If you’re a course creator or thinking of creating your first digital product, one of the many decisions you’ll have to make and things you’ll have to experiment with is whether you’ll keep the doors to your program open all the time or you’ll go for the open/close cart launch, also known as a live launch. It means that you will welcome students every now and then and will promote the offer actively during that time. Once the doors close, new people won’t be able to join anymore.
In this article, we’ll talk about these two models, their pros and cons and different versions of each.
What inspired this topic is the fact that after doing live launches for my signature program for course creators Bold Business School since it exists, I now turned it into an evergreen offer. You can join any time and go through the content at your own pace.
Bold Business School is where I show you the whole journey from coming up with your course idea and creating the framework for your program, to doing a beta launch to welcome your first students and selling it like a pro. I also teach you all about email marketing, building an audience, creating a content strategy, designing the ideal sales page, and anything else you need to turn your course into the perfect offer for your dream students.
The benefits of closing the doors to your course
This was the only program of mine that I didn’t keep open all the time. The reasons for that are that by only welcoming students a few times throughout the year, or however often works for you, a few great things happen.
First, you don’t need to actually sell the rest of the time and can focus on creating free content for your brand and serving your people, forming relationships with them and warming them up for the next launch.
By the time doors open, they know about the program, you’ve qualified leads, maybe have a waitlist and can start sending strategic emails to that group of people.
You’ll also have an income boost in a short period of time. Then all you do over the course of the launch is sell, in an authentic and fun way of course and hopefully while still providing value and engaging with your audience.
Read also: An Online Course Launch Checklist for First-Time Course Creators
The disadvantages of the live launch
But all this can also be exhausting because you put yourself out there a lot, have many emotions to manage around it, and try hard not to define yourself by the sales or lack of any, and try to stay neutral and focus on implementing the launch strategy you’ve chosen.
Because of that, you might end up losing hope in the middle of the launch, there’s a dip in energy and enthusiasm then. This happens to many course creators. They give up in the middle of the launch and stop actively selling the course.
So they miss out on the people in their audience who needed a bit more time or information about the product, or who are just last minute buyers.
Not to mention that there are many ways you can boost sales at the end of the launch. That could be by let’s say a new bonus that disappears in 24 hours, a new payment plan, opening up a few more spots, or else.
And it might be that your first few live launches feel horrible and don’t go well. But after that you find the right process that works for you, learn how to manage your energy during launch week and get it done with ease. So it might take time to know if this model works for you.
Why I turned BBS into an evergreen offer
I did live launches many times and enjoyed them. I tested so many different sales and marketing techniques that I haven’t tried before and that gave me experience as a course creator. But my enthusiasm decreased and I am the type of content creator who likes to work on new projects all the time and follow inspiration.
And while I mention Bold Business School naturally all the time and make sure everyone in my audience knows about it, actively selling it during a launch is something I want to avoid. When it doesn’t bring me joy and it doesn’t bring the results I want, it can be changed.
So as of now, the doors are open and anyone can join at any time. That takes some of the pressure away for me and allows me to focus on other things, while still spreading the word about BBS on the podcast, on the blog, inside articles, and to my email list. But I do it naturally, as part of my free content, and when talking about the course creation business so it only applies to those interested in being course creators.
Now I don’t need to plan the launches for my whole year, or to push myself to feel like selling when I don’t, or to test new launch processes every time. I might do that for new products, though, as then my enthusiasm is so high that that itself sells the offer with ease.
So this is an example of why someone would go from a live launch model to an evergreen one.
Tips for an evergreen course
An evergreen model might mean that you create an automated sales funnel and have a webinar that new people from your audience can attend and promote the course at the end of it. You can set this up once and let it make you sales on autopilot.
But of course it takes some time till you find the ideal webinar topic, create a great experience for those who watch it, position your offer well and actually make them an offer they can’t say no to. Then you’ll make sales, and your main job will be to keep growing your audience so new people can be exposed to the webinar.
And while you can still create some urgency here, as urgency is one of the main elements of a good offer and it’s what makes people buy now not one day, in this case it’s harder.
You can set up a discount for the price of the course that only lasts for 15 minutes or a day or so, and then only offer that to those who watched the webinar. You can use software to set that up in a professional way but it might not feel 100% authentic to you.
That’s because basically the course will be sold at the regular price all the time. And if those same people sign up to the webinar using another email address and skip till the end, and use the special link or promo code, they will get access to that discount again. So that’s just a little something to think about.
I won’t be doing that but will just keep the doors to BBS open and have it as a next step for anyone who wants to create their first digital product and build a course business, as that’s where I teach all about it.
Urgency and scarcity in live launches
But the real urgency, as well as scarcity, can be practiced with a cart open/close launch. You can have a limited number of spots for your program, or a discount for the first few days, or a special bonus for those who enroll in the first or last day. And of course there’s the urgency created by the fact that doors close and won’t be open any time soon, especially if you do this once a year.
This can lead to a cash injection for your business. With a few profitable launches, you can become a full-time course creator.
The disadvantage of that might be the inconsistent income, which stresses some business owners and negatively affects their performance and creativity. If any month that you have a launch is a stressful experience for you, then it might not be worth it. Or it might mean you need to organize things better, automate or outsource what you can, and be able to actually enjoy your days and free your mind instead of just fixing errors on sales pages, responding to people and waiting for sales to come.
This can even lead to burnout, which will ultimately cost you a lot.
If you have a team, though, that’s another story. You might not even need to learn the ins and outs of launching and all the technicalities if you have people that specialize in that. Although it always helps to know every aspect of your business first before you leave it in the hands of other people and expect them to do it well.
How to always keep selling your offer
An evergreen model is more relaxed compared to live lunches but this is also tricky as you can easily forget about selling. You can create more programs and totally forget to naturally promote your main one, and then leave it behind. But that’s a waste of a good product and you’re missing out on income opportunities.
An easy way to make sure that doesn’t happen is to create a lead magnet closely related to the topic of your course, and have an automated email sequence that also naturally sells your course at the end and maybe even offers a discount code.
Then you can create new content and nurture your email subscribers, but the sequence will do the selling for you. And because the lead magnet will be strategic, only those interested in the topic of the program will actually hear about it.
With that set, you’ll be able to do what you do best – growing your audience, content creation, and working on any new idea you feel inspired to try.
How to transition from live launching to an evergreen offer
If you’re wondering what it takes to stop doing live launches and leave your program open all the time, here are some things I did for the transition of BBS.
I had a waitlist page and an opt-in form so I had to remove any mentions of these anywhere and replace them with the link to the actual sales page.
I created payment plans, which is basically how you publish a product on Teachable and let people buy it. Teachable is the course platform I use. So I added buttons to the sales page and removed the mention of the waitlist there.
I also went through different welcome email sequences I have to make sure the waitlist isn’t mentioned there.
I updated my main freebie related to BBS – the Epic Online Course Checklist. At the end of the PDF file, I also talk about BBS, so now I replaced the waitlist link with the sales page.
There are also some small updates to make to the FAQ section on the sales page and see if there’s any other place where I’ve talked about the waitlist or have in some way told people that doors to BBS only open a few times a year.
I also won’t plan any new launches but if I feel like, I can always run an event such as a challenge. These usually go for live launches and engage people a lot, but it can be done for an evergreen program too. You can offer a discount for some time and celebrate that with a fun challenge or a new freebie or anything you can think of.
You can also play around with bonuses and offer special ones for people who enroll in a specific period of time. Or go the extra mile and add personalized support such as coaching for a limited number of students. This might inspire new ones to join and grab the opportunity to work closer with you for some time.
So, what would it be? What’s the best way for you to sell your course – an evergreen model or a live launch? Let me know and ask any questions you have about this.
And if you need help with anything related to your course business, see how I can help you inside Bold Business School.