Starting a digital marketing agency can be confusing and intimidating, but it can also offer many rewards. Over the last several years, Digital Marketing has taken BILLIONS in dollars of advertising budgets from traditional marketing avenues and diverted strategies to things like SEO, PPC, Social Media Marketing, Email, Websites, etc.
The process might be long and hard, but with the right tools, resources, and plans, you’ll get there in no time. In order to be the resounding success that we both know you can be, you’re going to need clear goals to work towards—and that’s what this blog is here for.
In this article, I’m going to be taking you through the steps that I’ve taken in order to make my agency and thousands of my students agencies a success, and let you know what you need to do to follow suit. But let me warn you… Starting a Digital Marketing Agency successfully isn’t as simple as what your friend Billy might have led you to believe. It takes real work and commitment, but if you follow the steps I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll have at least an intermediate level understanding of what’s required to make that first $100,000.
The 6 Step Process TO Starting A Social Media Marketing Agency:
- Educate Yourself
- Price Your Services
- Create Business Plan
- Approach Businesses
- Getting Results
- Build Your Team
How To Start A Digital Marketing Agency
1. Educate Yourself
No matter how much you think you know, you’ll never know enough. Learn as much as you can about digital marketing, and continue to learn more as your business grows. One of the most common traits of the most successful people is that they never stop learning. From the very beginning, you should invest your time and money in learning as much as you can.
It’s essential that you have a strong understanding of the industry before trying to sell your service—you are selling your services as an expert, so any prospective client has to believe that you are the expert you claim to be, otherwise, why would they buy from you?
You’ll need to have a solid understanding of the most basic services you’d be offering—including running email marketing campaigns, what SEO and PPC are, what design and development are, how to create online funnels, how to find clients, outsourcing, pricing, and selling your services.
To make sure I’m always on top of the latest developments in the most essential areas of digital marketing, I use a process called SWEPS. These are the major parts of digital marketing that you have to understand in order to run a successful digital marketing agency:
- Social Media Marketing
- Website Design
- Email Marketing
- Pay-Per-Click Marketing, otherwise known as Google Ads
- Search Engine Optimization
You also need to have a strong foundation of knowledge in content marketing and design. However, you also need to know how to apply the above concepts to marketing. It is crucial before moving forward.
2. Price Your Services
The next big step is to determine how you will price your services. There is a TON to cover here so make sure that you check out our complete guide on pricing your agency service offering. This is very important, as under-pricing services is one of the main reasons why most digital marketing agencies fail.
The best way to price your services is to create pricing tiers based on the services provided. These could look like the following:
$999 [Management Fee + $500 Ad Spend – %25 Fee] = $1399
The impulse to offer a low price for your lowest tier will be strong, but you need to make sure you are still getting paid. Offering discounts or incentives is also a great idea for your lowest tier, but do NOT give away services for FREE. Charge a minimum $500+
$1999 [Management Fee + Ad Spend – %25 Ad Management Fee]
As the prices increase, your services need to increase as well.
$4999+ [Management Fee + Ad Spend – %25 Ad Management Fee]
Spend time laying out tiers and thinking through the amount of services you will offer with each tier. Make sure to take into consideration software fees, your time, and any services you might have to outsource to others.
The most important aspect of determining price tiers is in understanding your value. Don’t undercharge for your time, and don’t do work that is outside marketing.
3. Create Business Plan
Once you feel you have a good idea of what digital marketing is and you’ve put together pricing for your services, then you need to get together a business plan.
The first steps in your business plan will be to determine:
- Company name
- What industry or niche you’ll be serving
- What services you’ll be offering (web development, email marketing, content marketing, etc.)
Now that you’ve got those questions answered, you need to start setting up the basics. Set up a basic website, and then build your portfolio. If you have no portfolio and need to gain experience, you can turn to freelancing sites such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelance.com to start completing tasks for clients and receiving testimonials.
4. Approach Businesses
Now that you’ve got the skills and a plan, it’s time to get out there and start looking for real clients for your social media or digital marketing agency. Look for businesses in the niche or industry you are marketing to and prepare to approach these businesses in one of the following ways:
Find key contacts and decision-makers from the local businesses you want to work with and get their contact information. Reach out either over the phone or through email and tell them about yourself, your businesses, and the services you can provide for them.
Digital Marketing Audit for Business
Getting out and approaching as many businesses or industry contacts as possible is a great first step, but to land a client you’re going to have to be able to show that you can provide them with value. One way to do this is to create and deliver a digital marketing audit to businesses. Take a look at their existing digital marketing efforts and those of their competitors’, and give solutions for issues they may be facing.
Attend Networking Events
It may be difficult for some people who are more introverted to physically get out and approach people, but networking is essential. Look up local business associations in your niche, or other business membership groups and attend events and speak to people.
Once the potential client has reviewed the audit and you’ve got them on the hook, then set up a meeting. Use this meeting for the client to get to know who you are and what you do, and most importantly, how you can help them!
In every interaction you have with a prospective client, be careful that you don’t come across as too sales-y. Don’t SELL; instead, provide value. Focus on the solution you can provide for the client, and not the product or service.
When it comes to landing the client, think about what the customer wants to hear. You also need to walk the customer through the process so they know exactly what to expect. While speaking to clients, there are two approaches you can take:
Emotional – use emotions to sell products or services.
Logical – focus on a logical approach to solving the client’s problem.
5. Getting Results
Now that you’ve landed some clients and are getting new business, you have to be able to prove to current clients and any future clients that you can produce results. This is where the bulk majority of new agency owners tend to struggle. Too many people take a course and spend 30 days studying material that has taken people like myself YEARS to understand. Just like any other profession, it takes time and commitment to really understand the service you’re providing and how to deliver that service to different types of businesses all over the world. Ultimately, results come from a complete understanding of the concepts taught in SWEPS. The more you understand about how to build a campaign comprised of all of the services discussed in SWEPS the more likely you’ll be to have extremely happy customers.
Ensure that your client sees the return on your efforts by tracking results and putting together reports to show to clients. This gives concrete proof that what you are doing is benefiting them. The goal here is to determine what they need to make to AT LEAST break even. Keep in mind, your goal should only be breaking even in the first couple of months of a campaign, but ideally, you’re trying to turn a profit for your client. So, for example, if a marketing agency client spends $1,000 on your services, your minimum revenue goal should be to generate around $1,500 in sales.
6. Build Your Team
Once you get clients and are generating at least $3000 per month in revenue, you must build a team to help you manage your business and your time.
Find people to create content, edit your video content, copywriters, graphic designers, and any other task you might not be good at or have no experience doing. This allows you to focus your time going out and finding new clients! The more time you spend on finding new clients, the more your business will grow.
Unless you build a team, you will never be able to scale your agency, and you will never be able to grow your business and see the success you have been working so hard towards
Social media is such an engaging industry because it is always evolving, and 2019 is a great time to start your own social media marketing agency. In no time, you will be running your own agency, working your own hours, and will have the potential of earning a six figure income using a skill you love and use on a daily basis. In order to grow, you must follow basic steps to market to your niche, price your services accordingly, and build a team to help manage tasks you might not be so great at.
If you’re ready to start your own digital marketing or social media marketing agency in 2019, get started by enrolling in our online Digital Marketing School today! You can also follow Cereal Entrepreneur on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram for helpful content daily, or visit our blog for more FREE training.