The freelancing industry is very crowded, no matter if you are involved in marketing, copywriting, web design, or graphics. You will have to compete with loads of people who have similar skills and prices. Once you are confident that you are able to provide more value for your customers and differentiate yourself in the marketplace, you might start thinking about creating your own marketing agency. The sad truth is that you will have to compete with established firms and brands, and you will be likely to start off as a small fish. If you are serious about getting your company set up, you will need to create a detailed plan. Below you will find a few tips on how to fund and found your own marketing agency and move from freelancing to running a business.

Research Your Competition

If you thought that being a freelancer is challenging, you haven’t’ tried to enter the one where marketing agencies are competing against each other for customers big or small. You will have to find a point of differentiation so you can convince your target market that your offer is better, cheaper, or more valuable than other agencies. It might be a good idea to get quotes in or create a spreadsheet of the different packages of marketing agencies so you can find a gap in the market and penetrate it easier.

Create a Mission and Vision Statement

When funding any company, it is important that you see clearly about what you would like to achieve and how you can help your customers. Creating a mission and vision statement is more challenging than you would think. It needs to cover not only your personal views and values, but also the common points with your customers. If you are starting a marketing agency that guarantees results, or offer free trials, maybe work with customers to develop their own campaigns instead of using cookie-cutter solutions, you have to include this in your mission and vision statement.

Create Irresistible Offers

Once you know what you would like to offer to your customers and how to stand out, it is important that you start working on your own marketing strategy. Start with creating multiple customer personas and tailor your offers to their specific needs. You will have the option to specialize in small businesses, one particular industry, or create an offer for multiple markets. It is important that you research your market and find out more about different customers’ marketing budget, so you can create affordable offers and a great value for money.  

Provide Free Trials to Gain Trust

Sometimes you will have to give your customers some allowances, and offering a free trial or service will help you build trust and get your unique messages across. If there are loads of similar companies in your region, you might be able to stand out by offering a money back guarantee or a free trial. No business owner wants to spend more on marketing than necessary, so you have to be prepared to provide discounts. Another great idea for entering the market and getting your first customers is to reward your first customers with a discount if they recommend other customers to your new agency.

Work with People on a One-on-one Basis

 

While online shopping is growing every year, an increasing number of people like sitting down or talking on the phone with people they trust with their business. You will have plenty of time in the beginning to connect with your customers and offer one-on-one coaching and discussions. This will help you achieve better results through working with your customers and not just for them. As a result, you will get a proven track record and positive feedback and publicity, which will help you increase your brand value.

Learn to Create and Customize Sales Funnels

If you are an SEO expert, a freelance copywriter, or a web developer, chances are that you have so far only seen one or two sides of the industry, and you will have to update your knowledge to serve your marketing clients. If you are not familiar with pay per click, Google Analytics, or other tools, it is time to enroll in a training course. It is also crucial that you can effectively build sales funnels and custom marketing automation plans, so you don’t have to spend more time on creating a customer strategy than necessary.

Learn How to Demonstrate Ideas and Strategies

 

It is also important that you create marketing material and presentations that help your clients understand your strategy and plans. You might create your own templates using Canva or share your ideas through Google Suite. However, sometimes it is necessary to catch up with customers in person, and you will need to create custom reports and updates. You will need to create folders and portfolios, so you can demonstrate your offers to visual learners.

Create a Cost Prediction and Budget

It is also crucial that you budget for your startup and take into consideration every running and startup cost, to make sure that you can afford to create the type of agency you want. If you need help with financial planning and software implementation, you should talk to a startup coach, so you don’t have to guess the total cost. List every cost and shop around to get the cheapest and most reliable suppliers of office equipment and stationery. Before you choose the printers and computers, consider the running costs. Simply search for the prices of hp envy 4524 ink to find out how much printing will cost you per week or month.

Hire the Right People

Selecting people who share your views on marketing and have the same approach as you towards customer service will help you build a strong brand. It is also a good idea to choose people who have diverse skill sets, so they can do some of the work that you are not familiar with. You might want to create various departments or responsibilities within the new agency, with one employee being responsible for managing clients, and another working on web design or PPC marketing. Make sure that your employees are willing to and able to communicate and collaborate with you and each other.

Delegate

 

One of the benefits of running a company instead of being a freelancer is that you can improve your services and productivity by taking advantage of the skills of your employees. It is important that you are not tied up with the administration or answering the phone. Focus on the tasks that will take your business further and delegate the rest. Keep control of the strategy and planning, but develop independent employees by delegating certain projects and assigning different customers to one individual who follows up their campaign from start to finish.

Invest In Your Branding

 

It is important that you brand your new company effectively. Try to join a networking event in your area, or join a group online to connect with like-minded people and establish yourself as an expert by providing advice and recommendation. Remember that you have to give before you take, and the best way of creating positive brand associations is helping people out. Once you have created reciprocity, you will be able to pitch them with your offers, as they will trust you enough to consider your services. Collaborating with other businesses will open your horizons and help you connect with potential partners or get recommendations.  

Establish Yourself as an Expert

Apart from creating an agency and focusing on creating consistent brand messages, you will also have to pay attention to the personal branding of you as a founder of the agency. You need to work with companies and manage the operations, create processes and frameworks for your employees without micromanaging the different tasks. It is important that you train and coach your new employees to do the work in a way you would, without supervision. You might want to make them your personal brand extension, so you can focus on the long-term strategy.

Manage Your Reputation and Seek Feedback

After starting your marketing agency, it is important that you will manage your reputation and monitor customer feedback. Chances are that you will not get everything right the first time, and that is the reason you have to keep an eye on what your customers have to say about the service they received and the communication. Once you have a business website, it is important that you collect feedback and testimonials so you can showcase your results to people who are just considering using your new agency.

 

Starting an agency and leaving the lifestyle of a freelancer will mean a lot of changes. You will need to improve your management and human resources skills to make sure that you can manage your clients, take care of the marketing, strategy, and build a strong brand at the same time. Do your research, create a unique selling proposition, and build your brand reputation gradually to successfully penetrate a competitive market.

 

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2 Comments

Rob Fenech · 18/08/2018 at 12:14 pm

As someone who’s recently made the transition from Sole Trader Freelance Web Designer to Limited Company and Web Design Agency with staff, this was an interesting read. If I did it all again, I might handle a few things differently – this is a really comprehensive guide though. Nice read 🙂

    Hannah Thornton · 20/08/2018 at 10:54 am

    Thanks Rob, and well done on the transition between businesses!

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