Yes, we’ve all seen the dozens and dozens of Youtube videos on how to start an SMMA business (stands for Social Media Marketing Agency), how easy it is, an why it’s basically a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. Well, bad news, it isn’t. Good news, it works.
So, how to start an SMMA business in 2023?
Just in case you don’t know, an SMMA is basically an agency which uses Social Medias to do marketing for their clients and boost their revenue.
If you’re sufficiently dedicated and choose a good niche, it’s feasible. Not easily feasible though. To start, you need to choose a niche. There are many ways to choose a niche. First, make sure to choose a business which can afford SMMA, as it isn’t cheap in most cases. Local cafés or bakeries might seem like an ideal client, but they likely won’t consider your offer as they can’t afford it. Second, try and think about what you know about and what you have experience in. This will help you find clients and market them well, which is the key in any agency.
A Construction/Remodeling company is one of the best clients since you do not need to find them many clients and a partnership with them will probably last long. Coaches and Consultants are also a great niche to specialize in. This is because they usually have a specific area they target which makes your job easier and means you’ll most likely succeed. They also have long term potential, as they normally need to acquire new clients regularly.
And, of course, if you want to ‘game the system’, you can always try and promote social media marketing agencies themselves to their niche…
There are two key parts to building a successful SMMA agency in 2023 once a niche has been chosen. This first article will cover acquiring clients, whereas a second one will cover how to market the acquired clients. It is considerably harder to get clients than market them so stick around!
Table of Contents
Before you start your agency
The first thing to do is to choose a niche, as outlined earlier.
Once that’s done, there are a few things left to do before you can start your agency. First, you need to draw up a list of prospective clients you will attempt to deal with. You also have to choose a name, and, if you want to, create a website and/or social media accounts.
Finding prospective clients is not hard, but it can take time. First of all, always mention to people you know what you are working on. They might know someone who needs your services! Take a walk around your area, see if you can see any businesses that fit inside of your niche. Look up ‘your niche’ in ‘your area’ or in any area you want to promote businesses in.
Or maybe you can check out upwork.com or fiverr.com to see if any business is looking for marketing work. Attend local networking events, education events, expos and trade shows. And once you do have clients, ask them if they know competitors in other areas who could use your help. Search google maps… Build a list with these businesses and what you can use to get them as clients.
Having a social media account with a strong following will boost your credibility as an SMMA, but it is hard to do before being established. Because of this, if you want to boost the credibility and professionalism of your agency, I recommend creating a website.
Once you’ve chosen a good name, buy either the ‘yourname’.com or ‘yourname’.org domain as outlined in this article. If you’re feeling creative, buy a .agency or .media domain. These are good, normally cheaper options and are almost always available. Once that’s done, host your site on wix.com or squarespace.com and connect the site to your domain name. I recommend these options since they are the easiest and require very little knowledge to setup a professional looking site, but any hosting provider would do, and WordPress is always an excellent option if you know some HTML.
Now that this is done, you’re ready for the hard part…
Acquiring Clients for your SMMA
The hardest part of SMMA and where most people fail is at the base. They will have a pitch laid out, a plan, will know what strategy to use and which medias they will focus on… but have no actual clients to market. And… Fail. As the diagram above shows, all of the money has to come from clients or an initial investment. If client acquisition is done right, there is no need for that initial investment which carries risk.
So, how to acquire clients? Let’s have a look at the three best methods:
- Email outreach
- Cold Calling
This method consists in sending emails to every prospective SMMA client outlining who you are, your qualifications, and most importantly, what the client will get from your service. The email’s goal is to secure a further meeting to close the deal. There are millions of templates online, but they vary in quality.
- High number of targets
- Easy once you have a template
- Least time-consuming method
- Lowest conversion rate
- Hard to make a very good template
This method consists in cold calling prospective SMMA clients, and then attempting to negotiate a second meeting in which the deal will be finalized. It is similar to a negotiation, and if you choose to do this, I recommend reading my article on negotiation at this link. Apart from this, always try and reach the highest possible role you can in the first phone call. The owner is the best person to speak to if the client is a small business.
- Medium number of targets
- More personal than email outreach
- Not as time-consuming as door-to-door
- Easy to hang up
- Requires very strong interpersonal skills
- Very hard to talk to someone who actually has a say in the business.
This method consists in going (surprise!) door-to-door of every client in your list. Once again, the goal is to speak to the highest-possible ranking member of the business who’s available and attempting to secure a further meeting to close the deal, or, if the client is very open to it, close the deal itself!
- Highest conversion rate
- Most personal out of all of them.
- Chance to see and evaluate client’s business before making a plan
- Most time-consuming
- Low number of targets
Although there are three main ways to acquire clients, they all work in different ways and offer different pros and cons.
The best way to proceed would be the following:
First, email every business in your list. Follow through with those who respond and set a meeting up, either in person or online.
Second, separate the list of businesses who didn’t respond to your email in two: those you’d rather cold call and those you’d rather go to in person.
Third, execute. And good luck…
Marketing Clients through your SMMA business
Even before you get your clients, you should know to some extent how you will market them, as this will be crucial in your sales process.
Part II on this coming soon…
As always, leave me a comment if you want to ask me any questions!