Start A Digital Marketing Agency – What You Need to Know

Published by Jenn Neal on

start a digital marketing agency

There are many aspects to starting a digital marketing agency.  Dive in to find out the key aspects to consider when starting your own agency.

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TIP: How to start a digital marketing agency

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TIP: 9 Steps to Start a Digital Marketing Agency

  1. Niche

    what services are you going to offer and who are you going to serve

  2. Talent

    make sure you have the knowledge and skills

  3. Experience

    practice on yourself first and for customers (paid or free)

  4. Audience

    find your tribe and build your following

  5. Presence

    branded messaging, website presence and social media

  6. Pricing

    determine your pricing model: hourly, retainer, package

  7. Expectations

    have clearly defined contracts, client meetings and communications, deadlines and scope of work

  8. Processes

    Define and document your processes in steps, SOPs, and project management

  9. Scale

    hire and delegate: ultimately you want to remove yourself from all of the tactical processes

9 Steps to Start a Digital Marketing Agency
9 important steps to consider when starting a digital marketing agency.

What’s In This Episode

When offering services as an agency, you have to be an expert in what your customers need. In today’s world that has to include digital marketing. Starting a digital marketing agency takes time. I’m going to share with you how I started my own agency, how I adapted as I grew, and a few key things that you should focus on when starting your own content marketing agency.

Jenn Neal - Content Activation Expert

Jenn Neal on starting a digital marketing agency.

And in that instant, I realized that I didn’t have a niche clearly defined enough to be able to have a clear elevator pitch, so I really screwed up!

-Jenn Neal

Starting A Digital Marketing Agency – What You Need To Know!

Starting a digital marketing agency may sound like fun… but is it really? After spending 15 years in the corporate world, I decided that it was time I worked for myself. I wanted to start a digital marketing agency. I already had a good amount of experience. It couldn’t be that bad – or so I thought! Honestly, starting a business is more complicated than it sounds. There are so many different aspects to consider, that it’s hard to keep up with them all! So, I’m here to share with you some key aspects to look at when starting a digital marketing agency! Let’s jump right in! 

the COVID-19 crisis has largely created more work and communication for creative teams. - Jenn Neal on starting a digital marketing agency
With the pandemic having created a great deal of work for creatives, it’s a good time to start a digital marketing agency!

Define Your Niche

You know you want to start a business, but what is it that you really want to do? The most important step to starting an agency is to define your niche. You’ll want to be extra specific with this. For example, my niche was graphic design and marketing materials. One thing I regret from when I started was not being more specific with my niche. Anyone can offer digital marketing services. So, you want to pick a very specific niche and offer services that will help set you apart from your competitors. 

In this process, you’ll want to think of who you are going to be offering your services and products to. Where are they in their client journey? Did they just realize that something is wrong but are still trying to define the issue? Have they already identified their problem and are looking for solutions to it? What do they need you for and most importantly, what problem do they have that you have a solution for? Being extra specific in this area will help you define what skills you will need to get and what courses you’ll need to take! 

Over 50% of surveyed marketing leaders said they were busier than ever following the COVID-19 crisis in March 2020- Jenn Neal on starting a digital marketing agency
In March of 2020, the world had to pivot to a new way of living. Working from home and online became a new way of life. If you’re thinking of starting a new online business, the time would be now!

Implementation and Digital Marketing Certification

This is where things can get a little sticky. To start a digital marketing agency, you’ll need to have experience. With experience comes implementation. Identify what skills you already have and those that you will need to be able to offer your services and products. To be successful, you will need to be knowledgeable. Your audience needs to view you as an authority in the market. If you’re not prepared or experienced enough to handle the ins and outs of the digital marketing world, you’re setting yourself up for failure. 

It’s important to first get the skills you need to be able to succeed in your business. Find a course that teaches you the skills for the different services you want to offer. (Again, be very specific with the services you offer. The more specific you are about your services, the easier it will be to find a course.) When picking a course, consider the time and cost of the course. I suggest taking a course that you can take at your own pace, and that provides an active community for when you feel like you need some clarity (and trust me, you will sometimes!).

Take my new course, The Organic Leads Machine Certified Partner Program, for example. It’s not another course that teaches you the basics. It’s a “go at your own pace” course where you learn about content activation, SEO, and keyword research. Not to mention, you receive your certification at the end. A course like this is more beneficial to take than one that would take extra time. Courses that allow you to go at your own pace ensure that you can move on to gaining experience much quicker. 

Digital Marketing Experience

Experience in the field will be key to starting your own business. Instead of jumping the gun and starting your business immediately, take the time to get experience. Sure, a course will teach you the skills, but using those skills and learning how to fix issues is more important. Start by freelancing or finding a business looking for someone with your skillset. This will not only help you refine your skills but will also help you network and meet new people!

The more refined your skills are, the more you’ll have an authoritative presence. People will hear your name and associate you with your skills. They’ll know you’re the go-to person for their problem and will seek your knowledge on how they can solve said problem. So, take your time and refine your technical skills. Put in place what you’ve learned. See where you need more skills. Work on gaining the knowledge and skillset that working in the field will provide! 

Pricing, and Expectations

As you start working with more clients, you’ll need to define your pricing. I, for one, started out offering an hourly rate for my services. I quickly realized that tracking hours was a HUGE pain. Not to mention, it made me feel cheap. I knew that my services were worth so much more. Eventually, I started working with a coach who steered me in the right direction. I found that creating packages with set prices was much easier to sell. For clients that kept coming back, I set up monthly retainers. 

Know what your services are worth and price them as such. Don’t sell yourself short. You’re going to be selling your end result – the solution to your customer’s problems. Trust me, they’ll be willing to pay what you ask for your services. Setting up packages will help you to sell your end result easier – and you won’t have to track any hours!

Setting up packages will also help to set your expectations for your clients. Set your expectations when you’re reviewing your contract. Provide clear details on the pricing, and what services the client will be receiving. Tell the client from the beginning that extra services will cost extra money. Be sure to cover any and all grey space so that you’re both on the same page. 

According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 94% of content marketers changed their strategy in 2020 as a direct result of the pandemic and over 70% of those claim they saw an improvement in performance over the previous year. - Jenn Neal on starting a digital marketing agency
If you already have an online business and want to change your course to something new, digital marketing is a great place to start!

Considering All Aspects 

There is a lot to consider when starting your own business. These are just some of the most important aspects to execute. Be sure to carefully plan out your business. Managing your own business will have a lot of ups and downs. Ensure that the steps you take are going to propel you in the right direction. And more importantly, make sure that you’re working toward a goal that makes you happy! You’re going to rock this – I just know it!

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How are you currently charging for your services?


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