When it comes to starting a digital agency, you may find yourself in a place where you have to make some big decisions.
You may be asking yourself:
- What's the first step in establishing my business?
- How much will it cost to start my digital agency?
- How do I price my digital agency?
- How do I market my digital agency?
- ... so much more!
We walk you through all of the steps; from idea → starting → launching → growing → running your business.
The purpose of this guide is to act as an outline for the steps you'll need to take to get your business running successfully!
💡 Introduction To Starting A Digital Agency
Is Starting A Digital Agency Right For You?
There are many factors to consider when starting a digital agency.
We put together the main pros and cons for you here:
Pros of starting a digital agency
You can put as much time into the business as you'd like. If you like the work and have some initial experience, you can start small and manage all aspects of the business on your own.
• Ability to start your business from home
It's not necessary to have a physical storefront or office space to get your business started. You can do everything from the comfort of your own home, at least in the beginning!
• Rewarding work
Starting a digital agency can be really rewarding work. After all, you are solving an immediate issue for your customer and you're working on something you truly care about.
• Traffic to your website
A digital agency gives people a reason to visit your website and to keep coming back to you!
• Meaningful business connections
You never know who you will meet as a digital agency. This could be the start of an incredible business opportunity!
• High customer retention rates
Once a customer invests in your product, they've invested their time and energy to utilize your product/service which is highly valuable to them. Typically, your product or service becomes indispensable to your customer.
• Pick & choose the clients you work with
Digital Agencyes have the ability to choose the clients they work with. You have the freedom to work with only a few loyal clients or with hundreds of clients!
• Control of workload
With starting a digital agency, you have the unique ability to choose how little or how much you want to work. You also have the freedom to decide which projects you want to work on, and can turn down the ones that do not interest you.
• Gain exposure and experience
This career allows you to gain experience working for multiple different businesses - which will benefit your resume and also keep things interesting for you!
• Unlimited income potential
With starting a digital agency there is no cap as to how much income you can make. The stronger your business skills and the more energy/time you put into your career, the more you'll make.
• Predictable income stream
Your businesses income stream tends to be predictable based on the number of customers you have signed up. This makes financial planning and outlooks much more seamless!
• Higher likelihood of getting referrals
This business is all about referrals, which can be a a very impactful way to attract and retain customers. It's critical that you have a great referral program in place that incentivizes your customers to tell their friends about your product.
• Control your own destiny
Starting A Digital Agency allows you to control every aspect of your life and make your own dreams come true every day.
• Greater Income Potential
With this business, the sky is the limit in regards to your income potential.
• You can decide who you work with
Gone are the days of working in a toxic work environment with employees that you may not vibe with. As a small business owner, you get to decide who you work and surround yourself with.
• You can work from anywhere!
Not only can you start your digital agency from home, you can also run your business from anywhere in the world. This is the entrepreneur dream.
• Strong Demand & Relatively Recession Proof
The demand for digital agency is increasing year over year and the business is known to be relatively recession proof.
• You get to inspire others
Your business is one that encourages and inspires others, which in itself, can be very fulfilling.
• You establish yourself as an expert
With starting a digital agency, you establish yourself as an expert in your niche, which builds your credibility. In return, customers are more likely to trust you and refer you to other friends and family.
• Can build solid foundation of clients
It's unlikely you will have one-off customers as a digital agency. Typically, you have a solid foundation of clients that use your product and services regularly.
Cons of starting a digital agency
• Motivation of employees
If you plan to have a sales/content team on board, finding creative ways to motivate them can be a challenge. It's important that you're able to offer great incentives and a good work environment for your employees.
• Low margins
The gross margins for your digital agency are typically around 20%, which can make it more challenging to incur new expenses and maintain profitability.
• High employee turnover
In the digital agency, employee turnover is often high, which can be quite costly and time consuming for your business. It's important to try and avoid this as much as possible by offering competitive pay, benefits, and a positive work environment.
• Stressful work
This line of work can be stressful for both you and your clients. This type of transaction is a significant financial decision for your client, so expectations are very high for you. Although this career path can be very rewarding, it also comes with its challenges and stressful moments.
• High overhead expenses
With starting a digital agency, there are overhead expenses that come with selling a physical product. You will want to make sure you strategically budget for these overhead costs. We discuss this more in the startup costs section below.
• You may need to charge sales tax
If you are selling your products in various states, you may be required to charge sales tax. Although this may not impact your financials specifically, it can be a headache to create a process and procedure for this. To learn more about sales tax, check out this article
In this business, customers can cancel their membership or subscription for your services - which can make revenue forecasting challenging and unpredictable. It's important to focus on your churn rates and trends so that you can prevent this as much as possible.
• Time commitment
With starting a digital agency, all responsibilities and decisions are in your hands. Although this is not necessarily a negative thing, work life can take over at times. This can place a strain on friends and family and add to the pressure of launching a new business.
• Difficult to build trust with your customer
With starting a digital agency, there can be minimal face-to-face interaction, which means it can be a lot more difficult to establish trust with your customers. You'll need to go the extra mile with your customer to grab their attention and business.
• Complex development process.
The development process for a digital agency can be quite complex, which may cause delays and challenges when launching and growing your product.
• Complex maintenance
Your digital agency will require a long-term investment due to the need for updates, bug fixes, and security vulnerabilities. It's important that you (or someone on your team) stays on top of this at all times.
• Impatient customers
You may offer an engaging user experience for your customer, but customers expect a lot and may be impatient if they aren't pleased with your product or service.
• Be prepared to get out of your comfort zone!
Although this is exciting for some entrepreneurs, it can be a big challenge for others! You may find yourself in uncomfortable social and business situations, jumping into tasks and responsibilities you aren't familiar with, and pushing yourself as far as you can go!
• You might struggle financially (at first)!
If you bootstrap your business or choose not to pay yourself (or pay yourself less than you were making at your corporate job), this can be financially taxing. It's important to adjust your lifestyle and set a plan for yourself so you don't find yourself in a stressful situation.
• Difficult to scale
With a digital agency, it can be challenging to find ways to scale. Check out this article that discusses scaling your business and the challenges that come with it.
• Learning Curve
When you start your own business, you no longer have upper management to provide you with a playbook for your roles and responsibilities. You should know the ins and outs of every aspect of your business, as every decision will come down to you.
• Equipment Breakdowns
Over the years, your equipment can get damaged, break down, and may need repairs which can be expensive. It's important you prepare for these expenses and try to avoid damages/wear & tear as much as possible.
• Takes time to see results & make money
Results and revenue do not come overnight with a digital agency. Often times, it takes weeks, months or even years for your work to monetize.
• Technical issues can be frustrating
Technical issues are common in this business. If you struggle with the technical side of things, you may want to consider outsourcing this responsibility to save yourself the time and frustration.
• More challenging to earn passive income
It can be more of a challenge to make passive income in this business. Often times, the amount of revenue you bring in is limited by the amount of time you have in the day.
- Digital Agency Network (14.5K Alexa Ranking)
- Digital Academy 360 (21.4K Alexa Ranking)
- BairesDev (36.6K Alexa Ranking)
- LaRochester Digital Agency (37.2K Alexa Ranking)
- SEOReseller.com (39.5K Alexa Ranking)
- Madrivo - Revenue $3.7M/month
- GR0 - Revenue $1.8M/month
- The Pedowitz Group - Revenue $1.5M/month
- Impression - Revenue $650K/month
- QWANTIFY - Revenue $600K/month
- Todays Business - Revenue $500K/month
- Brandetize - Revenue $500K/month
- SharpNet Solutions, Inc - Revenue $350K/month
- Huemor - Revenue $250K/month
- Pricing I/O - Revenue $250K/month
- STRYDE - Revenue $180K/month
- Limeup - Revenue $180K/month
- Never Settle - Revenue $150K/month
- Intellitonic - Revenue $135K/month
- Ogline Digital - Revenue $100K/month
- NAV43 - Revenue $95K/month
- Kontra agency - Revenue $80K/month
- DFY Meetings - Revenue $60K/month
- Add Value | Growth Marketing Agency - Revenue $50K/month
- TRANSLIT - Revenue $50K/month
- Canny Creative - Revenue $50K/month
- The Clover Collective - Revenue $50K/month
- Digital Scholar - Revenue $40K/month
- O3M Directional Marketing Pvt Ltd - Revenue $40K/month
- Base Coat Marketing - Revenue $30K/month
- HelloSEO - Revenue $25K/month
- Kadima Grow - Revenue $25K/month
- Power Move Marketing - Revenue $22K/month
- Good Chance - Revenue $20K/month
- Dox Design - Revenue $20K/month
- Eikon Labs - Revenue $15K/month
- Blue Surge Marketing Agency - Revenue $14K/month
- Front Page SEO - Revenue $12K/month
- Tatum Digital Agency - Revenue $10K/month
- 7 Eagles - Revenue $10K/month
- Smart Yeti Creative Agency - Revenue $8K/month
- SupplyDrop - Revenue $8K/month
- Anachak Design - Revenue $7K/month
- Kelsey Vetter Co. - Revenue $6.5K/month
- Deebo - Revenue $4K/month
- Green Mind Agency - Revenue $0/month
Let's take a look at the search trends for digital agency over the last year:
How To Name Your Digital Agency
It's important to find a catchy name for your digital agency so that you can stand out in your space.
Here are some general tips to consider when naming your digital agency
- Avoid hard to spell names: you want something easy to remember and easy to spell for your customers
- Conduct a search to see if others in the space have the same name
- Try not to pick a name that limits growth opportunities for your business (ie. if you decide to expand into other product lines)
- As soon as you have an idea (or ideas) of a few names that you love, register the domain name(s) as soon as possible!
Why is naming your digital agency so important?
The name of your business will forever play a role in:
- Your customers first impression
- Your businesses identity
- The power behind the type of customer your brand attracts
- If you're memorable or not
It's important to verify that the domain name is available for your digital agency.
You can search domain availability here:
Find a domain starting at $0.88
powered by Namecheap
Although .com names are the most common and easiest to remember, there are other options if your .com domain name is not available. Depending on your audience, it may not matter as much as you think.
It's also important to thoroughly check if social media handles are available.
As soon as you resonate with a name (or names), secure the domain and SM handles as soon as possible to ensure they don't get taken.
Here's some inspiration for naming your digital agency:
- Operational powers check availability
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- Active agent check availability
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- Electronics manual check availability
- Analogue group check availability
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- Trusted digital check availability
- Being Digital check availability
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- Routine Digital check availability
- Inter Agency check availability
- Co Trading Digitized Widespread check availability
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- Stereoscopic Digital check availability
- Electronic Analog Group check availability
- The Distributor Analogue check availability
- Inter Digital check availability
- Digitization Manual check availability
- Shaft Digital check availability
- Automatic Digital check availability
- Autonomous Authority check availability
- Analogue Digitization Agency check availability
- Digitization Team check availability
- Guide Digital check availability
- Dento Digital check availability
- Analog binary check availability
- Analogo Online Trading Co check availability
- Scanning location check availability
- Digital Cycle check availability
- Processing digitizer group check availability
- Lacrimo Co digitizer check availability
- Be Analog Group check availability
- Digital Trading Company check availability
- Palatine Digitization check availability
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- Collective Digitization check availability
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- Resolver Digital check availability
- Collective digital currency check availability
- Viable digital check availability
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- Larger digital check availability
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- Frequency Digital check availability
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- Majority computer check availability
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- Advertize Group check availability
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- FrequencyDigital check availability
- Blatancy Agency check availability
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- Palatal Digitization check availability
- The Optical check availability
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- Born Electronics Trading Co check availability
- AnalogueDigital check availability
- The Lacrimo Analogue check availability
- The Nonprofit check availability
- Dento Digitalized check availability
- Concise Advertise check availability
- Shaft Electronics Place check availability
- The Voltage Analog check availability
- The Being Digitized check availability
- Delegacy Pro check availability
- Outside check availability
- The Resolver Analogue check availability
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- Mid Computer Pro check availability
- Frequency check availability
How To Create A Slogan For Your Digital Agency:
Slogans are a critical piece of your marketing and advertising strategy.
The role of your slogan is to help your customer understand the benefits of your product/service - so it's important to find a catchy and effective slogan name.
Often times, your slogan can even be more important than the name of your brand.
Here are 6 tips for creating a catchy slogan for your digital agency:
1. Keep it short, simple and avoid difficult words
A great rule of thumb is that your slogan should be under 10 words. This will make it easy for your customer to understand and remember.
2. Tell what you do and focus on what makes you different
There are a few different ways you can incorporate what makes your business special in your slogan:
- Explain the target customer you are catering your services towards
- What problem do you solve?
- How do you make other people, clients, or your employer look good?
- Do you make people more successful? How?
3. Be consistent
Chances are, if you're coming up with a slogan, you may already have your business name, logo, mission, branding etc.
It's important to create a slogan that is consistent with all of the above.
4. Ensure the longevity of your slogan
Times are changing quickly, and so are businesses.
When coming up with your slogan, you may want to consider creating something that is timeless and won't just fade with new trends.
5. Consider your audience
When finding a catchy slogan name, you'll want to make sure that this resonates across your entire audience.
It's possible that your slogan could make complete sense to your audience in Europe, but may not resonate with your US audience.
6. Get feedback!
This is one of the easiest ways to know if your slogan will be perceived well, and a step that a lot of brands drop the ball on.
Ask friends, family, strangers, and most importantly, those that are considered to be in your target market.
Here's some inspiration for coming up with a slogan for your digital agency:
- The digital agency that cares
- It is all about the internet and marketing
- We do web marketing the right way
- The best digital agency on the planet
- We handle clients in the most efficient way
- Make your digital venture successful
- We built our success on the internet
- The ultimate solution to getting web traffic
- Built by internet marketers for businesses
- Anything digital will work
- Working as a team for positive outcomes
- The epitome of digital agencies
- Powerful campaigns for every business
- All about internet marketing
- Internet marketing strategies that work
- Doing it the digital way
- Taking your campaigns to the next level
- Business is the way of life
- The digital agency that you'll love
- Making your brand known
- It's all about digital marketing
- Digitally amazing
- Expect business success
- This is the way we do business
- Giving you the best chances of success
- One business at a time
- The digital agency company for you
- Digitally wonderful for businesses
- Works like a charm
- Increasing brand awareness all the time
- Your trustworthy digital agency services provider
- Making your business profitable
- Providing you with client experience
- More profit for business expansion
- The finest digital agency company
- Endless Possibilities With Digital.
- Digital Tested, Mother Approved.
- Digital Keeps Going And Going.
- Digital - One Name. One Legend.
- Fingerprint Is What We Do
- Processing And Boggling
- Digital Built To Perfection.
- Work Hard, Digitized Harder
- Digitals With Inhibitor
- Digital For When It's Quitting Time.
- Digital For All Time.
- Dento Xerographics Are What We Do
- Beware Of Expensive Digital.
- Dento Creatives Are What We Do
- I'm Not Just The Digital, I'm A Member.
- Don't Play With Fire, Play With Digital.
- Crunch All You Want. We'll Make Digital.
- Whatever You're Into, Get Into Digital.
- Digital Is Your Friend.
- Digitals With Digital
- Do You Have The Advertise Inside?
- Dento Multiscreens Are What We Do
- Post Of The Digitizing
- From Express To Topical Anaesthetic
- Lossless Is What We Do
- Digitals With Four
- Work Hard, Analogue Harder
- Digital, Do You Need Anything Else?
- Nothing Is Faster Than Digital.
- Work Hard, Analog Harder
- Free Agency - A New You
- Work Hard, Digitalized Harder
- Digital - Today And Tomorrow.
- Mobile Is What We Do
- Schhh... You Know Digital.
- The Digital Look.
The Consulting Business Model
When implementing a consulting business model, you have a number of approaches to choose from:
Here are a few of the most common consulting business models:
1. The Time-Based Model
This is one of the more traditional consulting business models - where your rate, terms, and scope of work are outlined at the very beginning of the project.
Typically, with this model you would choose a day rate or an hourly rate.
2. The Project-Based Model
With a project-based model, you and your client agree on the scope of work you will be performing for a set amount of money.
There is typically a contract in place which covers the deliverables and expectations from both parties.
3. The Retainer-Based Model
The retainer model involves providing ongoing service for your clients over a specific period of time.
You may not provide a specific deliverable for your client, but instead, a broad scope of work over a set period.
4. The Consulting-Firm Model
This model is becoming more and more popular. The consulting firm model involves hiring freelancers or employees to complete work for your clients on your behalf.
Typically, in this situation, you still manage the relationship with the client, but you delegate some or all of the work to your team.
Which model should you choose?
The best way to determine which business model you will choose is to research other entrepreneurs or agencies in your space that are offering the same or similar service.
This will allow you to identify your competition, set your pricing, and determine your target audience.
Learn more about starting a digital agency:
Where to start?
🎬 How To Start A Digital Agency
How Much Does It Cost To Start A Digital Agency
If you are planning to start a digital agency, the costs are relatively low. This, of course, depends on if you decide to start the business with lean expenses or bringing in a large team and spending more money.
We’ve outlined two common scenarios for “pre-opening” costs of starting a digital agency and outline the costs you should expect for each:
- The estimated minimum starting cost = $62
- The estimated maximum starting cost = $45,611
|Startup Expenses: Average expenses incurred when starting a digital agency.||Min Startup Costs: You plan to execute on your own. You’re able to work from home with minimal costs.||Max Startup Costs: You have started with 1+ other team members.|
|Office Space Expenses|
|Rent: This refers to the office space you use for your business and give money to the landlord. To minimize costs, you may want to consider starting your business from home or renting an office in a coworking space.||$0||$5,750|
|Utility Costs For Office Space: Utility costs are the expense for all the services you use in your office, including electricity, gas, fuels, telephone, water, sewerage, etc.||$0||$1,150|
|WiFi & Internet: Whether you work from home or in an office space, WiFi is essential. Although the cost is minimal in most cases, it should be appropriately budgeted for each month!||$0||$100|
|Total Office Space Expenses||$0 (min)||$7,000 (max)|
|Employee & Freelancer Expenses|
|Payroll Costs & Fees: Payroll cost means the expense of paying your employees, which includes salaries, wages, and other benefits. This number depends on if you decide to pay yourself a salary upfront and how many employees you have on payroll. At first, many founders take on all responsibilities until the business is up and running. You can always hire down the road when you understand where you need help. Keep in mind, if you do plan to pay yourself, the average salary founders make is $50K.||$150||$250|
|Employee Hiring Expenses: Apart from payroll and benefits, there are other hiring employees costs. This includes the cost to advertise the job, the time it takes to interview candidates, and any other turnover that may result from hiring the wrong candidate.||$1||$2|
|Employee Rewards: It's vital to acknowledge and reward workers, whether they hit their goals or do a great job. This does not have to be costly. In fact, simply taking workers out to a meal or giving a gift or bonus is among the many ways to show how the worker is valued!||$0||$100|
|Total Employee & Freelancer Expenses||$151 (min)||$352 (max)|
|Website Builder: The cost of your website will vary depending on which platform you choose. There are many website builders on the market, so it's important you choose the right one for your business and overall goals. To learn more about your options + how to build a great website, check out this article.||$10||$500|
|Web Designer: Web design includes several different aspects, including webpage layout, content creation, and design elements.If you have the skills and knowledge to design your website on your own, then outsourcing this to an expert may not be necessary. There are plenty of other ways you can design a beautiful website using design tools and software.||$200||$6,000|
|Domain Name: Your domain name is the URL and name of your website - this is how internet users find you and your website.Domain names are extremely important and should match your company name and brand. This makes it easier for customers to remember you and return to your website.||$12||$200|
|Business Email Hosting Service: An email hosting runs a dedicated email server. Once you have your domain name, you can set up email accounts for each user on your team. The most common email hosts are G Suite and Microsoft 365 Suite. The number of email accounts you set up will determine the monthly cost breakdown.||$1||$15|
|Website Hosting Costs: Server hosting is an IT service typically offered by a cloud service provider that hosts the website information and allows remote access through the internet. A hosted server can help you scale up and increase your business’s efficacy, relieving you from the hassles of on-premise operations.||$0||$300|
|Website & Live Chat Tool: If your business values high-end customer service, you must consider utilizing a website chatbot. Website chatbots play a pivotal role in converting site visitors into long-term customers. Typically, there are different tiers of pricing and features offered by Live Chat service providers.||$0||$200|
|Total Website Costs||$223 (min)||$7,215 (max)|
|Business Formation Fees|
|Small Business Insurance: Depending on which state you live in and the business you're operating, the costs and requirements for small business insurance vary. You can learn more here.||$500||$2,000|
|Permit and License Fees: Depending on your industry, there are certain licenses and permits you may need in order to comply with state, local, and federal regulations. Here is an article that goes over all the permits and licenses you may need for your digital agency.||$50||$700|
|Lawyer Fees: Although you may want to avoid attorney fees, it's important that your business (and you) are covered at all costs. This comes into play when creating founder agreements, setting up your business legal structure, and of course, any unforeseen circumstances that may happen when dealing with customers or other businesses.||$0||$1,500|
|Set up business: LLC & Corporations: The first step in setting up your business is deciding whether your business is an LLC, S Corp or C Corp. The cost for this depends on which state you form your business and which structure you decide on. We put together an article that goes over the 10 Steps To Setting Up A Business.||$50||$500|
|Total Business Formation Fees||$600 (min)||$4,700 (max)|
|Equipment & Supply Expenses|
|Cleaning Supplies: Cleaning supplies are essential products we used daily at home and in almost all places worldwide. These items are used to effectively and safely remove dirt and germs to control allergens and prevent the spreading of contagious diseases, helping us stay healthy.||$63||$200|
|First-aid Equipment: First-aid kits can be bought as a set if not gathered one by one. These are vital in all places of work, homes, and even in cars, especially when you plan to travel or go camping. So, to protect your workers, clients, and kinsfolks, you must always keep a well-stocked first-aid kit handy.||$3||$500|
|Total Equipment & Supply Expenses||$66 (min)||$700 (max)|
|App Creation Costs|
|App Development: App development is the process of creating software intended to run on a mobile device.In addition to coding, there are other elements to consider:- design- back end development- security- architecture- testingMany businesses hire an expert that has the technical knowledge to design and develop an app.Depending on the scope of your project, the cost can vary. Some business owners learn to code on their own to minimize these costs, and others, hire a developer to work for them part-time or full-time.||$1,000||$20,000|
|Total App Creation Costs||$1,000 (min)||$20,000 (max)|
|Design Programs & Software: These programs might include the Adobe family of design tools: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and others. This is typically a monthly subscription ranging from $10-$50/mo.||$0||$50|
|Email marketing tool: If you plan to grow your email list and email marketing efforts, you may want to consider investing in an email marketing platform (ie. Klaviyo, MailChimp). We put together a detailed guide on all of the email marketing tools out there + the pricing models for each one here.||$0||$100|
|IT Support: IT support installs and configures hardware and software and solves any technical issues that may arise.IT support can be used internally or for your customers experiencing issues with your product/service.There are a variety of tools and software you can use to help with any technical issues you or your customers are experiencing. This is a great option for businesses that do not have the means to hire a team of professionals.||$150||$2,000|
|Accounting & Invoicing Software: It's important to have an accounting system and process in place to manage financials, reporting, planning and tax preparation. Here are the 30 best accounting tools for small businesses.||$0||$50|
|CRM Software: CRM (customer relationship management) software system is used to track and analyze your company’s interactions with clients and prospects. Although this is not a necessary tool to have for your business, implementing this, in the beginning, may set your business up for success and save you valuable time.||$12||$300|
|Project Management Software: You may want to consider using a project management and collaboration tool to organize your day-to-day. This can also be very beneficial if you have a larger team and want to keep track of everyones tasks and productivity. For a full list of project management tools, check out this full list here.||$0||$25|
|Internal Communication Tool: If you plan to have multiple members on your team, you may want to consider an instant message tool such as Slack or Telegram. The cost is usually billed per month (approx $5/user/month) or there are freemium versions available on many platforms.||$0||$20|
|Social Media Management Tools: If you plan to do social media marketing for your digital agency, you should consider investing in a social media automation or publishing tool. This will save you time and allow you to track performance and engagement for your posts. Here is a list of 28 best social media tools for your small business.||$0||$50|
|Payroll Software: The main purpose of payroll software is to help you pay your team and track each of those payments (so that you don't have to do it manually). If you do not have any employees or have a very small team, payroll software may not be necessary at this stage. Here are the 11 best payroll tools for small businesses!||$0||$200|
|File Hosting Service: It's important to make sure the information for your digital agency is stored and protected should something happen to your computer or hard drive. The cost for this is affordable and depends on how much data you need to store. To learn more about the different options and pricing on the market, check out this article.||$0||$299|
|Total Software Expenses||$162 (min)||$3,094 (max)|
|Advertising & Marketing Costs|
|Business Cards: A digital agency involves quite a bit of customer interaction, whether that is attending tradeshows, sales calls or simply having face to face interaction with prospective clients. Business cards are a great way to stay front of mind with your clients.||$0||$50|
|Customer Research & Surveys: Many digital agency's conduct industry and consumer research prior to starting their business. Often times, you need to pay for this data or hire a market research firm to help you in this process.||$0||$300|
|Networking Membership Fees: Joining local networking groups or your chamber of commerce is a traditional yet effective way to promote your digital agency - but these fees add up! It's important to choose the right group(s) that align with your business and help with growth.||$0||$250|
|Direct Campaigns, Printing and Mailing: Although it may sound old-school, traditional marketing methods can be a cost-effective way to drive awareness for your brand. This includes flyers, postcards, sales letters, coupons, special offers, catalogs and brochures.||$0||$300|
|Affiliate Marketing Commission & Fees: If you want to increase revenue for your digital agency, affiliate marketing is a great way to promote your product to a new audience. When determining affiliate commission rates you will offer, you will want to take into account the price and margin for your product to ensure affiliate marketing is worth it for your business. According to Monitor Backlinks, the average affiliate commission rate should be somewhere between 5% to 30%. To learn more about how to set commission rates, check out this article..||$0||$250|
|Influencer Marketing: Partnering with like-minded influencers is one of the most effective ways to grow your social media presence. Many small businesses simply gift a free item in exchange for an influencer post, or pay the influencer directly.||$0||$750|
|Google Ads: With Google Ads you have the ability to control how much you spend by simply setting a monthly budget cap. Additionally, with these ads you only pay for results, such as clicks to your website or phone calls! It's okay to start with a small budget at first and make changes accordingly if you see valuable returns.||$0||$300|
|Facebook & Instagram Ads: With Facebook and Instagram ads, you set your budget and pay for the actions you want (whether that be impressions, conversions, etc).You can learn more about pricing based on your impressions here.||$0||$350|
|Total Advertising & Marketing Costs||$0 (min)||$2,550 (max)|
|Total Starting Costs||$62 (min)||$45,611 (max)|
Raising Money For Your Digital Agency
Here are the most common ways to raise money for your digital agency:
You may not need funding for your digital agency.
In fact, many entrepreneurs take this approach when starting their own business, whether they have a little amount of cash or a substantial amount to get started.
So what exactly does the term "bootstrapping" mean?
This method essentially refers to self-funding your businesswithout external help or capital and reinvesting your earnings back into the business**
Bootstrapping means building your company from the ground up with your own, or your loved ones, personal savings and reinvesting all earnings back into the business
Here are some tips to consider when bootstrapping your business:
- Use your savings as your capital - one of the best ways to bootstrap your business is to collect your savings and use them as startup capital. This will also help you avoid using your personal or business credit cards when getting started.
- Determine exactly how much capital you need and how much capital you have to get your business off the ground. Generally, when bootstrapping your business, you may want to consider starting a business that involves less startup capital.
- Consider starting a business that will generate immediate returns so you can put money back into the business
- Be as lean as possible - this refers to cutting down expenses as much as possible, such as payroll, fancy software tools, unnecessary travel, renting an office, etc
- Consider outsourcing instead of hiring - in the beginning, you may not need to hire someone permanently to help run your business. It tends to be much less expensive to outsource work to a freelancer and hire someone permanently down the road!
Want to learn more about bootstrapping your business? Check out this article
Accelerators are organizations that offer a range of support and funding opportunities for startups.
Typically, this means they help enroll startups in programs that offer mentorship, office space, and resources to grow the business.
These programs are typically 3-4 months and involve intense education and mentorship - most importantly, the startups also offered capital and investment in return for equity.
Here are some of the most popular and well-known startup accelerators in the U.S:
Here are some tips on how to get into an accelerator program:
- Have an MVP (Minimal Viable Product) in place
- Make sure you have actual customers and an overview of how your business is doing (revenue, site traffic, growth metrics)
- Build a team
- Crush your interview - this is a critical piece in the process. Know your business and metrics inside out and most importantly, be able to portray what makes it so unique.
VC funding is a traditional and long process, but an effective way to raise money for your business.
The term "VC funding" refers to venture capital firms investing in businesses in exchange for equity.
The VC's (venture capitalists) are an individual or small group investing in your business and typically require substantial ownership of the business, with the hope of seeing a return on their investment.
VC's are typically the best approach for businesses with high startup costs - where it would be very difficult to raise the money on your own or through a loan.
When deciding whether to take this approach, it's important that you have a few things in place first, and know what you're getting yourself into:
Determine if your business is ready
Having an idea is not enough to get VC funding.
Typically, VC's will check to make sure you have these things in place prior to closing any deal:
- An MVP (Minimal Viable Product)
- A founding team with all proper documents in place (articles of organization, business formation)
- A validated idea with actual customers buying your product/service
Get everything in place and build a pitch deck
A VC individual or firm will be expecting a fine-tuned presentation that gives an overview of your business.
Here's what you should consider including in your pitch deck:
- Management team, their previous experience + current roles in the business
- Market challenge and solution
- Company financials - including a P&L statement, cash flow statement, and projections
- Company progress
- Investment amount - how much do you need and why?
Research the right VC to fund your business
Research the types of VC investors out there and what niche they focus on.
Then, put together a list of target VC's you want to approach and your strategy around setting up meetings.
Be sure you have everything in place (as discussed above) before setting up any meeting!
Make sure the terms and expectations are right for your business
Committing to VC funding is a big deal and a decision that should not be made lightly.
Although the money and experience from VC's can help your business quickly grow, you are also giving away a stake in the company, and the money comes with strings attached.
Be sure you do your due diligence in finding the right investor - one that truly believes in the growth and success of your business.
What Skills Do I Need To Succeed In Starting A Digital Agency?
As a digital agency, there are several essential skills and characteristics that are important to identify prior to starting your business.
Let’s look at these skills in more detail so you can identify what you need to succeed in your day-to-day business operations:
Self Motivation Skills
Self motivation and discipline skills are critical in order to become successful in this field.
It's likely that you will find yourself starting and running your digital agency from home, which could mean there are more distractions for you.
Here are the basic skills needed for self motivation & discipline:
- Becoming a self starter: It's important that you are capable of independently completing a task without the help or direction of anyone else
- Listening and following directions: When you are given direction by others, it's critical that you are able to follow directions and ask the right questions in order to get your job done
- Taking the initiative in problem solving: Instead of taking the easy route, you'll need to learn to troubleshoot issues on your own as much as possible.
Customer Service Skills
Friendly communication with customers and the ability to address service issues is a critical part of the job.
Here are some customer service skills you may want to consider prior to starting a digital agency:
- Professionalism: The way you act, present yourself, and respond to situations all leave an impression on your customer. It's important to stay professional at all times when handling customer requests or issues.
- Problem-solving: When issues arise, it's important that you are able to think quick on your feet and address the situation with a calm and clear solution
- Friendly-manner: This is an obvious one, but customers truly appreciate someone that can respond in a quick, efficient, and friendly manner.
- Proficient in writing: These skills include the ability to write well-crafted emails, service tickets, and any other programs used by the business (ie. chat functions, SMS texting)
Business Savvy Skills
When starting a digital agency, there are a few fundamental business skills you will want to learn in order to be successful:
- Leadership and training skills: A great team starts with YOU. Make sure you have all company policies and training procedures in place prior to hiring your team
- Decisive and self-confident: Over the course of your career, you will need decisions that could impact your business significantly. It's important you are able to think clearly and rationally about these decisions.
- Ability to understand the financials: You don't need to be an accountant, but it is important that you are able to clearly understand and define metrics such as expenses, revenue, profit, margins, COGS, etc.
- Strategic Thinking: Setting clear goals and benchmarks, identifying opportunities, risks. Ability to effectively communicate these insights to your team.
These are a few of many business savvy skills you should have (or work on) when starting a digital agency.
For a full list, check out this article here.
Whether you are the one designing the product or the decision-maker for the product, an eye for design is critical when starting a digital agency. Here's what this looks like:
- Creative Thinking - the ability to develop or design different products or ideas
- Visualization - being able to imagine or visualize how the product will look
- Articulation - the ability to communicate what the design will look like and how it will be executed
- Detail-oriented - paying close attention to all of the small pieces when designing or working on a project
- Some technical skills - knowledge of the design software you are using to create the product or build prototypes.
Other skills that may be valuable to have when starting a digital agency include digital marketing skills, branding experience, and basic business knowledge.
Here are some critical skills you will need to start your digital agency:
- Language acquisition: Common languages include Java, Ruby, Python, HTML)
- Creative thinking: Ability to develop innovative solutions and think outside the box
- Analytical skills: Ability to troubleshoot issues quickly and efficiently
- Attention to detail: Precise and detailed in the approach so that little to no errors arise
- Calm & Collective: Critical that you are able to stay patient when challenges arise
- Communication skills: The ability to explain your approach in a clear and concise way that all team members can understand.
To see more skills and qualities people look for in a digital agency, check out this article.
Resarch and Writing Skills
Research and writing skills are critical when starting a digital agency. Here's what this looks like:
- Basic computer & technology skills (Microsoft office or Google sheets/docs knowledge, data input, and proficiency in typing)
- Creativity & originality in your work and approach
- Great communication skills and ability to meet deadlines
- Understanding of SEO
Other skills that businesses find valuable include digital marketing skills, basic web design, and accounting abilities. Some employers may also look for a digital agency that has a bachelor's degree or formal education.
Additionally, you may want to consider putting together a portfolio of past work and experience. This includes samples of writing/research pieces, from school projects to internship work to career experience.
Advice For Starting A Digital Agency
We've interviewed thousands of successful founders at Starter Story and asked what advice they would give to entrepreneurs who are just getting started.
Here's the best advice we discovered for starting a digital agency:
Kaila Piepkow, founder of Dox Design ($20K/month):
Identify where your sales are coming from and put your focus there. In today’s world, it’s really easy to fall into the comparison game and feel like everyone else has it figured out—when in reality, that is far from the truth. Stick to what works for you and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing!
Read the full interview ➜
Billy Ash, founder of Todays Business ($500K/month):
Most things you want to learn or need to know you can find in a Google search. You just need to take the time to do that search and have the focus to figure it out.
Read the full interview ➜
Marie Poulin, founder of Oki Doki Digital Inc ($40K/month):
If you can view your potential “competitors” as simply possible future collaborators, everything changes and possibilities open.
Read the full interview ➜
Peter Mikhael, founder of Green Mind Agency ($0/month):
As an individual, you need to continue improving yourself beyond university and beyond work.
Read the full interview ➜
Kaila Piepkow, founder of Dox Design ($20K/month):
Focus on YOU: what you’re doing now, what you want to be doing, and why you want to be doing it. Is it because it truly aligns with you, or is it because of what others are doing?
Read the full interview ➜
Kaila Piepkow, founder of Dox Design ($20K/month):
When you’re first starting out, try a few platforms, and spend your time and energy on the one that’s gaining the most traction and, more importantly, helping you land the most leads.
Read the full interview ➜
Hailey Brooke McFadden , founder of Power Move Marketing ($22K/month):
Give people recognition and praise for a job well done, even if your co-founder or employee is a friend or spouse… don’t forget they need a little love too!
Read the full interview ➜
Pat Ahern, founder of Intergrowth ($85K/month):
Don’t put up with customers who talk down to you or your team. They’ll create a toxic work environment that harms the business far more than the revenue gain is worth. Give them one warning before firing them as a client or preventing them from purchasing a product from you in the future.
Read the full interview ➜
Ilija Brajkovic, founder of Kontra agency ($80K/month):
Since we spent a lot of our time studying, we selected inbound marketing as our market approach. Which we still use today, with over 200 blog posts, eight ebooks, and several other pieces of content filled with first-hand knowledge and experience.
Read the full interview ➜
Sorav jain, founder of Digital Scholar ($40K/month):
Be ready for contingencies and have a Plan B and even a Plan C. Over the years, I have seen many things that needed last-minute brilliancies for them to work.
Read the full interview ➜
Aida Vopyan, founder of Prodigi ($160K/month):
Take the time to develop your skills, stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies, and seek out opportunities for growth and development.
Read the full interview ➜
Keith Lynch, founder of QWANTIFY ($600K/month):
Immerse yourself in whatever your niche is!
Read the full interview ➜
Tony Hardy, founder of Canny Creative ($50K/month):
Life isn’t easy. Building a growing company isn’t easy. But I’d rather do this 365 days a year than go and do something else!
Read the full interview ➜
Ilija Brajkovic, founder of Kontra agency ($80K/month):
Not all deals will be closed right away, and that's okay. Sometimes you introduce yourself to a potential client who does not need your services right now, but it may change in a year or two.
Read the full interview ➜
Write a Business Plan
Writing a business plan from the start is critical for the success of your digital agency.
Because this allows you to roadmap exactly what you do, what your overall structure will look like, and where you want to be in the future.
For many entrepreneurs, writing out the business plan helps validate their idea and decide whether or not they should move forward with starting the business.
You may want to consider expanding upon these sections in your business plan:
- Executive Summary: Brief outline of your product, the market, and growth opportunities
- Overviews and Objectives: Overview of your business, target customers, and what you need to run your business
- Products and Services: Specifics on the products and services your business will provide
- Market Opportunities: Analysis of customer demographics, buyer habits and if your product is in demand
- Marketing: Outline of your marketing plan and how you plan to differentiate yourself from other customers
- Competitive analysis: Analysis of your competition and the strengths and weaknesses therein
- Operations: Hierarchal structure of the company and what it will take to run the business on the day-to-day
- Leadership Team: Detailing roles and responsibilities of each manager based on their specific skill-set
- Financial Analysis Understanding of all expenses, operating budgets, and projections for the future.
Learn more about how to write a business plan here
Determine Which Business Bank Account You Need
There are hundreds of banks out there, and it can be overwhelming to find one that's right for your business.
Here are some factors you may want to consider:
- Location - Is your bank close enough that you can easily make deposits or get cash?
- Low Fees - Make sure to understand any and all fees associated with setting up and maintaining your bank account. Ask for a list - banks usually try to keep this hidden and in the fine print.
- Online Banking Services - Make sure you can easily navigate through your online portal and you have easy access to everything you need.
- Line of Credit - What do your options look like (even if you don't need this now, you may need this down the road).
- Every bank has something that differentiates them from the rest, so make sure whatever that is applied to your needs and values.
Check out this list of the 13 Best Banks for Small Business in 2020 and what makes them so unique.
Setting Up Your Digital Agency (Formation and Legal)
When it comes to setting up your business, you may find yourself in a place where you have to make some financial and legal decisions.
The first thing you'll want to decide on is whether you want to be an LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp.
These three options are found to be the most common when starting a small business, and all serve to protect your personal assets and also provide you with certain tax benefits.
- LLC: All income and expenses from the business are reported on the LLC personal income tax return.
- S corp: Owners pay themselves salaries + receive dividends from profits.
- C Corp: C Corps are separately taxable entities that file a corporate tax return (Form 1120). No income tax is paid at the corporate level and any tax due is paid at the owners individual expense.
Depending on where you're conducting business, you'll also want to consider securing the proper permits, licenses and liability insurance.
Need to start an LLC? Create an LLC in minutes with ZenBusiness.
How Do I Pay Myself As A Small Business Owner?
Most entrepreneurs start a business to do something they love- but at the end of the day, you still have bills to pay (maybe now more than ever).
But it's important to strike the right balance - if you pay yourself too much, you could be putting your business at risk.
There are two common ways to pay yourself as a business owner:
1. Owner's Draw
Many entrepreneurs pay themselves through an owner's draw. This means that you are technically sean as "self-employed" through the eyes of the IRS and are not paid through regular wages.
At the point that you collect money from the draw, taxes typically are not taken out - so make sure you are prepared to pay these taxes once you file your individual return.
As an owner who takes a draw, you can legally take out as much as you want from your equity.
This type of compensation is suited for Sole props, LLCs, and partnerships. If you’re an S corp, you can pay yourself through both a salary and draw if you choose.
If you decide to pay yourself a salary, you will receive a set and recurring amount. This will be taxed by the federal government and the state you reside in.
The reality is that it can be really complicated to set your own salary, so we have some tips for you to consider:
- Take out a reasonable amount that allows you to live comfortably but also sets your business up for success
- Consider the number of hours you are working weekly + the type of duties you are performing.
- Set your salary based on your industry-standard, location, and profits (or projected profits)
- Look at your P&L statement: Deduct your own pay from that amount. This is important so you can first tackle important business expenses, and then pay yourself from the amount leftover.
- Pick a payroll schedule (and stick to it)! In the US, it's most common to pay yourself and employees twice a month.
To learn more about how to pay yourself and what is a reasonable amount, check out this article.
How To Price Your Digital Agency
One of the most challenging aspects to starting a digital agency is determining how much to charge for your digital agency.
When businesses under-price their product, this can be extremely detrimental to their bottom line and reputation.
Often times, businesses under-price their products to drive demand and volume, but that last thing you want is for customers to view your product/service as "cheap." Additionally, this can have a big impact on the type of customer you attract, which can be difficult to recover from.
On the other hand, when businesses over-price, this tends to be just as damaging to the business.
When customers buy, it's likely that they will explore the internet and look at other competitors to ensure they're getting the best value + deal. This is why it's so important that you research your competition and understand where you land in the marketplace.
Here are some factors to consider when pricing your product:
Understand your customer
It's important that out of the gates, you identify the type of customer you want to attract and how much they're willing to pay for your service. One great way to do this is by surveying your customers. Here are some important items you'll want to takeaway:
- Customer demographic: Age, gender, location, etc.
- Buying habits of your customer: What they buy + when they buy
- Level of price sensitivity with your customer
All of these segments will help you identify the type of customer you're attracting and how to price your product accordingly.
Understand your costs
When pricing your digital agency, it's critical that you first identify all of your costs and consequently mark up your digital agency so you can factor in a profit.
The actual cost of your digital agency may include things like:
- The actual cost to make the product (ie. raw materials, supplies, manufacturer).
- Shipping + overhead fees
- Operating costs to run your business
You may want to consider creating a spreadsheet with every single expense involved in operating/owning your business. This will give you an idea as to what you need to generate in order to at the very least, break-even and will help you price your products to factor in a profit.
Create revenue goals
When determining the price of your digital agency, you'll want to create goals for revenue + how much profit you want your digital agency to make.
This process is simpler than you may think:
- Think about your breakeven cost (by completing the above step).
- Create a revenue goal based on your break-even cost
- Evaluate the # of items you plan to sell in a given period (make sure this is a realistic number)
- Divide your revenue goal by the number of items you plan to sell
This figure will help determine your estimated price per product in order to meet your revenue goals.
Evaluate your competition
The last piece in determining how to price your digital agency is by simply looking at your competition.
The best way to do this is by finding like-minded businesses that offer product(s) with similar perceived value. Then, you can compare prices of the different businesses and determine where your digital agency fits best in the marketplace.
All of these factors play an equal part in pricing your digital agency, so it's important you evaluate each one individually to come up with an accurate price that will help optimize your business from the start.
Rate Calculator: How to Calculate The Price For Your Digital Agency Services
Our calculator is designed to be simple and easy to use.
The goal is to help you set realistic expectations and understand the hourly rate you should be charging to make your desired profit.
Please input below:
What Type Of Clients Will Buy Your Digital Agency
It's important to first establish who you will be selling to, whether it's to businesses or consumers.
Typically, in this industry, products are sold to B2B markets (business-to-business).
Let's take a look at what this means for your digital agency:
B2B (or business to business) is a transaction where your digital agency sell's your product or service to other businesses to help them grow.
Business-to business industries typically includes SaaS products, B2B marketing firms, and other business supply companies.
Unlike B2C markets, the audience is not a consumer at all, but instead a business - so it's important to understand how to best market your product/services to that target audience.
With B2B, driving leads means understanding another company's business processes and creating a business strategy that will help their operation scale and grow.
Here are some tips to consider:
- Your main focus when selling to other businesses is showing value to their business and overall return on investment
- Focus on building relationships, rather than extending your brand awareness through social networks.
- Marketing approach should include things like attending conventions, conferences, and optimizing your online presence (SEO, email outreach, etc)
- Understand that the sales process may mean more effort educating your client, so it's important that you have a well-trained sales team that is knowledgable about the product
Identify Target Customer
A very critical piece in building digital agency is to identify your ideal target customer.
- Develop a niche and create a consistent brand that reflects your target customer.
- The colors, logo, content, and overall website should resonate with your target customer and should draw them in by helping them solve their specific "need".
Building an MVP (Minimal Viable Product)
When building a digital agency, it's critical that you first validate your product/service rather than rushing to build it right away.
This could save you months, if not years of building the wrong product/service.
If you're hoping to decrease any sort of risk that comes with launching your digital agency, designing a prototype can be a great way to de-risk your situation.
The point of your digital agency prototype is that it doesn't have to be perfect.
In the beginning stages, it doesn't matter how rough V1 of your prototype is, it's more important to just get started and you can always refine from there based on feedback from your network and most importantly your customers.
How To Build A MVP
Here are several different ways of building a prototype/MVP:
- Start by building a landing page to see if customers actually need your product and if they are willing to pay for it
- Build a very basic version of your idea and ask for immediate feedback from potential customers
- Present a problem and solution via Facebook/Instagram Ads and see what the response is like
Kevin Miller, founder of GR0 dives deep into the process of designing and prototyping their product:
We created the three-pronged approach based on what worked best for our initial 5-6 clients. When working with our initial consulting clients, we realized three main things made for a successful SEO campaign: high-level content writing, backlink acquisition, and optimizing the domain from a technical standpoint. We like to think of it as a car: the optimized website is the vehicle, the content is the fuel, and the backlinks are the pedal on the gas. Without all three parts, there’s no chance the car can speed off towards better search engine results.
We found that the sweet spot is the happy medium between a significant amount of searches with low difficulty to rank - that is where the opportunity lies in SEO.
Throughout our consulting, we discovered that Google cared about the quality of the content, not just the domain ranking of the website itself. Simply put, we found that if you answered the questions that consumers have on Google about the target keyword and put those answers in one blog, you could rank higher than even a giant corporation with a much higher DR.
We recruited writers who were amazing at storytelling from all over the United States, taught them how to write for SEO specifically, and also recruited SEO specialists to use tools such as Ahrefs.com and SEMRush.com to identify the keywords and topics to target. We found that the sweet spot is the happy medium between a significant amount of searches with a low difficulty to rank - that is where the opportunity lies in SEO. We also learned that to provide the most thorough answer on a given topic in Google’s eyes, generally, the article needs to be about 1,500 words.
The second pillar we developed was our backlink acquisition strategy. In the world of SEO, it is incredibly important to be mentioned by authoritative news outlets to help raise trustworthiness by Google. We developed our “Performance PR” offering, an innovative strategy to feature our clients in stories that were already being written and allow journalists to use and call upon a client’s expertise in a particular subject matter to make their story more accurate and insightful.
By creating this network of journalists, we can place our clients in the news and ultimately bring up their domain authority in a completely white-hat and evergreen approach. We also bill per link that we deliver, similar to a restaurant receipt, which is the inverse of most PR agency approaches. Our strategy is one of the ways smaller businesses can compete with Goliath-like companies that will always be able to outspend on paid media.
Lastly, we knew that a website would never be able to rank highly on Google if the site speeds, meta descriptions, title tags, and overall heading structure were not optimized properly. Our team has perfected the art of ensuring that every page on a website has a unique title and is easy to locate by Google to identify new content that has been written. This is the more “complicated” and technical side of SEO and the main goal is to help Google understand what is on your website and why.
As an interesting case study, I went so far as to build a website that could help count words, track keywords, and even generate words from letters for games like Scrabble called The Word Counter. It wasn’t just a fun side project -- I wanted to use the website to serve as a proof of concept and a way to put my SEO work into practice. Here are the current stats, taken from August 2021 using entirely organic SEO efforts.
Through the hustle and a lot of trial and error, Jon and I were able to turn GR0 from a two-person venture into the fastest-growing agency in the US today.
🚀 How To Launch Your Digital Agency
Build A Website
Building a website is imperative when launching your business, and with the right tools in place, this can be a simple task to check off the list (without having to hire someone).
- Pick a domain name that's easy to remember and easy to type
- Choose a Web Hosting Plan (ie. Shopify, Squarespace)
- Make sure you choose the right theme and design
- Implement the proper page structure (ie. about page, contact page, pricing etc)
To learn more about how to build a stellar website with little stress, we give you all the details on this step-by-step guide.
Best Website Platforms To Use For Your Digital Agency:
There are a variety of websites platforms out there, and it's important to choose the right one that will set you up for success.
Here's everything you need to know about the two most common platforms for your digital agency:
Free and open-source content management system based on PHP and MySQL.
Free to use/open source but you will need to pay for the hosting.
Businesses using WordPress:
The all-in-one solution for anyone looking to create a beautiful website.
- Personal Plan: $12/month
- Business Plan: $18/month
- Basic: $26/month
Businesses using Squarespace:
Once you have chosen the domain, web hosting, and platform, it's time to get started with the design phase.
Themes are a great way to produce the fundamental style and identity of your website - this includes everything from your font design to your blog post styles.
One of the best ways to get started is to simply explore the various themes (free or paid depending on what you're looking for) and test them on your site.
If web-design really isn't in the cards for you, you may want to consider outsourcing a web designer to help bring your vision and brand to life.
Traditional Launch Strategies For Your Digital Agency:
There are various different ways you can launch your digital agency successfully.
Here are a few different strategies to get customers excited about your digital agency:
- Set up a Facebook page for your business. This is a great way to establish an online presence
- Host an event in a fun location with drinks & food. This is a great way to get exposure in the local community.
- Get Press! Pitch your story to the media and you may just land in an amazing publication
- Live sales to get customers excited
- Send a hand-written letter in the mail with a discount on your services to the local community/neighborhoods.
Kelsey Chance, founder of Good Chance dives deep into the process of launching the business:
My “launch” looked like this: me, sitting alone in a Starbucks in Beaverton, OR. I had to return my laptop and camera when I left the winery I was working at, so I had just met up with someone from Craigslist to buy his Canon 5D Mark II for $400. I didn’t have enough money to buy my own laptop, so my boyfriend Spencer (now husband) bought me one and I paid him back later. I had a new (used) laptop and a new (used) camera and felt absolutely terrified. I sat down in Starbucks and googled everything I possibly could to figure out how to file for a business license. The name Good Chance Creative came to me on a whim, and I started my Squarespace website, email account, and bank account all on that same day - February 5th, 2018. In total, I spent $1700 on all startup costs including gear, business filings, and website.
My concept was simple: I wanted to run around wineries taking photos and running their social media pages. Oregon is home to 700+ wineries, so I knew this would be my niche. I launched my business and then waited, waited for creative work to come my way. And it didn’t come all that quick. So I said yes to anything and everything: I designed wedding invitations, designed logos, took engagement photos, and mostly just spent full days writing blog posts, taking photos of things around my apartment, and trying to keep myself busy on personal projects and self-promotion of my new business. But I was running out of cash. So I found myself a job on the social media team in-house at Kroger while pursuing my dreams on the side.
I landed my first real client, Wine By Joe, about a month after launching a Good Chance. They were my absolute life-changing clients. About 6 months later I booked a photoshoot for another wine brand that I found by chance - I had posted a couple of wine photos on a free stock website (unsplash.com) and they were getting seen. 6 months after that, at my 1-year mark, I finally landed a second social media wine brand client, and I started to gain confidence. By a year and a half in business, I had 5 social media clients and was booking wine photoshoots about every 2 months or so. Word was spreading about what I was doing in a niche that hadn’t really been tapped yet, and I started getting inquiries every single week for photo and social media work! I was making about $4,000 a month on Good Chance income and was ready to leave my full-time job. It’s amazing how much respect you seem to get from your employer when you tell them you’re leaving to pursue your dreams. I’ll always be grateful for that.
After a year and a half in business, in August of 2019, I officially launched as a fully self-employed entrepreneur. I am so glad I waited as long as I did. I was able to build up my client base and feel more self-confident. I am also so glad I didn’t wait any longer. I was having to turn down my own photoshoot opportunities because they overlapped with shoots I was doing for Kroger, and that’s when I knew I needed to fledge from the corporate world to start prioritizing my own creative endeavors.
Get Press Coverage For Your Digital Agency
The more buzz around your brand - the more the phones ring, the more traffic to your website, and the more customers as a result.
Here are a few ways you can get press for your business:
Press releases are a great way to share big announcements or news, but in order to get any traction, you'll need to find a way to make your press release stand out amongst others.
Try to convey a story that really matters, not just to you, but to the reporter and to their audience.
Here are some things to consider when submitting a press release:
- Craft a catchy subject (keep it short and sweet).
- Acknowledge the journalist's past work and interests - this is key!
- Include the main point of the story in the first paragraph, heck, even the first sentence. Reporters want to hear the juice first and foremost.
- Focus on the facts and try to limit the amount of jargon used.
- Pitch yourself! Help them put a face to the story.
- Make sure your topic is newsworthy. If it's not, find a way to!
- Try not to include any attachments of your release!
Email is one of the most effective and preferred way to send your press release, so as long as you keep your pitch brief, interesting and personalized (no cold emails), you should stand a chance!
Get Press Using HARO
HARO, otherwise known as "Help a Reporter Out" is an outlet for journalists to source upcoming stories and opportunities for media coverage.
The best part is, HARO is free to use! There are, of course, premium versions you can purchase, but the free version is still an accessible way to get press.
Once you set up an account, HARO essentially will email you based on stories (that are relevant to you) that need to be covered where you will then have a chance to essentially "bid on the story."
Here are some tips when crafting your pitch:
- Discuss your experience and expertise in the space. Make sure it's obvious why you're relevant to this story.
- Answer the question in 3-4 sentences. Try and be as direct as possible
- Offer to provide the reporter with more information and make sure to give them your contact info
Plan a Publicity Stunt
Planning a publicity stunt is an effective and quick way to raise awareness for your brand and gain some traction from the press.
If you're looking to plan a stunt, the objective should be to be bold and create something memorable
However, being bold has a fine line - it's important that you consider the timing of your stunt to ensure you don't come off insensitive or unethical. For example, timing may not be in your favor if you plan something during the general election, or in most recent cases, a global pandemic.
In order to measure the success of your stunt, it's important that you first determine your end goal, for example:
- Is the stunt aimed to raise money for your business or a particular organization?
- Is the stunt aimed to drive more traffic to your website?
- Is the stunt aimed to get more followers and engagement on Instagram?
Here are a few tips for creating a great publicity stunt:
- Research to ensure that there haven't been similar stunts done in the past by other businesses - this could easily turn off journalists and your audience.
- Make sure you can explain the stunt in one headline - this will help grab the media's attention. In other words, simplify!
- The stunt should be related to the product you are promoting. Even if the stunt is a success in terms of viewers, but it doesn't tie back to your original goal, then it's not useful.
- Keep the stunt visual with videos/images.
- Leverage the internet and social media platforms for your stunt by sharing your message across a variety of audiences. This will help with word of mouth and the overall success of your event.
To learn other strategies on how to get press, check out our full guide here.
🌱 How To Grow Your Digital Agency
Consider Working With Instagram Influencers
Partnering with like-minded influencers (within your industry) is one of the most effective ways to grow your social media organically.
Industry influencers already have an established and loyal following. With one post, your product immediately establishes a connection with a brand new audience. It's that powerful.
When finding influencers to promote your product, do your research and make sure that their following will actually be interested in your product.
It's easy to be blinded by any influencer with a huge following, but if those followers don't resonate with your product, there may not be any value there... so make sure you do your research!
Evan Marshall, founder of Plain Jane discusses how "micro-influencers" have impacted his business:
Influencer marketing has been huge for us. Our approach is pretty simple. We give out samples of our products and ask people to post about us on social media aka a micro-influencer strategy.
We really like this approach because we get authentic stories and content. We cannot really control the messaging so the product has to speak for itself. We don’t really take product photos at all. Our customers take the photos and we ask to reuse them.
With any influencer strategy, you have to be very sure you’re targeting the right people and engaging with them. You can make sure you’re targeting the right influencers by looking through their posts and then looking through the profiles of their engaged followers.
It takes more time per influencer but the payoff is certainly worth it. Make sure their followers look like your existing customers.
It takes a ton of time and work to grow a social media following this way but it’s worth it. Other accounts have tried to grow themselves through botting or other manipulations. As a CBD company, we didn’t want to give Instagram any reason to shutdown our account so we’ve done everything through content and real engagement. It’s not magic to make this happen. You just have to post consistently and then reply or like every single comment you get. It takes months but it works
Build A Facebook Community
Building a community is a great way to grow your network and your business.
There are several different ways of building a community, one of the most effective (and simplest) ways is to build a Facebook group
Setting up the group page takes less than 10 minutes, and we've outlined ways the top 5 ways to create an engaging and successful group:
- Make the group exclusive. This may sound counter-intuitive, however, this ensures privacy and that the group will feel comfortable posting and engaging with members.
- Try to be warm and welcoming. A great way to do this is by having a "Member Monday" where you welcome new members and ask them to introduce themselves in the group
- Use polls/surveys. This is a great way to know your audience and see what people want more of in the group (more business tips, networking opportunities, etc).
- Include influential people & conduct AMA's (ask me anything). This is a great way to get members engaged
- Host an in-person (or virtual) event with members in the group. This will create stronger relationships and build a strong community.
Mike Doehla, founder of Stronger U, an online nutrition company noticed that his customers needed a little motivation and sense of community:
Most diets are lonely so we wanted to give support and a community.
I think many people fail diets because there is no one to talk to and no accountability.
You can by a book, or google a meal plan but who’s going to keep you on track? We will. The entire SU community.
We give our members access for life to our Facebook community filled with people around the world who are looking out for everyone’s success.
Most diets make up arbitrary rules and we thought they just didn’t make sense. Meal timing, Cutting carbs, butter in coffee, sugar being the devil? Ehh no need to overthink that stuff.
We’ll give you the science behind of what we do and show you what actually matters based on real research.
Luckily we have a PhD at our disposal to educate our staff and members so everyone is getting the most up to date information out there.
Experiment With Pay Per Click Ads (PPC)
Pay-per-click (PPC) is a performance-based marketing method that allows you to show specific ads for services or products oriented to a very defined target, with the goal that the user visits your website or landing page.
Here are some tips to consider:
- Consider connecting the ad to your corresponding landing page so that the audience receives the necessary information after clicking on the ad.
- Conversion Tracking: When running PPC campaigns, be sure to run the ads with conversion tracking.
- Focus on quality keywords, even if there are few as this will save you time and money. When assessing the performance of a keyword, it's important to track the expense, conversion, and cost per conversion, as well as the ROI.
PPC advertising can be a very important lead generator as long as it's done properly. Your PPC campaign is intended to drive traffic to your website and help the business scale.
Additionally, if the campaign is not having the desired results, you can make the necessary changes immediately to improve them.
Ryan Schortmann, founder of Display Pros talks about their investment in PPC Ads:
My name is Ryan Schortmann and I’m the founder of Display Pros. We are a custom trade show display booth company offering easy to use portable display “kits” for small and medium businesses wanting to get into the trade show game.
It did not take long to come to the realization that to compete at any reasonable level, we were going to need to take the plunge and invest in Pay Per Click ads and display.
From experience, I know that it is important to give Google’s hivemind some time to settle in before each campaign starts seeing consistent results (this is largely dependent on budget).
A certain amount of PPC budget must be viewed as a “marketing research” expense and then you can look at the analytics data and make informed decisions on where to refine, tweak or plain scrap an idea.
Google Shopping was an entirely new concept for me. You can’t assign keywords to products so at first, I was asking myself “How the hell do you refine these?”. Then I found some good reading material and courses and learned of some advanced methods that the pros are using. It turns out you can utilize negative keyword lists combined with the priority setting on each shopping campaign to “shape” the keywords that are coming in and how much you are spending on them.
To learn more about PPC Ads and Google Shopping, check out this video to learn everything you need to know!
Improve your SEO
SEO is not just about driving traffic to your site, it's about driving the RIGHT traffic to your site, and ultimately, converting leads into customers.
One of the most important aspects of SEO is understanding what your customers are searching for, otherwise known as "keyword research."
Here are some tools that can help you choose the right keywords for your digital agency.
- Google Ads Keyword Planner invaluable for discovering search trends.
- Google Search Console is very helpful once your website is up as it shows you what words/phrases are generating traffic.
- Ahrefs and SEMRush are paid tools that allow you to look at results of your competitor's website.
Publish Great Content
Finding keywords is an important piece of the puzzle, but Google also ranks your site based on the actual content you produce, as this is what your customers are reading and engaging with.
There are various different "forms" of content that you may want to consider diversifying on your sites, such as blog posts, articles, studies, and videos.
So let's discuss what google considers "good content:"
- Length - This will vary depending on the page, however, generally having a sufficient amount of content helps search engines recognize that your site is a good source for a specific topic
- Engagement - The longer people stay on your website to read your content, the higher Google will rank your website. It's important to have informative and "thick" content that keeps people reading
- Avoid Duplicating Content - Google will recognize this and may consider your content to have low value
- Ensure pages load quickly - This will also help with engagement and time spent on your website
- Shareability - Create content that people want to share, and is easy for them to share, especially to their social media accounts (ie. "click to tweet" is a great example of this).
Another element of creating good content is creating consistent content.
If (and hopefully you are) publishing content frequently, it's important to stick to a schedule - this helps build brand trust and easy user experience with your customers.
Planning out your content with a content calendar is key to staying consistent.
Here are a few great content calendar tools that can help you:
Backlinks are an important piece to SEO, as they allow for other websites to link to your content.
Search engines recognize that other sites are essentially "verifying" your content and essentially rank you higher because of this.
Of course, some links are more valuable than others and can affect your site in different ways.
For example, if a highly valuable and credible site like the New York Times links to a page on your website, this could be remarkable from an SEO perspective.
Aside from organically getting mentioned from other sites, there are other ways that you can increase and earn backlinks:
- Create infographics with relevant data that people want to share
- Promote your content on different sites/look into "guest blogging"
- Contact influencers/journalists/bloggers and ask them to mention you!
- Write testimonials for other sites in exchange for a backlink
- Leverage existing business relationships
Build A Blog
One of the most effective ways to build brand awareness and grow your business is through consistently blogging.
We've outlined some useful tips for you to consider when creating content:
Consistency and Quantity
Quality is important, but it should be the standard for any content you publish.
What’s more important is consistency and quantity.
Consistency is as simple as committing to publishing and sharing a certain number of posts per week. For me, that’s three per week right now.
This kind of commitment is key, because one day, a random post will blow up, and you will have never expected it.
The easiest mind trap is to think "I’m posting too much", and “I need to give my readers/audience/this platform a break”.
This is nonsense.
There is no such thing as oversaturation. Well, there is, but it is just someone else’s opinion.
For every person that tells you you are posting too much, there is another person that wants even more of your content.
You should ignore people’s opinions on how much you post.
Patience & Persistence
Keep posting, keep trying, and keep putting out good content on the regular. Your time will come, and when it does, it will change everything.
The only thing you have control over is your content.
You can’t control how people will react to it. You can’t control pageviews, likes, or shares.
So the only metric you should focus on is how much content you can put out in a week, month, etc.
Where to share your blog content
I know it sounds obvious, but the best places to share your content is on your mailing list. It is guaranteed traffic and it is a great way to get rapid feedback from your most loyal readers.
Send newsletters often. I have done once a week since starting, and I’m moving to twice a week soon.
Work on increasing your mailing list as well. Look into ways to increase your conversion rate to your mailing list. I added a flyout popup thing to my site and now I’m collecting ~30 emails per day.
An email newsletter is one of the most powerful assets you can have and it is worth its weight in gold.
Reddit is one of my favorite places to promote content.
It is a very scary place because you will often get banned or heckled, but it can really pay off.
Create social media accounts for your blog, the main ones I use:
Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn
Set up Buffer and share all of your blog posts to all of your accounts. All of these little shares really do add up.
Automate this as much as possible. I automated all of my social media for Starter Story.
When I started out, I put together a spreadsheet of relevant Facebook groups for my niche, and I would post to these groups whenever I had a big story I wanted to share.
Grow Your Email List
The more engaged list of emails, the more engaged customers, which ultimately leads to more sales.
One of the best ways to start growing your list is by providing your customer with something free (or discounted) in return.
This could also be anything from:
- Fascinating case study
- Video series
- Free week of the product
- Discount on the product
Learn more about how to grow your email list and improve email marketing ➜ here.
Dylan Jacob, founder of Brumate states their email collection tactic that is proven to work:
We use Spin-a-Sale for this (you spin a wheel for a discount code in exchange for subscribing to our email list). This has been the best email-collecting tool we have found because the customer truly feels like they won a prize rather than just a coupon code.
Even if a customer doesn’t convert right away, if we have their email we have a 19% chance of converting them into a future customer whether that is through future promotions, new releases, or simply just sending an email at the right time for a purchase to finally make sense for them.
We also have a return customer rate of over 14%, so one out of every 6 people we convert will end up buying from us again with an average order value of over $60.00.
Add an exit-intent popup to your online store
A great way to double, or even triple, your email opt-in rate and to grow your list is to add an exit-intent popup to your site, and offering a discount or content upgrade for subscribers.
Here's an example of what that might look like:
One thing that I spent years NOT doing, that I now kick myself about, is adding an "exit intent pop-up" to our site, which lets people enter a sweepstakes to win a Xero Shoes gift certificate.
That one idea has added over 100,000 subscribers to our email list, which is one of our most effective marketing channels.
Improve Your Email Marketing
Different types of emails
Here are the most common types of email campaigns you can send to your customers and their benefits:
- Welcome emails - the perfect way to provide information from the start with a clear CTA. Make sure to tell your customer everything they need to know about your product or service.
- Newsletters - a great way to give customers updates or send out your latest content
- Product launch emails - the quickest (and easiest) way to increase sales is by selling to current customers. Make sure they're the first on the list to know about your new product
- Promotional emails - promote discounts, deals coupons etc. Try and make this feel exclusive and for a limited time only
- Abandoned cart emails - give your customers a reason to complete their purchase!
Here's a great resource for finding curated email designs, for all types of email campaigns!
Abandonded Cart Flow
The abandoned cart workflow is one of the most effective strategies for turning your lead into a customer, and a powerful tool to have if you're an e-commerce business.
Think about all the times that you went on a shopping frenzy only to add items to your cart and then either forget or realize nows not the right time to pull the trigger.
Then, minutes later you receive an email saying "Hurry up! Your cart is waiting - and we want to provide you with 20% off your order."
Maybe that's the special touch (and discount) you needed to pull that trigger.
Implementing this workflow can automatically trigger this for your business every time a customer abandons their cart.
Here's a great example of an abandoned cart email from Brooklinen:
Things they do well:
- Showcase 5-star reviews from other customers
- Offer a small discount + free shipping
- Great design + clear call to actions!
Social Media Advertising
Social Media Advertising is one of the leading ways to get the word out when it comes to digital agency.
There are various different Social Media platforms available to you. Some may be more critical for your marketing efforts than others, however, it's important to have an understanding of what's out there and available to you.
Let's talk about a few of the main platforms and what makes them unique:
- Facebook Advertising - more than 2 billion monthly users. Facebook is the best for lead generation + capturing email addresses for e-commerce businesses.
- Instagram Advertising - approximately 500 million monthly users and has a higher audience engagement rate than any other platform. Instagram ads are best for linking to a product page or landing page and reaches the 18-29 age group most effectively.
- Twitter Advertising- Small businesses typically use twitter ads to drive brand awareness, but the platform is meant more for organic engagement (and is not as heavily used for paid advertising)
- Pinterest Advertising - 175 million monthly users and most effectively reaches the female audience. Pinterest is great for promoting products without "promoted". The promoted pins have a way of blending right in.
- LinkedIn Advertising - 227 million monthly users and is geared towards the B2B market and generates the highest quality leads. Great platform for recruiters, high-end products and services that will help businesses
It's important to first define your goal/objective so that you don't waste time and money into the wrong platform:
Here are some different questions to ask yourself as it relates to your goals:
- Do I want to simply drive brand awareness?
- Do I want to drive users to my website to gather information?
- Do I want to increase sales and get my customer to take action?
From there, choose the platform that targets your audience best and start experimenting!
Learn more about social media advertising ➜ here.
Founder Andy Hayes talks about mastering FB ads and the pixel:
The biggest bang for your buck will likely be mastering Facebook and it’s platform - which we all know is pay for play, so you’ll have to come up with a small amount of budget to start for marketing.
We’ve spent countless hours (and paid numerous coaches) before we cracked the code that works for us on Facebook, but it is working really well for us now.
Some of the most important things to know when it comes to FB Ads:
- Start with retargeting (that’s showing ads to people who already know you but did not purchase). Master this - and start building information on your Facebook Pixel - before you do anything else
- Once you have that down, try working with the 1% “Lookalike” audience to prospect for new customers. This may take awhile because your pixel audience is small, so try layering on interests - 1% Lookalike and your largest competitor, for example. Don’t use interest-only targeting until you master this.
- Great photography and videography is key, as is smart copy. Research what’s out there in your industry and constantly test - what works for one company may not work for other people.
- Make sure you have good offers. For example, we have a $5 trial for our subscription, which converts affordably - if we promoted our subscription with the standard $30 front charge, it wouldn’t be as cost-effective.
🏃🏼♀️ How To Run Your Digital Agency
How To Retain Customers For Your Digital Agency
Retaining customers is one of the most effective ways to grow your digital agency.
Oftentimes, it's easy to find yourself focusing on generating new customers, vs retaining your current ones.
Look at it this way - you are 60-70% more likely to sell a new product to an existing customer than you are a new customer.
That's not to say that finding new customers and revenue streams is not important, however, the easiest (and most inexpensive) source of new revenue is right there in front of you.
Here are some ways you can retain customers for your digital agency:
- Responding to comments on social media
- Send discounts (or freebies) to loyal customers
- Provide valuable content, for free
- Write a hand written thank you note
- Provide awesome customer service and build relationships with customers
To find out more tips and tricks on retaining customers, check out this article ➜ here
Hailey Brooke McFadden , founder of Power Move Marketing dives deep into the process of attracting and retaining customers:
Doing great work for clients. Most of my new clients have been through word of mouth through current clients so we need to do great work. I hate how most marketing companies just want to lock companies in an extensive contract knowing they’ll cancel and get paid to do 30 days of nothing.
I want to keep each of my clients as long as possible and most of my clients seem to be “life-long” clients so far! Customer service is key even in B2B- the client is always right. At the end of the day, their vision is the one that matters and we have to be ready to pivot on a dime, as that vision can change rapidly.
Being a great employee (even if you’re the boss) and creating an awesome culture. Treating all employees the same, whether it's an unpaid intern or a manager. People always talk about the customers, the products, the sales, and neglect their employees. Your business will be much more fruitful and productive with happy employees/ interns!
No job is beneath me and I am not too good for any job.
Some things I do:
I don’t make people do jobs that I would not do myself.
Hold myself to a higher standard than anyone else. I always come to meetings dressed nicely to show that I care (yes, I mean look nice for Zoom!), I always get my work done early, and if I tell someone I am going to do something- I do it. You have to set the standard for your employees.
I send out a survey to all interns and employees every single month to see if they are happy with their workload, happy with the culture, find out what they like and don’t like, etc. You can be a 3 person company and still garner feedback- don’t be afraid to make your business even better!
I have weekly meetings with the entire staff where we go over tasks and open the floor for discussion (most medium/ large businesses do this but I notice most companies with 10 or fewer employees negate this).
Prioritize their mental health and wellness and do not get upset with them over their work. If someone is not getting their work done I reach out and see what I can do to help- contrary to popular belief, there is typically a reason for subpar work and getting to the root of that is more productive than whipping out punishments.
Give people recognition and praise for a job well done- even if your co-founder or employee is a friend or spouse… don’t forget they need a little love too!
Give criticism in private. Do not embarrass an employee for making a mistake. Mistakes are natural and you want to empower your employees to take risks, so expect some of those risks to miss the mark now and then.
We don’t have screenshots for our results since it’s a little different but here are some of the companies we help manage the socials, emails, ads, etc for!
My biggest advice is to identify your weaknesses, don’t just ignore them as many small businesses do. Also, if you end up outsourcing for help in a department, the biggest thing is you need to know your stuff. Know what the goal ROAS is, goal followers, goal conversion rates, etc. If you have clear goals you can measure progress and make sense of the data. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
Diversify Your Product Line
Adding new products to your business is a great way to expand into new markets and grow your business.
It's important to note that adding new products and diversifying may not be in the cards for you right this moment, and that's okay. You can always consider it down the road.
Here are some reasons you may want to considering adding/diversifying your product
- Meeting the needs of your customers
- Establish yourself as a top provider in your industry and stay ahead of the game with competition
- Resistance to downturns/trends fading
- Create new revenue streams
Provide Great Customer Service
Providing exceptional care and creating relationships with clients is a great way to build your reputation and retain customers.
Whether you are an online business or a physical business, it's highly important to communicate with customers and make them feel like they are the priority.
Just remember: customer service represents your brand, values, vision and YOU as a person.
Build a Referral Program
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get the word out about your business and acquire new customers. Especially when you are starting out, it’s important to build a solid referral program to encourage existing customers to help you find new ones.
A great way to do that is by offering a reward (ie. credit on your service or cash) to customers that refer you to their friends and family.
A fantastic referral program will help with clout, credibility, and establishing yourself in the space.
As a brand, you want to deliver an experience that authentic, honest and transparent.
Don't make the mistake of giving your audience less credit than they deserve.
If you go around chasing every trend and only focused on yourself and money, you’re going to lose very quickly.
There have been many times where we have been tempted to do this but stayed true.
Sure we sacrificed sales, but we kept our integrity, played the long game and people saw and appreciated that, and really began emotionally investing in the brand.
Word of Mouth
The most tried and true way to grow a digital agency is through word of mouth - some entrepreneurs would say it's more important than all social media.
Why you should focus on word of mouth:
- Consumers trust word of mouth above all other forms of marketing
- 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising
- 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe it is the most effective form of marketing
Learn more about word of mouth in our guide: 30 Ways Founders Grow Their Business ➜
How To Crush The Sales Process For Your Digital Agency
You may find yourself in a spot where you're ready to hire a few (or many) salespeople to support the sales conversion process.
Regardless if you have one or thirty salespeople, it's critical that you assign them specific roles and responsibilities to nurture the client and provide excellent support.
Mike Korba, co-founder of User.Com walks us through the entire sales process and which teams are responsible for what:
User.com Sales Process
Each user and account is qualified with a specialist. For business leads, they are handled by the sales team, and if they are qualified we give them a demo, more than often at the end of their fourteen-day trial. If they’re happy they’ll add a payment, and get an account manager, so a customer support and success team who will help implement the solution and to use the technology.
Sometimes, users will convert naturally on their own, after using the freemium product and finding it to be something that they will find beneficial.
After they convert, we help with onboarding, give them some personalized tips for their specific business or industry to grow plus all kinds of support, for whatever they need - something we take huge pride in.
The team is right now more than 30 people, with more than half working on the IT and product side, and the rest are in three teams: Support, Marketing, and Sales who all work together very closely.
We put together the best resources on the internet to help you start your digital agency.
- Platform tools such as Shopify, WooCommerce, Amazon, Google Shopping, Bing Shopping, Custom Built, Wix.com, Webflow, Adobe Creative Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Angular, AWS infrastructure, HighLevel, Canva, trello, firebase or Figma
- Email tools such as MailChimp, Klaviyo, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, Constant Contact, Planoly, G Suite, Whatsapp, EmailOctopus, Linkedin sales navigator, Lemlist or Privy
- Social media tools such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Hootsuite, Buffer, Reddit, Medium, Tiktok, Sprout Social, Vimeo or Later.com
- Advertising tools such as Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Google AdSense, Twitter Ads, Amazon Ads, Outbrain, LinkedIn Ads, Instapage, Google ads, Apple Search Ads, doubleclick, AdThrive or Ezoic
- Reviews tools such as Judge.me, TrustSpot, Trustpilot, Yelp, Reviews.io, Rivyo, Power Reviews, Google My Business, TripAdvisor, Glassdoor, Clutch, RevLocal or Google Reviews Widget
- Design tools such as Canva, Adobe Suite, Sketch, Figma, Procreate, Adobe XD or HubSpot’s form builder
- Analytics tools such as Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Heap, Databox, KISSmetrics or Google Forms
- Productivity tools such as Google Suite, Dropbox, Slack, Asana, Microsoft Office 365, Trello, Notion, Monday.com, Calendly, Jira, Airtable, Teamwork, Todoist, 15five, ClickUp, Jive, Adobe Premiere Pro or Google Meet
- Payments tools such as Paypal, Shopify Payments, Stripe, Amazon Payments, TransferWise, Bill.com or Payment Gateway
- Customer service tools such as Zendesk, Facebook Chat App, Freshdesk, TawkTo, Tidio or Zoho Desk
- Blog tools such as WordPress, Squarespace, Thrivethemes or Blogger
- Accounting tools such as Quickbooks, Xero, Wave, Google Sheets, Freshbooks or ADP
- Fulfillment tools such as ShipBob
- App tools such as Zipify, Gravity Forms, Pixel Cat, WP Forms or Flutter
- ** tools** such as Seed FS
- Crm tools such as Hubspot, Streak, PipeDrive, Zoho, Dubsado or LeadIQ
- Freelance tools such as Fiverr, Upwork or freelance.com
- Affiliate tools such as ShareASale, Amazon Associates, Commission Junction or PepperJam
- Education tools such as Udemy, Coursera or Teachable
- Stock images tools such as Unsplash, Shutterstock, adobestock, Pexels, Envato Marketplace, Freepix, Istockphoto or Flaticon
- Crowdfunding tools such as Kickstarter
- Seo tools such as Ahrefs, Agency Analytics, Screaming Frog, Yoast, clearscope, Moz, VidIQ, KWFinder, RavenTools, Alexa, Surfer seo or Rankmath
- Inventory tools such as Craftybase
- Web hosting tools such as WP Engine, Kinsta, GoDaddy, Hostinger, WPX or Cloudways
- Sales tools such as Salesforce
- Podcast tools such as SoundCloud, Anchor, Spotify or BuzzSprout
- Software deals tools such as AppSumo or Secret
- Financing tools such as Shopify Capital, Brex, AMEX, Cap One, Expensify, Penta or BlueVine
- Sms tools such as Twilio
- Wholesale tools such as Husboro
- Referral tools such as HOUZZ
- Payroll tools such as Intuit
- ** tools** such as ZoomInfo, Office Interactive or Qwaya
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