December 6, 2021

Thrive Insider

Exclusive stories of successful entrepreneurs

Jo McKee Head of McKee Creative

Who are you and what business did you start?

I’m a female founder, seasoned marketer, and head of McKee Creative (https://mckeecreative.store). McKee Creative operates differently to most agencies, in that we build full marketing ecosystems for our clients. This means we spot opportunities to leverage our clients’ revenue growth quickly at all points along the customer journey, and that each aspect of their campaign works seamlessly.

What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I helped build successful businesses in telecommunications (a chain of 40 stores from the ground up), film distribution (distributing for companies such as Disney and Hopscotch), and marine tourism (yes, racing yachts in the Whitsundays) before training seriously as a digital marketer. So I know what it takes to look at the big-picture returns on marketing campaigns, and to think about how they interact with the customer support and product/service delivery of a brand.

I quickly found that running paid traffic only, for instance, means a company misses out on revenue opportunities via SEO, content marketing and email/SMS/Messenger marketing. When we build out the full system it translates into significant revenue wins for the client, and it also takes the mental load off their plate because they know we’re taking care of everything.

Describe the process of launching the business.

It was born out of a cyclone! In March 2017 Cyclone Debbie smashed our town and our boats, but I also had known for a long time that connecting people with products and services that make their life better is something I love to do. So, I used some of our capital to invest in high-quality digital marketing training and spent the next year immersed in learning as fast as possible.

Initially it was just me, running only paid traffic campaigns for clients, and I hadn’t planned on building an in-house team. But the growth into full service meant we deliver better results when the strengths of our team are combined.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Our clients stay with us because we bring the revenue growth they are looking for and they like not having to spend much time thinking about their marketing – some are in their fourth year with McKee Creative. While we do have clients who were referred to us, it’s a matter of principal that we run our own lead generation funnel … because, after all, if we can’t generate our own leads, we shouldn’t be working in this space!

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

We’re growing the content, PR and influencer marketing aspects to help combat the changes in data brought about by Apple’s most recent updates.

As well, over 80 other agencies come to us for done-for-you copywriting for their own client’s campaigns and the volume of those orders continues to increase. The work we do there has fuelled a number of 6- and 7-figure campaigns, so we are now starting to train others via our course, Copywriting for Profit.

McKee Creative has become the umbrella for growth in those services, while continuing to serve our in-house clients.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Effective marketing principles don’t change, no matter what shiny tools are trending. What’s important is that the product or service genuinely makes people’s lives better. If it does, we’ll take it on and significantly amplify the impact of that brand.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Facebook Business Manager, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Tag Manager, Slack, Google Drive, Trello, Agency Analytics, ActiveCampaign, Klaviyo, ManyChat, Zapier, Siteground, WordPress, Webflow, Shopify, WooCommerce, Adobe and, like just about any successful small business these days, Canva!

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

For books: ‘Profit First’ by Mike Michalowicz. We’ve learned that when we grow revenue for a small business quickly (think over 6 x in three months in the case of Chelsey Jean), our clients need sound cash management principles so that they build stable growth.

For podcasts: We really like Ash Roy’s Productive Insights podcast. Ash interviews only the smartest, the industry leaders who rely on the same timeless principles for growth that we promote to our clients.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Invest in quality training in your field, and keep your eye on industry developments.