6 Things to Consider When Starting a Digital Marketing Agency
It seems like everyone has a digital marketing agency these days. Since the barrier of entry is very low, it results in everyone who thinks they are an SEO, content or social media marketing expert run out and start an “agency.”
Most agencies fade out and never really get the momentum that they initially anticipated. It’s one thing to have a few friends and family members want to hire you for some one-off projects, but when you take on businesses that are putting their trust in your, then you better deliver.
If you have the skills and expertise to deliver outstanding results and have thrown around the idea of starting a business, then these things so consider should come in handy. Starting an online marketing agency is no joke -- it’s serious business. If you are ready to dive in, make sure you consider these things in the beginning stages.
1. Have examples and case studies available that demonstrate your expertise.
Ranking a couple niche websites or a local business website with little to no competition isn’t anything to brag about. If you are considering opening a digital marketing agency then you need to have results that prove you can help clients generate more traffic, sales and revenue.
With so much competition these days the agencies that are truly growing and pulling in new clients on a regular basis are the ones that are demonstrating what they are capable of. Case studies are the easiest ways to close a deal.
If someone wants SEO, for example, don’t you think that if you can show them hard proof that you have grown companies organically they will be more inclined to hire your agency. You can’t simply say, “Hey I know how to get you more traffic. Hire me.” It just doesn’t work that way.
Create a professionally done case study (or several of them) and make them available on your website. If you only hand them out to people that request them you are going to miss out on several opportunities to close new clients.
If you allow a potential client to access it on your website and they like what they see they are going to reach out and you already have their trust and interest. It’s much easier to close them this way.
2. Focus on a specific niche.
It’s much easier to not only deliver results, but also attract new business, when you focus on a specific niche. For example, you might start an agency that caters to real estate companies, helping agencies generate leads via Google Ads and SEO, as well as helping realtors attract buyers and sellers with Facebook ads and social media marketing.
There are endless opportunities, and I suggest you focus on a niche that you enjoy. It will result in a much better experience for yourself as an agency owner, and the client in terms of the results they receive.
Law firms, real estate companies, doctors, dentists, landscaping companies, any service provider, etc. The opportunities are endless. Focus on a niche you love and can dominate.
3. In-house vs. remote team.
Your agency will only be as successful as the team you build to support it. You need to determine whether you want to build an in-house team and work out of an office in a traditional setting or hire a remote team.
There isn’t a right or wrong answer. If you are only focused on your local market than an in-house setting might make more sense, especially if you anticipate a lot of client meetings. If not, and location isn’t a factor, a remote team allows you to build a team of the best talent without any geographic restrictions.
If you opt for the remote route, make sure you have team collaboration tools and processes in place to keep everyone on the same page. Organization and communication is key when you are operating in a remote environment.
4. Identify your social media platforms.
The type of online marketing services that you offer are going to dictate what social media networks you are active on. For example, Facebook is the universal platform and you are going to have to be active there. Also, it helps with your own local SEO, so an active Facebook business page is important.
Aside from that, if you are only offering SEO, for example, then being active on Instagram really isn’t important. You aren’t going to find businesses looking for an SEO specialist on Instagram. But, if you are focused on social media marketing, then Instagram gives you an opportunity to showcase your content creation talents and attract clients.
LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. What ones are going to help you connect with the businesses you are trying to attract?
5. Determine your business model.
This is something you need to consider early on. Are you going to bill a flat retainer fee every month or piece-bill based on certain offerings? You have to take a lot into consideration here.
Are you doing all the SEO work in-house or outsourcing? What are your costs? How are you paying your team? All of this must be evaluated, and you need to then figure out a business model that is going to appeal to customers, while also allowing you to operate in the green and be profitable.
Don’t be afraid to make money. That is why a business exists. Also, don’t worry about your competition’s pricing. In the end, results are what the client wants. If they have to pay more money to get what they want, in the long run they will spend less.
6. Select the correct company formation and structure.
This is where you are going to want to call in the professionals, and it’s always a smart idea to speak with your attorney and accountant to make sure you set up your business in a way that is favorable in terms of tax as well as liability.
There isn’t a single option that works for everyone. An agency in the United States is going to be set up much differently than a company formation in Hungary. Different entities, like a Corporation and LLC provide different levels of protection as well.
Is it a single member company or one with multiple partners? Will you be raising funding? Offering stock options? This all needs to be taken into consideration.
You want to make sure you have this set up fully before you start.