How to Start a Digital Marketing Agency: 5 Key Steps
Digital marketing is overtaking traditional marketing efforts in the internet age. The global interconnectivity that has created so much opportunity for startups has been causing a paradigm shift in how businesses reach their customers.
If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, getting into digital marketing could be the business opportunity of your dreams. Here are the five key steps of starting a digital marketing agency.
Obtain the Skills
The first step of creating a digital marketing agency is humbling yourself and taking your time. This industry is going to be around for a while; it’s better to start on the right foot later than to try now and fail.
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Before you open a digital marketing agency, you need some relevant skills. Develop an understanding of the components of digital marketing, and how you can use that understanding to create results. Take continuing education courses on topics like SEO, social media marketing, etc.
Before you start your own digital marketing agency, consider working as a freelancer or contractor to build your experience. Reach out to local businesses with limited budgets to offer discounted services in return for knowledge and testimonials. Give yourself a chance to learn from your mistakes, so you don’t repeat them when your business is live.
Identify a Starting Point
It’s better to be great at one thing than mediocre at many things. When you get started, consider launching with one or two core offerings that you excel at. For example, email marketing rather than the full digital marketing package.
The best marketing agencies know that proving your value with a core offering yields better long-term results than appearing scattered and unfocused. As you enhance your skills or build your team, you can start to upsell and cross-sell your various packages.
Create a Business and Growth Plan
To be successful in the long run, you need to have a plan in place. An initial business plan looks at the demand for your offering, the competition and challenges you face, and any investing and financing considerations. It should outline your business model and clearly identify how you expect to get paid by your clients.
Beyond your initial business plan, you’ll also want a growth plan. A growth plan outlines how you’ll scale and grow your business to reach your goals. It should include objectives and key performance indicators by which to measure your success.
Define Your Niche
When you have an idea of what you want to offer, you need to identify to whom you’ll be providing your services. When defining your niche, you should really drill down and create a customer avatar for your ideal client. Who is this client? What industry do they work in? What’s their average revenue? What geographic location do they operate in?
Defining your niche will give you a better focus for your own marketing efforts, and help you create an attractive offering that sells.
Network and Sell
Once you have all your proverbial ducks in a row, it’s time to get out there and get people into your sales funnel. Create a networking strategy that covers both in-person events and online outreach. While your main business focus may not be sales-oriented, at the end of the day, every business is in sales.
As a part of your sales process, you’ll have to devise your own digital marketing strategy. Fortunately, your skills and success in this process will ultimately become a case study to present potential clients.
Deliver on Your Promises
After you complete the five key steps of starting a digital marketing agency comes the most important activity of all: delivering on your promise. Show your clients that they’ve made the right choice when they chose you with tangible results and exceptional service.