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Why you need evergreen digital courses & how to design them

Updated: May 20

Many of my online course clients get locked into the launch model.


You know, the one where there’s a massive amount of leadup to selling an online course for a handful of days (usually 5-10) where all their revenue is made…


And then nothing.



It’s, in a word, exhausting.


Although you do typically see the greatest number of enrollments with this kind of launch (there’s just something about that live energy!), once you reach a certain point in the product lifecycle (or the product’s subject matter), creating an evergreen version of the course is ideal.


So let's dive into the juicy strategies for designing courses that will have students devouring your content like it's the latest Netflix obsession, even in 2035!


The Massive Potential of Evergreen Courses

Evergreen content means you create it once and it’s available for people to purchase on a self-serve model.


These timeless digital products are the gift that keeps on giving – a steady stream of learners (and income) for years to come.


No more constantly reinventing the wheel, investing hours and hours on your marketing launch campaign, or navigating uber-busy schedules.


Evergreen content (and evergreen marketing launches) is the smart way to build a sustainable, profitable online education empire.


Before we get to how to create evergreen courses, let's look at the "why" behind prioritizing evergreen content:


Evergreen Courses Offer Scalable, Recurring Revenue

Unlike one-off offerings, evergreen courses generate income on autopilot. Just set it and forget it (well, mostly).


According to Forbes, top course creators are netting 7 figures annually from a single evergreen program.


Evergreen Courses Let You Maximize Your Time Investment

You put insane amounts of work into creating a top-notch course. Why not maximize that investment by designing it for long-term relevance? No more constantly reworking your content from scratch.


Online Courses Solidify Your Authority

An evergreen course establishes you as the go-to voice in your niche for years. Consistent authority marketing breeds powerful brand loyalty that keeps customers coming back.


Plus, it allows people who want to learn from you the ability to do it when they’re ready—letting you capitalize on that in-the-moment decision.


Evergreen Courses Lower Upfront Customer Acquisition Costs

With a perennially relevant offering, your upfront marketing efforts continue yielding returns over a longer period, reducing overall acquisition costs.



Now that we've covered why you need an evergreen online course in your arsenal, let's talk tactical implementation!


Your 9-Step Roadmap to Evergreen Course Design


1. Focus on Core Foundations Over Fads

The backbone of any evergreen course is a solid grounding in the foundational, unchanging principles and core concepts of your topic.


Don't get sidetracked by shallow fads or flavor-of-the-month trends.


Build on the deep, timeless knowledge that will serve learners for decades.



2. Modularize Your Content

Take a modular approach to structuring your course curriculum.


Break it down into self-contained segments that can easily be updated, rearranged, or swapped out without disrupting the entire framework.


This agile setup keeps your course feeling fresh and relevant long-term.


Pro-Tip: Avoid self-references.


If you say things like “In my last video” or “In our next lesson, we will explore…” you lock yourself into a sequence that may or not be relevant in the future.


I’ve seen many clients decide to pull out a single video to offer it as a standalone product or a list builder, but when these self-references exist, you’re either limited in what options you can choose, or you have to embark on video edits that can be a real pain to execute.


3. Choose Your Words Wisely

One of the biggest missteps I see clients do is use dated language. By that I mean saying things like “last year.”


Remember, your goal is sustainability and longevity.


If something happened last year, say the year ("2023") instead of "last year."


Because five or ten years from now (God willing, that evergreen product is still generating revenue for you!) you run the risk of negatively impact the student experience.


For example, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to coach clients out of pandemic-related references. It’s much better to use dates like “at the start of the COVID pandemic” or “in March 2020” versus saying things like “last year” or speaking about the pandemic while we’re in it because that throwaway reference is going to instantly date your content—and you’re going to have to redo the entire thing once the major event is over.


Sure, the pandemic had a massive impact on businesses everywhere, but in 2024, if a student were to buy your online course and it’s full of pandemic references, they’d immediately know this is old content and have a perception that it’s outdated and, therefore, less valuable.


No one likes dropping cash on things that are old—unless it’s wine or vintage Chanel.


4. Use Case Studies & Stories

Humans are natural storytellers—we learn and comprehend concepts much better through stories than cold, dry facts.


Real-world case studies and examples are powerful tools for solidifying concepts and bridging the gap between theory and application.


For instance, are you a wellness expert whose signature methodology resulted in desired wins for a patient? Tell that story rather than simply explain your step-by-step process.


But be selective—the more universal and timeless the examples, the longer they'll resonate. Avoid specifics tied to short-lived trends.


5. Emphasize Transferable Skills and Mindsets

Yes, you'll provide students with substantive knowledge in your arena of expertise but also emphasize the development of enduring, transferable skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, and adaptability.


Help your students cultivate a growth mindset around lifelong learning. These strengths transcend any specific industry shift.


6. Bring Learning to Life with Relatable Scenarios

Scenario-based learning activates practical applications in an immersive way.


For example, one of the most effective techniques we use in course creation is the journal. We instruct the participant to imagine themself in a situation or to recall one they’ve experienced before.


Guiding students through a real-world application helps them take conceptual knowledge and apply it to themselves.


But craft those scenarios based on challenges and situations that are likely to remain relevant for the long haul. No one wants to solve for an outdated problem case or something they’re unlikely to experience.


7. Crowdsource Course Updates

I can’t tell you the number of times my clients have finished the course, published it, and then went, “OMG I should have added XYZ.”


Here’s the thing: Your course is as valuable as your students believe it is.


Leverage them to identify what you should update, add, or refine once they’ve experienced it. Trust me, this is some of the most valuable feedback you’ll ever get.


Foster an engaged student community and empower them to provide feedback on areas for updates or additions. Their collective insights ensure your content remains perpetually contemporary.


One of the easiest ways to collect student feedback is via an online survey.


You can go low budget with Google Forms or invest in a more robust platform that offers analytics, CRM integrations, and design flexibility, such as Typeform, SurveyMonkey, or Jotform.


In terms of what to expect from a response rate, data shows that a 10-15% response rate is about average for surveys. The longer and more in-depth your survey is, the lower the completion rate will be, so make sure you are focused on the most critical elements you want feedback on.


8. Go Agile with Rolling Updates

Having a modular structure enables an agile approach to iterating. When student feedback warrants an update, your team can nimbly refresh just those specific components without a full redevelopment.


Adopt an evergreen mindset of continuous, progressive improvements.


Remember, done is better than perfect, and unlike a book, online courses can be easily updated and changed as you go along!


9. Build an Ecosystem for Infinite Learning

An isolated, stagnant course will not retain magnetism long-term.


Surround your evergreen offering with complementary elements like workshops, coaching programs, live events, and an engaged community space.


This nurtures a holistic, enduring learning ecosystem that keeps your audience hooked for life.


Ready to Create an Evergreen Course?

Let's be real - developing an evergreen digital course from scratch is no walk in the park. But for savvy entrepreneurs like yourself, the ROI of a lasting passive income asset is an absolute game-changer.


Want assistance from a pro team to strategically craft your evergreen digital goldmine?


That's what I do!


From curriculum design and video production to marketing funnels and community-building, we'll help you create your profit-printing masterpiece.


To take your first step, download my Course Content Guide.

 

Discover how to structure your online course for future launches with minimal cost and effort later.

 

An online course is one of the best investments you'll ever make in taking your business online. But many first-time course creators make critical mistakes in writing and structuring content – leading to unnecessary work down the line.

This guide will help you:

  • Avoid the biggest content mistakes in developing your new course

  • Relaunch your course over and over again with little to no cost

  • Refresh course content for relaunch effectively without wasting time or energy

  • Skyrocket your profitability by using your core content over and over again





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