“An intangible impulse of thought can be transmuted into its physical counterpart.” – Nepolean Hill.
You might have read many blogs or books before landing on this article, but you’re still searching for a ‘simple reason’ to start your digital marketing agency. Guess what? You’re in the right place. This article will guide you on how to launch your digital marketing agency with ease. There are just a few basic principles that you must understand and adhere to, and this patience and persistence will lead you to the road to your hassle-free entrepreneurial journey.
How to Start a Digital Marketing Agency in 2020
Starting your digital marketing agency can be a daunting task for individuals who have just taken the first steps into their entrepreneurial journey, however, it is no rocket science. It is a journey that requires you to have the right resources in the right place at the right time. If you can pull off the execution of this journey appropriately, you can conveniently build an agency that generates a healthy stream of revenue.
You must understand that it all begins with having a little faith in yourself. With a realistic business vision, along with the right planning and resources, your new digital agency business can thrive and succeed beyond expectations. This article will provide you a thorough understanding of how to start a digital marketing agency with actionable advice from industry experts. Let’s take a look!
#1 Create Connections and Gather Experience
According to Tim Ferriss, “Your network is your net-worth”. I love this statement, simply because this universal truth will never fade away or lose its value.
Moreover, in his book “Never Eat Alone”, Keith Ferrazzi mentions the need to build valuable relationships before you even need them. Therefore, to start a digital marketing agency, you must reach out to relevant people and build relationships before you can provide them value with your services.
You can build relationships by answering queries on forums like Quora or Reddit. Be ready to help someone you see being penalized on social media. These conversations will help you build quality leads for your business.
Take your time to think about all the industries you wish to work with. Spend some time to find out where your target audience remains active, and reach out to people you’d like to work with. Don’t try to sell your services right away, just look for means to offer value or connect with potential leads. Once you’re connected with a sizeable number of people, start taking small side jobs for them and build your credibility along the way.
Building relationships today in a digital space is valuable. It can bring you potential referrals down the road. Being a facilitator instead of a digital marketing agency initially ensures few expenses as you’re working in your comfort zone. This helps in transition towards becoming a one-man agency is much easier than starting a business directly from scratch.
If you can manage to run a profitable side hustle through mutual connections or by simply networking yourself, it will allow you to get the necessary experience required to build and maintain agency-level client relationships. At the end of the day, all your business needs is a happy customer.
#2 Setting up a Digital Marketing Agency
Once you’ve built quality connections as a facilitator , it’s time for you to set up your digital marketing agency and further grow yourself as a business. Take heed from Moonshots by Google executives. The team helps individuals and businesses setting up aspirational business goals and achieve them to take the company to new heights of success. .
#1 Smart Goals
One of the most fundamental requirements of starting any business – a digital agency in no exception – is that you must set up SMART business goals. Your business goals must be Specific, Measurable, Aspirational, Realistic and Time-bound. Here’s what you should know about setting up SMART business goals:
- Specific: Your goals must be crystal clear. Instead of setting up vague business goals like “Become the best digital marketing agency”, focus on being specific by coming up with a business goal like “Generate $50,000 in sales”
- Measurable: Your business goals must be measurable. For example, “Generate $50,000 in sales during the first business quarter.”
- Aspirational: Add 20-25% more in terms of your targets to what you think your business can accomplish, and you’ll achieve your business goals much faster.
- Realistic: Know your potential and what’s within your reach. Generating a million dollars in sales probably isn’t possible during your first business year. However, over the next five years, why not?
- Time-Bound: Focus on a specific time frame to achieve your business goals. This can be short, medium or long term, depending on your business goal.
Setting up SMART business goals will assist you in the long term. l. It works at all business levels and can help you scale your newly established business in the right direction.
#2 Digital Marketing Agency Services
A full-scale digital marketing agency acts as a one-stop-shop for its clients offering various online marketing and advertising services. Moreover, many digital marketing agencies also deliver integrated strategies that incorporate different services. In most cases, a full-scale digital marketing agency offers the following services:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Pay Per Click (PPC)
- Email marketing
- Content marketing
- Social media marketing and advertising
- Video marketing
- Web design
Depending on the agency’s expertise, experience, and resources, it may provide any to all services that usually demand a niche-specific work. Regardless, the cost of a full-service digital marketing agency varies substantially and depends on different factors such as:
- The required number of services
- The expertise of the agency
- The service deliverables of the agency
- The turnaround time of any particular service
- The size of the client
- The complexity of the desired strategy
For example, if your client wants SEO and PPC services only, you’ll probably charge lower service fees as compared to the business that is using your SEO, content marketing, PPC, and social media advertising services. The service charges of any digital marketing agency must vary from client-to-client. In simpler terms, you must quote your prices as per the time and effort you have to put in for any particular service.
#3 Business Model
By now you must know what business model will prove to be beneficial for your digital marketing agency. The services you provide and how you charge your clients is a critical part of efficiently managing a digital agency business. You can generate invoices for your customers and clients using the following criteria:
Many agencies prefer billing their clients on an hourly basis. They run one-on-one sessions with their clients over the phone as well as in person, which makes the hourly billing model an ideal solution.
Nonetheless, fluctuations in working hours for different clients are common. The volume and urgency of tasks varies from client to client. Some tasks may take longer than usual. Therefore, it becomes difficult to explain to clients that you had spent “x” number of hours on “y” number of tasks in a week so that’s how you’re going to bill them. Unless you’re providing one-on-one sessions as a part of your services, I would recommend you to stay away from the hourly billing model.
#2 Flat Retainer
The flat retainer is by far one of the simplest pricing models. You assess how much work and time any particular client demands and you both agree on a flat monthly fee. The client knows precisely how much your services will cost the business. If you’ve fulfilled their expectations, they’ll have no problem paying for your services.
The downside to this pricing model becomes visible when you have a client who scales explosively over time. Your work will continue to increase and your monthly service charges will remain constant as per the agreement. Therefore, it’s a wise practice to set up a quarterly or semi-annual contract that guarantees renegotiation once the contractual period is over.
Many digital marketing agencies use the commission-based billing model as an attempt to gain a competitive advantage. Essentially, with this pricing model, you only get paid when the client makes money from a sale.
This may sound enticing initially, because you wish to build the trust factor with your client. You do everything in your power to help them become successful. However, many business owners who have not-so-good experience working with digital marketing agencies, often bring up the fact that they were paying loads of money only to have little to no Return on Investment (RoI).
The major downside to this billing model is the fact that your service charges heavily rely on your client’s product being sold. Therefore, in my opinion, ecommerce or clients – who sell products directly like a retail outlet – is an ideal persona for this billing model. It will allow you to assess the number of sales you’ve driven and charge the client accordingly. Do remember, , if your client has a significant margin of profit, this pricing model makes sense. Otherwise, , you will not fare well enough to continue working with this pricing model.
#3 Set Web Presence: Setup your website and social media pages
When it comes to amplifying the online presence of a digital marketing agency, it demands an on-point business strategy and dedication especially in terms of time.
Developing a professional business website is the most important part of creating an online presence. Focus on using the same name for your business and domain. You may face trouble finding available domain names, therefore, shortlist a few business names beforehand.
Your business website must showcase clear information about the digital services you offer. Apart from that, it must have an “About Us” page as well as a “Contact Us” page for the convenience of your visitors. Moreover, avoid using large media files as they will not only slow down your website but will also affect your customers’ experience.
You can always build your website if you have the technical skills, however, hiring a professional web developer is a preferred choice by many. You should not take any risk when it comes to creating your business website. Therefore, outsourcing from a professional will allow you to build a responsive website within a limited budget.
Once your website is up and running, focus on establishing your online presence on social media platforms. For example, you can leverage Linkedin to identify potential prospects who are looking for digital marketers and offer your services to them.
An operational Facebook business page will allow your brand to enjoy more visibility. Similarly, you must also showcase your brand portfolio on Instagram as it is one of the best social media platforms to showcase an arsenal of visuals.
Alternatively, you can also visit freelancing websites such as Fiverr or Upwork to grab additional opportunities for your newly established digital marketing agency.
#4 Hire the right team
According to Neil Patel, “If you want to build an all-star digital marketing team, then you search out the most talented individuals, convince them that you’re exactly where they should be, and bring them on board. After that, it’s just a matter of keeping them happy.”
Building the right team is as important as building a strong clientele. If you do not have the right people in the right place, your business will suffer big time. . If your team is unable to fulfill the expectations of your clients, they won’t think twice before joining hands with the competitors.
Your digital marketing team must possess these top 10 digital marketing skills if you wish to scale your agency beyond expectations and conquer 2020:
- Digital Marketing Analytics
- Digital Project Management
- Video Fluency
- Understanding Artificial Intelligence (Ai)
- Strong Skills in UX and Accessibility
- Social Media Marketing
- Ability to Develop Content Strategies
- Strong Paid Media Capabilities
- Understanding of Voice Search & SEO
- Native Ads Understanding
Always remember, no matter how skilled your team members are, , they don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done. . Therefore, you must focus on building a small but effective team that can help you accomplish your business goals by delivering quality projects every time.
Execute and Hit Hard!
Starting a digital marketing agency with little to no experience doesn’t have to be bothering process for interested and keen individuals. Managing a digital marketing agency has its ups and downs, however, establishing your business is a dramatic life event and you must treat it as such.
Begin your journey as an individual facilitator. . Adapt the required skills and build strong customer relationships before you board the agency bandwagon. To successfully run a digital marketing agency, you must understand that thorough and concrete planning is essential.
You must also remember the long-term vision of your business at all times. You must clearly know what you want out of your digital marketing agency. Identify potential clients and reach out to them to offer help.