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How To Start An Advertising Agency In Nigeria

Advertising Agency

Running an advertising agency is one of the glamorous businesses in Nigeria. It is a fierce and competitive industry in which success is dependent on the ability to deliver results to clients.

Advertising is one of the best ways to make more sales. It helps you create awareness and expose your product and service offering to your audience. By so doing, you can make sales which is the lifeblood of any business.

Advertising agency
Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don't Have An Idea
Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don’t Have An Idea

Despite the economic downturn, many companies still spend money to advertise their businesses and are actively looking for new ways to advertise their businesses. As a result, advertising experts are employed to deploy ad creatives that can have a strong and positive impact on prospective clients so that more profit can be made.

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An advertising agency is a profitable business that innovatively passes its message to the intending audience. They do it in a way that their campaigns are able to break through the minds of the target audience and make them think about the product. They use different means to communicate a brand’s offerings, it could be through text, visuals, videos, melodious presentation, etc.

If you are creative, vast, and can deploy advertising and marketing campaigns, then starting an advertising agency can be the best business for you.

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Advertising Agency

An advertising agency creates, plans, handles, and implements commercial messages or advertising campaigns for clients. It’s a professional service firm often called a creative agency or an ad agency. They offer services relating to advertising, marketing, branding, and promotional services.

An ad agency may be an internal department of a company or contracted out to an external body that solely provides a third-party perspective on the selling of the clients’ products or services.

Ad agencies can be hired to create advertising campaigns and deploy the copies to television, radio, internet, social media, newspapers, periodicals, and other media platforms. Basically, they act as agents for the media, deal in copywriting, artwork, graphics, e.t.c. They make revenue from commissions paid by the media for selling space to the client or by offering services directly to clients.

They provide a full range of services such as promotional/merchandise advice, creative services, account management, production of advertising material, media planning and buying, advertising placement e.t.c.

You can start an advertising agency anywhere and can begin with as little capital as possible.

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Types Of Advertising Agency

There are several kinds of ad agencies based on the type of services they offer.

Full Service Agencies

These are large-sized agencies that conduct a complete advertising campaign from the beginning to the end. It is the main agency assisted by many subsidiaries who engage in various related activities.

It does market research, sales promotion, content creation, lead nurturing, advertising, public relation, media buying, film production, etc. They are capable of handling all advertising activities from beginning to end. They have different experts in different departments.

Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days
Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days

Interactive Agencies

Interactive agencies produce interactive ads. They use online advertisement platforms and send personal messages through mobile phones. Basically, they use modern modes of communication in deploying ad campaigns.

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Creative Boutiques

These groups create only actual ads. It is usually a small-sized agency with each of the teams having a peculiar responsibility. They focus on the design and graphics of a brand but outsource the strategy and execution to other marketing partners.

Starting an advertising agency business

Media Buying Agencies

Just as the name implies, media buying agencies buy space and sell to advertisers. They focus on media planning and media buying. Also, they schedule slots at different television channels and radio stations and supervise if the ads are telecast at the appropriate time.

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In-House Agencies

These are ad agencies that work within an organisation. They are built/based within an organisation and they work as per the requirements of their company. In-house agencies work only for the company.

Specialized Agencies

Specialized agencies work for some special advertisements. They work with people of special knowledge in a particular field such as tech, medicine, finance, engineering, business, etc.

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Are thinking of establishing any of these advertising agencies in Nigeria, fasten your belt as I take you through how to start your own advertising agency.

How To Start An Advertising Agency

I understand that setting up a business can be quite daunting and challenging, that is why I have created the steps on how to build a successful advertising agency for you.


Planning is an important aspect of every business. In this stage, a decision is made on the kind of niche you want to service. Before choosing a niche, it’s assumed that you already have a background knowledge by either having worked in a creative agency or passing through a communications school. Also, you don’t just need the creative knowledge, you also need a business knowledge of how the business is run.

In planning, you will decide the type of clients you intend to serve. Factor in startup cost, location, and possible ways of attracting clients. Attend seminars and conferences relating to advertising and see what the competition is like. This is more like you conducting due diligence. After gathering this information, the next step is to swing into action.

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Create A Detailed Business Plan

Creating a business plan is like setting a foundation for your agency. A business plan is a document that states the vision, mission, aims, and objectives of the business. It’s a road map to every business, pointing to the next line of action at each stage.

A business plan will state the business niche, organisational structure, market strategy, pricing, product, financial projection, and the total operational plan of the business.

A well-thought-out business plan can be a good call to action for the members of the team especially in the absence of the founder. Also, it will give you the opportunity to pitch your business idea to investors for financial support.

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How to start advertising agency business

Register The Business

Your brand name matters in the advertising agency business. Aside from giving the business identity, it should communicate your value offering to customers. Therefore, create a brand name that makes people easily identify the products and services your company is providing. It should be simple and attractive.

As soon as you have 2-3 unique brand name options, proceed to register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). This is the authorised Nigerian agency that sees to the registration of every business in Nigeria. Depending on ownership or the preferred structure, you can register as a Business Name or a Limited Liability Company.

Log on to the official website of CAC to start the process or contact ReDahlia. ReDahlia is a trusted resource center for entrepreneurs in Nigeria. It makes business registration easy and provides your business with everything it needs to succeed.

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Acquire Startup Capital

Capital is important for the success of any business. And I understand that raising capital if you don’t have enough capital to fund your business can be a herculean task. But, it’s still possible to raise money because there are many people who have successfully raised money for their businesses.

A detailed business plan will give you more chances of securing funds. Firstly, visit your local bank or online lending platforms, explaining to the loan officer the amount you need and the purpose of the loan.

Also, you can seek help from friends and family. These are the closest people to you and by default, they love you and believe in your potential. They can give you a an interest-free loan or perhaps fund the business as a gift. So, start by talking to your siblings, parents, grandparents, extended rich families, and bosom friends.

In addition, you can approach Venture Capitalists. Venture Capitalists invest in companies in exchange for equity. So, if you are willing to give away a portion of your business, this is a good bait.

Other means to raise funding for your business can be through angel investors, crowdfunding, your personal savings, strategic partners, or by selling an asset.

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Set Up An Office

In every business, location matters. Hence, you need to choose the right location to set up your office. If you can’t afford your own office space, you can work from a co-working space or work from home, but use a virtual office address for a professional appeal.

Advertisers are very creative people who love to create an inspiring workspace. They design their walls and are always having strategic sessions with teams and clients. So, having your own office space will give you the freedom to unleash your creative prowess. If you can afford it, by all means, get your own office in a very strategic location. You will stand a better chance of working with big clients and can close more deals.

Some of the equipment you need include; computer, printer, dedicated phone line, internet access, tables, chairs, markerboard e.t.c

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Create A Team

Creating a compelling ad takes a process that annexes the creativity of different unique minds who can effectively deliver. These individuals can be a full-time member of the team or part-time. Some processes can be outsourced as well. The key people you need are copywriters, art directors, designers, production artists, web designers, creative directors, etc.

In creating a team, you need to hire key people with the right attitude to the job. This is because, as the agency grows, the team output will have a lasting effect on the business especially the client’s perception.

At the early stage of the business, you have to be careful of your hiring decisions. Hire freelancers or people with multiple skills that can multitask. That way, you save on labour cost. Then as the business grows and generates more revenue you can increase your team strength.

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Sales And Marketing

Once you are fully set, getting clients is the next. This requires devising strategies that will create brand awareness and attract your target audience.

Firstly, create an online presence by building a search engine optimises well-designed website. Then, create social media pages and start to showcase your creativity. Also, include your email address and other contact information, so you can be easily contacted by prospective clients.

Also, create a list of all the target clients and devise a means to approach then and pitch your new business. Although some of them might already have an agency they work with, you can still convince them to make a switch with a better service offering.

In addition, list your business on online business directories, create fliers and business cards, and ask for referrals from family and friends. Also, network and market your business at every chance you get.

If you are a creative without marketing and sales skills, you can hire a business development expert with marketing and sales skills.

35 Business Ideas

Tips For Success In An Advertising Agency

A successful advertising agency starts with building a good relationship with clients. It involves having a shared sense of purpose such as perceived positive image, brand awareness, lead nurturing, and an increase in sales and services.

So, you must invest in figuring out what your client’s objectives are and ensure you tailor your work to helping them achieve the set aims and objectives.

Also, take full ownership and control of your own branding. You can’t possibly offer what you don’t have. You can’t say you can brand a company when you have not done it for your own company.

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A well-planned branding for your business will give you credibility and make your clients trust you. Create a brand that gives a positive perception of your business to potential clients. For instance, create a section on the website that displays the logos of the clients you have worked with.

In addition, ensure you deliver at the agreed time. Time management is an important part of service delivery and a major challenge experienced in the advertising industry. So, if you agree to do a job for a client, make sure you render the service within the allotted time.

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The advertising agency industry is a very competitive industry with big wigs. However, there is space for you if you can apply what you learnt here. Deliver results on time to your clients and watch your business soar.

As with every business we discuss here and life generally, it takes hard work, diligence, and determination to succeed in any business. Work hard, be consistent and success will surely come.

Did you find this article helpful? Do you own an advertising agency and is willing to share some success nuggets? Please use the comments and don’t forget to share this content with your audience.

Are you doing something extra-ordinary in your industry and you want the world to hear about it? Reach out to us today to tell your story.



5 thoughts on “How To Start An Advertising Agency In Nigeria”

  1. Saheed Akande

    I am Saheed. I find the article to be helpful and wonderful for someone like me who intends to set up real soon by Allah. I will not mind if you have any other useful tips to help furthermore. Thank you, so very much.

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