Starting a digital marketing agency or service can be one of the most rewarding businesses you’ll ever launch.
It can provide you with the flexibility you need to enjoy life while still being able to generate a full-time income online.
You can also create a digital service agency as a side hustle that generates income in your spare time while outsourcing the workload to qualified professionals.
The possibilities are truly unlimited.
In this article, we’ll take a close look at how to start a digital marketing agency, what tools and resources will help you gain traction in your market, and how to define your target audience so you can build an online presence and land your first client quickly.
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Starting A Digital Marketing Agency
There has never been a better time to start up a business in the digital marketing field. In fact, digital marketing agencies have been on the rise for the last few years and continue to grow in popularity.
The question is: how do you get started, especially if you have no prior experience?
The key is to aim for a targeted audience rather than setting your sights on a larger market, especially when just starting out.
If you narrow your focus on a specific niche, you’ll be able to better understand what that audience needs and then create your services around that ever-growing demand.
Then, you can always expand your services and outreach later as your business grows.
To start, you simply need to have a plan that aligns with an existing demand in a specific market, and then target that audience with your offers.
There’s a common misconception that starting a digital marketing agency involves building a massive company with high start-up costs, and taking in all sorts of clients—in other words, you have to cast a wide net in order to be a success. This just isn’t true. Really, a digital agency can just be you; a team of one!
It’s not about having a costly website or even the number of employees you have. It’s about figuring out who you can help, what services will provide the best ROI, and then building a simple system that delivers results.
The Agency Profit Accelerator Course, created by PromoteLabs, is one of the most comprehensive training programs on the market when it comes to helping you build a profitable business.
With your very own digital marketing agency, you’ll be able to build a client list that consists of business owners in need of someone to help them generate leads and then convert those leads into customers.
In turn, they’ll pay you top-dollar!
The demand is growing rapidly which makes launching a digital marketing agency easier than ever. It’s also a rewarding and challenging business that offers new and exciting opportunities every day.
Next, we’ll look at some of the top tips and strategies involved in creating a successful digital marketing agency from the ground floor up.
Digital Marketing Agency Insider Tips & Strategies
When it comes to creating your digital marketing agency, the first step is to define your business goals.
This involves careful planning.
What do you want your business to look like?
What’s your overall vision and your end goal?
Starting your digital marketing agency without having a clear direction is like setting out on a road trip with no maps or navigation software.
You’re going to end up taking many wrong turns, getting lost, and maybe never arriving at your destination at all.
If you’ve ever studied the digital marketing industry, you know that agencies that have conflicting, or unclear goals often run into trouble. Businesses that stick to their vision, however, usually do extremely well. Because this is an incredibly lucrative market to be a part of—you just need to have a clear business plan, define your objectives and see it through.
There is no one way to do things though; just choose one specific goal to start with, and stick to it until you’ve gained traction and accomplished what you set out to do. Then, you can consider expanding your services and changing your primary goal.
Again, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to starting your digital agency.
Some agencies are large and some are small; some focus on just one part of digital marketing (like search engine optimization), while others are designed to be full-service agency that does everything from web design, programming and development to content marketing.
A common buzzword in the agency world is becoming the “landscaper” vs. the “gardener.” You may have heard of these terms if you’ve been researching the industry, but let me quickly explain in case you haven’t.
A “landscaper” agency is one that focuses on solving specific business problems. They generally stick to a set list of services and then expand their offerings to include additional services only when absolutely needed.
In other words, they provide a fast solution to business problems while offering set rates and packages. They also typically focus on services rather than outcomes.
They offer quick, instant and clear solutions to problems and rarely go above and beyond those single, short-term tasks or goals.
A “gardener” agency, on the other hand, is one that focuses on creating a long-term, personal relationship with their clients that involves a deeper understanding of their clients’ businesses and overall needs.
They also offer a wider variety of services, and usually they are specifically tailored to what those clients’ need to grow their businesses over time.
These agencies are usually ultra-focused on providing a specific outcome for clients. In other words, their client sets a goal and the digital marketing agency works towards achieving that primary objective. They are a results-based agency.
It’s up to you to carefully evaluate the market, your own skillset and your overall objective and then choose which path to take.
You can start by asking yourself the following general questions:
What skills do you possess that could help online businesses?
What are you passionate about and what part of your market are you most interested in helping?
Think of the following:
Do you want to start off small with a pre-determined service list or do you want to be flexible while providing additional service packages and options to clients as they need them?
Do you want to serve local clients or go outside of your local area so you can broaden your outreach?
Will a typical client need to remain within a certain budget? Would that budget be quite restrictive?
In other words, are you targeting start-up companies, Mom & Pop shops, or would you gear your services towards more established and funded companies?
Do you plan to complete these tasks yourself or are you going to outsource it all to a team of freelancers?
Are there services you don’t want to offer or niches you don’t want to serve?
What you are ultimately looking for is to create a digital marketing agency around a section of a larger market where demand is ongoing, but at the same time, you don’t want to offer so many services that you struggle to manage clients or fail to help them accomplish their goals.
There are also a few things you should avoid doing to ensure your digital marketing agency is successful.
Some of these things include:
Stay away from trying to offer something for everyone.
You know what’s said about a “jack of all trades”—he is “master of none.” This is especially true in the digital marketing agency market because your brand involves becoming known as the “go-to” person for a specific skill or set of skills.
If you want to build a client base quickly, the easiest way to do that is by choosing to position yourself as the expert in one specific field.
This will become part of your brand, but more importantly, it will make it easier for you to find and land clients because you’re gearing your campaigns towards a specific segment of your market.
Again, when starting out, choose one angle and see it through until you have enough of a client base (and experience managing your agency) to expand your service list and outreach.
Of course, when it comes to figuring out what services you plan to offer, your overall experience is a main factor. You need to be sure you have the necessary skills to fulfill the services you plan to offer.
If you lack the necessary skills, you can always outsource to seasoned professionals from freelance platforms like Upwork.com, however it’s important that you at least have a general understanding of the services you plan to offer.
That way, you can ensure the job is done correctly and that your clients are receiving the best outcome possible.
Whether you plan to do the work yourself or outsource it, you must be able to drive results.
If you start your career managing clients for a larger agency, or you decide to partner up and create a team, the best first-step is to aim your sights on solidifying a contract with just a handful of clients. This will help you test the waters, get a better idea of all the processes involved in working with clients, and will help you gain a better understanding of how to communicate and deliver results.
It’s often easier to begin by positioning yourself as a contractor before you become a founder. That will allow you to mitigate the risks involved and provide you with hands-on experience that will allow you to eventually go out on your own.
From invoicing, communicating regularly, to setting aside money for taxes and business expenses, you’ll learn the small (but very important) elements of running your own business before you launch a full-service company.
You’ll also learn important time-management strategies that will help you keep up with tasks and fulfill your obligations on time.
And finally, working with a company or as part of a team will give you the opportunity to gain a better perspective on the inner-workings of a digital marketing agency while also putting you in a position of potentially gaining referrals down the line when you’re ready to go out on your own.
If you need guidance and want a clear path towards creating a successful digital marketing agency, the Agency Profit Accelerator course will guide you every step of the way.
They’ll show you exactly how to set up your digital marketing agency so you’re playing to your strengths instead of floundering around wondering what to do next.