Digital marketing is an attractive industry for passionate entrepreneurs. Working for yourself and using creativity to build a company is a fulfilling way to make a living, but starting a digital marketing agency is a challenging endeavor.
Learning the ins and outs of Internet marketing is just the beginning. You will also have to understand how your competitors found success. You will need to identify your niche, build clientele and maintain customers. You will also have to continue researching and refining your marketing tactics.
Start by Working for an Internet Advertising Agency
One of the biggest mistakes that young entrepreneurs make is trying to start an Internet marketing agency without experience. Rather, you should work for an established firm first. You will learn how to overcome the challenges of running a marketing company, and you will expand your knowledge of business management.
Find Your Niche
Even if you know everything about search-engine optimization, cost per click ads, website design and other marketing strategies, you need to focus your business plan. Narrowing your clientele will allow you to tailor your marketing services to that particular audience, which can make your product more effective and affordable. Consumer targeting can also save you money by preventing clicks and impressions from people outside of your audience.
Start Networking with Clients and Colleagues
Digital marketers have plenty of advertising options. Pay per click ads, SEO, blogging and social media all have benefits, but they cannot replace face-to-face networking.
Look for opportunities to network with your clients and colleagues. Are there marketing conferences or meetups in your area? If not, consider hosting your own.
If you provide marketing services for a specific niche, such as lawyers or cosmetic surgeons, then find networking opportunities to connect with potential customers. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, face-to-face networking can be far more memorable and effective than salesy ads.
Raise Your Prices
Many new entrepreneurs undervalue their services. This makes sense when you are refining your marketing strategy, but you should raise your prices sooner rather than later.
If your prices are too low, clients with investment capital may not take your company seriously. Also, your budget will determine your marketing efforts and expansion strategy, so undercharging for your services can stunt your company’s growth.
Keep Your Customers Happy
Learning Internet marketing strategies, creating a business plan and attracting customers are exhausting — but all that work is fruitless if you can’t maintain clients. There is a multitude of reasons why companies fire their Internet marketers: A lack of website visitors, poor writing and terrible customer service are just a few.
Here are a few steps that can help you retain clients:
- Respond to phone calls and emails immediately;
- Learn your customers’ specific goals;
- Develop personal, friendly relationships with clients;
- When you suggest a service, give a detailed explanation for your recommendation;
- And occasionally ask if customers are happy with your services.
Continue Researching Your Field
According to John Bertino, CEO of TheAgencyGuy.com, “Digital marketing is evolving at a much faster pace than most industries. The marketers who stay up-to-date with the latest advertising strategies are the ones that provide the best services and retain customers.”
Where is the Google algorithm heading? Which content marketing strategies are generating the most conversions? The answers to these questions and others will change over time, so set aside a few hours every week to research digital marketing news.
Hire Reliable Employees
As you expand, you will probably hire employees to lighten your load and support your company’s growth. Your ability to identify reliable employees and keep them happy can make or break the success of your marketing agency.
Take the time to contact potential employees’ references. After hiring, conduct bi-annual performance reviews. You should also have ongoing training programs to help workers sharpen their skills.
Building a successful marketing agency comes with a myriad of challenges. The entrepreneurs who find success are those who are inspired to evolve their advertising strategies and business model. This requires networking, researching and going the extra mile for customers. If you can stay motivated and power through the adversity, running a digital marketing agency can be an exciting — and profitable — career.
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