I started my marketing company about 10 years ago. I was fresh out of college and looking for a way to make some extra money. I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew that I wanted to help businesses grow. So, I took the plunge and started my own marketing firm. Since then, it’s been a wild ride! But along the way, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to start and run a successful marketing company. If you’re wondering how to start a marketing company, we’ll help you do it in 7 steps.
How to Start a Marketing Company: A Simple Guide
Before we dive into the specifics of how to start a marketing company, let’s talk about why a digital marketing agency is such a great idea.
Digital marketing is a lucrative industry to get into. Businesses are increasing their online presence, which creates more competition for digital marketers.
Starting a digital marketing company allows you to work from home, which can help you to save on rent and other overheads.
You don’t need to be an expert to get started with a career in digital marketing and sales. While having experience in the field definitely helps, you can learn the skills you need by enrolling in a few online courses and working on your own sites. Once you feel ready, you can offer your services to local businesses.
Be your own boss – If you’re tired of the 9 to 5 grind and want to work for yourself, then becoming a digital marketing consultant might be the perfect career for you.
As a digital marketing manager, you will be able to provide services to clients and then hire more people as your business grows. This is a scalable business model that can be very profitable.
A digital marketing agency is a great low-cost option for entrepreneurs who want to start a business. All you need is a website, some tools, and a subscription, and you can provide the services yourself.
As your business continues to grow, you can expand to more office space, hire more employees and invest in more equipment.
Starting a marketing agency from the ground up is no easy feat. But, it can be done. Follow these steps to go from having no agency to having an agency with employees and clients.
Digital marketing can be a good business opportunity, but it’s certainly not an easy one. However, if you work hard and provide quality services to clients, you can be successful.
After 10 years of freelancing, I decided to start my own digital marketing agency in 2012. The transition was challenging, but I was able to grow my business by taking advantage of new opportunities.
When I first started my digital marketing company, I made some big, costly mistakes. But, I learned quickly from those mistakes and I was able to turn my business around. Now, I have a successful business. If you’re thinking of starting your own digital agency, make sure you avoid my pitfalls!
Benefits of Starting a Marketing Business
The marketing industry is expected to see growth again in 2025, which can mean more work for you.
A marketing agency is a great option for those who are looking for a fast return on investment. With no physical products, no manufacturing, and no storefronts, a marketing agency can have lower overhead and simpler operations. Plus, billing is more straightforward, making it easier to track your profits.
Even better, you can make a living as a marketer even if you only have one client!
Marketers with even entry-level skills can make over $46,000.
Knowing how to start a marketing agency is the trick to getting those all-important eyes.
While a background in sales, customer service, or telemarketing can be helpful, almost anyone can start making outbound calls for a small business.
Your marketing firm can act as the middleman between companies and their customers.
Freelancers and independent professionals offer services ranging from social media writing and blogging to SEO and video production.
Marketing businesses can be rewarding, but they can also be difficult to start.
Checklist for Starting a Marketing Business
Getting your business off the ground will require some preparation, such as filing an LLC, choosing a registered agent, and identifying the markets you’ll be targeting and your sales funnel. You’ll also want to draft an operating agreement and file an annual report.
There are many factors to consider when starting your own marketing business. Some of these include location, employee hiring, and decisions regarding whether to outsource your development, writing, and graphic design.
To learn what it takes to start your own marketing agency, follow these steps.
1. Write a Business Plan
A business plan helps you think through which problems your marketing agency solves for your clients, how you will conduct your operations, and what scale you are aiming for.
Your business model could be based on using a variety of marketing channels, such as digital, print, or email marketing. The approach you choose depends on your experience and business goals.
Your plan should account for potential pitfalls, such as fierce competition or a recession. You should have solutions ready in case these problems arise.
You don’t need to work on this all at once. Instead, try tackling it in bite-sized chunks.
Goals are an important part of a business plan.
The SMART acronym can help you set your goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.
2. Choose a Business Structure
A sole proprietor is a business structure with one owner and is the simplest type of business to set up. It requires no filing with the secretary of state and can have a very low start-up cost.
Building credit can be extremely difficult, and you may have to pay taxes at a higher rate than normal.
When considering a business structure for your small business, an LLC can be a good choice. An LLC can protect your personal assets from liability and may also help lower your tax burden. An LLC can also make it easier to get financing for your business.
If you’re looking to save time and trouble, consider hiring a professional registered agent for your state. They can take care of things like fees, annual reports, and deadlines.
3. Calculate Your Business Costs
Now that you’ve determined your structure and business plan, it’s time to start calculating your startup costs. A basic list should include:
- Office supplies
- Software and apps
- Payrolled or outsourced professionals
- Domain name registrations and website hosting
- Marketing materials
- Business insurance and taxes
- High-speed internet
- Packaging and shipping
- Leased office space and utilities
- Travel and registration costs for trade shows and networking events
Keep careful track of your outgoing expenses. This can help both you and the IRS when it comes time to file your taxes.
How do you fund your startup costs?
Whatever your company’s initial costs are, there are different ways to obtain the capital needed.
Some business owners use their personal savings accounts, investment accounts, or other liquid assets to fund their business. Some retirement plans allow for loans and or withdrawal.
The terms of 401(k) withdrawal penalties vary by plan and employer, so it’s important to check both. Also, think about how much money you’re willing to risk.
Borrowing from friends or family can be a great way to fund your startup, but be sure to put everything down on paper. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and that payments will be made in a timely manner. However, keep in mind that while this offers some flexibility, it can also cause some tension if payments are late.
A business credit card can help your business manage its expenses, such as advertising costs, employee salaries, and purchasing. But watch out for high-interest rates.
While government grants and loans can be great sources of funding for your small business, they are limited and competition can be fierce.
Don’t think that banks are the only institutions that offer business loans.
To fund your startup, write a business plan that proves your business’s potential for success. Prepare for your bank’s credit, security, and repayment checks when taking out a business loan.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) guarantees some business loans and may offer competitive interest rates.
Certain business types may qualify for additional SBA loans such as organizations for women, minorities, or veterans.
4. Name Your Business
While it’s important to choose a business name that accurately reflects what your company does, don’t rush into choosing a name and risk overlooking a better one.
When naming your business, avoid any legal complications by doing your research and ensuring that your chosen name is not already taken. You don’t want to waste time and money on a name that you cannot use.
Before reserving your agency’s name and web address, check the state’s database of business names as well as a domain registry such as Domain.com. This will ensure that you can reserve your business name on popular social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter.
You can also search for people on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to see if they’re already using your name.
It’s important to know the difference between your company name and your “doing-business-as” (DBA) name.
Legally you are required to register the formal name of your business, for example, “Full Spectrum Marketing Agency LLC” but you can create the simple “Full Spectrum Marketing” for signs, business cards, and other promotional purposes.
5. Set Up Your Financials
Once you’ve selected a company name, you’ll need to register it with your state government. From there, you can acquire an EIN from the Internal Revenue Service.
Be sure to comply with all regulations in your city and state and do not break any laws.
An agent can help you get the right insurance for your marketing agency, such as liability insurance or policies specific to a home-based office. This will protect your business from any risks.
Keeping your business and personal expenses separated can help you better keep track of how profitable you are.
6. Purchase Office Equipment
To start a small marketing business, all you need is a computer, fax machine, printer, and reliable internet connection.
When starting a larger-scale marketing agency, it’s important to consider all of the costs, including office furniture, filing cabinets, specialized phones, and app subscriptions. By doing your research ahead of time, you can make sure you’re prepared to launch your business.
The starting cost for a basic non-home-based marketing business is $5,000.
Before committing, it’s important to do a thorough feasibility analysis. This will help you determine whether it’s more cost-effective to rent out, buy, or lease your equipment. You may also want to consider teaming up with another business owner to share space and expenses.
7. Promote Your Business
Most marketing companies acquire clients one of two ways:
- Passive: social media, word-of-mouth referrals, online searches.
- Active: reaching out to contacts on a purchased list, cold calling, networking, or posting an ad.
Most small businesses tend to find new clientele through a mix of both passive and active efforts. Businesses can either wait for customers to find them or actively pursue new business.
Don’t ignore the power of direct mail. Sending out physical mail like a postcard, coupon, or brochure can spark interest in your prospects and encourage them to contact you.
Referrals can come from anywhere, including business connections, networking events, and trade show events.
Traditional marketing methods like TV, radio, and print ads can be great, but so can online methods such as SEO, blogging, and participating in social media.
To attract new customers, use search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to optimize the content of your site. Also, be sure to create engaging, original blog content that you can share on social media. Finally, don’t forget to optimize your business’s Google My Business listing and other online business profiles.
While it does cost some money, you can promote your email newsletter or product through Facebook or Google ads. A podcast can also help you grow your audience.
If you want to be seen as an expert, try getting interviewed on popular podcasts and videos. This can help you build an audience and increase your credibility.
Marketing Business Ideas
Looking for an online business idea you can start at home? Here are niches that only require a computer, stable internet connection, and a little experience:
- Public relations
- Direct marketing
- Digital marketing
- Social media marketing
Create, Communicate, and Deliver
If you’re looking to start up your own business, consider starting one as a service provider. With lower start-up costs than other businesses and the possibility of higher profits, a service-based business is a good choice for entrepreneurs who are new to the business world.
If you’re looking to work for yourself, have experience in marketing and PR, and have little start-up money, then starting a marketing agency might be right for you. With so many different businesses needing assistance with advertising and publicity, you can focus on your strengths and provide the best services possible. That way, you can help clients succeed and ensure yours, too.
From there, you could grow and expand your knowledge of marketing, and one day run your own marketing agency.
How To Start A Digital Marketing Agency
In 2011, I wrote an article about how to start a marketing company and how to become a freelance marketer.
At the time, I was on my own journey of learning, and I read through a lot of online material on marketing and learned about search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), and always staying up-to-date with technology.
If you want to be successful in the digital marketing world, it is important to focus on two things: building up an email list and developing relationships. You can either waste a lot of money working long hours, or you can create an awesome business by staying connected to people and working 40-hour weeks.
Since that post, I’ve noticed that the market for social media monitoring has expanded to include not only websites with content management systems like WordPress, but also paid social media campaigns.
Now let’s learn how to start a digital marketing company.
Write a Strategy
Your marketing strategy needs to include a detailed plan for how you’ll generate leads for your prospective clients.
Tell clients how best they can engage with their target market via social media sites, SEO activity, combined Google+ Business Pages, blogs, and a content list of what the company specializes in.
This doesn’t mean all blog posts will read like press releases as some blogs do. Instead, think of any articles both your market niche and customers would find interesting or entertaining.
This can be a very tedious process because most business owners have no idea what their consumers read and write. You will need to show them that there are other options for them.
Inform and Educate
Digital business is all about promoting yourself on social media and through your blog.
Podcasting, public speaking, and webinars are great ways to promote your business.
Participating in online communities helps you understand people’s desires on a deeper level than those who do not take part.
If you’re thinking about how to start a marketing company, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First and foremost, it’s important to have a clear vision for your business. What kind of services do you want to offer? Who is your target market? Once you have a good understanding of what you want to do, the next step is putting together a winning team. Find people who share your passion for marketing and who have the skill set necessary to help grow your business. Finally, don’t forget to always be learning. The marketing landscape is constantly changing, so you must stay on top of trends and new technologies.