Hey, welcome to the Summit Host Hangout Podcast where you'll learn how to host a high converting virtual summit that leads to your biggest signature offer launch yet. I'm your host, Krista, from Summit in a Box, and we're taking a break from our normal summit talk for a three-part series where I'm bringing in special guests who are experts on the course side of things so things like: what's working in courses, live versus evergreen and how they fit together, creating anticipation for your offers, and more. And I'm so excited for this because truly, the better your course and program launches go on their own, the more a summit is going to just enhance those results and it just creates magic when you have both of those pieces working together. And today in Episode 221 I'm so excited to bring on a special guest to talk about her incredible hybrid marketing method that is going to blow your mind. like if it's your first time hearing about this like prepare to be amazed and excited and like ready to get to work after this episode. To give you some background information on our guests to she teaches entrepreneurs how to turn their expertise into digital courses and digital products. entrepreneur named her a top five women in business and 2021 She's been featured in ink the Globe and Mail, Buzzfeed today.com and more. And her unique take on online entrepreneurship has made her the go to voice for business owners who want to launch courses and build a lifestyle business and she is one of my favorite people to follow online because she's just so like fun and relatable and just like wonderful to follow. So if you don't know where you're about to and you're welcome. So without further ado, let's dive in and talk with Gemma Bonham Carter. Welcome Gemma.
I am so excited to be here. I need to capture that exact intro and pass that along. That was the nicest, kindest intro I've ever received. Thank you. Oh, you're so welcome. It's
Oh, you're so welcome. It's so true. I'm so excited for everyone who is new to you to get to learn more, I'm coming to your world and learn this approach. We're gonna get into today, we talked about I must have been on the summit I hosted in December, you taught on this. And I thought, I've literally only learned this in programs I paid $20,000 for. And I can't wait for you to just kind of give people the little bits and pieces in here. And then you know, we'll have all the things if someone wants to take it further. But before we get into all that, goodness, tell us a little bit more about you and your business.
Yeah, sure. So I got started in the online course world in 2017. I had been blogging, that was my initial kind of foray into online entrepreneurship was I started a home decor blog and started that in 2010. And did that for many years, dabbling in the world of paid ads on my site, affiliate marketing. I even had a little Etsy shop at the time, did brand deals, realize that that whole kind of like blogging influencer world wasn't exactly for me. And I launched my first course, which of course was for bloggers at the time. And it was like, everything clicked, I was like, "This is it." This is the exact type of thing that I'm meant to be doing- this teaching. Now, it's interesting, now when you look at the breadcrumbs of your life, and you're like, "Oh, all the things I did leading up to that there were components and elements of teaching, and leadership." And anyway, it all came together for me in 2017. Launching that first course this was not some runaway six figure hit off the bat, let's be clear about that. I think I made $2,000 I felt like I won the lottery. I was like this, you know, is amazing. And I really just, you know, one foot in front of the other, built it from there and remained in that blogger niche for the first like two ish years of creating and selling courses. At that time. I did build that to a six figure business and kind of had that natural progression of people then saying like, "Oh, Gemma, , but how would you do the course thing? I don't want to know about blogging anymore, I want to know about the course thing." So in 2019, I made that pivot to teaching about courses, and have been in that space ever since. And do kind of two ends of the spectrum. Now I work with entrepreneurs and help them create and launch their first courses and get that product to the marketplace and really teach them how to successfully kind of do digital marketing. It's kind of a whole new set of skills you need to learn when you go and launch a course and then also work with experienced more advanced course creators on those next level marketing strategies like we'll be talking about today in terms of like how to scale and really kind of take it to the next level because I've now built a you know, sometimes feels a bit weird status, but a seven-figure-a-year business still working what I consider part time, 20 to 25 hours a week. I've got two young kids and it's very much a lifestyle based business for me and I just feel like the opportunities incredible and I just love to help other people make that happen for themselves.
And I love seeing people like you do it people who are still ...you're out there doing what you teach, but also putting your life first as well. Instead of just teaching the hustle garbage so that's probably another part of why I love what you do so much.
Well, it's interesting, like you, I don't know if you found this, but when you sometimes when you look around in your particular space, and you look up to the bigger sort of gurus and mentors, it's really sometimes hard to find people who emulate that part who might have children at home or not be working 50-60 hours a week. And I don't, it's not that what they teach is wrong. But I need to make sure that the strategies I'm going to learn are going to work within my particular lifestyle. And so yeah, it's just an interesting thing to you sort of become aware of it as you get further along in business.
Yeah, and learn to leverage it instead of see it as a weakness. I love that awesome. Well, I'm on this podcast, just kind of due to the nature of what I teach at summits, I mostly reference live launches of courses and programs. And I also think that's probably what most people think of first, because those are the loud things that everybody is doing. But I strongly believe, I guess, due to my own experience, that a business shouldn't just be built on live launches. Would you agree with that? And if so, what do you think someone is missing out on if all they're doing right now are live launches?
Oh, this is such a good question. So my very easy answer is they absolutely should not be relying only on live launches. I think live launches can be the incredible cherry on top of a business that's already working to produce sales, and you have systems in place that make that happen. So it feels far too risky for me. And speaking about like being a mom having bills to pay like real life expenses here, like it feels far too risky to me to put all of my eggs into the launch basket and assume that launches are going to produce a certain way time after time. Let's hope that they do and, and of course, we can leverage strategies like summits to like have these incredible launches. However, I also want to know that I have consistent revenue coming in month over month that is somewhat predictable. And it's a really interesting shift, especially for people when they're coming from the one to one service world where you might book out a certain number of clients. If you're moving away from that, you need to make sure that you have a system in place to sell your course repeatably every single month. So I know right now, I have systems built where okay, if I know I'm going to be able to put in x number of leads into that overall system, I can fairly confidently tell you how much I'll make as a result, because I know my conversion rates and I have time in the marketplace, I've proven this model, you know, month after month, the same thing happens, right? Like it's very predictable at this point in my business. And I think it's really important to build that out so that you can leverage both and maximize your sales overall.
I love how you put that I feel like, you know, I guess it's the people who teach, teach live launch methods. I feel like they basically teach evergreen kind of has like a second, like the lesser than thing and live launches where you bring in all your money. And then evergreen is just kind of backup or something you add in later. But like, last year, when we launched the Accelerator, we totally reworked all of our funnels. And in that time, like while we were trying to get the Evergreen funnel really up and running and optimized and converting well, that was like one of the most stressful things I've ever been through in business because we had to live launch like every couple of months, like we don't have money coming and we need money, we need to do another live launch. And it was terrible.
And I think also then you bring the energy of that into your launches. It's like a feeling of desperation. And I'm not terribly like, super into Well, I appreciate energetics and you know, mindset manifestation type stuff. But like, I think coming into a launch with that kind of energy just can have a really terrible effect on how you show up and how you present the offer.
Your whole life. Just oh my gosh, okay, well, I want to dive into you're just a unique and powerful hybrid marketing method here, could you first maybe give us like kind of an overview, and then maybe we'll dive into the different pieces totally.
So at a high level, big picture viewpoint, there are three elements to this method. And I used to actually only talked about two. And it's in the last year that I've added this third one, which I was realizing I was doing but I hadn't explicitly like talked about it and incorporated it into the method. So the first one is your evergreen sequence. Now this is if anybody who's listening has been in the course creation world for a while you probably know what this is referencing. It's generally speaking your like automated sales process, whether it starts with a webinar or whether it starts with a lead magnet, you're gonna have some sort of top of funnel thing takes people through a sales sequence and you can expect a certain number of people to convert and pop out the other end of it. Now I call it a primary evergreen funnel and I'm going to explain that explain why in a second. That's like piece number one, is your primary evergreen funnel and this is going to be somewhere in the range of like 40 into 30 days.
The second component of this hybrid method is your, whether you want to call it a long term funnel a forever funnel. I'm not fussed about like the language you use here. But the idea is, it's a secondary funnel that's coming after the Evergreen funnel. So people are going to have a more intense sales experience inside of that primary evergreen funnel, when they first come to you, it's typically when their warmest hottest, they're like really interested and often ready to buy. And we want to get those fast action takers to purchase. But then, just because they didn't buy in the first 14 days or 30 days, it doesn't mean you always have to wait until the next live launch, there's a secondary sequence that you can automate there, that is going to give them what I like to call more pathways to purchase. So we're just giving them additional opportunities to purchase your course or program at a more leisurely interval, okay, so whether this is three months, six months, or you build out a full 12, month one kind of doesn't really matter in the beginning, we just get it going. So those are components one and two of the method.
Component three is have fun with those live launches, run summits, do live webinars, do live workshops, do a five day challenge, do whatever lights you up from a live launch perspective, to generate hype to build brand awareness about your program to like I often use live launches to refresh the curriculum in my program, refresh some of the bonuses, I added new stuff during that time. So it's really nice to do one every maybe once a quarter or once every six months. So that you know that your programs are staying really up to date and current. Take it from me though, don't do a full curriculum update at the same time as a launch. Because I did that this past January. And let me tell you, it was a terrible idea. I was way overwhelmed. But anyway, those are the three pillars of this approach. And it's not that you have to go out and start doing all three right away, you layer these on over time.
The beauty, though, is that they all reinforce each other, like they all help each other do better. So let me give you a really tangible example of that, in one of the launches that I did last year, we go and we dive deep into the data post a launch because I want to understand like what worked, what didn't so I can take it into the next one. We looked at every single buyer and 53% of the people who purchase during the live launch had gone through that primary evergreen funnel within six months earlier. Like within the past six months, they'd been to the primary evergreen funnel. Had I not had that funnel running had they not been exposed to the offer during that funnel, like I have a really strong suspicion like they would not have purchased during the live launch. It was that they were presented the offer in the first place knew exactly what I was all about. I continued to nurture them, etc, etc. And then they were ready to jump in during that live launch. So my live launch results were like, you know, doubled, like half the buyers came from my evergreen funnel. So it just really goes to show you how they really can work together.
That is really cool to hear. Did those people who have gone through the primary funnel, would they have then been in your secondary funnel when the live launch happen?
They would have. They would have, but it's the Forever funnel. It has a frequency that's like quite intermittent. So some of them might have been popped in there but only received one or two emails from that funnel so far, like it wouldn't have felt overwhelming that forever funnel is not an overwhelming one at all. And the way in which you set it up is as soon as they do become a buyer. Like they're popped out of that funnel, so we're not continuing to try and sell them on something they've already bought.
Right? Yeah. Where do you get your like you said that's like can be like a six month a year long sequence? Yeah, where do you get all the content for that? That is not a quick setup.
It's not. If you're new, if you've been sending newsletters for the last year or two years, like if you're a business owner who has been doing email marketing, my guess is you've got a lot of really good gems in your archives that you can pull out. And one thing I will say is that this particular forever funnel idea is not to replace your newsletter strategy. It is targeted, which is like I think a lot of people do talk about long term funnels for that purpose, which I get. And I think that that's cool if that's the approach you want to take. But this one is really much more targeted to open up the sales conversation again. And so whether it's sending them to the sales page, that's one opportunity. But then there are other opportunities you can do inside this this funnel, you can send them to an application page. Some people would way prefer to purchase via an application form. You might just do what's called the A Conversation Starter email, where it's getting them to basically hit reply like you they're raising their hand some sometimes these can be one sentence like, Hey, I've got the next group of students starting inside of course creator school next month, we've got our next group coaching call coming up, do you want in hit reply and let me know, super short. But it's amazing how many emails we get that reply back, and I have someone on my team, this is part of her only job is the people who write reply back, we get a stream of them weekly from that email. And she responds, and it's like, great, you know, tell me a bit about your course idea. Like, let me get you set up and we close the deal. So it, it's really can be about just presenting the offer, again, sometimes in a slightly different way than you did inside of your evergreen funnel.Does that make sense?
Oh, my gosh, I love that. And I like I'm ready to go add that email right now. It's so easy, but why not.
And sometimes people are ready to purchase like two months later, but you're just not giving them an opportunity to do so. And so that's really what this is about. Yeah.
And like, that's just, the beauty of this strategy is just, it's just, like, truly exciting to me in the nerdiest way. But like, for me, I'm generally a really quick action taker. So like, if I see something I'm like, Alright, sure, done, right. But you know, there's times when I see something, I'm like, I want that. But I know it's not smart of me to do it right now. So I wait, I love it, when I do have the opportunity to jump in whenever I want to, you know, like, because I'm that kind of person, I don't want to have to wait for a live match, I will if I have to. So this setup was all three pieces catches all of those people at different stages. And it's so powerful.
And that's the exact idea is like, how can we were doing two different things? How can we number one, catch the people who are both the fast action takers, and you know, the slow cookers, the one who needs a bit more time? How can we I also FYI, I often call these people either the instant pots or the slow cookers, like you've got either or in your in your audience. The other thing is, you're offering it in different ways to different buyer types. So set, like I said, Some people love a webinar, they're gonna come to a webinar, they're going to be, they're going to consume it, they're going to be really excited about and they're gonna buy on that webinar. I was talking to a friend of mine the other day, she's like, Who are these webinars, people, I've never signed up to a webinar in my life, I'm never gonna buy off a webinar. And I was like, that's fair. So for that, for her, she's someone who would love to consume, like story based emails. And if they're really compelling, she's buying that offer. Like she's the one who needs like those really good long story based emails. Another person is going to be someone who likes the conversation starter email, they like having a quick DM style of conversation, whether that's over email, or Instagram, whatever that looks like to just be able to fully understand that, like, yes, Gemma knows what I want to do. She says that this is a good fit for me. You know, I'm in kind of thing, they need to have that little touch point, another person might really like being able to fill out an application form and know that like me and my team have looked at it and similarly feel like yes, you're a good fit, we could help you. Here's the link to go and purchase. You know, there's so it means that you are appealing to these different buyer types. Because to your point, not everyone's a fast action taker. Not everybody's like Krista who's ready to jump in right away. I'm definitely more of a slow cooker. I'm like the person who was like, I was on someone's list. I must have been on his list for like three and a half years, loved everything he did read every email totally appreciated his perspective on stuff. And then finally, I was like, okay, now's the time. Now I'm ready. Let's do it. And it didn't take much like I didn't need a webinar. I didn't need really anything. Just you know, I acted on one of his emails and that was it.
Yeah. Oh my gosh, it's it's so cool to like think back through all the decisions we've made and like oh, this is what got me and see how you can work stuff like that exactly into your own funnel. Something else you said about the Forever funnel idea is that it doesn't replace your newsletters which is interesting specifically to me because the strategy I use, the people in my forever funnel aren't getting newsletters. So I'm just like curious to pick your brain a little bit more on that. So is this forever funnel, you said that the emails are like very infrequent, it's not like you know, a super intense thing. Are those emails literally just different ways of inviting them to take that action and then your newsletter is the one adding value on a regular basis?
more or less inside of the Forever funnel. We do have some that are like either their case study email. So it's like let's make sure that those case studies and those really good student success stories that you have, you didn't just send it in one newsletter one time two years ago, and we're not like using that again. So we're embedding some of those into the Forever funnel. And we're also embedding what I like to call like the big idea emails. So, again, if you have typically I see people do this content the best during a pre launch, it's like, when you're thinking about, okay, what are the most polarizing thought provoking arguments that I can make in lead up to presenting my offer, those big idea type emails, I like to incorporate those in the Forever funnel too, because they typically are so mindset shifting, and compelling and memorable for your for your subscriber. So we include some of those too. And then, but then, often it is just these like offer invitation type of emails as well. And the cadence of them can differ, like, it could be every other week that you're sending one. So if you it could be, it could be even only once every three weeks, we probably wouldn't go any less than that, like that would probably I tend to like an every other week cadence personally. But it means that if you're sending a live newsletter, every week or every other week, it's still not like too much. Do you know what I mean? It's never going to become overwhelming for your subscribers. And you can set it up so that if someone's in your forever funnel sequence, it's always going to be coming out on let's say, a Thursday morning. And so you know, okay, if I send my weekly newsletter every Monday, okay, every other week, they're also getting a Thursday. No big deal, right?
And, hey, for the people who are listening, who want to automate all their newsletters, go ahead and do it. You could still use this strategy, just maybe in combination, like you're using some of my, my thoughts here. And yeah, just some of the strategy behind some of these emails and doing it in combination with your actual kind of newsletter, replacement emails, but I'm someone who loves email marketing, and I love sending a live newsletter. And I love sharing. That's really where I share the most stuff. And even just like what's going on in my life, and things like that. So I'm a big fan of, you know, I would never automate all my newsletters. I like it. I'd feel like I was cutting off a limb.
I love it. That's cool. I didn't know that there was anyone who still was super into that kind of thing. anymore. So that's like, kind of refreshing to hear. I never even read newsletters. I know, I know, I get yours. But I have a newsletters folder. And I never go there.
Well, do you know what I think it's important. I think like people should just unsubscribe to anything that feels extra, including mine. If that's not your jam, just unsubscribe and only have like, I would say I have like six people that I'm subscribed to that I just consistently open and read. And I will tell you, by and large, there are people who tell good stories. And so I think that's like a theme. If you want to really have your emails opened and consumed tell good stories.
Yeah, I agree. Yeah. Oh, my gosh, okay, this is all I'm nerding out and excited. So I hope our listeners are too. Before what would you say someone needs before they're ready to start implementing this idea.
So I think that as long as you generally speaking, I like people to live launch their programs before even attempting to go evergreen, it's like let's at least get the founding launch done, get our students through the door, validate this product offer, then we can look at going evergreen, I actually don't have big, hard and fast rules about like, you need to do four launches and get this kind of conversion rate, before we go evergreen, I think you could go evergreen, right after that first launch, knowing that this is your minimum viable funnel that you're gonna publish, it will need to be optimized and tweaked over time. And you're just going into it with that like data driven mindset. But get it out the door and just get it rolling and get data coming in to kind of like point you in the right direction, right? So I don't think that there's really any waiting game that you need to do to start building out your evergreen stuff, the Forever funnel that can really be third, right? Like, let's get your primary evergreen funnel and your launch strategy tickety, Boo happening, things are working things are running. And then we're going to layer on the Forever funnel, you know, as a secondary, or I guess, third element later on.
Yeah, I love that. That sounds like like just the perfect, like you said perfect layers to be added one at a time. And that forever funnel like you said can come when you have the content ready and bandwidth to keep working on it. Oh my gosh, this is so cool. So much good stuff to dive into. And I'm sure we have a lot of listeners who are like, Okay, I want to do this. What do you got for me? So can you tell us where people can go to keep in touch with you and you might take the next steps?
Totally. So if you're a podcast listener, which I'm sure everybody listening likely is I do have a show called the Course Creator Show so they can come on over there and just get a sense of like, what I teach and what I talk about, if you're interested in building out this sort of evergreen stuff and really lamenting this hybrid strategy, this is the foundation of what I teach inside of my program, the passive project. And it comes with a lot of other stuff too. There's a lot of coaching and support and ongoing kind of education in that community. We have a digital magazine, it's like all kinds of good stuff. But the foundation of the curriculum is this this sort of three pillars approach that we've talked about today so if you want to learn more about that it's getpassiveproject.com Very easy URL to remember. And you can also just DM me on Instagram if you want to let me know like what your current course situation is, if you want to get a sense of whether or not this is the right next step for you @Gemma.BonhamCarter. And yeah, I'll drop a couple more links in with you, Krista, that you can put into the show notes. We do have some free trainings and some lead magnets and things like that if people are interested, they can go take a look at those as well.
Amazing, I will include all of those links. I'll include a link to Gemma's Instagram as well. I don't have to try to figure out the last name spelling, although it is in the episode title. And yeah, we'll have all the goodness in there. Thank you so much for being here, Gemma and thank you so much, everybody for tuning in for shownotes. And resources mentioned head to summit host hangout.com/two to one.
If you're enjoying what you're learning on this podcast, you will love the summit two sales training series. This free series is for course creators membership site owners and group program coaches who need a high volume of leads to hit and big sales goals. So your business may be thriving right now. But you need a strategy to keep thriving. And that means having a consistent and repeatable strategy that brings both immediate and long term revenue and gives you the peace of mind that you have the leads you need to keep making more signature offer sales without burning out your email list. The free Semenza sales training series will show you how a virtual summit will help you do exactly that. So head to summit to sales.com to sign up for the 10 part series available in video, audio and written format and learn how virtual summits can become your most effective lead generation strategy cash injection method and lead to a long term and reliable increase in sales of your signature offer. So get started on the path to not only continue the success you found but grow it with the virtual summit at Summit to sales.com.
In the next episode, we'll be chatting about building anticipation for your launches and offers with another wonderful guest so be sure to stay tuned for that. Now go out and take action to plan strategize and launch your high converting virtual Summit.