If you are struggling financially, there is one quick way to bring in some income, and it doesn’t involve a lengthy six-month job search. I’m talking about building your dream marketing agency. There are millions of businesses out there, and they could use your help.
I am going to discuss several ways to build a marketing agency from scratch. You don’t need any money to start this today.
Here’s a bit about my marketing background: I’ve started several marketing agencies. I’ve helped other marketing agencies land million-dollar clients. I worked in corporate marketing for over ten years. I went to business school and got a four-year degree in marketing. I love solving problems.
Enough about me, let’s talk about the blueprint for building your marketing agency.
Most businesses are not online yet. They depend on traditional word-of-mouth to get their next client. This is not sustainable in the long-term.
Some of my small business clients stay small because they aren’t thinking about the big picture, which is automated lead generation for their business. Let’s walk through what this lead generation might look like today, to give you an idea of some of your potential service offerings:
Someone finds a restaurant’s website on Google and fills out a contact form to book a table. New lead, no work required.
Someone gives out their email online to a car dealer in exchange for the latest car news. New lead, no work required.
Someone starts a conversation with a chat robot on an accountant’s website and gives their phone number to be contacted if the connection is lost. New lead, no work required.
Someone clicks on a recurring ad to get a discount code for an online retailer’s clothing. That person gives their email for the code. New lead, no work required.
Am I stirring up some service ideas for you? Great. Let’s get you some business.
Choose your niche.
Decide right now who you are going to solve problems for. Figure out where your niche hangs out online and go there. 20 years ago I would’ve told you to obsessively go door-to-door to your local business park and forget about niches (I was still doing this five years ago).
Analyze analyze analyze.
Start analyzing their website like a beast. What is missing? Make a list of the things you can add or fix. If they don’t have a website, you have even more opportunity to fix their problems. Every business should be online.
Give them your list.
Most people are going to say I’m crazy here. After putting together an amazing list of problems to solve, you are going to email it to the business. You are leading the charge by being helpful, not spammy. Let’s explore this more in the next step.
Walking away is quite attractive. Take a break and watch this video from the movie Hitch to see what I mean:
Notice how Will Smith walks away without any desire to ask for anything in return? Even giving a drink for free at the end? Be suave in your business dealings by giving value and walking away. If you do the analysis properly, as Will Smith has done with his niche (women), 50%+ of your potential clients will respond back to you. That result blows away all typical cold email conversion rates.
Run an experiment to try this. Choose ten businesses on Craigslist and give it a go. If someone responds, you now have a warm, juicy lead.
Ask for what you’re worth.
Say they’re interested in learning more about your services to build them a website. Give them a run-down of how many pages you’ll build and how much you’ll charge. Ask for what you’re worth. If you can bring them $5,000 worth of leads within a month of the website launch, it seems reasonable to charge thousands for the build.
Automate the work.
You don’t need to know how to build websites (although it helps to know the difference between good and bad ones). Hire a freelancer on Upwork or Fiverr to build the site via WordPress (you can find professionals starting at $200). This allows you to move on to the next sale opportunity.
Don’t dwell on formalities.
You don’t need a business name. You don’t need on-site staff. You don’t need an office with dogs and Macbooks. The formalities are irrelevant because they are just excuses for not starting now. As you can see, we’re focusing on the ways to help businesses, not spend on unnecessary resources. What if you hate doing this? Then you would’ve wasted money. Don’t dwell on the formalities. They are costly.
Build your team.
At first, you are just the one-man show, finding clients and solving their problems. When enough income is generated to validate your efforts, you should transition to the founder role. It might look like this diagram I created for one of my previous agency businesses (this reads left-to-right, row-by-row):
Notice there are four team members to replace your work. Let’s go through each team member role.
Lead Gen VA.
This is the virtual assistant to handle your lead gen efforts. They can be found via Upwork or local universities. Their job is to send out 180-200 helpful proposals per day, based on the eventual template of services you will have built. You can find them starting at $3 per hour. Determine where your leads should be found (I had LinkedIn messaging in the diagram to focus on connecting with CEOs, your focus might be different).
This is the salesperson who will connect with any warm leads generated by the VA. I mentioned they will do 15-20 calls per day, but you could change that to emails or a mix. Pay is 20% commission of the project sold. Success is measured by # of signed proposals returned.
Next is the process of finding several freelancers on Upwork who can handle the work of your service offerings. I wanted to find quality talent in Canada and USA so that I would feel comfortable charging more for my agency services. I had a team of 20 with whom I could throw projects to. In the diagram, I had social analysis audits as a service example. Maybe you need social media experts, web developers or email marketers. Start with a few and add more as needed. Pay is 20% of project sale, just like the salesperson.
You can find a project manager via Facebook Groups to take care of deadlines and quality assurance. Look for someone who is organized. Again, give them 20% commission for each project via PayPal or Upwork.
There you have it, a nice little process to build your dream marketing agency. Always remember that sales result from new leads. As the founder, your mission is to get businesses more leads, because that’s what a marketing agency does. Become a lead generation machine. Build this agency to run on autopilot and businesses will reward you for your efforts.