How to Start Your Own Marketing Business

by Greg DePersio

4 min read

Just about every business wants more customers. For that reason, they’re willing to pay someone who can get more people to come through their doors. If this is something you excel at, you might want to consider starting a marketing business. You can make a great living helping businesses establish a brand identity, get their name out there, identify their target market, and reach out to prospective customers with compelling marketing messages. Starting a marketing business doesn’t require a huge budget or special training. This is the kind of business you can start small and scale as your customer base grows. You can be successful as long as you have the right skills, choose a focus, market your own business properly, and land that all-important first client.

The Right Skills

Running a marketing company requires that you have marketing skills, or at least that you know how to recognize these skills in others. Monster Worldwide, Inc., which runs the employment website Monster.ca, identifies things such as interpersonal communication skills, good writing ability, analytical knowledge, and creativity as being among the most important traits for marketing. You need to know how to connect with people, as your job is showing your clients how to do exactly that. Writing skills carry equal importance. Customers have short attention spans. To catch their attention with a social media post, search engine ad, or print advertisement in a magazine, your copy must be compelling. If it isn’t, the intended audience casts a quick glance at it and moves on. The best marketers also possess a unique mix of analytical skills and creativity. Setting up marketing campaigns requires studying trends and data, many of which are analytical and quantitative in nature. It also requires that you be creative and think outside the box. Take an honest inventory of yourself and determine if you have these necessary skills. You can also ask others who know you in a professional capacity for their honest opinions on whether your skills are right for a marketing career.

Choosing a Focus

The field of marketing is broad, and it gets broader every year. Just consider that as recently as 20 years ago, terms like “social media marketing”, “pay per click,” and “Google AdWords” would have been considered nonsensical. In the 21st century, marketing encompasses tried-and-true methods such as TV, radio, and print advertising, along with newer, high-tech methods such as search engine optimization and Facebook ads. When businesses struggle with this type of marketing it’s because they spread themselves too thin and fail to choose a direct focus. A customer looking for a pay-per-click campaign probably isn’t hiring the firm that also sends out direct mail pieces. Likewise, a business wanting to film a TV commercial isn’t likely to call the company that emailed it about setting up a Facebook page. You’re going to want to choose a focus and concentrate on those customers. If your focus is, say, social media marketing, that still leaves a lot of room to offer your clients different services. You can set up their Facebook pages, help them manage pay-per-click ad campaigns, and even film YouTube videos for them.

Marketing Your Business

If you can’t market your own business effectively, why would clients hire you to market theirs? Let’s pretend you’re a chiropractor in Windsor, and you’re looking for a marketing company to improve your website ranking. You open a search engine on your tablet and type, “Search engine marketing companies in Windsor.” The results populate your screen. Ask yourself this question: Who are you more likely to call, the firm whose website appears in position number one in the search results, or the firm that is buried somewhere on page three? Of course, you’re going to call the firm with a high ranking. You’re hiring a firm to improve your rankings, so why would you hire a firm that can’t even improve its own? Think about the focus of your marketing company and make sure your own marketing is on point when it comes to that focus. If your business specializes in helping clients with YouTube videos, that means your own videos should be engaging and show lots of views.

Landing Your First Client

The hardest client for a new marketing firm to land is the very first one. It can be difficult to sell yourself to clients when you have no track record of results with other clients. Your competitors are showing up with big portfolios where they’ve helped this client double its revenue and that client increase its footprint, and so forth. Meanwhile, all you can offer is a promise to work hard, and perhaps the benefit — if they see it that way — of not having a bunch of other clients taking up your time. For this reason, you might want to consider working for free, or at least cutting your fee, until you get one or two clients under your belt. Don’t focus on the money when it comes to your first client or two. Focus on measurable results that you can show off to prospective clients in the future. That’s how you build a portfolio, which helps your business infinitely more in the long run than earning a full fee from your first client. Starting a marketing business can lead to a lucrative and satisfying career. By taking the right steps and conducting the right research beforehand, you can maximize your chances of success.

References & Resources

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