To start an advertising agency, you must first decide what type of agency you want operate. There are two types of advertising agencies:
- Traditional advertising agencies
- Web advertising agencies
While traditional advertising agencies create slogans and ad copy to be used on billboards, radio, television ads, web ads, and print media; web advertising agencies (digital advertising agencies) are concerned with online marketing strategies such as search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing, content marketing, etc. After deciding on the type of advertising agency you want to start, you can proceed to the next step.
2. Write a business plan
Writing a business plan before launching any business is very important. This is because it gives you some important insights that you may not have realized earlier on; such as competition, market trends, financial requirements, etc. A business plan helps you keep focused, since it usually outlines the goals and mission of your business as well as strategies you intend adopting in order to achieve them.
3. Register and obtain the necessary license
To start a traditional advertising agency, you may need to incorporate a company and register it with the designated agency. Depending on the laws in your state or country, you may need to obtain a business permit and tax ID. There are no special licenses for required for operating an advertising agency, especially for web advertising agencies.
4. Set up your office
Get all the necessary equipment, such as a personal computer, printer, fax machine, phone, furniture, office supplies, and a reliable internet connection. For professionalism, you can obtain a dedicated phone and fax line. Even if you will be running your business from home, it is ideal to set up a conducive home office that will be free of distractions.
5. Buy other needed equipment
You will also need to buy indispensable equipment such as a digital camera, photo scanner, graphics and arts design software program (such as Adobe Creative Suite). However, if you plan to outsource the design aspect of your projects, you may not need these equipment. However, you must bear in mind that you will have to pay design fees for each assignment you outsource.
6. Arrange with a supplier
If you want to start a traditional advertising agency, you will need to find a supplier for items such as paper and other printing materials. You will need these materials when working on campaigns for your clients. Only work with suppliers that sell high quality material. Using substandard material will only dent the reputation of your business.
7. Start marketing
You won’t attract customers unless you make them aware of your business. So, print business cards, brochures, and other marketing materials and distribute them to prospects. Also, design flyers and billboards to create awareness about your business.
If you are starting a web advertising agency, then you must set up a website. Without one, you are not likely to attract clients. (How can you convince them that you can market their business online when you didn’t create an online presence for your own business). In addition to creating a website, you would need to implement all the various online marketing strategies and get good results from them. This will help you convince clients that you really know your stuff.
8. Contact prospects (cold calling)
Come up with a list of businesses around you that are likely to require your services, and let them know that you can help them with their marketing efforts. This strategy is known as “cold calling,” and you can implement it via various media such as emails, phone calls, or sales letters. To be able to convince them to hire you, you would need to come up with unique selling points that are compelling enough.
9. Network with other ad agencies
Another good way to find clients is to join local business organizations and online forums and communities often visited by your prospects. This is a good strategy for connecting with potential clients.
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