The term “evergreen” gets thrown around a lot in the online marketing and education space, so today I wanted to break down exactly what it means, how to use evergreen funnels to grow your business, and whether an evergreen launch is the right fit for you.
What does “Evergreen” mean in marketing?
If you’re a nature-lover like me, you probably immediately think of trees when you hear the word “evergreen” – and you’d actually be on the right page!
Evergreen refers to a plant that retains its green leaves throughout the year (instead of shedding them seasonally).
So how does this relate to marketing or to your business?
When someone refers to something as “evergreen” in the marketing world, they’re referring to the fact that it is “always-on” or “always running” – just like the evergreen trees that are always green!
Most of the time, evergreen is used when referring to funnels or launches.
What’s the difference between an evergreen and a live launch?
Speaking of, there’s two ways to go about launching a course, program, offering, etc: live launching or running an evergreen funnel.
A live launch means that there is a specific day you open the cart and a specific time you close the cart. Everything in the launch takes place in real-time (hopefully you’d still have some kick-butt funnels and systems so you’re not sending every email as needed), but still it’s live as in everyone is going through it at the same time, and receiving the same information/emails/offers.
An evergreen launch usually follows a similar format to live launches, but they run all of the time. The start and end dates (if you have an open/close cart or an expiring offer for example) are triggered based on when someone enters that funnel and everything in the funnel is automated through your systems and tools (so you’re not manually doing the work).
How to decide which type of launch is right for you
There are pros to both live and evergreen launches. We’ve done both in our business.
In 2019, we had 4 live launches (2 group coaching programs and 2 retreats) which brought in $101,116 in revenue.
We also ran an evergreen funnel while I was on maternity leave (March-August) that brought in an additional $28,743 in revenue, with far less effort than our live launches.
From our experience, they’re both great ways to grow your business. So how do you decide which launch strategy is right for you?
Great question! Below I’m going to share some of the pros & cons of each launch strategy.
It’s fairly typical for live launches to convert better because there is a true sense of urgency and scarcity. There’s a day you open the cart and make the offer available, and there’s a day the offer expires or you close the cart. Because of that, people are more incentivized to take action during that window of time. (Note: there are ways to do something similar in evergreen funnels).
Additionally, if you are only live launching periodically (let’s say 2 times a year), that further incentivizes someone to take action during your launch, because they know they won’t be able to purchase again for another 6 months (as an example).
Another pro of live launching is you can build a lot of momentum organically on your social media, with your email list, and through affiliates. Of course, you can tweak these strategies to work in your evergreen launch, but with a live launch, the benefit of this momentum and social proof is that it’s all working together at the same time.
Take Marie Forleo’s B School launch for example. She launches it one a year. She has crazy amazing affiliates (like Amy Porterfield) who also plan for her launch and offer their own “add ons” if you buy through their links. So not only do you hear what seems like EVERYONE talking about B school when it’s live, you also know that if you don’t say yes now, you’ll have to wait a WHOLE year to join again. Talk about an incentive to take action right?!
The biggest con to live launching, in my opinion, is the manual work and effort. Honestly, they can get quite exhausting if you’re doing big live launches a few times a year.
For us, our group program NEEDED to be a live launch, because it was a live group coaching program and we needed everyone to say “yes” by a certain date so everyone could go through the 12-week training together live. But since we limit the number of students in each launch (20 max), we require that someone schedules a discovery call with us first.
So part of our live launch strategy meant we were getting on 1:1 calls with every interested person. That was great in terms of finding the right people and building trust and answering questions, but it was really hard in terms of our time. My schedule is JAM PACKED with calls when we’re live launching that program. So for a month, it’s crazy town, but it’s also totally worth it to us because I know I convert at least half of those calls, which at a $2k+ investment per student is a really great use of my time.
That being said, if you can systemize your launches as much as possible, you can limit the amount of manual work needed for each live launch. Still, they typically require much more effort than evergreen launches.
Evergreen funnels work reaaaaaally similarly to live launches, but they have the ability to run all of the time. Meaning, you could enter one of our funnels today or next week or next month and you’d start at the beginning of our launch sequence. It starts running when you enter the top of the funnel.
One of the biggest pros to evergreen funnels is that you can earn revenue from those offers all year long – not just during live launches. Of course, this can get tricky in itself.
I’m going to guess if you’re reading this, you don’t want to sound like a robot and you don’t want to just make money sipping margs on a beach while people aimlessly go through your funnels right?
RIGHT. We’re about stewardship over here people… which means we want to be able to use evergreen funnels as a way to grow our business all year long while serving our people even BETTER.
Evergreen funnels allow us to do this in our business because it provides a more steady stream of new clients, students, and revenue all year long. You just need to make sure you have the right systems and support in place to serve those people who say “yes!”
Two of the biggest things that I see holding people back from using evergreen funnels in their business are the tech overwhelm and feeling “icky.” Let me explain…
Setting up the tech for an evergreen funnel
This is by and far the biggest reason that stops people from turning their funnels evergreen. Yep, you can take your live launch strategies and turn them on what is essentially a form of autopilot.
This is what we did for our evergreen funnel that we ran while I was on maternity leave! We took the proven strategies and curriculum from our live 12-week coaching program and turned it into an at-your-own-pace course. This way, people could learn on their own and didn’t need to wait for the next live launch.
But going from a live launch strategy to an evergreen funnel does involve a bit of technology and integrations… which is usually just enough to stop people from trying to figure it out. I get it, I know not everyone geeks out over tech + integrations like I do.
It’s actually why I started offering this as a service! (Side note: if you’re interested in learning more about my evergreen launch implementation service, you can contact me here!)
OR, check out my limited-time coaching intensive offer! Funneling Freedom: 4-Week Coaching Intensive. In this coaching intensive, you will work with me one-on-one to create your entire marketing funnel from start to finish in just 4 WEEKS. Click below to check it out and learn more!
The technology is such an important part of an evergreen funnel because it’s what makes it feel “live” for each person, meaning the timing of your offers, your cart or discount expiring, and all of the sales emails and deliverables in between will be shared at exactly the right time, depending on when someone triggers the start of your evergreen funnel.
Again, if that sounds like mumbo jumbo + makes your head want to spin, I take on a limited amount of done-for-you funnel builds each quarter. You can request more info on my contact page.
Funnels can feel icky or salesy
The second most common “con” that stops people from building evergreen funnels is not wanting to feel icky, salesy, or disingenuous in their marketing or offers.
Which can I just say that I loooooove when I hear this objection?! Because 1) it’s awesome that you don’t want to feel salesy. No one wants to be in those funnels. And 2) you don’t need to build a salesy evergreen funnel to actually make sales.
I repeat: you do NOT need to make your funnel feel super salesy in order to make sales.
Don’t believe me? Check out this post on building a nurture sequence to think through ways that you can serve your audience without feeling salesy!
But here’s what I LOVE about evergreen funnels (and really, all funnels) is that if you build them the right way, they should never feel salesy. Funnels are what allow you to serve the RIGHT people even better by providing offers and opportunities to work with you in *exactly* the way they need.
As you can see, there are pros and cons to both types of launches. The best launch strategy is going to depend on your goals, timeline, and investment.
If you’re just starting with launches, I’d recommend launching live to start. That way you can learn what works and what doesn’t before you turn your funnel evergreen.
Now I’d love to know: which type of launch do you think is the best fit for YOU? Let me know in the comments!