How To Start A Digital Marketing Agency: The Complete Guide
When youâ€™re looking to start a new business, how hard is it really to create a digital marketing agency from scratch?
While there are some unique challenges inherent in this type of startup, the truth is that with the right knowledge and preparation, itâ€™s not impossible for an individual or a team to do so within a few months.
In this blog post we will go over how to start your own digital marketing agency.
Digital Marketing Agency :
A digital marketing agency is a company that creates and executes internet-based promotional campaigns for businesses or individuals.
If you've ever had your website linked to on Google's first page, seen an ad at the top of Facebook, used online marketing in general, received recommendations from Alexa/Siri/Google.
The distinction between how we market today and how we previously is mostly found in terms such as: Virtual Reality vs Augmented Reality; Artificial Intelligence vs Machine Learning; Big Data vs Historical Analysis, etc.
This is where digital marketing agencies come in to make sure that your business can take advantage of all these opportunities and more.
Why start a Digital Marketing agency :
There are many reasons why starting a digital marketing agency might be the right move for you. Some of these reasons include:
1) You have a certain set of core skills that you want to exploit:
If your background is in marketing, sales or business development and youâ€™re looking for an opportunity to put those talents to use, creating a digital marketing agency might be the perfect means by which you can do just that.
The same goes if you are skilled at SEO/SEM tactics or social media management. If it would benefit your career path significantly to start using these abilities on behalf of other businesses then starting up may be exactly what needs doing here.
2) You want to work independently:
If you are looking for more autonomy in how, when and where you conduct your business then starting a digital marketing agency might be an ideal opportunity.
Many people who start their own companies do so because they know that this is the only way in which they would have enough freedom to do what needs doing without having someone constantly breathing down their necks or micromanaging every step of the process.
Since most agencies operate over the internet and enjoy clients from all across various locations, itâ€™s easy to see how working remotely could become a very attractive option here for many individuals as well.
3) You want to help businesses grow:
If you are the type of person who wants to see small businesses succeed then starting a digital marketing agency is an excellent way of doing just that.
Small businesses often donâ€™t have the same level of resources as their larger counterparts and, as such, can find it difficult to compete in certain markets.
This is where your skills and experience can come into play by giving these businesses the tools they need to reach new heights.
When you work with a digital marketing agency, not only do you get all the benefits mentioned above but also working with an ethical business that has its clients best interests at heart.
How to start a Digital Marketing Agency:
1) Develop the Skills You'll Need:
The first thing you need to do before starting up your own digital marketing agency is make sure that you have the skills necessary for making it work.
Many companies, especially those looking to specialize in SEO/SEM or social media management, will actively seek out individuals with these capabilities and little else if possible.
If this sounds like how your business would function then thereâ€™s nothing left but to hone these abilities as much as possible so that they can be put into action when called upon by clients who need them most.
Once you know how many people are going to be involved at various stages of the process and what each individual's role within the team will entail, develop a plan on how best to proceed from here based on your strengths and the team's overall objectives.
If you have an idea of how to start things off, a business plan will come in handy at this stage as it can provide some basic guidelines on what is expected from each individual when starting up shop.
Now that we know how crucial it is for any would-be digital marketing agency owner to possess certain skills, letâ€™s look into some of the best ways to acquire them:
- Online Courses:
There are plenty of reputable online courses out there which offer excellent training in all aspects of digital marketing.
These courses usually last anywhere from a few weeks to several months, but the benefits they offer more than make up for the time commitment involved here.
Not only will you learn all the necessary skills required to start and run a digital marketing agency, but many of these courses also come with certification that can be put on your resume which will show any potential clients that you are serious about this business venture.
If online courses donâ€™t quite fit into your schedule or budget then seminars or webinars may be more up your alley.
These events usually last for a day (or half-day) and provide an overview of various aspects related to digital marketing.
2) Have a Business Plan:
Even if youâ€™re not the most business-savvy person out there, itâ€™s still important to have some kind of plan in place before starting up your agency.
This document doesnâ€™t need to be anything too complex but should at least outline how many people will be working for you, what services youâ€™ll offer, how you plan on acquiring new clients and how you see things progressing over the next few years.
By having a business plan in place, it becomes much easier to track your progress (or lack thereof) as well as making necessary changes down the line when required.
Many digital marketing agencies are started by individuals who have either worked in or currently work in the industry.
If this is the case for you, then a great way to get started is by writing down everything you know about digital marketing and how it can be applied to businesses of all sizes.
From there, start thinking about ways to improve on whatâ€™s currently being done or brainstorm new services that could be offered which may not currently exist in your local market.
Once you have an idea as to how you want things structured and operated, move on to creating a more concrete business plan which will flesh out these ideas in further detail.
3) Find Partners:
If youâ€™re planning on starting your agency by yourself, how does this sound?
You wake up one morning and decide that itâ€™s time to start a digital marketing agency.
You hang up some shingles, set yourself up online with an official-looking website and wait for the clients to come rolling in.
This is hardly how things work though as there are plenty of other factors involved which can make or break your business right from the get-go.
If you plan on taking any kind of client outside of friends/family then working alone isn't going to cut it at all .
It's always best to have someone else around who can help cover different aspects related campaigns instead. This also helps to take some of the workload off your shoulders.
One great way to find potential business partners is by attending various marketing or small business events in your local area.
4) The Right Amount of Capital:
Before starting a digital marketing agency, how much do you plan on charging your clients?
Do you have an estimate as to how many hours each month are needed for client work so that you can calculate how much money will be coming in per year?
If the answer is "no" then now is definitely the time to start figuring this out.
Before they begin operations, marketing agencies require some sort of funding. This all comes down to two things: having enough savings set aside or obtaining investors who can provide the cash required.
This may seem obvious, but it's worth noting since not everyone has tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars set aside that may be used in a new business venture.
Assuming that you do have the necessary funds, how should they be allocated?
This is another question which will depend on your specific situation but in general, there are three main areas where money is needed: hiring employees, purchasing marketing software/tools and covering day-to-day business expenses.
5) Hiring Employees:
Although not necessarily required, the majority of marketers considering starting an agency will end up hiring at least one employee in order to get things off the ground.
This is obviously going to be how you spend a good chunk of your initial funds and since this personâ€™s livelihood depends on how well they perform, it's worth putting some thought into who you hire.
The last thing anyone wants is for someone with no prior experience or education working under them so when making any new hires, make sure that their qualifications are more than satisfactory before bringing them onboard.
6) Â Working with Clients:
No matter how good your initial marketing plan may be, youâ€™re going to need at least a few clients in order for things to get off the ground.
This is where being able to effectively market yourself and do so within a certain time-frame comes into play as it's not always easy finding new business when starting from scratch.
There are plenty of ways that agencies can reach out to potential customers including cold calling/emailing, networking events or by putting together an email campaign which lists all their services while also providing further contact details.
7) The Marketing Plan:
Now that you have a team, how much money and how many clients do you think will be coming in per week/month?
Based on these numbers, how long before the initial funds run out considering your monthly expenses?
All of this needs to take into account how well everything is going so if things start looking like theyâ€™re not working then it's time to make some adjustments such as cutting back or hiring someone else.
Being able to adapt quickly when needed goes a long way towards success.
Starting a digital marketing agency can be a very lucrative business venture but it's not something that should be taken lightly.
By following the tips listed in this blog post, you'll have a much better chance of success when starting your own agency. Good luck!