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How to start a Marketing, Digital or Advertising Agency in the UK

You may have dreamt about it for years but not felt comfortable to make the jump. You may have had some great bosses but have always wanted to be the boss of your own marketing company. Within this guide, 'How to Start your own Marketing Agency', we'll give you all the tools and resources that you need when starting your own marketing, Digital or Advertising agency. 10 steps to success broken down into manageable sections.

Marketers are the beating heart of a business. They create the demand that keeps the business operating and profitable. They help to develop new products that make their customers happy. They help to define and mange the business by advocating and promoting its values to its employees. Marketing is an all encompassing role within a business that bonds you tightly to it. With a career spent growing and promoting other people's businesses its obvious that at some point in their career the marketer is going to want to build their own company, setting up something that they can call their own.

This post will tell you how to start your marketing company and how to set up your agency. It gives you insight into different revenue models and how to target and convert new business. We talk about the importance of setting realistic goals and how to define how your company is going to operate.

What we hope we have achieved is a living breathing resource document that you can bookmark (or link too) and reference, ultimately providing information that will help marketers to set out on their own ventures. Giving you the greatest chance of starting, setting up and successfully running a marketing, digital or advertising company yourself.

Want to talk to someone who has already setup their own marketing agency? Drop us an email, we are here to help!

The ultimate list of resources for starting your own Marketing, Digital or Advertising Agency.

How to start your business from scratch, building a website that generates leads and how to market your agency.

How to start a Marketing, PR or Advertising Business

12 steps you need to consider before starting a marketing agency


1) Taking the decision to start your own agency

2) How to set up a marketing business successfully

3) Everything you'll need to start your own agency

4) Having a goal and mission to create a valuable business

5) What type of agency are you?

6) Who are your clients going to be?

7) How to build a marketing company that will make money

8) Drive traffic and generate leads with a successful website

9) How to market your marketing agency and win business

10) Stay sharp, always be learning. Educate yourself

11) Scaling your Marketing Agency

12) Amazing case studies

You are keen to get started, we understand! Just remember to bookmark this page and use it as a reference moving forward. We are always updating our 'how to start a marketing business' page adding new information and fresh links to important content that will help you and your new marketing startup succeed. If you are considering starting up a small marketing business from home or have larger plans to scale your business to a six figure marketing agency we hope that we have scoured the internet to bring you the very most useful posts and links. We'll also be sharing our own experiences on this blog so it would be great if you joined the community and signed up to receive emails too. Happy reading!


Chapter 1

Taking the decision to start your own agency

You have spent years mastering your craft and have the battle scars to prove it. You have successfully promoted businesses for other people, you have worked in various sectors, you have the experience, you have the leadership your pretty sure that it's time to go out on your own. You need a new challenge and starting your own marketing agency is exactly what you want to do. You just haven't made that decision completely yet. When is the right time? How do I know that I am ready? Here are some resources and links to help you to decide if you are ready to start your own marketing agency.


Chapter 2

How to set up a marketing business successfully

Whether you are planning on setting up a marketing, Digital, advertising or internet marketing company the lessons learned and passed on by other marketing businesses and founders can be incredibly valuable. The key to setting up successful marketing company is making sure that its foundations are solid so learn from other peoples mistakes and don't make them yourself, these links will tell you how to set up your marketing business successfully and perhaps even more importantly what mistakes not to make!


Chapter 3

Everything you'll need to start your own agency

So you have decided to take the plunge and and have begun the process of starting your marketing agency. But where next? What's the next stage in the process? Below are some links and resources that will help you to register and start your own marketing business as well find the right people to help you manage it. You'll need to decide where your business will operate from, should it start a marketing business from home or do you need an office? You'll need to register the company, you'll need to have a good accountant! Make sure that your foundations are setup for success and read on.


Chapter 4

Having a goal and mission to create a valuable business

You are a marketer, you know the importance of having clear and defined goals. A mission helps to give you direction and tells you which way to drive the business. Your values define who you and your brand are, how customers and suppliers will perceive you and how you will do business. Successful businesses know exactly which direction they are heading in so define your brand and point your business compass with these helpful resources now.


Chapter 5

What type of agency are you going to be?

If you choose to be full-service, specialist, perhaps an in-house agency, consultant of Boutique you’ll need to define what you do an who you do it for. There are a huge amount of agencies vying for the same clients, so define what you do well and what your agency will ultimately do.

You need to have a clear direction, your messaging also needs to be clear in order that your customers will understand what you offer. Here’s a list of agency types, it’s not definitive and you shouldn’t feel that it is restrictive either. When you are starting a marketing agency you need to be clear about what you offer so that your customers understand it.

What type of agency are you starting?

Your agency can even be combinations of types, offering multiple services. For example, a common combination would be an advertising agency that specialises in design and media buying. A PR agency that manages media relations and crisis comms. A Digital Marketing agency that manages search and digital ad buying.


Chapter 6

Who are your clients going to be?

Now that we have determined what your agency offers you need to refine who you are going to offer it too. Perhaps you are a niche agency that specifically targets financial services or retail. Maybe a full-service marketing agency that is local or region specific. Is it the business size that could work for you e.g. start-up, or SME’s. Or perhaps its UK wide businesses or international clients.

Defining your target market will be critical to your agency’s success. Make sure that you have experience in that sector, that you enjoy working within it and more importantly that it has the potential to be profitable.


Chapter 7

How to build a marketing company that will make money

You have set up a great agency, your agency has its compass pointed forwards and you are heading in the right direction. Which type of business model are you going to use? What agency model best suits your company? How are you going to make money? Here are some examples of the different agency models and how are other successful marketing, advertising and digital companies making their money?


Chapter 8

Drive traffic and generate leads with a successful website

Your website will be the centre of your marketing strategy, you have to get it right! A great website is not necessarily an expensive one, but it does take some thought and consideration to create a good website that converts web traffic into clients. You can build your own or use a third party to build it. It will be your shop window, the way your customers will research and find you, you need to get it right. These resources are focused on getting this critical part of your marketing correct and helping you to generate leads from your website as soon as you can.


Chapter 9

How to market your marketing agency and win business

You have a great back office set up, your website is fantastic and your clients are going to love it. Now you just need to find those clients. As a marketer you know that there are a huge amount of ways to promote and advertise yourself. You know how to write a marketing plan, so make sure that you do one for your own business. Here are some of the best resources that are out there on promoting your company and finding clients. Use these resources to define your new business strategy and get you in front of the clients that you deserve.

Need an SEO Consultant to help promote your business online? Click the link.


Chapter 10

Stay sharp, always be learning. Educate yourself

Setting up your own marketing agency can be challenging. Whether you are a start up of one or if you have a team, there will be new challenges and issues that you'll have to manage to keep your business running. From keeping up with your accounts to finding new business it is easy to be distracted from the day to day. So remember to take time and invest in yourself. Keep learning, stay ahead of the curve. Take training courses, read blogs and news, hone your skills. Follow your competitors and never stop learning. Below is some links and resources that will keep you ahead of the game and make sure that your agency continues to develop and your skills do too.


Chapter 11

Scaling your Marketing Agency

Whether you set up your marketing business from home or kicked off with a big client and a team. from day one you should plan for growth. At least have a road map or a journey planned that will help you to scale your marketing company. There are many many ways to do this, from charging more to selling software. But which could work for you? Whether you are planning a web development agency that sells Hubspot licences or a pay per click agency that can generate extra revenue from call tracking, perhaps you have even created your own technology. There are lots of ways to scale an agency, you just need to have your ducks in a row and a plan of action. Below is some ideas that may be relevant to your marketing, digital marketing or advertising business. There will be many more, but we hope that this will give you some inspiration and allow you to create new streams of revenue as you progress.


Chapter 12

Amazing case studies and motivation

Finally we have put together some inspirational case studies and resources to really get you motivated. Remember all companies start small, all have to begin as startups but they don't have to stay that way!

Making the decision to leave a well paid, secure role and set up a business for yourself can be a tough one. It takes courage and carries risk. Trust us, we know. That's why we wrote this article, so that we can pass on some of what we know and help others to succeed. It is rewarding to own your own company but it is hard work too. So do not make it harder for yourself. Set up the business to succeed, formulate a plan, get the right support, do the research and make sure that your finances are in order ahead of making any jump. We wish you all the best of luck!

We hope that you enjoyed our definitive guide on 'how to start a marketing agency'. If you are starting your own marketing business or becoming a marketing consultant why not send us an email and let us know how you are getting on, or alternatively if you feel that you know other great resources that we should add to this page leave a comment in the comments box below. Share it or if you really found it useful please link to it.

Setting up a marketing business by Improve Marketing

Improve Marketing is a marketing agency based in Suffolk who work with clients all over the UK to improve their marketing. Among our services we offer white label products and consultancy to Marketing, Advertising, Digital and Creative agencies who want to diversify their offerings and generate additional revenue from outsourced marketing services.

If you are interested in any of our services or fancy a chat about your new marketing startup why not get in touch, we would love to talk to you.

Updated article: December 16th 2019


Rachael Roy
Rachael Roy
3 days ago

Great post! Starting a marketing business can indeed be a daunting task, but your guide breaks down the essentials beautifully. I particularly appreciate the emphasis on understanding the market and identifying a niche. It's crucial for new businesses to differentiate themselves in such a competitive field.

The points on building a strong online presence and leveraging social media are spot on. In my experience with , we've found that a robust digital footprint is key to attracting and retaining clients. Additionally, your advice on continuous learning and staying updated with industry trends cannot be overstated. The marketing landscape is constantly evolving, and staying ahead of the curve is imperative for success.

Thank you for sharing these valuable insights!


Jun 13

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