What to Know Before Starting a Digital Marketing Agency

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Getting paid up to a few thousand dollars per month by companies to manage their social media accounts is probably one of the easiest ways to earn money today. Social media is leveraged for promoting businesses and raising awareness, but many small business owners are intimidated by it because they don’t understand the way it works. If you have experience and skills regarding digital marketing, starting a digital marketing agency is an opportunity for a successful career in business.

Marketing agencies are constantly arising as the Internet continues to dominate almost every aspect of our lives, including the business one. The global internet advertising revenue passed the $150 billion mark in 2015, and it’s expected to increase to $260 billion in the next few years. If you’re considering to start a digital marketing agency, now is the time. Everything you need to know about starting this business will be discussed in this article.

1. Pick lucrative niches

Focus on high-value niches that attract clients such as lawyers, doctors, or dentists, because these clients won’t struggle to pay you. As opposed to a ‘treadmill business’ (where there’s no income if you don’t show up to work), social media marketing (SMM) is a ‘front-loading’ business model. This means that you need to put in a lot of work at the start, and once it gets propelled, you only need to maintain it. Also, when you learn how to help one lawyer, you can produce effective results for other lawyers as well, which allows you to build predictable income streams from more than one retainer.

2. Choose your digital marketing area

Social media is not the only area where you’re able to help as a digital marketer.

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SEO. Search Engine Optimization is about helping clients to get to the top of the SERPs (search engine results pages), with the main focus being Google. Good SEO can bring them lots of new leads which results in increased sales.

PPC. Pay-Per-Click has the same goal as SEO, but while SEO costs almost nothing and takes some time in order to bring results, PPC requires an advertising budget (but gets results faster).

Email marketing. One of the oldest, but still among the most fruitful digital marketing methods. Email marketing is crucial because it’s a sure way to convert your website visitors into paying customers. It works by keeping the visitors connected to the website and converts them through sales, discounts, special offers, etc.

Content marketing. Closely connected to SEO, content marketing deals with producing high-quality content (text, image, video, meme) that the ideal customer wants. By engaging customers through the content information, they start to build a relationship with a brand and are more likely to buy their offerings than a random lead.

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Social media. Platforms that are gaining more and more traction in the business world, helping businesses extend their audience reach.

3. Launch the business

A digital marketing agency is a company, and when it comes to technicalities, it’s no different than other businesses. When it comes to funding, you can turn to angel investors, online lenders, friends, and family, or banks. Also, you need to pick a name and have a logo designed by a good graphic designer (hiring a reliable and skilled freelancer is a great option for getting a great graphics solution). Next, you need to register the business. Today, this is done a lot easier because a company registration can be done online by filling out a simple application. Write a business plan that includes the executive summary, business description, service description, competition and industry overview, financial projection, and marketing strategy. You should look at other digital marketing agencies like Digital Roo to get some ideas on how to structure your business and present yourself.

4. Set a pricing strategy and create packages

Choosing an effective pricing model is one of the most difficult things to do. The three most effective pricing strategies for a digital marketing agency are:

  • Hourly pricing model. A commonly used and effective pricing model used in marketing. You charge an hourly rate for the work you do, previously providing your clients your work estimate.
  • Fixed pricing model. With fixed pricing, you agree to perform a determined scope of work for a specific price and bill your clients when the milestones or results are reached.
  • Value-based model. This pricing model is especially good for more established marketing agencies. There are two types of value-based pricing models: commission on your client’s revenues and charging more (because your client gets higher value from your work).

Also, you need to create service packages, because if you only have one price, clients who want extra services will leave. There are always clients that want the ‘luxury’ package. Create 3-5 packages, those that offer basic services and a VIP option. The packages differ in the type and amount of work you’ll do.

If you have the right knowledge and skills, starting a digital marketing agency can be a very rewarding business. Perhaps you know how the digital world works better than other people, or you know how to create engaging content by telling a good story. This is the heart of the marketing business, and with some good planning, you can set off to launch a business that is to become a synonym for exceptional marketing.


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Emma Miller is a digital marketer from Sydney. Works as a blogger, Senior Editor for Bizzmark blog and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University. Interested in digital marketing, social media, start-ups, and the latest trends.