7 Steps To Launching Your Own Digital Marketing Agency
The perks of being an agency owner are many.
Besides giving you freedom, it also offers you satisfaction, higher income, and greater financial security. However, it would help if you tread with caution while launching your dream venture, as even minor mistakes can damage your prospects of becoming a successful agency owner. Unfortunately, most agency owners are clueless about the right blueprint to succeed.
Most people don’t start, because they have fears, planted deep into their subconscious minds. And these fears are not baseless, so do your homework before you dive in. Many roadblocks down the path can deter you from achieving your goal.
Most startups fail in the first five years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more.
Here we have listed seven steps to launching your own successful digital agency:
Step #1 – Acquire Necessary Skills
Apart from the personality traits such as creativity and intelligence, you need some real experience in the field of digital marketing. Nothing can replace the real-life exposure to actual problems users face and how you can fix them as an agency. Some of these skills are:
- Communication, negotiation, and persuasion skills
- Keyword research, basic HTML coding, WordPress, on-page, and off-page SEO
- Designing ads
- Website and landing page designing
- Report generation
- Crafting marketing messages and brand positioning
- Google Analytics, Facebook advertising, Google ads
- Using tools such as UberSuggest, SEMrush, Marketo, HubSpot, and Salesforce
- Using team management and project management tools such as Asana, Basecamp, and Toggl Plan
- Managing clients and offering robust customer support
Step #2 – Pick a Niche and Identify Your Target Market
For a startup, targeting all the segments and industries can be a recipe for disaster. The best practice is to identify your target audience based on their niche, company size, and the type of business, such as local, SaaS-based, etc. It would help if you also designed your offering according to your customer base.
Don’t try to position yourself as a full-service agency, especially in the beginning, because most agencies specialize only in one or two areas. But when they start marketing themselves as a full-service enterprise, they get trapped in the vicious cycle of mediocre services, increased churn rate, and lower pricing.
The ideal strategy should be to specialize in only one area while improving your services and brand image. Then, you can pitch your clients accordingly. You are likely to attract more clients when you pitch as an expert in a particular field.
How Microsoft Diversified Its Products and Services Range?
Microsoft started as a software company and made an operating system DOS for IBM personal computers in 1981. Later on, it launched the popular Windows software with a visual interface in 1983.
When the Internet became popular in 1995, it launched the web browser “Internet Explorer” to dominate the still unchartered territory. Then, in 2001, it launched the Xbox gaming console. Now, Microsoft’s primary business is not Windows OS but its “cloud” computing services.
Create Your Customers’ Buyer Personas
It’s crucial to determine the buyer persona of your target audience before you announce your service offerings. You should try to find the exact answers to these questions to build your customer avatars.
- What factors or things motivate them?
- What puts them off?
- What are their business objectives?
- What issues and challenges are they struggling with?
- If it seems difficult for you to answer these questions, ask them to fill out a survey in exchange for a small gift offer.
Step #3 – Focus On Getting New Clients
According to a survey conducted through HARO (Help a Reporter Out) by Blair Nicole at Media Moguls PR, getting and retaining clients is the biggest issue facing digital marketing agencies. Even if you are the best PR person or marketer in town, your agency will cease to exist if you fail to sign up new clients.
Here are some proven ways you can try to attract new clients:
A. Get Testimonials
If you are a beginner, you can focus your attention on getting as many testimonials as possible. If you don’t get it naturally from your existing clients, you can offer someone to work for free, and they would likely return the favor by giving you positive feedback.
B. Offer Free Advice and Position Yourself as an Expert
The best way to establish yourself as an authority in any subject and create awareness about your agency is to offer free advice. It’s a proven technique many startup owners have successfully tried. So what is the best way to market yourself as an expert and gain an edge over your competition? You can try channels such as Quora, Reddit, Facebook groups, live events, and forums to answer people’s queries and offer tips and advice.
C. Target Startups
You can visit Crunchbase or Angel and find the startups that are in the incubation period or the initial stages of their operations. Then, you can prepare a report of the loopholes in the marketing strategy. The report should be comprehensive and also include possible solutions to fix the issues.
D. Try Aggressive Cold Outreach
You should do your outreach aggressively for quick results. You shouldn’t restrict yourself to email marketing as the email “open rate” is relatively low.
The best way to ensure that your message reaches the right person is to visit their website, find their contact details, and straightaway fix an appointment to discuss what you can do to boost their brand and increase their revenue.
STEP #4 – Invest in Content Marketing
Content marketing can change the game for your agency. The website conversion rate for agencies implementing content marketing is almost six times higher than that of agencies. Still, it costs about 62% less than outbound marketing. Content is also considered the most effective strategy for SEO and organic rankings. In addition, content marketing is understood to produce three times as many leads as advertising.
Furthermore, it has a compounding effect because it’s already there on your website, consistently attracting leads for your funnel, unlike paid advertising which shuts down its lead generation engine as soon as you stop making payments.
After the disruptive innovation of Internet-based business solutions, branded content is considered even more effective than traditional modes of advertising such as radio, TV, magazines, direct mailers, or PR.
In this scenario, investment in content marketing becomes essential for marketers.
Here are some helpful content marketing tips digital agencies can follow to succeed in this competitive space:
- Treat content as an essential tool for the conversion
- Set the processes for producing quality content
- Create relevant content and lead magnets
- Focus on quality than quantity
- Try content repurposing
A. Create Content According to the Marketing Funnel
To create a 7-figure digital marketing agency, you must know how to create content according to the content marketing funnel:
What is a Content Marketing Funnel?
A content marketing funnel is a system that helps you attract fresh leads to your business through a variety of content. These leads are then nurtured and passed through different funnel stages to convert them into paying customers eventually. It is achieved by progressively “funneling” them through specific, personalized, and product-focused content. The objective is to push the reader to the next stage of the funnel.
Various marketers split the content marketing funnel into four to six parts, but there are mainly three stages that you can consider:
- Top of the Funnel (ToFu)
The content for this stage focuses on increasing brand awareness and boosting website traffic. Therefore, toFu content should be attention-grabbing.
- Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)
The content created for this stage focuses on the generation and nurturing of leads. Therefore, MOFU content is primarily educational.
- Bottom of the funnel (BOFU)
The content created for this stage of the funnel focuses on conversion and purchase. BOFU content is personalized and decisive.
B. Try Content Repurposing
Take your best content and convert it into a video or a podcast or vice versa. In addition, you can take your content to an entirely new audience by repurposing your content. Here are the different ways to repurpose your content:
Smart Ways to Repurpose Content
Many subject matter experts, influencers, and YouTubers conduct interviews with other experts in their field through video conferencing to attract new audiences to their YouTube channels. It also imparts value to their existing viewers.
Here are a few tips for repurposing content:
A. You can conduct interviews with experts in your field. Then, you can use their tips to create a “tips” or “how to” article and can even make an “expert advice ebook.”
B. You can also conduct a webinar and convert it into a podcast using tools such as CloudConvert. A webinar can also be converted into a video tutorial with ease using a video editing tool such as iMovie or VideoPad.
C. You can share your agency’s internal data and campaign stats and create impactful case studies out of it.
So, here are three possibilities for content repurposing that you can try.
- Interviews => Tips & Expert Advice Ebook
- Webinars => Video Tutorials
- Internal Data & Campaign Stats => Case Studies
So, you can try the following possibilities and repurpose the content from long-form to short-form and visual content and vice versa.
If you are successfully implementing content marketing, you will:
- Invest a minimal amount in paid ads
- Increase organic search traffic through quality content written for the audiences
- Create buzz and increase brand awareness
- Get higher conversion rates
C. Boost Your Content Creation Capacity
As a digital agency, you should try to produce more and more evergreen content once you get a few clients in hand. The best example of evergreen content is Wikipedia, and you can take inspiration from some of the topics on this online encyclopedia.
However, a topic such as “The best strategies to create backlinks in 2021” is not evergreen content as nobody would like to read this content once 2021 is over. Wikipedia attracts more than two million visitors every month because of its evergreen content. Your content should have the following features to drive significant results from your evergreen content:
- It should be comprehensive and long-form
- It should be educational
- It should address the pain points of your audience
- It should add value to the lives of the readers
- It should contain long-tail and intent-based keywords
- It should be correctly formatted
- It should contain visual elements and graphics
- It should list the key takeaways
You can use the following tools to check the quality standards of the popular content for your chosen keywords.
Your post should stand out, so it doesn’t go unnoticed in the pile of 2.5 million blog posts being published online every day. It would help if you focused on quality, frequency, and comprehensiveness while creating content. Also, make sure your content is visually appealing.
Key Takeaway: To differentiate your blog post from the flood of posts published on the web every day, you should find a unique angle.
You can follow these tips to find a unique angle:
- Check out other blogs:
- Use Google search and tools like BuzzSumo to find the top-ranking posts in your niche and add something of your own to this content.
- Use skyscraper technique to create longer content with helpful screenshots
- Add up-to-date info
- Add your research and insights
- Cover the topic from a different angle
D. Expand Existing Content
Google loves fresh content, and it brings lots of opportunities to the table for marketers. For example, you can expand the existing content, explain it with examples and stats, and add new tips and tricks.
Use a tool like Clickflow to find your decently performing posts in organic search, which have partially lost traffic. It provides you the Content Decay report with a ranked list of pages you need to update to win back traffic quickly. Update the content in these posts using different methods discussed above, and you’ll see a sudden rise in traffic.
Apart from a boost in organic rankings and traffic, updating content has the following benefits:
- Increase your click-through rate (CTR)
- Fix issues in the existing content
- Tell Google that you have fresh content
- Add fresh context
- Replace broken links
- Update stats and facts with the latest info and resources
E. Follow Influencers
Another way to find out the content gaining traction from social media audiences is to follow influencers. There are hundreds of thousands of influencers, and you can divide them into four major categories viz. nano, micro, macro, and mega influencers. These can be defined as follows:
- Mega Influencers: More than 1 million followers
- Macro Influencers: 100,000 to 1 million followers
- Micro-Influencers: 10,000 to 100,000 followers
- Nano Influencers: Less than 10,000 followers
Key Takeaway: See the posts generating conversations and use these topics and ideas for your next blog post. Once you publish your post, inform the particular influencer that your blog post is inspired by one of their social media posts, and they will likely share it from their social handle.
- 11-Point Content Marketing Checklist Proven to Boost Your Engagement
- Startup Marketing: Your Ultimate Strategy For Incredible Growth
- How to Grow and Scale Your Digital Marketing Agency in 2021
- The Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing
- 8 Game-Changing Benefits of Content Marketing
STEP #5 – Scale Your Agency by Delivering Results
Now that you have successfully launched your agency, the next step is to scale it up.
A. Choose a Model
You need a business model first to scale successfully and deliver results as a 7-figure digital marketing agency. Without a predefined model, you will not have a clear strategy and specific goals in front of you. Instead, you can choose your niche and define your income goals while selecting a business model.
B. Put Processes and Systems in Place
It’s essential to have proper internal processes and Systems to create a 7 figure and digital marketing agency, These processes start with hiring experts, trainees, and freelancers and onboarding new clients.
Setting up processes is a tedious job, but once these processes are in place, they would help you to increase your efficiency as an agency. Document everything that you learn, plan, systematize, and automate. If you have proper processes in place, you will not have to spend too much time onboarding a new hire for a client. A few white-label platforms also offer automatic onboarding.
Since most onboarding tasks and communications are predefined and planned, these automation tools reduce your Headache as they take care of all the information you need. It also brings consistency which is highly appreciated and expected by your client.
You can use project plan templates and use them in your campaigns.
However, in the absence of proper processes, your team members may change the processes as per their whims and fancy. Moreover, it might annoy your customers as they want more transparency, consistency, and accuracy.
If you have standard processes in place, it will help an employee efficiently perform the job for another employee on emergency leave. It will also allow you to step away from the business when you go out of town or need a break.
Key Takeaway: Better processes and excellent customer support reduce client churn rate.
C. Grow Your Team
It is essential to hire experts and interns Whose wavelength is in sync with your agency’s objectives, vision, and work culture. So, their personalities, attitude, and work ethic should match with your agency’s work culture. If they are not ready to put in extra efforts to turn your agency into a revenue generation machine, don’t keep them. Instead, design your compensation and bonuses based on an individual’s performance and contribution to your agency’s growth.
D. Find and Nurture the Right People
The biggest mistake agency owners make is mistreating their best employees. They are forced to work long hours while their underperforming counterparts work as they want. If you want to create a 7 figure agency, make your best employees feel valued and respected. When hiring employees, you should select them based on the following characteristics:
- Problem-solving skills
- Integrity and honesty
- Focus on excellence and quality
- Empathy toward clients
STEP #6 – Collaborate with Others
To become a 7-figure digital marketing agency, you must collaborate with others. Since you can’t operate as an island, it is crucial to have channel partners.
A. Find Channel Partners and Other Agencies
A successful digital marketing agency works with many channel partners, agencies, and content providers. For example, web designing is a part of digital marketing services. Therefore, it is recommended that you collaborate with competitive web designing companies to design websites for your clients. In addition, it will decrease your dependency on full-time web designers on board to finish things in time.
B. Collaborate with Influencers
It is also imperative to collaborate with influencers as they help you to present your content in front of new audiences. They also help you in conversion by introducing your product or service from their social handles. Influencers can also increase your website traffic dramatically and send you high-quality traffic. It will save you enormous time and money spent on paid advertising.
C. Collaborate with White-Label Agencies
You can also leverage technology and use white label tools to your advantage. For example, you can use DashClicks’ white-label platform and InstaSites to create hundreds of professional-grade websites within a matter of seconds. InstaSite is a tool that helps you build hundreds of niche-based websites for your clients in less than a minute. All you need to do is choose a template based on your niche, enter your clients’ basic details, and press the submit button. The idea is to save time and scale your agency. Here is an example of a content-ready website created by InstaSites.
Step #7 – Leverage Tools
As a successful agency, you can build your tools and offer them to your clients for free. Therefore, it can be an excellent strategy to create backlinks and attract traffic. Apart from that, it would also help you in creating brand awareness.
A. Build Tools
As a digital marketing agency, you can build an SEO, plagiarism detection, or backlink tool and offer it free of cost on your website. Successful marketers such as Neil Patel have done it earlier with keyword research tools such as UberSuggest.
Here is the number of brand inquiries Neil Patel receives every month.
B. Use Tools to Automate Processes
C. Use Tools to Save Time and Add Value
It will save a lot of time and hassle for you. For example, to generate digital marketing reports for your clients, you can use a white label tool InstaReports. It will create beautiful-looking reports with lots of data and insights. Usually, in-house employees procrastinate when they need to generate a report, mainly because it’s pretty monotonous and boring. InstaReports can generate professional reports with minimal effort.
Other Growth Strategies
Mergers and acquisitions are among the other most popular growth strategies which numerous agencies use to their advantage. You can acquire a struggling agency and turn it into a successful business, and it will become an extra source of income for you. Apart from that, you can start free coaching programs for working professionals, arrange workshops, and participate in sponsored events.
You can also try affiliate marketing to become a 7-figure digital marketing agency. Hire interns and train them to do repetitive and time-consuming tasks. It has advantageous for both parties. Fresh employees get a break in the digital marketing industry and learn the cutting edge practices, while you can cut the human resource cost and still manage to get the same results.
The strategies and tactics discussed above will provide you with a blueprint to turn your struggling agency into a 7-figure digital marketing agency. It is essential to create standard processes to get an edge over your competition and improve your workflow.
Customer support is also a necessary part of agency growth, and it should be on top of your list to keep your customers happy.
You should also invest in training your employees. It will pay off tremendously in the long run. Conduct workshops and training programs periodically for your employees, and you will see an unexpected growth in productivity and performance. If you make your employees feel valued, they will give their best to help you become a multi-million dollar agency.