Do you want to learn how to start a marketing agency? This comprehensive guide will show you how to get started, from writing a business plan to choosing the right software.
I should know – I’ve been running my own successful marketing agency for over 10 years now. It’s not always been easy, but it’s definitely been worth it. In this guide, I’ll share everything I’ve learned about how to start a marketing agency and grow it into a successful business.
So if you’re ready to take the plunge, let’s get started!
How to Start a Marketing Agency: The Essential Guide
There are a few key things you need to do to start a marketing agency. First, you need to build a strong team of marketing professionals who can handle a variety of tasks.
Next, you need to create a solid business plan that outlines your goals and objectives.
Finally, you need to establish relationships with clients and partners who can help you achieve your goals.
How to Start Your Own Marketing Agency
Are you a marketing professional who’s interested in starting a business? Or have you already got your own firm and are looking for a new challenge?
When starting your own marketing agency, it’s important to give your business your full attention. There are a lot of different tasks involved in running an agency, and you can expect a busy schedule. By focusing on your agency, you increase your chance of success.
You could start your own business as a side gig, or as your main source of income. Either way, you’ll need to know a few things.
To run a successful company, you’ll need to pick a specific niche and target your market. Write a business proposal and pitch it to potential clients. Market your business and learn new skills and hire a team to help you out.
Who makes a good candidate for starting their own marketing agency?
In order to succeed as a marketing agency, you must be willing to adapt to change and be comfortable taking calculated risks.
Also, having the desire to learn is crucial, as the industry is always changing.
Lastly, having excellent communication abilities is necessary to connect with clients.
Now that you’ve learned what it takes to become a successful marketing agency, let’s go over all the steps you’ll need to take to start your own.
1. Find a Niche
Your marketing agency needs to differentiate itself from other marketing agencies. What makes your approach different?
One way to become an expert is by offering specialist services. Eventually, this will make you become known as an expert in a particular field.
What services can your marketing agency offer? What types of clients can your agency work with?
If you want to start your own marketing agency, the first thing you’ll need to do is decide which types of marketing services you’ll provide. Some common options include PPC, SEO, content marketing, events, guest posting, email, and social media.
Will you be offering marketing services to B2B or B2C clients?
If you want to start a marketing agency, you’ll need to decide what kind of service you want to focus on. You may want to do short-term, single-project jobs, or long-term, ongoing work with the same client.
When starting your digital marketing agency, it’s important to focus on one specific service. This will make you stand out from your competition. Once you have an established business, you can then begin offering additional marketing services.
The Typeface Group’s Managing Director, Polly Buckland, recommends that you keep your costs down, focus on what you’re best at, be as transparent as possible, and invoice 50% upfront for projects.
2. Identify Your Target Market
After deciding what type of work you want to do, the next step is to figure out who your target customer is.
As you start your business, it can be tempting to take on as many projects as you can. But, it’s important that you focus on projects that serve your market. If it’s not, don’t be afraid to say no.
Be confident and honest about what you can deliver to your clients. While it might take a while to build a solid base of clients, being upfront from the beginning will increase your chances of long-term success.
Honesty really is the “best” policy for many industries, and in an industry that’s known for being unclear, being transparent with your prospect can really set you apart.
This can mean having the confidence to say ‘no’ to a client, even if you think it may hurt your relationship.
It’s important to know the location of your market when marketing to your audience. This could mean targeting an international audience, or it could simply mean focusing your efforts on a specific local area. Understanding your market and their needs will help you to better position your brand.
As you analyze your market and competitors, keep an eye out for any industries, services, or locations that are currently under-serviced. These areas present an opportunity for you to serve your customer base better and stand out from your competitors.
Your brand is the foundation for your marketing efforts. It encapsulates what your business does and why it does it.
To effectively communicate what you do, you need to first identify your main characters (your team), plot (what you do), and style (how you communicate). Then, repeat this over and over again to help your audience understand what it is that you do and how you can help them.
Every detail of your business, from the logo to the tiniest font, contributes to your overall brand image. By making sure that everything your business does is consistent with your branding, you can ensure a strong and consistent message to your audience.
3. Write a Business Plan
A solid business proposal will include:
- Business goals
- Cashflow and financial forecast
- Projections for business activity
- Revenue stream
- Target audience
If you’re planning to do this full-time, then you may want to set up a limited company.
4. Find Clients
While you may be tempted to acquire as many clients as you can, you should instead focus on retaining them for the long term. This is because continually having to replace lost customers can be extremely tiring.
While it’s essential to nurture your relationships with current customers, it’s equally important to know when it’s the right time to let a customer go after they’ve stopped being profitable.
How can your agency attract more clients?
Networking is a great way to find new clients and let others know about your marketing agency. You can do this through:
- Trade fairs
- Industry events
- Old contacts
- Networking sessions
- LinkedIn groups and discussions
- Business forums
- Social media
Networking is a great way to connect with potential customers and create long-lasting relationships. Keep in mind that networking is not just about making sales – it’s about building relationships. Offer value to your connections, and you’ll be sure to see the benefits down the line.
Hannah Brice, the Managing Director of UpMarketry, says the best sources of new business are referrals and from your network.
The majority of your new clients will come from past clients or from colleagues who trust your abilities and know the quality of your work.
If you’re looking for new business, Google AdWords can be a great way to reach your target audience. By creating targeted campaigns and linking them to landing pages that showcase your most popular services, you can attract potential customers who are interested in what you have to offer.
If you know what your prospective customers need, you can design a landing page that directly addresses their pain points and offer them a solution.
If you want to get the most out of your advertising budget, you need to be as specific as possible with your keyword phrases. This way, you’ll attract fewer time-wasters and get a higher return on your investment.
How do you build a portfolio without a client?
If you’re just starting out in the agency world, one of the best things you can do is offer your services for free. This way, you can build up a portfolio of work that you can use to secure paid contracts down the line.
Of course, it takes time and effort to land those big clients, but if you start small and work your way up, you’ll eventually get there.
Finding work is the biggest challenge for freelance workers and agencies.
Another common solution is to offer free consultations and then follow up with potential clients.
Once you have some clients, ask them to refer anyone they know that may need marketing services. Also, let them know that you’re available.
Getting a recommendation from a company you’ve worked with in the past is a great way to get more business. It can help establish trust with new clients and is especially important when you don’t have a lot of experience under your belt.
Search job postings on LinkedIn. Look for companies hiring content marketers or content strategists.
Many business owners are too busy running their business to focus on their marketing strategy, so they often outsource these tasks to an agency.
Where your headquarters are located can say a lot about how your business operates. Choose wisely, as it can reflect your branding.
If you’re looking to cut business costs and want to work from a remote location, then virtual offices or coworking office spaces could be a good option for you. These locations offer services like mail forwarding and receptionists, which can give your business a more professional appearance.
It’s possible to run a home-based marketing agency, even if you’re working alone.
Having the right office for your marketing agency isn’t just about having enough room to work, it’s also about giving clients – and your competitors – the impression that you’re a serious business.
Being in these places can help build credibility with your potential customers as they’ll know where you’re located.
On the other hand, some businesses may want their call center to be located away from their competitors.
If your marketing agency specializes in serving clients in the agriculture industry, then having your office in a location that is far away from your target audience is not ideal. Ideally, you want to be located close to your market so that you can better serve them.
While you may have to start out by offering your services free of charge, this should only be done in order to get some experience. Once you’ve built up a portfolio, you can move on to charging for your work.
What kinds of prices should you charge your clients?
Two types of pricing models include 1.) A project-based model where you charge by the hour or day. 2.) A retainer, where you get paid monthly for services.
You can simply charge for your time, or you can offer fixed monthly rates for a set number of hours. You can also provide a dedicated team of experts for a monthly payment. Whatever method you use, make sure you explain your billing practices to your client.
When determining your price, first consider how much value the work you do provides. Next, think about what your target customers would be most willing to pay. Finally, keep in mind that you can alter your pricing structure as your business grows.
How to Retain Clients
Once your agency is more well-established, you’ll want to ensure clients stay loyal to you and don’t go with your competitors.
To keep your clients, focus on their needs. You also need to keep a record of the work you have done for them. In addition, you need to keep up with industry news and trends. Also, your staff members need to be friendly. By doing these things, you can ensure that your customers stay with you.
As your company expands, you may find that you need more tools to help you manage your time and clients.
5. Market Your Marketing Agency
Marketing agencies face a unique challenge when it comes to promoting themselves. How do you promote a marketing agency?
While your field may be competitive, don’t sweat it – instead, look at it as a chance to stand out. Here are some ways to promote your start-up:
Build a Website
Your marketing agency’s website is the face of your company. It’s your first impression, and it must be professional, easy to navigate, and reflect what you do.
Building a website doesn’t have to be difficult or costly. In fact, you can very easily create a professional-looking site using a free or low-cost builder.
If you’re running your own marketing business, it’s important that you have a website that reflects your professionalism and helps build trust with your clients. While you can design a basic website using a free builder, eventually you’ll want to hire a designer to create a site that has more functionality and is customized to your brand.
While social media is a great way to connect with your market, you should focus on those platforms that are most popular with your target audience.
Sharing content on social media platforms is a great way to promote your agency. Doing so will not only help you reach more people but will also help you engage with current and potential customers.
This is a chance for you to see how your customer service is perceived by your customers, and for you to stay in the loop with what matters to them.
Upmarketry’s founder, Brice, says that the best way to raise awareness of his business is by directly contacting his target market and offering them free services.
Reach out to entrepreneurs, startup founders, and business leaders to contribute guest blog articles and press releases.
This begins a relationship with the prospect and helps them with their search engine optimization.
Don’t forget about paper marketing material.
Business cards are a must for networking and handing out to potential clients.
A great way to market your marketing agency is by creating a company brochure. You can include a selection of your best work and use this as a marketing tool.
6. Hire the Right People
In the beginning, you’ll be doing all the daily tasks that running an agency entails. Once you’re earning enough, then you should consider bringing on employees. This will allow you to focus on the big picture and delegate the daily operations.
Don’t quit your day job just yet. In the beginning, your income will vary greatly from month to month.
Don’t stress out about hiring a permanent employee – instead, use a freelancer until you’re ready. This will save you from a lot of stress and any unwanted financial strain.
Make sure you understand the role of the employer.
When building your marketing team, you’ll need to consider what skills are missing from your team and what can be improved. Doing so will set you up for future success.
While you may be the only employee in your startup, you’ll eventually need to share important information with your team. However, for now, you should only share what’s necessary.
Which positions you decide to hire for depends on your business needs.
As cash flow and financial planning are core components of a business plan, hiring someone with experience in finance, accounting or a similar role could be a great first step.
It can be easy to forget which files need to be returned and when or which supplies are running out, so having dedicated staff members is crucial to keep your business running efficiently.
If you don’t have the budget to hire employees just yet, there are still plenty of things you can do to improve your company.
One of the best ways to ensure you hire the right talent for your agency is to have some experience working in the industry yourself. This will not only give you first-hand experience of what it takes to succeed but will also help you identify which skills you need to look for in candidates.
You can also gain a qualification in marketing, such as a Diploma or Degree, which will give you a deeper understanding of the field.
Once you have put together your team, it is important to maintain clear and concise communication in order to achieve success. Furthermore, be sure to show appreciation for your staff through thoughtful gestures such as company holidays or additional perks. Doing so will create a positive and productive work environment.
A happy, creative team can do the best job possible.
As your agency grows, you’ll need to diversify your skillset. Once you’ve done that, you can specialize in certain tasks.
If you want your employees to be more productive, you should consider adopting a more progressive approach. This will give them more freedom to make decisions and innovate.
Now that you’ve completed this course on how to start a marketing agency, you should have a solid understanding of how to start your own company. You’ve learned how to identify a target market, as well as put together a business plan.
You’ve learned several ways to help promote your own business, whether it’s finding new clients, attracting new talent, or spreading the word.
Now that you have all of this information, it’s time to start your marketing business! Good luck!