How to Start a Digital Marketing Agency
Starting your own digital marketing agency is a great way to be your own boss, set your own hours, and work from anywhere in the world.
And as more and more businesses move online, you’re never going to be short of work.
To help you build your very own digital marketing agency from scratch, here we:
- quickly define what a digital marketing agency is
- and detail 8 steps on how to start your very own digital marketing agency business.
What Is a Digital Marketing Agency?
A digital marketing agency specializes in creating and executing online marketing solutions for its clients.
To do so, a wide range of digital channels are implemented to market a client’s products and services, including:
- search engine optimization (SEO)
- pay-per-click (PPC)
- social media marketing
- email marketing
- video marketing
- web design.
How to Start a Digital Marketing Agency Step by Step
Let’s jump into the steps you need to take to start your very own digital marketing agency.
1. Develop Digital Marketing Skills
Although you don’t need to ace everything straight out of the gate, a basic understanding of digital marketing and a thirst for knowledge is imperative for a budding digital marketing agency to succeed.
Which digital marketing basics should you focus on first?
Understanding consumer behavior, segmentation, targeting, and the customer journey is a great place to start. The ability to develop and execute a marketing plan that considers the various channels of digital marketing, such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing (SMM), and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising will also serve you very well.
There are plenty of online resources that’ll get you up to speed.
Online courses found on Udemy and Coursera offer a wealth of knowledge. If you don’t have $15 to throw at an Udemy special offer, industry-leading digital marketing agencies like Ahrefs and Hubspot offer hours and hours of free marketing content on their YouTube channels.
2. Find Your Niche
While established marketing agencies offer a wide range of services, I’d suggest trying not to spread yourself too thin. Instead, master just one (or maybe two) specializations and, as your digital marketing skills grow, branch out later down the track.
To help you decide which digital marketing specialization you should focus on first, here are a few pointers:
- What are you naturally good at? When you focus on your strengths, you’ll be able to more effectively market yourself and your business.
- What do you enjoy doing? Find an industry you’re passionate about. That way, motivation stays high and you’ll find greater success over the long run.
- Which of these industries are most profitable? Focus on an industry that will offer your new marketing agency the most room to grow.
3. Define Your Target Audience
Without knowing who you are marketing to, it will be very difficult to determine what type of messaging will resonate with your preferred target audience.
There are several ways to go about defining your target audience. Start by thinking about who your ideal customer is. What are their demographics? What does their day-to-day look like? What are their pain points?
Once you’ve answered these questions and have a solid understanding of who your ideal customer is, your next step should be to develop buyer personas.
A buyer’s persona is a semi-fictional character that takes into account the various characteristics of your ideal customer. The persona includes information about the buyer’s demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.
Why is this important?
Well, creating buyer personas is helpful in a few key ways:
- By knowing your target audience, you can allocate your marketing budget more effectively to reach them through the channels they’re most likely to use.
- By possessing a deep understanding of who your target audience is, what their motivations are, and what their objections might be, you can create targeted content that speaks directly to them.
- Once you have a good understanding of who your ideal customer is, you can more effectively craft strategies that will drive results and deliver the level of success they expect.
4. Conduct Competitor Research
Successful digital marketing agencies keep tabs on the competition. This is particularly important for startup digital marketing agencies, as competitor research 1) reveals gaps in the market that you can target with your own services, 2) will help you determine what your competition is doing well and what practices you can replicate yourself, and 3) highlights what your competitors are not doing so well, underscoring the missteps you should avoid.
How is competitor research conducted for digital marketing agencies?
Here are some quick tips:
- Identify your major competitors. There are several strategies you can use to identify your primary competitors. Using analysis tools, like those highlighted in our competitor analysis tool guide, is the most effective way to single out potential competitors.
- Evaluate competitors’ online presence. Depending on the niche, conducting SEO keyword,citation, or backlink analysis are all effective methods of evaluating competitors’ online presence.
- Strategize using analysis data. Once your analysis is complete, circle back to the three points above. Use the collected information to identify gaps in the market, understand how to replicate their successes, and how to avoid their mistakes.
5. Launch Your Website
Once you’ve gained a solid understanding of your competitors’ online presence, it’s time to establish your own.
To launch your own digital marketing website, simply:
- Register a domain name.
- Choose a web hosting service.
- Decide on a content management system (CMS).
- Integrate a SEO-aligned theme or build your own from scratch.
- Submit a sitemap.
- Connect the website to Google Analytics.
6. Market Yourself to Generate Leads
Now your website is up and running, it’s time to attract your first customers.
There are endless ways to do this, but for online businesses, like a digital marketing agency, the most effective marketing strategies include:
- starting a blog and creating high-quality SEO content,
- leveraging pay-per-click (PPC) online advertising,
- establishing a strong social media presence,
- and taking advantage of video marketing.
7. Convert Leads Into Clients
Using the marketing channels we listed above will get your brand noticed and bring traffic to your website, but often this alone won’t be enough to seal the deal.
To turn your audience you’ve attracted into paying customers, you’ll need to focus on conversion rate optimization (CRO).
CRO is the process of increasing the percentage of potential customers that take a desired action. In the case of digital marketing, purchasing one of your agency’s new digital services.
There are many factors that will affect the chances a client will convert, including the design of a website, the quality of the product or service being offered, and the accuracy of marketing material.
The main thing to remember about CRO is it takes time to develop an effective strategy.
CRO is an ongoing process that, with the use of A/B testing (a process at the heart of effective CRO), will allow you to make small tweaks to your marketing material as you learn more about your clients’ tastes, preferences, and expectations.
8. Build a Portfolio Worthy of Showing Off
At this point, you’ll begin converting leads and building out your client base.
The next step?
To build a solid portfolio stacked with customer testimonials and positive reviews that will attract increasingly more clients and eventually customers that will pay more for your services.
So, how can you build a portfolio that properly showcases your digital marketing agency’s services?
Here are a few tips:
- Be specific. When detailing the services that your digital marketing agency offers, be as specific as possible. Generic descriptions won’t cut it— you need to give potential clients a clear idea of what they can expect if they decide to work with you.
- Leverage case studies. Strong case studies that demonstrate positive results are more effective at converting customers than a long list of projects that lack insight.
- Use strong visuals. A picture really is worth a thousand words. So make sure that the visual materials in your portfolio are strong and eye-catching.
With patience, determination, and by following the above steps, launching a successful digital marketing agency is well within your grasp.
If you could, though, would you prefer to avoid the teething problems inherent with startups and shorten the time it takes to become profitable?
If so, it’s within your best interests to consider white label digital marketing services.
Loganix’s white label digital marketing services allow digital marketing agencies, like yours, to outsource digital marketing tasks to, well, us, freeing up valuable time and resources to focus on other areas of your business.
Our team of experts has a wealth of experience in the digital marketing field. This makes Loganix an ideal partner for businesses that want to improve their online presence but don’t have the time or expertise to do so yourself.
To learn more, check out our white label services here.