A lot of my students and mastermind group members either have digital marketing side hustles or they’re in the early stages of starting digital marketing businesses.
First step to success when offering services is assessing demand. See a need. Fill a need. This can be done by reaching out to potential clients and gathering intelligence on their requirements, using something like Google Trends, running keyword research on the terms being used in your service region, or even running test ad campaigns to gauge interest.
Business Formation – LLC? S Corp?
Do your homework. Which type of business will suit your needs best? Are you a solopreneur? If so, maybe your best approach is a simple single-partner limited liability corporation. Have multiple founders going into this with you? Or, maybe you have outside investors (shareholders)? Pick your business type with diligence and care.
Business formation may seem intimidating to new agencies, but there are ways they can overcome it. To be successful, it’s crucial that they anticipate and prepare for potential obstacles that may arise – including client acquisition and maintaining relationships, as well as creating an effective client-centric marketing plan to ensure their business thrives.
Another key challenge for digital marketing agencies is choosing which services to provide. There are various kinds of digital marketing agencies, from full service and single channel agencies that offer comprehensive services such as web design, SEO and social media management to single-channel firms that specialize in single areas like content marketing or SEO.
Digital marketing is an exploding industry, yet difficult to break into. Establishing yourself as an authority takes both hard work and commitment; setting clear and measurable goals for your business helps set goals that hold yourself accountable so you can focus on attracting clients while providing them with excellent service.
If you’re starting a digital marketing agency, the first step should be identifying what type of clients you would like to work with. This can be accomplished through studying market trends and identifying industries or businesses most interested in working with an agency; using tools such as Semrush can assist in this research process.
Sticking to your agency’s areas of expertise, even when some clients request services outside their normal range, is also highly beneficial in building a lasting reputation for quality work and ensuring client satisfaction.
As a newly established digital marketing agency, it is critical to quickly secure clients. Prospecting smart and efficiently means relying on your network and even some interesting tools to get off to a fast start. Doing so will enable you to maximize revenue while cementing your position as an industry leader. In order to reach this goal, a comprehensive strategy utilizing multiple channels for gathering qualified leads and developing successful campaigns must be developed and executed upon.
Finding clients can be difficult, so the key to successfully meeting this challenge lies in customizing your services and niche offerings to attract the appropriate clients and avoid competing with larger agencies. For instance, web designers should prioritize creating user-friendly sites optimized for search engines that stand out from their competition; doing this will make their websites more visible to potential customers and make you stand out among your competition. Tools like Semrush may also help improve online visibility and reveal valuable marketing insights.
Digital marketing agencies provide businesses with a range of services that can help expand their brands and products online. Services provided include web design and development, search engine optimization, social media marketing and content promotion as well as email marketing and paid online advertising. Digital marketing agencies can increase product and service sales by driving more visitors to your website and turning those visits into leads.
To ensure the success of your agency, it is imperative that you clearly communicate your scope of work and pricing to clients. Doing this will prevent any misunderstandings in the future. Be sure to state whether your prices are on a monthly or project basis.
A good digital marketing agency will be able to clearly explain their pricing and how it differs from that of other agencies, as well as give an indication of their previous experience working with businesses similar to your own. This information should help you choose an agency suitable for your requirements.
Retention of Customers and Churn
Retaining clients is a daunting challenge for any digital marketing agency, especially newer ones. Repeat business is key to their business’ growth and profit. But keeping loyal customers can be tough in an age of fierce competition; to prevent losing clients to rival agencies, focus on providing superior quality services with innovative and original solutions.
Customer retention is an ongoing process that begins by truly understanding your clients’ needs and goals, so that you can develop a strategy to meet those objectives and assist in reaching marketing goals. Furthermore, this understanding can help differentiate your agency from competitors while uncovering opportunities for growth.
An effective strategy for increasing client retention is providing clients with clear, concise, and detailed reports demonstrating the results of your marketing campaigns. This will allow your clients to understand the true value of your service, encouraging them to continue using it while simultaneously showcasing your expertise as an invaluable partner to them.
One of the main challenges of starting a digital marketing agency is staying abreast of industry trends. This can be difficult given that many of the most effective strategies evolve quickly in this space. To combat this, tools like WhatConverts allow you to generate custom reports which show how effective your efforts are at winning clients over and attracting new ones. This will enable your firm to win over existing clients as well as attract new ones.
Billing and Collections and Taxes
One of the greatest challenges of starting a digital marketing agency is figuring out how to bill clients. There are various billing models, such as hourly billing, flat retainers or percentage of spending; each option presents unique considerations and obstacles. It is crucial that you find one that works for both you and your clients while there may be certain considerations involved with each option.
Digital marketing refers to any form of promotion and selling carried out using online platforms and methods, including social media posting and sharing content, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing and pay-per-click ads. Digital marketing can reach specific target audiences while increasing brand recognition.
Digital marketers must be adept at measuring and analyzing data collected during these campaigns in order to assess their effectiveness, making necessary adjustments as necessary.
An effective digital marketing campaign entails not only driving more sales and leads, but also creating compelling stories that resonate with your target audience and help create long-lasting relationships between you and them.
As part of starting a digital marketing agency, it is also key to choose a niche. There are already so many agencies out there and it may be challenging to stand out from the crowd; so make sure that you choose something specific so that your agency stands out and provides exceptional client care services.
Hiring Your First – Ninety First Employee (and Firing)
Do you want the headaches and hassles of employees? Because it adds many, many layers of complexity and administrivia to your operations. If your intended goal is to scale, there’s no way around the headache. Get as good at job descriptions, interviewing, and hiring as fast as you can. Know your employment laws in all the regions you operate in. This gets pretty gnarly pretty fast and it’s essential you’re on the right side of all of that.
Your employees will come and go. Just like new account development, you’re going to have to have a pipeline of potential new hires. No one will get in that pipeline if your agency reputation is that of a sweatshop known for cranking out terrible work. Your reputation matters every bit as much as you’re telling your clients how much their reputations matter.
Not to worry, there are ways to alleviate some of the headaches and adminstration. Consider partnering with a PEO. This can help you accomplish a few things: mitigate some risks; shift the administration to specialists; accelerate operations; and scale while keeping the wheels on the bus.
The bottom line in adding employees – Thoroughly understand your legal obligations or bring on someone who does. This is most definitely a situation where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
A Few Guiding Principles
Communicate well, to everyone. You’re an agency owner. You’re the leader. It’s your rodeo. Good, consistent communication goes a long way toward getting the best performance from everyone (clients included).
Listen well, to everyone. This is arguably the better skill to hone. Grandma told me I have one mouth and two ears for a reason. That always stuck with me. Your employees, prospects, and clients have a lot on their minds. They’re happy to share (all of it!) if you’ll still yourself and simply listen.
Provide value. The client hired YOU for a reason. Don’t hold back or be timid. Give them your best thinking. This is what they’re paying you for. Be a partner. Get invested in their success. Many agencies lose this mentality after a while with a client. No wonder there is so much churn in the industry. Great agencies, providing value to their clients, are retained for a good long time.
Know your numbers. If, at any point, you don’t know your critical business metrics from what’s in the bank, what’s in the pipeline, how long your runway is, what your lines of credit look like, your csat numbers, etc. You. Are. Toast. Know your numbers. There are a lot of numbers you could know. Focus on the important ones. As they say, “First things first.”
Have fun. Life “agency side” is very different than “client side”. It’s diverse, interesting, and every day has the potential of a completely new adventure. Yes, it can be lucrative. But, don’t forget to enjoy the journey. Learn from your clients. Lean into their businesses and become essential in an ethical way. There are going to be setbacks despite your best efforts. These are going to sting a lot less if you are put together as a solid, trustworthy operator and take time to have fun with those around you (family, community, employees, clients, and prospects). You want to be at the front of the parade.
At GB Digital we’re always happy to help other agencies succeed. At the risk of sounding a little odd helping “competitors” there is plenty of business to go around. What we really need are MORE options, more creative problem solvers, with more integrity. Please, feel free to call any time. We’re all to happy to pitch in.