How To Start A Digital Marketing Business

Start A Digital Marketing Business

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If you ask any entrepreneur, starting a business comes with its fair share of challenges.

Starting a digital marketing business requires a great deal of effort, dedication and most importantly passion.

If you're willing to put in the effort to build your own business, you're going to want to follow the critical steps to creating a successful brand.

We've created a guide that covers each step of the process - from making key financial decisions, to launching and marketing your business the right way, and tips/strategies on how to grow your business effectively.

market size
$49.4B
avg revenue (monthly)
$147K
starting costs
$27K
gross margin
23%
time to build
10 months
average product price
$6000
growth channels
SEO
business model
Subscriptions
best tools
SEM Rush, Ahrefs, Slack
time investment
Full time
pros & cons
38 Pros & Cons
tips
10 Tips

💡 Introduction To Starting A Digital Marketing Business

Is Starting A Digital Marketing Business Right For You?

There are many factors to consider when starting a digital marketing business.

We put together the main pros and cons for you here:

Pros of starting a digital marketing business

• Flexibility

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!

• Traffic to your website

A digital marketing business 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 marketing business. 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 Marketing Businesses 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!

• 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 marketing business 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.

• Amazing perks and discounts

Working in the digital marketing business comes with its perks! As a seller for these products/services, you typically also get to enjoy industry perks and discounts.

• 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.

• Simple business model

A digital marketing business has the advantage of a simple business model, which makes launching and building the business more seamless.

• Greater Income Potential

With this business, the sky is the limit in regards to your income potential.

• You get to do something you truly love

With starting a digital marketing business, you get to put your energy into something you are truly passionate about! You'll find yourself devoting as much time and energy as possible into the business to make it successful.

• 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.

• Express your opinions

With starting a digital marketing business, you can express your opinions and knowledge to your audience, which allows you to build your own reputation and identity.

• You can work from anywhere!

Not only can you start your digital marketing business 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 marketing business 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 marketing business, 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 marketing business. Typically, you have a solid foundation of clients that use your product and services regularly.

• Make money while you sleep

The advantage of starting a digital marketing business is that you have the ability to have passive income and make money while you sleep. This is the dream for many entrepreneurs.

• Results and revenue happen quickly!

Unlike other businesses, it can be relatively quick to start seeing results and revenue. As long as you follow all the steps to validate your idea before launch, you are likely to see quick results and ROI.

Cons of starting a digital marketing business

• 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.

• Longer Sales Process

A digital marketing business can be a big time and money investment for your customer, so it's important you plan and predict a longer conversion funnel and stay in communication with potential customers.

• Low margins

The gross margins for your digital marketing business are typically around 23%, which can make it more challenging to incur new expenses and maintain profitability.

• High employee turnover

In the digital marketing business, 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.

• 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

• Churn

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 marketing business, 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 marketing business, 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.

• 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.

• Difficult to scale

With a digital marketing business, 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.

• Recession-Impacted Industry

When the economy is down, digital marketing business's are one of the first things to be cut.

• 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.

Players

Big Players

Small Players

Search Interest

Let's take a look at the search trends for digital marketing over the last year:

How To Name Your Digital Marketing Business

It's important to find a catchy name for your digital marketing business so that you can stand out in your space.

Here are some general tips to consider when naming your digital marketing business

  • 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 marketing business 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 marketing business.

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 marketing business:

  • The Retail Sales check availability
  • Philosophical Societal check availability
  • Improved Advertising Pro check availability
  • Multinational Product Pro check availability
  • Event Marketer check availability
  • Effective Promotion Place check availability
  • EffectiveMarketing check availability
  • Exegetical Socio Co check availability
  • Distribution Co check availability
  • Worshipping Marketing check availability
  • The Mobile Promotional check availability
  • The Financial Merchandising check availability
  • IntellectualSocial check availability
  • The Commercial Marketer check availability
  • The External check availability
  • Online check availability
  • LevelMarketing check availability
  • The Competitive Business check availability
  • Optical check availability
  • The Collective check availability
  • The Intrinsically check availability
  • Promotional Co check availability
  • Advertising Spot check availability
  • Technical check availability
  • Concentrated Merchandising Spot check availability
  • Aggressive check availability
  • Recent check availability
  • Heartening Marketing check availability
  • Email Sales check availability
  • UndifferentiatedMarketing check availability
  • Online Business Group check availability
  • Sociale Socioeconomic check availability
  • Sophisticated Telemarketing Collective check availability
  • The Part Friendly check availability
  • Marketer Place check availability
  • Bit Online Spot check availability
  • Extensive check availability
  • The Educational check availability
  • Self Societal check availability
  • Clever check availability
  • The Pharmaceutical check availability
  • Psycho Societal Collective check availability
  • Religious Swarming Collective check availability
  • Industrial Distribution check availability
  • Part Herding Collective check availability
  • The History Gregarious check availability
  • Integrated Sales check availability
  • The Contemporary check availability
  • Better Business Collective check availability
  • Inter check availability
  • Internal Distribution Group check availability
  • Controlled Sales Spot check availability
  • The Level check availability
  • Impermissible Digital check availability
  • Internal Telemarketing check availability
  • SophisticatedMarketing check availability
  • Demographic check availability
  • Shortening Marketing check availability
  • The Ethical Friendly check availability
  • The Developmental check availability
  • RoutineDigital check availability
  • Sales Place check availability
  • Boastful Social check availability
  • Regional Telemarketing Pro check availability
  • The Electronic Distribution check availability
  • Product Spot check availability
  • The Strategic check availability
  • Environmental Swarming check availability
  • Promotional Spot check availability
  • The Mobile Product check availability
  • Bio Cultural Collective check availability
  • Mail Marketer check availability
  • Religious check availability
  • Domestic Product Place check availability
  • Self check availability
  • Concentrated Business Spot check availability
  • The Based Sales check availability
  • Pre Cultural Place check availability
  • Mail Marketeer check availability
  • Pharmaceutical check availability
  • Green Distribution Spot check availability

How To Create A Slogan For Your Digital Marketing Business:

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 marketing business:

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 marketing business:

  • Find your brand’s voice.
  • The business creation agency.
  • We are the brand builders
  • Activating listening
  • Let the whole world know about your small business
  • We are the brilliants in terms of digital marketing
  • Digital adverts specialists
  • The one with the master touch
  • Don’t think big. Think Giant.
  • Ad agency by day, inventing lab by night
  • You Can Buy Likes, But Not Hearts.
  • Crafts you can bank on.
  • Let your advertising blossom.
  • Activate Listening.
  • Your ads toolbox
  • One Focus One Success
  • Stay real. Always.
  • We help the brilliant minds to explore their way
  • Cultivating market leadership from the inside out.
  • Your Articles Are Your Products.
  • Just give us ideas, we are here to help you out
  • We are the brand builders for better tomorrow
  • Our Preparation is Your Profit
  • The Universal Strategies
  • Digitally forward creative
  • We think independent.
  • Digital work, Amazing Solutions
  • Create content, publish content
  • Try to learn SEO setting
  • Bring your imagination to real life
  • Expect more
  • Optimize Your Results
  • We are the best agencies in the city
  • Edge out the competition.
  • Bring out your business to the whole world
  • Business Dreams getting near
  • Experience your brand a Digi life
  • Digital forward, creative
  • Think digital. Go for advertising!
  • Persistent. Productive.
  • One brilliant idea can change your life
  • Digital adverts redefined.
  • Strategies that work
  • We trust you
  • Brilliant minds.
  • Working together to create the next big thing
  • Ideas people want to spend time with.
  • Where your successes become ours
  • Where Innovation Exists.
  • Come online and experience digital marketing
  • Affective ideas. Since always.
  • Creative Strategy and Clear Focus
  • Ideas that soar.
  • Clear Goals. Precise Solutions
  • Better tools. Better marketing.
  • The Success Specialists
  • We provide creative solutions for your creative ideas
  • Where business goes viral.
  • Creative solutions, creative results
  • It’s your time to grow your business with us
  • Go Crazy, Go Viral
  • We’ll get your attention!
  • Driving profits to your doors
  • Give us an idea that people want to spend time with
  • We are here to connect creativity with dreams
  • Bringing action to brands.
  • Guru with momentum
  • A new way of income
  • Good thinking. Good Marketing
  • Be genuine, be nice, know your audience
  • Creating better Results.
  • A place where your ideas get wings
  • An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.
  • Results Counts and Speaks
  • Brand builders & storytellers.
  • Don’t think big, think giant
  • Making Your Success A Reality
  • Choose What Matters To Your Business & Your Customers.
  • A likelihood of new business
  • We are building brands, not the relationship

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.

🎬 How To Start A Digital Marketing Business

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How Much Does It Cost To Start A Digital Marketing Business

If you are planning to start a digital marketing business, 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 marketing business and outline the costs you should expect for each:

  • The estimated minimum starting cost = $7,466
  • The estimated maximum starting cost = $46,911
Startup Expenses: Average expenses incurred when starting a digital marketing business. 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. $500 $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. $200 $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! $50 $100
Total Office Space Expenses $750 (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)
Equipment & Supply Expenses
Technology Office Equipment: This includes (but is not limited to) physical items such as: laptops, cameras, monitors, microphones, speakers, headsets. Technology needs grow as your company evolves, so to minimize costs, try and only purchase what is needed for you to run your business at the time. $500 $5,000
Total Equipment & Supply Expenses $500 (min) $5,000 (max)
Website Costs
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 Design: 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
A 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. $80 $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 $303 (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 marketing business. $50 $700
Trademarking: Filing trademark registration will protect your brand and prevent other businesses from copying your name or product. USPTO has several different types of trademarks, so the cost to apply can vary (typically anywhere from $400-$700). $0 $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
A Patent: Patents provide protection against others stealing or selling your idea.Securing a patent can be very valuable, but it's important that you are 100% sure this will be a smart business move for you, or if this is something to consider down the line.The process of securing a US patent can be both lengthy and pricey, and typically includes filing an application with the USPTO. $5,000 $15,000
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 $5,600 (min) $20,400 (max)
Software Expenses
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 marketing business, 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
Online data storage: It's important to make sure the information for your digital marketing business 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 marketing business 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 marketing business'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 marketing business - 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 marketing business, 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
Press: If your business and story is unique enough, press and media attention may come to you, but odds are, you may need to do your own outreach and budget for this. We put together a guide here that discusses different press opportunities (both free and paid). $0 $500
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) $3,050 (max)
Other Expenses
Credit Card Processing Fees: If you process credit cards then you will need to deal with interchange fees - which is usually around 3% of total charges. These fees are often forgotten about and can hurt cash flow if not taken into account. $0 $300
Time!: Time is money! When starting a business, think about how much time you are spending on certain tasks that could be delegated to another team member or automated. Additionally, spending too much time on tasks that aren't associated with revenue is a hidden cost of running a business. $0 $500
Total Other Expenses $0 (min) $800 (max)
Total Starting Costs $7,466 (min) $46,911 (max)

Raising Money For Your Digital Marketing Business

Here are the most common ways to raise money for your digital marketing business:

VC Funding

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 Marketing Business?

As a digital marketing business, 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 marketing business 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 marketing business:

  • 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 marketing business, 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 marketing business.

For a full list, check out this article here.

Design Skills

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 marketing business. 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 marketing business include digital marketing skills, branding experience, and basic business knowledge.

Coding Skills

Here are some critical skills you will need to start your digital marketing business:

  • 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 marketing business, check out this article.

Resarch and Writing Skills

Research and writing skills are critical when starting a digital marketing business. 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 marketing business 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 Marketing Business

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 marketing business:

Jacob Dazzeo, founder of Watson Digital ($12K/month):

You’ll go further with help. Watson Digital is what it is today because of support from friends and family. We are always looking to form strategic partnerships that benefit both sides.

Read the full interview ➜

-

Kevin Roy, founder of GreenBanana ($600K/month):

Take calculated risks but make sure they are calculated.

Read the full interview ➜

-

Jeff Carrier, founder of Restoration Digital Marketing ($25K/month):

Develop the client relationship. Become a friend to them. Not everyone can perform perfectly (especially in SEO) but your friend will work with you through the challenges, whereas any other client might just jump ship to someone else.

Read the full interview ➜

-

Rahul Alim, founder of Custom Creatives ($100K/month):

Pick something you are passionate about, go all-in on it, and don’t give up early. Stay the course.

Read the full interview ➜

-

Courtney, founder of Intellitonic ($90K/month):

Find partners who shore up your weaknesses and polish your strengths. Time and time again our business story is one of personal growth enabled by the support our founders and the team provide each other.

Read the full interview ➜

-

Rahul Alim, founder of Custom Creatives ($100K/month):

That was a bad plan. I did not anticipate all the hats I would have to wear such as paying bills, accounting, sales, fulfillment or vendor management.

Read the full interview ➜

-

Anshul Sharma, founder of BrandBurp Digital ($100K/month):

Stay focused on your goal and start without any fear.

Read the full interview ➜

-

Evan LaGasse, founder of eBoost Consulting ($/month):

Every action you take gets you closer to either succeeding or failing. The more you do, the more you learn and the more you fail. The more you fail, the more you will eventually succeed.

Read the full interview ➜

-

Write a Business Plan

Writing a business plan from the start is critical for the success of your digital marketing business.

Why?

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 Marketing Business (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.

Learn more about securing the right permits and licenses ➜

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.

2. Salary

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.

https://media.giphy.com/media/xT0xeLTRncS90ptpfi/giphy.gif

To learn more about how to pay yourself and what is a reasonable amount, check out this article.

How To Price Your Digital Marketing

One of the most challenging aspects to starting a digital marketing business is determining how much to charge for your digital marketing.

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 marketing, it's critical that you first identify all of your costs and consequently mark up your digital marketing so you can factor in a profit.

The actual cost of your digital marketing may include things like:

  • The actual cost to make the product (ie. raw materials, supplies, manufacturer).
  • Shipping + overhead fees
  • Rent
  • 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 marketing, you'll want to create goals for revenue + how much profit you want your digital marketing business to make.

This process is simpler than you may think:

  1. Think about your breakeven cost (by completing the above step).
  2. Create a revenue goal based on your break-even cost
  3. Evaluate the # of items you plan to sell in a given period (make sure this is a realistic number)
  4. 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 marketing 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 marketing fits best in the marketplace.

All of these factors play an equal part in pricing your digital marketing, 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 Marketing 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 Marketing

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 marketing business:

B2B (or business to business) is a transaction where your digital marketing business 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 marketing business 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 marketing business, 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 marketing business, designing a prototype can be a great way to de-risk your situation.

The point of your digital marketing 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

Rahul Alim, founder of Custom Creatives dives deep into the process of designing and prototyping their product:

My very first service was a virtual assistant service where I helped realtors upload photos, property descriptions, and used my experience from Realtor.com to make my clients stand out online over the millions of agents out there.

That was a bad plan. I did not anticipate all the hats I would have to wear such as paying bills, accounting, sales, fulfillment or vendor management.

I started by calculating my time I would need on average per month per client, per year per client, then I decided I would create “buckets” of pricing. I based my pricing on the past 12 months’ transaction history to determine how much time I would invest. Then I created 2 prices for each bucket:

  • Annual pricing for a discount
  • Month to month pricing

Most people chose annual since I made it attractive, and because I was just starting and wanted to front-load revenue.

I had NO start-up costs that came out of pocket. I had sold from day one so I used that revenue to fund everything. I have never been in the “red” since starting. I have had turbulence along the way, but I planned ahead for “winter” to come.

Soon after starting a client request ended up paving the path for my company and changed my vision.

-  
Rahul Alim, on starting Custom Creatives ($100,000/month) full story ➜

🚀 How To Launch Your Digital Marketing Business

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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).

  1. Pick a domain name that's easy to remember and easy to type
  2. Choose a Web Hosting Plan (ie. Shopify, Squarespace)
  3. Make sure you choose the right theme and design
  4. 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 Marketing Business:

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 marketing business:

WordPress

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:

363 successful businesses are using WordPress ➜

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Get WordPress ➜

Squarespace

The all-in-one solution for anyone looking to create a beautiful website.

  • Personal Plan: $12/month
  • Business Plan: $18/month
  • Basic: $26/month
  • Advanced: $40/month

  • Pricing: Freemium

  • Twitter: @squarespace

  • Website: squarespace.com

Businesses using Squarespace:

72 successful businesses are using Squarespace ➜

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Get Squarespace ➜

Web Design

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 Marketing Business:

There are various different ways you can launch your digital marketing business successfully.

Here are a few different strategies to get customers excited about your digital marketing business:

  • 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.

Jeff Carrier, founder of Restoration Digital Marketing dives deep into the process of launching the business:

The Launch

We launched out of a restoration company, so that provided us a lot of benefits. Mainly, we used profits from the restoration company to support the needs of the digital marketing agency - RDM in the early days. Starting a digital agency however is not very capital intensive, and most of your expenses scale as you grow and generate sales. The biggest upfront cost however is personnel (that’s me) and in this instance, I was already employed as the in house marketing director, so the goal was to shift some of my time to external clients as we captured them. Then hire full-time staff and freelancers as we built our book of business.

Our service was pretty clear from the beginning because we’ve spoken to many restoration owners over the years we knew what they needed - a better online presence, professional look, and most importantly generate sales. Generating leads was our main focus, if we could provide positive ROI then we knew we could keep clients in the long run and be profitable.

We launched in 2017 with a PPT presentation and flyer...that’s it. We didn’t even build our first website until a full year later in 2018. But we knew SEO and just needed to convince people in the industry to give us a shot.

Getting Clients

This was our biggest challenge in the early days, like most startups. We were a restoration company trying to sell digital marketing services. Our challenge was not if we knew the restoration industry, but to prove we knew a thing or two about SEO and building websites. Our first strategy, which proved fruitful, was to market to a regional restoration association we were already a part of. We were able to get time at a meeting with a presentation about digital marketing and our launch. In groups like these we knew we only needed one shot, do well, and we could parlay that into more work because all the restoration owners knew each other. We were fortunate enough to be given that chance right after our first presentation and landed our first client.

-  
Jeff Carrier, on starting Restoration Digital Marketing ($25,000/month) full story ➜

Get Press Coverage For Your Digital Marketing Business

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:

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 Marketing Business

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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

-  
Evan Marshall, on starting Plain Jane ($275,000/month) full story ➜

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.

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Mike Doehla, on starting Stronger U ($500,000/month) full story ➜

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 marketing business.

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:

  • Trello
  • Airtable
  • If you prefer to keep it simple, your average spreadsheet is just as useful!

Backlinks

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

Learn more about the fundamentals of SEO ➜ here and check out Neil Patel's 3 Powerful SEO Tips below

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.

Oversaturation

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

Mailing List

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

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.

Facebook Groups

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:

  • Ebook
  • 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.

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Dylan Jacob, on starting BrüMate ($12,000,000/month) full story ➜

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:

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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.

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Steven Sashen, on starting Xero Shoes ($1,500,000/month) full story ➜

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:

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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 marketing business.

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.
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Andy Hayes, on starting Plum Deluxe Tea ($75,000/month) full story ➜

Host A Social Media Giveaway

People love free stuff and love competition. Giveaways and contests are a great way to create awareness for your brand, grow your email list, and eventually convert leads into customers.

If your goal is to gather email addresses, make sure the entry criteria is to "enter your email." You can do this by leading customers to your landing page where they can then enter their email to be in the giveaway.

One of the most important aspects of promoting a successful giveaway is having an amazing prize. The better the prize, the more engagement you'll get.

This doesn't necessarily mean choosing an iPad or an expensive/trendy watch, but instead a prize that is actually relevant to your brand/target audience.

Giveaway Example and Tips

Example from TJ Mapes, founder of RIPT Apparel

Our most recent successful giveaway was when we gave away a PS4 + the new Spiderman game. I hosted the giveaway on our site and then let our audience know about it via email/social channels.

Entrants earned different amounts of entries for entering in different ways (tongue twister!), for instance; enter via email, get 10 entries. Follow us on Facebook, get 5 entries. Subscribe on Messenger and get 25 entries.

how-three-friends-launched-2-4m-t-shirt-startup-ript-apparel

I also built out a drip sequence in Klaviyo that contained four emails to encourage entrants to take more action, like referring friends and liking us on social.

Email #1: Thanks for entering!

how-three-friends-launched-2-4m-t-shirt-startup-ript-apparel

Email #2: Explained how to earn bonus entries:

how-three-friends-launched-2-4m-t-shirt-startup-ript-apparel

Email #3: About us

how-three-friends-launched-2-4m-t-shirt-startup-ript-apparel

Email #4: Coupon for entering

This last email in the sequence just thanked them again for entering and also included a coupon to a specific (related) collection of designs with an expiration date on it to incentivize purchases.

how-three-friends-launched-2-4m-t-shirt-startup-ript-apparel

how-three-friends-launched-2-4m-t-shirt-startup-ript-apparel
(this screenshot is actually a flow from when we gave away an xbox, but you get the idea - huge open and click rates 💯💯💯)

PS4 Giveaway Results:

We ran it for 2 weeks and recorded results in a meticulous spreadsheet to analyze the data. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Giveaway page pageviews - 67,355
  • Total entrants - 26,137
  • Conversion rate - 38.80%
  • Total entrants in Klaviyo (not suppressed) - 24,515
  • New emails acquired - 16,363
  • Emails we already had - 7,521
  • % of new emails - 66.75%
  • Cost of item - $350
  • Instagram visits - 10,618
  • Instagram followers gained - 3,496 ( total followers lifted by 6.9% )
  • Twitter followers gained - 4,194
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TJ Mapes, on starting RIPT Apparel ($200,000/month) full story ➜

🏃🏼‍♀️ How To Run Your Digital Marketing Business

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How To Retain Customers For Your Digital Marketing Business

Retaining customers is one of the most effective ways to grow your digital marketing business.

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 marketing business:

  • 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

Anshul Sharma, founder of BrandBurp Digital dives deep into the process of attracting and retaining customers:

Starting a digital marketing agency is not at all easy. There are more cons than pros. But what kept us going was our dedication to run a successful agency. When we started for 1,000 USD, we didn’t know that it’ll increase to 100K USD in five years.

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Our first client Tangoride, a new name in the ride-hailing industry, wasn't a known brand. As it is an app-based company, we had to adapt as per their needs and requirements. Here are the services we offered Tangoride:

  • Social media promotion
  • Public relations account management
  • Market research
  • App store optimization
  • Video marketing

About our challenges, it has been a quite complex process in itself. Some issues that we faced are:

  • Reflecting the brand’s reputation among the audience
  • Know about customer choices and preferences
  • Protecting the company from negative associations

Tactics we used

  • Conveyed the right brand message to the users
  • Motivated customers to use services
  • Defining the brand’s objective

We have always focussed on helping startups thrive by adding value to their brands. What has actually helped us retain in the market, is our services, processes, and products that keep changing as per the latest trends. Our 175+ skilled professionals have a deep understanding of how businesses work. Hence, they constantly keep track of the ongoing and latest business trends. Furthermore, we provide a full-service strategy to all our clients and help them boost visibility, user acquisition, and conversions by 120% by utilizing a blend of digital channels.

Another aspect that has kept us going is our consistency. Consistency is the key to attracting and retaining customers. Most companies often lower the quality of their services as soon as they garner customers. At BrandBurp, we have tried to maintain a certain procedure to retain our customers. We plan and make business strategies, identify goals, work on content marketing, evaluate social media marketing channels and websites, increase engagement, and use the right technology to help businesses thrive. We also ensure to forecast the results based on days, months, or years, before making a strategy.

We also focus a lot on giving customer satisfaction. The speed at which the digital marketing sector is growing is scary. With new companies coming up every day, it’s not at all easy to be a brands’ first choice. We, however, know that good services, out-of-the-box ideas, and customer satisfaction can help attract as well as sustain clients, which is why we focus a lot on keeping a constant good performance. We provide results above customers ’expectations.

We follow certain steps to give out-of-the-box services:

  • Deep knowledge about client requirements
  • Analysis of ongoing and future trends
  • Researching the market
  • Making use of the right channels
  • Developing a well-planned strategy
  • Boosting traffic and revenue
  • Deep insights on data and infographics
  • Monthly report to clients
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Anshul Sharma, on starting BrandBurp Digital ($100,000/month) full story ➜

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.

Authenticity

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.

Be Authentic

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.

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Valentin Ozich, on starting I Love Ugly ($300,000/month) full story ➜

Resources

We put together the best resources on the internet to help you start your digital marketing business.

Tools

Books

Web Resources

Videos

Case Studies

Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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