How to start a marketing agency: Step-by-step guide

How to start a marketing agencyIf you feel you have the skills to be a successful marketer, then why not start up your own venture and maximise earnings through it? With this guide you will learn all the essential information you need to start up your very own marketing firm.

If you are currently a marketing professional, you may wish to take what you’ve learned thus far and apply it to a business of your own. Or perhaps you dream of becoming your own boss and leading your own firm into a successful future. You may have skills that can be applied to a whole new line of work, if marketing isn’t something that you are all that familiar with.

Whatever your reason for wanting to start your own marketing agency, you will be able to follow our step-by-step instructions.

Beginning your own marketing company is likely to become your next permanent job. This will likely come packed with a hectic schedule, due to its many different functions. Your start-up business will likely require your full attention.

However, on the other hand, you could start your venture off as a side project, separate from your full-time job. This would allow you to maintain your regular employment while you assess whether running a marketing business will prove to be profitable. Either way, there are certain things you’ll need to understand before you can begin.

Here are the statistics worth knowing about:

  • Digital marketing spending in the UK grew by 9.6% between 2020 and 2021.
  • 4% of marketers stated they plan on increasing social media expenditure.
  • 57% of video marketers in the UK reported using live videos.
  • In 2019, advertisers spent £7.1 billion on paid search advertising in the UK.
  • Social media ad revenue was expected to grow by 6.3% in 2020.
  • The average email open rate in the UK was found to be 16.4%.
  • The average click-through rate in the UK was found to be 1.6%.
  • In 2018, the unsubscribe-to-open rates for emails in the UK were 5.77%.
  • 99% of email users check their inbox each day.
  • 72% of marketing spending in the UK was allocated towards digital marketing.

Throughout this article we will cover the following key sections:

  • Finding a niche
  • Identifying your target audience
  • Writing a business plan
  • Promoting your marketing business
  • Hiring staff for the first time

The best-suited type of individual to start a marketing firm should be:

  • Able to adapt
  • Have a strong desire to learn
  • Possess great communication skills

Now that you are more familiar with the skills and traits you’ll need to run a marketing business effectively, it is time to investigate the steps you’ll have to take to start your own marketing agency.

Finding a niche

You should be well aware of the fact that marketing is a highly competitive industry in 2022. Therefore, you are going to need a unique element of your business that helps it to stand out within a crowded marketplace.

You could do this by offering some kind of specialist service; here the aim would be to eventually build up your reputation for being an expert in a certain type of marketing.

As a marketing firm, you will be able to offer services for digital, print, radio, television, and other forms of media.

Your agency could specialise in the following:

  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising: the purchased ads at the top of search engine results
  • Search engine optimisation (SEO)which is the processes to maximise how highly pages rank when searched for online
  • Content marketing: online content created for specific audiences about products or services
  • Event marketing and event promotion
  • Guest blogging; writing articles for blogs and linking to sites
  • Email marketingand all promotional material sent in email form

You could also consider aiming your marketing contributions at either B2B or B2C clients and customers.

B2B is for ‘business-to-business’

Your agency could develop content and material that aids other businesses in promoting themselves. If you go down this route you would be a B2B marketer.

B2C is for ‘business-to-consumer’

Through this method of marketing, your agency would be responsible for producing content aimed directly at customers.

Assuming you’re beginning your marketing firm as a side project, survey what sort of services you’ll offer – you may wish to chip away at certain one-off ventures, or you might decide to work consistently for similar clients throughout an extensive timeframe.

Whichever specialism you pick, it’s critical to have a clear, unique focus so that individuals know what your agency does and how it’s not the same as the opposition.

At first, it’s shrewd to develop your business around one key service and perform well within that area. At the point when you’re prepared to grow your business, you could think about offering extra services to expand your business’ contribution and possibly gain more clients.

Identify your target market

It is vital that you conduct the proper market research required to set up a small marketing business venture. You will need to discover who your target audience is, assess the current level of demand for the services you offer, and find out how much competition is in your local area.

Which one of the following are your customers most likely going to be looking for when picking a scaffolder?

  • The best price
  • The highest quality of work
  • The largest range of services

Once you have identified who your potential customers are, you could begin advertising your services using leaflets or social media posts into the relevant online communities.

Writing a business plan 

If you plan your venture out effectively before heading into the crowded market of marketing in the UK, you may be able to block out the noise from your direct competitors and attract some serious clientele for yourself.

All successful businesses start with a plan, and that is no different for those in the marketing and promotion industry. You will not necessarily have to stick to it 100% strictly over time, but it will help to guide you and keep you on the right road at the start of your business and beyond. Your plan can include all kinds of things, meaning it will likely be unique and completely different to others.

All business plans are different but share a few key similarities throughout. Your plan may cover elements such as social media, venture capital, how much office space you’ll need, etc. This is how widespread they can be and why it’s such a good idea to write one. If your venture ever required a bank loan, you would also most likely have to show your business plan to a representative of your chosen bank too.

Market research 

Before you think about starting your own marketing agency, you ought to conduct some market research to assess the profitability of your business idea.

This interaction will likewise permit you to recognise whether there are other marketing organisations in your area, offering similar types of service as you. Sussing out your competition will provide you with a thought of how your business will squeeze into the market and if it can possibly thrive.

As a component of your market research, it’s additionally beneficial to investigate what other marketing agencies are charging in the space you intend to begin your business in, as well as what sort of reputation they have.

If there are various dependable marketing ventures offering similar services in the area, and you can’t distinguish how your business will fit in, it very well may merit re-evaluating your strategy and your business idea.

In order to find out whether your services will be in demand in is to head online and search through social media services, such as LinkedIn, and interact with those that may be interested. This will give you first-hand insight into your target market and the engagement levels you can expect to experience once you start things off. This will let you know if there is a gap to be filled in the marketplace and if there are enough people looking for the services you will provide.

You should think about the demographics of the area you wish to target, as people will need to be able to afford the marketing services you plan on providing.

Finding clients

All businesses, including marketing agencies require clients to function in any way (and most importantly make money). We are here to tell you where you can find these clients and attract them to your company.

While it is obvious that you will want to acquire as much custom as you can right from the off. Also, over time the goal is likely to be centred around retaining clients over a long period of time; if you are always replacing them, you’ll have a tougher time of turning over a profit.

It is also vital that you understand when to let a client go as well. So, how can your marketing business attract clients and customers?

Promoting and marketing your business

Utilising your business’ social media accounts with the correct hashtags and image captions or featuring a steadily updated blog on the main page of your website, will simply not be enough to maximise your brand’s online potential. There are many different methods of digital marketing for you to consider implementing into your online business strategy to maximise growth and reach.

For example, email marketing is often mentioned as the most profitable form of online marketing and boasts an ROI of 4400%. And the good news is that this massive ROI isn’t just reserved for the monster-sized businesses of the world. The smaller corporations on lower budgets can profit substantially from email marketing as well, making it a worthy and often wise investment for any business from any sector to make.

It’s worth checking out the other ways digital marketing could help your business to grow in an online environment, as the possibilities are ever-changing and fast-growing.

Gain reviews from an early stage

If you feel the assistance or services you’re offering is of a high quality, ask your customers for reviews. These are indispensable for any business to flourish and clients who are unsure about whether to spend money with you will consistently search out reviews become coming to their own conclusion. This is simply the way of the modern world.

According to Campaign Monitor, emails are opened up to 27% more often if the subject line is personalised. This means even making the commitment to differentiate emails can earn that much-needed customer feedback.

Offering customers an incentive can be another positive way of developing online feedback. Not many people will turn down a freebie, making incentives an often-successful method of business-to-customer negotiation. The incentive you decide to offer will be unique to your business, but an online voucher often carries a high level of persuasion.

You must, however, be careful not to purchase online reviews in any way. Instead choose to try and build them naturally rather than throwing important funds away for the sake of a quickened development.

Utilise email marketing

At the point when you start a business, constructing an email list is exceptionally low on your rundown of needs, yet when you begin getting your clients information, it becomes important.

Telling customers what’s happening in your business or any deals they should be aware of is vital here. Run a contest available online or request that they join your newsletter and get 10% off their next order. Customers usually enjoy an incentive, they realise their information merits something nowadays, and therefore they won’t just go around handing out their emails and other personal information for free. Us something as a fair bargaining chip.

Look into different email marketing platforms to see what the best option could be for your venture. To kick you off – a decent, free one is MailChimp.

Promotional material

Regardless of whether you’re maintaining an exclusively online marketing business, remember paper-based promotional material. This could be just about as basic as making business cards for yourself (and eventually other key colleagues as well), which are valuable to hand out while attending networking events.

Additionally, you could consider making leaflets and other physical documentation to promote your business. You could test a scope of work that you think depicts your agency best into a leaflet to circulate when required.

Hiring staff for the first time

Chances are, you will begin your marketing agency as a somewhat solo venture, which will lead you to making more money at the earlier stages of your business ownership journey. However, you may eventually want to hire staff as your business begins to expand.

You’ll know you’re in need of more staff when the workload is becoming a little bit too much for your current team. This is particularly apparent to those business owners who work alone within their ventures.

If you’re struggling more than you did at the start, do not assume something has gone wrong or that you’ve become worse at leading your company; the chances are that you have developed as a small business and now have more clients, a larger workload to deal with on a daily basis, and have probably entered more business sector areas than you began targeting back at the start.

You may even be beginning to notice chances for development and growth, such as a gap in the market you know that you can fill with your products and services, but don’t have the manpower to go through with your goals. This is where hiring more people to work for you can start to become essential to the continued growth of your business. Try not to dismiss your chances of growth and let them pass by, as much in the world of business is about being at the right place at the right time.

Take on more staff members in these situations if you can afford to do so. If you’re comfortable with your budget and aware that it will be heavily affected by incoming workers, you shouldn’t have any issues with adding to your employee team.

The first roles you need to fill

You may need to set workers on to occupy the following roles (these will be some of the earliest employees):

Finance officer – cashflow and financial forecasts are key factors within your business plan, and the success of it, so a financial officer or an accountant may be one for the first roles you recruit for.

Support staff – This role will need to be filled relatively early on so that you can allow someone else to keep track of which papers need to be returned or which supplies the office needs. This will aid you in maintaining everyday operations.

The positives to hiring new staff

There are many positive aspects of hiring new staff members in the marketing industry, which include, but are not limited to, the following: 

You’ll be able to spread out the workload and take some of the weight of your company directly off your own shoulders. It really can be useful to get some helping hands in and make things a little easier for yourself.

More ideas will be generated, and problems will likely become easier to solve when you have more minds at work. Working together with others is often a great way to overcome issues in a company. It also isn’t a bad idea to get the opinions of others on something you’re working on. Perhaps you have a few negative points in a project that someone else could point out to you.

Availability to clients and customers will most likely increase. Gone will be the days of you having to reply to every single customer query and complaint, by taking on a few staff members to help you out, either they can start taking care of these matters on your behalf, or you can begin to widen your company’s available hours as a team.

You’ll start to build up strong relationships with other members of your workforce. This could potentially lead to friendships outside of the workplace, or simply just give you a few people that you can rely on within your company, which will always come in handy further down the line.

If you’re not ready to set on staff yet

If you’re not yet at the stage where employing staff is attainable, you can in any case ponder what abilities you can figure out how to upgrade your agency considerably further.

For instance, you could land some on-the-job experience at an agency before you branch out and take on staff of your own. Then again, you might need to get officially perceived capabilities, like a diploma or a degree.

Financing your venture 

There are a number of ways you can finance your startup venture, the use of marketing finance product such as invoice finance or a startup business loan.

Most business owners self fund at the start until they can achieve traction, then they look at funding in order to achieve growth within the business.

What are the next steps?

Now, you’ve taken in the fundamental components of beginning a marketing firm. We’ve investigated how to recognise a target market, as well as what should be included in your business plan. Furthermore, you’ve figured out how to promote your business – whether that is to track down clients, draw in talent or spread the word of your new venture.

What should you now do with all this newly acquired information? Well it is now time to start your own marketing agency and see just how much you can achieve!

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