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A Simple Guide to Starting A Marketing Agency

By Maria Hickey on September 8th, 2022

You may already work as part of a marketing team for a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME). However, you may have deep aspirations to branch out on your own and start your own marketing agency.

If you have a strong work ethic, excellent communications skills and good business or product marketing knowledge, you can start your own digital marketing company from a spare room; a hired office, or a local community co-working space.

As long as you cover yourself with agency insurance to protect your new marketing company from the risks present in this industry, you will start your business on the right foot.

You can jump in with both feet to launch your marketing agency as a full-time business or keep it as a part-time project while you continue with your paid employment.

Either way, if you are wondering how to start your own marketing agency or an online advertising agency, we have put together this guide to help you.

Identify Your Target Market

When starting a marketing company, it can help to narrow down and target your ideal market for your business. You need to know your customers and understand their goals and what they need from you.

You may be tempted to accept any job that comes your way in the very early days of your business, but if this means you will be working in an unfamiliar marketplace, it can be a frustrating experience for you.

Being confident with who you choose to work with can be more effective. It can help you be upfront about what you can deliver for your client.

For example, you could be asked to work for a company that wants you to market their range of handcrafted guitars. But if you don’t play the guitar, are unfamiliar with their target audience or understand how to market to their customers, your first campaign may be stressful and deliver poor results.

Narrowing down your niche to a market that you have first-hand knowledge of or a great passion for can make your job much easier and more pleasurable.

Solidify Your Services

Most people think that marketing is all the same, but this field has much more complexity. You may want to offer your clients a well-rounded service that includes a little bit of everything, including:

  • PR
  • Digital Marketing
  • SEO
  • Paid Advertising

However, marketing is an immense industry with lots of different areas. You may want to offer a mixed bag of popular marketing techniques or specialise in just a few. This can depend on whether you plan to be a solo entrepreneur running a one-person enterprise or want to expand and build a marketing team to offer more services.

To start with, you must decide on and solidify your marketing services. If you have a strong background in content marketing, then this can be one of your core marketing services that you know you can deliver with ease.

If you are not so hot with search engine marketing (SEM) or video marketing but plan to hire additional team members with this expertise, then you should emphasise and promote these services once your new team members are in place.

Specialisation in marketing means you don’t need to worry about getting stuck in a rut accepting all types of marketing jobs that you are not entirely confident about delivering. However, specialising in just a few techniques doesn’t mean you are limiting your reach.

There is plenty of crossover between many marketing areas. If you plan to expand your team, you should look for staff with other marketing specialisations that can help enrich your services.

Find Your First Clients

Finding a core base of clients is going to be essential for keeping your new marketing company going. Attracting your first clients is both exciting and scary. You will want to do an excellent job for your new clients, but you will also want to retain them and turn them into repeat customers.

There are several approaches you can use to find your first customers. Approaches can include:

Local networking:

If you live in a thriving town or city, you can search for local trade fairs and industry events to participate in and local business networking groups to join. Many towns and cities will have a chamber of trade and commerce that holds regular meetings and events with which you can get involved.

Reach out to existing contacts:

If you come from a marketing background, you may be able to find some leads by reaching out to people you already know. Even if you know a contact already has their marketing needs covered, they may know of businesses in their network that is looking for a new marketing company that they can connect you with.

Get busy on LinkedIn:

LinkedIn is like Facebook for businesses. If you want to attract B2B clients, engaging in groups and discussions on LinkedIn and contributing articles and tips can help to create recognition for your marketing company and build some authority in your targeted niche. This can encourage new clients to reach out to you for your help.

Social media:

Generally, Facebook and Twitter are the two critical social networks to be on, especially in the early days of your business. Use these platforms to allow people to see what goes on in your agency, as well as allowing you to keep up to speed with what matters most to your customers.

Focus On Retaining Your Best Clients

It is one thing to be able to attract new clients to your marketing business, but you need an entirely different approach to help retain clients and turn them into repeat customers.

Some tips to help you hold onto your existing customers can include:

  • Ensuring everything your company does is client-focused
  • Stay up-to-date with the industry and engage your customer with fresh marketing news

When you are concentrating on establishing your marketing agency and attracting new customers, it can be easy to overlook past clients. It would help if you considered adopting a good customer relationship management (CRM) software package to help keep on top of all your customer interactions.

CRM software packages are invaluable tools for marketing agencies as they compile valuable data in one place. You can use these tools to maintain contact with past clients and encourage them to engage with you through regular updates about your business, special offers and industry news.

Grow Your Business & Find Reliable Staff

At the start, you will most likely be handling everything by yourself. But once you start getting regular jobs, you should consider expanding your agency and hiring staff.

Make sure you take your time and don’t rush hiring extra team members. At first, you may be accepting short-term contracts that are only sustainable for yourself. If you employ staff before you have the work for them, you will quickly run into financial trouble.

If you start to feel overwhelmed with work, then begin by outsourcing some of your tasks to a freelancer you can hire temporarily. This may give you enough help to accept more jobs, but the work coming in wouldn’t be enough to cover the costs of hiring a permanent staff member.

Many marketing agency start-up companies rely on high-quality freelancers with whom they build a solid working relationship until they are ready to hire a permanent team member.

Build Your Reputation

You build your marketing agency reputation through promoting your services and delivering an outstanding customer experience for your clients. Your clients expect a high standard of work from you so don’t disappoint them.

However, it can help boost your reputation and status by over delivering on your projects and giving your clients more value than expected. This gives your marketing agency a massive advantage over your competitors.

You are making a promise when you accept a marketing contract with a client. You agree on what you will do for your client. But once you deliver on time as you agreed, you go a step further and give them a little something extra. This gives your clients a ‘wow’ experience that they will remember.


If you invest a lot of time into your digital marketing agency start-up as a primary occupation or a side hustle next to your paid job, you could be on to a winning venture for your future success.

Don’t forget to insure yourself against risks in this industry with the proper Agency Insurance. Having the appropriate cover to protect yourself and your marketing agency as it grows and expands is the best first step to ensuring your new venture. At Brisco Business, we offer flexible business insurance plans that can be customised to suit your specific requirements.

Maria Hickey

For more than 20 years, Maria has worked in the insurance sector and has extensive underwriting and customer service expertise. Maria is an experienced Senior Underwriter with a particular specialism for shop, office and surgery related insurance.

All articles by Maria Hickey

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