Success Formula to Build a Profitable Agency From Scratch
Digital marketing has gathered momentum, and soon the industry will touch the $375 billion mark globally.
To harness its enormous benefits, you should first spend some time learning its various streams and fundamentals. Developing a roadmap and an action plan is the next most important step. The easy availability of numerous marketing options can overwhelm a beginner solopreneur, so cutting all the clutter, we bring you an actionable plan that includes where to start and how to proceed.
A strategic roadmap will help you define and shape your marketing efforts to attain your goals faster. So, first, learn how to build and run a digital agency from scratch.
How to Build a Digital Agency?
Here are a few steps to successfully build your digital marketing agency:
- Spend time on self-education
- Choose your niche and leverage niche marketing
- Start local
- Perform competitor research
- Create a professional website
- Build a portfolio
- Set a pricing model
- Go social
- Generate leads
- Simplify client onboarding
- Hire white-label services
1. Spend Time on Self-Education
You can get access to a host of free educational material from DashClicks that will sharpen and upgrade your online marketing skills. Most of the study material is designed for agency owners, and you’d easily be able to locate the sections dedicated to agency owners in our blog section.
Here are some of the resources you can refer to:
- Video Blog
Dashclicks’ video blog is immensely beneficial for the agency owners as it shares proven digital marketing strategies directly from the successful agency owners, including Chad Kodary, the CEO of DashClicks.
- Dash University
Dash University is the DashClicks’ education, and training venture explicitly launched to help agency owners succeed in this challenging marketplace. Branded as a “university for agency owners,” Dash University educates you on what works and what doesn’t work.
Dash University conducts a new live online training session every week. With four distinct training styles, it helps you absorb all the information with minimal effort. With entertainment and engagement being the top priorities during the training sessions at Dash University, you can learn complicated stuff without feeling overwhelmed.
2. Choose Your Niche and Leverage Niche Marketing
Finding your niche is crucial to survival in this challenging marketplace. Most agencies promote themselves as full-service agencies, but it goes against them when targeting clients from a specific niche. Positioning yourself as an expert in a particular niche is the remedy that works wonders.
To know more about targeting a specific niche and other aspects of niche marketing, read this article – How to Grow and Scale Your Digital Marketing Agency in 2021
According to a HubSpot study, the average agency’s profit margins are generally shallow – reportedly between 10% and 20%. It is therefore essential to distinguish your agency from others.
The big question here is how to define your niche. Do some SWOT analysis and discover which type of company or industry you can serve most effectively, given your experience, exposure, and interest. For example, you can specialize in specific sectors such as tech companies, finance companies, and businesses linked with travel and hospitality. You can also choose the business types such as family-owned businesses, small businesses, and VC-funded companies.
Some of the niches you may consider are as follows:
- Landscape architects and designers
- Educational institutions
- Massage Therapists
- Personal Trainers
- Tattoo parlors
- Engineering and technology companies
- Water Damage
- Rehab Centers
- Auto Shops
To pick the low-hanging fruit offered by niche marketing, follow these tips:
Show the proof of success in the category you claim to be an expert in through testimonials, mentions, or case studies.
Acquire expertise and knowledge of your niche as well as current and future trends. Keep yourself abreast with the latest industry updates through blogs, trade journals, and subject matter experts and influencers.
Get access to customized marketing tools and templates related to the niche you want to target.
It’s not necessary to focus on just one niche, you can choose multiple niches at a time, but these three tips apply to all of them. Hard work is the key to success, along with these tactics.
3. Start Local
Being in the same area builds trust among local businesses. It is comparatively easier to introduce your agency when you are a local player. Once you have a portfolio of local clients, you can easily penetrate the international market. Meet local community leaders, attend local events and get yourself featured in the local press. Participate in a social cause.
4. Perform Competitor Research
Performing a competitive analysis helps you in many ways, especially when you need to know your competitors’ specific strategies. You can use Ubersuggest, a keyword suggestion tool, to find the popular keywords and their variations.
Entering a broad term into the software to engage in keyword discovery will bring you many ideas to explore the topic. When you perform competitive research, you should follow these tips:
- Restrict your competitors to 10-15
- Find out how they are monetizing, i.e., making money
- Delve deeper into their content marketing strategy
a. Take a look at their blog posts and social media posts
b. Check their content formats, i.e., podcasts, blogging, or vlogging
c. Analyze their SEO tactics
5. Create a Professional Website
Based on the competitor analysis and content marketing analysis, you can launch your website. All you need to do is choose a domain name and hosting service. Remember, your website is often the first touchpoint for your customers, so create it as per your branding. Avoid clutter and make it user-friendly.
You can create a professional agency website through DashClicks’ Sites App within a matter of minutes. You don’t need designers, developers, and content writers to develop these professional and beautiful template-based websites.
6. Build a Portfolio
Building a portfolio is the prerequisite before you create your website. Offer free digital marketing services to your friends and their businesses to make your first portfolio. It will also help you get free testimonials that you can use on your website to build trust. You need not run a full-fledged online marketing campaign for a client to make a portfolio. If they have a local store or local business, you need to do local SEO for them through Google My Business and perform some directory listing.
When you have so many things on your plate and if it seems too much for you, you can order white-label directory listing services from DashClicks at an affordable rate. We are with you at every step of your journey to become a seven-figure agency.
Creating a Facebook business page and an Instagram account for them and creating a couple of posts is also a good idea. This approach has two benefits. First, it will help you in networking and spreading awareness about your business. Secondly, you may also win a paid contract in the process in case your friends liked your work.
Tip: Keep your portfolio ethical and verifiable.
Further reading: 11 Benefits of Using White Label Digital Marketing Services
7. Set a Pricing Model
For essential services, you can charge your client on an hourly basis. A flat retainer or a monthly fee is the simplest pricing model. You can also charge a percentage of spending as your fee, which offers a pretty transparent pricing model. Refer to a digital agency pricing guide or check out the market rates before you launch your agency. Here are some of the pricing options available to you.
- Hourly charges — Straightforward, but it offers no incentive to work faster.
- Project-based charges — If you have the required skills, charge a flat fee for any project. It’s understandable and easier to scale.
- Retainer model — Ensure a good steady income each month. Good for you when your agency produces a large volume of work each month.
- Recurring model —Offers discounted annual agency pricing plan. It’s Ideal for long-term projects such as SEO.
8. Go Social
Social media platforms enjoy a tremendous reputation as some are the most powerful communication mediums between the business and customers. So, as soon as you have your website live, create your company’s social media accounts on the major social networking sites. These are the best places to build brand awareness and engage people to bring them into your sales funnel.
For further reading, please read: 14 Digital Marketing Tools to Boost Your Online Presence
9. Generate Leads
Generating leads can be the most challenging aspect of a business for a new agency, but you shouldn’t be discouraged. We are sharing with you a formula that will help you generate leads. Keep your target customer in mind and create their buyer persona. Agencies generally succeed with their lead generation efforts through video marketing, blogging, and affiliate marketing.
Let’s begin with video marketing
A. Start Video Marketing
Create a YouTube channel and start posting excellent videos adding your target audience’s pain points. You can include case studies, how-to videos, and client reviews and testimonials in these videos. Please make sure you regularly post on your YouTube channel. Otherwise, it will lose its traffic and rankings. If some of your blog posts or articles perform well, you can always make vlogs of them. This way, you will soon develop a small audience that you can divert to your website.
B. Try Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing and cold email marketing also have tremendous potential. It involves referring or endorsing a product or service through a blog or your social media account. Sometimes, affiliate marketers also create a full-fledged website to sell a product or bundle of products. The affiliates earn a commission on each sale made through the unique links placed by them.
Further reading: Get Clients for Your Digital Marketing Agency in 2019 on Autopilot
C. Create a Lead Magnet for Your Website
Most of your website visitors never convert to leads. From readiness to commitment to an inadequate level of trust, there can be “n number” of reasons for this. For such visitors, you can use a lead magnet.
What is a Lead Magnet?
A lead magnet is used to capture website visitors’ contact information, so you can move them into your marketing funnel and nurture them till they convert and become your loyal customer. Ebooks cheat sheets, templates, whitepapers, and other learning resources are pretty popular these days as lead magnets.
Click this link to see the examples of lead magnets used by companies such as Instant Offices.
D. PPC (Pay Per Click)
Pay per click is one of the best marketing strategies for ROI to generate leads when you have little or no organic traffic. Both Facebook and Google Ads can boost your outreach beyond your expectations. PPC ads allow you to target a specific audience looking for services similar to yours, which is why these are highly effective for lead generation. However, it would help to keep a tab on your ad spend as it may soon go beyond your budget.
E. Content Marketing and SEO
The best way to generate leads is through content marketing and SEO. The organic traffic is free, and hence this is the best option to generate, nurture and convert leads.
Write content on topics your audience needs. Answer their queries, address their pain points and tell them how your products and services can help. SEO helps your website to get more visibility on search engines. It boosts traffic on your website that is primarily free. Create a blog and create helpful content and optimize it to attract search engines’ attention to your blog.
Pro Tip: Hire white-label SEO and content marketing services as both fields require expertise, and hiring professionals can be a costly affair for a newly launched agency.
Here are the five benefits of hiring white label content marketing services from DashClicks:
In the end, this video will immensely help you to build, scale and grow your digital marketing agency.
10. Simplify Client Onboarding
When your agency grows, you get more clients on board every month. Onboarding is a tedious and repetitive process, so it consumes a lot of your time and energy. Technology comes to your rescue in this and allows you to handle onboarding on autopilot.
DashClicks’ onboarding platform allows you to automate client onboarding.
The intelligent onboarding process prevents all the manual work by gathering crucial information from the client. So, you can either complete it yourself or send them straight to your client via your white-labeled dashboard. The system also sends automated reminders through email to the client, so they don’t forget to complete them. As a result, onboarding can be achieved without any delay.
11. Hire and Resell White Label Services
Spending too much on hiring and recruitment, in the beginning, can turn out to be a recipe for disaster. Instead, you should hire white-label digital marketing services, which are pretty affordable yet best-in-class.
It would be best to convey your brand values and preferences to your white-label partner, who will deliver the most suitable solutions to you. So, you can allocate your limited resources and time to marketing and sales and delegate all the functional and operational tasks to us. DashClicks’ fully white-labeled marketing platform allows your agency’s brand to shine. The platform will enable you to add your own branding wherever you want.
Further reading: Your Complete Guide to White Label Reselling
- Keep your lead response time low. Typically, it shouldn’t be more than an hour, or else you may lose the client.
- Set up an outbound sales team and create a lead pipeline.
- Market your website first and bring it on top of search engine results. Try paid advertising on Facebook and Google too.
- Invest in guest posting for link building and creating brand awareness.
- Use original pictures & high-quality graphics on your website instead of cheap-looking stock photos.
- Add personality to your brand. If you look like a replica of Jeff Bezos in his early days running Amazon from a single desk garage office, mention it. Talk about it in your About Us section and reveal your authentic self.
- Frequently publish on third-party websites and LinkedIn for added exposure.
- Guard your online reputation. Answer negative reviews, complaints, and queries promptly on social media and elsewhere.
- Highlight your strengths and share your achievements.
- Create powerful customer success stories and case studies and share them aggressively.
- Set your milestones and long-term goals.
- Build relationships with your customers, deliver excellent results and ask for referrals.
- Delegate rather than doing it all by yourself.
- Send letters and gifts to your clients at important events and festivals.
- Hire and train the right people.
Are You Ready to Launch Your Digital Agency?
Even though the idea of launching a digital marketing agency sounds overwhelming, if you carefully tread the path and follow the tips shared above, with perseverance, eventually you will succeed. It would help if you had the right team, the right strategy, and the right tools to succeed in this competitive and demanding marketplace. DashClicks equips you with the right tools and strategy. Collaborate with your clients and offer free training using DashClicks educational and training resources. There is substantial money in the field of corporate training, and it will reduce your churn rate, too.