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20 min read

How To Start Your Own Digital Marketing Agency In 2021?

Post by
Yash Shah

Do you feel you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Are you mesmerized by the ever-growing sector of digital marketing? Are you aware that digital marketing spending is estimated to touch the mark of $375 billion by 2021 and that the global digital marketing market is forecasted to grow at 17.6% over the period of 2020-2025?

Have you always been keen on starting your own digital marketing agency?

If you are all set to venture into this promising sector, we have got the exact right steps listed down for you to embark on the journey of starting your own digital marketing agency.

1. Learn and Unlearn:

learn and unlearn

We humans, often end up either underestimating or overestimating our pool of knowledge. The first step to your entrepreneurial journey starts with keeping an open mindset towards learning new things.

Invest your time and money wisely and utilise the resources available. Dwell deeper into the segment and learn more about the industry you are stepping into. Adopting this as a regular practice will widely help you while starting your own digital marketing agency.

You can make use of books, online courses, podcasts and other sources of content from industry experts.

Unlearn the pre assumed cliches and be open to observational learning.

2. Find Your Niche:

niche

‘Niche’ appeals to a specialized section of the population. For starters, it is always better to keep a specific focus and work accordingly.

Determining your niche can help you in figuring out the services you offer, the type of clients you should have, and building expertise in one specific domain.

Your agency can target several niches such as Healthcare, Contractors, Food Industry, E-commerce, and more.

3. Set Clear Goals and Action Plans:

set goals

As they say “A goal without a plan is just a wish”. Setting clear goals gives you an insight into determining the direction of efforts you should take. You would want to be clear regarding the ‘why’ factor of starting your own digital marketing agency.

Keep asking yourself ‘Why you want to do it? When you have an answer, you will know the goals you want to aim for. Ensure that you set SMART goals. SMART goals refer to goals that are Specific, Measurable, Aspirational, Realistic and Time bound. Determine a strong plan of action that would lead you to those goals.

4. Competitor Research:

competitor research

It is very important for an entrepreneur to stay informed about the happenings of the market. Once you have established your niche and your offerings, research other agencies who are into the same industry. Identify the kind of work they do, how they do it and the type of clients they serve. Understanding your competitors will enable you to understand the market better.

Pro Tip: If you want to excel and surpass the offerings of your competitors, look for a gap. Identify what it is that you can do and they do not currently do. Work on how you can utilise this gap and develop a better standing in the market. The gap can either be in what they do or how they do it.

5. Build Your Brand:

build your brand

Building your brand essentially involves creating a brand identity. This can be one of the most crucial steps in your journey of building your own digital marketing agency.Brand identities help customers resonate with the brand.

In order to build your brand identity, you will need to figure out what you want to say and how you want to say it. Determine the vision of your brand, what your brand stands for, who does it appeal to and what voice does it adopt.

A clear brand identity will help you form a solid foundation for building your brand name, logo, tagline and other aspects of your own tangible brand. Looking into an example of brand identities, Pepsi and Coca Cola are into selling similar products but different clusters of customers resonate with them.

One reason for the same is  that Coca Cola’s brand personality resonates with attributes such as happiness, cheerfulness and joy. Whereas Pepsi resonates to daring, youthful and outdoorsy.

Now, you clearly know how brand identities play a key role.

6. Decide A Suitable Business Model:

After you have established your brand identity, the next step to get your own digital marketing agency on track is to establish a business model.

business model

Here are some ways you can adopt:

Flat Rate Business Model

Following this model, you offer your services at fixed monthly or yearly rates. Here, the number of hours or number of projects don’t account to counting your revenue. The duration you work for a client does.

To determine the flat rates of your agency, you can analyze the requirements of your clients and the amount of work you will have to put into it.

While following this model, you may have to work out different flat rate plans for clients operating on different scales.

Commissions Model

This model operates in a manner when your clients pay you some percentage of the amount from the revenues generated.

This model is not quite applicable for all kinds of services.

For eg: You can determine how your client’s webpage has been optimized with your SEO services but there is no way to charge a commission and apply this model while you design a logo for your client.

For adopting this model, your agency would also be required to keep a close track of your client’s sales.

Hourly Rates

This is the most suitable model for new businesses. Here, you decide upon a fixed hourly rate and charge your clients on the basis of time spent by your agency while working for them.

You can also use time trackers to keep an accurate track of billable hours and charge your clients accordingly.

7. Building A Team:

team building

A digital marketing agency delivers various service offerings to clients. And there is no denying that human resources are crucial for all kinds of businesses. You would now want to start with finding the right people for your new digital marketing agency.

While starting out, it is better to commence with a small team at first. List down the core deliverables by your agency and the people you would require for that.

Normally, a digital marketing agency would require:

Web designers, Marketers, Project Managers, Designers, Content Writers, SEO executives, and Social Media executives.

You can start the hiring process by posting your requirements on online job portals, local ads, or by contacting institutions.

8. Step Out There In The Market:

starting digital marketing agency in 2021

Once you are ready with your offerings, your business model and the people who would do the work, you need to let the world know about you. The market needs to know that your agency exists.

Think of yourself as your first client and market your agency unapologetically.

  1. Get in touch with business networks around you.
  2. Launch your website and optimise it.
  3. Build a social media presence and get the word out!

9. Getting Your First Clients:

first clients

You will first need to set a target audience for your digital marketing agency. There are various ways to proceed further for finding your first clients:

Networking

You will need to build an extensive network for people to get to know about your business. Online networking can be done through your website and through the LinkedIn profile of your agency. Thoroughly describe your services and the experience of your employees.
Build connections with other businesses in your sector and with potential clients.
Reach out to people in your network and let them know what you do.
Offline networking requires you to physically go out and meet more people.

Look for forums where like-minded entrepreneurs meet up to discuss business ideas. You can also start by attending incubator events. Network with people who can either be your clients or can refer your agency to others in their network.

Marketplaces

People often post about their work requirements on freelance marketplaces. You can start the client searching process by browsing these platforms. Find people who are in need of your services and respond to those queries.

Referrals

After you have connected with a few relevant people, ask them to extend a helping hand and refer you to their networks. When these are people who already know the kind of work you deliver, it will be easier for newer people to rely on their word.
Referrals are basically like word-of-mouth marketing for your agency.

Now that you have the know-how about starting your own digital marketing agency, take the leap, work to the best of your capabilities and pave the way for the success of your own digital marketing agency.

Do you feel you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Are you mesmerized by the ever-growing sector of digital marketing? Are you aware that digital marketing spending is estimated to touch the mark of $375 billion by 2021 and that the global digital marketing market is forecasted to grow at 17.6% over the period of 2020-2025?

Have you always been keen on starting your own digital marketing agency?

If you are all set to venture into this promising sector, we have got the exact right steps listed down for you to embark on the journey of starting your own digital marketing agency.

1. Learn and Unlearn:

learn and unlearn

We humans, often end up either underestimating or overestimating our pool of knowledge. The first step to your entrepreneurial journey starts with keeping an open mindset towards learning new things.

Invest your time and money wisely and utilise the resources available. Dwell deeper into the segment and learn more about the industry you are stepping into. Adopting this as a regular practice will widely help you while starting your own digital marketing agency.

You can make use of books, online courses, podcasts and other sources of content from industry experts.

Unlearn the pre assumed cliches and be open to observational learning.

2. Find Your Niche:

niche

‘Niche’ appeals to a specialized section of the population. For starters, it is always better to keep a specific focus and work accordingly.

Determining your niche can help you in figuring out the services you offer, the type of clients you should have, and building expertise in one specific domain.

Your agency can target several niches such as Healthcare, Contractors, Food Industry, E-commerce, and more.

3. Set Clear Goals and Action Plans:

set goals

As they say “A goal without a plan is just a wish”. Setting clear goals gives you an insight into determining the direction of efforts you should take. You would want to be clear regarding the ‘why’ factor of starting your own digital marketing agency.

Keep asking yourself ‘Why you want to do it? When you have an answer, you will know the goals you want to aim for. Ensure that you set SMART goals. SMART goals refer to goals that are Specific, Measurable, Aspirational, Realistic and Time bound. Determine a strong plan of action that would lead you to those goals.

4. Competitor Research:

competitor research

It is very important for an entrepreneur to stay informed about the happenings of the market. Once you have established your niche and your offerings, research other agencies who are into the same industry. Identify the kind of work they do, how they do it and the type of clients they serve. Understanding your competitors will enable you to understand the market better.

Pro Tip: If you want to excel and surpass the offerings of your competitors, look for a gap. Identify what it is that you can do and they do not currently do. Work on how you can utilise this gap and develop a better standing in the market. The gap can either be in what they do or how they do it.

5. Build Your Brand:

build your brand

Building your brand essentially involves creating a brand identity. This can be one of the most crucial steps in your journey of building your own digital marketing agency.Brand identities help customers resonate with the brand.

In order to build your brand identity, you will need to figure out what you want to say and how you want to say it. Determine the vision of your brand, what your brand stands for, who does it appeal to and what voice does it adopt.

A clear brand identity will help you form a solid foundation for building your brand name, logo, tagline and other aspects of your own tangible brand. Looking into an example of brand identities, Pepsi and Coca Cola are into selling similar products but different clusters of customers resonate with them.

One reason for the same is  that Coca Cola’s brand personality resonates with attributes such as happiness, cheerfulness and joy. Whereas Pepsi resonates to daring, youthful and outdoorsy.

Now, you clearly know how brand identities play a key role.

6. Decide A Suitable Business Model:

After you have established your brand identity, the next step to get your own digital marketing agency on track is to establish a business model.

business model

Here are some ways you can adopt:

Flat Rate Business Model

Following this model, you offer your services at fixed monthly or yearly rates. Here, the number of hours or number of projects don’t account to counting your revenue. The duration you work for a client does.

To determine the flat rates of your agency, you can analyze the requirements of your clients and the amount of work you will have to put into it.

While following this model, you may have to work out different flat rate plans for clients operating on different scales.

Commissions Model

This model operates in a manner when your clients pay you some percentage of the amount from the revenues generated.

This model is not quite applicable for all kinds of services.

For eg: You can determine how your client’s webpage has been optimized with your SEO services but there is no way to charge a commission and apply this model while you design a logo for your client.

For adopting this model, your agency would also be required to keep a close track of your client’s sales.

Hourly Rates

This is the most suitable model for new businesses. Here, you decide upon a fixed hourly rate and charge your clients on the basis of time spent by your agency while working for them.

You can also use time trackers to keep an accurate track of billable hours and charge your clients accordingly.

7. Building A Team:

team building

A digital marketing agency delivers various service offerings to clients. And there is no denying that human resources are crucial for all kinds of businesses. You would now want to start with finding the right people for your new digital marketing agency.

While starting out, it is better to commence with a small team at first. List down the core deliverables by your agency and the people you would require for that.

Normally, a digital marketing agency would require:

Web designers, Marketers, Project Managers, Designers, Content Writers, SEO executives, and Social Media executives.

You can start the hiring process by posting your requirements on online job portals, local ads, or by contacting institutions.

8. Step Out There In The Market:

starting digital marketing agency in 2021

Once you are ready with your offerings, your business model and the people who would do the work, you need to let the world know about you. The market needs to know that your agency exists.

Think of yourself as your first client and market your agency unapologetically.

  1. Get in touch with business networks around you.
  2. Launch your website and optimise it.
  3. Build a social media presence and get the word out!

9. Getting Your First Clients:

first clients

You will first need to set a target audience for your digital marketing agency. There are various ways to proceed further for finding your first clients:

Networking

You will need to build an extensive network for people to get to know about your business. Online networking can be done through your website and through the LinkedIn profile of your agency. Thoroughly describe your services and the experience of your employees.
Build connections with other businesses in your sector and with potential clients.
Reach out to people in your network and let them know what you do.
Offline networking requires you to physically go out and meet more people.

Look for forums where like-minded entrepreneurs meet up to discuss business ideas. You can also start by attending incubator events. Network with people who can either be your clients or can refer your agency to others in their network.

Marketplaces

People often post about their work requirements on freelance marketplaces. You can start the client searching process by browsing these platforms. Find people who are in need of your services and respond to those queries.

Referrals

After you have connected with a few relevant people, ask them to extend a helping hand and refer you to their networks. When these are people who already know the kind of work you deliver, it will be easier for newer people to rely on their word.
Referrals are basically like word-of-mouth marketing for your agency.

Now that you have the know-how about starting your own digital marketing agency, take the leap, work to the best of your capabilities and pave the way for the success of your own digital marketing agency.

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About Author

Yash Shah
Co-founder & Chief Executive
Facebook

Yash did Mechanical Engineering and worked as an Investment Banker before founding a Tech Agency that grew to 55 people team offering SaaS, FinTech and E-Commerce Web & Mobile app Development. He currently serves as Chief Executive at Clientjoy - a platform that helps 13K+ Agencies & Freelancers in 90+ Countries acquire and retain happier clients.

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