How to Start a New Marketing Agency

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Almost every marketer thinks about either going freelance or starting their own firm at some point in their career. Many go out on their own and end up in a great position, but that’s not to say an independent practice is the only route to success, agency executives at healthy firms earn on average just as much, if not more.

I recently had the chance to exchange a few emails with Sean Paige, a public relations guy that I keep in touch with for work purposes on occasion. One of the most common issues new agencies face when getting off the ground is landing those first clients. The issue is that clients want case studies, but every agency has to start somewhere, so I wanted to pick Sean’s mind about how to solve it. 

Sean has recently launched a new shop, “MIKEN PR

How do you approach getting the word out about your new company?

“What I like to do is attend as many events in the local area of the agency as possible. Nearby clients can serve as a great first customer base, and it’s a lot easier to present to a client in person when you’re new, as people can usually get a general vibe about someone regarding how much knowledge they have about the marketing field they do.

Not only that, but you are going to have to reach out to potential clients in the space that you have the most relationships with journalists with. When you’re new, don’t focus on clients in the media sector that you don’t have solid connections in.”

What marketing channels work best for a new agency?

“When you’ve just launched and are a small agency it’s hard to get press coverage about yourself. Additionally, ads about your agency are unlikely to convert well without those case studies posted. A great way to go out and get your first clients is going to be direct sales, and often times this means cold sales and cold emails, but just to get yourself started.”

How do you transition from a day job to freelance or your own shop?

“It’s a tough transition and sometimes a slow transition. It’s best to save up several months of rent before you make the jump, and be sure to leave in good standing with the place you’re leaving. Other than the standard advice, I would say you need to move quickly on your initial sales campaign. The first few months are going to make or break your agency, and you must be persistent in reaching out to new clients each morning.

What kind of companies should you target at first?

“I think that is all going to depend on what media space you are most familiar with, and in what space your relationships are in. Technology and Retail are both excellent spaces to build relationships in, and there is a large number of companies in both spaces.

How long does it take to get up and running?

“I would expect the entire process from open doors to first clients to take around 3-6 months, and expect longer if you are doing a higher tier marketing service for large corporations. This is assuming of course that you are working a serious amount of hours each day.

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