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How to Start an Advertising Agency

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How to start an advertising agency

How to start an advertising agency

The decision to start your advertising agency will be one of the greatest you could ever make. Competition is quite high in this kind of business so you have to make sure you do something to keep your business above the rest.

Building an advertising agency will require a lot of work and dedication from you, but with the right information like the one am about to give you to prepare you for the challenges ahead you can scale through and be successful. 

In this article on how to start an advertising business, I have divided it into three sections and we will take each section one after the other to fully know how to start an advertising agency. 

Section one: Getting Started

Getting Started

1. Determine your goals for the business

Before starting any business you need to set clearly what your goals are. It is not different with starting an ad agency.

Ask yourself whether it is a part-time business you want to run during leisure at home or you want o to be the next big agency in town. Defining your goals will help you know the dimension to take your business to, the people you hire and your budget.

You don’t have to start with a bulky business plan. Your business plan can be updated as you go on running the business.

As you run your business it will be very clear to you what your customers need, then you will know what to include in your business plan.

2. Take courses to help you improve

Taking online and physical courses on how to start an advertising agency will help you in build a successful business. Formal Education isn’t the yardstick to starting a successful advertising agency, but some management lessons will help you a long way.

  • Graphics design classes will be you learn how to design beautiful images and short clips for running ads and converting.
  • Accounting or Finance classes will help you plan your finances well and right.
  • Management courses will help you see clearly how to run businesses and manage the risk associated with them

3. Keep up with developments in the advertising sector

The advertising sector is a very dynamic sector, which means you need to keep up with the trends and happenings. By keeping up the happening in the ads sector your business can do go and thrive.

You can subscribe to periodicals on the advertising so you can be always updated on the happening in the sector.

It will be a great idea as well if you attend seminars, conferences and talks on advertising. It will help you a long way.

You can listen to talk on radio and television too.

4. Get Startup Capital

Advertising agencies are generally known as low-cost startups because they are one of the businesses you can run from home, you will probably still need loans or investment to get your startup off the ground.

There are ways to get startup capital for your business: The first is to save money to start the business or get a loan from the banks.

You can also ask friends or family members to lend you some money you can start your advertising agency.

You can read my guide on how to start a startup company.

5. Put your portfolio together

Portfolio is what customers will need to see most times to believe in your ability to deliver their jobs right.

Most people who are going into the ad business were employees at one advertising agency or the other. If you are one then you will have enough in your portfolio. If you are just starting out then I advise you to focus on building your portfolio.

Take every small job that comes and make you deliver it right and well. By doing so you will build a portfolio that will help you get the jobs in. You can get jobs by running Facebook ads or going on Fiverr, Upwork or any of the freelancing sites.

6. Build a website

IF a business is not online the is it almost invisible to a large section of the world because businesses and customers have now gone online.

Building a website can be a expensive if you will hire someone to build it for you but it will worth it at the end of the day. The website will be part of your investments and also the engine room of business.

7. Hire Employees

Employers are needed. The size of your company will determine how many personnel you’ll require. You might be able to operate alone or with a small team if your company is tiny and you’re strong at multitasking. You’ll need additional personnel if you wish to provide a wide range of services. Consider the following positions when seeking personnel.

A copy editor is a person who edits text. If you’re going to be distributing text ads or articles, this is a must. A superb copy editor is an advantage to your organization if you want all of the writing your firm produces to be of the highest quality.

A graphic artist. You’ll need a graphic designer on your team if you wish to sell pictures or design adverts. They may produce vibrant, eye-catching advertisements that your customers will notice.

An expert in information technology. Because computers will likely be used for a large portion of your business, consider hiring an IT professional to set up and manage your PCs.

Section Two: Building a Client Base

Section Two
Section Two

1. Make a decision about who you’ll market to.

You’ll undoubtedly work with a range of clients from many fields, but you might desire to specialize your firm. For example, if you or someone on your team has experience with hotels, you may target hotel advertising. Identifying your specialized specialization can assist you in determining where you should focus your client-acquisition efforts.

Small businesses rarely get the attention of advertising firms because they often do not spend a lot of money on advertisements. This means that tiny firms are a possible market for advertising, so don’t overlook them when seeking clients. To do so, though, you’ll need to maintain your rates reasonably. 

2. Referrals can be found by consulting your own contacts.

Most businesses find advertising agencies through personal recommendations, so cold dialling and chance meetings are unlikely to yield results. Use this to your advantage by informing all of your contacts that you’ve opened an agency and are seeking clients. Pay specific attention to contacts who work in the business world, such as lawyers or accountants. If you’ve worked in advertising before, you’ll most likely have a huge list of contacts. If you’re new to the industry, you’ll need to make the most of any connections you have. 

Treat your contacts to lunch or coffee when you meet with them. Bring your portfolio and be ready to explain why your agency will be successful. Remember that you’re counting on these people to suggest clients to your agency, even if they’re your friends. Your top priority is to make a good first impression.

3. Attend conferences

Attend conferences if possible. Every year, a number of conferences in advertising and related subjects are held. These gatherings attract both advertisers and clients searching for agencies. Keep an eye out for these events in advertising magazines and on the internet, and go to as many as you can. Bring your portfolio, of course, and make every effort to meet as many people as possible. You never know who might turn into a valuable client from a casual acquaintance. 
Occasionally, conferences seek speakers or presenters. Instead of just attending conferences, you should try to present. This will increase your visibility and allow more potential clients to see and hear you talk.

4. Offer specials for first-time customers.

Many clients are interested in hiring an advertising agency, but they are hesitant to pay a high fee for a first-time consultation. Offering a free or low-cost introductory session is a fantastic way to attract customers. You can discuss what services you offer, how much you’ll charge, and show him samples of your work at this meeting. If you obtain a client as a result of delivering a free consultation, the tiny financial expenditure will be well worth it.

5.Make use of specialist websites.

Some websites, such as Agencyspotter.com, are specifically created to bring agencies and clients together. Look for these kinds of websites and create a strong profile on them to attract more customers.

Consider launching a fundraising campaign.

Ad firms are frequently used by charitable organizations to create public service announcements or campaigns. These usually don’t pay well or at all, but they provide excellent exposure for your firm. If these opportunities present themselves, don’t pass them up.


It will be challenging to start your own advertising agency if you have never worked in the industry previously. You won’t have a portfolio, contacts, or industry knowledge. Before attempting to start your own firm, you should strongly consider working in the sector. This will give you a leg up when it comes to starting your own agency because you’ll already have experience and contacts to assist you succeed.

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