How to Start a Digital Marketing Agency (That Makes Money)?
Starting a digital marketing agency might have been a huge feat to manage in the past, but over time and with the advancement of technology, it’s no longer an area that only a few venture into. With the right resources and tools, you can get a digital marketing agency on its feet in a matter of months.
Of course, just because it has become more common doesn’t mean it no longer requires dedication, commitment and hard work. It still demands a great deal of your time, but on the bright side, a skilled team can create an agency for you in no time.
As technology advances, digital marketing has become more important than ever before. More companies are allocating a large part of their budget to marketing online, which is why a digital media marketing agency has become essential.
Once you have decided that you want to learn how to start an agency, you’ll have to keep in mind that the process can be slow and will require endless work, so you can’t be ready to back out at the smallest of setbacks. Once you have established your agency, keeping it flourishing is a struggle in itself.
With digital marketing spending predicted to go up to $375 billion by 2021, there is no question about how important the industry is. As an agency, it’s almost a given that you’ll have a pretty decent flow of clients at all times. There’s also an endless amount of scope, because the industry is still relatively new and there are many aspects to it that you have yet to figure out and experience once you become an agency.
At SEO Resellers Canada, we can help you establish the digital marketing agency that you’ve been aspiring towards. All you need are proper, detailed steps regarding what to do and the willpower to keep working on those steps even when you aren’t getting the kind of results you were aiming for.
The thing about running a business is that there are several aspects of it that have been written about for years. You will find several other websites that also talk about the process behind starting your own agency—and all of them will provide valuable information. However, there are some aspects of starting a business that you only learn through experience. The points mentioned in this blog are some points that we have collected through years of observing and being a part of a business up close.
Once you’ve established yourself as a successful and flourishing agency, you have the ability to get thousands of leads for the clients that work with you. The revenue that they generate could be up in the millions, and what matters won’t be all the resources that you had when you first started off—but rather how smartly you worked with what you have.
Read on to learn more about digital marketing agencies, how to start a marketing agency and what you can do to sustain your own. Here’s what we’ll be talking about in this article:
What Is a Digital Marketing Agency?
Currently, a digital marketing agency is one of the most profitable businesses that you can dabble in. With the change in marketing strategies and the importance of the role the internet plays in our lives, the way businesses used to carry out their work has changed drastically. Just think about it—when the internet was just starting off and we had limitations in how long we could access it for, it had seemed more like a luxury that we could indulge it for brief periods in our day or week. There weren’t as many websites on Google, and we didn’t rely on them to constantly refer to and get them through our day.
Now, however, the average person uses their phone for more than 2 hours every day. At the far end of the scale, some people can use it has much as 10 or more hours—that’s more than half the time we stay awake. People whose lives have become this enmeshed with the internet are bound to see it a different way than people who once saw it as a luxury. We now turn to the internet to solve all our problems, and to distract us when we feel as though we have too many. It is a vital factor in our daily living; hence, the medium of successful marketing has primarily had to switch to digital marketing as well.
A digital marketing agency handles the online aspect of a business’s marketing. As an agency, you’re responsible for a business’s website, social media and web advertising. You have to manage these aspects in order to market the brand, increase the size of the audience, and boost ROI and sales, which lead to a higher conversion rate. You do this through various digital strategies that you can keep track on, use for a specific audience, and be able to engage with them at the same time.
What other factors play into digital marketing? If you’re familiar with search engine optimization (SEO), then you might have guessed that it plays a major part in digital marketing. This is because SEO is largely responsible for the number of leads you can generate for a business and influences the amount of traffic that is directed to a particular site. If you have up-to-date SEO strategies according to current search engine algorithms and are constantly upgrading your website, you can make a significant difference in where your website ranks.
For example, statistics say that more than 90% of web pages get little to no visitors at all. This means that regardless of their content, the accessibility of their website and the uniqueness of their product or service, 90% of websites don’t get seen. This is mainly because they don’t have the proper SEO strategies to increase their traffic and place them higher in search engine result ranking.
What elements are included in SEO and getting your website seen? Your website’s layout and user- friendliness play a role. The accessibility of the website from different devices, such as a PC, tablet and cellphone are important. Having the right keywords that bring searchers to your page is also extremely important. Keywords take research and constant modification, but if your content doesn’t have the appropriate keywords to match your product or service, people are less likely to come across your page.
As a digital marketing agency, you have to monitor the number of leads a website receives. Knowing whether or not your strategies are leading to a return on investment (ROI) and whether the ads that you’re placing are getting you more conversions will determine whether you should keep current strategies or not. Conversions are when visitors to your page progress to become buyers by going through the entire process of coming across your website, clicking on it and making a purchase. When you realize that a certain strategy is not working, you may have to reassess the audience you are targeting, the kind of content you are putting out or the loading speed of your website.
Working with a business as their digital marketing agency means managing the implementation and maintenance of all the digital marketing techniques that are used to build their brand. You’ll have to look at the kind of industry the brand is based in, the time and budget limitations they have and the goals they wish to achieve through working with a digital marketing agency. While your client may have goals of their own, the main goal of digital marketing is to optimize sales by attracting a larger audience through online platforms.
What do you need to start a digital marketing agency? Here are some necessary requirements.
Hone the Right Skills
You have to accept that if you’re just starting off in the digital marketing agency, you’re not going to have all the skills necessary to flourish. There are a number of factors that come into play, apart from just being creative and having innovative ideas. You need to learn how to take care of accounts and manage relationships with clients. It takes time to build the experience necessary to push your agency towards success.
It’s also important to remember that there are a number of competitors in the industry who are likely to have the same or similar skills as you. You have to be sure of what you’re going to be adding to the industry. Having a clear idea of the value your agency holds gives you a stronger grasp of your selling points. It gives your clients more clarity of what to be expecting from you and how your agency differs from the others.
Depending on how large your team is, the number of skills each team member should have is different. If your team comprises fewer members, each person needs to have a number of well-developed skills in order to get your agency your initial clients.
Some of the skills you’ll need to ensure your team has are:
- Knowing how to create landing pages. Landing pages are essential, and their content makes a huge difference in whether visitors remain on the website or not. Landing pages are partly responsible for generating conversions and defining the bounce rate. A poorly made landing page or one that doesn’t open can lead to a higher bounce rate, which will lower the website’s ranking.
- Being able to create captivating ads that are more than just “click here to learn more.” Viewers are less likely to click on an ad that doesn’t give away any information on what is to be expected if they click on it. Your ads should have just enough information to encourage clicks and conversions.
- Knowing how to use systems like Marketo, HubSpot and Salesforce.
- Knowing how to track your ads, pages, click-throughs, sales, etc. in order to assess ROI and conversion rates. The more skilled you are at understanding what works and what doesn’t, the easier it is to come up with strategies unique for the business you’re working for.
- Knowing how to create content for calls to action and understanding where they should be placed in order to get the maximum number of views from visitors. Knowing where to place ads is also essential in determining whether they’re successful or not.
- Understanding how content, video, email, and social media marketing function and what factors get them seen. It’s vital to know how different forms of marketing work for different groups of people, so that you know which ones to use in a particular situation. For example, if your client’s audience comprises mostly of older people over 60 years, you’ll know that an Instagram campaign will not be as effective as an email campaign.
- Understanding the ins and outs of SEO and pay-per-click. You will have to be well-versed in the rules of SEO to make sure that you don’t get your client’s website banned or blacklisted for going against the rules. An agency should know the up-to-date algorithm and search engine rules that ensure a website doesn’t get removed from Google or any search engine for a minor mistake.
Knowing Your Clients and Niche
It isn’t possible to be able to cater to all sorts of clients and be skilled at meeting the needs of every kind of industry. Your agency needs to know who their clients are and what you’re willing to offer them so you can establish a reputation for yourself within those boundaries.
If you know that your agency is most skilled at SEO or web design, then the smarter idea would be to go for businesses that need help enhancing their SEO and web design. Trying to venture into an area that you’re not sure of will disappoint your clients and create a lot of work pressure for your team, because they would have to acquire the new skills the job asks of them.
Having a niche that you work for doesn’t limit your possibilities for growth. It actually gives you more exposure because you have more chances of getting clients that really need your particular services. Chances are that clients who have a positive experience with your agency will give you encouraging reviews and increase the chances of other clients with similar needs coming to your agency for help.
You’ll also have to think about the kind of clients you want to offer your services to, not just in terms of what services you have to offer, but in terms of your relationship. Some agencies work with clients directly, while others work on a contract-basis with a company to achieve certain projects. While this won’t change the quality of your services, it helps you better understand how different kinds of clients will interact with you.
For example, if you’re a small team that decides against working directly with clients, you may want to work in partnership with a larger agency that needs the skills your team has. Knowing which group of clients you are trying to attract will help you market your agency’s expertise accordingly.
Understanding Your Goals
No agency or business can ever get off its feet unless it knows what direction to move towards. When you’ve figured out your clients and your niche, you’re still left with the task of figuring out what your agency’s goals are. Having your goals set out makes it easier for you and everyone in your team to find the motivation to work and show up every day.
Starting a business often starts with the SMART goals that businesses usually refer to. These are:
- Specific: You need to know exactly what you’re hoping to achieve with your agency. They need to be modified to fit with your agency with regards to your size, industry, clients and skillset. An example of a specific goal would be “make $40 000 in sales.”
- Measurable: You won’t know if you’re living up to your expectations and working towards your goals unless you have a way of measuring them to see how far you’ve come. The only way to measure your goals is to specify when you want them to be done by. For example, “get at least 10 new clients in the next two months.” This will help you identify whether your pace and performance are in alignment with where you see your business standing. If you’re not able to meet the measurable goal, you’ll know that certain aspects of your performance need to change.
- Aspirational: A key factor in feeling motivated to work towards goals is to set them around 20% higher than what your business is expected to achieve. It helps everyone work faster and more efficiently, and even if you don’t reach these aspired goals, you end up achieving more than you expected.
- Realistic: Despite having goals that are higher than what you expect, it’s also important to have goals that are realistic. Get an idea of what your business’s capacity for securing customers or making sales is and set a goal accordingly. This helps you determine whether your agency’s current performance meets your minimum requirements for success.
- Time-Bound: Lastly, it’s important to have time as a limiting factor for your goals as well. You can have short and long-term goals that you hope to achieve, for example, “in the long-run we want to become the top digital marketing agency catering to this niche” and “in the short-run we want to make a place for ourselves as beginners in our field.”
Set Up Your Own Web Page
When starting a business as a digital marketing agency, the last thing you want is to not be practicing what you preach. When clients visit your website to learn more about your services, they’ll want to see what kind of a website and web presence you have for your own agency. If your website is glitching, takes a long time to load and has broken links, you will have created a poor user experience for your potential customers.
If your website has no content, such as ideas for how to take your business online or blogs about why hiring a digital marketing agency can be helpful, a visitor will have no idea what your level of expertise is. Frequently updating your blogs and making sure you are putting up content on a regular basis is important if you want your website to come anywhere near the top search results.
Much the same way that you have the skills to develop another brand’s online image, you have to use those skills on your own business as well. Not having content that surfaces on the internet regularly will block you from getting the kind of views your content is capable of. Consider going through UberSuggest or Moz to get an idea of what kind of keywords are popular these days. When you know what the trending topics for discussion are, you can keep creating content that not only aligns with what is getting hits, but modifying it so that it fits with the kind of persona you want your business to get.
For example, if you know that learning how to start a digital marketing agency is trending, you can optimize that to talk about specific problems that newcomers to the new digital marketing agency might not be aware of. This ensures that if they search up anything related to the topic they’re interested in; they will see your page there somewhere.
In order to have a strong and chance of being seen on the first page of search results, your own SEO skills need to be at their best. You can even hire a web developer if you want to make sure that you aren’t missing any critical points in creating your own website.
Once your website has been published on the web, you need to figure out ways to promote your brand. You can’t rely only on people searching up a keyword or question and stumbling across your website. There are hundreds and thousands of websites with similar content and some may even be using paid ads to be seen first. Hence, your website won’t be able to thrive in an environment where you make no efforts to stand out.
You can make tutorials on YouTube and link them to your website. The more content you have, the more chances there are of your website being seen. You might even want to place ads on search engine results pages. Another strategy is to get your previous customers to post reviews on your services and talk about their experience. Getting testimonials and putting them up on your website is a good way to get future clients to feel connected with your business.
Make Sure Your Team Has What It Takes
Having people on your team who know what they’re doing and are talented in their field makes the rest of your business much easier to handle. Although it is true that everyone should be learning new ideas and skills and honing their old ones as often as they can, when someone starts off on a strong foundation, it’s easier for you to get your company off its feet. You don’t have to invest too much time teaching them new skills in order to make them capable of working with your agency, instead, they should have the intellect to pick up new skills quickly based on the previous skills they have.
It’s essential to remember that without your team, your agency would go nowhere. As difficult as it can be to sometimes coordinate as a team, what matters is if everyone on your team has a vital role to play and knows how to get their job done. If you know that the people on your team are reliable and self-sufficient, you won’t have to focus extra energy on them that you could be focusing on getting more clients or enhancing your website.
Because your agency will most likely be working with clients firsthand, it is possible to inadvertently offend a client based on your tone or your inability to be patient with their requests. When you have team members that do not know how to keep formal yet constructive communication with your clients, they may be doing more than good for your agency.
Essentially, your team should comprise people with the following skills, and also the ability to maintain a relationship with your clients that keeps them happy and feeling involved with the entire process—after all, they are paying a significant amount of money for the services you are offering.
Apart from the skills we already mentioned above, a strong team should also consist of the following skills:
- Being able to understand native ads so they know what’s appropriate for the environment that they’re working for
- A strong grasp over voice search and SEO strategies
- UX and accessibility skills
- Understanding how paid media capabilities work
- Ability to work with digital marketing analytics and digital project managing
- An understanding of artificial intelligence
- Being able to make videos flawlessly
It isn’t possible for your team to have everything that you need to get a job done right off the bat. What actually matters are if they have the ability to keep searching for new ways to do the same thing, and if they eventually come up with something that benefits your team, it will benefit them as a whole. As long as they’re not adamant about staying the same as when they first started working with you.
The factors listed here are not even half the important factors you need to start your own agency. They should help your business get on its own feet. However, at the end of the day, a business is constantly evolving and finding different ways of existing. Before, a business may have thrived off of spreading hate and negativity against people of a certain group, which got them more reputation among the groups that followed them. They would appeal to people’s emotions through manipulative ads and people would through and make the purchase.
However, now, people are very conscious about who they allow into their business transactions. They are a lot more curious but also suspicious of any new agencies or businesses. You cannot just send out vague messages, emails or even Facebook posts without clarifying what your business does and giving people to click on the call to action.
You also need to remember that no business starts to flourish and make its way towards success without facing any obstacles first. Through your experiences with your clients and the pressure you face while meeting the expectations of time and skills that they put on you, you will become more experienced in how to interact with them. You might also come to the conclusion that you’re working in the wrong niche, or that you would rather work with a company rather than directly with clients.
The more time you spend in the agency, the more you get to learn about changing trends in digital marketing. This makes you a more experienced authority in determining what kind of strategies would work best for your clients when they come to you for a consultation. Many clients may already know what they want, but for the ones that would like to be guided, your experience in the industry should be able to shortlist the most effective digital marketing strategies for them.
For more guidance on SEO and how to make your website stand out and be seen, you can also visit SEO Resellers Canada and have your website revamped in order to get more visitors and direct more traffic.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 15, 2020, and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.