The demand for digital marketing services has skyrocketed in recent years. If you’re wondering how to start a marketing business, here is some advice to get you on your way.
You can use your passion for marketing to develop a business model that distinguishes you from the thousands of marketing agencies opening every year. In 2022 alone, marketing agency enterprises in The United States reached 7761, a 17.4% increase from 2021.
These promising numbers ensure that starting your own marketing company is a sound investment. However, there are many things to consider before you enter the world of professional marketing services. By using these 7 steps to start your marketing business, you’ll be well on your way to launching a successful agency.
The 7 Essential Steps To Start a Marketing Business
Follow these steps for a successful start in your marketing agency journey!
1. Research Your Target Customer and Market
The people you serve come first when you’re running a marketing business. Therefore, you need to bring your original and unique ideas to prove your business is a viable entity.
Research for any missing gaps present in the market. Who is being underserved and could benefit from your skills?
Next, ask yourself if you want to work with businesses or individuals. This usually breaks down into the following two categories:
- B2B: Business to Business marketing agency serving clients with strategies to promote their business and services to other businesses.
- B2C: Business to Consumer marketing agency serving the average customer directly without any middleman involved.
Since most people enlist marketing services to track and optimize their businesses, you’ll likely be working in the B2B capacity. From here, identify the size of your target market (solopreneur or cooperate) and develop a pricing strategy.
Next, research and analyze your target audience. To decide on a customer base, conduct surveys and research to understand which population you are trying to reach.
For example, are you targeting clients with seasonal or evergreen marketing needs? Do you want to provide marketing services to local businesses or expand globally? Would you work with people who are invested in certain causes or who have a certain lifestyle?
You can differentiate yourself from other marketing agencies by identifying a specific target audience and market. Additionally, this will also serve as the foundation of your marketing strategies.
2. Determine Your Services and Pricing Structure
With market research completed, you now know which clients you’d like to work with. It’s time to develop a portfolio of services relevant to the ideal customer base you identified.
Offering multiple services can increase your client base, but there is also an increased risk of overpromising that can deter your new relationships.
It is better to initially stick to a few marketing services and gradually build your portfolio. After all, you will later hire and build a team of experts under you who can manage other tasks. The most popular digital marketing services include:
- Content marketing: a marketing strategy to subtly promote brand awareness with videos, podcasts, social media posts, or articles on your blog
- SEO services: search engine optimization aims to rank your page higher in search engine results to generate website traffic for your business
- Social media marketing: this involves using social media channels to market products to your target audience
- Email marketing: send email messages to existing and potential customers to let them know about new products, offers, or discounts
- Web design: this refers to the design element of your website and focuses on providing a satisfactory user experience
Once you have chosen the relevant services for your marketing business model, you should set a pricing structure to offer to your clients. You can choose to offer:
- Retainer pricing model: the client pays the fee for the determined period in advance. This helps agencies manage cash flow and dedicate adequate resources to the client’s needs
- Fixed-rate: a set charge for the full service
- Commission-based system: clients pay for your services after achieving the desired results
- Hourly: a set per-hour fee is paid to the agency for the number of hours it dedicates resources to your business
Finally, set prices that are reflective of your promised standard. Customers are willing to pay more if they can avoid the hassles of incompetence and inconvenience. If you are new to this industry, you may want to offer a lower rate initially, but as you gain more experience, your prices should increase accordingly.
3. Develop Your Brand Identity
It is essential to communicate your brand story with customers. Consider your services, target customers, and price points to determine your brand image. You can think of your brand as the personality of your business.
People love associating with businesses that support global issues as they can relate emotionally. Everything from your logo, business name, images, color theme, and font style should be consistent over your website to establish your unique brand identity.
Try to create a brand that is simple, modern, and memorable. Design a cohesive visual identity that resonates with your target market and the values of your business. It’s better to start simply and build up a more complex identity as you grow. This way you can spend more time focusing on your services and finding new clients to work with.
4. Choose Your Technology Platforms
Online presence is crucial in the marketing business world. You need to build a strong connection with your target audience by setting up the following platforms:
- Website: Create an organized layout for your website that makes it easy for your target audience to surf through. Potential clients should be able to navigate to the various landing pages, including the about page, services, and contact pages
- Blog: Build your authority in the field by publishing content that provides value to the reader and brings organic traffic to your website
- Social media accounts: Carry out research to know which social media channels your customers spend the most time on. Your posts should reflect your brand’s message and divert them to your website.
Cohesion is an absolute must when your brand is present in multiple places. So when learning how to start a marketing business, ensure your brand’s colors, visuals, message, services, and prices are consistent across the board. This builds trust with your customers and promotes brand loyalty.
5. Set Up Your Legal and Financial Structure
You can choose to operate as a sole entrepreneur, Limited Liability Company (LLC), or publicly traded company. With the latter two, the business owner is considered a separate entity and will not be held responsible for any debts or liabilities of the business.
Even though the startup costs associated with sole ownership are low, outside funding essential to growing a business can be tricky to obtain. The investments pooled by other members for an LLC business or through shares (in the case of a public company) will build your credit rating and help secure more funds from financial institutions.
And with Northwest Registered Agent, you can outsource the application process for as little as $39.
6. Assemble Your Agency Team (Or Start Solo)
At the beginning of your journey, you may work independently to lower costs and establish a positive reputation with clients. This also lets you get a feel for the industry and understand how you want to run your marketing business.
Once you’re confident in your capabilities, start adding team members to your team. This will help you increase efficiency and competency by dividing tasks among them. Take some time to find creative professionals with the same vision as you regarding marketing services.
Gradually, as you take on more clients, you may need to hire people to manage certain tasks. You can start by hiring freelancers that are experts in their field, and as the level of trust increases, you can offer them a permanent job to be a part of your marketing team.
Don’t hire or contract too many people at once, as it can be hard to keep up with the workflow. Your team should have a healthy mix of tech-savvy professionals, SEO specialists, data entry personnel, copywriters, and finance whizzes.
7. Implement and Market Your Services
Now that your structure is in place, you must let the world know about your services. To create a successful business you need to reach clients searching for the services you offer. You can increase the chances of getting reached out with:
- Outbound marketing: Using tactics to generate awareness of your products through paid advertising on billboards, TV and attending networking events
- Inbound marketing: create a great content strategy that pushes customers to your websites. Keyword-optimized blog posts, videos, and social media marketing are perfect examples of this technique
- Word-of-mouth- marketing: Existing customers will talk about your services to their family and friends. This technique builds trust with potential customers as it comes from a reliable source.
If you have any experience in one of the three above, use it to your advantage. Identify the channels that work best for you and invest in them. Make sure you have a strategy to track your efforts to see which brings the highest returns on investment (ROI).
Bottom Line: How to Start a Marketing Business
Knowing how to start a marketing business requires understanding the industry, your target customers, and the right blend of services. Once you have a thorough plan and the necessary resources, it is important to stay on top of the changing trends in marketing and technology to ensure your business grows steadily.
With careful research, hard work, and dedication, entrepreneurs can create a successful marketing business that stands out from the competition.