklist, worksheet, or mini-book with valuable information.
In the traditional launch model, you tag that person with “Ready For Launch” and they become part of a cohort receiving your marketing emails. But in the evergreen model, this process is entirely automated.
Why do this? Why automate?
Internet marketing is all about finding the “levers” that you can manipulate to increase sales. Affiliate marketing is a lever. So are PPC ads. When you want to increase your results, you increase your PPC spend, and sit back and watch your revenue increase.
An automated funnel is just another lever for you to adjust. It allows you to test different parts of your funnel, so can you learn the best way to move the lever. For example, you might try deploying a particular sales email on different days and times, and find that you get the best results when you email on Wednesdays at 11am. When you move that lever, you know you’ll see sales improve. Or, you might A/B test the content and subject lines of your emails, discovering that one subject line outperforms the other. Move that lever, and you’ll see the results.
There’s a bit of work involved in setting up an evergreen funnel for the first time, but it’s worth the time investment. Once you’re up and running, you can focus on optimization mode: making micro-adjustments that move the lever to increase sales.
We’re going to walk you through the setup process specifically for Infusionsoft users. Even if you don’t use Infusionsoft, the techniques apply to any automated marketing tool, so please read this regardless. There are universal takeaways that are valuable no matter what CRM you happen to use.
Set up your first evergreen funnel in Infusionsoft
#1: Create a new campaign named Evergreen Funnel
#2: Go into your Evergreen Funnel 1 campaign and create a new form.
High-power Tip: In that form, create hidden fields with all of your UTM tags. Those are the codes that signal where your traffic is coming from (Twitter? Landing Page #1? Email #2?), so you know exactly what offer or version people are responding to. Hopefully you are already using UTM codes – anyone who works in internet marketing should be using them.
For example, if someone comes to you via utm_campaign=facebook-1, make sure that information is saved with the contact. While you’re evergreening, you need to be able to see which sources are the most successful so you can optimize your funnel and target those places.
#3: Next, put the form on your landing page
#4: In the Infusionsoft campaign builder, add a sequence that says “anyone who fills out this form gets a tag added.” The tag you want to use is “evergreen-funnel-1-start”. Now, you could do this by having your form go straight into a sequence, but you get much more flexibility by assigning a tag. In the future, if you end up using 2-3 different forms to start your funnel…or if you want this funnel to begin after another funnel…it will be much easier to start it by just applying another tag. It’s also helpful if you want to forcibly send someone into a funnel – all you have to do is assign them the tag instead of making them fill out a form.
#5: Start a new sequence and set up a start goal. When someone is assigned the tag evergreen-funnel-1-start, that signals your pre-sale sequence. In this sequence, you create emails and timers for your entire pre-sale launch funnel. All you have to do is copy and paste all the emails you’ve written from your previous pre-sale funnel and add the appropriate time delays.This is also a good point to revise your pre-sale emails if you haven’t touched them in a while. Jeff Walker’s book, “Launch,” is an excellent resource for writing (or revising) your pre-sale emails. Jeff divides Pre-Launch Content into three parts:
- PLC #1: The Opportunity – Why should your customer care about the product?
- PLC #2: The Transformation – What are you going to do to change your customer’s life?
- PLC #3: The Ownership Experience – How is the customer going to achieve this transformation?
If you haven’t read “Launch,” we recommend you get it now.
#6: Next, it’s time to build your sales funnel sequence in Infusionsoft by copying and pasting your regular launch sales emails. You should keep this sequence separate from your pre-sale sequence (above) for better flexibility. It allows you to easily split test different pre-sale funnels leading into your sales funnel and see how they perform. Remember, your sequences should be small and agile, which will let you test and improve your sales funnels later.
Your sales funnel emails should point to an expiring sales page. Sometimes this can be technically difficult, but there are workarounds you can use if you’re not tech savvy. For example, if you want your sales page to open on Wednesday and close on Friday, you can add a simple countdown timer to your page that always counts down to Friday when the page is “open,” and turns off when the page is “closed.” That way you don’t have to worry about syncing the sales pages with each individual user.
#7: Now you should have your landing page, your pre-sale funnel and your sales funnel all set up. But you’re not done yet. Create another sequence in Infusionsoft – your downsell funnel. Remember, it’s important to keep all of your funnels separate so you can test them and change them later.
Your downsell funnel is a short funnel aimed at people who haven’t purchased after they’ve gone through the pre-sale and sales funnels. It’s only 2-3 emails that essentially say, “Hey, I’m sorry you weren’t able to purchase before the course expired. A lot of people have been asking when the course will open up again, so I’m offering another product in the meantime.” The downsell product should be cheaper and smaller than your main product to make it easy for people to say “yes” and purchase.
This is also a great place to sell one of your “gateway” products – less expensive products that can quickly get leads value out of your courses, so that they’re more likely to buy larger products later on.
#8: There’s one more sequence for you to set up, and that’s a last chance funnel. Two weeks after someone goes through your sales funnel, if they still haven’t purchased the product or the downsell product, they receive the last chance funnel. It contains a special offer for the original product, and it can be discounted or not. The emails say that you’re opening the window to purchase the product for a couple of days only, because you understand that life gets in the way, and you want to provide this special opportunity for a limited time. This is the last time you try to sell to this particular person. After the last chance sequence, it’s time to cut your losses.
#9: But wait! Your entire sequence needs one more thing. You need to add a goal: “Purchase product.” Let’s say someone buys your product. The funnel should stop there, so they don’t receive any more sales messages. You wouldn’t want leads from your initial funnel to be shown the downsell offer or (worst-case) a discounted offer for the product they just bought!
There are a couple of ways to set up a purchased item. In Infusionsoft, when someone purchases, the funnel automatically ends. But, we don’t want to do that for the same reason we didn’t want to use a form at the beginning of the sequence. It’s better to use a tag so you have flexibility both in managing your funnels and reporting on the results. So, when someone purchases, assign them a tag: “Customer-Product Name” or “Customer-Downsell Product Name.” Then, create a goal that when the user has that tag added that they skip to the end of the funnel.
#10: The final thing you need to do is add a finish tag. Your first tag was evergreen-funnel-1-start. Your last tag should be evergreen-funnel-1-end. This helps you see how many people went through your funnel and actually purchased. If you don’t add this tag, you’ll lose out on valuable information for your bookkeeping and analytics. Don’t forget this small but crucial tag.
Because Summit Evergreen integrates with CRMs, you can also choose to tag your customers in Summit Evergreen instead of Infusionsoft. We’ll communicate the information to your system and report on it. (One of the many ways we built our platform with your needs in mind.)
Once you’ve automated your sales funnel, you can start moving levers. You no longer have to rely on assumptions about what’s working and what’s not – you can actually test the different parts of of your system and put that knowledge to use. We always say: if you can test it, you should.
We’ll wrap up with a few testing ideas to get you started:
- Length of your funnel
It’s a delicate balance between giving people enough information to make an informed buying decision, and stretching out the sales process so long that they become disinterested. There are articles everywhere about how long the perfect funnel should be, but you don’t really know what works for your customers until you try some different options and weigh the results.We have a colleague who changed their 6 week funnel to a 1.5 week funnel, and discovered that the product sold just as well in ¼ of the time. By moving their sales cycle 4x faster, they got great results. But, again, these things are not cut and dry. You have to test for yourself and see what your customers respond to.
- Day and time of your funnel
You may have read that sales emails perform the best on this day or that day. But what works for your customers? Try sending your emails on different days of the week and at different times and seeing when they perform best. Then, you can assign your most crucial email to the best performing date and time.
- Content and subject line
Even if you don’t evergreen your system, you should still be testing the copy and subject lines for your email funnels. You may see big changes, you may only see small changes. But even a tiny increase in sales adds up over time. This is an important lever to experiment with.
If you take away one thing from this article, let it be this:
- The traditional launch model gives you one shot to make it or break it.
- The evergreen model gives you a new chance to succeed every time a new funnel begins.
- With evergreen automation, you can save time, stop worrying, and focus on pushing those levers instead.
We’ll be back next week with Part 3 of the series. Stay tuned!