digital marketing

You have been thinking about it for some time, and now you are ready to start your own digital marketing agency. You are already dreaming of doing things way better than others, dreaming of life as an entrepreneur, dreaming of new clients and new briefs to work on, and, heck, your own team of digital marketing crew. Isn’t that wonderful? Well, it is. Except for the fact that there are thousands thinking of the same thing and millions that already trying to survive out there, and another large number already established as digital marketing agency giants.

The easy part of building a business is getting it started. Online marketing agencies can be started from homes, without big investments. So that’s the good part. The hard part is staying the course, building a brand, getting business in, and continue getting business in.

Do you stand a chance? Of course, you do. So what do you need to do to start a digital marketing agency of your own and actually make it successful?

Here is a no-nonsense guide to get started.

1. Start Small. Don’t sell everything just yet

Don’t start off with selling all services just because your competitors are doing the same. You become just another agency offering everything. As a new agency, it’s important to stand out with your offering. You need to build confidence in the client that you have the knowledge to do something better than what is being done already. Start with one service; ideally something where you have domain knowledge and expertise. Don’t be afraid to define your business niche. You might be reaching out to a lesser audience, but you will be able to deliver what you are good at. Don’t mistake clients for fools. They will come to know what you are good at. Gradually as sales increase and you have a steady cash flow, you can expand your offerings. Remember it’s always quality over quantity.

2. Know how to get your first clients

This is the most important thing. Without clients, you don’t have a business. Once you get one, maybe through word of mouth, you need to keep things rolling. Start approaching small businesses/startups who might be looking for online marketing agencies but don’t have much budget. Do not go for the big ones, since they won’t be bothered. Start small, build a strong portfolio, establish visible results and start building your client base. One thing you must also do is start investing in inbound marketing along with outbound marketing. Build your website, put some great content there through blogs, website content, case studies, videos, ebooks, infographics, and promote that content through SEO. Get the traffic going to your website. Along with that, don’t forget to meet people, attend conferences and interact with people in your industry. Your first client will usually come from these chance meetings. Stay active on social media. Seize every opportunity to attend digital marketing events, address or speak at events. Remember you can’t build a brand for your clients unless you build a brand for yourself first.

3. Learn how to sell

You are your company’s first salesperson. So better learn how to sell. Sales trump everything. No matter how many sales guys you recruit, you will always be in the centre of things. Also, when you begin, you are your company’s only salesperson, so practice your pitch. It does not matter if you are not much of a sales guy yet; you will learn and get better at it.

4. Know how the system works

If you want to own a successful digital marketing company, you have to be a digital marketer yourself. You can’t just run an agency without actually knowing about your services. Ideally, you should work in a digital marketing agency before starting your own. This will give you a taste of what kind of services clients expect, quality of work etc. You have to get your hands dirty. Remember you can’t sell yourself as a digital marketing expert without actually being a digital marketing expert.

5.Have the necessary system in place

You cannot just hire talented people, hand them a computer and expect them to make things happen. You need to have systems and procedures in place. There have to process behind everything. Every project you handle must follow this procedure. You need to have the necessary resources, access to tools and software. Sure, there’ll be loopholes in the system, which you will identify with time but nonetheless, you need to set policies and procedures to begin with.

6. Hire the Right People

Finally, you cannot run a digital marketing agency on your own. You will need content guys, social media managers, and SEOs, copywriters, and designers. The number will increase as your business grows. Look for right people with the right qualification, knowledge, and skills. Not just technical knowledge but personality is important here. Don’t go for the top talent, since they will be too costly and probably won’t come to work for you. Hire people who are passionate, willing to learn at the job, and have a good attitude. Finally, your great agency is made by a great team. So invest time and resources in hiring the right people. They will be your greatest asset in times to come.

7. Always offer customers a great experience

There is nothing like great customer service for building your brand. A happy customer will always give you more customers. Plus, you get great reviews online. Even though you work with a team of people, make sure you get involved to deliver the best job. If your customer is not happy with something that you have delivered, make sure you go the extra mile to make them happy. Don’t always think about the money. Think about building your brand first. There are several marketing agencies who sign up customers for 3-6 months, don’t succeed in delivering what they promised, get dropped, and then move on to the next set of customers. That should never be the approach. Always focus on great customer service – be proactive with your clients, ask them for their opinion and feedback and make your team understand the deliverables. Also, do not say ‘yes’ to everything the client wants in order to win business. Set expectations and deliver.

8. Never let complacency get the better of you or your team

Once you’ve had little success it is easy to get complacent. If you want to keep growing, you can never rest on your laurels. Remember you never achieve enough success. There will be work pressure, targets, long work hours, no matter how successful you become. Learn to live with it and make it a way of life. Remember you have clients who depend on you to grow their business.

Running your own digital marketing company in Gurgaon is not just rewarding but challenging too. You’ll face many ups and downs (more downs at first before the ups come). Take that as a learning and make course corrections. Also, never let failure get the better of you. Be committed, be persistent and stay patient above all. Happy starting up!

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Payel Mukherjee
Payel Mukherjee is the founder of Justwords and a passionate content marketer. She started her content marketing agency in 2010.

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