Digital marketing is a highly competitive and highly demanding space these days. Everyone is moving their businesses online, which means everyone requires a digital presence. Offering a highly customized and quality service at a fraction of the cost of a full in-house team. But in the end, the biggest pull is to be able to deliver results very quickly.
There will never be an easier time to launch a digital marketing agency than it is now. Everything is available online. But building the right team who can deliver quick and effective results is difficult. As you will be a cash flow-driven business, you also need to make sure your unit economics are in check.
So if you have been wondering about how to get started, here is your quick guide with 6 must-do things for launching a digital marketing agency:
1. Develop core marketing expertise without hiring
2. Prepare Sample Materials to show Potential clients
3. Figure out one niche in which you have experience/expertise
5. Offer outcomes, not services
4. Reach out a lot, build a lead funnel
6. Look for initial clients within your network
Develop Core Marketing Expertise Without Hiring
It is imperative that when you start an agency, keep the team lean. You need to have some understanding of marketing. Then if possible get a partner who has complementary skill sets. For example, if you are good with campaign design, get someone who knows about creating content. If you have 2-3 partners make sure the absolute basic version of the offer can be done by you and your partners.
If you are looking to get into content marketing, you need to learn about writing, some visual presentations, content distribution, and community building to distribute the content. If you want to go into paid marketing then you will need the expertise in media buying on different channels. Depending on what you want to offer, you need to have the core expertise amongst yourselves.
Prepare Sample Materials to Show Potential clients
The best way to create a lasting first impression in this field is by showing how good you are. You can go on and on about how good you can be but if you have some work to display your quality, that will go a long way in convincing everyone. For an agency offering 360-degree digital marketing, have a portfolio of static graphics, videos, articles/blog posts, copywriting, and paid marketing results.
If you are focused on one niche, just keep the materials relevant to them. If you just want to do copywriting, at least showcase some copies you have written. The best agencies tell just how much money they made their customers beforehand doing what they do best. If you don't have any results to show, focus on the potential and quality of the work.
Find out a Niche You Have Expertise or Experience in
The world is moving towards specialization and you need to have some expertise in a niche. For starting, it is always much better to start with a niche. With a niche, you have a targeted group of clients you can reach out to. You can look for Facebook groups, Twitter threads, subreddits, etc. where they are most present and can reach out a lot easier.
Choosing a niche in which you have experience also makes it easier to land your first clients. Say, you have worked in another agency before and you used to handle media buying and your primary customer were restaurants. Just focus on media buying for restaurants as a service and show the portfolio you had in your job. Conversion will be a lot higher as you will come across as an expert in a small field. It is easier to land higher ticket size clients this way too as they tend to prefer specialists a lot more.
Reach out A LOT, Build a Lead Funnel
There is no shortcut when it comes to building a lead funnel. You need to first calculate how many clients you need and then work your way back from there. Then you will have the number of people you want to reach.
For example, if you want to have 10 clients, you think your closing rate will be 20% so you will need 5x meetings so you need to set up 50 meetings. Again if 10% of cold outreach is going to agree to a meeting you will need to reach 500 people to get 50 meetings. Now, your initial target is to reach 500 people
Once you get there, you need to find out what channels you should use. Ideally, at first, you should explore everything and then slowly over time make judgments on which are more effective than others. If possible, see where people are more active and reach out accordingly. Social media direct messages and emails are the most popular for direct cold reach out.
Also explore niche subreddits, Quora on relevant questions, popular Twitter threads, and Facebook groups for your TG. Then there are long-term strategies like Content Marketing and SEO Once you have some data on which methods are working better, you should double down on those more.
Offer Outcomes, not Services
Always keep in mind that your clients want to expand their business and they are looking for an outcome. Don't go into a pitch and say "I will do your handle your copywriting" Tell them what it can bring to their business. A better way of saying this is "We will help you connect with your Target group through our messaging"
The best example of this is paid ads. Instead of saying "I will do media buying for you" say that "for every 'x' dollar you spent I can make you 'y' in return". Be prepared to make bold promises and then do whatever it takes to keep that promise up.
For traditional businesses who haven't explored digital marketing, you need to even educate them in terms of how this can help grow their business multifold as well. That is when they will hear what you have got to say.
Look for Initial Clients Within Your Network
When you are starting, you don't have a portfolio. You lack recommendations but most importantly you lack results. As we have already talked about, having quantifiable results is the best proof of your quality as an agency. So without any of that, it will be hard to onboard clients at first. Your connections, friends, and family are your best bet to get started.
If you can find a relevant business from your niche within your network that's great. Work for free if that's what is required but get results first. Once you start getting results, you will be much more confident as well in reaching out to cold leads. This isn't to say that don't reach out to others. You should start doing that from day 1 but don't expect much and start building a portfolio.
Building an agency is hard. There are a lot of things you have to manage constantly. You never want to miss a deadline in all of this rush. If you are just looking to streamline your workflow with your agency from day 1, Onethread is the simplest agency management solution to help you streamline your work and make sure you never miss a deadline. Start for free and relieve yourself from unnecessary work so that you can focus on your key responsibilities.