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- Who: Michelle Knight
- Website: brandmerry.com and brandmerry.mykajabi.com
- Course Topic: Marketing
- Interesting Stats: $20k/month
Who are you and what course have you created?
I’m Michelle Knight, a mother, wife, world traveler, and storyteller. I’m also the founder and CEO of Brandmerry.com where I serve as a Personal Brand Consultant and Marketing Strategist for entrepreneurs struggling to build a revenue-generating business. I help them brand themselves online, market their message, and create more income and impact.
My focus is on teaching the power of storytelling to create an authentic brand that allows them to show up as they are, build a loyal community, and experience time, financial, and location freedom as a result of their work.
I left my 9 to 5, retired my husband, built a multiple-6-figure-a-year business and my family became digital nomads all within 5 years of starting.
Brandmerry Academy is a membership for female entrepreneurs who are ready to up-level their marketing, increase their online community and sales without posting daily on social media or wasting time on Instagram. It gives members VIP access to monthly marketing mini-courses, group coaching sessions, and an active and engaged community of entrepreneurs to help one another with guidance and support. The main purpose of the courses and program is to help women take action to get the results they truly want. It’s about getting off the hamster wheel, spending less time on social media, and focusing their time and energy on the things that truly make a difference.
What market does your online course serve?
My course mainly serves female entrepreneurs who are ready to increase their online community and sales. It’s for the woman who wants to spend more time and energy on marketing and branding techniques that will make an impact on their bottom line. It’s for the woman who is ready to stop spending hours wasting time on Instagram and ditch the days of daily posting on social media.
What’s the biggest benefit of taking your course?
The biggest benefit is the transformation that women have after joining the course and implementing their new knowledge. They learn how to spend less time doing the tasks that don’t actually make a difference and more time doing the things that do make an impact. It helps them gain leverage over their time, finances, and location. Instead of jumping through hoops on this never-ending obstacle course that is marketing, they obtain the perspective and skills of how to show up effectively. It also gives them the knowledge they need to consistently attract leads and make sales without having to come up with new content daily.
How did you get into the market?
I started my business in 2016 after the birth of my son and did what every entrepreneur did at the time, focused on social media and Facebook Groups. It did work, and in one year I grew my business to 6-figures, left my 9 to 5, and started to pay myself a regular salary. But, I was so exhausted having to come up with content ideas, remember to create content for social media, and constantly try to think of ways to get new leads for my business.
I started to explore alternative ways to market. After I implemented a few of them and in 2018 my cousin told me I was ranked on page one of Google. I knew what I was building was working and I went all-in on blogging, implementing SEO, Pinterest, video, and more. Thank goodness because, in 2019, my husband, son and I started traveling full time in an RV so my “time” and access to the internet was limited.
After I saw that I could live my life and not feel chained to marketing on social media, I knew I needed to share these tips and tools with other entrepreneurs and small business owners so Brandmerry Academy was born.
Why did you decide to create an online course in the first place?
I had already created a course centered around branding your business and sold it successfully for about a year. But, I wanted to support my clients after the branding phase was done and with marketing, you constantly need to be updating and researching the best strategies. That’s why I decided to create a membership so I could update the content as needed, answer questions and really support my clients at the highest level with monthly support calls and challenges.
Did you have any moments of doubt before you created/launched it?
Of course, I did, I think we all do. But, I had launched a membership in 2018 that I closed within a year because it didn’t light me up, so I knew very clearly what I didn’t want and used that to build The Academy. I knew I wanted to build a very clear path for my ideal customer rather than just throwing a bunch of content in a membership site and saying, “Good Luck!”
I was also a little nervous about requiring a year-long commitment. There weren’t many memberships at the time that required this, but it was super important to me. After my first membership, I knew that the month to month wasn’t going to work. There is no way to learn, implement and master your marketing in just one month, it takes commitment and consistency. So, I was nervous about how people would respond, but I went forward because I really believed in the structure.
What’s your online course like?
I deliver content in a variety of ways. Every month, a new marketing minicourse is unlocked and this content is delivered via videos, typically 5-6 for each topic and an action guide. These videos consist of PowerPoint slides and tech training, depending on the lesson. In addition, we ask all members to complete Fundamentals so they have their website, lead magnet, brand messaging, etc… in place so the marketing works at the highest level. These are delivered via video and pdf.
We also offer four monthly support calls for members which include Q&A, hot-seat coaching, and coworking sessions so that members are supported with all aspects of growing their business.
How long did it take you to create your course?
I’m a firm believer in building as you go, so I launched in January 2020 with one mini-course ready to go, a Facebook Group, and the membership portal. I had already run multiple group programs so the membership portal was ready to go with some tweaks. Then every month I’d make it a goal to complete the next month’s training. I typically blocked off 4-5 days to work on the slides, videos, and workbooks, and then my Operations Manager would upload and format. I did this for one year to create the years’ worth of content and it was so fun!
Tell us a little about the process of launching your course and getting your first sale(s).
I launched in January 2020 and hosted a live webinar to get sign-ups. The webinar was so fun because I got to talk about marketing in a way I had never done before. My audience was super excited because they were looking for this next step after establishing their brand. I offered a Founding Members price of $67/ month for a year or $670/ annual which was a great incentive to join. Today, at the time of writing this article the price is $97/ month.
Do you have a lead magnet?
I have free training all about the methodology we teach inside of Brandmerry Academy. It teaches entrepreneurs how to better understand marketing and the different stages needed, as well as my favorite ways to market without social media. It’s a great introduction to this way of marketing and gives viewers a better understanding of what marketing is not, the stages of marketing, the mistakes most entrepreneurs make, and how to market with ease.
What’s the traffic strategy that works best for you?
Pinterest is one of the best methods I’ve found for constantly driving traffic to my website and programs. Just like Google, Pinterest is a search engine. A lot of people mistake it for a social media platform like Instagram and Facebook, but it’s not. If you’re using Pinterest in that way I want you to rethink that strategy. Instead, start to think about it as a search engine.
How can you drive more people off of Pinterest and onto your website?
The cool thing about Pinterest is that it’s designed to lead your ideal customer off of the platform and onto your website. So high-value content is so important. Every blog post I create gets pushed out on Pinterest, as well as a clear repurposing strategy.
Pinterest isn’t just about posting your new blog once and hoping it works, there’s consistency involved and it’s one of the strategies I teach inside of Brandmerry Academy.One of the great things about Pinterest is that your content lives on far after you first publish it. - Michelle Knight Click To Tweet
Some of the very first posts I created years ago still get consistent traffic to my website today and rank higher on Google because of the traffic.
What online course platform are you using?
Kajabi. I’ve been with them since 2016 and love it. I house my membership, courses, and group programs there and use it as a central location to communicate with my paying customers and clients.
Kajabi is one of the top online course platforms used by successful course creators interviewed on coursemethod.com. Kajabi includes email marketing and other tools that make it easy to run your entire business from their platform.
- Price Range: $149 to $399/month
- Most Popular Plan: Growth Plan at $199/month
- Annual Discount: Yes, take 20% off!
- Free Trial: Get a 14-day free trial (credit card required)
Are there any features you wish it had?
Honestly, it’s great! As my business has expanded and I desire to get off of Facebook, a more robust community feature would be great, but I have a feeling they’re on it!
What made you decide to use your chosen platform over others?
As I mentioned, I’ve been on Kajabi since 2016 and at the time I was looking for a way to host sales pages, checkout pages, the membership portal, and email my clients. Kajabi offered all of that and I was tired of piecing it all together. At the time, I was also selling some individual lower-priced programs and found many of my clients were repeat buyers, so I loved that they could have one log in with all their products.
What other tools do you use to run your online course business?
I tend to use the best of the best based on my individual needs. So my website is on Squarespace, which I love because of the simplicity of editing and SEO. My email marketing is done through Convertkit, this is where I onboard new leads and send my weekly emails. I also use Leadpages for all my landing pages, because I invest in paid ads and want to make sure I’m building the most optimized pages for conversions.
What books or training programs have you found useful on your journey to a successful business owner that others might find valuable too?
I am a big fan of James Clear and his teaching on habits. His book, Atomic Habits, completely changed my life (not exaggerating here)! His way of presenting stories and data about building habits is powerful. I recommend this book to all business owners who want to learn how to create habits that set them up for success.
Another book that I highly recommend is Rich as F*ck: More Money Than You Know What to Do With by Amanda Francis. Not only have I read her book, but I’ve also invested in a few of her programs. Amanda’s work around money mindset resonates deeply with me and if you want to change how you view money this book is for you. It’s perfect for someone who wants to shift their money story to a place of abundance rather than lack.
And, I recently read We Should All Be Millionaires by Rachel Rodgers and loved it. I’m already a client of her company Hello 7, so this book was a must-read for me. I loved the way she shared more practical and inspiring tips for making more money as a CEO and her pep talk on raising your prices always motivates me.
Do you have any big mistakes you’ve made along the way that you’d be willing to share?
Oh, so many, and I frequently talk about them publicly! I’d say my biggest mistake, as it relates to my online course, was my first membership site. Now, looking back I’m so grateful for the lessons it taught me and the foundation it gave me to launch The Academy, but at the time I built it because I felt like I had to.
I just assumed having a membership was the next step because of what I saw happening online, but I didn’t really have a clear mission or direction for it. As a result, I struggled to come up with content, I renamed it two times and eventually closed it down. It just reminded me that we have to make feel-good decisions as business owners and not just do what everyone else is doing.
Please share some idea of revenue.
My monthly revenue in my business averages at $20k a month. This is a combination of private coaching, sales from my course, “You! Branded,” and Brandmerry Academy. Brandmerry Academy brings in an average of $8,000 a month ($5,000 from monthly payments and the rest broken down from annual payment plans).
Please tell us a little about what the money you’ve earned from your course has done for you.
A big perk that I’ve had by running my program/course and being an entrepreneur has been the ability to be a digital nomad for the past three years. A fun fact about me and my family: in one year, we managed to live in 33 different states and visit 14 different national parks! We took a break and slowed down in 2020, but have been able to travel more this year. In June, we spent about 3 weeks in Hawaii and we’re currently preparing for a big trip to Greece this fall!
The Academy gives me a consistent revenue stream that allows me to scale my business. Because of this, I’ve been able to bring on additional support team members inside of The Academy, hire an Operations Manager, and think about the next steps for Brandmerry.The consistent revenue stream gives me more flexibility and capacity to continue to grow my business and live my life. - Michelle Knight Click To Tweet
In addition to revenue are there any numbers you would like to share?
I’ve used the strategies I teach inside of Brandmerry Academy to grow my online community to over 15,000 individuals (email list, Instagram, Youtube, and podcasting), not to mention over 1.3 million views a month on Pinterest. As I mentioned before, I utilize blogging, Pinterest, and Youtube to grow my online community. All three of these avenues also help with my traffic from Google. Monthly, I’m averaging anywhere between 7k – 11k unique visitors to my website. I also utilize Pinterest and Google advertising as well.
I’ve created a clear repurposing plan and weekly workflow that produces a weekly Youtube video and weekly podcast episode for The Brandmerry Podcast. Both of these pieces of content get repurposed as blogs and shared via email, social media, and Pinterest.
What has creating your course done for you personally?
My course and my business have given me the freedom that I could never ask for in a 9-5 job. My family and I have been so fortunate to be able to live as digital nomads, traveling the globe. It was always a dream and now we are living it. The Academy is just one more way that I get to live out my dream and support others in doing the same.
Do you have a story of a transformation from any of your clients?
One of my clients has a midwifery business and started working with me inside of The Academy as a Founding Member. One of their goals was to create more passive income, fill their practice, and hire another midwife so they could have more sustainability. They have been able to do that in just one year! It’s absolutely amazing when my clients share these results with me because they work so hard, put in the time and energy, and watch their goals happen. I’m just so grateful to play a small part in that.
What advice do you have for people just starting out?
Get focused on building a solid brand foundation. You want your branding and messaging to be clear, so understand what your niche is, who your ideal customer is, what your core offer is, your voice, your values, and the emotional side of your brand. Once you have this nailed down, your marketing strategy will be so much easier to implement!
When your message is clear and you’re showing up in the right places to reach your audience, you will start to get consistent leads which in turn leads to increased sales (and income).