The evergreen launch has gained popularity among online course entrepreneurs. There are two ways of releasing online products to the public: live and evergreen.
But how do you know which option is right for your course? Are they completely interchangeable, or are there situations that require one over the other? Let's break down the two options and then look at why an evergreen launch may be the right solution for you.
What is an evergreen launch?
The simple definition of an evergreen product is one that is always available for purchase. In the case of an online course, it can be bought and started at any time your audience sees it. There are no set start dates for the course and, as a result, no deadline by which to apply. Once a customer buys the course, they can begin immediately.
You can add deadlines to an evergreen launch with a caveat. Your course is pre-recorded and always available, but you can use different campaigns and marketing funnels to make it look like it's not. Your campaign can push to say the course is only available until a specific date to create FOMO or "fear of missing out."
The issue with this tactic lies in its ethics. There is no real reason for the course to close at a specific time only to reopen a few weeks later to do it all over again. Some entrepreneurs may have problems setting up a course to work this way. Some customers may also take offense if they realize your online course campaign artificially creates urgency.
How is evergreen different from a live launch?
A live launch is the opposite of an evergreen launch model. With this method, the idea is to market course registration up to a specific date or for a limited time, at which point the course registration must close. Your sessions are live, though you may have some pre-recorded material or offline assignments.
They differ in two ways. The first is your involvement with the cohort. In a live launch, you will participate in live sessions with a closed cohort registered in advance of the course. As already mentioned, not all parts of the course have to be live, but at least some of them will be.
The other lies in urgency. With a live launch, there is no need to manufacture a sense of urgency because there is a reason for the enrollment window. Any members who wait until the deadline has passed will have to wait until registration opens for the next cohort.
What are the benefits of an evergreen model?
An evergreen launch may not be for everyone. There are still several benefits entrepreneurs can enjoy by taking this route.
Creates passive income
One of the biggest benefits an evergreen course provides is the potential to create a passive income revenue stream. Because the course is available anytime, customers can make purchases year-round. And if your course is successful, it can generate revenue for years.
Evergreen launches also save you time. For starters, you don't have to get involved and hold live sessions. You've already done the legwork and recorded videos or added other types of content ahead of time. To answer questions, you can create an online forum or a Q&A page. You also save time by not having to generate new landing pages and other marketing materials for each session's marketing push.
Helps you scale
As an entrepreneur, growth is always on your mind. After launching, you can review the performance and feedback of your course and make adjustments along the way. As your community grows and more people enroll in the course, you can resolve over time any kinks or errors present at the launch.
Supports impulse buys
If you have a live launch that recently closed, learners ready to buy now have to wait. If you choose evergreen, it's there waiting for people to find it when they need it most. When potential customers find you, you want them to buy before they find a competitor. That's why evergreen launches are crucial to a successful course creator strategy.
What are the drawbacks of an evergreen launch?
Of course, with every decision, you must weigh the pros and cons. And with this type of launch, there are some downsides to consider.
Lack of urgency
People are more likely to purchase an online course with a limited enrollment window. Because an evergreen launch means your course is always available, people know they can think about it and come back to buy later.
When prospects can think, they tend to review their finances and wonder if the expense is worth it. Even if the issue is not money, once prospective learners leave your site, they may not return to it.
Lower completion rates
Another issue is that some learners may abandon your course if the content is entirely pre-recorded, with no deadlines. In fact, pre-recorded courses without deadlines have only a 15% completion rate, according to some MOOC statistics.
As a course creator, learner reviews are crucial to your success. You'll get fewer reviews if you’re struggling with low online course completion rates. Also, the only thing worse than no review is a bad review. If learners don't complete your course because they lose interest, they may feel it's your fault and let you know about it publicly.
The combination of a lack of urgency and fewer reviews ultimately leads to lower sales of an evergreen course. You have to determine if what matters most is the immediate sale or having something generate slower sales over a long period of time.
Why and when to use an evergreen launch
It's clear that while evergreen launches may benefit your business, they are not for everyone or every course. As a course creator, you may find some courses do better live and others evergreen. Here are a few situations where evergreen launches work well.
You have a big following
Entrepreneurs with a strong online community can find success with evergreen launches. Their supporters are likely to buy when it's convenient for them and recommend courses to their friends.
You're short on time
Serial entrepreneurs run several businesses at once. Solopreneurs are running a full-time business completely alone. If you are either of those, your time is short, and you want to maximize it. With an evergreen launch, you create content only once and let your marketing funnel do the work of turning leads into customers. You can then spend time on the other things you need to manage.
You have an extensive course library
If you've developed several courses, go back and identify a more general or introductory course that benefits a large part of your audience. You can tweak or even re-record that course and then launch evergreen to bring new customers into your evergreen funnel for future live courses.
An evergreen launch works best when connected to an online course you want to turn into a long-term revenue stream. It can save time and earn money while you develop other courses or ventures. Of course, to do this, you need the right learning platform.
Check out the CYPHER LEARNING platform for Entrepreneurs to see how you can create evergreen courses and market them all year round.