How to Start a Digital Marketing Agency - Freework


15 min read


How to Start a Digital Marketing Agency

15 min read


Have you spent years working as a digital marketer and you’re tired of adhering to the requirements and demands of a boss? Do you want to be your own boss and build a digital marketing agency? If so, then this guide will help you learn how to start a digital marketing agency. This guide will outline the steps you need to take, such as picking a niche, producing an online presence, obtaining key leads, outsourcing certain tasks to freelancers, and creating long-term relationships with clients. Now, let’s get started and read all about the essential steps.

Table of contents

  • How to Develop the Right Digital Marketing Skills

  • Should You Serve a Broad or Niche Audience?

  • Building an Online Presence

  • What Type of Business Model to Follow

  • How to Get the Best Clients and Leads

  • How to Build Your Team

  • Reach Out to Prospects Continually

  • Focus on Delivering the Expected Result and Avoid Over-Promising

  • Outsource Simple Manual Tasks to Freelancers

  • Provide Multiple Marketing Services and Skills

  • Develop Long-Term Relationships with Clients

  • Use Weekly Electronic Payments Instead of Written Checks

  • Use Best Practices to Scale Your Digital Marketing Agency

  • Final Word

How to Develop the Right Digital Marketing Skills

When learning how to start a digital marketing agency, the very first thing to accomplish is to develop essential digital marketing skills among your skillset and those of your partners, employees, and contractors.

You will need to gain knowledge about pay-per-click or PPC marketing, SEO or search engine optimization, and content marketing, among many other key marketing skills.

You can take online courses established through various impressive organizations and institutions. In addition, you need to learn all about project management and business management. To do so, you’ll also need to implement key project management tools as well as take necessary courses online or via night classes.

When hiring your staff, make sure they have the right digital marketing knowledge and skills.

Should You Serve a Broad or Niche Audience?

When building a digital agency, you will need to decide whether to provide marketing services to a broad or niche audience. Since this is a very competitive market, you will benefit from picking a more specific niche that fewer marketing agencies are serving.

Make sure to personalize this niche to the start-up you’re running and target the type of client you’re most interested in. For example, do you have a background in medical technology and marketing for this industry? If so, hire others with this knowledge and target customers in the healthcare sector.

You’ll find that customers are more likely to pay a higher price if you have the expertise and a greater understanding of their industry. Most importantly, make sure to master your niche.

Master the Niche You’ve Chosen

When starting a new business and serving a target market, you will generally need to begin a marketing campaign without focusing too much on the particular niche. Over time, you’ll learn more ways to better target the niche based on client feedback and continual research.

Nonetheless, as the digital marketing agency owner, you will greatly benefit from mastering at least one niche and hiring others with expertise in the relevant industry. If you know the vocabulary of the particular sector and show your passion for the niche, you’ll attract many more clients to choose your digital marketing services.

You will also better understand the challenges of that particular industry and provide useful solutions.

Building an Online Presence

One of the first steps you’ll need to accomplish when starting a digital marketing agency is building an online presence, including advertising through social media, adding more content to your website, and boosting SEO for your company.

Really, the first step for building a presence online involves creating your website. Use best SEO practices to ensure you get more views and clicks on your site. You can check how well your site is performing by entering certain keywords into Google, Bing, or Yahoo search engines.

You can leverage the same strategies you would use for your clients including PPC, SEO, social media, email marketing, and online marketing to further promote your digital marketing business. For example, you can advertise your company on a LinkedIn business page.

What Type of Business Model to Follow

You will find that most digital marketing agencies follow the same or a similar business model. Essentially, pricing models are very similar among agencies that offer digital marketing services, as they may get paid based on project or by the hour.

The general business model, however, mostly focuses on the type of services you plan to offer. The different types of digital marketing and SEO services you can offer include:

  • Google advertisements

  • Facebook advertisements

  • Template marketing

  • Full-service marketing services

  • Content marketing and landing page design

  • Affiliate marketing

Further, you’ll need to consider whether to provide customized services based on client needs or to provide the same template-based services and packages to all your customers. The answer to this depends on how much time and resources you have at your start-up.

How to Get the Best Clients and Leads

The very first step in the undertaking of finding clients should be lead generation. Lead generation consists of collecting contact data from your website visitors. Then, sales professionals can follow up with visitors through email marketing strategies to potentially change the website visitor into a customer.

You can also find new clients through networking. In fact, networking is the most important way to get established as a business in the early stages of your start-up. As such, make sure to attend plenty of conferences and other business events to network with those looking for digital marketing services.

Once your business is more established, you can generate leads and begin getting more clients through referrals. Ensure that your current clients are satisfied with your services and ask them to let others know about your digital marketing expertise.

How to Build Your Team

When building your team, you will need to hire staff with expertise in content writing. This goes beyond standard writing skills. Make sure your marketing specialists know how to write an excellent narrative and strong landing pages. Your marketing team also needs those experienced in graphic design, customer service, lead generation, and SEO analysis.

Furthermore, your team needs expertise in project management, web design, and social media marketing. During the hiring process, ensure that the job descriptions you post attract recruits with these digital marketing skills.

When interviewing for candidates, find out about their backgrounds and ensure you only hire those with plenty of digital marketing experience. Those with innovative ideas for your marketing agency should help put your start-up on the map.

Reach Out to Prospects Continually

You’ll find reaching out to leads or prospects regularly an important step regardless of how well-established your digital marketing company has become. Continually seeking clients will help grow your business. In the world of digital marketing, you can never have too many clients. If the work is piling up, you’ll need to hire more staff instead of declining the projects.

Yet, it’s fine to be selective if you feel a certain client is not someone you wish to work with. During the early stages when you have fewer clients, make sure you don’t sound desperate when reaching out to potential leads. Confidence is key.

The more leads you generate and target, the more sales you’ll make and the greater your revenue will grow. Essentially, you will gain greater success and grow your business if you continually reach out to prospects.

Focus on Delivering the Expected Result and Avoid Over-Promising

When delivering marketing campaigns and selling your services, avoid over-promising outcomes to your clients. You can get customers interested without going overboard so that a potential failure does not lead clients to leave.

Don’t set up high expectations for your clients when discussing your marketing strategy. Give them realistic goals that you plan to reach within a reasonable timeframe.

For instance, if a client wants to boost their SEO rank for certain keywords on their company website, provide a reachable goal of their desired SEO rank within a five-month timeframe instead of two months.

If you know you can get the desired result faster, then you’ll only impress your client by meeting their expectations faster than originally promised.

Outsource Simple Manual Tasks to Freelancers

A good strategy includes outsourcing to freelancers. Entrepreneurs in the digital marketing space would benefit from outsourcing simple tasks, such as manual data entry or invoicing and payroll processes.

With the vast majority of business processes for digital marketing agencies conducted online, you can find freelancers and part-time assistants online as well. Working with virtual assistants can help save you time and money.

Instead of having your full-time staff manage minor and easy tasks, you can set aside those endeavors for virtual assistants. This ensures your main staff handles more complex processes at work.

You can even outsource your digital marketing analytics and other processes to other small businesses. This can streamline project management and other work tasks at your agency.

Provide Multiple Marketing Services and Skills

Since the digital marketing world requires many different skills, it only makes sense to offer multiple digital marketing services to your customer base. You should also consider providing customized digital marketing assistance to clients in a particular niche.

Focus on the most important digital marketing skills and offer those to your clients. For instance, SEO services, lead generation, and content marketing tend to be the most effective solutions. Social media advertising is also an important concept to include. This can help grow your digital marketing agency.

Furthermore, as you grow over time, you can diversify your services. Continually trying new marketing channels for your clients will likely keep them around longer.

Develop Long-Term Relationships with Clients

When attempting to create long-term relationships with your customers, you’ll need to ensure to deliver the best possible results to keep clients satisfied. Make sure your marketing campaigns help grow your clients’ businesses, reach their goals, and include excellent content to ensure your consumers stand out in their market.

You may need to develop strategies to keep clients around long-term. However, some clients may change their minds and stop seeking your assistance to advertise for them. Little can be done in such cases. However, you can keep certain high-quality backlinks, lead generation lists, and more that your clients cannot afford to lose.

Use Weekly Electronic Payments Instead of Written Checks

A digital marketing agency should not request written checks from its clients. Electronic payments are the most common way to pay for services today. As such, you don’t want to use old-fashioned payment processes.

More importantly, if you expect clients to send a written check once per month for a higher amount, then they may rethink the price for the digital marketing services you offer. However, smaller weekly electronic payments will keep your clients around longer. Monthly written checks tend to stand out and appear more expensive.

You’ll find that weekly electronic payments will benefit your digital marketing agency. These are especially useful due to auto-pay options, which are extremely straightforward to implement.

Use Best Practices to Scale Your Digital Marketing Agency

You can incorporate certain best practices to scale and grow your digital marketing agency. For example, when increasing your staffing numbers, fine-tune your hiring process with the right human resource professionals, virtual interviews, and multi-panel reviews.

An effective onboarding experience and essential training will also ensure a more successful team. Treating your employees well should also help scale your business, as employee engagement and satisfaction will lead to content clients.

Bring more value to your services and add more features such as through website development services, email marketing campaigns, and more. When you do add more features, you should increase the prices of your packages or services. This will further help scale your business.

Final Word

To recap, you can start a successful digital marketing agency by pursuing the steps outlined above. Master your niche, create an online presence for your agency, generate leads, build an effective team, offer multiple digital marketing services, and outsource manual tasks to freelancers.

You will also need to develop long-term relationships with your clients by producing effective marketing campaigns and helping them meet their goals. By following the steps in this guide, you will establish your company in the digital marketing world and even scale the business over time.

Before you know it, your agency will gain significant revenue and your success will put your business on the map.

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