Online, the possibilities are endless! You can conduct research, speak to people half a world away, and even start a digital business. All the while, you can stay stretched out in bed, comfy in your favorite pair of PJs.
To put it into perspective, 50.8% of the global population (or 4 billion people) have internet access. The internet makes it easier than ever for you to reach people and make an impact.
With marketing, you can help other companies grow online, too!
Want to know how to start a digital marketing agency? Here are the seven steps you need to succeed! Keep reading to start your online success story today.
1. Sharpen Your Skills
Before you jump into a time-consuming campaign or start networking, you need to prove you have what it takes. To discover how to start a digital marketing agency (and actually succeed), you need the right skills, first.
Digital marketing is becoming increasingly competitive. Today, anyone can head online to research the answers they need. To attract clients, you need to prove you have the know-how and experience they can depend on.
Think about the responsibilities you’ll have as a digital marketing agency.
Your clients will need:
- Graphic design services
- Search engine optimization
- Website development, design, and management
- Social media management
- Social media advertising
- Print advertising
That’s just the tip of the iceberg!
To really stand out from the competition, it’s important you sharpen these skills.
Start by reading blog posts, watching videos, and subscribing to podcasts by other successful agencies. They can show you how to start a digital marketing agency with the skillset you need.
You can also use Google’s learning center to get certain certifications.
Having these advertising certifications can help you stand out from the crowd. It will also show potential clients you’re credible. Otherwise, they might look for an agency that has the experience and expertise they need to succeed themselves.
2. Contractor, Then Founder
Instead of quitting your day job and jumping into founding a new business, start small. Begin by taking a few marketing jobs as a contractor.
This is a chance for you to build your skillset and connect with potentially long-term customers. In the meantime, you can also start saving money you’ll need for launching your agency.
Instead of taking on large projects you can’t handle, take smaller projects you can manage alone.
Working as a contractor first allows you to determine if this is really the line of work you want to pursue.
It also allows you to operate without too much risk. Working as a full-time employee and part-time contractor means you won’t have to stress out about money rolling in.
During this time, work on negotiating prices, building relationships, and networking, too. Once you officially launch your agency, you’ll already have these relationships. The clients you find early on can make it easier for you to build your business in the years to come.
3. Price it Right
As you determine how to start a digital marketing agency, your pricing is key.
Before you start writing down numbers, consider your value. How long does it take you to complete certain projects? How much time and energy are you spending on certain services?
During this step, it also helps to research your competitors.
How much are they quoting for specific services?
Make sure you don’t undervalue yourself. After all, you’re making a time commitment here. Don’t undercharge for your time or expertise.
4. Define Your Niche
No two digital marketing agencies are alike.
Defining your niche can help you determine how you stand out from the crowd. What competitive advantage do you have that sets you apart from other agencies?
Maybe it’s the way you work, the tools you offer, or your distinct expertise in another industry.
Maybe you specialize in certain services or offer a full range of digital marketing services instead.
Either way, it’s important you create your unique selling proposition and use it to attract clients. Knowing your niche will also allow you to sharpen a specific skill set instead of stretching yourself too thin. That way, you become an expert in a very specific area of marketing.
Otherwise, you might look like any other agency.
For a competitive industry, differentiation is essential for success. You can listen to this podcast to learn more about how to differentiate your digital marketing agency.
5. Plan It Out
Once you have these initial steps done, make a business plan. Determine:
- Your company’s name
- The services you’ll offer
- The industries you’ll serve
This is a good time to build your website, too. As a digital marketing agency, a website is an essential component for marketing your own business and services.
Show off your work! Create a digital portfolio so interested clients can see your talent. Then, determine which advertising platforms (such as Google advertising or social media advertising) you want to use to advertise your business.
63% of companies say their top marketing challenge is generating traffic and acquiring leads.
As a digital marketing agency, there are a few ways you can reach potential clients.
Start attending local networking events for business professionals. Make sure you take a few well-design business cards with you, too. You can also use cold calling.
Don’t forget to use your own services. For example, Facebook and Instagram advertising can help you build brand awareness. Meanwhile, retargeting is a great way to bring people back to your website.
The marketing methods you use can even show potential clients you know what you’re doing.
7. Hire Talent
As your client-base starts to grow, your company should, too.
Which services are you selling the most? Find people to help you create content, manage campaigns, and sell, too!
As you hire top talent, you can expand your services and build your business as a team.
How to Start a Digital Marketing Agency: Take These Steps to Success
Now that you know how to start a digital marketing agency, get to it! With time, you can build your client-base, create wow-worthy campaigns, and build your business.
Check out the Business section of the blog for more helpful tips!