In a changing digital landscape, the opportunities for digital marketing are endless. From Social Media Marketing to Search Engine Optimization to growth hacking, there are so many aspects to digital marketing in this day and age.

And with these rising opportunities, is also the rising need for digital agencies to help traditional businesses succeed in this ever-changing and ever-expanding digital world. So, if you’ve been thinking of starting a digital agency, you are definitely on the right track.

Starting a digital agency is a successful business model as it can help you tap into this increasing need for online promotion. But how to start a digital marketing business?

If you’re wondering what are the best tactics to succeed in this cut-throat market, here are some tips to help you pave the way to success:

How to start a digital marketing business

How to start a digital marketing business?

Invest time & money into learning the required skills 

Before you decide to start an online digital marketing business, I highly recommend learning as much as possible about running a business.

Assuming that you already have experience with digital marketing and know the ins and outs of the field, as an entrepreneur, you will need to don various hats.

Not only will you be expected to bring creativity and fresh ideas, but you will also be expected to lead the team, gain the confidence of your clients and employees and overlook the day-to-day administration of the business.

new required skills

While there is a lot to do as a business owner, there are also various hacks to help you manage your time better so that you can achieve success. I recommend investing some time and money in learning the required skills so that you are prepared for all the responsibilities that come your way as a new business owner.

Commit to educating yourself  

When it comes to digital marketing, there is always something that you can educate yourself about. In order to be successful, it is important for you to develop the habit of learning constantly as the field is always changing.

What is relevant today, may not be as relevant in a few months. The best way to keep learning is by signing up for diplomas and online courses from other experts so you can learn the best hacks and save your time and effort.

educating yourself

Another great way to learn as a digital marketer is by networking with other experts in the industry. You can do so by attending industry events, reading online marketing magazines, keeping a close eye on your competitors, and studying various market trends.

Just remember, that no matter what your field of digital marketing is, there is always going to be something new and interesting for you to learn. So, make sure you set aside some time every month to learn and update yourself about the trends in the industry.

Select a niche to build your expertise in 

In order to build a successful business, you need to niche down and build a name for your marketing agency. This helps you stand out from the crowd and attract the right clients. By sticking to your niche, you will be able to build your expertise and this will help you stand out from the competition.

In fact, once you are recognized as an expert, you will also be able to charge your clients higher rates for your services.

For example, as a marketing agency, you could offer various services like social media marketing, web designing, digital advertising, content marketing, etc. But you cannot focus on all these different services at once, especially with a small team.

select a niche

I recommend starting by focusing on one service that you are best at and working towards building a name for yourself as an expert.

You could also go a step further and niche down to which industry you would like to serve. For example, you may choose to focus on social media marketing for lifestyle brands. This will help you target the right clients and build a name for yourself as an expert for marketing lifestyle brands.

Create a business plan and do in-depth competitor research 

In order for any business to succeed, you will require a solid business plan. This will help you think about all the different aspects of the business and increase your chances of success. Take the time to understand your vision and write down your objectives, research target markets, and determine various business values and goals that will help you plan your next moves.

Once you have a clearer idea of your target market, you will also be able to identify your direct competitors so that you can study them and their business model.

competitor analysis

Studying your competitors will help you understand what you can do better and give you invaluable insights on how you can surpass them. It will also help you determine how your business can add more value to the target market and what the unique selling point for your digital business can be. It is all about positioning your business model right!

Create a successful business model that works for you 

Once you have a clear idea of your competitors, you are ready to create an appropriate business model that works for you. Here you need to think about what kind of services you want to offer as a marketing agency, how you will set your prices, and how you would like to bill your clients. Here are some ways you can bill your clients as a digital agency:

Hourly

As an agency, you will have various one-on-one meetings and consultations with your clients. For such cases, you could set an hourly rate and bill your clients based on the hours spent working on their projects. While this may be a great solution for you, many clients are not too thrilled with this particular business model.

I recommend that you charge hourly for certain services, but select another business model for others.

If you offer consultation calls or strategy sessions, the hourly business model can be extremely beneficial for you. For long-running campaigns or ongoing promotions, I recommend going for one of the other models listed below.

Retainer 

This is the most commonly used business model in the digital marketing industry as it is the simplest way to charge your clients.

For this, you need to determine the scope of work based on your client’s requirements and agree upon a fixed monthly fee for as many months as the client requires.

For example, if you are a marketing agency specializing in content marketing, you can create a package that includes monthly content planning, keyword research, a defined number of content pieces per month based on client requirement, and one round of revisions. Every month, you will meet the deliverables as agreed upon for a fixed amount, as mentioned in the retainer contract.

Percentage 

Another business model is the percentage billing method that takes into consideration the scalability of the client and the growth potential.

However, if you are a new agency, I do not recommend this model as it takes some time for your marketing efforts to reflect.

Besides, many clients are not happy sharing a percentage with agencies. This model is however more effective for those agencies that specialize in digital advertising as they can charge a percentage of the increase in sales that their advertising efforts bring to the client.

Commission-Based 

The commission-based pricing model is another great model for those into digital advertising. This means that you only get a commission when your client makes a sale because of your marketing efforts.

This model is recommended for those clients that sell actual products or have an online shop so that you can easily calculate the increase in sales.

As a marketing agency, you can choose a different business model for each service you offer. For example, consultation and strategy services can be charged hourly, social media marketing, content marketing, or other repetitive services can be charged on a retainer basis, whereas your digital advertising services can be charged on a percentage or commission basis. Determine what works best for your business so that you have a clear idea before you start approaching potential clients.

Launch your business website 

Finally, once you have a clear idea of your niche, target market, competitors, and business model, you are ready to set up a business website for your digital marketing company. A website is what will help you reach potential clients and give them a first look at your expertise as an agency.

Hence, it is important that your website showcases your creativity and technical know-how while piquing the interest of your target audience. After all, if you can’t sell yourself to them, how can they expect you to help them reach their clients.

business website

Make sure your company website captures the values and brand ethos of your business while being user-friendly. Your website should also have different web pages giving out various important details about your business like the different digital marketing services offered, details about your team members and their expertise, previous client reviews, case studies, and more.

It is always beneficial to have a business blog that gives out marketing tips, covers industry trends, and more to intrigue your target audience.

Set up the business social media profiles 

As a digital agency, being present on social media is not optional. Make sure you set up your business account on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter and link them to your website. Make sure to write a bio/description on each platform and create content relevant to your business.

social media channels

This will help you showcase your expertise and attract the right leads. Doing all these things right will help you attract the right clients. It will also be a great way for you to display your expertise initially, as you may not have a portfolio to show them. So, make sure to work on your business social media accounts and follow the right practices for success.

Build a portfolio 

As a new digital agency, it can be difficult to convince clients to hire you. Paying clients will want to see results or proof of past success before they hand over their business to you. The best way you can do so is by creating a portfolio with details on previous client campaigns.

This goes a long way in helping you gain the trust of your potential client. You should also highlight your team members and their previous experience as this can help you gain the trust of your potential client.

build a portfolio

If you are a new agency, you may not have a lot of case studies to show as you are just starting up. In this case, you could ask your previous or present clients to write you a review as this can help you greatly. You can also work for some of your friends or freelance in order to build your portfolio.

Generate quality leads for your digital marketing business 

In order to grow your business, you will need to attract quality leads. But how can you do so? Well, for this you will need to create a solid marketing plan. Based on your target audience, you will need to decide on a plan of action that helps you pique their interest.

The best way to do so is by creating content that educates, informs, and/or entertains your ideal customer. You can use blogs, videos, and emails to disperse this content and catch the attention of your target audience.

There are also various lead generation tools available in the market today. You could also consider signing up for such a service, so you can save time and reach potential customers easily.

generate leads

Another great way to bring in qualified leads that are sure to convert is by networking in the industry you would like to service. For example, if you want to focus on lifestyle clients, the best way for you to reach them is by using LinkedIn to find the marketing managers or CEOs of different lifestyle brands.

Make sure to connect with them and start a conversation. You could also share various blog posts or unique insights on the platform that are relevant to the lifestyle industry to catch their interest and show them that you are well-versed in their niche. This will help you gain their trust, slowly and steadily, and will help you gain more clients.

Those who engage with your content on LinkedIn might also end up recommending you to others in their network. So, make sure you put your best foot forward and use social media to your benefit.

Ready to start your own digital agency? 

Now that you know how to start an online digital marketing business, you know that it can be extremely overwhelming to get started. After all, the initial steps are crucial in order to set your agency up for success.

You still might have lots of questions. How can I own digital marketing agency? How can I generate leads? What digital marketing skills do I need? That is totally normal. How to run a digital marketing agency business in 2022? The more questions you have, the better.

If you are still wondering how to start digital marketing business, reach out to us. We are a growth marketing agency specializing in growing startups internationally. Feel free to reach out.

I recommend getting some guidance from experts to strategize your moves before your launch. Learn more about Soar’s ‘Launch a Startup’ package and get the guidance you need.