With changing times, it has now become easier and affordable to establish and start a fully operational marketing agency from scratch within a few months. Which was considered an impossible and tumultuous task a few years back, has now become approachable, thanks to the resources available around us. The barrier formed due to the primitive digital landscape, limited access to physical and traditional media, and the troubles in fabricating something that resembled ROI for your clients, have now been bridged.
Companies today are relying extensively on digital marketing agencies to get their products and services to the world. In this article, we have taken the initiative to introduce you to the five important steps that can help you build an online marketing agency from the ground up.
1) Develop the Necessary Skills
Considering the field of digital marketing, if you are not prepared and experienced enough to deal with the many nuances of managing accounts and client relationships, there are high chances that you may encounter failure and suffer huge losses.
Registering for a digital marketing course from any renowned organization/institution builds the candidates’ digital marketing skills, knowledge, insights, and that are needed to perform any task professionally and with expertise.
Attending these courses will give you an idea of what could be offered as a “professional” service to the client. It is always advisable to work on a marketing team initially and start with providing services to small clients to get a better understanding.
Some of the very important skills that the candidate learns in the initial stages are:
- Building landing pages
- Designing ads
- Constructing messaging and positioning
- Learning systems like Marketo, HubSpot, and Salesforce
- Properly implementing tracking
- Spending hours on a promotion just to watch it fail
- Substantial pressure to produce
2) Be a Contractor Before Becoming a Founder
It is very important to develop the foundation of the business initially before making the final call of doing it full-time. One way to do this is by having a contractual full-time job for some time on the side. The main benefits offered by this are:
a) It allows you to strike out on your own without assuming much risk
The vital aspect of managing clients as a side gig is that it helps you understand of to manage and build contracts. You will get experience in the process of putting a proposal together, then a contract, and then signing the necessary documentation/s.
b) It allows you to build valuable relationships
Establishing mutual connections via former coworkers or clients from your side work provided you with the experience necessary when it comes to building and maintaining client relationships.
Another skill that you will be able to learn from this is how to effectively negotiate the cost of your services.
3) Develop the Right Business Model
The main factors involved in successfully setting up a digital marketing agency are the services you provide and how you bill for your work.
Listed below are some of the common ways in which you can bill your clients:
a) Hourly: Most consultants charge their clients on an hourly basis. However, this business model is not effective for longer and more complex service offerings. This is because calculating the bill according to the number of hours per week or per month can be a very challenging task.
b) Flat Retainer: The flat retainer is considered to be the simplest among the pricing models. In this model, the billing is calculated and agreed on a flat monthly fee.
This model reduces any confusion or friction as the client is already aware of what it is going to cost them, and once their expectations are met, they will have no problem paying for it.
However, it is advisable that you prepare a price for a period of time. Once this time has expired, you can renegotiate the prices.
c) Percentage of Spend: This pricing model is most used by agencies as it allows scopes for growth potential and scalability of the client. This model used by agencies helps them to turn down clients after they have reached a certain maturity, who have little or no pre-existing spending.
d) Commission-Based: This model ensures that the company gets paid when the client makes money off of a sale. Applying this method helps the company gain a competitive advantage over others.
e) Define Your Niche: In order to establish a successful agency, it is important to stand out and create a unique selling proportion while approaching new prospects. The reasons behind these are:
- It makes onboarding easier
- It strengthens your skillset exponentially
- It gives you a competitive advantage
5) Decide How You Want to Scale
Instead of hiring employees at the very start, it is important that you yourself are proficient and highly skilled at your work. Therefore, managing the accounts yourself initially will help you understand the skills and knowledge necessary for the job. This will aid in hiring talented employees most suited for the job.
One very important thing to keep in mind while running a business is that unless and until there is a big trustable outside investor ready to throw in money for the expansion of your business, it is rather advisable to live a financially stable life on your own terms.
Managing a business comes with its own ups and downs. It is your skills and understanding that will make you strong and competent enough to face any trouble. Once you have discovered and mastered all the elements needed to successfully set up a digital marketing agency, it will just be a matter of time for you to establish your place in the industry among and at par with other big competitors.