Today’s world is undergoing a digital revolution. Did you know digital market spending is supposed to climb to $375 billion by 2021? As businesses go digital and processes become online, everyone needs a guide to lead them into the new world.
If you have a flair of marketing and are interested in pursuing entrepreneurship, then perhaps, starting your own digital marketing agency might be your best bet on your future.
A recent report by Tech Nation reports that digital tech sector in the UK grew six times faster than other industries
“In a rapidly changing world, the UK is a shining light for tech entrepreneurs, investors and employees,” said Gerard Grech, chief executive at Tech Nation. “Some of the biggest UK successes; the 77 so-called tech unicorns, are $1 billion valued companies that now inspire others, and there are an additional 95 tech businesses across the UK primed to be scaling over the coming years.
Read below for the ultimate guide on how to start your own digital marketing agency in the UK:
Do your research and stay up to date with the latest developments and innovations in the world of digital. Though staying informed is vital for any entrepreneur it becomes almost vital for any player in the digital world. This is because, the said landscape is anything but stable. So much so that experts have termed it ‘disruptive innovation’ i.e. any new developments risks shattering all prior foundations. Hence, educate yourself to the processes of the digital world, the trends and unique propositions, how agencies function and what already is being offered in the market.
Few terminologies that you need to familiarise yourself with, include, Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, Search engine optimisation (SEO), Content marketing, Guest blogging, Email marketing to name a few.
Find your niche:
Upon educating yourself to the workings and happenings of the industry, you are likely to identify a gap, or an area under-served. This will help you draft your particular niche; a particular skill or segment of the industry that you would like to specialise in. In time you would strive to be stand out in this niche and be known as its experts.
While deciding the niche to operate in, you would also decide the type of customer you’d like to focus on; your target market. You can operate internationally, thanks to the internet or stay within your local confines. You can either cater to business for businesses (B2B) or business for customers (B2C). You would also need to choose to either work for few clients for the longer term or various clients on a project-to-project basis.
Whatever you decide, be sure to keep yourself focused and slowly develop a name in it. It is better to start slow and once you find your footing, then to expand further and add more offerings.
Understand the competitive landscape:
Once you identify your niche, you need to assess what or rather who you are up against. Study your competitors closely and patiently. Understand their work models, their clients and specialisations. It is important to not hoard yourself with a list of competitor players. Limit yourself to ideally 10 agencies, operating closest to your niche and target markets.
Not only will this knowledge help you understand the landscape but also help you set your foot on a firmer ground with your agency.
Write a business plan:
Any business plan ideally includes:
- Your business’ goals
- Cashflow and financial forecast
- Projections for business activity
- Which revenue stream(s) you’ll use
- Who your target audience is and how you’ll reach them.
The article ‘7 Steps to a Perfectly Written Business Plan’ at Entrepreneur. Com gives a comprehensive guide on how to draft your first business plan.
Market your offering and build a clientele:
This step often proves the most difficult for more budding agencies; the race to win over clients and it all boils down to your networking abilities and convincing powers. Practice your pitch, make it impressive and market your agency every chance you get.
Keep a short, precise and intriguing presentation handy. It is also a good idea to call up businesses and advertise your product. Be sure to stick to your niche and your brand persona. A mistake so early on, could carve a wrong path for your business. This might mean declining tempting offers just because they contrast with your brand.
Build a portfolio:
A portfolio is integral to a digital marketing agency; it will highlight t your work, offerings and capabilities. Companies always demand for a portfolio before sealing a deal with an agency. But portfolio is built with clients. To break this endless loop, your business might have to offer free services in order to attract and win over clients.
As clients slowly start creeping in, you would soon develop a portfolio. Don’t forget to record testimonials from satisfied clients and market them high and wide on your marketing platforms. Also, cash in existing customers for further networking opportunities and referrals.
Set your pricing:
Once your name becomes well-known, it is time to move on to paid projects. Usually agencies work on two pricing models; 1) Ad-hoc and 2) Contractual work
In ad-hoc, your agency will offer its services for designated projects while in contractual work arrangements, the agency takes over responsibility for all projects and work of a business within a time frame.
In addition to these there are other pricing decisions that you would have to make such as:
- Charging an hourly or daily rate
- Offering set services for a fixed monthly fee
- Providing a dedicated team on an ongoing basis for a retainer payment
Expand and hire staff:
With time, your digital marketing agency in the UK will establish its name and repute in the industry. Once, business thrives, you can look into expanding your team, getting more hand on deck and taking bigger clients. Some of the skills that you may need include:
However, most start-ups delude themselves into believing this stage sooner that reality and this ambition results in their slow death. Remember; it is more important to retain clients than win new ones and as competition rises, the industry becomes more unforgiving