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Want to sell more of your online courses / ebooks / printables? Want to sell your digital products on autopilot so you can earn more but work less? Want to do all that without having to buy expensive tech and tie your mind up in complicated knots? Then you need to build an evergreen sales funnel! Here’s how…
So you’ve created an AWESOME digital product… Maybe it’s an online course? Maybe it’s an ebook? Maybe it’s some super cool printables?
But let me guess… sales aren’t quite what you’d hoped they’d be? Perhaps you had a great launch, but since then you’ve sold barely any? Or perhaps your digital product sells well, but only when it’s on offer… nobody ever wants to pay full price. Or maybe you are employing the cart open / cart closed strategy and your product sells well when the cart is open, but constantly launching and re-launching your product is SUCH HARD WORK and you are fed up of those crazy peaks and troughs… you’d just like your product to sell well every day on autopilot!
If that’s you, then you need to build an evergreen sales funnel! In this article, I’ll explain exactly what an evergreen sales funnel is and why evergreen sales funnels are so awesome (spoiler alert, they enable you to sell more, but work less!). I’ll tell you straight exactly what you need (and what you don’t need!) to build a successful evergreen sales funnel – even if you are on a budget! Then I’ll take you step by step through EXACTLY how to build a successful evergreen sales funnel, as well as explain the different possible variations of an evergreen sales funnels. Finally, I’ll show you how to supercharge your evergreen sales funnel!
But first let’s start with the absolute basics… what exactly is a sales funnel?
What is a sales funnel?
A sales funnel is a step-by-step process whereby you take a potential customer (or ‘lead’) through a series of steps from being unaware/unsure of you and your product to a point where they not only know about you and your product, but they also realise they really need your product… and so buy it!
What is an evergreen sales funnel?
An evergreen sales funnel is a type of sales funnel that is automated and can be entered at any time. Typically, you attract people into the top of your sales funnel with a free lead magnet. Once on your list, you will first welcome and nurture your new subscriber, before presenting them with an offer – usually a discount off your digital product for a limited time. The sales funnel is ‘evergreen’ because this limited time period is individual for each new subscriber and available all year round. Whenever anyone signs up for your free lead magnet, they will be given exactly the same amount of time to buy the product at the discount. Once the countdown timer has hit zero, the discount will automatically disappear and they will only have the option to pay full price.
So, for example, Person 1 might sign up for your freebie on Monday 1st and they are presented with an offer – let’s say 50% off your course – if they sign up by Friday 5th at midnight. Now, Person 2 then signs up for your freebie on Tuesday 2nd and they are presented with the same offer – 50% off your course – but they have until Saturday 6th at midnight to take advantage of the deal. And then Person 3 signs up for your freebie on Wednesday 3rd and, again, they are presented with the same offer – 50% off your course… but they have until Sunday 7th at midnight to take advantage of the deal!
In other words, no matter when a person arrives in your sales funnel, they will be presented with the exact same offer and have the exact same amount of time to take advantage of the offer. Once the deadline has passed and the countdown timer hits zero, they will no longer be able to access the discount and they will only have the option to pay full price for your digital product. It’s like each new subscriber entering your sales funnel has their own personalized flash sale!
Why build an evergreen sales funnel?
Why should you build an evergreen sales funnel? Because they work! They enable you to sell a lot more product and earn a lot more money and yet they enable you to work a lot less because, once you’ve set one up, it runs entirely on autopilot! Who wouldn’t want that?
Typically, when you have a digital product that is available all year round at a certain price, people won’t buy it because they don’t have any reason to buy NOW – there’s no urgency. They think – ‘oh that course sounds good, I’ll buy it one day…’ and then, of course, ‘one day’ never quite happens.
But something fundamental changes when you offer people a time-limited discount. Suddenly they HAVE to make a decision BEFORE the deadline… If they want to buy it, they need to buy it BEFORE the timer hits zero or they will miss out on the discount. Nobody wants to be the mug who paid full price when they could’ve paid half price, if only they’d bought it while the offer is on.
In other words, using a deadline creates URGENCY… and urgency sells!
Now, of course, you can use urgency in a non-evergreen sales funnel. For example, you could run a flash sale on your online course 4 times a year. But there’s a fundamental problem with this… Once people learn that you run regular flash sales on your products, the power of urgency is lost… They think ‘Oh, I’ll just wait for the next flash sale’… and then the next, and the next. Also, after a time, people come to know you offer regular flash sales and so nobody ever buys at full price – in other words, you’ve devalued your product.
The reason why evergreen sales funnels work so well is because they are only available to new subscribers… every new subscriber who joins your list (or signs up for a particular opt-in offer / lead magnet) is offered a limited time discount on your product. If they don’t take you up on your offer within the limited time window, your product is then only available to them at full price. People soon learn that when you offer a discount, it really is only available for the short time period you specify and so that sense of real urgency is reinforced and they are much more likely to BUY!
The secret sauce in an evergreen sales funnel
The ‘secret sauce’ in an evergreen sales funnel is an individualized deadline countdown timer. This clever piece of tech allows you to start the clock on an individualized deadline for each person who arrives in at the top of your evergreen sales funnel (signs up for the free opt-in offer / lead magnet). As soon as the new subscriber signs up for the freebie, their individual countdown is started. This same deadline can be shown on both sales emails and the sales page with an actual ‘real time’ countdown timer counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds left until the countdown hits zero.
When the countdown hits zero, the discounted version of the sales page is no longer accessible (again thanks to the clever tech!) and when your subscriber clicks on any links in any of the sales emails you sent them during the sales window, those links now automatically redirect to the full price sales page.
This ‘secret sauce’ is provided by Deadline Funnel*. They provide the software which will enable you to set up that individualized evergreen sales funnel for each new subscriber or ‘lead’. All you need to do is set up your campaign in Deadline Funnel’s easy-to-use campaign builder and then add a small piece of code to your sales page and to each sales email within your funnel. You can set your countdown period up for as long or as short a time as wish and you can even customize the appearance of the countdown timers. Better still, Deadline Funnel provide the option to enable sales tracking so you can monitor the effectiveness of your evergreen sales funnel.
**Warning – you are very likely to get seriously addicted to refreshing your Deadline Funnel sales tracking – it’s super exciting to watch as the sales keep rolling in!**
To find out more about Deadline Funnel head here >>> Deadline Funnel – How It Works*
Essential tools for building an evergreen sales funnel
As well as Deadline Funnel*, you will need a few extra things to make your evergreen sales funnel ‘work’. The good news is you probably have all of these things already.
You will need:
- A digital product to sell (e.g. an online course, an ebook, printables)
- 2 versions of your sales page: the full price version and the discount version (I set mine up in Teachable* – the discount version is simply the full price version with a coupon applied)
- An opt-in offer / lead magnet (this should relate very closely to the paid product you are trying to sell – see below)
- An email marketing service (not all email marketing providers can handle evergreen sales funnels, and not all make it easy – my recommendation here is ConvertKit*, which is both powerful enough to handle evergreen sales funnels with ease AND user friendly enough to make building evergreen sales funnels a breeze!)
Evergreen sales funnel overview
Having a hard time getting your head around the concept of an evergreen sales funnel? Then you might like to watch my free 10-minute video, where I take you step by step through each stage of the funnel…
How to build an evergreen sales funnel (and sell your digital products on autopilot!)
Step 1: Create your lead magnet
To get people into the top of your sales funnel you will need a lead magnet. A lead magnet is simply a free opt-in offer designed to attract the perfect customer for your paid product.
For example, if your paid product is a course on how to decorate impressive looking cakes, your lead magnet might be a cake decoration cheatsheet.
If your paid product is a couch to marathon training plan, your lead magnet might be a couch to 5K training plan.
And if your paid product is your Ultimate Guide To Baby-Led Weaning ebook, your lead magnet might be a baby-led weaning essential shopping list.
Step 2: Create opt-in forms for your lead magnet
Next, you need to create opt-in forms for your lead magnet and set things up so whenever a new subscriber enters their details into that form, they are automatically sent the lead magnet.
If you use a good email marketing service, like ConvertKit*, this is a very simple 5 minute job.
Check out how to set up a simple opt-in form here >>> A beginner’s guide to ConvertKit
Step 3: Create your evergreen sales sequence
The main part of the evergreen sales funnel is your evergreen sales sequence – this is a series of emails which takes your new subscriber on a journey from where they are right now (they don’t know much about you or your digital product) to where you want them to be (desperate to buy your product and then for them to act on that and actually buy your product!)
There are a number of ways to approach this, but one of the best is to start with a short welcome/nurture sequence, where you welcome your new subscriber, introduce yourself, help them get the most out of the freebie they signed up for and deliver extra value – such that they really start to know, trust and like you.
You would then follow this welcome sequence up with a sales sequence where you tell your new subscriber about your product and how it will solve their problems… You would also tell your new subscriber about the discount and the deadline, and you would include your countdown timer in some or all of these sales emails. You would also include links from each of your sales emails to the discounted version of the sales page.
As an optional extra, you may wish to create a third sequence – a post deadline survey which simply asks anyone who went through the entire sales sequence, but did not buy, for some feedback about why they didn’t buy.
Step 4: Join everything together with an automation
Now you have all the essential components of your evergreen sales funnel, it’s time to join them together in an automation.
Start the automation off with your opt-in form / landing page, then set things up so that your new subscriber is first sent the welcome sequence, then the evergreen sales sequence, and finally the post deadline survey.
You will also want to make sure that anyone who buys the course during the sales sequence is automatically removed from the sales sequence and post sales sequence survey so they no longer receive sales emails.
I find the easiest way to do this in ConvertKit* is via SEQUENCE SETTINGS >>> FILTERS. Make sure you tag anyone who buys your product as ‘Purchased [NAME OF PRODUCT]’ then in SEQUENCE SETTINGS >>> FILTERS simply check the box next to that tag. Now as soon as someone buys the product they will be automatically pulled out of the sales sequence and no longer receive sales emails or the post deadline survey.
Step 5: Set up Deadline Funnel
Next, you will need to create a new campaign in Deadline Funnel and name it.
After that you will need to select a ‘blueprint’ – the blueprint is like a pre-made template. You should select the ‘Email Sequence + Special Offer’ blueprint.
After that you will be prompted to add the code for the individualized countdown timers to your emails and the discounted version of your sales page, as well as specify the place where you want the discounted sales page to redirect to after the countdown has hit zero – this should be your full price sales page.
You will also be prompted to set up a tag in your email marketing software that, when added to a subscriber, will start the countdown. And you will also want to set up a rule in your email marketing software that when someone signs up for your lead magnet, they have that tag added automatically.
Finally, you will get the option to customize how the countdown timer looks – both the timer that features on your sales page and the ones which you add into your emails. I recommend you do this so that the timers match you branding and look good!
Does this all sound a little confusing? Honestly it isn’t – Deadline Funnel make this all very easy and they have a great support team! But if you are more of a visual learner and would like to see exactly how to do every step of this process, you might like to check out my course: Evergreen Funnel Jumpstart, where I take you step-by-step through this entire process and include video tutorials which walk you through absolutely EVERYTHING!
Step 6: Make everything live! (And do some testing!!)
Once you have done all of the above, it’s time to make your evergreen funnel LIVE!
First, you need to ensure your sales sequence and visual automation are live/active and connected to your opt-in form.
Second, you need to make sure you have set Deadline Funnel up correctly.
Finally, you need to put those opt-in forms on your website so that your readers can sign up for your free lead magnet and get into the top of your sales funnel.
I recommend putting your opt-in forms in as many places as possible, to maximize the number of sign-ups. For example:
- On your home page
- In your sidebar
- At the end of every blog post
- As an exit intent popup
- Embedded in every relevant blog post
You may also like to tell your existing subscribers about your new lead magnet to give them a chance to sign up for it and go through your evergreen sales funnel too.
But before you put opt-in forms all over your website and promote your new lead magnet to your email subscribers, I recommend you first sign up for your lead magnet yourself so you can test that everything works properly!
Variations on the evergreen sales funnel
What I have described above is the simplest form of evergreen sales funnel – what Deadline Funnel calls the ‘Email Sequence + Special Offer’ blueprint. If you are new to evergreen sales funnels, I recommend you start with this one, as it is by far the easiest to set up. But once you are familiar with this kind of evergreen sales funnel, you might like to try out these other variations.
Evergreen webinar sales funnel
In this variation, your lead magnet is not a cheatsheet / checklist / printable, but rather an evergreen, on demand webinar. You simply record your webinar and then embed it at the top of the discounted version of your sales page.
When your new subscriber signs up to watch the webinar, they will automatically be on your sales page. You can then tell your viewers about your paid product / time-limited discount in your evergreen webinar and invite them to scroll down for more information. When they scroll down they will see the sales page, the discount and the countdown timer.
In the first half of your evergreen sales sequence emails, you will remind your subscribers that they only have a few days to watch the webinar (the webinar is on the discounted version of the sales page only, so can only be accessed before the countdown hits zero – this adds extra urgency!).
In the second half of the evergreen sales sequence emails, you will remind your new subscribers of the discount you are offering on your paid product and how it is only available before the countdown timer hits zero.
To see an example of this type of sales funnel in practice, sign up for my FREE KEYWORD RESEARCH WEBINAR.
In this variation, you send anyone who signs up for one of your freebies to a special mini sales page where you offer a big discount on a low-priced product and offer them a hefty discount and a very short (usually 15 minute) countdown period.
The idea here is that the hardest part of getting a new customer is getting them to spend their first dollar (or euro, or pound!) with you. Once they’ve bought from you once they are much more likely to buy again… you can then offer them an upsell on the checkout page. Typically, this would be a really good discount on a higher priced product.
With a tripwire, because the countdown period is so short, there is not usually an accompanying evergreen email sequence. (Although you might like to make the countdown window for the upsell longer and create an evergreen sales sequence for your upsell!)
Cart open / closed
In the step-by-step guide above, I described a sales funnel where you have a product that is always available at full price, but where the evergreen sales funnel offers the opportunity to get the product at a discount. But there is another option…
You could instead set things up so that the product is not available at all normally, but where you ‘open the cart’ for a limited time during the countdown period. Here the urgency is not ‘you can only get the DISCOUNT before the countdown timer hits zero’ but rather ‘you can only get the PRODUCT before the countdown timer hits zero’.
This type of evergreen sales funnel works best when you are also doing some live launches from time to time. Personally I am not a fan of the cart open/closed approach as I like my products to be available to buy all year round, but it is possible to make this version work successfully, so if you like the sound of it, then it might be worth trying out.
To make this work, you set things up in a very similar way to the steps I have outlined above, except that there is no discount and when the countdown hits zero, your sales page automatically redirects to an ‘oops you missed it!’ page.
How to supercharge your evergreen sales funnel
So you’ve built out your evergreen sales funnel and it’s working… but you want it to work even better! There are 3 good ways to supercharge your evergreen sales funnel:
1. Promote your lead magnet on social media
The more people you can get into your evergreen sales funnel, the more sales you will make! A great way to get more people into the top of your sales funnel is to promote your lead magnet on social media.
2. Paid ads on social media
You may think that paid ads on social media is a mugs game, but you might just change your opinion when you hear what I am about to say… If you get thing right (and that’s a BIG IF!), you can get into a situation where you are selling say 1 course for every $50 you spend on social media ads…
Well if your discounted course sells for $60 that means for every $5 you are paying Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest, you are getting $6 out – you don’t need to be a mathematical genius to figure out that’s basically a money printing machine!
The downside (and the reason EVERYONE isn’t doing this) is because it takes a lot of skill to get your ads and your evergreen sales funnel just right to make this work – but if you can get it to work it’s like pure magic!
3. Boost your SEO
Another way to get more people into the top of your evergreen sales funnel is to get more people to come to your website. The more people who come to your website, the more people will see and sign up for your lead magnet… And the more people who sign up for your lead magnet, the more sales you will make.
And the best way to get more people to your website? SEO! SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is all about getting Google to rank your website higher in the search results, so you get more traffic to your blog!
If you want to learn more about SEO, I recommend you check out my course: SEO Jumpstart!
Want to see how this works in practice?
I thought you might! Honestly, the best way to really understand evergreen sales funnels is to experience an evergreen sales funnel for yourself…
So here’s what I recommend you do… Sign up for my FREE evergreen funnels overview lesson and you will automatically get put into an evergreen sales funnel for my course Evergreen Funnel Jumpstart. That way you get to see – from the inside – exactly what an evergreen sales funnel looks like and get a whole bunch of ideas you can use in your own evergreen sales funnel!
Evergreen Funnel Jumpstart – your fast track to evergreen funnel success!
It would be a bit remiss of me to tell you all about evergreen sales funnels and not tell you about my course: Evergreen Funnel Jumpstart!
EVERGREEN FUNNEL JUMPSTART is your complete step-by-step guide to creating and launching a successful evergreen sales funnel, so you can sell your online course on autopilot!
Here’s a sneak peep of what’s inside…
- A COMPLETE OVERVIEW of the entire funnel (so you understand exactly how it works)
- The SIX ESSENTIAL COMPONENTS of a successful evergreen funnel (and how you’ve probably got five of them already!)
- How to ensure EVERY NEW SUBSCRIBER is assigned their OWN PERSONALIZED DEADLINE.
- The EXACT EMAILS you need to send out and how to put a FOMO-INDUCING COUNTDOWN TIMER in them
- How place a countdown timer on your SALES PAGE that EXACTLY MATCHES the countdown timer in your emails
- How to connect everything up so it all works SEAMLESSLY
- How to TEST everything works
- How to TRACK YOUR EVERGREEN FUNNEL SALES (so you know exactly how much money it’s making you!)
- How to set everything up in ONE DAY and then put it all on AUTOPILOT!
- VIDEO TUTORIALS which show you exactly how to do every step
Over to you!
Have you ever created an evergreen sales funnel? Do you have any extra tips to add? Let me know in the comments below!
Or perhaps you would like to build your own evergreen sales funnel, but you still have questions. Feel free to ask them in the comments and I’ll do my very best to help you out!
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