Building a Profitable Influencer Marketing Agency [20+ Templates + Agency Course]

Content Writing & Strategy
Team Slam
Helping you win online

When you search for "how to start an influencer marketing agency," you've likely found several lists of boxes to check off to start your agency, but little practical advice and processes in place to actually execute. We understand the minutia required to build a marketing agency from the ground up, and we want all future agency owners to feel empowered to take this leap. The strategies we provide in this blog are designed to help you start your own influencer marketing agency, and to give you practical resources and templates to grow and scale your agency.

We’ll provide a practical guide on how to start an influencer marketing agency, including:

  • How to define your target audience and your service niche
  • How to target an appropriate audience, and establish a unique vision for your agency
  • How to set up your agency both legally and operationally 

Here at Slam Media Lab (Slam), we pride ourselves in understanding how to grow and scale your own marketing agency. That's why we created Slam's How to Start an Agency Course. We started during the pandemic and quickly grew to over 30 clients and $2M in revenue in just three years. We're a digital marketing and design agency in San Francisco, serving innovative, visionary brands with services such as Webflow design and development, content marketing, SEO, and brand strategy

This course is an all-encompassing downloadable resource with all of Slam's documented processes and tools used to start our agency - from branding, to software, to legal requirements, and more. Our goal is to save you from hundreds of hours of research and make it easier for you to enter the agency world with confidence.

Watch the full trailer:

At Slam, we've helped influencer marketing agencies grow their traffic and close clients. How? Our students have gone through our learning modules and specialized their influencer marketing niches.

Here's what the course covers:

  • Finding your niche
  • How to get your first clients
  • Setting up your services and pricing
  • Crafting a winning proposal
  • Legal and operational set-up
  • Operations, processes, and onboarding (+20 templates created by Slam)
  • Tools and software recs
  • How to use ChatGPT to improve all processes

We've been floored by the excitement around it! For a limited time, the first 10 people who sign up with this link will get 75% OFF with code AGENCY100.

How to Start an Influencer Marketing Agency: Key Takeaways

Some key takeaways from this guide and our course include:

  • Establishing your influencer marketing agency's core offerings, target audience, and brand values and vision
  • Setting up your influencer marketing agency as a legal business entity, and understanding how to manage agency finances
  • 20+ templates and resources you can use to launch your influencer marketing agency legally, streamline your operations, and cultivate a strong online presence to market your agency
  • Tips on how to get more clients and authentically network in the influencer marketing industry 

Trying to learn how to start an influencer marketing agency? Download our How To Start An Agency Course today!

How Do Influencer Marketing Agencies Work?

Influencer marketing agencies specialize in facilitating and managing collaborations between brands and social media influencers to promote products or services. These agencies play a crucial role in the modern marketing landscape, as they bridge the gap between businesses looking to leverage the reach and credibility of influencers and the influencers themselves.

Typically, influencer marketing agencies begin by identifying influencers who align with their client's audience and values. They negotiate partnerships, create campaign strategies, and handle the logistical aspects of influencer marketing, such as content creation, posting schedules, and digital agency reporting. By working with these agencies, brands can tap into the influencer's established follower base, enhance their brand visibility, and potentially boost their sales and engagement in a more organized and efficient manner.

Crafting the Blueprint for Your Influencer Marketing Agency

To start your own influencer marketing agency, you'll need a solid business blueprint that includes:

  • Pinpointing your target audience
  • Defining your agency's core offering
  • Establishing your brand values

These facets will guide your path in this competitive industry and help shape your agency's unique selling point.

Pinpointing Your Target Audience in Influencer Marketing

Before you decide the type of influencer marketing agency you want to create, you need to know the audience you want to serve. You can begin to understand your target audience better by researching their social habits and identifying their demographics, interests, and preferences. This information will help you effectively refine and engage your audience.

HypeAuditor, Brandwatch, and Sprout Social are excellent tools for researching industry demographics for influencer marketing.

These tools, combined with market segmentation methods, can help you identify niche influencers and get a deeper understanding of your client's audience and what type of content, products, and services that resonate the most.

Of course, you can't forget about the power of social media analytics, which can provide insights into audience segmentation and competitive analysis, enabling you to create personalized campaigns for clients.

Defining Your Influencer Marketing Agency's Core Offering

Everyone wants a piece of the influencer pie these days, so your core service offerings are what will set your influencer marketing agency apart from the competition. Your offerings are the unique blend of services that your agency provides, which could be anything from influencer recruiting, to campaign management, to content creation.

So, how do you decide on this mix? Start with a solution-based value proposition and go from there. Evaluate what your target market needs and how you can meet those needs in a way that your competition is not doing already.

To understand how to position your influencer marketing agency against your competitors, perform competitive research. Understand the services other agencies offer, their price points, and their value proposition, and then identify any gaps. Then, you can create your agency as a solution to fill in these gaps.

Your specialized core service offerings might include:

  • Long-term influencer partnerships
  • Shared databases
  • Exclusive product insights
  • Campaign tracking

Platform Specific Agencies

If you are a creator who is particularly passionate about a specific social media platform, like YouTube, TikTok, OnlyFans, or Instagram, you might consider creating a specialized influencer agency that focuses exclusively on that platform.

Perhaps you are an expert Instagram creator yourself, and you want to share your knowledge of the platform with others. With the rise of the creator economy, it's more possible than ever to make a great living off the content you love to create and share with others - your skills are in high demand!

Creating a specialized influencer marketing agency is one way to help businesses capitalize on the growing desire to partner with influencers who can advertise their products, as well as learn strategy from an expert on how to best utilize different social media platforms to boost brand awareness.

Specialized influencer agencies have in-depth knowledge of the platforms they cater to, understand the unique demographics and user behaviors of each, and can provide valuable insights and strategies to maximize influencer marketing campaigns on these platforms. Starting an agency that solely specializes in one platform is also a great way to differentiate yourself in the industry.

Here are some examples of platform specific influencer marketing agencies:

  • Instagram Agencies - specialize in influencer marketing campaigns on Instagram. They understand the visual nature of the platform and work with influencers who have a strong presence there. They can help leverage Instagram's features such as stories, posts, and IGTV to reach your target audience effectively.
  • YouTube Agencies - agencies dedicated to this video-centric platform use it to collaborate with YouTubers who create content ranging from vlogs to tutorials. They assist in creating engaging video campaigns and optimizing them for YouTube's algorithm.
  • TikTok Agencies - the powerhouse for short-form video content, agencies that focus on TikTok know how to work with TikTok influencers to create viral and trending content that resonates with a younger demographic.
  • Twitter/"X" Agencies - Twitter - aka "X" - agencies specialize in influencer marketing through tweets and trends. They understand the fast-paced nature of the platform and can help brands partner with Twitter influencers to amplify their message.
  • OnlyFans Agencies - OnlyFans is a unique platform primarily known for adult content, but it has expanded into other niches as well. Agencies dedicated to OnlyFans can help navigate the platform's specific content policies and connect with creators in various niches.
  • LinkedIn Agencies - LinkedIn agencies focus on influencer marketing within this business and career-oriented platform. They can help collaborate with thought leaders and industry experts to establish credibility in a brand's niche industry.
  • Snapchat Agencies - Snapchat is popular among younger audiences, and agencies specializing in Snapchat influencer marketing can assist in creating temporary and engaging content on this platform.
  • Pinterest Agencies - if a target audience is interested in visual inspiration, Pinterest agencies can work with influencers who curate boards and pins that align with a brand's aesthetic.

Establishing Brand Values and Vision

Having addressed the ‘what’ and the ‘who’, we now move on to the ‘why’ and the ‘how’. This is where your brand values and vision come in. They define what your agency believes in, what it wants to achieve, and how it plans to do so. A strong brand identity is key to building trust with clients and influencers, and is the foundation for growth and success in the industry. So, that means getting really honest with yourself as an agency owner, and understanding the real reason why you want to start and grow a successful influencer marketing agency.

For instance, Slam primarily serves mission-driven companies in sectors such as education, health, immigration, climate, tech, and venture capital. That's because our agency's CEO, Silvia Li Sam, originally established it as a Hispanic marketing agency with a focus on addressing the marketing needs of underrepresented Hispanic communities, including the Asian-Hispanic community. As a result, Slam's ideal clients share a commitment to promoting social awareness.

How can you effectively convey your agency's values and vision? Begin by using clear and straightforward messaging, which involves telling compelling stories that resonate with your audience. Make sure your service offerings align with your brand values, and establish explicit criteria for the influencers your agency would select to promote your clients.

For example, if your target client is a family-friendly small business, your agency should have precise guidelines regarding how influencers should promote your client, including the language they use and their personal alignment with certain values. The goal is to create a unique brand identity that sets you apart in the influencer marketing field and instills confidence in potential clients and influencers.

The Legal Framework: Setting Up Your Influencer Marketing Business

Managing the legal and financial aspects of your business is just as crucial as planning your marketing strategy. Establishing a legal entity for your agency safeguards your privacy, ensures legal compliance, and builds trust with potential clients. Additionally, organizing your finances allows for responsible management of your agency's income and expenses.

Ensuring Your Influencer Marketing Agency is a Legal Entity

Creating a legal entity formalizes your agency and establishes a strong foundation for legal and financial management. It legitimizes your business and grants access to necessary licenses and permits. But how do you accomplish this?

  1. Choose your business structure
  2. Register your business and acquire required licenses and permits
  3. Establish a dedicated bank account for handling business transactions

Choose Your Business Structure

First, choose your business structure, such as an LLC, an S-Corp, or a sole proprietorship. Your choice will impact taxes, liability, and registration needs. Then, select your company's location. Delaware is a common choice because of its flexible corporate laws, privacy advantages (no public disclosure of officers/directors), potential tax benefits, and investor preference, particularly among venture capitalists.

If you want to learn more about the ins and outs of choosing your agency's business structure, including software and tools you can utilize, Slam's How To Start An Agency Course has a module solely dedicated to creating your business structure.

Register Your Business and Acquire Licenses and Permits

After you've determined the location for your business, it's essential to register it with the appropriate state authorities. In our How To Start An Agency Course, we review an array of tools you can use to register your business, including their prices, and the pros and cons of each. Slam highly recommends Stripe Atlas, for which we offer a demonstration to help you seamlessly establish your startup within your preferred state. We review this You'll also need licenses and permits based on your business location and agency services offered. If your LLC operates in a different state than where it's registered, you must have a registered agent for legal compliance purposes, including receiving official documents. A registered agent maintains compliance, ensures physical presence in the state, and adds privacy and convenience, even without a physical office.

Establish a Dedicated Business Bank Account

Lastly, consider the banking services and payment cards you'll use for your business transactions. It's crucial to establish a dedicated business bank account to keep your personal financial accounts separate from your business accounts, primarily for legal and liability protection. By maintaining this separation, you safeguard the legal integrity of your influencer marketing agency and shield your personal assets from any potential business liabilities. This separation significantly reduces personal liabilities in case your business faces legal issues or accumulates debts. 

Protecting Your Agency's Brand

Protecting the integrity of your agency's brand is extremely important in establishing and maintaining your agency's legal entity status. Your brand is not just your name, but rather, a representation of your agency's values, reputation, and identity. To safeguard your agency brand against potential infringements, consider taking the following steps:

  • Register your agency’s name or any distinguishing online likeness - officially register your agency's name or any unique online representation, which legally solidifies your brand's identity and also provides you with legal recourse in case of infringement
  • Establish and safeguard your brand - develop a brand protection strategy that includes trademark registration, copyright protection, and domain name acquisition
  • Maintain a positive brand reputation - establishing and preserving a positive brand reputation is crucial, especially in the influencer marketing space, where there is increased liability when collaborating with brands and must be strict adherence to social media content promotion guidelines

Building a Strong Online Presence

Once you get your agency's legal foundation in place, it’s time to focus on building a strong online presence. In our digital era, especially in an industry like influencer marketing where digital skills are essential, having a robust online presence is vital for attracting potential clients.

It not only extends your reach to a broader audience, but also displays your agency's work and expertise. To build your influencer marketing agency's online presence, you should design a professional website and utilize social media platforms effectively.

Designing a Professional Website

Your website is your agency’s online brochure, so to speak. It’s the first impression potential clients and influencers get of your agency, so you need to make it count. Your website should be optimized for SEO so that you can rank for related keywords that are relevant to you, such as "influencer marketing agency near me", and "best influencer marketing agencies."Additionally, a clean layout, a case studies section showcasing successful client projects, testimonials, and achievements, plus simple navigation are all key to creating a website that stands out and attracts clients.

Slam's website launch checklist is a comprehensive and adaptable guide that was designed around ensuring your website's every detail is buttoned up before you publish it. Remember that a well-designed website not only enhances your agency’s online presence but also builds credibility and trust with potential clients.

Check out some of our other SEO tools and resources for small businesses! 

Leveraging Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms are another powerful tool for building your agency’s online presence. They allow you to engage with potential clients, influencers, and industry peers while showcasing your agency’s work and expertise. The best platforms to use to grow your agency's presence and attract new clients are Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Choose the ones that align best with your target audience and your agency’s niche.

It's not enough to just make an account on these platforms - you need to leverage them effectively. This involves developing a social media content plan, creating a calendar of regular posts, engaging with your audience, showcasing achievements, and most importantly, being authentic. 

Blogging on topics related to your agency’s expertise is also a great way to establish your agency as a thought leader in the influencer marketing industry. Don't panic, our How to Start an Agency Course covers all of this!

With a holistic social media strategy that covers many different areas of the internet, your agency can attract more clients, build stronger relationships with influencers, and ultimately, drive more successful campaigns.

The Hunt for Influencers: Identifying and Partnering with the Right Talent

Finding the right influencer can feel impossible at times, but the juice is worth the squeeze. The right influencers can help your agency connect brands with their target audience and drive successful marketing campaigns by tapping into the influencer's already loyal audience of followers. But how do you find these influencers? And once you find them, how do you negotiate fair compensation?

Scouting Relevant Influencers

Scouting relevant influencers involves a mix of manual research and the use of specialized tools. Tools like HypeAuditor, Iconosquare, BuzzSumo, Traackr, and BuzzStream, can help you identify the top influencers in a specific niche based on the quality and engagement levels of their followers. TikTok’s Creative Center is another great resource that shares data on the best performing ads and the top creators on the platform. This not only streamlines your scouting process but also ensures that the influencers you choose align perfectly with your agency’s niche and client needs. Identifying influencers is important, but it’s not enough on its own. You also need to evaluate their credibility and authenticity. When scouting an influencer, you should carefully check:

  • Their engagement rate
  • Their content quality
  • Their brand fit
  • The way they interact with their audience
  • The types of comments they receive on their posts

You might also consider conducting a social media audit of an influencer's presence across various platforms. By considering all of these factors, you can ensure that the influencers you choose are genuine, meaningfully engage with their audience, and produce high-quality content that will resonate with your client’s target audience.

Negotiating Fair Compensation

Once you’ve identified the right influencers, the next step is to negotiate fair compensation. This involves balancing your client's campaign budget with the influencers’ compensation expectations. The standard payment models for influencer marketing can vary, but they typically include some type of pay-per-post model. According to a survey by HypeAuditor, the typical cost per post is as follows:

  • Nano-influencers (1,000-10,000 followers) - $10 - $50 per post
  • Micro-influencers (10,000-100,000 followers) - $15 - $110 per post
  • Macro-influencers (more than 100,000 followers) - $185 - $2500 per post
  • Mega-influencers (over 1,000,000 followers) - average minimum price of $1200 per post

Negotiating contracts that set the stage for successful influencer partnerships involves

  • Considering your client's budget
  • Inquiring about the influencer’s rate
  • Tweaking campaign specifics
  • Aligning payment terms with business goals
  • Aiming for a long-term relationship

Remember, a successful negotiation is not just about agreeing on a price, but also about establishing a relationship based on mutual respect and value.

How to Attract and Retain Clients

Attracting and retaining clients is a crucial aspect of starting and running any new influencer marketing agency. Whether it’s through client outreach and networking or content marketing and thought leadership, your influencer marketing agency needs to position itself as a trusted resource in the industry.

Our How to Start an Agency Course includes a module on using LinkedIn DMs to authentically network with potential clients and pitch your agency's services, and by downloading the course you can gain access to a community of like-minded entrepreneurs who are also starting their own digital marketing agencies. By learning from other marketing agencies, you can adopt best practices and strategies to ensure your agency’s success.

Managing Influencer Campaigns: From Concept to Execution

Managing influencer campaigns involves a lot more than just connecting brands with influencers. It requires careful planning and strategy development, meticulous execution and management, and a way to measure success through digital agency reporting. From setting clear campaign goals to tracking performance using various metrics, every step is crucial for the success of your influencer marketing campaigns.

Planning and Strategy Development

Every successful influencer marketing campaign starts with a well-thought-out plan. This involves defining your marketing goals and budget, selecting the campaign type and key messages, and identifying the right influencers. It’s crucial to collaborate closely with clients and influencers during this stage to ensure that everyone is aligned with the campaign goals.

Creating a detailed timeline for your influencer marketing campaign is another crucial step in the planning and strategy development phase. A well-structured timeline ensures consistent posting schedules and messaging, and helps you manage the campaign more effectively. And don’t forget about setting content guidelines. Tools like Notion are great for internal project management and content coordination.

Campaign Execution and Oversight

Once the planning is done, it’s time for execution. The key to successful campaign execution is maintaining strong communication with influencers throughout the campaign. Regular check-ins and updates help keep everyone on the same page and make adjustments as necessary. But it’s not just about communication. You also need to:

  • Motivate influencers to adhere to brand guidelines during the campaign
  • Clearly communicate the brand guidelines and expectations
  • Perform quality control by reviewing content before it’s published
  • Follow up regularly to ensure ongoing adherence to the guidelines

Managing influencer campaigns also involves overseeing the day-to-day aspects of the campaign. This includes ensuring timely content creation (a social media editorial calendar is great for this), monitoring campaign performance, and making necessary adjustments to keep the campaign on track. The overarching goal for successful influencer marketing campaigns is not just about reaching the influencer's target audience, but also about creating a meaningful connection between your client's brand and the influencer's loyal audience.

Measuring Success and Reporting

The final step in managing influencer campaigns is measuring success and reporting. This involves tracking campaign performance using various metrics, and providing clients with detailed reports on the results and ROI of their influencer marketing efforts. But how do you effectively track and measure your campaign ROI? The answer lies in using methods like:

These methods can help track conversions and measure dollar sales growth.

Influencer Marketing Campaigns In Real Life

As you begin thinking about how to launch your influencer marketing agency, envision the campaigns you want to run for clients, and recognize the impact that the right influencer relationships could have on your clients' success. Here are some valuable tips on the strategy behind successful influencer marketing campaigns and how to build a loyal audience for your clients.

Great influencers manage to create content that appeals to a broad audience, while also offering exclusive content for dedicated fans. Successful influencer marketing campaigns should attract new users to a brand or business, while also providing exclusive content to keep dedicated users engaged regularly.

This balance allows influencers, such as those on Instagram, to foster fan-to-creator relationships in their comments and reels, signaling to the platform's algorithm that they're in-demand, leading to exposure to more new users. In turn, these influencers can generate interest in a promoted product or service and convert their loyal fans into customers of the businesses or products they endorse.

This is why influencer marketing is so valuable, because when fans follow their favorite influencers' recommendations, they continue to follow these influencers even if they switch platforms. 

Therefore, when a business partners with an influencer marketing agency to build a relationship with an influencer for promotion, it's like planting a seed that grows into a sturdy tree with loyal customers as its roots.
Customers might have initially found out about the brand because their favorite influencer recommended it, but then, those same customers can become loyal users of that promoted business or brand long-term. That is why it's so important for businesses to understand that investing in influencer marketing through an agency can result in lasting benefits that go well beyond just one Instagram post!

A great example of this is celebrity influencer turned entrepreneur, Emma Chamberlain. She became famous on YouTube for her candid, informal, and relatable vlogs that made her seem like a friend to all.

Despite her last YouTube video being in 2021, her businesses, like Chamberlain Coffee, and her collaborations with businesses like Levi’s and Warby Parker, have sustained growth due to her loyal fan base and effective influencer marketing campaigns. As an influencer marketing agency, partnering your client with a good influencer unlocks your client's power to reach new and wide audiences as the influencer travels to different platforms, while also retaining and sustaining customers from the original influencer marketing campaign.

Navigating the Launch of Your Influencer Marketing Agency

In the dynamic influencer marketing landscape, starting and operating a successful agency can offer both excitement and challenges. Crafting a comprehensive marketing strategy, handling legal and financial matters, establishing a robust online presence, and effectively managing campaigns are all vital steps. By employing the appropriate tools, strategies, and a sprinkle of unwavering determination, you can confidently begin your agency's journey and guide it to win.

Want to learn more about other digital marketing agencies you can start? Check out these blogs!

How to Start an SEO Agency 

How to Start a Design Agency

How to Start a Facebook Ad Agency 

How to Start a Creative Agency 

How to Start a Digital Marketing Agency 

How to Start a Content Marketing Agency 

How to Start a Google Ads Agency  

How to Start a PR Agency  

How to Start a Social Media Marketing Agency 

Coming Soon!

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