So you are thinking about starting a digital marketing agency with no investment. Congratulates on choosing to go down this exciting and profitable route. Starting a marketing company is bewildering. There is a lot to consider. Fear not I have some tips to get you started.
The tips here are practical ones to get you going but I will tell you now they are not getting rich tips and it does require hard work on your part.
I’ve also wrote a complete guide on how to start a web development business, please read it if you are interested.
First off, exactly what is a Digital Marketing Agency?
Before I start offering tips, first I will tell you exactly what a digital marketing agency does, to clear up any confusion. In short, a digital marketing agency is an agency bringing leads to customers. Actual leads, which of course translate to sales.
There are numerous ways in which to go about doing this. Including offering services such as:
- SEO – search engine optimization to get clients into the top Google search engine results;
- Email marketing;
- Facebook ads;
- Video promotion.
So without any further ado let us proceed with my tips for starting a digital marketing agency.
1. Choose a Subject to Specialize In
When starting up a marketing agency it is essential to choose a subject in which to specialize. As mentioned above there are many ways to bring in leads. Instead of attempting to learn all about SEO, email marketing and Facebook ads from the start, choose one. Learn all you can about it and specialize in offering this service.
By not focusing on a single specialist subject to start with you are almost guaranteeing failure.
I found that knowing a subject inside out is the best way to sell your digital marketing agency to clients and bring in sales. You cannot expect anyone to believe in you and what you offer if you have no belief in yourself.
So choose one service to offer and learn that subject inside out. Once you have done so and have begun to enjoy success, you can then move on to add in another service. Again learning everything there is to learn about that service.
2. Never Stop Learning
Once you have your agency up and running, you might think that you know everything there is to know about the subject. Wrong, you should never stop learning.
Things are always changing. Google, for instance, is always bringing in new algorithms, which can affect the SEO aspect of the marketing business. When things change so should you.
The strategies you have undertaken for years might have worked when you first started the agency, but are they still working as good?
Take time out to remain current with what is happening in the world of marketing and think about innovation. Keep an eye on the news and implement what is new into your business.
You are never too old to learn something new.
3. Get Started with Facebook Ads
One of the first tips I recommend for anyone starting a marketing company is to go with Facebook ads.
Facebook ads are a terrific starting point for starting a digital marketing agency at no cost and you do not have to know much about Facebook. It also pays to delve deeper into getting the most out of Facebook ads.
It is possible to learn all you want to know about ads on Facebook by following tutorials on YouTube. There are also courses available, but these do come with some cost. You can also check with forums dedicated to marketing to get even more information free from others doing marketing.
4. Focus on One Business Area
Another useful tip that I wish I had known when I was starting a digital marketing agency is to focus on one business area, to begin with.
For instance, I focused on restaurants. This meant once I got clients and began marketing campaigns for them with success, I could say I was a specialist in marketing for restaurants. You can build up a portfolio of successful campaigns for restaurants and use this to entice more clients.
Restaurateurs will also spread the word to others about the success they had or have with your digital marketing agency, which brings in more clients.
Restaurants do not particularly have a high return on investment so you are not going to be able to charge thousands of dollars for your first marketing campaigns. However, they are ways to get a step up onto the ladder.
The same goes for any field you choose to specialize in when starting out.
5. Use Video as a Marketing Strategy
When starting a marketing company what better way to attract clients than with video? I am talking about using video of you to promote the new agency.
You can bring business your way through your own marketing strategies. If you are not comfortable in speaking out through video, would be clients are not going to be comfortable working with you.
Talk about what you do and what you offer and do it with a tone of authority. If you can speak out with confidence, clients are going to have confidence in you.
6. Networking Not Cold Calling to Start Off
When starting a digital marketing agency do not begin trying to attract clients by cold calling. While cold calling may be a way of bringing in clients, it is not a good idea when first starting out.
I tried the cold calling route when first starting out and quickly found it was a huge waste of time, money and my resources. Nine times out of ten I was not the first person to call up the business and offer my services that week, so the answer was mostly a firm no thank you.
Start out networking with friends and people you know to build those valuable first clients.
7. Explain Exactly What the Benefits Are from Employing a Marketing Agency
Many businesses out there simply do not understand what a marketing agency can do for their business.
No one is going to pay out for something that they do not understand, so with this in mind I recommend explaining exactly how clients can benefit. This, of course, can be pointed out on a page on your website. You can also talk to potential clients through email, messaging and phone calls.
I recommend creating and showing potential customers reports complete with screenshots, arrows, and charts. Do not confuse potential clients by sending them raw lists of traffic counts or citations. Keep things simple.
Once you have explained that by choosing to go with your agency for marketing you can bring more customers to their business so they make more money, you are in for a shot.
When talking about your digital marketing agency speak in plain English, with no jargon. Bear in mind they may not know anything about marketing.
8. Don’t Quit Your Day Job Before You Are Up and Running Successfully
Do not make the same mistake that I did when I started my digital marketing agency. I had worked in the marketing agency for many years and decided to branch out on my own.
I came up with a business plan, developed a website for the agency, linked it to email and then quit my day job, quite sure that I would be able to manage on savings while building up customers. Wrong. I lost my monthly income, it took a lot of work to get clients, a couple of months or more, while my savings dwindled.
Do not quit your day job before your company is up and running with paying clients behind you and money coming in.
9. Practice Marketing with Businesses of Friends and Relatives
When starting out test out your abilities on the businesses of friends and relatives. Do not go diving in at the deep end with a well-known business or brand name and risk perhaps failing.
If you start out with relatives and friends and things go wrong you can see where they went wrong and put things right. Relatives and friends are not going to provide you with bad reviews, which will stick. Lessons can be learned without damage.
Many professionals in digital marketing started out this way, including one of the most successful, Neil Patel. Patel actually worked free for 6 months when starting out to build himself up and gain experience.
10. Moving on To Earning an Income
Once you have gained confidence and learned all there is to know in a few specialist genres of business it is time to start earning an income. This should only happen once you have started bringing in leads and sales from your marketing strategies.
First, you have to decide on how you want to work for money, the rates. I would recommend charging by the hour. When starting out keep fees to the lower end and build up slowly.
A helpful tip for choosing rates is to consider how many customers you will bring the business and how much that customer spends. For example, if you bring in one new customer per month for a business and that customer spends $2,000 you might charge them $1,000.
What you charge a company will depend on the average return of investment is for the business.
The key to charging high sums of money is to work with high return clients.
I will now move on with more tips related to price for service offered.
11. Tips for Pricing and Structuring Packages
When starting a marketing company one of the first things to decide is what you are selling. Some businesses are easier to get into to do marketing for them as they are lacking in marketing.
There are ways of finding these businesses and marketing for them, the three easiest options are:
- Google My Business – Simply go to Google.com/business and create along with optimizing Google My Business for companies that are not registered. Note the companies and call them up telling them you noticed they do not have a listing on Google business and ask if you can help get them noticed;
- Local Directory Listings – Similar to above, you can explain to the business owner that they need to have their business listed on sites such as Yelp and Yellow Pages. Tell them you can get them listed and promote their business to bring in customers;
- Facebook Posting and Facebook Advertising – this is one of the easiest ways to go into marketing.
Example Pricing for Google My Business Marketing
I will tell that I can charge around $250. For this, I optimize Google My Business for business by way of uploading photos, optimizing the listing for hours etc. and adding descriptions. When starting out, you might do five of them a month or more.
Some businesses might want your company to manage the optimization. For this, you can charge $250 per month for each company, month after month. This is an easy and relatively simple way to get a new marketing company up and running in next to no time.
Pricing for Facebook Marketing
The bottom line as a marketing agency is you have to bring in leads, customers and brand awareness. Facebook marketing is a great way of doing so. One of the biggest tips when it comes to pricing is choosing to work with businesses that have a high return on investment.
Generally, you can expect to undertake Facebook ad management for a month for a business that has a high return on investment for around $1,000 per month.
The fee to charge will, of course, be based on the type of company you work for. A kitchen remodeling company will earn more income from your sending them one single client than a restaurant would for you sending them a customer. The kitchen remodeling company will earn back what they pay you and more just from that single customer.
Points to take into consideration in regard to pricing for services are:
- Check out the competition and what they are asking by way of pricing for the services they offer;
- Do not under-sell yourself. If a business has worked with a marketing company before and paid out $1,500 for marketing strategies, they will think twice if you ask for $800 or so. This is because they will realize you are new to the business and perhaps think you will not be able to do a good job on the marketing campaign;
- On saying the above, you do not want to overcharge. You need to be ethical with pricing;
- Always base prices on market value not what you think you should earn;
- When starting out with a new business enter into a contract with them for around 3 months. After the three months, they should have seen success and they will be prepared to enter into a longer agreement, perhaps even at a higher price.
12. Do Not Be Forced to Accept All Clients
When I was starting a digital marketing agency, I made the mistake of taking on any client. Of course, anyone would when wanting to build up a customer list. However, it really does not pay to do so.
There are going to be some projects that you really do not want to work on. This may be due to the potential customer being rude, not listening to your advice or paying late.
If clients continually paid you late, get rid of them and move on. If you are not happy in any way with a client, you should not take the project on. If you are not going to be happy with that client, you are not going to give your best work and the campaign is set for failure.
While you are working on a project you hate with a client you dislike, being miserable, you could be working on a different project for a different client you do like.
13. The Importance of Being Trustworthy
A potential client might be offering a lot of money for a type of marketing that you are not familiar with. If you cannot give the client, what they want, do not take on the project and lie to them.
This is one of the fastest ways to lose clients along with a good reputation. You could say you can do the job but if you really cannot, the client is going to find out in the end. Poor sloppy work means a bad review and an angry customer. It may mean they do not pay you, which means you will have wasted time and energy that might have been spent on another project.
14. Remember There Is Always Room for Improvement
There is no such thing as perfect. This means there is always room for improvement in your business and yourself.
Never believe that something is good enough, it can always be better and you should endeavor to make it so. Never be complacent in business. Bear in mind there are always new agencies entering the market with fresh new ideas and eyes. Always ask yourself how you can improve your agency.
15. Take Time Out for Yourself
My final tip for starting a digital marketing agency is not to burn yourself out by throwing everything you have into your new business.
When starting out, it can be easy to work 12 hours a day 7 days a week but you need time to yourself to relax. Taking time out is essential to the business as it enables you to recharge your batteries and come back with a fresh pair of eyes the next day.
Burn yourself out by overworking and the business will be less productive and could eventually burn out itself.
I hope that the above tips will help you when starting a marketing company. I wish you every success in your new company, have fun and make money doing something you are passionate about.