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Today the world is becoming more and more connected. We are moving away from offline advertising and moving to the world of digital advertising. Becoming digital allows us to work away from the conventional office grind while becoming more mobile and flexible in hours. The digital world is fun, exciting, fast paced and allows for travelling while working.
Reuters states that approximately $100 billion a year is spent on digital marketing alone. With us being glued to the screen for more and more hours a day companies are moving to the online advertising space so we can expect the global ad spend to grow. How do you get a piece of the action?
In this article we will discuss how to start a digital agency with zero experience or add on services to create more value to your existing skillset. We will tell a bit about each service and then show you ways how you can get started with zero experience.
Choosing what services to offer
Choosing the services that you want to offer your clients is the first step. If you already have a skill set you maybe able to start that but what if you have no experience in this field – at all. Do you want to start a search engine optimization agency, paid advertising, web design, content social media agency? What do each of these do?
Web Design and Development
Web Development – Web development is the creation of web applications. This is the raw, nitty-gritty coding that may take some coding knowledge. Outsourcing web development is a common practise where as learning web design is something most people can learn in a short period of time.
Web Design – Web design is the creating portion of making a web page. A web designer is responsible for creating the workflow, colour schemes and general layout of the web page. With modern page drag and drop page builders one can easily create a skill set on platforms like Squarespace, WordPress, etc.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization has many benefits and is essentially building a company’s online presence. SEO has some of the highest rates of return over any advertising form so it can be a great add on to any service.
Once a user’s website is created a search engine optimization specialist gets to work. An SEO specialists’ job is to get a client’s webpage ranked highly on Google and other search engines for a multitude of keywords over and above the company’s brand name. There two main aspects of SEO.
On-Page Optimization – This is the process of taking a web site and physically optimizing the webpage. This can include optimizing the headers and content to add more keywords to adding meta-data or editing its code to be loaded more efficient. If you like to write an On-page optimizer may be great for you. It only takes a short period of time to learn basic formatting of a blog article and a quick Google search to create authority content for your client.
Off-Page Optimization – Most of your clients will overlook this strategy but is the number one factor to get a website ranked on search engines. This service involves creating and placing content in strategic places to get your client ranked by building a link to their site. A link to a site is very similar to a Facebook like. The more “likes” a webpage has the better its content and the higher it ranks. This strategy easily outsourced and can range in a number of tactics from creating mini-websites with links to a client’s site or local SEO which involves placing a client’s site in the right directories to get it ranked on the map portion of searches.
Off-page SEO can compliment a content writer very well. As a content writer creates content, they can add more value by selling an off-page SEO package to help a client that content it ranked. If there is no off-page SEO pointing to a client’s content than how will it get found on Google queries? When client allows you to use your name on the post it creates a win-win by also allowing your name to be more visible thus creating a potential for more clients.
Paid Advertising (PPC)
When people think of digital advertising this is what most people think of. Paying money to get an advertisement to drive traffic to a client’s website. The most common platform for paid advertising is Google Ads. A PPC specialists’ job is to get the best bang for the buck. This means optimizing the campaign at regular intervals to lower the cost of each click.
While the rate of return on this type of advertising is not as high as SEO which has longer term results, PPC advertising offers instant lead generation for and gets the advertisement in front of users who are already searching for that product or service. which is useful in many applications.
A content writer is perhaps the easiest place to start and compliments a web developer and SEO specialist as both these skillsets require content for their strategies to work and be efficient.
A staggering 80% of all searches on Google are people searching for information. This means website needs good engaging content to convert users on each of their sales page and a very informative blog. A blog on the website creates information for the users and shows search engines your client is an authority in their space. A website with no content will not get associated with keywords and not get ranked.
Using an off-page SEO strategy pointing links to the content that you create as a content writer creates a solid strategy and will bring more value to you and your company.
Social Media Marketing
The world is addicted to social media. How many times have you seen people scroll aimlessly on the same Instagram feed they scrolled through five minutes prior? Social media is Infront of most North Americans and getting brand recognition in front of these minds is important for a company.
The strategies of social media marketing and PPC marketing on Google are very similar but have some fundamental differences. Social media marketing is used to spread information, brand recognition and clients you would not otherwise get. This is done by getting information in front of users who don’t otherwise know they need your services where as PPC is targeting users who are already looking for the products or services your client offers.
Choosing a name for your agency
Once you have chosen some skills you may have or outsource you will want to choose a name for your business. Will you operate as a sole proprietor or as a brand?
The ideal name length is no more than 15 characters and is easy to remember. If you only plan on offering services locally you may want to include your city name followed by service as your company name. You may even want to do something as simple as your name.
Sometimes when we create a company brand, we will use a thesaurus or a translator to find keywords associated with your industry that you may have over looked. When we created the brand, Spasso Entertainment we entered the word “fun” in Google Translate and got the word, “Spasso”.
Once you have found your name take a look to make sure your domain is available. If everything is a match go down to your local registry to register your company name making it legit.
Choosing a service provider
Choosing a service provider to render the services you don’t have a skillset for, or all the services for your agency can be a daunting task. Here are some things to look for:
White Label – Also known as a private label agency is a company that allows you to resell their services right out of the box. A white label agency will not put their branding on any reports they deliver to you allowing you to easily, in turn add your own logo to claim is as your own brand.
Managed and A la Carte options – A good agency should have a managed service that covers the complete service and offers an a la carte option where you can pick and choose specific services you want to offer. We go back to the Off-page SEO and content writer. A content writer may only want an a la carte option to accompany their content where as a fully managed service may offer both content writing and SEO.
Location – Although digital services can be rendered anywhere in the world choosing a provider that is local can be beneficial in terms of getting support and knowing your area.
Scalability – Will the service provider offer enough packages to help you scale in price and services?
Support – Getting good support matters. A good white-label will help you, as a reseller sell their products. They will take some time to educate you on what package does what and why it’s a good fit.
Define your Niche
Knowing who you want to target may be beneficial. For example, you are a trades person in Alberta may be making a switch to own an agency during their economic down turn. You know the trades and can relate to other trades persons. You speak their lingo and can better explain why they need your services. Of course, you can focus on any niche you want. Identifying your niche will help you gain leads faster and eventually help you branch out.
There are numerous ways to get leads. Any where from bootstrapping, networking, volunteering, cold calling or spending the money to use your own services.
Often you want cover multiple forms of lead generation using your “own” services while going out with boots on the ground to do some old fashioned, in-person lead generation will cover multiple bases and create quicker results.
Using apps like Meet Up can help you find networking events close to you. As a digital agency there is almost always someone who needs your services.
Benefits of starting your own agency
The biggest benefit of starting your own agency is just that. It’s your agency. Getting started will take some work so don’t take it as a hobby. Work hard just as you would a normal job. It can be exhausting but once establish it can allow you to have more freedoms. Each come with their pro’s and cons but ultimately its something to be called your own.
In the above steps we wanted to inform you about the different services that can be rendered under an agency to get your brain running. From one to many services its ultimately up to you to decide how to run your business.