Starting your own digital agency will draw on your business acumen, industry knowledge and well-honed digital marketing skills. The most apt marketer will find setting up their own shop will be challenging and highly disruptive. Even with all your years of experience and proven track record; to succeed as a business in this highly competitive sector you’ll need to get out of your comfort zone so in this article we have 7 top tips from the owner of one the top SEO companies in Europe.
Gareth Bull who is the owner of Bulldog digital media & Email Octopus, opened Bulldog 4 years ago and since then his company has gone from strength to strength. Bulldog digital media is now considered one of the top . Below are his top 7 tips for starting your own digital marketing agency.
1. Set clear goals
Having clear goals to work towards is the key to staying focused. By starting with an overriding end goal you are then able to step back and see the bigger picture. Use SMART goals as a guide for goal setting. SMART is an acronym that stands for, specific, measurable, aspirational, and realistic and finally time. Use this model whenever you set goals for yourself and your business.
2. Create a clear brand identity
Your business should have a clear brand identity. This is very important not only for yourself but for you customers too. Creating a strong brand identity not only tells the world who you are but also what to expect from it i.e. the results your business can and will deliver on and over time your brand can develop and become a leader in its category.
3. Build relationships
Networking is your new best friend. Creating strong relationships in business is a crucial part of the process of setting up any business so it’s vital for a service provider like a digital marketing agency to work it all the time. Fostering robust relationships with key stakeholders will help your business grow and receive the recognition it needs to become a market leader. Read the first tip again – ‘set clear goals’ and make your overriding goal a big one like becoming the market leader in your category. In order to be networking with the right people, join leadership groups, attend industry conferences and networking events. Not every event will deliver immediate results however they’re an opportunity to meet and build a rapport with likeminded people and they will help you get those all-important leads as well as any potential clients.
4. Get your business online
It’s time to build your business brand starting with your website. Once you have your website online, promote it using all the skills and experience you wish to partake upon your future customers. Your business is your first customer so use all your skills to showcase what you can offer.
5. Decide if you need more capital
To start your own digital agency all you actually need to start is a computer and a few SEO tools and you’re ready to go. While it may seem necessary to have every single SEO tool out there, in reality, you don’t need every tool. Spending unnecessary money on tools, which are not necessary will in fact hinder your business. SEO software can often carry a hefty price tag, when you first start you probably don’t have a lot of capital. This means you can’t afford to have a lot of monthly out goings.
6. Plan out if you need more staff
Starting out on your own as a sole operator is how a lot of digital agencies and indeed business start ups commence. However plan for growth and taking on staff. Gareth only hired his first member of staff after 4 months of opening bulldog and it was only a part time role! It took over 2 years before Gareth started hiring employees. This goes to show you don’t need to have a whole team at the outset. Build up your team slowly and make sure your hiring for quality rather than quantity.
7. Get social!
In a world where social media really matters it makes sense to personally get amongst it. Think big and create some profiles across all the popular social media platforms. Read the first tip ‘set clear goals’ again and have a set of goals for your social media strategy. Remember you can reach a wider audience and in the most, it’s free. Using social media can help you market yourself, your business brand, plus build relationships and engage with your customers and it can even result in some leads being generated for your company via referrals.
By following these simple but effective steps opening your own digital marketing agency can work. Remember the hard part isn’t the start up to be successful Gareth says ‘be patient’.