How to Build an Evergreen Sales Funnel
Everybody’s hyped up on the idea of building a sales funnel that passively lets you earn income without any work at all.
In reality, that’s a bunch of crap.
An evergreen sales funnel isn’t something you can set free and hope it brings back cash. You’ll still need to maintain it—but if you set it up right from the start, it’ll require less time from you down the road.
So, what exactly is an evergreen sales funnel, and what do you need to set one up?
What Is an Evergreen Sales Funnel?
Is this a completely automated, 100 percent effort-free sales funnel? Well, no.
In reality, every sales process needs maintenance and upkeep, even when it’s highly automated.
For solopreneurs, the goal of an evergreen sales funnel should be to create recurring sales over time without any of the extra effort of selling your product or service personally. In many cases, this is used by course creators and other types of content creators to sell a product they’ve already produced without extra effort.
For growing SMBs and startups, an evergreen sales funnel is a way to ensure your lean sales team always has new leads to contact and sell to. If you’re running a lean sales team without SDRs or BDRs, an evergreen automated sales funnel can help you ensure new leads are consistently funneled into the sales process.
Note: For your sales funnel to be evergreen, what you sell also has to be evergreen. A seasonal product isn’t going to work with an evergreen funnel: so make sure that demand for what you’re selling stays relatively consistent throughout the year (and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future).
Hey there! Looking to master B2B sales? Dive into our B2B Sales Funnel guide now.
3 Benefits of Using an Evergreen Sales Funnel
This type of sales funnel is working every day for your benefit, often when you’re not even looking.
It’s that feeling of checking your payment system and seeing a bunch of new purchases. Or the feeling of looking at your sales pipeline to find brand new, qualified leads to sell to.
Here are some of the main benefits of an evergreen sales funnel:
- A predictable number of sales or new leads: With funnel automation set up well, you’ll get consistent results over time, which makes it easier to plan for the rest of your business or sales process.
- Less long-term effort in selling: Once the funnel is set up, it will keep producing results with minimal effort, eliminating the constant cycle of promotions.
- More time spent on your business: For course creators or solopreneurs, having an evergreen sales funnel means you can spend more time on the pieces of your business you enjoy and less time on sales.
So, what do you need to build it?
What You Need to Build an Evergreen Sales Funnel
An evergreen sales funnel is mainly built on inbound interest in your product or service.
Which is why you’ll need a combination of marketing and sales funnel tools and tricks to really make this work.
Let’s see exactly what you’ll need to get started, then we’ll take you step-by-step through the process of setting up your first evergreen funnel.
1. High-conversion Landing Page
Your landing page is where new leads will arrive, whether from blog posts, marketing emails, or paid ads. This is the entry point, and you can use it to capture lead data or get them to purchase immediately if appropriate.
When they get to the landing page, they’re primed to convert. So you need to make sure the page is ready to convert them.
How it works:
Your landing page can have one of these two goals:
- Convert visitors into paying customers immediately
- Convert visitors into qualified leads and get the information you need to sell them down the road
In most cases, unless these leads are people you already have a relationship with, you’ll want to go for the second option. The goal is to have a lead magnet (our next step) to draw visitors in. This is something valuable to them that they can get for free by providing their contact information.
Whichever main goal you choose, remember that your landing page should only feature the action you want visitors to take.
Here’s a great example from Simplified.co:
Top landing page solutions:
- 99inbound: Any converting landing page needs a form, and 99Inbound is a great option to create simple, good-looking forms for your landing page. Plus, it integrates directly with Close, meaning all your new leads will be automatically saved in your favorite CRM.
- Unbounce: A tool to build "smart" landing pages, Unbounce gives you the powerful combination of landing page templates and AI to create high-converting pages.
- Heyflow: An interactive conversion flow creator, this tool allows you to create a dynamic form that’s visually appealing to your visitors. Plus, it’s a no-code tool with drag-and-drop design features.
- ConvertFlow: With 100+ templates for landing pages, popups, forms, and more, ConvertFlow offers an extensive library of options to convert new visitors into paying customers. (Plus, they offer a completely free version of their product.)
2. Valuable Lead Magnet for Your Ideal Customers
A lead magnet is something valuable for your website visitors that’s available to them for free, as long as they provide contact information. The goal is to collect at least an email address, and later use this to sell to the person down the road.
How it works:
A lead magnet can be anything you want it to be, with one caveat: it has to be something truly useful to your audience.
That could include:
- Whitepapers and reports
- Access to a group or community
- Free email course
Here’s a great example of a webinar lead magnet from Guesty, a property management platform:
We ourselves use lead magnets to draw in new leads to the sales funnel. Just check out this free download of an in-depth guide:
What works in these examples is that they are valuable to the audience they’re intended for, and they are free to download. The information you choose to collect and the type of lead magnet that will work best is up to you: dig into your audience and your team’s abilities to find the right choice for your business.
Top solutions to help you build a lead magnet:
- Fiverr: Creating a lead magnet that is valuable AND looks nice can be overwhelming. Fiverr is a great place to find professional freelancers that can help you create content, design the content you’ve created, or do anything else you need to build the perfect lead magnet.
- Livestorm: If you choose to use a webinar as your lead magnet, we highly recommend using Livestorm. It’s a powerful webinar tool that includes the ability to gather feedback, chat with your audience, and even play back videos as part of your webinar (so you can record pieces of your webinar in advance).
3. Automated Sales Email Sequence
Remember: automation is key to the survival of your evergreen sales funnel. If you want things to be working while you sleep, you need to get your automation right.
A sales email sequence is the next step toward turning new leads into paying customers for your business.
How it works:
Once a new lead has submitted their contact information in exchange for your lead magnet, you can start them in an automated email sequence.
This sequence will tell them more about:
- What you’re selling
- The benefits they’ll receive from the purchase
- How to get started
This is the key part of your evergreen sales funnel. In these moments, you’ll be able to capture your new leads’ attention, give them reasons to trust you, and encourage them to purchase.
Top email sequence solutions:
- Close: A sales CRM built for high-velocity teams, Close has built-in email sequence features, allowing you to send automated emails to new leads while you sleep. Each interaction with your customers is stored in the CRM, meaning you’ll have all the data you need about your customers and your sales. Plus, you’ll get email sequence reports, sales funnel reporting, and even calling and SMS capabilities.
- Customer.io: This high-powered email marketing tool allows you to set up extremely customized email sequences and messaging flows. You choose the trigger, then follow with the actions. With a flow-chart style sequence design tool, you can choose exactly how each new lead is treated depending on their actions and the information you have about them. At $150/month, it’s on the pricier end but is a fantastic option if you need a truly customized sales funnel.
- ActiveCampaign: This email automation platform is built mainly for eCommerce and B2C interactions, and includes a simple but powerful sequence tool that allows you to include “if this, then that” instructions and dynamic email content.
- Reply: This sales engagement and automation tool is great if you want to build sequences across different channels, such as LinkedIn, Whatsapp, as well as email. (They’re also promising the possibility of creating sequences on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in the future.)
4. Smooth Payment System
Emphasis on “smooth”. Sure, payment systems are a dime a dozen, but if you want your evergreen sales funnel to keep producing cash for you, then your payment system needs to be ready to take on your new customers at any time of day or night.
How it works:
A payment system integrates with your website and allows you to collect new payments and deliver your product without any additional work on your end.
According to TechRadar, these tools will typically charge you between a 1 percent and 3 percent fee for each transaction, so you’ll need to calculate that into your pricing.
When your payment system plays well with the rest of your tech stack, you’ll really be able to earn money while you sleep.
Top payment solutions:
- Stripe: One of the most popular solutions for a reason. With all the features a small business (or even a growing enterprise) needs, you can link Stripe to your website, collect payments from over 100 currencies, or even set up recurring payments for subscription products. Just remember: this isn’t an out-of-the-box solution. It requires quite a bit of setup and technical knowledge to get it working correctly.
- PayPal: A tried and trusted payment system, PayPal offers you a system with no monthly fees. Most tech integrates with PayPal, and you can accept payments worldwide from day 1.
How to Build Your Evergreen Sales Funnel in 7 Simple Steps
So you’re convinced an evergreen sales funnel is right for your business, and you know which tools you’ll need to get started.
Now, let’s take you through step-by-step how to build an evergreen sales funnel for your business.
Step 1: Understand Who You’re Selling to
Before you can create a lead magnet, a high-converting landing page, or really any other piece of your evergreen sales funnel, you’ll need to know exactly who you’re selling to and what appeals to them.
For example, let’s say you’ve created an online course for vegan cooking. If your lead magnet is a recipe for meat lasagna, you probably won’t get too many leads because that’s not the same audience who will want to buy your course.
That’s why it’s important to build an ideal customer profile or buyer persona.
How to do it:
An ideal customer profile is the type of person or business that will benefit most from what you’re trying to sell.
Here’s how to create one:
- Make a list of your top customers: These aren’t just the people who pay you the most money, but also the people who truly love your product and appreciate the value they get from it. These might include people who actively promote your product, have left great reviews or testimonials, or are getting good ROI from your product.
- Find out what they have in common: All of your best customers will have some specific attributes in common, and these make them ideal customers for your business. So, look at the data in your CRM or talk directly with these customers. Ask questions like:
- What’s the size of the organization or department?
- Which role is involved in the decision-making process?
- What main challenges are they trying to solve with your product?
- Which goals are they trying to achieve with your product?
- What experience or knowledge do they have of similar products?
- What’s their buying process like?
- How did they discover you and your product?
- What other products do they use in tandem with yours?
- What are some key pain points they experience around the theme of your product?
- Choose 3-5 main attributes for your ideal customer profile: Don’t make it too complex—focus on the key attributes that seem to have the most impact on their success with your product.
- Fill out your ideal customer profile template: Keep this on hand to remind yourself when creating materials for your sales funnel.
Step 2: Develop an Audience That’s Interested in What You Have to Offer
Having an audience that is consistently coming to you and interested in what you have to say is crucial to setting up an evergreen funnel. Since this sales funnel is 100 percent inbound, you’ll need to make sure there’s a group of people who want to know more and will keep coming back until they eventually purchase your product.
How to do it:
There are basically two ways to develop an audience:
To start developing an audience organically, you’ll need a website and a blog where you consistently publish information that’s relevant and useful to your audience. You might also set up an email newsletter to start getting regular subscribers that you can later promote your product to. Social media is a good place to start building an audience, but eventually, you want those people to follow you on your own platform so you can market to them more effectively.
Another help with organic growth is developing relationships with influencers in your niche. Talk to them about the industry, try to get invited to podcasts, or set up promotional partnerships to provide a complimentary service or product to their audience.
Growing organically is a slow process, but consistency will pay off in the long run.
On the other hand, if you need results fast, you might look into paid advertising. This could include:
- Social media ads
- Google search ads
Paid growth is fast but takes money, and paying a bundle to get sales now won’t guarantee consistent growth in the future. If you do choose to run paid ads, make sure these are working in tandem with your organic efforts.
Step 3: Hone Your Landing Page
When people land on your website from ads, emails, or social media, they need to be instantly interested in what you’re offering.
Building a landing page from scratch is hard (which is why the tools we mentioned above give you plenty of templates to work with). You’ll most likely need to adapt and adjust your landing page over time as you see how new leads interact with the page.
The goal: create a page that makes your ideal customers jump for joy.
How to do it:
To create a landing page that speaks directly to the heart of your target audience, you can either do it yourself or hire a professional copywriter.
If you choose to create this page yourself, make sure you’re not forgetting these key elements:
- A bold header sentence that pulls at the pain points of your audience while pointing to your product as the solution
- A clear explanation of the benefits of your product, with phrasing focused on the reader (i.e., “you can…” instead of “my product can…”)
- Relevant social proof, such as customer testimonials or reviews. If possible, include images of and links to your best customers to show they’re real people.
Step 4: Create, Measure, and Adjust Your Email Sequences
Remember: your email sequences are a key part of your evergreen sales funnel. Once a new lead gives you their contact information in exchange for your lead magnet, it’s time to start sending them emails to promote the product you want to sell.
How to do it:
Using your email sequence tool of choice, here’s how to set up a sequence:
- Choose a trigger: This could be the moment a new lead downloads your lead magnet, signs up for your email newsletter, or takes another action that you choose.
- Set up a welcome email: The goal of your welcome email is to introduce yourself, your business, and your product to the new lead. Use this email to build trust and set the foundation for a sale later.
- Build a sequence of emails that sell your product: One great way to build these is to focus on the pain points you discovered while researching your customers above. Use each email in your sequence to talk about a specific pain point, give valuable information, and direct the reader to your product for more help or information.
- Set up an exit: No email sequence can go on forever. So, create an exit in your sequence, either after a certain number of emails have been sent or after the lead takes a specific action.
After a new lead exits the sales sequence, you can continue to send them your regular email newsletter. If they still haven’t made a purchase, you can set up a new sequence that starts every six to twelve months, encouraging them to purchase.
Psst… wondering what you should write in your email sequences? We collected 47 of our favorite sequences from top SaaS brands, get the complete set here:
Step 5: Create (Real) Urgency
Urgency is a great motivator—but only when it’s real. If you’re faking urgency by blasting your sales page with words like BUY NOW or THIS PRICE WON’T LAST, you’ll create distrust and hurt your brand image rather than urge customers to buy.
So, what does real urgency look like?
Here’s a great example from the mentorship program CopyTribe:
The program is only open once or twice per year, and fills up quickly. So the urgency on this page is real, and the excitement buildup happens through Michal’s fantastic email newsletter throughout the year.
How to do it:
Urgency can be built into your landing page or email sequence. Here are a few options to create real urgency:
- Set up a discounted price at regular intervals: While you can continue selling your product all year round, you can set up a special sequence of emails and a discounted landing page for specific times of the year to push promotional prices for your product.
- Create a product that’s limited by time: Like the CopyTribe example above, you can build urgency into your product by limiting how much or how often you sell.
- Build a limited-time offer page for new lead magnet downloads: When a new lead downloads your lead magnet, they’d be directed to this page and offered a limited-time discount. This allows the leads who are ready to purchase to skip the email sequences and get the product they want now, at a price that feels like a steal to them.
Some landing page tools have discounts and limited-time offers built into their templates, or you can use a tool like Deadline Funnel to build this.
Step 6: Use an Automation Tool to Set It All Up
The (almost) last step in setting up your evergreen sales funnel is to connect all the pieces and get it up and running.
How to do it:
Automation is key to getting this right. So, start by setting up the tools that integrate natively. If you still have pieces of your sales funnel stack that don’t connect natively, you can use an automation tool like Zapier to create “if this, then that” logic to build an automated workflow.
Make sure to run some tests and go through the process yourself to make sure everything is in working order before you set it live.
Step 7: Create an Ongoing Promotion Plan
Okay, you’re not quite done yet.
Now your evergreen sales funnel is ready to start delivering money to your pocket, but you still need to maintain and track the results.
How to do it:
Use any native reporting features in the tools you’re using to find out key sales metrics such as:
- Sales funnel conversion rates
- Email sequence conversion rates by step
- Total new customers
- Revenue growth
- Cost per acquisition (CAC)
- Customer lifetime value (LTV)
As you watch these metrics, you’ll be able to see what’s working, what’s not, and adjust your sales funnel accordingly.
Check out this sweet guide on value metrics that breaks down how to measure success without all the confusing jargon.
Ready to Build Your First Evergreen Sales Funnel?
Building an evergreen sales funnel can be a game changer for your business. By setting up the right automations, you can streamline your lead generation and conversion process, allowing you to focus on other important aspects of your business.
With a well-crafted landing page, a targeted email sequence, and a user-friendly self-service purchase process, you can create a system that generates sales even while you sleep. Start with the tools listed in this guide and you’ll be well on your way to an evergreen funnel.
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