Michelle Gifford is a living example of the power of branding. Her company, Michelle Gifford Creative, helps everyone from established influencers to emerging “momtrepreneurs” build their businesses, capture new audiences, and extend their reach.
Like many of her clients and followers, Michelle is also a mom, running a busy company while staying at home with kids and juggling loads of laundry between meetings. And she’s not afraid to show people how it really is. In fact, she’s turned real life into a competitive advantage by positioning herself as a “best friend in business.”
When Michelle started using Marco Polo Channels as a coaching platform, she discovered how easy it was to scale and monetize her content offerings, while building a real relationship with her audience.
The challenge: A large following but no personal connection
In addition to providing highly personalized client services that include everything from strategic branding to online course creation to email and social media campaigns, Michelle educates her broader following through a blog, a podcast, her Facebook and Instagram presence, and a treasure trove of web-based educational resources.
Facebook Groups was her go-to platform for coaching, and while it helped her reach a lot of people all at once, it didn’t build or nurture relationships. So it didn’t quite fit her vision.
“I understand the value of it, but it doesn’t give me a personal connection with my people,” she says.
Large scale, personal touch
With Channels, Michelle saw the potential for an effortless way to extend her reach while getting to know her audience members face-to-face, the same way you can easily stay in touch using the Marco Polo app.
In early 2020 Michelle set up the Michelle Gifford Creative Channel, put out a call for members, and began posting Monday through Friday following a consistent topic calendar (e.g., business view coaching each Monday, technical topics each Tuesday, community-building each Friday).
Mindful of her audience members’ time – they’re often multi-tasking as they watch – Michelle packs a lot of content into a succinct lesson, keeping each training under 12 minutes.
Having set a base monthly subscription price, Michelle began piloting ways to build her audience via an automatic new-member discount and an affiliate referral program. She’s going for volume now, but she sees immense potential for using Channels for smaller group coaching once this first Channel is fully established.
Channels provides an easy way to do a subscription and to monetize quickly, while still feeling very personal. And it cuts through all the noise. My audience goes to the app, and they’re going for me. There’s nothing else taking away their attention.
Her audience is growing – and watching
Just a month into her Channels launch, Michelle has gained more than 60 followers and, equally as important, sees them engaging often and consistently. At least half tune in every day for every lesson. She attributes that foothold to her brevity, a predictable rhythm of topics, and quality, all of which add up to value for her members.
“They know what’s coming, they know that I’m going to tell it to them straight, and that I’m going to over-deliver on content,” she says.
Channels is starting to contribute to organic growth – Michelle recently took on a big business development job from one of her Channels members, which happened naturally, without a pitch. And her invitations to large clients to test her Channel before committing have left those clients excited not just to be members of Michelle’s Channel, but to try Channels themselves. They have large audiences of their own and until now, were uncertain about how to get up and running quickly with video.
“Instead of doing a full-blown course, which involves time, production, and editing, this is something they can easily do themselves. I think Channels is where things are headed,” she says.
Michelle’s top Channels features
#1. It’s large-scale, yet personal. “I want people to feel really included and comfortable. People want community right now, and Channels is a great way to give it to them.”
#2. No need to record or edit professional videos. “Channels is fast and easy, just me recording on my phone. That’s good for me production-wise and time-wise, and it feels more personal when you’re watching. Sure, maybe I won’t look as put-together as I would in a produced video, but I’m showing up as I am. And I think that’s really great.”
#3. Channels is simply an app. There are no changing algorithms, no ads, and no other groups competing for people’s attention. “My audience goes to the app, and they’re going for me, with nothing in between to suck them in.”