How To Start A Marketing Agency

Updated: January 18th, 2023

How To Start A Marketing Agency

Are you looking to start a marketing agency?

If you talk to any entrepreneur, getting started is one of the hardest parts of launching your own business.

There are many things to consider, such as:

  • Validating your business idea
  • Setting up your business structure
  • Launch ideas for your business
  • Determining your marketing strategy
  • And much more!

In this detailed guide, we lay out all the steps to help you get started and run your business successfully.

avg revenue (monthly)
starting costs
gross margin
time to build
330 days
growth channels
Word of mouth
business model
best tools
Instagram, YouTube, Google Analytics
time investment
Full time
pros & cons
9 Pros & Cons
86 Tips

💡 Introduction To Starting A Marketing Agency

Is Starting A Marketing Agency Right For You?

There are many factors to consider when starting a marketing agency.

We put together the main pros and cons for you here:

Pros of starting a marketing agency

• Flexibility

You can put as much time into the business as you'd like. If you like the work and have some initial experience, you can start small and manage all aspects of the business on your own.

• Ability to start your business from home

It's not necessary to have a physical storefront or office space to get your business started. You can do everything from the comfort of your own home, at least in the beginning!

• Scalable

With businesses and processes changing daily, there will always be demand for new features, products and services for your business. Additionally, there are several different business models and pricing tiers you can implement that will allow you to reach all types of customers.

• Traffic to your website

A marketing agency gives people a reason to visit your website and to keep coming back to you!

• Meaningful business connections

You never know who you will meet as a marketing agency. This could be the start of an incredible business opportunity!

• High customer retention rates

Once a customer invests in your product, they've invested their time and energy to utilize your product/service which is highly valuable to them. Typically, your product or service becomes indispensable to your customer.

Cons of starting a marketing agency

• Crowded Space

Competition is high when it comes to your marketing agency, so it's important that you spend a good amount of time analyzing the market and understanding where the demand lies.

• Motivation of employees

If you plan to have a sales/content team on board, finding creative ways to motivate them can be a challenge. It's important that you're able to offer great incentives and a good work environment for your employees.

• Longer Sales Process

A marketing agency can be a big time and money investment for your customer, so it's important you plan and predict a longer conversion funnel and stay in communication with potential customers.


Big Players

Small Players

Search Interest

Let's take a look at the search trends for marketing agency over the last year:

How To Name Your Marketing Agency

It's important to find a catchy name for your marketing agency so that you can stand out in your space.

Here are some general tips to consider when naming your marketing agency

  • Avoid hard to spell names: you want something easy to remember and easy to spell for your customers
  • Conduct a search to see if others in the space have the same name
  • Try not to pick a name that limits growth opportunities for your business (ie. if you decide to expand into other product lines)
  • As soon as you have an idea (or ideas) of a few names that you love, register the domain name(s) as soon as possible!

Why is naming your marketing agency so important?

The name of your business will forever play a role in:

  • Your customers first impression
  • Your businesses identity
  • The power behind the type of customer your brand attracts
  • If you're memorable or not

It's important to verify that the domain name is available for your marketing agency.

You can search domain availability here:

Find a domain starting at $0.88

powered by Namecheap

Although .com names are the most common and easiest to remember, there are other options if your .com domain name is not available. Depending on your audience, it may not matter as much as you think.

It's also important to thoroughly check if social media handles are available.

As soon as you resonate with a name (or names), secure the domain and SM handles as soon as possible to ensure they don't get taken.

Here's some inspiration for naming your marketing agency:

  • Squad check availability
  • Search Influence check availability
  • Authentic Imaging check availability
  • Frequency Marketing check availability
  • Logical Marketing Solutions check availability
  • KTD Creative check availability
  • Raspberry Media check availability
  • Virga Marketing check availability
  • Serendipity Consulting check availability
  • Ace Studio check availability
  • (Out)Perform check availability
  • Creative Edge check availability
  • Social Flirt Media check availability
  • TechFiniti check availability
  • Straight North check availability
  • Web and Print Studio check availability
  • We Are Social check availability
  • Web Media Power check availability
  • Rising Phoenix check availability
  • GoosPoos check availability
  • Unified Social check availability
  • Belo + Company check availability
  • Avenue 25 check availability
  • 2nd Line Marketing check availability
  • Focus Digital Marketing Agency check availability
  • Dream Casters Marketing check availability
  • Avitus Group check availability
  • Twin Anchor Media check availability
  • Cybertize check availability
  • Chalet Market check availability
  • Socy Spot check availability
  • The Skyline Agency check availability
  • Crossmark Marketing check availability
  • Ever Vibe Media check availability
  • Rebel River Creative check availability
  • UpStream Creative check availability
  • Nextsocial Media check availability
  • Unique Marketing Company check availability
  • Affordable Image Marketing Agency check availability
  • Effective Web Solutions check availability
  • Shipping Point Marketing check availability
  • Cutthroat check availability
  • Accelerate Online Marketing check availability
  • Grit Steel Marketing check availability
  • Kinetic Marketing check availability
  • DynaMedia check availability
  • Three Box Strategic Communications check availability
  • The Creative Ham check availability
  • Tier One Consulting check availability
  • Matter Monkey check availability
  • Moving Target check availability
  • NexusBee Marketing check availability
  • Perfect Circle Media Group check availability
  • Alpha check availability
  • Sierra Marketing check availability
  • Lugosi Circle Consultant check availability
  • Engle Marketing check availability
  • Transitional Marketing check availability
  • Just Scope Media check availability
  • Lynx Moments Social Marketing check availability
  • Central Business Marketing check availability
  • World’s Best Marketing Group check availability
  • Content Pilot check availability
  • Marketing Connection check availability
  • Red Falcon Web Marketing check availability
  • Identy System Media check availability
  • Social Snap check availability
  • Happy Cloud Social Group check availability
  • Lifestyles Media Group check availability
  • Advengiss check availability
  • Fly Media check availability
  • Total Online Marketing check availability
  • Tech Critic check availability
  • The Greatest Marketing Agency check availability
  • Prestige Business Solutions check availability
  • Holden Brand check availability
  • Taoti Creative check availability
  • Parrot check availability
  • Droga5 check availability
  • Winger Marketing check availability
  • Blast Creative check availability
  • Market Done check availability
  • Pure Imagination check availability
  • Social Scoop check availability
  • Shameless Marketing check availability
  • Off Madison Ave check availability
  • iAdverts check availability
  • Socialated check availability
  • Hester Bunch check availability
  • Local One Internet Marketing check availability
  • Premier Business Development Group check availability
  • The Amend check availability
  • Rogue Marketing check availability
  • Impress Labs check availability
  • Marketing Eye check availability
  • Monkey Monikers check availability
  • Innocept Marketing check availability
  • All Round Marketing check availability
  • Search Dog check availability
  • New Age Advertising check availability
  • SocialFly check availability
  • Gimga Group check availability
  • BreeoFly Media check availability
  • The Infinite Agency check availability

Read our full guide on naming your marketing agency ➜

How To Create A Slogan For Your Marketing Agency:

Slogans are a critical piece of your marketing and advertising strategy.

The role of your slogan is to help your customer understand the benefits of your product/service - so it's important to find a catchy and effective slogan name.

Often times, your slogan can even be more important than the name of your brand.

Here are 6 tips for creating a catchy slogan for your marketing agency:

1. Keep it short, simple and avoid difficult words

A great rule of thumb is that your slogan should be under 10 words. This will make it easy for your customer to understand and remember.

2. Tell what you do and focus on what makes you different

There are a few different ways you can incorporate what makes your business special in your slogan:

  • Explain the target customer you are catering your services towards
  • What problem do you solve?
  • How do you make other people, clients, or your employer look good?
  • Do you make people more successful? How?

3. Be consistent

Chances are, if you're coming up with a slogan, you may already have your business name, logo, mission, branding etc.

It's important to create a slogan that is consistent with all of the above.

4. Ensure the longevity of your slogan

Times are changing quickly, and so are businesses.

When coming up with your slogan, you may want to consider creating something that is timeless and won't just fade with new trends.

5. Consider your audience

When finding a catchy slogan name, you'll want to make sure that this resonates across your entire audience.

It's possible that your slogan could make complete sense to your audience in Europe, but may not resonate with your US audience.

6. Get feedback!

This is one of the easiest ways to know if your slogan will be perceived well, and a step that a lot of brands drop the ball on.

Ask friends, family, strangers, and most importantly, those that are considered to be in your target market.

Here's some inspiration for coming up with a slogan for your marketing agency:

  • Reaching more customers quickly
  • Marketing businesses for decades
  • We promote businesses like there is no tomorrow
  • Marketing the right way
  • More customers equal bigger profit
  • Marketing got even better
  • Getting your business better
  • For a more profitable business
  • Marketing made even better
  • Your way to business success
  • Get a successful business venture now
  • Marketing towards success
  • Business success starts with us
  • A profitable business is on your way
  • Best practices in marketing
  • This is how we market businesses
  • We live and breathe marketing
  • Marketing at its finest
  • The epitome of marketing
  • We marketing anything under the sun
  • Nothing but the best marketing
  • Promoting your business the best way possible
  • Increasing your business coverage
  • Growing your business the right way
  • Amazing marketing services for you
  • We market, you wait
  • We take marketing seriously
  • Marketing your business with a blast
  • Real marketing strategies that work
  • Promoting businesses all over the globe
  • Market and chill
  • Providing great marketing solutions
  • The best marketing services provider
  • Never get behind of business trends
  • We market any niche, guaranteed
  • Work Hard, Placing Harder
  • Tastes Great, Less Growth.
  • Work Hard, Planning Harder
  • Personal And Relational
  • Work Hard, Branding Harder
  • Marketing Makes Your Day.
  • Successful Prospectings Are What We Do
  • A Day With Marketing.
  • Growth For People Who Want More.
  • From Unsocial To Sociable
  • Industrial Upturn, Industrial Slowdown
  • Set Of The Increment
  • Marketing, Where Success Is At Home.
  • Growth Is All Jacked Up.
  • Growth For The Masses.
  • Long Live Marketing.
  • Come Fly The Friendly Marketing.
  • Kids Will Do Anything For Growth.
  • Work Hard, Commercialising Harder
  • You Need A Marketing.
  • Growths With Rise
  • Growth Innovate Your World.
  • Product Is What We Do
  • From National To Multinational
  • It's Nothing But Growth
  • Ho Ho Ho, Green Growth.
  • Progress Is What We Do
  • Effective Merchandising, Successful Telemarketing
  • Marketing Chews 'Em Up And Spits 'Em Out.
  • Double The Pleasure, Double The Growth.
  • Wrapped Up With Marketing.
  • Range Of The Expansion
  • Direct Publicity, Internal Business
  • Why Can't Everything Orange Be Growth?
  • Growth's Like Heaven.

The Consulting Business Model

When implementing a consulting business model, you have a number of approaches to choose from:

Here are a few of the most common consulting business models:

1. The Time-Based Model

This is one of the more traditional consulting business models - where your rate, terms, and scope of work are outlined at the very beginning of the project.

Typically, with this model you would choose a day rate or an hourly rate.

2. The Project-Based Model

With a project-based model, you and your client agree on the scope of work you will be performing for a set amount of money.

There is typically a contract in place which covers the deliverables and expectations from both parties.

3. The Retainer-Based Model

The retainer model involves providing ongoing service for your clients over a specific period of time.

You may not provide a specific deliverable for your client, but instead, a broad scope of work over a set period.

4. The Consulting-Firm Model

This model is becoming more and more popular. The consulting firm model involves hiring freelancers or employees to complete work for your clients on your behalf.

Typically, in this situation, you still manage the relationship with the client, but you delegate some or all of the work to your team.

Which model should you choose?

The best way to determine which business model you will choose is to research other entrepreneurs or agencies in your space that are offering the same or similar service.

This will allow you to identify your competition, set your pricing, and determine your target audience.

Learn more about starting a marketing agency:

Where to start?

-> How much does it cost to start a marketing agency?
-> Pros and cons of a marketing agency

Need inspiration?

-> Other marketing agency success stories
-> Examples of established marketing agency
-> Marketing ideas for a marketing agency
-> Marketing agency slogans
-> Marketing agency names

Other resources

-> Profitability of a marketing agency
-> Marketing agency tips
-> Blog post ideas for a marketing agency
-> Marketing agency quotes

🎬 How To Start A Marketing Agency


How Much Does It Cost To Start A Marketing Agency

If you are planning to start a marketing agency, the costs are relatively low. This, of course, depends on if you decide to start the business with lean expenses or bringing in a large team and spending more money.

We’ve outlined two common scenarios for “pre-opening” costs of starting a marketing agency and outline the costs you should expect for each:

  • The estimated minimum starting cost = $62
  • The estimated maximum starting cost = $38,061
Startup Expenses: Average expenses incurred when starting a marketing agency. Min Startup Costs: You plan to execute on your own. You’re able to work from home with minimal costs. Max Startup Costs: You have started with 1+ other team members.
Office Space Expenses
Rent: This refers to the office space you use for your business and give money to the landlord. To minimize costs, you may want to consider starting your business from home or renting an office in a coworking space. $0 $5,750
Utility Costs For Office Space: Utility costs are the expense for all the services you use in your office, including electricity, gas, fuels, telephone, water, sewerage, etc. $0 $1,150
WiFi & Internet: Whether you work from home or in an office space, WiFi is essential. Although the cost is minimal in most cases, it should be appropriately budgeted for each month! $0 $100
Total Office Space Expenses $0 (min) $7,000 (max)
Employee & Freelancer Expenses
Payroll Costs & Fees: Payroll cost means the expense of paying your employees, which includes salaries, wages, and other benefits. This number depends on if you decide to pay yourself a salary upfront and how many employees you have on payroll. At first, many founders take on all responsibilities until the business is up and running. You can always hire down the road when you understand where you need help. Keep in mind, if you do plan to pay yourself, the average salary founders make is $50K. $150 $250
Employee Hiring Expenses: Apart from payroll and benefits, there are other hiring employees costs. This includes the cost to advertise the job, the time it takes to interview candidates, and any other turnover that may result from hiring the wrong candidate. $1 $2
Employee Rewards: It's vital to acknowledge and reward workers, whether they hit their goals or do a great job. This does not have to be costly. In fact, simply taking workers out to a meal or giving a gift or bonus is among the many ways to show how the worker is valued! $0 $100
Total Employee & Freelancer Expenses $151 (min) $352 (max)
Website Costs
Website Builder: The cost of your website will vary depending on which platform you choose. There are many website builders on the market, so it's important you choose the right one for your business and overall goals. To learn more about your options + how to build a great website, check out this article. $10 $500
Web Designer: Web design includes several different aspects, including webpage layout, content creation, and design elements.If you have the skills and knowledge to design your website on your own, then outsourcing this to an expert may not be necessary. There are plenty of other ways you can design a beautiful website using design tools and software. $200 $6,000
Domain Name: Your domain name is the URL and name of your website - this is how internet users find you and your website.Domain names are extremely important and should match your company name and brand. This makes it easier for customers to remember you and return to your website. $12 $200
Business Email Hosting Service: An email hosting runs a dedicated email server. Once you have your domain name, you can set up email accounts for each user on your team. The most common email hosts are G Suite and Microsoft 365 Suite. The number of email accounts you set up will determine the monthly cost breakdown. $1 $15
Website Hosting Costs: Server hosting is an IT service typically offered by a cloud service provider that hosts the website information and allows remote access through the internet. A hosted server can help you scale up and increase your business’s efficacy, relieving you from the hassles of on-premise operations. $0 $300
Website & Live Chat Tool: If your business values high-end customer service, you must consider utilizing a website chatbot. Website chatbots play a pivotal role in converting site visitors into long-term customers. Typically, there are different tiers of pricing and features offered by Live Chat service providers. $0 $200
Total Website Costs $223 (min) $7,215 (max)
Business Formation Fees
Small Business Insurance: Depending on which state you live in and the business you're operating, the costs and requirements for small business insurance vary. You can learn more here. $500 $2,000
Permit and License Fees: Depending on your industry, there are certain licenses and permits you may need in order to comply with state, local, and federal regulations. Here is an article that goes over all the permits and licenses you may need for your marketing agency. $50 $700
Trademark: Filing trademark registration will protect your brand and prevent other businesses from copying your name or product. USPTO has several different types of trademarks, so the cost to apply can vary (typically anywhere from $400-$700). $0 $700
Lawyer Fees: Although you may want to avoid attorney fees, it's important that your business (and you) are covered at all costs. This comes into play when creating founder agreements, setting up your business legal structure, and of course, any unforeseen circumstances that may happen when dealing with customers or other businesses. $0 $1,500
A Patent: Patents provide protection against others stealing or selling your idea.Securing a patent can be very valuable, but it's important that you are 100% sure this will be a smart business move for you, or if this is something to consider down the line.The process of securing a US patent can be both lengthy and pricey, and typically includes filing an application with the USPTO. $5,000 $15,000
Set up business: LLC & Corporations: The first step in setting up your business is deciding whether your business is an LLC, S Corp or C Corp. The cost for this depends on which state you form your business and which structure you decide on. We put together an article that goes over the 10 Steps To Setting Up A Business. $50 $500
Total Business Formation Fees $5,600 (min) $20,400 (max)
Software Expenses
Design Programs & Software: These programs might include the Adobe family of design tools: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and others. This is typically a monthly subscription ranging from $10-$50/mo. $0 $50
Email marketing tool: If you plan to grow your email list and email marketing efforts, you may want to consider investing in an email marketing platform (ie. Klaviyo, MailChimp). We put together a detailed guide on all of the email marketing tools out there + the pricing models for each one here. $0 $100
IT Support: IT support installs and configures hardware and software and solves any technical issues that may arise.IT support can be used internally or for your customers experiencing issues with your product/service.There are a variety of tools and software you can use to help with any technical issues you or your customers are experiencing. This is a great option for businesses that do not have the means to hire a team of professionals. $150 $2,000
Accounting & Invoicing Software: It's important to have an accounting system and process in place to manage financials, reporting, planning and tax preparation. Here are the 30 best accounting tools for small businesses. $0 $50
CRM Software: CRM (customer relationship management) software system is used to track and analyze your company’s interactions with clients and prospects. Although this is not a necessary tool to have for your business, implementing this, in the beginning, may set your business up for success and save you valuable time. $12 $300
Project Management Software: You may want to consider using a project management and collaboration tool to organize your day-to-day. This can also be very beneficial if you have a larger team and want to keep track of everyones tasks and productivity. For a full list of project management tools, check out this full list here. $0 $25
Internal Communication Tool: If you plan to have multiple members on your team, you may want to consider an instant message tool such as Slack or Telegram. The cost is usually billed per month (approx $5/user/month) or there are freemium versions available on many platforms. $0 $20
Social Media Management Tools: If you plan to do social media marketing for your marketing agency, you should consider investing in a social media automation or publishing tool. This will save you time and allow you to track performance and engagement for your posts. Here is a list of 28 best social media tools for your small business. $0 $50
Payroll Software: The main purpose of payroll software is to help you pay your team and track each of those payments (so that you don't have to do it manually). If you do not have any employees or have a very small team, payroll software may not be necessary at this stage. Here are the 11 best payroll tools for small businesses! $0 $200
File Hosting Service: It's important to make sure the information for your marketing agency is stored and protected should something happen to your computer or hard drive. The cost for this is affordable and depends on how much data you need to store. To learn more about the different options and pricing on the market, check out this article. $0 $299
Total Software Expenses $162 (min) $3,094 (max)
Total Starting Costs $62 (min) $38,061 (max)

Raising Money For Your Marketing Agency

Here are the most common ways to raise money for your marketing agency:

What Skills Do I Need To Succeed In Starting A Marketing Agency?

As a marketing agency, there are several essential skills and characteristics that are important to identify prior to starting your business.

Let’s look at these skills in more detail so you can identify what you need to succeed in your day-to-day business operations:

Advice For Starting A Marketing Agency

We've interviewed thousands of successful founders at Starter Story and asked what advice they would give to entrepreneurs who are just getting started.

Here's the best advice we discovered for starting a marketing agency:

Travis Richardson, founder of Impressions Agency ($100K/month):

Just start. You don’t have to have everything figured out before you begin. In fact, to this day we are still figuring things out. Each season of your business will provide a new learning opportunity.

Read the full interview ➜


Michael Gardiner , founder of DFY Meetings ($60K/month):

Instead of doing everything ok, doing a few things great. I believe this is a common struggle for all entrepreneurs and creatives.

Read the full interview ➜


Chris Ciunci, founder of TribalVision ($700K/month):

The leaders that form on your team are going to shape your internal culture which will ultimately decide how successful your business is.

Read the full interview ➜


Aida Vopyan, founder of Prodigi ($160K/month):

The first and most crucial point to understand exactly who your customer is because targeting everyone is the same as targeting no one.

Read the full interview ➜


Gilberto Rosas, founder of Maverick Media Lab ($10K/month):

Within 30 days I got my first client and it began to take off from there. I realized then that amazing things happen when fears are faced head-on.

Read the full interview ➜


Emenike Emmanuel, founder of Entrepreneur Business Blog ($13K/month):

Never give up on a business with a great prospect.

Read the full interview ➜


JB Kellogg, founder of Madwire ($8.5M/month):

We’d often say that a client can cancel for a million different reasons, but let’s not allow one to ever be that we did not do everything we could to “wow” them in customer service.

Read the full interview ➜


Matt Tomkin, founder of Tao Digital Marketing ($40K/month):

Failures happen! If we didn’t fail we wouldn’t move to the next step. That member of staff, that expense that went wrong. Things just go wrong and sometimes it’s no-ones fault! Just keep going!

Read the full interview ➜


Dr. Eren Kocyigit, founder of NBT (Next Big Thing) ($/month):

After your initial business launch operations, it’s paramount that you need to structure all your processes from HR to managing cash-flow, marketing to daily operations.

Read the full interview ➜


Emenike Emmanuel, founder of Entrepreneur Business Blog ($13K/month):

If you starting a blog in 2023, focus on choosing a profitable and specific niche, then go hard at creating highly optimized articles.

Read the full interview ➜


Jeremy Kanne, founder of Smart Yeti Creative Agency ($8K/month):

One of the top lessons I’ve learned is being confident in saying “I don’t know” when I don’t know. This honesty and transparency when paired with a great work ethic, creates trust and drives successful partnerships.

Read the full interview ➜


Anthony Tumbiolo, founder of Jakt ($300K/month):

I started Jakt from the realization that I loved helping other businesses succeed and in turn help many other people.

Read the full interview ➜


Darren Magarro, founder of DSM ($500K/month):

In addition, get out there and get involved. Don’t join a networking group or chamber of commerce and expect business to come to you.

Read the full interview ➜


Kathryn & Michael Redman, founder of Half a Bubble Out ($98K/month):

When you understand who you are as a company, you start to realize that not every customer is the right fit for your company. We had to learn to not say “yes” to every customer or take every deal that came our way, which was tough.

Read the full interview ➜


Kenn Kelly, founder of Never Settle ($150K/month):

In a culture that’s insistent on blaming others and finding excuses - ownership stands out.

Read the full interview ➜


Trey Christensen, founder of VastGG ($40K/month):

We had a mentality of “do everything ourselves” but ultimately, saving a few $$$ and losing hours potentially each day started adding up as a net negative for the business. We have paid for more tools and new processes this year than ever before and our efficiency as a team has quadrupled.

Read the full interview ➜


Joshua Hurley, founder of 930Tech ($6K/month):

When trying to save money on expenses, your goal should never be to let your clients see any changes to their service.

Read the full interview ➜


Emenike Emmanuel, founder of Entrepreneur Business Blog ($13K/month):

When your back is against the wall, you will do everything to survive. Personally, I chose to survive it and I did through the power of blogging.

Read the full interview ➜


Stephen Freeman, founder of Kairos Digital ($65K/month):

Fear is your enemy when choosing who to work with. You see your payroll and you know you need to onboard new clients, and that fear of failure often drives you to say yes to people you know are a bad fit.

Read the full interview ➜


Alison Murdock, founder of Trusted CMO ($75K/month):

You can own your work life. Being a business owner is hard, but at least you get to decide who you want to work with and when.

Read the full interview ➜


Kenn Kelly, founder of Never Settle ($150K/month):

It’s fun to read about others who have ‘made it’ per se, but once you dive into their story you’ll find the same thing over and over. Nothing came easy and it was consistent hard work that got them where they are.

Read the full interview ➜


Oliver Op de Beeck, founder of Kreatix ($10K/month):

Our mistakes make us what we are. I wouldn’t prevent them. We love experimenting and I think people should stop overthinking and start doing more.

Read the full interview ➜


Ash Ome, founder of MOTIF® ($35K/month):

I encourage you to be bold and embrace innovation. The future belongs to those who aren't afraid to dream big and try new things.

Read the full interview ➜


Aida Vopyan, founder of Prodigi ($160K/month):

Last year was a period of rapid growth for our organization. And when you have a small team, the processes are simpler and the problems are easier to solve, but it is different when the organization has 43 employees.

Read the full interview ➜


Stephen Seidel, founder of The Seidel Agency ($0/month):

I started out doing all the work myself, which I advise, so you can know every step along the way. Once you know your constraints and bottlenecks you can either do, delegate or delete tasks to automate and save time.

Read the full interview ➜


Karan Bhardwaj, founder of ExperientialEtc ($68K/month):

I believe that if you do something with the right spirit & do it consistently, it’s bound to be successful.

Read the full interview ➜


Darren Magarro, founder of DSM ($500K/month):

If you are going to lead, lead from the front. Don’t shirk that responsibility. Don’t expect people to follow you and your dream if you’re not being responsible to them.

Read the full interview ➜


Forrest Webber, founder of Digitail - Wander Media LLC ($50K/month):

Double down on what you know, delegate what you don't know, and always assume there are unknown unknowns.

Read the full interview ➜


Emenike Emmanuel, founder of Entrepreneur Business Blog ($13K/month):

Never be emotionally attached to a strategy. Once it stops working, discard it and move to the next.

Read the full interview ➜


Matt G Davison, founder of Travel Tractions ($35K/month):

A business can be started with less than $100 or $500 nowadays, and not enough people try an MVP or test the market before taking months to get started.

Read the full interview ➜


Michael Gardiner , founder of DFY Meetings ($60K/month):

I would recommend choosing 1 or 2 skills that can transfer between businesses and getting really good at them.

Read the full interview ➜


Matt Tomkin, founder of Tao Digital Marketing ($40K/month):

If you have a decent mix of experience levels, your team can then learn from each other rather than much of it falling on you.

Read the full interview ➜


Sam Wilcox, founder of Tribecto Automations ($10K/month):

I should have prioritized my physical and mental health sooner. In the beginning, the business was all consuming. I was working extremely long days and not seeing much of the outside world.

Read the full interview ➜


Karl Hughes, founder of ($90K/month):

Be careful about listening to experts. Experts forget what beginners don't know, so they skip things that are obvious to them. I’m not saying you should never listen to experts but don’t assume that everything that worked for them will work for you.

Read the full interview ➜


Brice Gump , founder of Major Impact Media ($28.5K/month):

Find your people online. Stick with them. And win together.

Read the full interview ➜


Darren Magarro, founder of DSM ($500K/month):

There is nothing that will prepare you for the highs and lows that come along with taking the responsibility for others’ lives - both professional and personal. This is a tremendous responsibility and honor.

Read the full interview ➜


Travis Zigler, founder of Profitable Pineapple Ads ($167K/month):

For those looking to venture into the e-commerce space, understand that value is your most potent tool. Instead of hard-selling, focus on educating and serving your audience.

Read the full interview ➜


Brian Cohen, founder of Visiture ($900K/month):

Forget the instant gratification and focus on long term decision making. If you’re an agency, figure out a way to work with well-known brands that you’re confident you can deliver great results

Read the full interview ➜


Karl Hughes, founder of ($90K/month):

Initially, I was set on being a nice little lifestyle business, but it’s clear that there’s more here. We’ve been continuing to improve our processes with an eye on hitting $2 million in revenue next year.

Read the full interview ➜


Stephen Freeman, founder of Kairos Digital ($65K/month):

Early on, we said yes to almost everyone - as the agency has grown, we’ve needed to start saying no more often to leads or clients who aren’t a good fit for us.

Read the full interview ➜


Victoria Harrison, founder of The Exposure Co. ($/month):

It’s about having the determination and grit to not shy away from the challenges, which constantly evolve as we grow and mature in personal and professional life.

Read the full interview ➜


Jeremy Kanne, founder of Smart Yeti Creative Agency ($8K/month):

I saw an opportunity to leverage the problem-solving skills forged in my engineering background to provide valuable ongoing marketing support.

Read the full interview ➜


Joon K Lee, founder of Inquivix ($100K/month):

Taking risks is essential for keeping things interesting and moving forward – without exploring new options, growth can't occur!

Read the full interview ➜


Claire Ficek, founder of Altar'd Socials ($5K/month):

Social media is a long-term game, and to grow organically and the right way with quality followers, you have to be in it for the long haul.

Read the full interview ➜


Ash Ome, founder of MOTIF® ($35K/month):

Measuring my time on each task is helping me focus on great business things and finally freeing myself from time prison.

Read the full interview ➜


Jace Thomas, founder of Hiperion Marketing ($20K/month):

As a solo founder, I offered anything marketing a client asked for. Even if I didn’t have that skill, I would play it off “Oh of course we do logo design!” Then I would spend hours watching Adobe Illustrator tutorials on logo design. It was an extremely scrappy way to run a business.

Read the full interview ➜


Bryn Elizabeth Bonino, founder of Bryn Elizabeth Co. ($1.3K/month):

I’m a planner, and that quality helps me out a lot. But I learned that it saves time and energy to launch something before it’s perfect, sometimes even when others tell you not to.

Read the full interview ➜


Matt Tomkin, founder of Tao Digital Marketing ($40K/month):

Don’t spend too much time wallowing in mistakes or things that go wrong. Business is not easy, and you will fail more times than you win. But every failure is one step closer to your goal and make sure you learn from every one of those failures.

Read the full interview ➜


Robb Fahrion, founder of Flying V Group ($250K/month):

Stop wasting time trying to do everything and leverage different tools and/or people to help expand your bandwidth.

Read the full interview ➜


John Ainsworth, founder of Data Driven Marketing ($59.3K/month):

One of the best decisions I made was to niche down into working exclusively with online course businesses.

Read the full interview ➜


Matthew Flowers, founder of Ethos Copywriting ($12K/month):

I work with people who are excited about ramping up new marketing projects, passionate about their work, and poised for healthy, organic growth.

Read the full interview ➜


Michael Gardiner , founder of DFY Meetings ($60K/month):

It’s important to intentionally reflect on where you are, where you’re trying to get to, and map out the steps in between as actionable and specific to-do-items.

Read the full interview ➜


Write a Business Plan

Writing a business plan from the start is critical for the success of your marketing agency.


Because this allows you to roadmap exactly what you do, what your overall structure will look like, and where you want to be in the future.

For many entrepreneurs, writing out the business plan helps validate their idea and decide whether or not they should move forward with starting the business.

You may want to consider expanding upon these sections in your business plan:

  • Executive Summary: Brief outline of your product, the market, and growth opportunities
  • Overviews and Objectives: Overview of your business, target customers, and what you need to run your business
  • Products and Services: Specifics on the products and services your business will provide
  • Market Opportunities: Analysis of customer demographics, buyer habits and if your product is in demand
  • Marketing: Outline of your marketing plan and how you plan to differentiate yourself from other customers
  • Competitive analysis: Analysis of your competition and the strengths and weaknesses therein
  • Operations: Hierarchal structure of the company and what it will take to run the business on the day-to-day
  • Leadership Team: Detailing roles and responsibilities of each manager based on their specific skill-set
  • Financial Analysis Understanding of all expenses, operating budgets, and projections for the future.

Learn more about how to write a business plan here

Determine Which Business Bank Account You Need

There are hundreds of banks out there, and it can be overwhelming to find one that's right for your business.

Here are some factors you may want to consider:

  • Location - Is your bank close enough that you can easily make deposits or get cash?
  • Low Fees - Make sure to understand any and all fees associated with setting up and maintaining your bank account. Ask for a list - banks usually try to keep this hidden and in the fine print.
  • Online Banking Services - Make sure you can easily navigate through your online portal and you have easy access to everything you need.
  • Line of Credit - What do your options look like (even if you don't need this now, you may need this down the road).
  • Every bank has something that differentiates them from the rest, so make sure whatever that is applied to your needs and values.

Check out this list of the 13 Best Banks for Small Business in 2020 and what makes them so unique.

When it comes to setting up your business, you may find yourself in a place where you have to make some financial and legal decisions.

The first thing you'll want to decide on is whether you want to be an LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp.

These three options are found to be the most common when starting a small business, and all serve to protect your personal assets and also provide you with certain tax benefits.

  • LLC: All income and expenses from the business are reported on the LLC personal income tax return.
  • S corp: Owners pay themselves salaries + receive dividends from profits.
  • C Corp: C Corps are separately taxable entities that file a corporate tax return (Form 1120). No income tax is paid at the corporate level and any tax due is paid at the owners individual expense.

Depending on where you're conducting business, you'll also want to consider securing the proper permits, licenses and liability insurance.

Learn more about securing the right permits and licenses ➜

Need to start an LLC? Create an LLC in minutes with ZenBusiness.

How Do I Pay Myself As A Small Business Owner?

Most entrepreneurs start a business to do something they love- but at the end of the day, you still have bills to pay (maybe now more than ever).

But it's important to strike the right balance - if you pay yourself too much, you could be putting your business at risk.

There are two common ways to pay yourself as a business owner:

1. Owner's Draw

Many entrepreneurs pay themselves through an owner's draw. This means that you are technically sean as "self-employed" through the eyes of the IRS and are not paid through regular wages.

At the point that you collect money from the draw, taxes typically are not taken out - so make sure you are prepared to pay these taxes once you file your individual return.

As an owner who takes a draw, you can legally take out as much as you want from your equity.

This type of compensation is suited for Sole props, LLCs, and partnerships. If you’re an S corp, you can pay yourself through both a salary and draw if you choose.

2. Salary

If you decide to pay yourself a salary, you will receive a set and recurring amount. This will be taxed by the federal government and the state you reside in.

The reality is that it can be really complicated to set your own salary, so we have some tips for you to consider:

  • Take out a reasonable amount that allows you to live comfortably but also sets your business up for success
  • Consider the number of hours you are working weekly + the type of duties you are performing.
  • Set your salary based on your industry-standard, location, and profits (or projected profits)
  • Look at your P&L statement: Deduct your own pay from that amount. This is important so you can first tackle important business expenses, and then pay yourself from the amount leftover.
  • Pick a payroll schedule (and stick to it)! In the US, it's most common to pay yourself and employees twice a month.

To learn more about how to pay yourself and what is a reasonable amount, check out this article.

How To Price Your Marketing Agency

One of the most challenging aspects to starting a marketing agency is determining how much to charge for your marketing agency.

When businesses under-price their product, this can be extremely detrimental to their bottom line and reputation.

Often times, businesses under-price their products to drive demand and volume, but that last thing you want is for customers to view your product/service as "cheap." Additionally, this can have a big impact on the type of customer you attract, which can be difficult to recover from.

On the other hand, when businesses over-price, this tends to be just as damaging to the business.

When customers buy, it's likely that they will explore the internet and look at other competitors to ensure they're getting the best value + deal. This is why it's so important that you research your competition and understand where you land in the marketplace.

Here are some factors to consider when pricing your product:

Understand your customer

It's important that out of the gates, you identify the type of customer you want to attract and how much they're willing to pay for your service. One great way to do this is by surveying your customers. Here are some important items you'll want to takeaway:

  • Customer demographic: Age, gender, location, etc.
  • Buying habits of your customer: What they buy + when they buy
  • Level of price sensitivity with your customer

All of these segments will help you identify the type of customer you're attracting and how to price your product accordingly.

Understand your costs

When pricing your marketing agency, it's critical that you first identify all of your costs and consequently mark up your marketing agency so you can factor in a profit.

The actual cost of your marketing agency may include things like:

  • The actual cost to make the product (ie. raw materials, supplies, manufacturer).
  • Shipping + overhead fees
  • Rent
  • Operating costs to run your business

You may want to consider creating a spreadsheet with every single expense involved in operating/owning your business. This will give you an idea as to what you need to generate in order to at the very least, break-even and will help you price your products to factor in a profit.

Create revenue goals

When determining the price of your marketing agency, you'll want to create goals for revenue + how much profit you want your marketing agency to make.

This process is simpler than you may think:

  1. Think about your breakeven cost (by completing the above step).
  2. Create a revenue goal based on your break-even cost
  3. Evaluate the # of items you plan to sell in a given period (make sure this is a realistic number)
  4. Divide your revenue goal by the number of items you plan to sell

This figure will help determine your estimated price per product in order to meet your revenue goals.

Evaluate your competition

The last piece in determining how to price your marketing agency is by simply looking at your competition.

The best way to do this is by finding like-minded businesses that offer product(s) with similar perceived value. Then, you can compare prices of the different businesses and determine where your marketing agency fits best in the marketplace.

All of these factors play an equal part in pricing your marketing agency, so it's important you evaluate each one individually to come up with an accurate price that will help optimize your business from the start.

Rate Calculator: How to Calculate The Price For Your Marketing Agency Services

Our calculator is designed to be simple and easy to use.

The goal is to help you set realistic expectations and understand the hourly rate you should be charging to make your desired profit.

Please input below:

Identify Target Customer

A very critical piece in building marketing agency is to identify your ideal target customer.

  • Develop a niche and create a consistent brand that reflects your target customer.
  • The colors, logo, content, and overall website should resonate with your target customer and should draw them in by helping them solve their specific "need".

Building an MVP (Minimal Viable Product)

When building a marketing agency, it's critical that you first validate your product/service rather than rushing to build it right away.

This could save you months, if not years of building the wrong product/service.

If you're hoping to decrease any sort of risk that comes with launching your marketing agency, designing a prototype can be a great way to de-risk your situation.

The point of your marketing agency prototype is that it doesn't have to be perfect.

In the beginning stages, it doesn't matter how rough V1 of your prototype is, it's more important to just get started and you can always refine from there based on feedback from your network and most importantly your customers.

How To Build A MVP

Here are several different ways of building a prototype/MVP:

  • Start by building a landing page to see if customers actually need your product and if they are willing to pay for it
  • Build a very basic version of your idea and ask for immediate feedback from potential customers
  • Present a problem and solution via Facebook/Instagram Ads and see what the response is like

JB Kellogg, founder of Madwire dives deep into the process of designing and prototyping their product:

Case Study

The process of launching our platform, Marketing 360, was a long journey. We founded Madwire in 2009 and did not launch the first version of our platform until 2014, five years later. This was not because of a lack of effort, but rather, a lack of knowledge. We always knew we wanted to make Madwire a technology company and build our platform, but without any experience in the industry, we didn’t know what to build!

So, we started Madwire on the back of services. We offered a wide array of managed services to help small businesses grow including website design, branding, ad management, content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, video production, and more. We planned to offer services to both earn revenue to fuel the business as well as learn exactly what the perfect technology to build would be. It took us about three months of solid planning and educating ourselves before we opened the doors for business.

The day we prepared enough to open our doors, we launched our marketing campaigns and then went to workout. When we got back from working out, we already had our first lead! So we called the lead, sold the lead for $190 a month, and that account is still with us today! We were so excited. This was going to work.

We’d often say that a client can cancel for a million different reasons, but let’s not allow one to ever be that we did not do everything we could to “wow” them in customer service.

Fast forward five years later. By this point, we’d worked with well over 5,000 small businesses and had grown the company to around 150 employees. We now had a strong understanding of what we needed to build in terms of technology that would both help our team become more efficient and scalable as well as what the small businesses needed to grow their business. It was at this time that we designed and prototyped the first version of our platform, Marketing 360. The initial development of the platform took about nine months. We launched it around September of 2014. It was at this time that we transitioned from a service company to a tech-enabled services company.

In 2016, we launched our second version of the platform which introduced business management related features and functionality, such as a small business CRM. This helped further move us toward a technology-first company, but we were still considered a tech-enabled services company at this point.

At the start of 2019, we began the development of our third version of the platform. The third version would take everything we learned over our ten years in business and create something truly transformational in the small business space.

A singular platform that would provide a business with everything they need to both manage and grow their business. The final version would transition us from a tech-enabled services company to a technology-first company.

In March 2020, we launched the third version of our platform. This was a game-changer for us. Since launching, we’ve seen tremendous growth and feedback from our over 20,000 small business users. We now roll out new features and functionality every Wednesday. We have a saying at Madwire that goes, “Every Wednesday the platform gets better.” It’s always exciting to see the new feature releases each week for our team and our active users.

The Marketing 360® platform has everything a small business needs to manage and grow their brand

JB Kellogg, on starting Madwire ($8,500,000/month) full story ➜

🚀 How To Launch Your Marketing Agency


Build A Website

Building a website is imperative when launching your business, and with the right tools in place, this can be a simple task to check off the list (without having to hire someone).

  1. Pick a domain name that's easy to remember and easy to type
  2. Choose a Web Hosting Plan (ie. Shopify, Squarespace)
  3. Make sure you choose the right theme and design
  4. Implement the proper page structure (ie. about page, contact page, pricing etc)

To learn more about how to build a stellar website with little stress, we give you all the details on this step-by-step guide.

Best Website Platforms To Use For Your Marketing Agency:

There are a variety of websites platforms out there, and it's important to choose the right one that will set you up for success.

Here's everything you need to know about the two most common platforms for your marketing agency:


Free and open-source content management system based on PHP and MySQL.

Free to use/open source but you will need to pay for the hosting.

Businesses using WordPress:

829 successful businesses are using WordPress ➜

Get WordPress ➜


The all-in-one solution for anyone looking to create a beautiful website.

  • Personal Plan: $12/month
  • Business Plan: $18/month
  • Basic: $26/month
  • Advanced: $40/month

  • Pricing: Freemium

  • Twitter: @squarespace

  • Website:

Businesses using Squarespace:

130 successful businesses are using Squarespace ➜

Get Squarespace ➜

Web Design

Once you have chosen the domain, web hosting, and platform, it's time to get started with the design phase.

Themes are a great way to produce the fundamental style and identity of your website - this includes everything from your font design to your blog post styles.

One of the best ways to get started is to simply explore the various themes (free or paid depending on what you're looking for) and test them on your site.

If web-design really isn't in the cards for you, you may want to consider outsourcing a web designer to help bring your vision and brand to life.

Traditional Launch Strategies For Your Marketing Agency:

There are various different ways you can launch your marketing agency successfully.

Here are a few different strategies to get customers excited about your marketing agency:

  • Set up a Facebook page for your business. This is a great way to establish an online presence
  • Host an event in a fun location with drinks & food. This is a great way to get exposure in the local community.
  • Get Press! Pitch your story to the media and you may just land in an amazing publication
  • Live sales to get customers excited
  • Send a hand-written letter in the mail with a discount on your services to the local community/neighborhoods.

Jeremy Enns, founder of Counterweight Creative dives deep into the process of launching the business:

Case Study

When I first started, I catered my services heavily to my client’s needs and what they were asking for. While this was a great way to get clients early on, I soon realized that by creating set production and launch packages, I could charge more, and do more to ensure the success of the podcasters I worked with, as there were often crucial steps that they were overlooking when producing and launching their shows on their own.

Most of the people we work with have zero experience working with audio, and many have limited experience with online marketing and content production of any sort. One of the ways we’ve been able to justify raising rates while also helping our clients get better results has been by incorporating a lot of education into our onboarding processes.

When it comes to getting started, I’m a big believer in moving slowly but intentionally. One of the most common mistakes I see is people quitting their stable jobs and going all-in on an idea that they’re excited about but is unproven.

Many clients come to us thinking all they need is the post production aspect of what we do. The problem is that without understanding how to capture great sounding audio at the source, conduct engaging interviews, structure their overall content plans, and introduce their listeners into a funnel, they’re not going to get the results they really want from the podcast. Expanding my initial services into this educational side of things was a big turning point early on that established me in many client’s eyes as a podcast expert rather than simply an audio editor.

I also shifted from a per-episode billing model to a monthly “subscription” (of sorts) model. In the early days, I was charging as little as $30/ep, which often would take me 2+ hours to complete. Since I had a full-time job at the time and wasn’t chasing every single client however, I was fairly aggressive with my rate raises, upping my prices by $5/ep with every new client I got.

The monthly subscription helped keep my clients accountable to getting me and my team the materials we need to produce their shows on time, keeps them consistently putting out episodes which helps them grow their shows, and allows us to reliably predict our monthly revenues and expenses. But there were issues with how I initially set those monthly fees.

After switching to the package pricing 6-12 months into the business, I was making a better hourly rate, but I was still shooting in the dark when it came to how I had set my prices. I made rough calculations based on how long I figured the tasks included in the packages would take me, but had nothing to really back them up.

It wasn’t until 2 years in that I read a book called Profit First and really understood how I should be approaching pricing. To that point, I had a ton of overhead that I wasn’t accounting for when I was determining my pricing structure.

I had been in decent shape when it was just me, but as I started adding members to my team and outsourcing a lot of the work I had personally been doing, I realized that my current pricing was unsustainable as I transitioned from freelancer to agency.

I started tracking my expenses in much greater depth and basing all pricing by shooting for a minimum 40% profit margin over my costs - which included the costs associated with my own time spent working on any project. Setting prices this way rather than going with my gut has sped up the proposal process, reduced my own stress, and allows me to be confident that we’re profitable on every project we take on.

When it came to start up costs, there were almost zero. I already had the business registered and a website set up for my music production business which I then re-focussed on podcast clients. I owned all the software I needed, and did zero advertising, relying on free platforms like UpWork at the start and word of mouth as we grew.

I didn’t have an official launch for the business, initially applying for freelance job postings and doing cold outreach to potential clients, which grew into a referral-driven business.

For the first year I had almost zero online presence, just a simple one-page website outlining the brand story and the services I offered.

One of the things I had learned during my cold outreach and freelance marketplace application phase was that personality was incredibly important, and that clients would pay a premium to work with people they felt like they connected with on a personal level. So with that in mind, I injected as much personality into my website copy as possible, making jokes, and writing in a style that would appeal to the type of people that I actually wanted to work with.

For a while, I opened all cold outreach emails with something along the lines of:

“Ok, so here’s the deal yo. My name is Jeremy and I guess you could say I’m a bit like a zombie, except instead of brains, I have an insatiable urge to devour audio and spit it out the other side all clean and spiffy! BTW audio is way tastier than brains, not that I know what brains taste like...”

Our personality driven copy on our website as well as on all our marketing channels does a good job of pre-screening people, so that often before we even talk over a video call with a potential client, we’re both feeling really good about the prospect of working together.

A year into the business I began writing a weekly blog covering podcasting topics that I didn’t feel were getting covered elsewhere. Things like how to improve your podcast by using the principles of storytelling (specifically as they’re used in Star Wars of course. Yes, I’m a nerd…), what Oprah can teach us about podcasting and breaking down a client’s podcast launch plan were topics I covered among many others. I also started a Facebook group, Cut The Bullshit Podcasting, which has grown into a thriving community of 1500 podcasters, and is often recognized as one of the top podcasting groups in terms of usefulness and the positive, supportive vibe of the community.

Jeremy Enns, on starting Counterweight Creative ($16,000/month) full story ➜

🌱 How To Grow Your Marketing Agency


Social Media Advertising

Social Media Advertising is one of the leading ways to get the word out when it comes to marketing agency.

There are various different Social Media platforms available to you. Some may be more critical for your marketing efforts than others, however, it's important to have an understanding of what's out there and available to you.

Let's talk about a few of the main platforms and what makes them unique:

  • Facebook Advertising - more than 2 billion monthly users. Facebook is the best for lead generation + capturing email addresses for e-commerce businesses.
  • Instagram Advertising - approximately 500 million monthly users and has a higher audience engagement rate than any other platform. Instagram ads are best for linking to a product page or landing page and reaches the 18-29 age group most effectively.
  • Twitter Advertising- Small businesses typically use twitter ads to drive brand awareness, but the platform is meant more for organic engagement (and is not as heavily used for paid advertising)
  • Pinterest Advertising - 175 million monthly users and most effectively reaches the female audience. Pinterest is great for promoting products without "promoted". The promoted pins have a way of blending right in.
  • LinkedIn Advertising - 227 million monthly users and is geared towards the B2B market and generates the highest quality leads. Great platform for recruiters, high-end products and services that will help businesses

It's important to first define your goal/objective so that you don't waste time and money into the wrong platform:

Here are some different questions to ask yourself as it relates to your goals:

  • Do I want to simply drive brand awareness?
  • Do I want to drive users to my website to gather information?
  • Do I want to increase sales and get my customer to take action?

From there, choose the platform that targets your audience best and start experimenting!

Learn more about social media advertising ➜ here.

Case Study

Founder Andy Hayes talks about mastering FB ads and the pixel:

The biggest bang for your buck will likely be mastering Facebook and it’s platform - which we all know is pay for play, so you’ll have to come up with a small amount of budget to start for marketing.

We’ve spent countless hours (and paid numerous coaches) before we cracked the code that works for us on Facebook, but it is working really well for us now.

Some of the most important things to know when it comes to FB Ads:

  • Start with retargeting (that’s showing ads to people who already know you but did not purchase). Master this - and start building information on your Facebook Pixel - before you do anything else
  • Once you have that down, try working with the 1% “Lookalike” audience to prospect for new customers. This may take awhile because your pixel audience is small, so try layering on interests - 1% Lookalike and your largest competitor, for example. Don’t use interest-only targeting until you master this.
  • Great photography and videography is key, as is smart copy. Research what’s out there in your industry and constantly test - what works for one company may not work for other people.
  • Make sure you have good offers. For example, we have a $5 trial for our subscription, which converts affordably - if we promoted our subscription with the standard $30 front charge, it wouldn’t be as cost-effective.
Andy Hayes, on starting Plum Deluxe Tea ($75,000/month) full story ➜

Grow Your Email List

The more engaged list of emails, the more engaged customers, which ultimately leads to more sales.

One of the best ways to start growing your list is by providing your customer with something free (or discounted) in return.

This could also be anything from:

  • Ebook
  • Fascinating case study
  • Video series
  • Free week of the product
  • Discount on the product

Learn more about how to grow your email list and improve email marketing ➜ here.

Case Study

Dylan Jacob, founder of Brumate states their email collection tactic that is proven to work:

We use Spin-a-Sale for this (you spin a wheel for a discount code in exchange for subscribing to our email list). This has been the best email-collecting tool we have found because the customer truly feels like they won a prize rather than just a coupon code.

Even if a customer doesn’t convert right away, if we have their email we have a 19% chance of converting them into a future customer whether that is through future promotions, new releases, or simply just sending an email at the right time for a purchase to finally make sense for them.

We also have a return customer rate of over 14%, so one out of every 6 people we convert will end up buying from us again with an average order value of over $60.00.


Dylan Jacob, on starting BrüMate ($12,000,000/month) full story ➜

Add an exit-intent popup to your online store

A great way to double, or even triple, your email opt-in rate and to grow your list is to add an exit-intent popup to your site, and offering a discount or content upgrade for subscribers.

Here's an example of what that might look like:


Case Study

One thing that I spent years NOT doing, that I now kick myself about, is adding an "exit intent pop-up" to our site, which lets people enter a sweepstakes to win a Xero Shoes gift certificate.

That one idea has added over 100,000 subscribers to our email list, which is one of our most effective marketing channels.

Steven Sashen, on starting Xero Shoes ($4,000,000/month) full story ➜

Improve Your Email Marketing

Different types of emails

Here are the most common types of email campaigns you can send to your customers and their benefits:

  • Welcome emails - the perfect way to provide information from the start with a clear CTA. Make sure to tell your customer everything they need to know about your product or service.
  • Newsletters - a great way to give customers updates or send out your latest content
  • Product launch emails - the quickest (and easiest) way to increase sales is by selling to current customers. Make sure they're the first on the list to know about your new product
  • Promotional emails - promote discounts, deals coupons etc. Try and make this feel exclusive and for a limited time only
  • Abandoned cart emails - give your customers a reason to complete their purchase!

Here's a great resource for finding curated email designs, for all types of email campaigns!

Abandonded Cart Flow

The abandoned cart workflow is one of the most effective strategies for turning your lead into a customer, and a powerful tool to have if you're an e-commerce business.

Think about all the times that you went on a shopping frenzy only to add items to your cart and then either forget or realize nows not the right time to pull the trigger.

Then, minutes later you receive an email saying "Hurry up! Your cart is waiting - and we want to provide you with 20% off your order."

Maybe that's the special touch (and discount) you needed to pull that trigger.

Implementing this workflow can automatically trigger this for your business every time a customer abandons their cart.

Here's a great example of an abandoned cart email from Brooklinen:


Things they do well:

  • Showcase 5-star reviews from other customers
  • Offer a small discount + free shipping
  • Great design + clear call to actions!

Improve your SEO

SEO is not just about driving traffic to your site, it's about driving the RIGHT traffic to your site, and ultimately, converting leads into customers.

One of the most important aspects of SEO is understanding what your customers are searching for, otherwise known as "keyword research."

Here are some tools that can help you choose the right keywords for your marketing agency.

Publish Great Content

Finding keywords is an important piece of the puzzle, but Google also ranks your site based on the actual content you produce, as this is what your customers are reading and engaging with.

There are various different "forms" of content that you may want to consider diversifying on your sites, such as blog posts, articles, studies, and videos.

So let's discuss what google considers "good content:"

  • Length - This will vary depending on the page, however, generally having a sufficient amount of content helps search engines recognize that your site is a good source for a specific topic
  • Engagement - The longer people stay on your website to read your content, the higher Google will rank your website. It's important to have informative and "thick" content that keeps people reading
  • Avoid Duplicating Content - Google will recognize this and may consider your content to have low value
  • Ensure pages load quickly - This will also help with engagement and time spent on your website
  • Shareability - Create content that people want to share, and is easy for them to share, especially to their social media accounts (ie. "click to tweet" is a great example of this).

Another element of creating good content is creating consistent content.

If (and hopefully you are) publishing content frequently, it's important to stick to a schedule - this helps build brand trust and easy user experience with your customers.

Planning out your content with a content calendar is key to staying consistent.

Here are a few great content calendar tools that can help you:

  • Trello
  • Airtable
  • If you prefer to keep it simple, your average spreadsheet is just as useful!


Backlinks are an important piece to SEO, as they allow for other websites to link to your content.

Search engines recognize that other sites are essentially "verifying" your content and essentially rank you higher because of this.

Of course, some links are more valuable than others and can affect your site in different ways.

For example, if a highly valuable and credible site like the New York Times links to a page on your website, this could be remarkable from an SEO perspective.

Aside from organically getting mentioned from other sites, there are other ways that you can increase and earn backlinks:

  • Create infographics with relevant data that people want to share
  • Promote your content on different sites/look into "guest blogging"
  • Contact influencers/journalists/bloggers and ask them to mention you!
  • Write testimonials for other sites in exchange for a backlink
  • Leverage existing business relationships

Learn more about the fundamentals of SEO ➜ here and check out Neil Patel's 3 Powerful SEO Tips below

Build A Blog

One of the most effective ways to build brand awareness and grow your business is through consistently blogging.

We've outlined some useful tips for you to consider when creating content:

Consistency and Quantity

Quality is important, but it should be the standard for any content you publish.

What’s more important is consistency and quantity.

Consistency is as simple as committing to publishing and sharing a certain number of posts per week. For me, that’s three per week right now.

This kind of commitment is key, because one day, a random post will blow up, and you will have never expected it.


The easiest mind trap is to think "I’m posting too much", and “I need to give my readers/audience/this platform a break”.

This is nonsense.

There is no such thing as oversaturation. Well, there is, but it is just someone else’s opinion.

For every person that tells you you are posting too much, there is another person that wants even more of your content.

You should ignore people’s opinions on how much you post.

Patience & Persistence

Keep posting, keep trying, and keep putting out good content on the regular. Your time will come, and when it does, it will change everything.

The only thing you have control over is your content.

You can’t control how people will react to it. You can’t control pageviews, likes, or shares.

So the only metric you should focus on is how much content you can put out in a week, month, etc.

Where to share your blog content

Mailing List

I know it sounds obvious, but the best places to share your content is on your mailing list. It is guaranteed traffic and it is a great way to get rapid feedback from your most loyal readers.

Send newsletters often. I have done once a week since starting, and I’m moving to twice a week soon.

Work on increasing your mailing list as well. Look into ways to increase your conversion rate to your mailing list. I added a flyout popup thing to my site and now I’m collecting ~30 emails per day.

An email newsletter is one of the most powerful assets you can have and it is worth its weight in gold.


Reddit is one of my favorite places to promote content.

It is a very scary place because you will often get banned or heckled, but it can really pay off.

Create social media accounts for your blog, the main ones I use:

Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn

Set up Buffer and share all of your blog posts to all of your accounts. All of these little shares really do add up.

Automate this as much as possible. I automated all of my social media for Starter Story.

Facebook Groups

When I started out, I put together a spreadsheet of relevant Facebook groups for my niche, and I would post to these groups whenever I had a big story I wanted to share.

Experiment With Pay Per Click Ads (PPC)

Pay-per-click (PPC) is a performance-based marketing method that allows you to show specific ads for services or products oriented to a very defined target, with the goal that the user visits your website or landing page.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Consider connecting the ad to your corresponding landing page so that the audience receives the necessary information after clicking on the ad.
  • Conversion Tracking: When running PPC campaigns, be sure to run the ads with conversion tracking.
  • Focus on quality keywords, even if there are few as this will save you time and money. When assessing the performance of a keyword, it's important to track the expense, conversion, and cost per conversion, as well as the ROI.

PPC advertising can be a very important lead generator as long as it's done properly. Your PPC campaign is intended to drive traffic to your website and help the business scale.

Additionally, if the campaign is not having the desired results, you can make the necessary changes immediately to improve them.

Case Study

Ryan Schortmann, founder of Display Pros talks about their investment in PPC Ads:

My name is Ryan Schortmann and I’m the founder of Display Pros. We are a custom trade show display booth company offering easy to use portable display “kits” for small and medium businesses wanting to get into the trade show game.

It did not take long to come to the realization that to compete at any reasonable level, we were going to need to take the plunge and invest in Pay Per Click ads and display.

From experience, I know that it is important to give Google’s hivemind some time to settle in before each campaign starts seeing consistent results (this is largely dependent on budget).

A certain amount of PPC budget must be viewed as a “marketing research” expense and then you can look at the analytics data and make informed decisions on where to refine, tweak or plain scrap an idea.

Google Shopping was an entirely new concept for me. You can’t assign keywords to products so at first, I was asking myself “How the hell do you refine these?”. Then I found some good reading material and courses and learned of some advanced methods that the pros are using. It turns out you can utilize negative keyword lists combined with the priority setting on each shopping campaign to “shape” the keywords that are coming in and how much you are spending on them.

To learn more about PPC Ads and Google Shopping, check out this video to learn everything you need to know!

Ryan Schortmann, on starting Display Pros ($30,000/month) full story ➜

🏃🏼‍♀️ How To Run Your Marketing Agency


How To Retain Customers For Your Marketing Agency

Retaining customers is one of the most effective ways to grow your marketing agency.

Oftentimes, it's easy to find yourself focusing on generating new customers, vs retaining your current ones.

Look at it this way - you are 60-70% more likely to sell a new product to an existing customer than you are a new customer.

That's not to say that finding new customers and revenue streams is not important, however, the easiest (and most inexpensive) source of new revenue is right there in front of you.

Here are some ways you can retain customers for your marketing agency:

  • Responding to comments on social media
  • Send discounts (or freebies) to loyal customers
  • Provide valuable content, for free
  • Write a hand written thank you note
  • Provide awesome customer service and build relationships with customers

To find out more tips and tricks on retaining customers, check out this article ➜ here

Amit Raj, founder of The Links Guy dives deep into the process of attracting and retaining customers:

Case Study

Surprise surprise, our main method has been, link building!

But to break it down further, it's mostly been a mixture of doing guest posts on really big sites like Foundr, Search Engine Land, and others. As well as getting quoted or mentioned within the articles of other big publications like American Express, Forbes and countless others.

The article I’ve written for Search Engine Land for example showcases one of the core beliefs our agency has about a common misconception many have about link building - which is “domain authority” and third-party metrics in general. The article was driving occasional leads even a year after being published, and it is an evergreen article that is still applicable today, and probably still picks up a bit of traffic even now. It's also been shared on social media by others and was even linked to by sites such as BrightLocal and SEO Roundtable.

I also recently found out that one client that we still work with, actually only reached out to me because they had been reading an article and had seen a quote I had given about an SEO topic, and they decided to click through to my site to find out more. That one action led to us having a call and resulted in upwards of $30,000+ in business.

It's not just about the referral traffic though, as you may know, the link building we did had benefits when it comes to improving rankings and bringing in organic search traffic. So this also resulted in us ranking for a few keywords over the years which brought in some extremely relevant traffic. To streamline this, I set up the site so that potential customers could submit their details, which would get recorded into a Google Sheet, for me to contact them later.

Mixed in with that, I also spent a lot of time giving mountains of free advice in various Facebook groups like SEO Signals. Any time someone asked something about link building, I’d chip in with my advice - the key being that I’m just being honest about my experiences and knowledge, I’m not being directly promotional, nor have I got some hidden agenda to push them towards using a product.

It’s even resulted in me being banned from a Facebook group by a very well-known “black hat SEO”, as I was told, my advice could result in making people wary of using their link-building service because of the nature of it. But what this has resulted in is for people to reach out to me via social media wanting to learn more about what I offer, and in many cases, rather than try to figure out link building in-house, they just end up hiring us to do it for them.

An occasional, subtle flex-post on social media helps as well when we share results we’ve got for clients, for example, email conversations, etc.

Example of a recent post.

It showcases what we can do, and while some could always argue that things can be photoshopped, or there’s trickery involved, the fact remains that out of 9 clients we have right now, 2 of them have been with us for over 3 years, 4 of them for 1-2 years, and 1 of them for 6 months.

I did also start up a YouTube channel that receives small trickles of views here and there, nothing huge. However, I think along with the methods above, it all had a cumulative effect.

If someone wasn’t interested in our services on the first touch, at some point they might watch one of our videos and then may become interested. We would also retarget them on social media, and they would be redirected back to our website.

Dr Jeffrey Kant’s“Rule of Seven” for example, states that you need to contact a prospect at least seven times for them to remember you. The rule of seven is something that’s commonly shared in marketing and sales - and while there are many caveats and exceptions to the rule, I think the point is, being able to make contact with a potential customer multiple times is going to be crucial. So I see any way of interacting with people, no matter how small that interaction, to all, play its part in a much bigger picture.

For example, we have put out very niche content on platforms like YouTube, spent countless hours contributing thoughtfully written comments on large SEO industry Facebook groups, writing guest posts on large publications (like StarterStory) or I will write a soundbite for articles that journalists are writing about SEO, with this same principle in mind. If anyone sees that piece of content or comment we’ve written and it resonates with them enough that they do more research and even click through to our website, it could be a potential customer. We also retarget people who visit our website using a Facebook pixel, so if we didn’t convince them on our first interaction- we may get them once we retarget them.

Even customers who enquire and we don’t close for whatever reason, we will (with permission) add them to our small email marketing list and I’ll send an email blast now and again, with the sole purpose of providing value and educating them on some specific link building topic, or something very current which is affecting SEO.

I have done some outbound cold outreach, and used platforms like PeoplePerHour and Upwork to get business. However, I relied on this mostly in the initial years of the business. After that, we were able to rely mostly on inbound inquiries, word of mouth, and referrals.

Amit Raj, on starting The Links Guy ($25,000/month) full story ➜

Diversify Your Product Line

Adding new products to your business is a great way to expand into new markets and grow your business.

It's important to note that adding new products and diversifying may not be in the cards for you right this moment, and that's okay. You can always consider it down the road.

Here are some reasons you may want to considering adding/diversifying your product

  • Meeting the needs of your customers
  • Establish yourself as a top provider in your industry and stay ahead of the game with competition
  • Resistance to downturns/trends fading
  • Create new revenue streams

How To Crush The Sales Process For Your Marketing Agency

You may find yourself in a spot where you're ready to hire a few (or many) salespeople to support the sales conversion process.

Regardless if you have one or thirty salespeople, it's critical that you assign them specific roles and responsibilities to nurture the client and provide excellent support.

Mike Korba, co-founder of User.Com walks us through the entire sales process and which teams are responsible for what:

Case Study Sales Process

Each user and account is qualified with a specialist. For business leads, they are handled by the sales team, and if they are qualified we give them a demo, more than often at the end of their fourteen-day trial. If they’re happy they’ll add a payment, and get an account manager, so a customer support and success team who will help implement the solution and to use the technology.

Sometimes, users will convert naturally on their own, after using the freemium product and finding it to be something that they will find beneficial.

After they convert, we help with onboarding, give them some personalized tips for their specific business or industry to grow plus all kinds of support, for whatever they need - something we take huge pride in.

The team is right now more than 30 people, with more than half working on the IT and product side, and the rest are in three teams: Support, Marketing, and Sales who all work together very closely.


Mike Korba, on starting ($100,000/month) full story ➜

Word of Mouth

The most tried and true way to grow a marketing agency is through word of mouth - some entrepreneurs would say it's more important than all social media.

Why you should focus on word of mouth:

  • Consumers trust word of mouth above all other forms of marketing
  • 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising
  • 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe it is the most effective form of marketing

Learn more about word of mouth in our guide: 30 Ways Founders Grow Their Business ➜

Provide Great Customer Service

Providing exceptional care and creating relationships with clients is a great way to build your reputation and retain customers.

Whether you are an online business or a physical business, it's highly important to communicate with customers and make them feel like they are the priority.

Just remember: customer service represents your brand, values, vision and YOU as a person.

Build a Referral Program

Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get the word out about your business and acquire new customers. Especially when you are starting out, it’s important to build a solid referral program to encourage existing customers to help you find new ones.

A great way to do that is by offering a reward (ie. credit on your service or cash) to customers that refer you to their friends and family.

A fantastic referral program will help with clout, credibility, and establishing yourself in the space.


We put together the best resources on the internet to help you start your marketing agency.



Web Resources


Case Studies

meet the author
Pat Walls

I'm Pat Walls and I created Starter Story - a website dedicated to helping people start businesses. We interview entrepreneurs from around the world about how they started and grew their businesses.