Launches vs. evergreen offers – which is better?
There isn't an objective "better" between the two. Both are viable strategies with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Here's the tl;dr: Evergreen offers can be more lucrative and less work to sustain...but it's much easier to see results from launches.
To understand why, we need to start with WHY we buy things.
Why we buy things
We live in a world of infinite choice and nonstop product marketing. Just turn on the TV or scroll through your feed and take a quick count of how many things are being sold to you at any given time.
Unless you're a billionaire, you literally can't buy everything that's marketed to you. You have to say NO to just about every buying opportunity to survive financially.
In fact, you probably ignore most marketing on a subconscious level.
So, as a creator selling your own products, you have to understand that the default purchasing decision is "no."
The challenge, then, is both a.) getting your message SEEN and b.) encouraging a purchasing decision.
With infinite choice comes infinite opportunity to make the wrong decision. And we HATE to feel buyer's remorse.
So the safe choice is usually to maintain the status quo – NOT buying the thing. If we don't buy, we can't regret the purchase. Our life continues as is!
But, sometimes, purchasing decisions help us imagine a different life.
A better life.
When you become invested in a vision of your future – a better life – suddenly there is tension between your current life and your future vision.
And tension is what really drives purchasing decisions.
Tension exists between how things are and how things could be.
Tension is the discomfort of recognizing that things could be better.
Tension is an unsolved problem (when you believe a solution exists).
To relieve that tension, we are much more likely to make decisions that move us toward that vision (like purchasing decisions).
But tension requires awareness. Ignorance is a blanket masking possibility – and that prevents tension from appearing.
When I was a kid, I didn't know that entrepreneurship was a thing. I figured I would go to college, get a degree, take a job, and work towards retirement. For the most part, I accepted that and planned for that reality.
But then I met some entrepreneurs in college. My ignorance of entrepreneurship was eliminated and I began to visualize a future where I wasn't working a 9-to-5, but I was building my own path.
I became enamored with that vision for my future.
But, in the beginning, I wasn't actually building toward that future.
Tension between my current reality and my ideal future.
So what did I do? I began making decisions to make that vision a reality.
Leveraging vs. creating tension
If purchasing decisions come from tension, then the obvious conclusion is to create tension, right?
A lot of people certainly take that approach. They paint an incredibly rosy picture of your future and tell you that the way to get there is their product.
This works! But it's often overstated or even predatory.
Tension can be created in an ethical, moral way. If you are creating tension so that people make decisions that are (truly) in THEIR best interests (not your own) then you're operating ethically.
Personally, I try to leverage or heighten existing tension.
Here's the difference: I have no interest in convincing someone that they should become a creator in order to sell my products. Instead, I'd rather communicate with people who have ALREADY decided they want to become a professional creator but are sitting with the tension of wondering, "How do I get there?"
For some, ignorance is bliss. Tension is an uncomfortable thing – if you CREATE tension for someone who is not ready or equipped to make it to the other side, that's a selfish, unkind thing to do.
Your work as a creator should exist to alleviate some pre-existing tension. The key is getting in front of people who are already feeling it.
The degree to which we feel tension varies from person to person and from moment to moment.
The more painfully we feel the tension, the more likely we are to make decisions that relieve it.
Many copywriting frameworks are designed to heighten tension:
- Pain, Agitate, Solve (PAS)
- Attention, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA)
- Picture, Promise, Proof, Push (4 Ps)
...you get the point.
There are two other levers that are often used:
When something is scarce, we feel the tension of FOMO. If we don't take action quickly, we might lose our opportunity to take action at all!
It's the same with urgency. When there's a deadline, we need to make a "yes" decision or the "no" decision will be made for us. Once again, we feel the tension of FOMO. In fact, scarcity also actually CREATES urgency.
Full Circle: Launches vs. Evergreen Offers
With all of this knowledge in hand, we can better evaluate the strengths of launches vs. evergreen offers.
With an evergreen offer, you have a solution for someone's tension available at all times. That's good – people have an opportunity to alleviate their tension regardless of your promotion schedule.
But with an offer that's always available, why would someone take the risk of making a decision today when they could put it off until tomorrow, next week, next month (or never)?
That's the challenge of evergreen offers. Tension doesn't tend to be as high.
With a launch, you have the massive advantage of urgency heightening tension on your behalf – if you don't get in now, you will lose the opportunity.
The Lab is an evergreen product, but we have a cap on members because I thought it was best for the product experience. That decision had the added benefit of heightening tension through scarcity.
Can you see the month when we got close to our total membership cap?
Heightening tension is a skill that takes time to learn (especially ethically). Heightening tension is more difficult to do for evergreen offers. So, in the beginning, the launch model helps you heighten tension (and therefore see bigger results).
To learn more about tension, check out this interview with Jay Acunzo.