Evergreen vs. Live Launches: Which Is Better for Your Course Launch?

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you recently decided to launch an online course. Or at least, you’re strongly considering it. Great idea — courses are an excellent way to establish your leadership in your field, create interest, and ideally convert new customers.

The only problem? Maybe you haven’t decided whether you want to do an evergreen course or a live course. Which one is more beneficial? 

Both models have their benefits and drawbacks, though there is one in particular that we consistently see do better for our clients here at Till Agency. To help you approach this marketing tactic, we’ll give you all the details you need to make an informed decision.

Here’s what you need to know. 

What are Evergreen Launches?

With an evergreen course model, your course is available all the time — you launch it, and it’s always there for your audience to sign up and learn from, whether they want to do it that same week or whether they want to wait and do it at a time that’s a little bit more convenient. As you can expect, an evergreen course model gives you the flexibility for continuous enrollment, meaning you could see new people enrolling day after day (or even week after week, or month after month).

The only important factor for you to keep in mind as a creator of an evergreen course model is that the content of the course obviously has to be evergreen — it can’t be on a topic that’s going to quickly become outdated or irrelevant.

What are Live Launches?

In the case of a timed course launch, your course is only going to be available for a specific period of time. That amount of time is up to you, depending on the subject matter of the course and how much urgency you want to create with its availability (more on that topic later!). The limited-time enrollment could be open for as short a period of time as one day, or it could be open for a couple of weeks.

The most important thing with a timed course launch is that you’re able to effectively communicate to your audience when that limited-time enrollment will be so they don’t miss out on the opportunity.

Evergreen Launches: The Pros and Cons

Advantages of Evergreen Launches

Evergreen launches have many advantages, but chief among them for you as a business owner will be the steady sales you will see when people can enroll anytime. People could enroll when you initially launch the course, and there could still be people enrolling months or even years later. This is great, as it allows time for word to spread and interest to grow.

The other benefit to allowing people to enroll anytime is that it gives flexibility to your students who are signing up. There’s less pressure to do it during a specific time period; instead, they’re able to learn when it’s convenient for them and suits their schedule. This means more opportunity and often more customer satisfaction.

For you as the course creator, an evergreen launch can also be pretty convenient. Not only do you have the steady sales to look forward to, but you also don’t have to worry about relaunching or heavily marketing the course once it’s already available. Your job there is done!

Disadvantages of Evergreen Launches

Unfortunately, what can be a benefit can also be a drawback in the case of evergreen courses. Because the course is always available and people can enroll anytime, there’s also a lack of urgency. You can probably guess what that means: lack of urgency leads people to postpone their enrollment, maybe even to the point that they never even get around to signing up.

There’s also the risk that the content of your evergreen course could end up becoming not as evergreen as you thought it would be. If new information becomes available or trends change in your industry, you may need to make regular course updates to keep it relevant. That means extra work that you weren’t expecting to do!

There’s also the risk of potential revenue caps. When you launch an evergreen course, it doesn’t get the same buzz that a live course gets — once again, because people feel a lack of urgency. Therefore, you could make a lot of money at the start, but your steady stream of income could become not so steady if hype fails to build.

Live Launches: The Pros and Cons

Advantages of Live Launches

Most of us can relate to the sense of excitement you feel with a limited-time offer: You have to sign up now or you could miss your chance. That’s the big advantage of launching a live course. When you’re marketing it, there will likely be a lot of launch buzz as your potential audience looks forward to the limited time this opportunity will be available.

Your audience will also get a better sense of community from a live course, something that is always good for your brand. Everyone will be taking the course at the same time instead of solo across intermittent periods of time, so you establish a course community among the people who are learning together. This course community makes the opportunity more exciting for your audience.

Plus, because everyone will be registering for your course during a specific time window, you’ll see a significant revenue surge. Even if you make the same amount of money over an extended period of time with an evergreen course, it can be advantageous to have that large amount of money come in all at once, as you’ll likely experience with a live launch.

Disadvantages of Live Launches

The big problem with a live launch is time limitations. Because you have a specific enrollment window, you need it to succeed then and there — no hope or expectation of it building momentum later. This requires you to put a lot of effort into launch marketing ahead of the day your course goes live, and that puts a lot of pressure on you as a creator. If your launch doesn’t go as planned, you might have invested a lot of time and energy (and money) into something that isn’t as valuable as you hoped it would be.

Plus, if there’s a lot of interest in your live event (which is rarely a bad thing, except in this one aspect), you may not be able to accommodate everybody. You may need to ask some of your audience to wait for the next enrollment window. Waiting for the next enrollment window could be disappointing for them at best, and in a worst-case scenario, they could forget to sign up.

Key Factors to Consider for Your Course

Audience Preferences

First off, think about your audience. What do they want? Student preferences can be a big determining factor in how you format your course. Do you expect they want the flexibility and perennial availability of an evergreen course? Or do you think they tend to be driven by the idea of community that comes with a live course? These formats lend themselves to different learning styles, and you should opt for the one that makes the most sense among your potential students.

Marketing Resources

Take a realistic look at your marketing options for this course (or courses, as the case may be). If you have the marketing budget (and other resources) to continue promoting course after course, then a live course is a realistic option. On the other hand, if you can only put forth a serious promotional effort once before letting word-of-mouth or organic interest build over time, then you might be smarter sticking with an evergreen course model.

Course Content

The thing is… not all topics lend themselves to evergreen content. If your course covers current events and trends, you’re likely working with time-sensitive content, which is better suited for a live event. Don’t build an evergreen course around something that will quickly become outdated when you will likely have more success promoting it as a limited-time live event.

Which performs better: Evergreen or Live Launches?

So, how about some expert insight into the question, based on observation?

In our experience here at Till Agency, we see live courses outperform evergreen on a pretty consistent basis. A successful course launch for evergreen models will often see better registration costs, but the webinar itself will lead to fewer conversions — so you might save a little bit of money when trying to register people, but your ultimate results won’t be as great.

On the other hand, a live model often sees higher registration costs but more conversions, so even though it’s a little bit more expensive, more of your audience will follow through with committing to a purchase.

Even with this expert insight in mind, however, remember that a successful course launch is defined by your specific goals. In some cases, that might be conversions, but in other cases, it might simply be brand awareness.

Final Thoughts: Which is Right for You?

We wish we could give you a clear-cut answer as to whether an evergreen model or a live model is the best choice for your course. But which route you go will depend entirely on your goals and resources, as well as the information you’re trying to share. The best course launch strategy is the one that works for you and your topic, not what works for another brand.

Remember to consider the following:

  • Does your audience prefer community or flexibility?
  • Is your content based on hot trends and time-sensitive info, or will it always be relevant?
  • Is it realistic for you to create and promote a new course on a regular basis, or would you rather count on a “one and done” for income over time?

These three major questions will help you decide the model that will bring you the most online course success and help establish yourself as a credible source with your audience.

It can be stressful trying to decide whether you want to launch an evergreen course vs. a live course. Taking a look at your goals and your audience’s needs makes the choice a lot easier, but it won’t always be foolproof. You may find that your audience is more community-centric than you expected, or that you don’t like the stress of marketing a limited-time course. That’s okay! Course creation is a learning process, and the best thing you can do is stay adaptable. Keep assessing your success, pinpointing problem areas, and making your content available to the people who want to learn!

We know your situation is unique, so don’t be afraid to ask questions! We’ve helped many different brands launch both evergreen and live courses, and we want to see you have the same positive experience. Please leave us your comments about your experience or shoot us a message with any questions you have about course launches. We’d love to hear from you!

Leave a Reply