In the previous article, we talked about the reasons for starting a digital marketing agency. In this article, we will discuss how to go about starting a digital marketing agency. Starting a digital marketing agency can be very profitable in the long run because many businesses need help marketing in the digital medium, and they find it difficult to find experts and consultants who will help them.
It has been more than a year since we had established our own digital marketing agency – PixelTrack. Setting up a digital marketing agency and growing it is a very complex task. If you think about all the steps that are involved in setting up an agency and growing it, you might get overwhelmed.
One of the best ways to go about starting an agency is just to do one thing at a time. Any task that helps you in moving the needle forward, do it. If you think too much about everything that is involved, you might get overwhelmed. In this article, we will look at the various steps involved in setting up a digital marketing agency.
The first thing to consider when starting a digital marketing agency is to choose your niche. As we have discussed in the previous articles, going with a specific niche is very important for the success of your digital marketing agency. We focus mostly on education businesses including online trainers and education companies.
With focus on a niche, we end up learning more concepts relevant to a specific niche over time. Focusing on a niche gives a competitive advantage. You cannot be everything to everyone and you will not be able to attract clients if you keep your focus too broad.
Many digital marketing agencies call themselves “full-stack” agencies. They try to do all the digital marketing services for all possible clients. But the model of being a “one-stop shop” makes you compete on pricing, which puts a dent on your profits.
Competing on the price to get sales is a terrible strategy to grow the business. Initially, it might look very interesting to do that as you might see new projects coming in the sake of low price. But as you try to scale your agency, you will need to hire intelligent people in your team.
Intelligent people do not come cheap and you cannot hire them for low salaries. And if you are not having good revenue from the clients, you cannot pay good salaries. The only way to grow a profitable digital marketing agency is to become focused on a specific service and industry, and position yourself as a premium service provider.
Once you position yourself as a premium service provider focusing on a specific industry, you will be able to grow in a sustainable way. It will be very difficult to get the right client, but once you get one client right, the others will follow.
For example, you could start a digital marketing agency that serves only dentists or you can start a digital marketing agency that serves only lawyers. When dentists look at the website of a digital marketing agency, which has been built exclusively for dentists, then they will not hesitate paying you a premium.
There are many industries to focus, and as long as you keep your focus in one specific industry you will establish a brand for yourself in that industry.
By focusing on a particular niche and not going abroad may feel you will lose out a lot of business, but the world is very big and there are too many clients out there who might need digital marketing help from you.
When we named our agency PixelTrack, we want to define our agency as something that is built on the concepts of performance marketing. Though we focus only on education businesses, we still can take other categories in the long term. When you are choosing a name for the agency, have the capacity for expansion in the future.
So now, we have seen why choosing a particular niche is the best way to set up a digital marketing agency. Let’s look at how to go about selecting a niche for yourself and dominating it.
Selecting a Niche
The niche you select for your digital marketing agency should somehow be related to your personal experience. If you have worked in a specific industry before, then it makes sense to start a digital marketing agency serving that particular industry.
Since I have worked at various B2C and B2B companies as a digital marketing manager, I started my own digital marketing agency. Even before you decide to start your own agency, make sure that you are having enough subject experience to be a digital marketer. If you do not have experience working on projects, brand yourself as an expert, and at least do a few consulting projects before you start an agency.
Digital marketing is not just about setting up Google AdSense and Facebook ads. There is a lot more which needs to be taken care of when it comes to digital marketing services and it is not limited to using digital marketing tools. A marketing campaign can be successful only when the marketer understands the customers well.
Having your presence in a particular industry and having work experience will definitely help you understand the market in a way that other digital marketing agencies who want to enter the same market fails to do so.
You should also build your personal brand as an expert in a specific industry if you want to convert clients with ease. Writing guest posts on authority publications, publishing articles on your own blog, creating videos, speaking at events. All these activities will help you build your personal brand. I regularly post on YourStory and Entrepreneur Online to build my personal brand in the market.
It is very difficult to build a brand for an agency in the first few years. If you want to position yourself as a premium digital marketing agency for a specific industry, it will take at least 3 to 5 years to position your brand in the market. So do not get impatient. This is a long journey, but once you setup your brand presence, you will start getting clients fast.
Your Personal Brand and Involvement
So for the first three years, all the clients that you will bring in for your digital marketing agency would be based on your personal brand. Of course, clients will expect you to be involved in all the areas of the project, and it is necessary that you get yourself involved.
No digital marketing agency can survive just by letting a bunch of employees run the business and not getting involved in the project yourself. Until you get 10 long-term clients who are happy and satisfied with your work, you should be involved yourself in the day-to-day activities of your digital marketing agency.
Building a digital marketing agency doesn’t mean that you can be a business owner and stop having a boss. In fact, now instead of one boss, you will have five bosses, each of them being a character of their own. Your clients are your bosses.
Beyond ten clients you might not able to pay your personal attention to what is going on with the agency, and that’s the time when you need hire experts who could take care of the business for you.
Until you have your first 10 clients, I recommend that you leverage your personal brand to get clients for your business. By the time you have 10 clients, you will have enough testimonials case studies and success stories to create a brand for your agency. With time, when people realize that you have worked and achieved results for a brand they know and trust, they will more likely to buy from you.
Going with a particular niche and being known as an expert in a specific industry applies both for your digital marketing agency and for your personal brand.
As you grow your digital marketing agency, you might want to expand it into multiple markets and industries in the future. I would not recommend going into different markets and industries until you have saturated the niche you have selected.
Since you have to make a way for the agency to grow beyond a particular niche, you need to make sure that the name of the agency has the capability to expand. This brings us to the next point in the article, how to create a name for your digital marketing agency?
Choosing a Name for Your Agency
Choosing a name for your digital marketing agency is a very important process in setting up your digital marketing agency. You can come up with a name you like, but make sure that the name you choose has some meaning behind it.
At our agency “PixelTrack Digital”, right now we are focusing only on education-related clients. We help both offline and online education companies to scale their revenues using digital marketing. And, I want to be known as a person who has expertise in the education field, and I want my digital marketing agency to be known as an agency who is good with working with education companies.
I do not expect to saturate the education market soon, but at the same time, I have given a name for my agency in such a way that it can expand even beyond the education category. If the name has something related to the education industry, then it might become difficult to expand the brand beyond the particular niche.
Guidelines for Naming Your Agency
An agency should have a meaning behind it to make it memorable. A lot of agencies use very generic names and some agencies even have a funny name. The name itself will not affect the success of your business a lot, and you will still succeed even if you don’t have the perfect name. We put a lot of thought into naming our agency at “PixelTrack”, and it literally means that we are going to track the pixels.
Performance marketing usually works with pixels and pixel is a term that is used in the digital marketing industry often. We wanted to make sure that a part of the name must hold a common term that digital marketers can recognize and relate to.
We also wanted to make sure that there must be a verb in the name to give a more positive and actionable orientation to the entire brand name. Here “track” is a verb and looks dynamic.
Also, whatever name you are giving to your agency, make sure you use a ‘.com’ domain name for your agency. Good .com names are mostly taken and finding a good name might cost you anywhere between $2,000 to $5,000. It is not mandatory to get a .com name, but it is recommended. We had PixelTrack.in domain name for almost a year, before we managed to buy the .com version for $4200.
If you create an agency and in five years’ time if you manage to grow your agency to the multimillion-dollar level, you might face a lot of difficulty in acquiring the .com version of the domain name. Once you build a well-known brand on a ‘.in’ domain name or any other extension, the difficulty of acquiring the ‘.com’ version of the name will increase.
If you are serious about your digital marketing agency and want to make it the top idea in your mind for the next few years, you should consider investing some money in getting the ‘.com’ domain.
Build Your Brand Presence
Once you have selected the niche and the name for your digital marketing agency, the next step before getting clients is to build your online presence.
During the initial days, the only way to get clients is to reach out to them and present your offerings. It will be a long time before clients reach out to you and for that, you need to build a very strong brand.
A very strong brand can be built only by having extremely satisfied clients, and you need to go out and look for potential clients who would be a good fit for your agency.
When you are reaching out to people either using email or LinkedIn, make sure that your online presence is well established.
The first and foremost step is to get your website up and running. Have a professional look for your website and clearly mention all the digital marketing services you are going to provide as a part of your agency. When you are just getting started, you might not have any client testimonials, but you can get reviews of your personal brand from other people.
(I am yet to setup a proper website for my own digital marketing agency, but I have not done it yet because I am getting enough client requests through my blog – digitaldeepak.com).
Reach out to the people in your network to give you a review as an expert. If you use LinkedIn and if you have recommendations on LinkedIn, you can copy and paste those recommendations on your website.
Once your website is up and running, make sure to include a blog page on your website. Publish at least five articles in the blog and make sure that those articles show the expertise of you and your agency.
When clients consider giving you a project, they will probably look at your website. Your presentation, the design of the website, and the quality of the articles that go inside your blog will play a major role in the conversion process.
After your website and blog gets ready, get your Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media channels ready. Create a separate page for your company. If you have team members, add them to your company page. Publish updates from your company page and share the blog posts you have published in your blog.
Once you have an online presence, you will have everything you need to pitch your first client.
In the next article, we will talk about how to prospects for clients and how to convert them.
If you have any questions on what we have discussed today in this article, please go ahead and leave a comment below.