In the past, getting into the marketing business was a challenging feat, so it’s no surprise that building your own startup company is no easier. Back in the day, people were limited by the traditional form of marketing which required legal papers to set billboards and the headache that comes along with it. Furthermore, traditional media such as TV and the radio are too expensive and not as efficient.
Follow These Steps to Start a Digital Marketing Business
However, with the rise of digital marketing, it is getting easier and more affordable to start your own business in this field. Advertising is not as much of a challenge if you have the necessary skills. We will provide you with some tips and walk you through the whole process if you want to build a successful company that lasts for some time.
1. Acquire the Necessary Skills
Being confident is a great quality to have, but trusting yourself to the extent of believing that you don’t need to improve will inevitably lead to your failure. To be able to work in marketing, you should be creative and smart. However, building a business is different from working for someone, and you will need a whole new set of skills for that. For instance, you need to know how to manage different accounts, clients, and employees. You will need to have leadership skills to create a balanced working environment that keeps everyone’s productivity in check.
With that being said, you should also learn to be more understanding and keep an open mind for the clients’ demands. It is also worth noting that there may be times when clients will be difficult to handle, but you should learn to control the situation. Being the owner and manager also means taking decisions and accepting the outcomes whether good or bad. You should have the ability to let go of failures and move forward while trying to learn from your mistakes. If you are one of those people who tend to quit easily, it will be too difficult for you to handle a company.
2. Become a Contractor
Going solo is not for everyone because it is risky and you can never guarantee success. On the other hand, working for someone will offer you a stable income and insurance, so you won’t have to worry about life’s twists and turns. One of the things that will help you take a leap of faith without worrying too much is building a solid foundation. You can do that by having a freelance contractor business. This helps establish your company while providing you with a safety net until your business blooms. This will also give you the necessary knowledge before carrying the weight of running your marketing agency.
Working as a contractor will help you gain connections by dealing with clients from different fields. The clients may refer you to others which will help kickstart your agency. Moreover, you will spend a lot of time writing and reviewing contracts which will help you get accustomed to the process. You should always keep in mind that the time you invest in working in the field will provide you with the experience that you will need down the road.
3. Educate Yourself
Educating yourself is the key to success because jumping into the unknown without the appropriate knowledge can have negative consequences for you and your business. You should take courses, diplomas, and start self-teaching in your free time. If you wish to become one of the most successful people, our advice is to never stop learning even after you think that you have learned enough.
4. Find Your Niche
The competition in any field, nowadays, is intense because the population is increasing at an insane rate. That’s why you should find your digital marketing niche to stand out by becoming an expert in what you offer. You can still work in all advertising aspects, but having a specialty that you are great at will make people come to you specifically instead of your competitors. For instance, if you are good at web-designing, you should start working on yourself in this regard until you master it. There are other fields in marketing such as search engine optimization, content marketing, and conversion optimization services.
5. Do Competitor Research
Getting to know your competitors will help you rank yourself and understand how to surpass them. You can do that by figuring out the reasons behind their success and why you are lagging behind them. You should turn your points of weakness into strengths or try to find your strongest suit to be able to compete.
6. Launch a Website
Your digital marketing business should be appealing enough to attract anyone from anywhere. Launching a website is a way to reach out to different people from all over the country, so you should be careful about how you design it. It is important to create an intriguing domain and a logo to establish an identity that attracts clients. Furthermore, the page should be visually appealing and user-friendly because when a site is hard to navigate, people give up on it.
It is crucial to have content that people will be interested to read such as tips related to marketing. We tend to get hooked when a website cares about the knowledge it will add to us rather than trying to force its services on us. That being said, you should hire copywriters with great writing skills to ensure that your website will break through to people’s minds.
In the first few months of starting a business, you will barely gain any profit because you will still be trying to prove yourself in the field. Adopt different strategies to cover your expenses and get some money. For instance, you can add pay-per-click ads to your website to get some cash from visitors even if they won’t request your services. It is crucial to keep thinking of methods to support your business rather than spending money on it out of your pocket.
7. Have Social Media Presence
After launching your website, you should build a social media presence because it is the language of this era. It’s free to create an account on various platforms and connect them all. This will help you reach more people and engage with them through comments and messages. You can also post the link to your website on social media to show customers that you can market for yourself, which means you can do the same thing for them.
8. Create a Portfolio
It is hard to convince clients to hire you when you are new to the market. The best way to persuade them is by building an attractive portfolio that demonstrates your experience and quality of work. For instance, create a page on your website with your story, achievements, and testimonials. You should let them know about the academic credentials and certificates you have received and if there are any on-going diplomas.
In case you don’t have projects to showcase because you are just starting, you can work on some for your friends. You can also work as a freelancer for a while until you have a rich portfolio. You should request reviews from anyone you work with so you can add it to your resume. A pro tip is to never fake any certificates or recommendations because if the clients figure it out, you will lose their trust without any way to gain it back. This can also ruin your reputation in the marketing field and make it hard for you to make it as an owner.
9. Generate Leads
To attract more people to your business, you learn how to generate more leads and turn them into purchasing clients. However, before doing that, you will have to determine your target audience to tailor the marketing strategy. You can do that by posting videos, blog posts, and emails. Moreover, using tools that generate leads by scanning potential clients and determining what they like. They will also alert you whenever a potential customer searches for your domain name so you can call them and promote your business to them directly.
10. Decide How You Will Attract Employees
Running any business is not just about renting a place and having a few employees as you will have other responsibilities to tend to. For instance, you will have bills to pay and orders to complete by buying materials and launching campaigns. That being said, you will have to ensure that you can survive before posting an advertisement asking for people to work for you.
People hesitate to apply for a job at newly established startups because some people build an agency without prior meticulous planning or knowledge. Employees want to work for someone who will pay them a good salary on time and offer them benefits. You may find people who are willing to work for lower prices, however, you need to make sure that you are hiring talents and not just anyone that knocks on your door.
Having a plan from the start and knowing how to pitch your idea, may attract talented candidates even if you are not going to pay them a ton of cash. They will know that they will get a wonderful salary after they help you make your vision come true.
11. Create an Appropriate Business Model
Creating an appropriate business model depends on the kinds of services you will offer as a digital marketing agency. Accordingly, you will set your prices and decide how you are going to bill your clients. It can be easy at first because you will have very few tasks, however, when you scale up, it will become more complex. That’s why you need to determine the best billing method before taking on an order.
Some orders will need you to have a lot of one-on-one meetings with your clients, whether in person or on the phone. You will be spending a lot of time talking to them and hours to complete their requests such as launching campaigns, promotions, or working on increasing traffic. That being said, charging them using the hourly paying model will ensure that any time spent working on a task is not going to waste. However, some clients hate this method and they start questioning your speed and honesty.
One of the simplest ways that will steer you away from any hassles by the end of the month is the flat retainer method. Meaning, you will determine how much the work is worth and agree on a monthly flee with the client for as long as the project takes. You won’t have to send out monthly invoices to inform your customer about the due amount because everything is predetermined. On the other hand, if the client requests double the work and keeps making edits, a flat monthly fee is not going to be enough. Accordingly, you need to have a condition in the contract that if the requests scale exponentially, you can renegotiate the agreement.
If you have a problem with requesting more money down the road after you set an agreement, you can go for the percentage billing method. This one puts into consideration the scalability of the client and any growth potential. However, it is not a good way to start because many clients will reject that, and at first, you will need every order you get.
When you become more experienced down the line where you can see that your campaign will work, you can shift into a commission-based pricing model. This means that you will take money only when the client makes a sale because of you. We recommend this method with people who sell products or eCommerce companies because other than that, it will be hard to pinpoint how they gain money.
Building your company from scratch is not an easy task as it will require sleepless nights, money, and effort. You may find yourself lost in the sea of competitors or that your agency is getting tainted because of the low-quality companies out there. Either way, you shouldn’t let the confusion drag you because if you have a solid plan, your business will most likely flourish. That being said, you should harness your skills, keep learning and understand every aspect of running a startup; from hiring employees to retaining clients. Your target shouldn’t only be survival, but growth and profit-making after a set amount of time.
By Sasha Douglass