All Posts by Michal Koziol

About the Author

Mike Koziol, Head of Delivery at Brand Central Marketing, is a former corporate shark working with Ernst & Young, Deloitte, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, to name just a few. He has a geeky side of his personality and loves to drive strategy and oversee delivery for our clients. Mike will build your strategy and will work with the team to have it delivered. He can occasionally geek out on Facebook ads (when Charlotte allows him to), be a smartass with processes (when Shanda is not looking), and click some buttons on the backend to build you a funnel. Mike loves the strategy side of the business, and he helps companies get clear on what it is that will move the needle.

Jun 01

Pivoting strategies

By Michal Koziol | Strategy

When the whole COVID-19 pandemic happened a lot of businesses were hit. Most industries were negatively affected by the crisis caused by the virus. Some industries just happened to be in a good position to not only survive but thrive. They were just lucky enough to be in that position. Nobody could have predicted a global pandemic would happen, and nobody could have prepared for it. 

But even if your business isn’t as fortunate, there are ways to pivot and find new ways to deliver value for your clients and make a profit. In fact, all businesses should be ready to pivot no matter the circumstances. Your business should have potential scenarios ready to implement if a crisis hits, no matter the source of it. 

There are a couple of ways to get ready for a hypothetical crisis and design scenarios that are ready to implement. The crisis can hit from various angles and you need to be prepared for each one of them. 

Sometimes adjusting to the new norm is just a matter of some tweaks to your current processes. For example, if you rely on manufacturing, deliveries and distribution you need to make sure that you have alternative sources of those services. 

But when small tweaks are not enough and your business is in real trouble you need to pivot. Sometimes it will mean you need to completely revamp your business model and throw your old business strategy away (or at least set it aside for a moment). 

A couple of strategies and things to consider when planning to tackle this:

  1. Your business operates based on the principle of delivering value to your customers. How can your business still deliver value to the same audience through different means or vehicles? What is a different way to deliver value to your customers? For example, if you are a brick and mortar yoga studio how else can you deliver value during a global pandemic? Can you deliver classes online? BTW, yes you can 😊 We know for a fact as this is something we help yoga studios do.
  2. What if your business can no longer deliver the same value to your customers because the service is no longer valuable to them. For example, if you are a travel agent and there are flight restrictions in place, nobody cares if you are available online to make bookings if your customers cannot fly anywhere. This is a tough situation to be in and you need some decent brainstorming to find other ways your business can help your customers right now. Using the travel agent example, you could offer virtual, 3D tours and experiences to see different parts of the world.
  3. Sometimes being creative and trying to figure out new ways to deliver the same value (point #1) or other ways to tackle some of the pain points (point #2) will not be enough. If all else fails you need to sit down with your teams and map out all the skills, competencies and experience you and your team have. Then you need to map out all current needs your customers have and all the products and services they consider valuable given the crisis situation. The fact is, people still have needs, though they may be different. Once you have those two tables – your skills/expertise and customers’ needs/value – find the matches between the two. Can you deliver value using the skills you have in-house? How? What would it take for you to start doing it? Brainstorm all the ideas and score them from the easiest to the hardest to implement. Next score them from the most profitable to the least profitable. Calculate the average and choose one (or a few) top scores on the list.

No crisis is fun; but experiencing a crisis does not mean it’s game over. Be creative, brainstorm and fight. Focus on the question “How can I still provide value?” to come up with the best solutions for your business and for your customers. 

May 29

Secret to FB Ads Success

By Michal Koziol | Strategy

Facebook ads are a super powerful tool to grow your business. They can also be a very powerful tool to burn A LOT of money if you don’t know how to handle them. 

There is no one, single, thing that will make or break your Facebook ads campaigns. But there are some principles that you should follow to make sure you are not just handing in your hard-earned money to Mark Zuckerberg. 

The main 3 elements to ensuring your success in Facebook advertising are the right offer, the right metrics, and constant analysis. 

We could go down the rabbit hole discussing each of these elements in detail. How to analyze the offer, how to choose the right offer, how to position the offer so it’s a good fit for the audience, what audience to choose, what campaign objective to use for which offer, what metrics to focus on for each type of campaign objectives, how to read and understand the data and how to act upon it so you make instead of burn money.

But let’s stay on the top-level, 30,000 feet view because without seeing the bigger picture it makes no sense to discuss the details. 

The biggest mistake businesses make when they first start with Facebook Advertising is they boost their posts or create ads that drive traffic to websites or landing pages that are not designed to convert. There isn’t anything wrong with boosting posts per se, as long as the copy on the ad and the destination (website/URL) is designed to convert traffic. Otherwise boosting a post that is educational or informative WITHOUT thinking of the offer on the other side of the click, and how to make those that clicked interested in the offer, is just wasting time and money. 

Facebook is a source of traffic — it puts eyes on your product or service. If you send traffic to an offer that is not compelling for the traffic that sees the ad, it will not sell. The most common conclusion is that “Facebook ads don’t work.” This is the worst conclusion you can get to. Ads do work. They work for our clients. We recently started working with a client who is now making approximately $100,000 a week on $5000 in Facebook advertising spend. That’s $5k in, $100k out. Still think Facebook ads don’t work? The secret behind this campaign is a killer offer: a high ticket offer that is highly valuable to the audience. 

Once you have the offer dialed-in you need to understand what metrics you should be paying attention to. What will move the needle in your business, what will push it forward? Too many business owners (and marketing agencies) focus on the useless metrics – CTRs, shares, CPC, CPM. It all doesn’t matter. What matters is the KPI and staying within that KPI. If you sell a $10k program and you’re willing to spend $1k/new customer then that is your KPI and metric you should pay attention to. The rest is just data noise. I’m not saying that you should completely ignore other metrics — they’re helpful to analyze the performance and trends. But too often the focus is on the wrong metric. 

This brings me to our next element – data analysis. We put SO-MUCH-EFFORT into analyzing the data to make sure we are spending our client’s money in the most efficient way possible making them as much money as possible. Our Head of Data built custom-made dashboards allowing us and our clients to quickly see the performance of their campaigns and pay attention to data that actually tell a story. Side note – we even started building stand-alone dashboards to help our clients with their other financial metrics. 

Analyzing the data and not relying on opinions is what makes our process proven and repeatable. There is no place for opinions, thoughts or emotions. If you know how to read data, draw conclusions and improve the performance of your ad campaigns based on them, you will make the right decisions. 

May 06

How to leverage digital marketing and digital solutions for your offline business

By Michal Koziol | Strategy

Closing the world down due to Coronavirus was a surprise for all of us. Businesses went in lockdowns quickly and unexpectedly. Companies large and small suddenly found themselves in an unprecedented situation – without any plans for dealing with the situation. 

But the global COVID-19 pandemic truly is a catalyst for change. Think about where the world has already been going: moving from offline to online or a hybrid model needed to happen. COVID just made all of these changes necessary RIGHT NOW. 

  • Banks and other financial institutions need to adjust their operations as there is no way you can have in-person operations. That means cashing checks, making payments, sending money transfers and all other in-person actions now needed to be handled online. 
  • Fitness and yoga studios can no longer work in-person to provide their services. 
  • Bakeries cannot sell bread, retailers cannot sell their products, barbers cannot fix our hair. 
  • At first sight, one could say “we’re doomed.” But in reality, COVID is just a catalyst of moving your operations online – partially or fully. 

Here at BCM, we are yet to find a service that was not able to move their operations online. We’re a marketing agency, but we’ve been working with businesses from every niche to help them convert to the online world. In fact, we’ve developed a product that allows businesses from a variety of  industries to move online (check Booked Solid HERE)

  • Fitness studios can record videos and full programs of at-home workouts and sell those programs online – as a one time access or a monthly subscription. 
  • Bakeries can turn into online stores, selling their products or kits to make bread at home. A bakery from California has opened an e-Commerce site, selling bread-making kits to the masses of new home bakers!  
  • Barbers and beauty studios have started offering online classes on how to cut your own hair, and how to take care of your nails and skin. 
  • Apparel stores are selling on Instagram stories with pictures of clothes and accessories and scheduling curb-side pickups 
  • Dog training facilities are selling memberships with full training programs their clients can go through and train their puppies at home. 

These are just a few examples of how you can transform your business so that it’s ready for today’s reality. Is it comfortable to change? Of course not, especially when the change is forced by a global pandemic without time for preparation. But it’s a change that can save your business. 

Here are a few solutions that can help you during these difficult times:

  • You’re too understaffed to respond to customer requests – leverage messenger bots to answer most commonly asked questions
  • You’re accustomed to selling in-person and offline – open an e-commerce store 
  • You have a “following” on social media – leverage the social media platforms to sell there
  • You provide in-person consulting – leverage online video conferencing
  • You lead group exercise classes or offer personal training – use video conferencing to guide people through their workout and other fitness activities

There are so many options available and this time can be a huge opportunity for you. This is the time when you can get ahead of your competition. 

Feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation on how we can help you take your business online. 

Apr 29

Should you invest in marketing during a crisis

By Michal Koziol | Strategy

There were some signals of a downturn coming but nobody expected a global pandemic and crisis of the scale we’re experiencing right now in the second quarter of 2020. Businesses from all industries have found themselves in an unprecedented situation — a situation that no one could have foreseen or planned for. The best contingency plans did not predict a crisis of this magnitude. 

One of the first reactions during a crisis is to cut costs; and that’s often a very good approach. But, as with anything else, cost-cutting has to be strategic and put in a bigger context. After all, you don’t want to saw off the branch you’re sitting on, right? 

So it begs the question – should I or should I not invest in marketing during this crisis? It depends on your situation and you’ll need to make the decision yourself; but here are several considerations you should take into account: 

  • Take Advantage of Lower Advertising Costs — Advertising on social media is at the cheapest level in 10 years. What used to cost $1 now costs $0.10. So if you can spend $100 to get 10x the return you would have gotten just a few months ago, perhaps it’s worth doing
  • Take Advantage of Less Competition — Now is the time to be visible and play offense, because most businesses will be playing defense. That means less competition and more opportunities for you. If you can get in front of the eyes of your potential customers at the cheapest level, then it sounds like a reasonable approach
  • Consider Your Conversion Rate — Does your offer convert? If it does, now is probably a good time to double down on it and add fuel to the fire. If your offer doesn’t convert it’s probably better to save your advertising dollars right now. Why? Because you need to conserve cash during times of crisis, and testing offers without having enough cash reserves is not the best strategy
  • Build Your Pipeline for Less — Even if your clients aren’t buying from you right now, you can still use this time to build your pipeline. When things go back to normal in a few months you’ll be teed up with all those leads you’ve gathered. If you “save” the marketing investment now, you’ll be building the pipeline later when there’s more competition and higher advertising costs. Plus, you won’t be ready to run as soon as this is over… instead you’ll be trying to build momentum at the same time your competition is.

If you’re in a position to invest, now is a very good time to keep your marketing focused on getting new business. Keep in mind that you might not close the new leads right away, but the pipeline you’re building now will pay off in the long run. Your marketing efforts will be the cheapest now and your ability to stay top of mind for your clients will go a long way when things go back to normal. Your clients focus on two important aspects when making purchase decisions: price and trust. If you keep building your brand – and your clients’ trust in you – right now, your marketing efforts will bring the expected return later. 

Photo by Brian McGowan on Unsplash

Apr 29

Dos and Donts in marketing during a crisis

By Michal Koziol | Strategy

There is a difference between making money from the crisis and during the crisis. And during this unprecedented time you, as a business, need to tread carefully not to cross a fine line between keeping your business afloat and serving your clients versus taking advantage of the crisis to make a quick buck.

Some basic dos and dont’s to keep in mind right now:

  1. Keep serving your clients to the best of your ability. This is the time when your clients need you. Due to the information overload, shutdowns and confusion of what kind of businesses can be open and what should be closed, it’s important that you make sure your clients know you’re operational. A simple Facebook Ad that says “Hey [location] we’re still open and happy to serve you. Contact us at XYZ” will do
  2. Adjust your message to the current situation. If you keep a happy uplifting messaging you used to have before the crisis some of your potential clients might consider you tone-deaf. Make sure you recognize the situation and explain how you keep serving them. 
  3. Don’t use messaging that evokes fear. Everyone knows what the situation is, so there is no need to use click-baity, sleazy or sensational messaging in your marketing now just to get more clicks and more traffic to your website. Not only is this uncool but also against social media platforms’ policies.
  4. Don’t raise prices on products just because the demand is high (ex toilet paper, hand sanitizers etc). Now’s not the time for the quick buck as your clients are struggling to find essentials. Your help now will go a long way once all of this craziness is over.

Remember that all business is personal. And as a business owner make sure you run your business and your marketing with the main reason WHY you run this business in mind. That reason is to serve your clients. Your business should be there to serve them and provide them with value. Now, more than ever, it is important to ensure that what we do as businesses is helpful and tactful. 

Photo by Tonik on UnsplashCopy

Brand Central Marketing
Apr 06

Want to be an influencer? Here’s how.

By Michal Koziol | Strategy

With the current state of online entrepreneurship, quite a few people want to become the influencers of the Internet. We go on Facebook or Instagram, see the amazing pictures of beautiful, successful people with amazing items (boats, cars, watches etc) they possess and we want to be like them. We want to become influencers. 

Here’s the tricky part. To become an influencer you need to…influence people. You need to have mechanisms that will change people’s beliefs. That will take them from point A to point B and then to C and so on. Your job is to guide them and show them the path. There isn’t a shortcut to it. There is no magic formula to follow and become an influencer and a personal brand overnight. 

Even though there is no magic formula that will make you an influencer with a snap of your fingers, there are some fundamental elements you need to put in place and build a sphere of influence that will result in you becoming an important part of your clients’ lives – an influencer:

  1. Have you realized that you often talk with someone about a concept that is so familiar to you and that you believe so much in, that it blows your mind someone might not be “getting it”? The reason it happens is that you and those other people are on a different stage of the beliefs path. They have a different worldview than you have. Your job is to bridge that gap in worldviews so you are all “on the same page”
  2. You need to do your research and identify where they currently are, what is their current worldview. A direct marketer would start hitting their current worldview with some direct response marketing messaging – hitting the pain points, fears. This will work on some and will “convert” some people to take you up on your offer and purchase your product or service. Direct response marketing is a very common approach to selling online, but it won’t make you an influencer. And direct response tends to “push” people to do something while building a sphere of influence is a way to “pull” people towards something, to lead them. 
  3. Once you have identified what the current worldview of your audience is, your next step is to identify the steps they would need to take, the elements they need to understand to reach the same worldview you take. This is a journey you take them on. 
  4. Now, when their worldview is in the same spot yours is, they see you as an influencer – they know you, they trust you, they like you. This is when they will believe in your offers, products and services and will be eager to purchase them. 
  5. Some ways to build the sphere of influence are:
    • Running a series of online training sessions helping your audience understand the concepts and steps that are the “gap” between your worldviews
    • Writing a series of blog posts 
    • Educating using Facebook Live
    • Sending email nurturing sequence that guides your audience 

Building a sphere of influence is a long-term strategy that has the potential to build relationships with your audience for life and to impact the masses. Worth a try. 

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Brand Central Marketing
Apr 06

Fix your marketing funnel one bottleneck at the time

By Michal Koziol | Strategy

When launching a new offer online, a new funnel or any other marketing activity that involves spending money, it can feel a little bit stressful. That stressful feeling in the stomach can lead to making decisions that, in the long run, are not for the best interest of the business. 

The tendency we see is the “pressure” and urge to change things quickly to limit money spent and “wasted” while we’re conducting tests”. 

There are a few elements that need to be taken into account when evaluating funnels’/offers’ performance and making decisions when to spend money, when to stop, and when to scale:

  1. Salespeople have two rules: Coffee is only for Closers and ABC – Always Be Closing. Meanwhile, the ultimate rule for marketers is ABT – Always Be Testing. We are always trying to get as much data as possible to understand the performance of the market and the response to the offer. That means money needs to be spent to gather, analyze and understand the data.
  2. Most of the funnels have at least a few steps that the customers follow and that means various moving parts to analyze. The urge a business owner might have is to change everything because they are spending money and they want to see the results as fast as possible. Gathering data is a game of patience. It takes time and money to “buy” traffic and gather the data.
  3. Nobody has a crystal ball to guarantee anything. Even if something worked two months ago for one of the clients nobody can guarantee it will work now for a different client. There are just too many variables – the offer, branding, messaging, tone of voice, price structure etc. That is why we need data.
  4. Once the data is sufficient we can evaluate how “healthy” the funnel/offer is and only THEN can we suggest tweaks. And, most likely, those tweaks will not be applied to all elements of the funnel.
  5. The main data points we look at are:
    • Performance of the ads – are people clicking them, do they share them, comment on them, engage with them, and are we driving optimal traffic to the landing page
    • Performance of the funnel – are visitors clicking through one step to the next
    • Performance of the offer – does the offer sell

Any of the above a-c points have subpoints we look at when assessing the situation. That is why it is so important not to make rushed, fear-based decisions that can actually ruin an overall good campaign.

If tweaks are needed, they need to be applied in steps to address the identified (based on data, not on a crystal ball) bottlenecks. Only then can we make educated decisions based on facts.

Photo by NEW DATA SERVICES on Unsplash

Feb 25

Why your marketing does not work

By Michal Koziol | Strategy

Every business needs marketing to grow. No matter how great your service/product is or how amazing your offers are, without marketing nobody will know your business exists. And most business owners are aware of that these days. They build their funnels and marketing campaigns or hire agencies like ours to take everything off their plates and provide expert-level services. 

The awareness of the need to have marketing in place is there among business owners. They get creative with their funnels, implement new channels like messenger bots or text messaging. They hire creative “growth-hackers” to help them implement. 

And all that is great, but there are two big problems and a bit of a blind spot that nobody seems to be talking about… 

The rise of shiny objects

Ah, yes, new ways of doing things. New ways to “hack” the algorithm of social media platforms. New tools and vehicles to make your marketing work – messenger bots, text messaging, website notifications, 3 hour-long webinars, 5-minute VSLs… Growth hackers and tools scraping data from websites and Facebook groups. 

All that promising to give you results fast and…in a not-sustainable way.

Tactics to make you big money quick and…get shut down even quicker. 

Don’t get fooled by those shiny objects promising unreasonable results. There are no shortcuts to building a brand, understanding what your audience needs, playing the long-term sustainable way vs looking at the quick buck this month. If you want to build a real business there is no room for gimmicks. 

This is not to say that you should not try to implement what’s new on the market. Quite the opposite (see my next point below). This is to say that there is no “golden fix” to all your problems. There isn’t just one magic switch or button that will all of the sudden produce hundreds of orders on your site or tens of scheduled paid consultations. The good-old approach to building strong business and marketing foundations always wins. The tools and gimmicks are just ways to leverage the foundations, not to build them.

Set-and-forget nail to the marketing coffin

Marketing is not a “set and forget” approach. Marketing is not static. Why? Because our environments and business ecosystems are not stable. People change their approach to how they purchase and hire. Their purchasing behavior changes. Their research behavior changes. New tools and ways to make business are introduced to the market on a daily basis. For that reason, you cannot build a funnel, flip the switch and expect it to work forever and ever. 

Good marketing strategy is – and has always been – to implement, analyze, tweak, implement. Rinse and repeat. There is no one-size-fits-all. There is no set-and-forget. There is no just-press-the-button and we’re good to go approach. Unless you are ok with mediocre and/or non-sustainable results that is.

We understand how difficult it is to stay on top of what works and what doesn’t. To be up to date with the newest developments in the marketing world. To keep implementing, analyzing and tweaking. We spend countless hours and big checks to learn and train our team to do exactly that – stay on top and be a partner in getting you the results you’re after. 

Nov 12

Automate Your Agency Lead Generation Funnel

By Michal Koziol | Strategy

… get better conversion results, save time and sanity

What is the lifeblood of any business? Clients, customers, leads, prospects – people who buy your products and services. If you are running a marketing agency (or any other agency business) you need to ensure your business gets a constant flow of high-quality leads that your sales team can turn into high-quality clients. 

There are a couple of elements you need to take into account and make sure you have in place to ensure the “constant flow of high-quality leads” happens AND that the flow is as smooth as possible so you are not losing any leads throughout the process. Let’s dive into the two most important elements.

Automated lead generation – if you want to have a healthy business with a strong pipeline of leads you need to make sure you have a strong lead-generation system in place. 

Relying on referrals is not a good option since you cannot really control this source of leads. You cannot force people to talk about you and bring you business. You cannot give them a script to follow to ensure they warm-up leads to work with you. Going to conferences and networking is a great way to get more business, BUT it relies on you (or your business development team) to take part in those events and that can be quite an exhausting (all those drinks to consume…), time-consuming and pricey experience (event tickets, flight tickets, hotels, entertainment). 

So having an automated funnel that will help your business get more leads is one of the best decisions you can make. Build a landing page with an offer, send traffic to that landing page, jump on a sales call and voila – pipeline full.

Pipeline flow – as you put the automated lead generation in place, it is just a matter of how much traffic you send to your landing page to get busy. This is – obviously – a huge simplification, as the number of leads you are getting is a function of the traffic source, offer and the effectiveness of your funnel, but once you have everything dialed in, it really is a matter of how much ad budget you have to put behind the traffic that hits your landing page. 

This brings me to the next very important element – more leads. With a good automated lead generation process you will end up having tons of new leads every week asking to work with you. The volume of leads, questions, emails, discovery calls will have a huge impact on your operations and can lead to chaos. How do we deal with that? I’m glad you asked. 

You need to prepare your business for the flood of leads and the best way to do it? Automation. Make sure that your CRM/emailing system is set up in a way that it moves leads through your pipeline automatically. 

For example, If your lead-generation and sales process relies on discovery calls, your CRM/emailing system should receive the intake form, tag the contact as a lead, check if the contact has scheduled the discovery call with you, send an automated email if he/she hasn’t scheduled to incentivize the lead to schedule the call, send an automated welcome video etc. All of that is set up once, and just works in the backend as new leads come in. There is no need to send emails manually, send reminders, find contact info. Set and forget.

So, there you have it – two CRUCIAL elements to achieving a state of zen in your business. The leads are coming in on a regular basis (aka a cracked funnel) and your system takes care of a smooth flow of those leads through your funnel steps.

Questions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!