How to Create Urgency For an Evergreen Membership or Course Without Product Launches
We know that human beings buy based on urgency. That’s why sales like Black Friday do so well – because the sale is ending soon, and the opportunity is going away. But does urgency only work if you take a product off the market? What happens if you want to keep your membership or course open all the time and avoid the stress (and all the work) that comes with product launches?
We do that. Our membership, The League, is always open. And today we want to share some strategies to help you create urgency (and make those sales!) without closing the doors.
Ready to find out our best-kept secrets?
SOME EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS: (3:55) Why we keep our membership open all the time. (8:16) Use event-based marketing. (10:42) Add a limited-time bonus. (11:25) Increase the price. (13:30) Include topical bonuses. (15:06) Create personal urgency. (18:00) Automate your email campaigns. (20:10) Use the Complete Email Marketing strategy. (22:30) How to fix the timing issue in your marketing. (24:22) Subject line of the week.
Why do we keep our membership open all the time?
In our membership, The League, we don’t do product launches. We don't open the cart for a few times a year and then close the doors again. We keep it open – it's an evergreen product.
Why do we do that?
Because, first of all, it helps take the pressure off doing proiduct launches a few times a year. But also, we strongly believe the reason we’re in business is to help people. Our customers have a problem, and we have the solution. And what would happen if people needed our help when we're closed? That's not very good, is it? Is it okay to tell people you can’t really help them right now because you only do so on your own agenda? In our book, it’s not okay. We don't like doing that because we’re genuinely here to help people when they need help.
But we know that people respond well to urgency. And if you don't do product launches at all and never close the doors to your course, programme, or membership, then what can you do?
You need to make your marketing urgent.
And here's how you can do that.
Use event-based marketing
The first thing you can do is something called event-based marketing. This means creating ‘events’ around your marketing. So you can run campaigns that take the customer on a journey for different types of events. Examples of this could be a 5-day free challenge or a virtual summit where you sell your product as part of it, or a splinter offer, where you take something out of your membership, for example, and sell it as a one-off thing.
Your job is to find interesting and different ways to wrap up your offer to create an event. So for example, if you're running a 5-day challenge, that has urgency built into it because it only runs for those 5 days. And if people miss it, they can’t join until you run it again. Does it mean that after the challenge is over, they won't be able to get into your membership or join your programme? Not at all. That stays open. But the challenge helps you create momentum. When people participate to the challenge, they follow your teachings and advice for 5 days and now feel like joining your programme is the next logical step.
Of course, there are many different ways to create urgency for your evergreen product through event-based marketing. We have over 20 campaigns that help us do this, and they're all available inside The League.
Add a limited-time bonus
Another strategy you can use is to add a limited-time bonus that you give to people who join before a certain date, for example. This could be a coaching session, an extra course, or some cheat sheets – your pick. The key is that these bonuses are only available for a limited time. This allows you to tap into the emotional response that human beings have to urgency. Because if your audience wants to grab this thing you're offering, they have to join by a certain deadline.
Increase the price over time
Something we do in our membership, The League, is to increase the price once we hit certain milestones. We did that when we reached 100 members, for example. When we're about to hit a new milestone we email our list and let them know we're increasing our prices.
We then give them three days to join our membership at the existing price. And it works! It helps us create this momentum of urgency but through our marketing, rather than with product launches that mean periodically shutting the doors.
Include topical bonuses
The next thing you can do if you want to create urgency around your product without doing product launches is to include some topical extras (or bonuses) for people who join by a particular date.
We know someone who does this very successfully – they sell Canva templates for Instagram, and if you join before the end of any given month, you get some extra templates that are relevant for that month. Like a Halloween one in October, a Christmas one for December, or a Valentine’s Day for February. You get the gist.
So what could you offer your audience that's linked with a particular month or season or date?
Create personal urgency
There’s a specific type of urgency called personal urgency, which is a copywriting approach that asks your audience how long they’re prepared to keep struggling with something. You describe the problem and the situation your customers are struggling with right now and ask them how long can they wait to find a solution.
This allows you to show your audience that your offer is urgent for them (hence why it's called personal urgency). In this case, the urgency isn't time-bound. The key is that whatever you mention in your marketing is emotional for that person – it pulls at their heart strings. When you tap into their feelings of frustration at the problem they're experiencing, they will want to make a change. So people join your membership or course not because you're closing the doors with quarterly product launches, but because, with your marketing, you've made them aware of how something is urgent for them.
Automate your email campaigns
Another strategy we use to create urgency is to automate email campaigns that run on a specific timeframe for each individual subscriber. So let’s say that someone who joins this month gets a cool bonus for free. We have a couple of campaigns inside The League that do that – the Bribe Campaign and the Golden Cloak Campaign.
So if Derek joins our list today, he’ll go through the campaign, and the deadline will be dynamically generated for him with a countdown timer. This means that in the future Derek won’t get those emails. Then if Jessica joins next week, she'll go through the same campaign on her own timeframe but a week later than Derek did. And the deadline embedded in these campaigns becomes a powerful tool to create urgency for your evergreen product without the need for any stressful product launches.
The Complete Email Marketing Strategy
This picture wouldn’t be full if we didn’t talk about the Complete Daily Email Strategy, which we also teach inside The League. It's about sending an email of value (that also makes an offer) to your list every day. But on top of all that, every 4-6 weeks we create some kind of event-based campaign – a bribe, a challenge, a webinar, or an online conference, for example. And what does that do? It mimics the experience of doing product launches without you having to actually do any.
The other thing it does is that it helps us get new waves of members. Because in any membership or online programme you're going to lose members and participants. Churn is inevitable. And that's fine. But you need to be topping people up faster than they're dropping off in order to grow your business. This is why we create these surge-type events every 4-6 weeks to get people excited and engaged.
And by having a combination of these two things (the daily emails and the 4-6 event-based campaigns), you also get to fix the one thing that marketing alone cannot fix. And that's timing.
What do we mean by that? Sometimes an offer can be perfect for someone. But if the timing isn't right – if it's not right for them to join your programme right now, for whatever reason – then they won't buy. But by having the daily emails you're fixing that timing issue. How? Well, the moment someone is ready to buy, they will have received an email from you within the last 24 hours. And that means they'll have the link to buy your programme.
Subject line of the week
This week’s subject line of the week is “A Jack-in-the-Box from Amazon”, and the reason why Rob picked this for us is that it had a distinctly higher open and click-through rate than we typically get. But we don’t think it was an amazing subject line. Nope. Not at all.
And yet, we’re calling it out because while it’s not a brilliant subject line, we firmly believe there’s a place where art meets science and science meets art. Meaning? That you can follow all the formulas and advice, but sometimes stuff won’t work. And some other times you can unexpectedly hit a home run with absolutely no explanation whatsoever.
This also shows how important it is to split test your subject lines (something that in this case we hadn't done). Always come up with two subject lines for the same email and run them against each other to see which one works best. You never know – the one you would have never picked as the best might actually give you the best open and click-through rates!
Useful Episode Resources
FREE list of the top 10 books to improve your email marketing
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Join our FREE Facebook group
If you want to chat about how you can maximise the value of your email list and make more money from every subscriber, we can help! We know your business is different, so come and hang out in our FREE Facebook group, the Email Marketing Show Community for Course Creators and Coaches. We share a lot of training and resources, and you can talk about what you're up to.
Try ResponseSuite for $1
This week's episode is sponsored by ResponseSuite.com, the survey quiz and application form tool that we created specifically for small businesses like you to integrate with your marketing systems to segment your subscribers and make more sales. Try it out for 14 days for just $1.
Join The League Membership
Not sick of us yet? Every day we hang out in our amazing community of Email Marketing Heroes. We share all of our training and campaigns and a whole bunch of other stuff. If you're looking to learn how to use psychology-driven marketing to level up your email campaigns, come and check out The League Membership. It's the number one place to hang out and grow your email marketing. Best news yet? You can apply everything we talk about in this show.
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