Starting your own marketing agency is exciting and rewarding when you do it right.
Unfortunately, when I got started in 1999 I didn't have a mentor, and I was winging it. I had no processes or procedures in place--no client onboard process and no set fees.
I was young and ready to make my mark on the marketing world. It didn’t take long until I was spending more time fighting red tape than helping clients.
I want to help you avoid the mistakes I made with this checklist and short guide.
We can break down any type of agency into 5 segments.
Before we get started, understand time is money. Time is the only resource you can never get back. The more time you spend doing a repetitive task, the more money you waste.
1. Getting Leads
Your business will live or die based on your ability to attract the right leads.
Just because a prospect can pay, doesn't mean they are the right clients.
“The wrong client will suck the life out of you faster than a vampire on steroids.”
You need to define your niche and create a unique mechanism or else you risk being noise in the marketplace. I don’t need to tell you how many “copy cat” agencies are struggling.
Develop your unique mechanism and position so you can own the category.
Next, make sure your site presents the right image.
Let’s face it, we all judge the book by the cover.
If you are marketing to luxury businesses, spend a few minutes to look at how Lexus, BMW and Mercedes have designed their sites. You will notice a theme of colors, fonts and messages.
On the other hand if you are marketing based on price, which I think is a very bad idea, look at Walmart for your inspiration.
This is not the time to spend weeks designing the perfect site.
To save time use something like ClickFunnels to create a 1 page agency website. I have an agency template that you can have to save you time.
Click here to get your agency template.
After you grab the agency temple let me know and I can send you some training on how to set up your agency site.
Now you need a way to book client calls.
While I love inbound calls, it can become chaotic trying to manage them.
When you put a booking schedule and calendar in place prospects can book a time and have SMS messages and email reminders sent out.
This will allow you to better control your time and set the tone with clients. You are a business professional who is not on speed dial to be called every 10 minutes.
Having your clients book a time has a second advantage.
You can survey them at the same time to get a better feel of their wants, needs and budgets.
If your prospect is too lazy to fill out your survey, don't waste your time talking to them.
If they can’t take 3 minutes to tell you about their needs, they will never be serious about working with you.
It's OK to remind the client that you need to fill out the survey before the call and if they don’t you will need to cancel the appointment.
Remember that their business needs you more than you need it.
Once your site is up and running and your booking system is in place, it's now time to focus on getting clients.
In the lead agency master class we spend a lot of time on this.
One of the easiest ways to get started is with cold B2B emails. This combined with LinkedIn and FaceBook can give you a full client roster.
Remember when you are using cold B2B emails, people will not respond on the first email. It takes several follow up emails before they become a client.
2. Closing clients
How do you close the sale? This is where most agency owners drop the ball.
Your clients don't want to hear you talk about the latest buzzwords. They end up lost in the weeds. They have a business to run and they want somebody to fix their problem.
Talk about numbers they can relate to. It could be clients, units sold, etc.
But talk to them so they can visualize it. If you promise 20 new clients per month they probably know how much that will add to the bottom line. That is a number they understand.
You need to create a follow up process after the call.
Never send your client a proposal to read alone unless you don’t want to work with them.
Only send a client proposal when you have a time booked to review it together. Otherwise they will download it and forget about it.
Never get off the phone until you have a time booked to review the proposal. All it takes is for the client to not understand one thing to kill the deal.
Use a sales script when you are talking to clients so you don't forget to highlight anything.
Have a proposal template that's easy for your clients to understand.
Never get off the call without a time booked to review the proposal.
Even when the prospect says “no” keep in touch with them because the time might not be right.
I recommend sending out a 2 page printed newsletter every month to your prospect talking about how to stay ahead of the competition. This will position you as the expert when they are ready.
3. Delivering the results
This is where so many agencies get into trouble. Let me tell you that you don’t need to be the expert.
Experts are a dime a dozen.
You need to be the agency owner. If you want to spend time pushing the button and dialing, go ahead. But you will end up cheating yourself out of a lot of money. Your biggest value to the business is getting clients.
Plus, if you aren't careful you will end up not charging enough money.
When you work with white label agencies you are forced to charge more to cover the cost. This puts you in a better marketing position because the person who wanted the cheapest price is always going to be the worst clients.
Just the fact that you charge more will repel these clients.
Plus, it gives you financial padding to make better financial decisions because cash flow is stronger.
I would recommend hiring a white label agency to handle the work. In the lead agency masterclass we review a few white label agencies that are amazing to work with and they deliver results.
The key to growth is cash flow.
You only increase your cash flow by getting more clients, charging more and adding more value to your client’s business.
4. Value-Added Services
Once you have delivered amazing results to your clients, it's time to move from being a vendor to being a partner. As you solve one problem for your clients it opens the doors to more sales for you.
You can offer your clients an array of services.
When you are trying to get clients you want to stay within a specific niche. But once you have a client you can offer value-added services in a variety of ways:
The list goes on and on.
Your clients are coming to you full of problems.
Don't overwhelm them by trying to sell them any and everything all at one time. Get them to listen, and then offer your value-added services.
And don't shoot yourself in the foot by trying to over-deliver on all these yourself. Use outsourcers or white label agencies.
This is where most agency owners struggle. You need to make sure you have the right processes in place or you will be running around most of the your days putting your fires out instead of closing your clients.
Find a payment processor so you can accept payments.
The last thing you want is a client to call you with his credit card number and you don’t have a way to process payments over the phone.
Or to have your client pay one time but the rebill will not work. This can be a nightmare that will cost you clients if you aren’t careful.
Next, you need to have a way to keep track of sales and expenses. I would suggest something simple like a spreadsheet and once your business is up and running for a few months move to QuickBooks. But the key is has to have something in place that you understand.
This a just a short checklist and guide to what you need to get your agency started. This isn’t a comprehensive list. It's designed to get you started fast.
If you want to learn more about how I can help you grow your agency fast, make sure you watch the Lead Agency Webinar and book a time to talk to me.
Charles is a walking, talking, networking blend of credibility and know-how. Raised in a working class family, he combined a tenacious work ethic and keen sense of curiosity to usher him over one hurdle after another. Nearly thirty years after computer technology first became accessible to consumers, Charles has harnessed the marketing potential of the Internet…and he is now sharing his formula for success
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