Creative Agency Mastermind Lightbulb

Creative Agency Mastermind Group for Australasia

Occasionally I read an article that stops me in my tracks, it’s so compelling and aligned with my own thinking that I stumble, double-take and yell Hooray!

This is one of those articles.

Before you read it, I’d like you to indulge me and hear my anecdote.

My search for a Business Peer Support Group

Creative Agency Mastermind Lightbulb

Creative Agency Mastermind. Image credit: TheNextWeb

Last year I joined a business owners group run locally which met monthly to “advance” your business.  We sat in a conference room filling out forms about our business stats for the month, how we were progressing and then tabled issues for group discussion.  In between times, we had weekly accountability partner calls.  Having done 5 months of this, I realised that the process was really useful and 100% what I needed.

The other attendees were not right.

I want a group full of business innovators, folks who take action and connect with others, who find what’s new and how their business can take advantage – leading from the front.

And so I set out to find a better group to collaborate with.  But I didn’t find one.

I read, I asked others and found that the market for peer-to-peer support for business owners remains under-served.  There are some paid-for groups, there are industry groups, there are business groups.  None seems to fit the bill perfectly.

And so I’m setting up my own Mastermind Group.

The Creative Agency Mastermind Group

The aim:  To advance our businesses.

How:  Meet once every month to learn, share, collaborate and problem solve.  Mutual accountability.  Brainstorming.

Goal:  To grow, sell or exit our businesses while staying at the leading edge of innovation for good business practice.

First meeting 23rd March 2016.

Want to join us?  Get in touch

What is the New Business process?

Continuing our series on the Art and Science of New Business – Read Part 1.

I’m going to start with the definition of a business process –

Process – a collection of related, structured activities or tasks that serve a particular goal.

I took that definition from Wikipedia but it’s very straightforward if you do something in exactly the same way over and over again you will get the same outcome and that’s a process.

I want to remind you of the title of this article series is the Art and Science of Generating Leads.  The difference between an Art and a Science is that in the science everything is replicable exactly, every single time that you do it.  And art is not.

Generating leads is not always identically replicable. This is because markets change, economies evolve, your product or service may differ; the needs of your customers and prospective customers may be altering over time.

This does not mean that it is impossible to create a replicable process. But it does mean that you must acquire more skill than just following a series of “paint-by-numbers” tasks.

But you knew that didn’t you?

A business process gives an outcome

Let’s begin with working out the different steps that lead to an outcome.  I’m going to give you an example from my own

BNI logo

BNI logo

business here. It’s Wednesday morning at 7 AM. I am in a cafe with a group of 32 other trusted business individuals who are all working to help me generate leads for my business. The group is called Business Networking International. We meet once a week in order to do our best to help each other win more customers. How we do it is a straightforward, replicable business process.

It’s a methodology developed by Dr Ivan Misner.  He found it to be effective and set up a network. He’s grown it to over 180,000 members in many countries across the world. It is a tried and tested methodology for business owners to find a group of other business owners whose business is to help you find leads for your business.

Sounds extraordinary? Well it is.

I’m not going to tell Dr Misner’s story here, but suffice it to say at a certain stage in my business I found BNI to be a very useful discipline to help me establish a business process around finding new customers. I commend it to you and suggest you go and research the organisation today; their website is

The new business development 8 step methodology is a process

8 step new business process. Step 1 Who are you?In order to make a process you first need to ensure that you’ve got all of the component parts lined up and ready to work I will say that step eight is the actual process because you string together all the components.

Step one is Who are you and what do you do? and that’s the topic up next.

Marketing rollercoaster

What are New Business Leads?

Leads are defined as an enquiry that brings business revenue for you.

What form it takes of course varies, it may start with a casual conversation in the pub or might be a phone call to you; it might be a business card that someone has collected from a networking event.

Many business owners find that they have a feast or famine situation and it comes to new business enquiries. Like a

Marketing rollercoaster

Marketing rollercoaster Image credit:

rollercoaster that either rising up and you are swamped with Leads and enquiries for new business or down low and you are desperately hoping for even one enquiry. This predictable repeating cycle is a reality for many many businesses. Yours might be like this as well.

The rollercoaster happens for one reason and one reason alone:

You do not have a reliable process for creating leads.

Many businesses will never overcome the rollercoaster because they do not have the skill to follow a process and stick to it.

If you’re reading this today and you know that you experience this rollercoaster situation, what is it worth to you to change the habits of your business?

Why would you want to get off the rollercoaster?

Look back back through your business accounts over the last three years and see if you can find a time when you had a strong revenue stream. Count up the number of new clients you started invoicing in any given quarter or three month period. And then go back to find out how this client found you. What were the circumstances that led to this good period for you? Ask your business colleagues or your partner as well. They may remember things which you have not recalled.

The good news is it is possible for you to get off the rollercoaster and to create a steady flowing river of leads that can lead to new business.

The bad news is that 90% of the people reading this will not be able to make a regular recurring stream of leads because they cannot be disciplined enough to set up the process that is needed.

Creative Agency Secrets will teach you the secret way of creating leads on a regular recurring basis.

I will tell you because we’re utterly confident that it works.

This is the number one reason and if it works for us we can make it work for you. And the second reason is perhaps a better illustration of why our process works. This is because the 10 percent of you who will interact and take our advice; from these nine people will not be able to do it on their own.  They will be people like you who have busy organised business lives and love what they do. Yet if you’re being strictly honest you will say

“I am not a salesman, I am not a marketing expert, I find new business development a challenge. This is not how I prefer to spend my time.”

And so for these reasons Creative Agency Secrets is going to share with you our methodology of how to generate leads every single month of the year.

We’re hoping that you are the nine people who are going to take our advice and hire us to work with you.  And if you’re the 10th person who can execute without assistance, then congratulations, you’re probably already very good at sales and this is just a top-up advisory session for you to check there are any new tricks that you don’t already know.

For everyone else, we want to be your new collaborator.

We want to show you exactly how to make this work. We know how to adapt the method to suit the needs of your business, your marketplace, and your preferred clients. Today I’m going to show you exactly how we do it for ourselves and this will give you the template that you need to do it for yourself.

First some marketing honesty

But I need you to make one thing abundantly clear to yourself. In a moment of honesty, ask yourself am I ready to make this change? Am I ready to make a commitment that is fundamentally different from anything I’ve ever done before in my business?

Because you know what the rewards could be, but until they happen I also know that you will be nervous, anxious and will feel that this is a high risk to take for your business.

I will give you reassurance and I will give you confidence that you can do this yourself. Are you are you ready to come on the journey?

Let’s begin.


Tomorrow I’ll show you what the new business process is.

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

When you’re new, or growing, and need social proof to prove your worth to the world

So, you’re starting out your business and you know you’ve got a good thing going. But something you don’t have yet from your clients: their endorsement of you and your brand or your product. Sure, they’ve told you they liked working with you and, of course, that made you feel good on the inside. But, with the interwebs, you need to have hard proof that says someone used your services and liked it enough to write it down in a social internet space. Like Google Reviews. Or Facebook. Or even just in an email and with your clients’ blessing. Okay, so, how do you do it?

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, or deduced from the title of this blog post, we’re talking about testimonials. Or reviews. Either or, they can be one in the same, if they contain ratings and words as friendly companions in whatever social app you’re using. There are multiple ways to get those testimonials so that, when a new possible client happens to Google you, lo and behold, they see other people like you and have used you and have provided their friendly feedback. Well, we rolled out with a fun and ‘give-back sort’ of way to request from our clients and those that have worked with us in the past. I think you’ll like it.

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

Before the holidays, our Chief in Command, Rebecca, came across a non-profit organization called StarJam. Briefly, I just want to let you know that what they do is amazing. Through music and performing arts, StarJam lifts kids with disabilities up, helps them to learn new skills, and gives them confidence. Just take a look at the photos they have on their website, every time I do I just want to be a part of that! Anyway, back to the story. Rebecca wanted Creative Agency Secrets to be able to give to StarJam. We also, you guessed it, wanted to get testimonials. Testimonials in one hand, giving to a good cause in the other… hmm. There’s got to be a good way to put these two together.


It’s the holidays, right? We can send out a good will email to our clients! WE will donate money in your name to StarJam if you can write a few words on Google about your time with Creative Agency Secrets. So, we reached out to StarJam to get their permission, find out if they felt comfortable with our plan, requested a few images to use and then started crafting an email.

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

Key items we made sure to have in our email

  1. Make your headline engaging
  2. Make your text interesting to read
  3. Tell the reader what you’re doing or what you’re asking them to do

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials4. Hyperlink to wherever they need to go or whatever you’re referring to

5. Use images

The main thing we wanted to make sure to do was inform our followers HOW to submit a review. Some people don’t have Gmail. I know, crazy world, but we had to come up with a foolproof way to say ‘This is easy! Here, we’ll show you’.

Be Innovative with How You Get TestimonialsVoila! We created this easy to read image with everything needed to tell our audience how to do what we were asking them to do.

Then what? Well, we could wait around with baited breath. But, by this time, it was Christmas and we decided we’d come back to it in the New Year with fresh eyes and suntans.

And when we did… no reviews! We could have been sad and wallowed a bit but that’s now how you get good reviews. So we sent a follow-up email. Sort of a, “Hey, we know you were busy over the holidays, but…” reminder. Good idea, right? Of course.

But when you’ve asked the same way twice and you still get no response

You try another tactic. This time, we called, or in some cases walked over to, those who had worked with us in the past to ask them, oh so kindly, to provide us with a review while we donated to a good cause in their name. Sometimes it just takes the glimmer in your eye, the inflection in your voice, or just good ole human contact to make the connection you need.

And now we’re on the MAP!

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

Tips to those using Google reviews!

  1. For one, you need 5 reviews to be able to see your star rating.
  2. For two… even if you have 5 star ratings for all 5 of your Google reviews… somehow you still only rate 4.8 stars

Number two will remain a bit of a mystery.

I hope this helps any startup businesses out there looking to get on the map as well with testimonials and reviews. As they say, right now, the BEST way to get business is by word of mouth. And online rating systems like Google, Facebook, and others are the next best things with the worldwide web!

We Have Moved to a New Office

Creative Agency Secrets New OfficeWe’re happy to announce that our team have recently left the Ironbank on 150 Karangahape Road and moved our office to a new location. It’s only a short walk from our old office. From now on our new address is:

74D France Street
Eden Terrace
Auckland 1010

Welcome to our new office!

Our phone numbers and email addresses are still the same. We look forward to meeting you in our new office. If you have any questions we’re happy to answer, just send us an email.

Creative Agency Secrets New Office

Best wishes,
The Creative Agency Secrets Team

From attraction to traction: build your list with Unbounce landing pages

Landing pages are important to drive valuable conversions for your business as we wrote before, whether from current customers or new prospects. But designing the perfect landing page can take several weeks to accomplish.

Well, at least, it used to.

Enter Unbounce, a tool we are using to create beautifully designed landing pages, built to deliver easily measurable outcomes.

Yes, we know: there’s a ton of groundbreaking offers popping around on the internet every day, promising to be the Holy Grail of marketing. Luckily you have us to filter the noise and point you in the right direction! 🙂

Why we chose Unbounce Pages

This complete add-on tool has the advantage of offering quick creation and editing, cutting a lot of time from the development stage of the landing page strategy for our clients. Unbounce delivers agile results, not neglecting the “best practices” learned by the developers with intense market research. Every Unbounce landing page is completely mobile responsive, which means extra points for you in Google’s eyes.

Having a successful business on the internet is a tricky thing if you don’t focus on driving results with the right strategy. Among lots of features, Unbounce offers A/B tests and Google Analytics tracking that are amazing at collecting data and eliminating doubts in the decision-making process. It can all be integrated seamlessly into WordPress, Joomla and other CMS platforms, so the landing page doesn’t feel disconnected from the rest of your website. When a visitor gives you their e-mail address, it can automatically go to your new MailChimp highly-focused list for future prospects. Simple as that.  Check out all the Unbounce integrations.

Build your mailing list

Do you feel like building a highly-focused list of contacts is what’s missing from your digital marketing strategy? Contact us right away.

Crossfire Fire Engineers, Auckland, new website copy

Case Study: Website redesign for busy professional firm

Crossfire Engineers are one of the leading practices in Auckland delivering advice for fire engineering in new buildings as well as refurbishments.  The team is expert in fire safety advice, but not website marketing.

When they needed to edit their old website it meant paying the developer to upload content and so it was clearly time for a change to a content management system and a new web design.

Business owner, Michael Dixon, was introduced to Creative Agency Secrets by Bruce Ross the business coach, initially to write the words for the new website.  Later, we also project managed the web build liaising with the developers and Steven Robinson, the photographer.

Crossfire Fire Engineers, Auckland, new website copy

Crossfire Fire Engineers new website copy

Save time for the Client

It was clear that delivering a successful project would include keeping the client informed, but minimising the amount of time taken up by management.

And so we did most of the copywriting briefing face to face by ‘interviewing’ the key team players.

Later, testimonials were obtained from clients direct after an introduction by the Crossfire team, saving them time.  We asked questions and wrote the testimonial first draft for them to edit and approve.

Key website successes

The Home page has 3 red buttons to shortcut visitors’ enquiries to the pages most relevant to different services.  What an architect needs is different from a Building Owner or Manager.

Testimonials on the bottom of the home page by high profile clients and architects who collaborate with the Crossfire team.

Crossfire Fire Engineers testimonials

Crossfire Fire Engineers testimonials

Team profiles not just photos but also individual contact details and a synopsis of their career and key skills allow direct contact by clients.

Work for us – one of the drivers for the new website was the need to recruit staff this page sets out more detail about how engineers can re-qualify in Fire Engineering as well as explaining how to emigrate to New Zealand.

Happy client

Jeff Parkinson did much of the day to day liaison for the website project and he has this to say at the end.

We can’t recommend Rebecca enough! She helped us through the process of designing our new website and we are really pleased with the end result.
She helped us to stay focused and used her expert knowledge to ensure our site was relevant, connected and simple to use.
We are really happy with the content she provided, her constant support throughout the project helped us complete the website for a new year launch during a time of high pressure from other project workloads.


Ontrapot ‘lip service’ to customer feedback

So to add insult to injury, Ontraport sends me a feedback form – but once the ticket was closed by the agent, I can no longer submit my (negative) feedback.


Ontraport does not want user feedback

Ontraport does not want user feedback

creative agency secrets new landing pages

The Landing Page: Is Yours Performing?

Landing pages are undoubtedly one of the most powerful features of your entire website. We’re willing to bet that, regardless of the purpose of your website, you have at least one landing page to filter your web traffic towards a purchase decision or other desired action. You don’t want to let your prospective customers slip away because your landing pages are ineffective, do you?

This got us thinking, “How effective are our own landing pages at driving action?” Further exploration of this question revealed our landing pages could, indeed, be better.

What makes an effective landing page?

Each landing page only serves a single purpose.

It should be stripped of the full range of information available on the rest of the website in order to focus the visitor. Having additional content on the page only distracts the visitor from the reason they arrived there and, thus, decreases the likelihood of a successful conversion.

Your landing page should also be able to accurately measure where your traffic is coming from and where they go next. Having too many variables on the page creates unnecessary complications in your analytics and reduces the effectiveness of the page.

Our old landing pages were visually outdated and cluttered with a stack of information that did not show clear actions.

How did we improve them?

The solution came in the form of Unbounce, a tool that specifically builds quality landing pages which drive results. We have dedicated an entire blog post to explaining the advantages of Unbounce – subscribe to our blog to catch future posts and to stay up to date on other marketing tips for business.

We redesigned the landing pages for our 3 core offerings as a business – Marketing Services, Training and Free Marketing Advice.

Aside from an enhanced aesthetic make-over, which fits in perfectly with our branding and design, the pages now have a much clearer and appealing interface, outline the purpose of the page and make it even easier for visitors to find exactly what they need to take further action.

We compare the old and new versions of the same page:

Old vs. New Landing Page Designs

Marketing Advice

free-marketing-advice BEFORE


Free marketing advice landing page



Marketing Training

marketing-training BEFORE


Marketing Training landing page



Marketing Services

marketing-services BEFORE


Marketing Services landing page


Which looks more appealing to you?

Do you need help improving your landing pages?

Get in touch!