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It’s a big decision to start your own business, not just from the planning and funds point of view but also the worry of staffing, attracting clients and getting through that first year. But as much as it’s stressful, it’s also an exciting time. 
Marketing agencies have a key role in helping businesses develop, grow and expand. Indeed, the latest predictions forecast the UK’s digital marketing spending to increase by 5.7% in 2024. Global marketing spending is expected to reach $1 trillion in 2024; a truly landmark figure. 
Despite being a busy marketplace, there is still plenty of opportunity out there. So, if you’ve taken the plunge to start your own marketing agency in 2024 before you hit the ‘go’ button, check out our ‘how to’ guide to help you. 
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Step-by-step guide to starting your own marketing agency 
Demand for marketing services and transformation to digital technology is continuing to remain high. Whether you’re still at the ‘thinking about it’ stage or have decided to make 2024 your year and start your own business, here’s our step-by-step guide to help you make it successful. 
1. Get to know your marketing landscape 
The more you understand your marketing landscape, the greater the potential for success. Learn as much as you can about two things – digital marketing and how to run an agency. If you work for an agency, find out all you can about how it works. It may be worth investing in an online course to improve your digital marketing skills. Understand the concepts around PPC, SEO, SEM, email, social media marketing, content marketing, web design and development – you'll need to learn how to build websites, or be able to employ staff to do this on your behalf. 
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2. Decide on your niche 
You may be considering offering a full digital marketing service or specialising in a certain area. When making this decision, think about your skills, experience and the industry sectors you are most familiar with. This will help you focus your efforts and attract the right clients. Once you've narrowed down your niche, research your target market thoroughly. Get to know their needs, the challenges they face, and their pain points. This means you can accurately tailor your services and messaging to resonate with their specific requirements. 
3. Create a compelling business plan 
A well-structured, informative business plan not only sets your roadmap to success but also outlines your new marketing agency's vision, mission, goals and strategies. Start by defining your agency's name and unique selling proposition (USP). List what differentiates your agency from your competition. Next, add your service details, intended pricing structure and target market. Outline your marketing and sales strategies to acquire and retain clients. Don’t forget to include financial projections, such as revenue forecasts, expenses and profit targets to show potential investors, banks or other lending firms your understanding of the financial aspects of running an agency. 
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4. Set up your financial and legal structure 
You may outsource in the early days of starting your agency. Even if that is the case, and it could be a wise decision, it’s still a good idea to ensure you have the necessary structure plans in place. So, establish a proper business structure, such as a sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation; if you’re registering as an LLC, Ltd or corporation, you must ensure this is done to cover you legally and protect your assets. Talk to a legal and financial advisor to determine the best structure for your agency, if you’re unsure. Apply for any business licences and permits you need to operate in your jurisdiction. Set up business bank accounts to keep your personal and business finances separate. Whatever your structure, it’s important to put accounting and bookkeeping practices in place to track income, expenses, and taxes. Consider using accounting software or hiring a professional bookkeeper. 
5. Put your team together 
At the start, you’ll probably be wearing multiple hats, but as your agency grows, so will your team. Don’t be too keen to rush into this stage. Take your time to identify the key roles that will support your operations, such as marketing specialists, content creators, graphic designers and web developers. Once you’ve done this, look for experienced people with a proven track record in their respective fields. You might also consider hiring freelancers or contractors for specific projects and/or ongoing support. 
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6. Create a sales and marketing strategy 
When you first start your business it’s important to attract clients and grow your agency. So, you will need to create a thorough and robust sales and marketing strategy. To start with, identify your target market's preferred channels for communication and engagement. Use social media channels, engage in email marketing, strategise content marketing and maximise search engine optimisation (SEO) to reach your audience. Get networking with potential clients in your industry, go to industry events, and you may want to consider offering free consultations or workshops to showcase your expertise. Also, establish a clear sales process, including lead generation, qualification, nurturing and closing deals. It’s a good idea to use a customer relationship management (CRM) system to track your client interactions and manage sales pipelines. 
7. Perfect the best in client services 
Having satisfied clients who are more than happy to shout out positively about your marketing services is key to the success of your agency. Always aim to go above and beyond to exceed client expectations. Work hard at building long-term, lasting relationships. Understand your clients' goals and objectives clearly. Communicate regularly, provide updates promptly and address concerns proactively. Ensure you deliver high-quality work and be transparent about your processes and pricing. Gather client feedback regularly to identify areas for improvement and demonstrate your commitment to their success. If something goes wrong, be honest and upfront with the client and resolve it as soon as possible; clients will understand as long as you keep them updated at all times. 
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8. Keep up-to-date with the latest industry trends 
Being in the know is crucial for your marketing agency. The digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving, so it’s important to stay ahead of the latest digital marketing trends. Keep up with the latest marketing technologies, platforms and strategies, and go to industry conferences, workshops and webinars to remain informed. Read marketing blogs and industry publications and follow thought leaders to gain insights and inspiration. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new marketing approaches and technologies to stay ahead of the competition, but always be prepared to make proactive adjustments. 
9. Build your website, socials and portfolio 
These two are important assets for your business. Your website is your agency’s ‘shop window’ and is a key way to market your services. It must reflect your ethos, your brand, what you stand for and the services you offer clients. Your social pages are an extension of your website and should represent a natural extension in terms of brand and design. The same applies to your online directory pages. Your portfolio demonstrates your skills, expertise and capabilities across all your services, so make sure you feature your best work to date. Don’t forget to keep your portfolio up-to-date with any recent projects you are particularly proud of, especially if it’s a service or skill you’ve added to your repertoire. 
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As your agency grows and the market changes, be prepared to adapt and evolve your business model, even after a short time if needed. Always respond to feedback from clients, positive and negative, and work hard at identifying new opportunities and expanding your service offerings. Don’t be afraid to embrace new technologies and platforms to enhance your marketing capabilities. Continuously refine your strategies and processes to improve efficiency and effectiveness. 
At it’seeze, our network of experienced website consultants throughout the UK and Ireland is always on hand to help you create a website that accurately reflects who you are and what your marketing agency can offer clients. We help small businesses of all shapes and sizes design and build fully SEO and keyword-optimised websites. Get in touch with us today to start your it’seeze journey. 
Start your franchise journey with us 
If you want to start your own business, but the risks involved are stopping you, now’s the time to consider an it’seeze franchise. 
Not only is it affordable, but it is also selling a service that is constantly in demand and growing. 
To discover more about how an it’seeze franchise could be the answer to a better work/life balance, book your Discovery Call today or contact us for more details. 
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