written by
Andre Oentoro

How to Start a Digital Marketing Agency in 2024

Content Marketing 12 min read

If you're planning to launch a digital marketing business in 2024 and are unsure about how to begin or stand out among the vast competition, we've got the guidance you need. Explore how to start a digital marketing company from scratch.

Table of contents: Starting your online marketing business

man in blue dress shirt sitting on rolling chair inside room with monitors digital marketing company

What types of digital marketing agencies exist?

Digital marketing businesses come in various forms, serving as digital marketing experts in different areas of online marketing. Here are some common types of digital marketing agencies:

  1. Full-service digital marketing agency: These agencies offer a wide range of digital marketing services, including SEO, social media management, content creation, PPC advertising, social media ads, email marketing, conversion rate optimization, website marketing, affiliate marketing, and more.
  2. SEO agency: SEO agencies specialize in optimizing websites to improve their visibility and rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). They focus on keyword research, on-page optimization, link building, optimization for mobile devices, and other SEO services.
  3. Social media marketing agency: These agencies specialize in managing and promoting brands on social media platforms. They create engaging content, run targeted digital ads, and help businesses build their online presence.
  4. Content marketing agency: Content marketing agencies create high-quality content to engage and attract target audiences on popular platforms. They develop strategies, produce various types of content, optimize for SEO, and handle the promotion of content across multiple channels.
  5. PPC advertising agency: PPC advertising agencies specialize in managing paid advertising campaigns across paid media platforms like Google Ads, Bing Ads, and social media platforms. They create ad copy, designs, landing pages, targeting strategies, and optimize campaign placement to maximize ROI for their clients.
  6. Email marketing agency: Email marketing agencies assist businesses in creating effective email campaigns to engage leads, customers, subscribers, and members. They offer services such as strategy development, list segmentation, email list building, email design, A-B testing, automation, deliverability tracking, analytics, and reporting.
  7. Influencer marketing agency: Influencer marketing agencies connect brands with influencers to promote products or services.

What services does a digital marketing business provide?

A robust and professional digital company is a driving force behind a business’s success in the digital realm. It equips the business with a wide array of tools and strategies to achieve tangible results and reach their business, marketing and sales goals.

Before we get into how to start a digital marketing company, let’s explore exactly what services a digital marketing company provides to the client.

Strategy development

At the core of any successful digital marketing campaign lies a well-thought-out strategy. Digital marketing companies are experts at crafting customized plans that align with a client's online marketing goals. They analyze market trends, target market behavior, and competition to create a roadmap for success.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

Achieving a high ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs) is crucial for online visibility. Digital marketing companies employ SEO techniques to improve a website's organic search ranking, including on-page optimization, content creation, and backlink building.

Content marketing

Content is king in the digital world. It might sound like an overused or even an old-school adage. But, it remains an undeniable truth that shapes the very foundation of online success.

These companies help in creating a content marketing strategy, and distribute high-quality content, including blog posts, articles, explainer videos, ebooks, and infographics, to engage and inform the target audience.

Social media management

Digital marketing agencies also help businesses create and curate content, manage social media profiles, gain followers and engage with them, and even run paid advertising campaigns to drive brand awareness and engagement.

Analytics and reporting

It goes beyond the creation and performance of digital marketing, though. A digital marketing company also monitors client campaigns, analyzes performance metrics, and provides comprehensive reports to clients. According to Blue River Mountains, this data-driven approach allows for informed decision-making and ongoing optimization.

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How to start a digital marketing company in 7 steps

Now that you know what you should, at least, bring to the table, let's break down how you can start and thrive in the exhilarating world of digital marketing entrepreneurship.

Starting your very own digital marketing company is a journey that begins with a vision and unfolds through careful planning, strategic thinking, and relentless dedication.

Here are the essential steps on how to start a digital marketing company that not only takes off successfully but also thrives in the competitive and ever-evolving digital landscape.

1. Conduct market research

First thing first. Make sure you understand the digital marketing landscape before you dive headfirst into starting your own digital marketing company.

You can do this by conducting a market research. A well-planned and well-executed market research can make other next steps a lot easier. You will know digital marketing businesses operating in your niche.

This is an effective way to differentiate your company, develop unique selling points, and create strategies to outperform your competitors. At the end of the day, it’s essential to understand the industry, your competitors, the potential clients you target, and even what is recently trending.

While conducting market research can seem like a backbreaking task, there are tons of tools you can leverage to make the whole process less painful and more streamlined. Equip yourself with the robust agency tools and technologies required to navigate this dynamic landscape effectively.

2. Develop a business plan

Just like any other type of business, your digital marketing company should build upon a well-developed business plan. Include your objectives, origins, mission, vision, and core values. Highlight what sets your company apart from competitors and the niche or industry you plan to focus on.

Along with all of it, assemble a strong team of experts in various areas of digital marketing. They will be the backbone of your digital marketing company, responsible for delivering exceptional results to your clients, and creating exceptional client relationships.

Here are some key roles to consider when building your digital marketing dream team:

  • SEO Specialist
  • SEO Copywriter
  • Content Creator
  • Social Media Manager
  • Analytics and Data Analyst
  • Client Relations Manager

3. Choose your niche

You might think that casting a wide net and offering digital marketing services to every type of business and targeting a broader audience would be the quickest path to success.

However, if you choose to only specialize in a particular niche, you can develop deep expertise in that industry's nuances and challenges.

This knowledge allows you to craft highly tailored strategies that resonate with your target audience. Your target customer personas are more likely to trust and hire experts who understand their specific needs.

For example, if you have a background in healthcare and a passion for wellness, specializing in healthcare digital marketing could be a strategic choice. Focus targeting exclusively on healthcare providers, clinics, or medical product companies.

You can leverage your industry knowledge to craft highly effective marketing strategies tailored to the unique needs and regulations of the healthcare sector.

4. Define your service

When you know everything there is to know about your digital marketing service, potential clients can tell that you’re, indeed, an expert. They can rely on you whenever they have questions about your service from A to Z. As a result of this kind of expertise, they’ll be more likely to believe you when you tell them that your service is the best fit for their needs.

Meanwhile, if you aren’t completely knowledgeable about the minutiae of your service and how they relate to others in your field, you won’t have the answers to all of their questions.

By all means, clearly defined services set clear expectations for your clients. They will know what to anticipate when they hire your digital marketing company. Over time, this helps you and your team avoid misunderstandings and potential conflicts.

5. Build your portfolio

When you just started, building a portfolio may seem like a catch-22 situation.

Clients often want to see your past work to gauge your expertise and trustworthiness, but how can you showcase experience when you're just getting off the ground?

Create and manage your own digital marketing campaigns for personal projects or blogs. This serves as a live demonstration of your skills and your ability to drive results.

You can start a blog, optimize it for SEO, promote it on social media, and document the website traffic and engagement growth in a case-study-like content. Outline the challenges, your strategies, the execution process, and the measurable outcomes. Include before-and-after data and charts.

6. Branding and identity

Your digital marketing company's branding is not just a logo or a color scheme; it's the essence of your business, conveying your values, personality, and the promise of value you bring to clients.

Start by defining your brand's core essence. What is your mission? Which values do you uphold? What unique qualities set your digital marketing company apart from the competition? Clarify your brand's personality and the emotions you want it to evoke.

Then, it would be much easier for you to choose the right business name, find your brand voice, invest in well-built business websites, and create high-quality content.

a man holding a cup of coffee and some snacks

7. Marketing and networking

While you aim to help market other businesses, you also need a robust marketing and networking strategy of your own to establish your digital marketing company in the industry.

To expand your network, attend digital marketing conferences, seminars, and webinars. These events provide opportunities to learn from industry leaders and establish your presence. Joint ventures, partnerships, and co-marketing efforts can also expand your reach.

If you want even more diverse collaboration opportunities, consider partnering with businesses from different niches within the same industry, such as explainer video companies, PPC agencies, content agencies, content production firms, and more.

These cross-niche collaborations can bring fresh perspectives and innovative solutions to your digital marketing business, enriching your offerings and extending your network even further.

Making your digital marketing business stand out

We just learned the 7 steps on how to start a digital marketing company. But, this means nothing when you're drowning in a sea of agencies vying for clients' attention.

Merely offering excellent services won't cut it. That’s why we include essential factors that can make your digital marketing agency stand out.

  • Unique value proposition: Identify the unique strengths and qualities that make your agency distinct. Whether it's a niche specialization, innovative methodologies, or exceptional customer service, your UVP is what clients will remember.
  • Exceptional client service: Go the extra mile to provide top-notch service. Responsive communication, personalized strategies, and a client-centric approach build trust, foster long-term client relationships, and influence positive word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Collaborate and partner: Collaborate with complementary businesses or influencers in your industry to expand your reach and offer comprehensive solutions to clients.
  • Client-centric approach: Continuously listen to your clients needs, adapt your strategies as necessary, and maintain an open line of communication to ensure their satisfaction.
  • Keep an eye out on competitors: Stay informed about your competitors' strategies and offerings. Identify gaps in the market that your agency can fill.

Tools you need to run a digital marketing business

Running a successful agency requires a combination of digital marketing skills, software, and tools to effectively manage campaigns, analyze data, and communicate with clients.

There are a bunch of tools that can help you streamline all the back-breaking processes of running a digital marketing company. We’ve listed some essential ones below:

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Website audit tools

Website audit tools come in handy for analyzing websites and identifying issues, errors, and opportunities for improvement in your client’s websites. Using this tool, you know what you should do to help the client in the first place.

These tools automatically scan websites to assess factors like on-page SEO, technical performance, user experience, and security.

Some popular website audit tools include:

  • Ahrefs
  • BuzzSumo
  • Google Analytics
  • Moz Pro

Project management software

With robust project management software, you can plan, execute, and track tasks and projects efficiently. It streamlines team collaboration, task allocation, and progress monitoring.

Most project management software out there provides you with task boards, calendars, Gantt charts, and reporting tools. Not only for internal teams only, you can also invite your client for online collaboration.

Here are some popular ones in the market today:

  • Asana
  • Basecamp
  • Trello
  • Airtable

Workflow automation

Digital marketing agencies often deal with mundane, repetitive tasks– which are not only time-consuming but also hinder the productivity of the team.

This is where workflow automation comes in. Workflow automation software can improve the efficiency of your digital marketing agencies by reducing manual work.

Whether it’s email campaigns, content publishing, or marketing automation tools, they take care of repetitive tasks such as scheduling, ideas brainstorming, and real-time reports, you mention it.

You might choose one of these:

SEO agency tools

All-in-one SEO tools help you optimize the client’s websites and their content to rank higher in search engine results pages. They provide you with keyword research, on-page optimization, backlink analysis, and tracking performance.

Notable SEO agency tools include:

Social media management software

Social media management software allows you to schedule, monitor, and analyze social media posts and campaigns across multiple digital platforms. They make it effortless for you to come up with a consistent and well-organized posting schedule for the client.

No matter what social media platforms they use, you will be able to manage all of them from a single dashboard. This, in turn, helps you coordinate and track activities across various channels like TikTok, Twitter (X), Instagram, LinkedIn, and even Facebook without having to go back and forth between each platform.

You can also understand audience engagement, track key performance metrics, and maintain an effective online presence for your client’s business.

You may want to start with one of these:

Getting your digital marketing business off the ground

You should have a solid idea of how to start your digital marketing company.

Establishing a digital marketing company is so much more than a mere business venture; it can also be a testament to your vision and determination. Remember that success isn't solely measured by revenue or number of new clients.

It's about the lasting impact you make, the relationships you nurture, and the transformative results you deliver for your clients.

When you’re ready to launch your digital marketing company, be sure to leverage the correct tools that ensure great client results.

Top digital marketing agencies in the USA, UK, and Europe

Small businesses to large corporations are focusing more than ever on enhancing their online visibility and engaging customers through internet marketing. For digital marketing agencies aiming for growth and success, adopting best practices from leading agencies can be a game-changer.

Browse agencies near you:

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