In the current age of the online revolution, It is quite an arduous task to start an online business.
The genesis of a digital marketing agency from scratch with no prior experience might be an overwhelming experience but it is not impossible.
There is a long path to follow if you want to go from nothing to established authority in the digital realm with clients and employees.
Although it is not easy, nothing is acting as an impediment to making you turn this into a reality and enter the realm of digital marketing.
Table of contents
Is Digital Marketing Worth it?
Before we go into the details, let us start by explaining why a digital marketing agency is quite a profitable business to start.
The number of businesses switching their operations online is increasing daily, and so is the competition in this area. With more competition, comes more demand for digital marketing services.
Business owners can operate a digital marketing agency from the ease of their homes with the help of remote teams. One of the key advantages of starting a marketing agency is that the owner does not need to have a physical appearance.
All the operations can be easily performed using email and other video conferencing tools. Owners can minimize costs by remote working and hiring remote teams for assistance.
No Need for Past Experience
Although people having prior experience in SEO and digital marketing have a competitive advantage, you can slowly build your skills in this domain by taking online courses and practicing on your websites before heading into the market.
Be your Boss
If someone is looking to escape the monotonous 9:00 to 5:00 routine, it is a great option to open a digital marketing agency.
Anyone can start this business by providing the services themselves and as they get more clients, they can hire more people to meet their demands.
It is a low-cost business to start. Initially, you do not need to make a big investment. Only an internet connection is needed, coupled with tool subscriptions and a website. Other infrastructure and human power can come as the business scales.
How to Start a Digital Marketing Agency
Below are the fundamental steps that are required to start your marketing agency:
1. Enhancement of Skills in Digital Marketing Skills and Confidence
The first step in this journey is to build the required skillset and self-confidence that is fundamental to running a marketing agency. This comprises of increasing skillset in the following areas:
- Technical Marketing Skills of Digital Marketing:
Anyone who wants to step into this business must build their skills in this domain. This means that you must know what digital marketing is, how it works, and how to run campaigns for increasing your client’s traffic and sales, using one or more digital marketing channels. Digital marketing comprises a lot of components that you can learn over time. It includes SEO, Google advertising, Facebook Marketing, Social Marketing, Content Marketing, Content Marketing, and Email marketing.
- Business Management Skills:
Since the ultimate goal is to start a business and not just freelance work, you will have to learn the basics of running a business. A degree in this domain is not necessarily required but gradually you need to upskill in Project Management, Time Management, Invoicing and billing, Contracts, and Human Resource Management.
- Self-Confidence Skills:
A risk-averse personality can not run a business. To take risks you need to have self-confidence and to gain self-confidence in the digital marketing industry, you need to have faith in your skills.
If you start this business without knowing exactly what steps to take to improve a website’s ranking or how to use advertising to get more customers for your clients, you’ll fail.
Don’t forget that there are thousands of digital marketing professionals and agencies in the market and clients will most probably get multiple proposals and do several interviews before making a hiring decision.
Confidence will help you stand out from the crowd.
2. Decide the Services you will Provide
The next step is to decide what kind of services will your agency provide to your clients. An established agency will provide the following services:
- Website development and designing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services
- Content Marketing Services
- Social Media Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Customer Conversion Optimization Techniques
As a new company, it will be difficult to offer all of these services, so it is better to choose the ones that match your skill set.
If you are an SEO expert, you can start by providing only SEO services and then add value to your offerings as more clients come your way. At this stage, it is essential to keep costs low and depend upon your skills. If you try to go all in on your services, there is a chance that you might get lost in the entire process.
3. Plan your Business Operations
In the next step, you must decide on how to operate your business.
You can select one of the three ways to do so:
- Operate as a virtual company and hire remote teams
- Work as traditional businesses do with an office and employee infrastructure
- A hybrid combination of both the above
All of the above options have their pros and cons but your decision has to depend upon the costs and the location of your potential clients.
4. Official Registration of the Business
If you have made it this far, then it’s time to make your business official. For this purpose you have to follow the following steps:
- Decide a name for your business
- Register your domain
- Make an attractive company logo
- Register your company with the government regulation of the operating country
- Get a toll-free contact number
- Hire accounts officials
- Find a lawyer to assist you with legal proceedings
- Create attractive business cards for users
It is okay to take your time in doing all of this.
5. Make a Presence on the Web
You need to put yourself out there by establishing an online business presence and creating a website for your company.
The website will act as a door between you and your clients. It needs to look professional and display all the information that companies generally require. Besides explaining who you are and what you do, make sure that you explain the benefits clients will gain by hiring you. Don’t make your website about you but them.
6. Display your Expertise
It is quite common that one of the most difficult aspects of running a marketing agency is finding new clients. However, it is equally difficult to convince prospective clients to hire you.
The best way to cope with this is by demonstrating your expertise and experience.
For example, do some work on a friend’s business website and ask them to send you a review or get a couple of digital marketing certifications from reputable companies.
Use the results achieved by working on your websites and showcase them as case studies on your business website.
7. Selecting the Right Toolset
To efficiently run a digital agency, you will need a lot of tools down the lane. Paying for licenses and subscription fees will be one of the greatest expenses on your ledger.
Tools will be needed to help you with optimizing campaigns, creating reports for clients, invoicing, etc.
8. Define Business Model and Rules
The next step in this journey is to define a business model i.e. to decide how you will be charging your services. The main categories in this domain are:
- Per hour method
- Per Project Payment
- Monthly Subscription Fee
The most profitable model is the ‘monthly fee’ and the least profitable is the ‘per hour.
For new agencies, the recommendation is to start with the ‘per hour’ or ‘per project’ model. It’s not the most profitable model but your goal at this stage is to get new clients and build your portfolio fast and the ‘per hour’ model allows you to adjust your hourly rate to be attractive to new clients.
9. Getting the First Client
Ab business with no clients is just an idea and not a business. This is one of the most fundamental aspects of starting a business.
The following ideas can work for you in the beginning:
- Make sure that when replying to a job request you answer ALL questions raised in the posting. Read the job description carefully and explain your plan of action.
- Reply fast. A job posting on those websites gets a lot of responses in a matter of hours and usually, the work is assigned to those that reply first.
- Be honest and make realistic promises
- Keep your prices low
10. Start a Digital Marketing Blog
While working on your first client, you should start your blog. A good blog with helpful content is one of the best lead generation tools for any company.
When clients find your company on Google search, you do not need marketing to sell yourself, they already know that you are capable to rank high on Google.
When creating content for your blog try to target keywords that are related to the type of services you are currently offering and that potential clients may search for.
To build your portfolio fast you will still have to provide services at a low cost but getting testimonials and positive reviews from customers will help you signup for more and bigger customers in the future and add them to your website as well.
A digital marketing agency is a great business to start. You can offer services from your home and be your boss.
While this seems fantastic, there are a few things to consider before you step into the industry.
The first thing is to know what you are doing. If you are new to this domain then you need to first add to your skillset before going forward. Start by practicing on your websites and gain experience.
Once you see results on your page, you will have the confidence to sell your skills. Once your revenue starts to go up, you can hire more people.
Eventually, aim towards building a blog with testimonies and client reviews.
Lastly, don’t forget the motto ‘the customer is always right. Give your clients the attention they deserve and turn them into repeat clients.
So what is stopping you from becoming a business owner today? Follow our guide and become your own boss.