Today, we’re going to talk about starting a marketing agency from your house. Marketing agency, branding agency you name it and offer services, internet marketing services. Basically, whatever digital services you want. Right now, starting a marketing agency is a great idea. And it’s easy to do!
First of all, if you’re new to me, my name is Jason Drohn. I created doneforyou.com, and my specialty is in creating and selling stuff online. Basically, or helping businesses create products, offers, programs. Then put together an automated way of selling those things through paid traffic, free traffic, whatever.
Now, back when I first started, so I started online in 2006. The first offer, the first product, the first thing that I ever did was wrote an 18-page ebook on how to pick up clients. The first three or four years that I was online was a tumultuous time because I was trying to figure out blogging. For those of you who know my origin story. I was a Pepsi truck driver and drove semi for five years. In my third year at Pepsi, I ended up going back to school.
I was driving semi-truck full time and I was also going to college full time. So I was working about 60 hours a week and also taking a full course load. I ended up finishing with two degrees in five years from school. In my sophomore junior year I ended up starting my first company, and that was in 2006.
From 2006 to like 2009-2010 was just a shit show because I started doing web design and that kind of stuff. Then fell in love with blogging and advertising and passive income. So that was where that how I got into that. It wasn’t until like 2010-2011 I started figuring out affiliate marketing.
At that time I was working with clients. I would work with a couple of clients doing the web design and whatever. I knew how to pick up clients. And I wrote like an ebook on how to pick up those clients. It was 10 strategies on how to work with local businesses. How to do this local marketing thing as it was called now, or as it was called then. Now it’s like just agency work.
This ebook ended up being 18 pages long. I gave it to a friend to put on her membership site. Then before I knew it, I had a couple of hundred downloads. I think it was 280 downloads or something, 280 new leads for this free ebook. With those leads, I ended up serving them and saying, “Hey, what would you like to be taught on? What else can I teach you?” And they filled out the survey, and I went put together a video course. So the first video course that I ever created was was on local marketing. It was called Local Money Matrix. And it was all about starting a marketing agency.
This “starting a marketing agency” piece just feels like it came full circle because agencies now, there are branding agencies, there is paid traffic like PPC agencies. I’ll just start going through the slides here.
There are branding agencies, largely design, and it might be one person, two people, three people like in an office, there’s like designed focus agencies or studios, there are direct marketing agencies and like performance marketing agencies, there is a digital marketing and new media as sometimes it’s called, it’s not called new media anymore, but digital marketing, yes, like pay-per-click, there’s social media, there’s public relations or creative or media buying or influencer agencies.
There are all kinds of different specialties that fall underneath this block of agencies, and it just depends on what you’re into, what you’re good at, what you find yourself working in. There’s a web design, there is software development. I mean, there are all kinds of professional groups that can fall underneath this starting a marketing agency banner, it just depends on what it is you want to do.
2 Broad Categories of Advertising Agencies
1. Full-service Ad Agencies
Full service or integrated agencies offer a complete range of ad-related services across all media and markets. They may use multiple tactics like advertising, email, and social media in an integrated marketing initiative. So these are your traditional full-stack agencies, they do web design, they do newspaper ads, they do television ads, radio ads, a little bit visual.
They tend to be like a jack of all trades, sometimes they are a master to none, sometimes they prefer one and the rest is just other stuff that they do.
2. Specialized Ad Agencies
There are specialized agencies that do one thing or a few things, like attract and engage influencers.
So there’s a local agency here that that’s all they do, is influencer marketing. So they hook brands up with influencers and that’s it.
I have a friend-partner who just does Facebook ads, and that’s all he does. Well, now they’re doing YouTube and Google and stuff, but Facebook is their primary, that’s where they start. Each agency typically does something a little different. I mean, we do Facebook ads, Google ads and sales funnels, marketing automation.
The marketing automation sales funnel piece is that’s where we spend the bulk of our time. It’s every agency that does one thing or another thing well.
Branding and Web Design
Other agencies just do branding. They’re just really, really good at branding. They also do web design because their clients need their stuff online.
Now, starting a marketing agency assumes that you’ve got a special skill set. As it comes to marketing, so like Facebook ads or web development or TV commercials or video, or you’re well connected in a certain space. So you have a Rolodex of website owners or a Rolodex of like publicists or newspaper writers, you know what I mean? Like you have connections that you can leverage for the success of your clients.
Connect With Your Clients
The trick to starting a marketing agency is connecting clients with you so that you can do that thing for them, preferably on a retainer. So you’re selling yourself and the results of your thing. And that’s where the sales funnel comes in. So many of the agencies that we’ve worked within the past that we’ve built sales funnels for, that’s why we do like fully qualified lead sales video.
Basically, it is a sales video, it’s a website all centered around a sales video or sales presentation, and then underneath that sales video sales presentation is an application that somebody would fill out the application and then get added onto like strategy session call. We made the pitch and we learn about our client on our extra strategy session. Based on the session, we will figure out whether the clients are a good fit or not. In terms of the acquisition, it’s very inbound-oriented.
There are a lot of agencies that do outbound stuff and they end up spamming people and emailing them and cold calling them, whatever. It’s just not something that we like to do a whole lot. But when you start though, you want to make sure you specialize, there are lots of full-service agencies, but you don’t want to compete with them because they’re going to win.
Specialize a Niche
So as an upstart, if you are also full scale then the established businesses in your community are going to go with the more reputable brand. If you specialize in one thing, it’s very easy to differentiate yourself from everybody else. Facebook ads management is one, or print publication for eBooks in digital media. So if you can specialize in one thing and carve a niche out in one thing, then it’s easier to attract the rest of the business because you’re going to do that one thing better than the bigger agencies.
It might be logo design and product packaging, or e-commerce product shops set up advertising. You might be like an eCommerce agency. So, but even then if you’re being that we’re not necessarily community-based anymore, with the world being the internet and you can advertise for whatever you want and put sales material together for whatever you want, then attracting clients is going to be a whole lot easier if you are specializing in something.
As an example of starting a marketing agency… If eCommerce product shots set up advertising is your thing, then that’s awesome. I mean, you’re going to be picking up eCommerce clients left and right because so many e-commerce folks need the product shots, the setup, the Shopify set up or the Amazon store setup, and then the advertising for that thing too.
It’s better to specialize in eCommerce because there are hundreds of thousands of prospective clients for you in your specialty as long as they can find you, as long as you put up a couple of ads or you are ranking for keyword phrases, or you’re being referred to those people. So as long as you are where they need you to be, then you’re going to end up raking in the business into your agency.
Now, starting a marketing agency by specializing is how prospects connect you to their problem. Look at full-service firms, they’re so generic. The only reason they sell is that they have relationships that they’ve been building for 50 years. I have a couple of clients, they are traditional brick and mortar clients. Every time they get marketing material from a competitive agency, they always send it to me.
I chuckle because the material is so generic. Basically, it is, we do branding, we do print publication, we do internet advertising, we do web design. Yet it’s only two people in an office and then they outsource the rest of it or is three people in an office.
So how can three people like be specialists in so many disparate things as opposed to just specializing in one or two, and then them just being really, really good at those one or two things, and then they can send the work to other agencies.
It’s just something to think about in starting a marketing agency and figuring out what you are going to be good at, how you’re going to attract clients are just making sure your offer the thing that you’re most passionate about and you’re the best at. Or I mean, you can have a shotgun approach if you have like crazy social media exposure, like you can do whatever the hell you want, so.
But your website needs to speak to that specialization. If you do eCommerce product shots, then your website should be about eCommerce product shots. It shouldn’t be about Facebook advertising. You want a clear homepage, clear services, and lead magnets. Then you want an automated webinar with some testimonials and case studies. Any more, you need to have a sales video with a form. Also, an application underneath which lets people pre-qualify. What happens is if somebody goes to an automated webinar and they have to leave early, or they just plain old don’t take action when you tell them to, but then they think about you a month later.
They don’t want to have to sit through your entire webinar. Furthermore, they want to be able to go just to a page and sign up for the webinar. They’d sign up for a call with you. They don’t want to have to jump through the hoops when they already know you’re the person for them, but they don’t. You want to make sure that the website has a quick-start way to get in touch with you, to get ahold of you. That’s the quickest way to starting a marketing agency.
Now, all your sales are going to come through consultative selling. So as an agency, at least when you’re starting a marketing agency, I mean, we talked about product selling in the past, product selling is good for agencies, but you’re still, even if you productize your offer you sell web design, web design on average, your web design is $5,000, let’s say, or $10,000.
That website is going to have 20 or 25 normal pages with normal plugins, with normal design. So that blanket website, $10,000, anything additional onto that, then you have like some pretty set pricing. So it might be $500 per additional page or whatever, but you still are going to be selling on the phone. You’re not going to be getting the fees that you want to get if you’re running people through an order form like an add-to-cart order form.
You’re still going to be getting on the phone with these people because it is a complex sale. So that’s one of the reasons why webinars work well. Then you can retarget people back through a sales video, but this is high touch. It’s inexpensive, it’s a high price, high touch, high complexity offer, so you’re going to need to make some customization. Make sure that you understand where your customers are coming from, where your clients are coming from, what they need to be done, how they’re different than everybody else because everybody’s fucking different. Even though they might not necessarily be it’s, they’re different, their model is different. Then just understand that and then set everything up from there.
When starting a marketing agency, your best sales conversion tool is going to be the automated webinar that’s got a call to action of a call scheduling form with you or your sales rep. Basically, they come in, they hit a page. On that page, there’s a form underneath, the form pops up. They fill out the form, then they go off to your calendar. Then referrals need to go through the same sales process minus the automated webinar. It’s another reason why you have a sales video up.
Typically, a referral needs all of the information that a cold traffic person or warm traffic is going to have. One of the reasons our sales processes are so effective is because everybody has the same material leading up to like a call. They download the lead magnet and they sign up for the webinar. They fill out the form, they know what we do and they know how we do it. They’ve seen lots of examples of how we do it. Also, they know that we know what we’re doing. Referral needs all of that too.
Now, like when we get referred like I just send referrals to the front side of like our sales funnels because they get exposure to our process and us and who we are that way. As opposed to, if they just sidestep the whole thing. You end up having to teach them and train them and everything. Like we use the sales funnel for both cold and warm in the referral traffic, or all three. Then once sold, fulfillment starts. For us like we set up Basecamp profiles, we set up Dropbox accounts, we set up software access, we set up all that stuff, onboarding forms.
Once the project kicks off then we end up deploying our to-do lists in Basecamp. Tasks are assigned to who it needs to get assigned to and then we go from there. Now for pricing, so pricing agencies, pricing work. This is very definitely not a science, but for pricing, considering they are dealing with multiple clients is like having a lot of bosses.
If you have 20 clients, if there are 20 active clients on your roster, then you have 20 bosses. Depending on how you set up your organization, I mean, there’s going to be project managers and account managers, and everything else. You need to make sure that your pricing is conducive to having that level of commitment to work. So it’s going to take about 70% longer to do something with clients than if it was on your own.
I can’t tell you, there are times when starting a marketing agency, where it’s like we’ll build like an automated webinar for us, or like a sales funnel for us, and it’s like, “Wow, that was quick.” And then the same process, same team members, same everything we end up doing for clients and it takes like three times, four times, five times longer, but it’s because of the back and forth and there’s just a lot of things that you need to take into consideration when working with clients because it’s their schedules, it’s everything else, so you just need to account for that, and when in doubt charge more. Establish a price floor, you don’t work less than X amount of money, instead of packages for services.
With starting a marketing agency that specializes in ad management is X or logo design is Y, you price like Netflix. The right client is going to be easy, every once in a while you’ll get a pain in the ass. And then the middle of road pricing between the two gives you pricing simplicity. At least that’s generally how we set up pricing. It is how a lot of the agencies who we’ve worked with have set up pricing. Then you also want to make sure that you have those floors in it too.
If you want an agency but don’t want to do the selling or the fulfillment work, you should visit doneforyou.com and check out our agency network. You introduce us or send a lead, we sell it for you, we do the work and you get paid. It’s something we’ve been doing for quite a while. We sell it, fulfill it, the whole deal.
But all in all, I mean, starting an agency, it’s a lucrative way of generating some solid revenue. If you were good online like if you have a skill you do some branding. You do some video editing, you do some video work or design work or copywriting, or ads, ad management, anything. It’s also pretty easy to pick up the skills required to start an agency. So it might be a way of starting a side hustle, something that turns into a full-time gig. So it’s just keeping in mind.
For Questions and Guide
If you have any questions at all you can jump into the chatbox here and let me know. Furthermore, if you would like to talk about putting together an action plan to starting a marketing agency or to some more agency clients or to start an agency or whatever, then go to doneforyou.com/start. We’ll make sure to get an action plan for you. And I think that’s about it, it was a quick one today.
Tomorrow we’re talking about software and it’s going to be a long one. I have a guest, Mars is going to be on with me tomorrow. We’re just going to geek out on software, which I am excited about because of wireframing and starting up software offers. That’s going to be the goal, is how do you start a software SAAS project? So it’d be exciting.