Starting your own agency can be confusing, can’t it?
There just aren't any good resources out there to show you how to do it. You’re stuck between a rock of outdated advice, and the hard place of short posts without any understanding. And, it’s frustrating.
You want an actionable, in-depth, piece of content from someone in the know. Is that too hard to ask?
No. Not anymore.
In this post you’re going to learn the steps every start up digital marketing agency needs to take, at some point, to get on the road from zero to hero making six figure at a go.
Now, there is no cookie cutter way to start an agency, and this article doesn’t try to give you that. Instead this is all the steps you must take, but they need to be done in your way. They need that bit of magic only you possess to turn them from words on a page and into tangible income.
But if you’re ready to turn your agency dream into a financial reality, I advise you read on:
These first few steps are your foundation and platform. Everything you need on how to start a digital agency on, and secure your success further down the line. This is the advice you need, but rarely ever take. But, even doing just the easy parts of this can save you a lot of work down the line.
Okay, I’m going to get the wish washy, feel good, stuff out of the way to begin with. And while it might feel a little like fluffy content, let me tell you why it’s not:
The road to a 6 figure agency is long and hard.
There’s no overnight success. No short cuts. No hitting and hoping. Just hard work, late nights, blood, sweat and tears.8
But you have to keep a positive attitude throughout it all. If you’re starting an agency, you have a vision of what it is that you want to achieve. And, you have to keep that positive mental image of it for as long as possible.
As one of my mentors once told me, “Why get frustrated with no’s? They’re just stepping stones to your next yes”.
Who knows, your biggest hit could be just one more rejection letter away?
Set Clear Goals
In order to be the resounding success that we both know you can be, you’re going to need clear goals to work towards. Because, as the advertising legend Paul Arden once said, “Without a goal, it’s hard to score”.8
The fact your here, and looking to starting an agency, suggests one of your goals is money, and that sweet six-figure agency status. But your goals can be anything else that excites you or drives you forward.
In all honesty, you should be taking what Google executives call Moonshots. Where you don’t look at goals in terms of attainable, you look at them as aspirational. Where you set yourself something above, and beyond, what you think you can achieve.
But on a more actionable level, it pays to set your business goals using SMART. Because, as boring and unoriginal as it sounds, it works at all levels. If you’ve never set a SMART Goal, You have not started.
Find Your Focus
Goals allow you to focus your time and effort. But, this level of focus is about who you’re going to focus those time and efforts with. This step is where you get to know your audience, who they are and what makes them tick.
A great brand – as you’ll read about next – delivers a specific set of ideas to a specific type of person. And, it’s your job to decide who you’re trying to appeal to.
Now when you’re at the beginning of the road, it’s tempting to try and appeal to everybody. Because you want money in your bank account and clients under your belt. Feeling that way is totally normal, so don’t worry about it. Just don’t give into it.
Try and answer these questions to give yourself a little more focus and clarity on what it is that you’re trying to build, and who for:
• What is your niche? Who is it that you want to work with, and why? Is it small independent businesses, Fortune 500 companies, fashion brands? Knowing this will help you narrow down where you go looking for contracts.
• Who do you want to appeal to? Are you here for the geeks, the wizards, the whizz-kids, the hardened professionals or the new kids on the block? This will help you find the people you’ll associate with, and how you’ll begin to build a lovable brand.
• What makes you unique? There are thousands of agencies out there, so what is it that makes you different? What do you (or will you) value, care about or do differently to others?
Analyzing who you are, and what you bring to the table – whether that makes you a digital content agency, advertising or otherwise – is a key step in building a profitable brand. ‘Learn to say no’. Say no to things that don’t fit your focus, or your goals, and you’ll be a success in much less time.
Create A Clear Brand Identity
There are lots of reasons you need to have a clear brand identity. In fact, most of them are well known clichés like, “People buy from people they like”. But there’s one often overlooked, but incredibly important, reason that ties them altogether.
As Lois Geller once put it in an article for Forbes, “A brand is a promise”.
It’s a promise to deliver a service that people can trust. One that they like. One that associates with them. One that they know will deliver those results each and every time. There will be people that don’t like your brand as well, but screw them. That’s the sign of a good brand.
When you’re branding you need to decide:
• What your promise is: What do you and your audience value? What does your brand stand for? Pick your fight and run with it.
• What your voice is: This is by far the most important one for me, especially for a digital agency. Who does your tone of voice appeal to? The way you’d speak to a young technology startup is different to how you’d speak to an established retail chain. Establish who it is you’re talking to, and how you want to speak to them. There are two great articles on tone of voice here, and here.
Once you have that, you have a foundation to start building your logo, slogan, domain name and everything else that makes a brand tangible.
Getting It Off The Ground…
Okay, once you've nailed the basics of starting a digital marketing company, it’s time to turn this from wonderful idea into tangible agency. These steps all take time, but they’re going to form the backbone of your business. And, there’s a couple of money saving tips here, too, to make sure you get off to a good start financially.
Get Yourself On-line
Okay, I’m not going to teach you to suck eggs here. You’re in Internet marketing, and you know you have to have a website to start generating income. But, what you don’t have to do is break the bank.
The first thing you think about when you think of your site is how it looks. Is the design sexy enough? Are my buttons shiny enough? Do my images leap off the page? And, that’s because it feels like design is important. That’s why designers can charge over the odds for even the most simple, template built websites.
What’s truly important – and a realization that will save you a lot of money – is that you value function first. Heck, some of the most popular million dollar websites are ugly as hell. But they generate income because they’re simple and easy to use.
When you’re starting out, then, focus on getting the essentials locked down – your own domain and branding – then worry about the design later. We have design website for agencies and they have gone on to be giant successes, so there’s no reason yours can’t as well.
Work On Your SEO Skills…
You don’t need to be an absolute SEO pro to start a digital agency. In fact, you don’t really need to know…anything, about it to start an Agency (cue lots of SEO’s getting really angry right now). Because you always have the option to learn on the go, and build your expertise over time.
The nature of the beast in our realm is that SEO is always changing, growing and evolving. And one small update from Google can turn even the most ardent marketer into a blubbering beginner all over again.
Make sure you learn the basics and have an understanding of why doing x, y or z will deliver a result. Then, you can learn the rest of the techniques as you go.
If you don’t have any Idea of what is SEO and how to do it, I will I advise you purchase our SEO training video you will have a lot to learn it.
Optimize Everything You Create
You’re in the SEO business, so this should be your bread and butter. But it’s worth giving you the reminder.
Anything you create, whether it’s a page on Up Work, a directory listing, a guest blog post, videos or anything else, make sure it’s optimized to be found on search. Find what you want to rank for and make sure you build it into all of your content. Even if it only brings in a couple of views, or leads, or a month, it’s better to have it than not have it. You can hire a developer to be updating for you.
What You Should Do Next Now
Get our Digital Marketing Course Video - you will learn digital marketing hands-on by implementing real-world live campaigns yourself as you learn from experienced experts in the digital marketing industry.
Whether you want to start, grow and scale your business on-line, or you want to start an exciting career in digital marketing, or you want to make money from digital marketing skills you love, or you simply want to make money on-line then we have you covered.
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