So you want to build your own evergreen sales funnel! An evergreen sales funnel is a great asset for any business, and we’re going to make sure you understand how to build your evergreen sales funnel the right way so it converts.

We hear about too many entrepreneurs getting sucked into the funnel frenzy without realizing their return on investment. This is because people tend to believe that if they buy fancy funnel software, it will solve all of their problems. The truth is that the funnel you build with the fancy software needs to be proven to work. The software itself can’t fix what’s not working in the first place.

Our mission at Encore Empire is to ensure our clients understand how to develop a foundational strategy that works BEFORE they invest in pretty, shiny tools that make wild promises. 

When you hear the term “sales funnel,” you might associate it with something used to sell a digital product for the purpose of earning passive income. The truth is that sales funnels can be used to sell all manner of products and services.

The Structure of a Funnel

Whether you realize it or not, as a business owner, you have an automatic marketing funnel built into your business. The marketing funnel is the process through which you attract new people (top of the funnel) who are now aware that you exist. The next step in the customer journey/marketing funnel is that those people evaluate you, your brand, or your products and services. If their evaluation is positive, they then consider you or your company as a possible solution to their challenge/need/desire. While this is going on, your goal is to convert the right prospects into clients. You do this through your marketing and nurturing efforts.

The funnel shape does a great job of depicting the customer journey as depicted below. Anyone out there who becomes aware of you is at the top of the funnel, but not anyone or everyone needs what you have to offer or resonates with you or your brand. This reduces the number of people who make it to the evaluation level of the funnel. Not everyone will end up with a positive evaluation of your business, and that is no reflection on you. We aren’t right for everyone, and it’s critical to filter our audience down to those we are right for. The evaluation level reduces the audience further to those who convert and become clients.

Evergreen Sales Funnel Image

If you think of a storefront on a busy street, you can see the customer journey funnel play out. People are walking and driving by the shops every day, but not every one of them enters the store. This can be for a number of reasons, none of which have anything to do with the business or the business owner. Maybe they don’t need what that store offers. Maybe they’re just passing by. Maybe they do enter the store, and they like what they see, but they aren’t quite ready to make a purchase. 

The good news is that when they are ready, they know where to go because by entering the shop, they entered the evaluation phase and possibly the consideration stage of the customer journey, making them eager to purchase when they’re ready.

So you see, you don’t need a fancy online funnel! The customer journey is representative of the marketing funnel that is built into every business model by default.

How Many Types of Sales Funnels Are There?

Digital Main Street says there are 22 types of sales funnels.

Regardless of which type you use, you’ll want to build an automated sales funnel. The good news is that all types of sales funnels can be automated. Understanding how to build an automated system is an invaluable skill that a business owner will use over and over again.

At Encore Empire, we use or have used the following out of the list of 22:

  1. Sales Letter Funnel

  2. Squeeze Page Funnel

  3. Survey Funnel

  4. Tripwire Funnel

  5. Lead Magnet Funnel 

  6. Hero Funnel 

  7. Home Page Funnel

  8. Application Funnel

  9. Product Launch Funnel

  10. Summit Funnel

Almost every online business owner we know or work with uses the lead magnet funnel. Creating a lead magnet that is valuable to your target audience is the best way to build your email list. Once on your list, your subscribers are there for you to nurture and serve. If you have one, it’s undoubtedly automated, and you didn’t even need to use fancy funnel software to create it! 

Evergreen Sales Funnel Versus A Deadline Funnel

There are pros and cons to building an evergreen funnel versus a deadline funnel. Typically, time-sensitive funnels are deadline-driven, which can increase the urgency for your audience to buy. We’re all familiar with the deadline funnel model that utilizes a countdown timer to increase urgency. 

Russel Brunson and Todd Dickerson founded ClickFunnels in October of 2014, and from there, online funnel popularity skyrocketed. According to Markinblog, ClickFunnels is the most popular sales funnel software ranked by the number of websites using it. 

We believe that there is way too much hype about funnel software in the online space. We see our audience struggling with the tech and the glitches (yes, even ClickFunnels has glitches) because they believe the hype. The truth is that investing in funnel software is only something that should be done once you’ve validated your funnel works! Translation: You don’t need fancy funnel software to build a successful sales funnel, and you shouldn’t fork out cash for one until you have worked out the bugs of your process.

Whether or not you invest in funnel software is very dependent upon your audience and what your offer is.

When funnel software companies promote everything their software does, they neglect to tell you that you need to evaluate the fit of their product with your needs. Ironically (or not), the people pushing the deadline-driven approach use deadline funnels to hook potential customers in. 

Some questions to ask yourself when deciding on whether you need a deadline funnel versus an evergreen sales funnel are:

  • What are you selling?

  • Is it a limited time offer?

  • How often will you offer it?

  • Are you selling a limited number of something?

We’re not against funnel software, but very few of the women we work with need to invest in a full-blown funnel software platform. If you have a website and/or landing page software (most email providers include this as part of your subscription), you can build an automated funnel on your own complete with a landing page or a sales page.

Countdown timers work very well when you’re enforcing a deadline. You can embed them into most landing page builders and websites using the embed code. Even though we’re talking about using code, this is not the same thing as “coding” a website. The embed code is a piece of pre-written code that you simply copy and paste into your website or landing page. There are also countdown timers that you can use in emails, which helps if you’re utilizing the sales letter funnel mentioned above.

If what you’re selling is only available for a limited time period or you’re selling a limited number of items or spots, you’ll want to use a deadline funnel. 

Many people are lured into online entrepreneurship because they believe it’s synonymous with passive income. The truth is it depends on what your goals are. There’s no way to make sales and serve your audience if you don’t do the work it takes to get to know them. There’s no way to set up or purchase a ready-made funnel, put zero effort into it, and make money. Sorry if we’re bursting your bubble.

What you can do is create a successful evergreen sales funnel that converts. Once you create your funnel and it brings in sales, it will continue to do so with automation without you having to participate in the transaction process. That’s a form of passive income, but it doesn’t match the unrealistic expectations of the passive income movement.

A successful evergreen sales funnel allows you to make consistent sales and also supports the rinse-and-repeat strategy we’re so fond of. To the extent that you can create your processes and systems to be rinse-and-repeat, you’ll greatly benefit from the efficiency and ease of implementation they provide. 

We built our business on our evergreen sales funnel that converts, and we highly recommend using this strategy. Our top-of-the-funnel attraction strategies are:

  • Social Media

  • Our Podcast

  • Our Blog

  • Our Facebook Group

  • Our Virtual Round Table Event

  • Our Workshop

  • Our Visibility Activities 

As you can see, there are many different ways that people can become aware of Encore Empire and the work that we do. Each of these leads people to the other and results in new email subscribers daily. Our Marketing Methodology Workshop is our main conversion event. Once attendees have spent five days with us building out their custom marketing framework for the next twelve months, they’ve gotten to know us and how we work, and many are ready to join one of our two coaching programs. 

We host our workshop every eight weeks and enroll new clients on a regular basis. It’s evergreen, it’s rinse-and-repeat, and it works. It’s not the only way to create an evergreen sales funnel that converts. You can run challenges, host summits, run paid ads, and so much more. The key is that you’ll want your sales to cover the effort you put in so that you receive a return on your investment of time and money. For your business to be profitable, you’ll need to do more than just break even. 

How Will You Get People To Enter Your Evergreen Sales Funnel?

“Build it, and they will come” isn’t going to cut it! Before we can make a sale using any type of strategy, we need to implement a solid marketing plan. Nobody will make it to the bottom of your funnel if they don’t reach the top. 

Creating a free lead magnet is step number one for any and every business to attract prospective customers. If you’ve ever seen or enjoyed the free snack kiosks at Costco, you’ve seen the free lead magnet in real life. The company hosting the kiosk pays people to hock samples of their product so that they’ll purchase more while they’re shopping. Sales funnels can be seen everywhere!

When running an online business, our free lead magnet entices our prospects to give us their email address, and they become a new subscriber. Just because they subscribe, it doesn’t mean they are an ideal customer; however. The lead magnet is the top of the funnel; how we nurture and serve our new leads dictates whether or not they will move further down our funnel.

You can see from the Encore Empire evergreen sales funnel depicted above that we have many ways that people can learn about us and enter our funnel. To be successful in business, you’ve got to meet your prospects where they’re at. Not everyone likes Facebook, so if we relied solely on our Facebook group to build our business, it would slow the growth of our business to a crawl (and we have 3,000 members!)

By sharing our expertise through our blog and our podcast, we’re able to reach more people than we could ever do on social media alone. 

You will need to decide which traffic source(s) make sense for your business and align with your goals. Will you implement live launches in the form of challenges, workshops, or webinars? Do you have a podcast or a blog? How does your audience like to consume content, and where do they hang out? Will you use Facebook ads or other paid advertising? The choices are endless, and that’s one of the best things about being an entrepreneur—you get to build your business in a way that works for you.

The best way to know which type will work for you is to test one at a time and track your conversion rate to determine what works best for your business. Choose what excites you, do not decide based on what others are doing or what you think you “should” do based on something you heard or read. Your business needs to light you up in all aspects, so make sure you choose things that support that.

Email Marketing and The Evergreen Sales Funnel

Regardless of the type of funnel you use, you’ll want to capture people’s contact information (we recommend asking for their first and last names), collect their email addresses, and consent to be added to your email list. The main assets we own as business owners are our email lists and websites. Unless you own the building your brick-and-mortar business is located in, that holds true for brick-and-mortar business owners, too. 

No matter how large our following on a social platform, we don’t own that platform, and we don’t have control over what happens there. You’ve likely heard stories of people’s Facebook or Instagram accounts being shut down unexpectedly. If that were to happen to someone who never built their email list, they would lose everything.

Creating an email funnel is a great way to put automation to work for you. Once someone opts into your lead magnet, they can be entered into a welcome sequence that helps them learn about your business, who you help, and how. Your evergreen email sequence will work for you behind the scenes and will only need updating every so often.

Automation is fantastic and helps create a smooth and delightful experience for new clients after they’ve made a purchase. Using tags and segments within your email marketing platform allows you to create an email funnel for every offer you have that provides relevant information to your subscribers based on where they are in your overall customer journey funnel. 

You can also create a stand-alone sales email funnel that you send to your existing customers or warm prospects. When you’ve built and nurtured your list, your subscribers will look forward to specials and offers designed specifically for them that arrive via your sales emails.

A sales funnel is simply a sales sequence regardless of the type of sales funnel used. The sequence aspect of it helps move people from the first step to the next and then to the final step of converting into a paying client through a sequence of actions. A sales funnel can be evergreen or deadline-driven, and both types can be optimized with automation. 

If you’re not using sales funnels in your business yet, we hope this article will help you understand the power of both the evergreen sales funnel and the deadline funnel so that you can decide which works best for you. If you’re looking for expert guidance on how to create a sales funnel that converts for your business, we invite you to hop on a complimentary consultation call. Click the button below to apply to get on a call now.

Carmen Reed-Gilkison

About the author

Carmen Reed-Gilkison is a certified Online Business Manager and Whole Person Certified Coach with 25+ years of marketing experience.

Deirdre Harter is a Certified Public Accountant with 20+ years of experience auditing and advising businesses of all sizes about how to build sustainable profitability in their companies.

They are also the co-founders of Encore Empire. Click here to learn more about their mission to help female entrepreneurs who happen to be over forty step into their power

To send a message to Carmen and Deirdre, click here

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