Should your online course be evergreen? If you’ve been around for a while then you’ll already know that I’m a big fan of live launches. In my experience, they are much more effective at building momentum and getting your offerings noticed.
But still, I’ve noticed that lots of my community have been moving their online courses to evergreen and thinking that this will be their winning strategy. After all, who doesn’t want their programs available 100% of the time? Surely that must mean more sales?
Only that’s not always the case… and in order to have a successful evergreen product, it needs to be aligned and strategic. So today, I want to answer the question: should your online course be evergreen?
What does evergreen mean?
An evergreen launch is a launch that is occurring continuously on autopilot. This means you are always promoting your free opt-in (e.g. video series, workbook, pre-recorded webinar or challenge) and are constantly directing people to your sales page… where they can check out the program and make a purchase on-the-spot.
Signing up for an evergreen program also means that people get immediate access to your program and have the opportunity to go through it at their own pace and in their own time. Currently the e-Course Launch Formula is offered as an evergreen product at a reduced rate from what I would sell it during a live round.
This differs from a live launch which only runs for a certain period of time. For example, the doors to Launch Mastery only open twice a year (for about 2-3 weeks at a time). The program is also run live – meaning that everyone goes through the course at the same time.
In order for an evergreen program to be successful, you need to have a solid sales funnel to bring in continuous leads. This also means that your program will need to be regularly and consistently promoted (which can get tricky when you have other offerings or promotions in place). Promoting evergreen programs is definitely an art – which is why we have two evergreen masterclasses as part of e-Course Launch Formula!
While evergreen launches aren’t always great at building urgency and momentum (like live launches are), they can still be a good strategy for some programs.
So let’s talk about what you need to consider when deciding to make your online course be evergreen.
Should your online course be evergreen?
How have you positioned your program?
To make your online course be evergreen is a good strategy for some programs and not so great for others… and a lot of that has to do with positioning (which is directly related to the purpose of your program).
There are four main ways that you can position your online program. These are:
When it comes to entry-level or mid-range programs, they’re probably only part of what you do in your business. For example, these programs most likely lead participants to work with you in more premium ways (whether that be 1:1 work or a more intensive program). If this is the case, then you might want to consider making these programs evergreen.
When it comes to high-level or premium programs, they probably require more time, energy and effort from you. They’re also (most likely) the offerings that you want to focus on and grow in your business. If this is the case, then live launching can allow you to do that.
Launch Mastery, my relatively new but signature online program, is the perfect example of that. It is currently the biggest focus in my business so I want to gain maximum traction and momentum – allowing it to get known in the market. For this, live launching is perfect!
Due to the fact that I am focusing on growing Launch Mastery and that it is quite a lengthy program (12 weeks), I don’t currently live launch the e-Course Launch Formula. The e-Course Launch formula is a well established and highly regarded program and over 900 people have been through it. It has a solid enough reputation that I can earn recurring evergreen income without live launching it.
How much support do you want to provide?
Following on from positioning, you’ll also want to consider the level of support that you’re offering in your programs.
For example, you might create an entry-level or mid-range program that is delivered online without any support or 1:1 time with you (e.g Your Soulful Year Online). Therefore, this program can be evergreen and the whole process can be completely automated.
This isn’t the case for high-level or premium programs that might include live calls or 1:1 time with you. These programs will need to be delivered live so that you can provide lots of support.
For example, Launch Mastery is a high-level program where content is dripped out over the delivery period (with live calls included). It makes more sense for me to launch this program live so that I can take all participants through it at the same time. I can also be laser-focused on Launch Mastery during live rounds which allows me to be super present and supportive.
What stage is your program at?
While positioning is one important aspect, it’s also important to look at the lifecycle of your programs and determine what stage it is in.
For example, when you first launch a program then you’re appealing to the innovators (which is only a small percentage of the market). Over time (and as you promote it more and more), the program will move through the life cycle. This will see it go through a growth phase and then a declining phase.
Knowing where your program sits on the lifecycle can help you to determine whether it’s worth taking it through live launches.
For example, I decided last year that e-Course Launch Formula was sitting in the second half of the lifecycle and that live launches were becoming less and less effective (it’s all relative though!). So I decided to make the program evergreen (at least for a while) so that I wasn’t putting too much time or energy into it – but it was still there for those people who needed it. This was also an effective strategy because e-Course Launch Formula was well-established and it allowed me to focus on Launch Mastery.
This decision also has a lot to do with the size of your community. When you have program alumni who have already been through the program (and the community is still active) then you can more easily make it evergreen whilst still providing a supportive experience.
In contrast, it often takes a lot of work to engage the community of a new program (mostly because it’s smaller when you’re first starting out).
So over all, I would argue that live launches are particularly effective when your programs are in the growth phase of the lifecycle. Then once they’ve been through their growth and are starting to decline, you can move them to evergreen (while perhaps creating another program).
Who is the ideal participant for your program?
So we know that positioning and lifecycle affects your decision to create an evergreen course but let’s consider the ideal participant for your program…
Do they require instant access to your content? Or can they wait for ‘live’ rounds?
The perfect example is an online program that takes you through the different phases of pregnancy and what to expect. This is a program that needs to be evergreen, meaning that the ideal participants can sign up at any time. After all, a pregnant woman won’t want to wait around for a ‘live’ round of the course. She needs this information now!
This differs from courses that cover less time sensitive topics.
What is your reach, traffic and budget?
Finally, I think it’s important to look at your reach, traffic and budget when deciding to make your online course be evergreen.
Someone like Marie Forleo (who has good reach, traffic and budget) might only have to do one, big live launch each year. She knows that her list is constantly growing. She knows that she has the traffic. And she knows that she has the budget to go ‘all in’ during a launch. And from what we can see, it works really well for her!
Some other questions you might want to consider include:
- Is your list constantly growing and do you have new leads to get it in front of?
- Do you have good ongoing website traffic to get your course in front of people?
- Do you have a budget to invest in set-up and ongoing advertising for your funnel?
- Are you willing to experience a slower momentum with the growth (and revenue of your program)?
So should your online course be evergreen?
So ultimately I think there is scope for both evergreen and live launched programs in your business. You can even take the hybrid approach like Denise Duffield Thomas who does live launches a few times a year and has evergreen enrollment the rest of the time.
I hope this has helped you to decide whether or not to make your online course be evergreen – or be lived launched or hybrid.
I’m also really excited to be bringing a special bonus masterclass to Launch Mastery – which is all about creating an in-between launch evergreen funnel.
So if you want more support and guidance in your launch then make sure to hop on the waiting list for Launch Mastery – it’s coming soon!