In today's blog post, I'm going to be discussing evergreen funnels and how they can help you make more course sales. If you aren't familiar with what it is, don't worry – I'm going to go through the basics with you. You can then decide whether it's the right model for your business.
What is an evergreen sales funnel?
An evergreen funnel is essentially an automated sales funnel to sell your courses in the background. This is great if you don't constantly want to be live launching throughout the whole year because you have other things planned for your business.
Why I've decided to set up one up for my courses
I decided not to do any live launches for the first hour of 2021 because I found it really overwhelming. I had planned to launch my program in May and September 2020. By the time July rolled around, I was still teaching my students and realised that I would need to start ramping up my marketing for the next launch. I soon realised I wasn't in the right mindset to do another launch while I was supporting my students.
This is why having an evergreen funnel in the background is great. You really have the freedom to continuously make money in your business while you support your students without having to sell all the time.
This is also the reason why a lot of people talk about how the evergreen model being passive income. I don't believe this model is entirely passive, but it is as passive as it will get. There is a lot of work upfront to get it set up, and then there are some tweaks and tests along the way as well as some maintenance.
What you need to set up your evergreen funnel
There are several elements that you'll need to set your funnel up:
- Some form of freebie or webinar related to your course. This shouldn't be a generic topic that your audience might be interested in. It has to be related to something you are teaching in your course or even the outcome that you are promising.
- A limited time offer (LTO). This is where the scarcity comes into your funnel. It's easier to encourage your audience to purchase your course when you use the live launching method as there's a definite cart close date. In an evergreen funnel, there isn't necessarily a pressure to purchase there, so this offer helps.
- An email sequence to help your audience through the process of downloading your freebie or webinar to purchasing from you.
Is this the right launch method for you?
This launch method works best for experience course creators who have previously sold their course. If you know your digital product is exactly what your audience wants and they've seen results, then this will work for you.
If on the other hand, you are bringing a new product to the market or looking to validate your course idea, this isn't the right method. You won't all the data in place from a previous launch to understand what element is failing to convert.
Simple and easy process to follow
The beauty of this process is you already have all the elements created from your live launch – all you need to do is tweak them. Here are the key elements of the process I used to set up my funnel:
- Tweak your sales page
- Review your tech and automation
- Update course materials, webinar slides and emails
- Drive traffic to your website
- Test and tweak
Tweaking your sales page
The first part is going to be tweaking your sales page. There are a couple of things you may want to do to make sure it's evergreen:
- Update the copy to reflect any changes you made after you launched your course
- Remove any mentions that include dates or live interactions. This is really important if there was a live element to a challenge you ran – like a Facebook group
- Add any additional reviews or testimonials that you have collected along the way
- You may want to update the URL as well so it's evergreen.
Reviewing your tech and automation
Once that is done, it's update your content, tech stack and automation:
- Again, remove any mentions of live engagement that existed in the live launch version of your challenge or webinar.
- Make sure all your triggers are updated in your email marketing system
- Update any zaps, triggers or drips that you had set up for your course delivery
- Add a timer for your webinar replay
Update course materials, webinar slides and emails
At this point, you may decide to make any minor tweaks to your course material from the feedback you received in your last launch. Alternatively, here are some of the elements I recommend changing:
- Review the slides you created for your course or webinar to make sure it's evergreen
- Re-record the intro to your course, so it works on autopilot
- Review and update your email sequence by digging deeper into your metrics. Pick out the best emails with the highest open rate and click-through rate.
- In total, you want to have an email for your webinar replay and then 2-3 pitch emails
Driving traffic to your evergreen funnel
The final part of this is to actually drive the traffic to your website – which you can do in a number of different ways. Here are some of my recommended marketing strategies:
Building a strong network of collaborators and influencers in your niche can be really powerful. Some of the ways to drive traffic to your funnel can be JV webinars or affiliate marketing.
JV webinars or joint venture webinars is where you partner with another service provider or course creator and actively promote your course to their audience. This is the perfect opportunity to get in front of a new audience and build awareness for your course.
Affiliate marketing is one of my favourites strategies and can become a strong source of passive income. This is where you have others promote your course.
SEO is another key marketing channel that can play into your marketing plan, especially if you have a searchable content strategy in place. The only caveat with SEO is it takes time so you need to already have some type of process in place to take advantage straight away.
- Paid advertising
The final and probably the most popular option is paid advertising – either Facebook/Instagram or Pinterest ads. I generally recommend using Facebook ads to test your funnel as it's easy to set up. You'll need a good budget to test and learn but it is the quickest way to drive traffic.
The best performing funnels are strategic and this allows you to figure out where the leaks are so you can fix them. You may also find that you need to spend less time in the testing phase of the process if you go down the paid route rather than using one of the other two strategies.
Track your metrics
Now you have additional traffic going to your funnel, you'll to track your metrics. Rather than going overboard and checking every statistics, I recommend focusing on what matters:
- Cost per clicks for your paid ads
- Sales page conversion
- Cost per registration for your freebie or webinar
- Webinar conversion from viewers to sales
You can obviously go one step further and you can really dig in deep into your nurture sequence. The metrics I would have a look at are:
- Email open rates
- Click-through rates to the sales page
- Sales conversion rates for each email
Once you've collected all the data from your tests, you can tweak as you go on until your funnel is fully functioning.
Maintaining your evergreen funnel
The final part of your process is maintenance which is completely up to you. You may decide to do this on a monthly or quarterly basis depending on the amount of traffic you are receiving. I check mine on a monthly basis aside from when I am actively promoting it through paid ads or partnerships. I do also check everything is working well before I start actively promoting just to make sure it is fully optimised.
Personally, I think, evergreen sales funnels are great. Especially if you've launched your course for a couple of times and you just want to be able to offer your audience, your course in the background. This doesn't necessarily have to replace live launching.
I see a lot of course creators actually do a mixture of both. They will do 2/3 bigger launches throughout the year where perhaps they're offering more bonuses or more live elements. This might be a Facebook group or office hours where you can get more feedback. Then they offer their course on an evergreen funnel where its self paced without any of the live elements.
So that is the basics of how to set up your course to sell in the background. Let me know in the comments if you have plans to set up your own funnel and what you are planning on selling.
Pri Kruijen is an award-winning SEO Strategist and the founder of Brilliantly Visible. Pri has 10-years experience as an SEO and has worked with well-known brands like Notonthehighstreet and MoneySuperMarket.
She is passionate about support burnt out service providers launch and sell their courses with searchable content, SEO and affiliate marketing.
Pri can be found cooking up a storm in her kitchen at the weekends and making the most out of the digital nomad lifestyle.