SHOW NOTES

Have you ever live launched with great success, decided to take it evergreen, only to have it totally bomb?

If your answer was yes, you’re not alone my friend.

Going evergreen can be a difficult process to master, but can result in a highly profitable funnel that sells on autopilot when done right. 

That’s why I am so excited to announce that in today’s episode of the Not For Lazy Marketers Podcast, I’m hosting my first ever outside guest and a good friend of mine, Caitlin Bacher!

Caitlin is a mom, wife, and CEO of a multi-million dollar business that helps online course creators generate consistent, scalable revenue without launching.

In today’s episode, she’s giving us an exclusive look into the five core pillars of her revolutionary Scale Method and how to leverage them to nail your evergreen course funnels.

Tune in to join us as we discuss what every entrepreneur making $100K in revenue each month has in common and how to build a solid foundation for your business that creates sustainable success!

Want To Work With Team Hirsh?

Honestly, we’re more than a marketing team — we’re a tactical partner who will care about your business growth just as much as YOU (maybe even more)! We’re here to play the long game and help you create a powerful impact! APPLY NOW!

Subscribe To & Review The Not For Lazy Marketers Podcast

Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of the Not For Lazy Marketers Podcast! If this podcast has added value and helped you in your business journey, please head over to iTunes, subscribe to the show, and leave us an honest review. Your reviews and feedback will not only help us continue to deliver great, helpful content, but it will also help us reach even more amazing entrepreneurs just like you.

Emily Hirsh:

All right everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. I have a surprise for you guys today because to date, I have never had an external guest outside of Team Hirsh on my podcast, but I brought in the amazing Caitlin Bacher today, who is a great friend of mine and also an amazing entrepreneur and CEO. I’m going to let her tell you about herself in just a second, but Caitlin helps online course creators generate consistent, scalable revenue. One of her core things is creating an evergreen funnel that creates that revenue so you don’t have to be in the live launch wheel. We have a ton of clients that have come over to work with us after going through Caitlin’s program. I got on a call with her a few weeks ago and I was like, “they’re the best clients, what are you doing?” So please share that with our audience. So welcome, Caitlin. I’m so excited you’re here.”

Caitlin Bacher:

Yes, I am so excited to be here, and the feeling is mutual. There’s always lots of chatter in our client community when it comes to who can recommend a great ads manager and I know Hirsh Marketing comes up a lot.

Emily Hirsh:

Yeah, that’s awesome. We have great synergy, but my team is constantly like, “we need more people that are in Caitlin’s program” because they come in so great. So that’s huge kudos to you. Well, why don’t you start with just telling us a little bit about you and your business? I know I summarized it, but give us a little insight into what you do.

Caitlin Bacher:

Yeah, sure. So my real passion is helping online course creators scale their business in a sustainable way that does not drive them crazy. I feel like this industry is so incredibly noisy every way, whether you’re on Facebook, or you’re on YouTube, or wherever you are. We’re constantly being inundated with messages about the latest and greatest new shiny tactics, strategy, whatever. And listen, I love a good shiny tactics and strategy. However, I feel like where I’m strongest is helping people build that strong business foundation. A business cannot be built out of tactics alone. The way I see it is that tactics are kind of like toothpicks, and if you go about building a house out of toothpicks, it’s going to collapse. I’m really about building something that is strong, that is sustainable, that is not a fluke, that does not rely on you having one great launch, that’s something that’s really going to carry you through and help you create that legacy business, that can build generational wealth for your family. Yeah.

Emily Hirsh:

That’s one thing you do so amazing is I watch your students come in to work with us and have that long game mentality. Which I talk about all day long on this podcast too of just we’re creating that long game business, right? This is not an overnight success, a one month hit show type of thing. And so I love that about what you do and how you really instill that in your students. Everybody doesn’t want to hear that, right? We want that, like you’re saying, we want the overnight success, we want the shiny object, but the reality is that pretty much never works. 

Caitlin Bacher:

The other thing I will say about that too, is on the off chance that it does work, because listen, there have been some sort of like, we’ve seen them, some kind of overnight quick success stories, but it does not last. And it does not last because there’s no foundation, right? I know a lot of people that have gotten to that $500K mark per year or the million dollar mark per year, and the following year they completely snapped back and they’re back at $200K a year or back at $300K a year. The reason that happens is because you had a string of good luck. You were working your fingers to the bone. 

If that wasn’t luck, maybe you were just working really hard, but it’s not sustainable. There’s no foundation in place to really support that growth. As your revenue is increasing, you need to be building a longer foundation along the way. I get it when you’re first starting out and it is just you. I mean I did, listen, my first online course. I know Emily and I have talked about this before, when I did my first online course, it was literally, I had a little Squarespace website. It was all black and white because I didn’t do graphics or anything. My sales page was a blog post and it just had I embedded the little PayPal link. Someone would click the link to buy my little course and I would get a PayPal notification, and then I would manually send that email and say, “Welcome. Here’s the password.” I get it. We all have to start somewhere, but you’ve got to change that as you grow, right?

Emily Hirsh:

I love that. It’s great to notice and acknowledge that we all started there. So if you are there, that’s fine. Then you have to have that mentality moving forward so you don’t stay there year after year. I think that’s the key because a lot of people talk about it’s one or the other. You either hustle or you don’t hustle. It depends on the phase of business that you’re in and that’s absolutely okay. I think I would love to just, if you could give us what the scale method is, because I think that’s like, you’re unique… we’ve got our, we rebranded it to the Not For Lazy Marketers Process, but it was the Hirsh Process, and that’s what drives everything I do. I think you have that too, so I’d love for you to tell us what’s the high level overview of that process.

Caitlin Bacher:

Yeah, I love that. So our proprietary process is called the Scale Method built for course creators and it’s comprised of five core pillars. What we found is that the businesses that we have helped scale to and through a million dollars so that they’re consistently generating $100K per month, $200K per month, those businesses, they all have something in common, and that’s that they have these five core pillars in place. 

The very first pillar is product. When we talk about product, what we’re really talking about is the offer itself. A lot of times when people start their online course, and listen, I have been guilty of this too, their online course is very crowded and busy and they are offering not just one clear process, but multiple processes. It’s kind of like choose your own adventure. I remember I used to sell an Instagram course and I was like, “you can do it this way, or you can do it this way, or you can do it this way,” all in one course. It was very confusing. I don’t know about you, Emily, but the people that I’ve seen that have really been able to build something that is like that really clear offer that you’re able to send cold traffic to and it’s able to convert is something very simple. So the promise of that course is just very clean and simple. It’s not like “build your business,” or “get better in relationship.” It’s very nice and clear. So that very first pillar of product is all about figuring out how can we really nail this offer so that it’s very clear, that it’s very streamlined, and that it’s really set up to sell on autopilot?

Emily Hirsh:

I love that. Which is kind of that foundation is everything because everything you build on top of that is reliant on that foundation.

Caitlin Bacher:

Yeah. Some of the mistakes that people make when it comes to product is they start to get concerned because perhaps they get some feedback, “your course is too high priced. It’s too much money,” this and that. What that is really signaling is that they do not understand the value of your offer. Now, listen, I’m not about to tell you that there is no one in your business, in your audience that cannot afford what you’re selling. Of course there are some people that genuinely cannot afford it, but oftentimes, I don’t know if any of your listeners have been in this situation, but you’ll hear someone say they can’t afford it and then the next day they’re posting on Facebook, “oh, I just got this or that.”

Emily Hirsh:

Yeah, absolutely because of the perceived value, totally. Which is so true. 

Caitlin Bacher: 

Yeah, a hundred percent. So that’s the first pillar product. The second pillar is marketing. Marketing for us is all about lead generation. What we’re really passionate about here at Scale With Success is really helping people build a lead generation system, something cohesive that works together. Again, it’s not about patching something together like in some collage that you did in kindergarten, when you were like piecing all of these different tactics and strategies. It’s something that needs to be sustainable, something strong. A lot of people really struggle when it comes to lead generation and they fall into this trap of feeling like, “you know what, I’ve already sold this course as much as I can, so in order to make more revenue, I’m going to create a new course. I’m going to create a new offer.” 

I get the appeal of that because it’s like, yeah, you can make more money doing that, but you’re not confronting the real problem. The real problem is lead generation and that problem is going to follow you everywhere you go. So even with your new product, guess what? You’re going to run into the same hurdle if you don’t learn how to overcome that. One of the things that I really believe is that things don’t get easier, but we get better. The only way that that is going to be possible is if you really see that obstacle, that challenge, for what it is and figure out ways to really overcome it. 

Emily Hirsh:

Oh my gosh. We have so many similarities with our teaching. I just love it so much. I don’t know if this goes into one of your other steps, but I do remember like three years ago, messaging you and I was like, you are one of the only ones who’s teaching that layered strategy that I talk about with our process where you don’t just have that single funnel, but you’re warming people up with videos and you have multiple touch points. That’s a core part of what I teach too. So I think you do that so well with it. It is lead generation, but it’s also creating that system like you’re talking about where there’s multiple touch points and you’re not like “okay here’s the webinar funnel, I threw up ads and I hope that it works.” I don’t know if that goes into any of the other pillars, but if not, I’d love for you to touch on that because you teach the webinar, but there’s more to what you’re teaching, because I know from the clients that I’ve heard of in your program who come in with that.

Caitlin Bacher:

That absolutely falls inside of the marketing pillar, because it’s not just about generating leads and shoving a bunch of cold leads onto that sales page, whatever it may be. You need a system that is going to nurture them. What I like to say is by the time they come to your webinar, they should already know they want to buy the minute they like on the first slide. They’re just like, “I’m waiting for that offer. I can’t wait to hit buy.” The only way that’s possible is if you’re educating them in advance about their problems, some common mistakes to avoid, you’re able to really build that trust and authority. We call it high value content because we’re not all about giving lots of that content mill, generic, like, “oh, here’s how to do this.” It’s more like, let’s go deep. Let’s get some really valuable content that’s really shining a light on where those gaps are between where you are now and where you want to be, and why are they there, and what are some ways that you can really work towards overcoming that? Organic is great. Yes, I’m a big fan of organic, but it works really well in conjunction with paid advertising. If you have that strong message and you have that system for nurturing, why wouldn’t you pour gasoline on that fire and just let it go?

Emily Hirsh:

Exactly. So tactically, what that looks like is you have your students create high value, I think it’s a lot of videos that they run ads behind those, and then you have the retargeting audience to the webinar. And is that kind of like the core of what you teach your students?

Caitlin Bacher:

Yeah. A hundred percent. A lot of times people think, “oh, I need this super fancy video,” and we have had fancy videos in the class in the past, but that’s just because we can do that and so it’s not a big deal. I did not get to my first million with fancy videos. Nobody needs a fancy video. 

Emily Hirsh:

It’s the content, all day long.

Caitlin Bacher:

It’s the content and people like that genuine, authentic. You don’t need a fancy background, we don’t need this or that. I remember doing videos, we were in a tiny apartment. I didn’t have an office. I didn’t have a desk.I worked on the kitchen table. I had a little kid. Sometimes I had to go walk to the Starbucks, I remember doing my lives and stuff from Starbucks. I mean, it’s just whatever you have.

Emily Hirsh:

It’s the content. I love to just to harp on this too. It’s the going deep with the content, because that’s the key is that if you have a video that you’re putting out there for this purpose, it needs to provide that value and be different than the 500 other videos out in our space with course creators. I think that’s the key. I see you do this too with your content, and it’s not about the production of the video in the end. I mean, obviously you need it to look somewhat good and need to be able to hear yourself talking, but it’s really more that content and can you provide that deep content? That’s what I do in the form of my podcast to videos too. But that’s key because then you’re creating that touch point, like you said, before they get to the webinar and making it so much more of a valuable experience once they’re on the webinar.

Caitlin Bacher:

Well, an analogy of what I like to use is it’s like this person,  the person in your audience is, let’s say they’re a bucket, right? Their bucket is riddled with holes, right? And the bucket is kind of, okay it’s not like a person, I guess it’s like their belief system, right? There’s a lot of holes and gaps in there. So if you send them right to your webinar and you start pouring all of this knowledge, all of this information about going in depth into your system, well guess what? There’s holes all over, all of that is just going to go right through. They’re not ready yet. That free content that comes before the webinar, whether it’s videos or whatever, you need to use that to plug up the holes so that then they are prepared to not just hear the information, but really process it and understand it and to see how valuable it really is. It’s not going to seem valuable to them if they haven’t been primed first because it’s just going to go in one ear and out the other.

Emily Hirsh:

Yeah, and every time you plug one of those holes, you’re building trust and credibility with the brand. So I love that. Okay. What’s the third pillar?

Caitlin Bacher:

So the third pillar is sales. One of the things that our clients really struggle with when they come to us is that they’re stuck in this launch cycle. A lot of them have kind of tried evergreen before, but they haven’t been able to really get great results with it so they’re just like, “well, I guess evergreen doesn’t work for me. I guess maybe the only way that my audience is unique and special in this one way and they will only buy live. That’s the only way it will ever happen,” right? The reality is that if you’re not, again, if you really want to build something that is sustainable, that is that legacy business, you need to overcome this problem. You need to confront it and learn how to overcome it. There is no reason why you cannot be selling something as an evergreen product. There’s absolutely no reason, right? A lot of people are like, “well launches work.” Well, look at Apple. They’re launching the iPhone. They’re launching a new product and then they sell it. They keep selling it.

Emily Hirsh:

They evergreen it.

Caitlin Bacher:

It’s not like you have one week out of the year to buy the iPhone.

Emily Hirsh:

The cart is closing on iPhone 14. 

Caitlin Bacher:

Yeah. It’s like, no. I’m so passionate about that evergreen process because it really allows you to build momentum. The way that I see it is like when you’re, so I grew up in New Mexico and it was high elevation. So it did snow a lot, a lot of people don’t think it snows in New Mexico. So when you’re building a snowman, you started off with this little snowball, and then you’re rolling it across the snow and it just builds that momentum, and it gets bigger and bigger and bigger. When you’re doing a launch, you’re building momentum and then you’re shutting it off. Why in the world would you do that? Build that momentum and then keep going. It’s so difficult to get that initial traction and it’s so hard. Why would you not want it to build that self-fulfilling thing where it just continues to grow?

Emily Hirsh:

Yeah. I’ll add, I’m sure you agree with this, but with live launches, I think some people think that a live launch, the only time you’re doing the work is when you’re actually launching. The only way even a live launch is successful is if you’re doing everything before, like literally months before. So it’s like you’re either always doing the work for a live launch, or you’re always doing the work for evergreen. And you can have both, or you can choose one or the other. But you, at the least, need to have an evergreen option. I totally agree, because there’s very few businesses, besides maybe B School, where you can launch once a year, who started nine years ago and has that advantage for that to work. But I do see a lot of people’s struggle with their conversion live launch to evergreen. So I have my thoughts on that, but what do you think with your students is the number one reason that they struggle with that?

Caitlin Bacher:

So what I will say is that what we need to do is look at the big picture. We need to zoom out and look at the big picture because when you are live launching, you may have on paper a high converting webinar, right? You might feel like, “oh my gosh, my webinar converted at 50% live. Wow, I’m amazing. Now I’m going to put this on evergreen and maintain that 50%.” Well, guess what? It’s not going to stay 50%, first of all, but here’s what you need to know. Number one, you’re going to get twice, at least twice, as many people showing up to that evergreen webinar, then you are live. Show up rates are at least twice as high on an evergreen webinar as they are live. So even if your webinar performance, when it comes to evergreen, even if it goes down, you’re still going to be profitable because more people are consuming that specific content.

The other thing to really think about is that when it comes to having that funnel in place, you can make tiny tweaks and optimize as you go. A lot of people have this idea in their head that they’re like, “well, I like to launch because I like to see what works and then make changes.” Okay, well guess what? That’s exactly what you’re doing if you have an evergreen funnel. You’re making changes in real time so that you can see the result of those. If you’re launching great, what are you going to do? Wait six months until you make some changes and hope it works? That doesn’t make any sense.

Emily Hirsh:

And then the industry changes so much too so it’s hard to keep up. I think too with what we talked about in the previous pillar, one reason live launch has worked so well in terms of conversion is you bring in a warm audience, right? When you live launch, you promote it to your list and you promote it to your social media. I guarantee, if you go look at the stats, a huge percentage of your buyers have already been on your list and have already engaged with you. So by doing the marketing strategy you talked about where you’re running videos and you’re creating those touch points with your evergreen webinar, that’s also how you get that sales conversion up because you’re recreating that in an evergreen way. 

I also think people struggle with evergreen when they’re fully cold traffic and then they bring them into the evergreen webinar and then they just sit on their lists. You need to have flash sales, then follow up and try to resell them. That’s the piece too, like evergreen is that long game strategy. So I think that’s also why you’re able to create that success for your students.

Caitlin Bacher:

Yeah. A hundred percent. You don’t just bring people in cold and then you’re like, “okay, you’ll never hear from me again.” 

Emily Hirsh:

Yeah. All right. Well, let’s move to the next pillar. 

Caitlin Bacher:

Okay, so pillar number four is all about student success. Now, when you are running an evergreen program, there are differences between running something live. What we have seen is that if someone is running a live program, you can get away with not having systems in place because you’re like, “you know what? I’m just going to bite the bullet. I’m going to work my buns off for my six week course, for my eight week course, or whatever, and then pass out and lay on the couch because I’m so exhausted.” So what we want to do when it’s evergreen is you are going to need to make sure that you have a really great onboarding process for those clients, so that no matter when they join, they feel welcomed into your community.

It’s not just a matter of sending them one email with something like, “here’s your login and password, goodbye”. You need to have systems in place to onboard them, to effectively serve them, to effectively… If there’s something that you want to upgrade them to later on, to be able to have systems in place for that. A lot of times people think that they need to add a lot of additional complexity with cohorts and oh we have to start and stop at the same time, and everyone’s going to start on this date. No. You’re selling an online course, you don’t need to do that. Ultimately, I have found that the students are better served in an evergreen program because it is continuous. Who wants to buy a program, get served for six weeks and then it’s like, see you later.

Emily Hirsh:

Yeah, like hopefully you did it. I love that, and I definitely love how you’ve included in your process and your method that this piece, because I think that in it, from a marketing perspective, that’s so important because you’ve spent all this money to get these leads, to get them in your webinar, to get this sale. Now you need to really prove to these students that this is an amazing experience for them and was a good investment in their money, so that maybe you have another offer in the future or whatever. But that’s so key, because I know myself, retention is actually more important to me than the front end marketing because I will lose more having a lower retention. So that’s really key that you take that into consideration and create that amazing experience for these new students that you’ve worked so hard to bring in and spent money to bring them in too, most likely.

Caitlin Bacher:

Yeah, a hundred percent. They also don’t, a lot of times, even if you have a course and not a membership, if you have payment plans, I’ve seen a lot of people try to implement evergreen without a strong foundation for a student’s success and they just bleed through it. So people are making their first payment and then they drop off. Well, how are you going to scale that? We need to confront that problem and solve it.

Emily Hirsh:

And creating student success becomes part of that snowball of success because then they start talking about it, and then more people come in, and it just helps the whole ecosystem of your success. All right. Well, what’s the fifth pillar?

Caitlin Bacher:

So our fifth pillar is something that we only share with our clients that are at that $15K per month and above. That pillar is all about ops and finance. So once you’re at that six figure mark, and if your goal is to stay at six figures forever, fine. That’s great. If your goal is to scale to and through a million dollars, you need to make sure that you’re understanding how you can build a profitable team. The key is a lean profitable team. I cannot tell you how many people I see coming into our stage two program, and they’re making $250K a year and their teams are bigger than mine. I’m like, what is going on here? Why in the world do you have a CFO? Like my goodness.

Emily Hirsh:

I’ll just also say, nobody talks about that because I did that a little bit. Once you start building a team, you’re like, I need somebody for everything, like full time over here and full-time over here. So it is so true, you have to be smart with that because it can be very fast that it gets out of control. 

Caitlin Bacher:

Okay, and let me tell you. All these pillars came from my own mistakes. I remember the year that I went from $200K to a million dollars. When I started that year, listen, I had a Pinterest specialist on my team, I had a YouTube editor, I had a this. I was like, you know what? This is not working for me. I really had to streamline and I let go a lot of contractors and was just like, okay, what are the key roles that I need, and if I need extra stuff, what can I get rid of so that I don’t need that extra person and just build momentum with that?

Emily Hirsh:

Yeah, and you have to be on top of it because it is easy. I feel like once you get a taste of building a team, you’re like, I want help with everything and I want to do nothing. That’s the goal. Not do nothing, but I want to be removed from the business, and so then you get into that where it’s like, I’ll just hire all these people. It’s great to build a team, but everybody needs to have clear roles, clear responsibility and outcomes of what’s the revenue generating coming from that role or the time-saving component, not just for fun.

Caitlin Bacher:

Yeah, and you yourself have to have processes and systems in place that are going to help lead that team for you because you obviously can’t meet one-on-one with every single person on your team. What you also can’t do is totally hand it off to someone else, and I have totally done that too.

Emily Hirsh:

I did that too, the integrator model, yes. 

Caitlin Bacher:

I get it, it sounds really appealing, Marketing wise, it is great. Like things like, oh my gosh. Yes. I would love not to.

Emily Hirsh:

Yeah, the one person I have to talk to as an introvert is great who can run the whole company.

Caitlin Bacher:

Again, it’s really about like, how can we build this? How can we build this strong foundation and have these really strong pillars of support so that they can grow with you, and it’s never one and done. So you can really master marketing in order to get to $100K, and then a million, and then $10 million, or whatever it is. But you’re always going to have to cycle around, and your marketing systems are going to look very different once you double your revenue, triple your revenue. 

Emily Hirsh:

Yeah. It’s definitely the pillar, well, all of them, you’ll always be working on, but you’re always going to be working on that one for sure. More growth, more problems. Different problems each time you hit a new level. Awesome. Well, this was so insightful and I just love chatting. I feel like you could go on for hours because we have so much consistency too with the way we teach. It’s rare to find that. I remember sending you that Facebook message three years ago, and I was like, you’re such a breath of fresh air, or something like that. Because the long game piece is, I think if you were to summarize it all, sustainability, long game, real results, and this is how you get there and it’s not easy. It’s going to take work. Every part of this is going to take work, which I say the same, but if you are willing to do it you can achieve that success and it’s up to you whether or not you can achieve it. Awesome. Well, I’d love for you to tell everybody, I know you have two main ways that you work with course creators. Tell us a little bit about that and then where people can find you. I know you have a podcast. I think you’re rebranding it. So share that with everybody. 

Caitlin Bacher:

Our core program is called Scale With Success and we have a free masterclass that goes, if you like what you heard and in my conversation with Emily today, I definitely encourage you to go check out that free masterclass so you can go a bit deeper. Also, we have recently rebranded our podcast that used to be the Caitlin Bacher Show, and now our podcast is called  Scale With Success: The Podcast Built for Course Creators. So I am really excited. Also, be on the lookout for a little interview with Emily coming down the line. I co-host that podcast with my director of marketing. We have some brand new episodes coming out soon, so keep a look out for that as well. 

Emily Hirsh:

Yay, awesome. Well, thanks so much for your time. I highly recommend you go listen to that masterclass, you go listen to Caitlin’s podcast. There’s a lot of synergy. If you’re a course creator, I would go over there and get some support because, again, some of our best clients come through Caitlin’s program, which speaks volumes to your content. So thanks so much for your time today, Caitlin.

Caitlin Bacher: 

Thank you so much, Emily.

Have questions? Text my team at +1 (512) 648-5723!

NOTE: This number is for texting only and is not set up to take voice calls or messages. Only US and CAN phone numbers are accepted. If you have an international phone number, email your questions to [email protected]