How to Start Digital Marketing Agency

digital marketing agency

Starting a digital marketing agency is taking a big step in your career, and some times capital is not everything that you need. The right guidance and strategy are the key to success here. Big MNCs are shelling out on marketing more than they ever have, providing the perfect platform for marketing agencies to grab this opportunity.

To start something new again is something we all look forward to. Similarly, starting a digital marketing agency is very exciting, but there are only a handful of people who can make it happen in the real world. Yes, you can! Only if you are doing it out of passion. If you are doing it for money, then you might not be able to make it. At the beginning we every venture has some ups and downs, and if you are passionate enough, then it will be just a matter of time when you overcome those hurdles, and you start climbing your stairs to success.

I don’t mean to demoralize you, but if you see the bigger picture, then it doesn’t matter in this sector if you’ve got a better skill set and knowledge or not. If you have an understanding of the different aspects of how an agency works then, it becomes a lot easier for you because creating and running an agency is a lot more than having the required skill set and talent. At first, we need to understand –

What is a Digital Marketing Agency?

Start Digital Marketing Agency

Today the definition of digital marketing agency has changed drastically from its traditional meaning. Earlier it was all about marketing in journals, sports magazines, TVs, and radio sets. Now, these, if not replaced, have decreased in importance. Now, the marketing agencies provide us with marketing strategists who make strategies according to the different platforms on which marketing has to be done. Again, these marketing strategists work hand in hand with content developers for a result oriented output.

An agency with all the essentials to promote a brand with an integrated structure of working together of different departments make up a modern Digital Marketing Agency. Once you can set up this combined workforce, it’s time to conquer the market. Well, you know, as they say, nothing comes easy, and neither is setting up of an agency. You’ll face a lot of problems, but if you are strong-willed and love what you are doing, then you’ll be able to overcome these problems without giving up.

The Challenges


The moment you start your own agency, your role changes. You become a job provider form a job seeker. This is the first challenge that you are going to face. This change in role increases your responsibility, and every decision made has an impact on everyone on the agency. The second set of the challenge is, handling clients, payroll, accounting, keeping an eye out for hiring. All of a sudden, you need to look after all the departments that make you confused and keeps you busy at all times. Time management is the key here.

It is no secret that in today’s market with so many competitors, over-night success is far from reality. In the budding stage of your company, you need to put in extra work hours, compromise on your personal life.

In the initial days, these are the challenges that you need to tackle. This is the time that your will power will be tested. But if you can get past this phase, there lie opportunities that you can grab with both hands. There is light at the end, and you’ll realize it soon enough. You just need to keep going!

The Golden Opportunity

The Golden Opportunity

Now let’s concentrate on the brighter side of things.
Digital advertising in India reports that industries and some brands spend up to 50% - 50% of their marketing budget in digital marketing. Quite interesting, some of the companies spend as much as 75% - 80% on digital marketing.

These numbers assure you that if you work hard enough, there is ample opportunity to grab on to. The key is to have a positive attitude throughout the journey. Never lose hope whenever you hit a bump. It is a widespread opinion that how can a new agency compete with all other agencies in the market. Don’t worry; every agency is not capable of catering to every client’s needs. There’s always something that your agency has to offer. There are lots of business opportunities around you and several clients waiting to get digital help.

The usage of the internet in India is on the rise, and it’ll probably never go down. More people read the news on the app than reading newspapers. This is the time for companies to invest in digital marketing to turn potential clients into loyal customers. And in this whole scenario, you can play a pivotal role. Your agency can be the bridge between customers and companies if only you can bridge the gap between failure and success through hard work.

In India, a majority of the businesses do not have a proper digital marketing presence, which means that acquiring customers for their business is going to be difficult as time passes. If you are reading this article then you’ve already taken a step towards helping them with digital marketing strategy, probably you are reading about your target customers.

Now that the challenges and opportunities have been discussed and you’ve got a good idea about what is an agency is and what are the things that you need to take care of in the initial days and what awaits you. Understand these points clearly, and your journey will be a smoother one compared to others. Let’s begin!

Come About with the Required Skills

Required Skills

The office environment or work environment is totally different from the academic environment. To get things done here is a difficult job. You need to have the necessary skills, and here I am not talking about the abilities of digital marketing. You might have that better than anyone else but to work in an office environment, to communicate with everyone, to get things done, and most importantly, to know what makes things tick. These are the essential skills that you need to work in a team. Always remember, the agency is not about just one person; it the teamwork of the agency and the interconnectedness that makes an agency great. Hence developing the skills for leading a team of different individuals is an essential skill that you need. Start preparing these skills from now. It’ll save your day when you’ll successfully avoid a clash between your team members and make them work on the same project.

Developing the required skills is the beginning, but developing it continuously is the key. You need to get better at what you are doing. Otherwise, your graph won’t go up. Remember, a stagnant graph doesn’t denote growth. Beware of your works and don’t take feedback personally, try to make it professionally and try to improve based on your feedback.

Go Solo or Acquire a Partner

Acquire a Partner

Business ideas are conceived by a single person as well as by more than one person. If the idea of creating an agency is ultimately yours, it doesn’t mean that you’ll be the only one to venture with this idea you can select someone who you can trust or who knows what you are about to do and with the knowledge of both of you can create an agency in a partnership relation. Or you can create an agency by going solo as well. Both are entirely alright and doesn’t change any prospect of the agency. Just one thing I want to add here is that, be 100% sure about the person who is going to be your partner. Make sure you two are on the same page and have the same goals regarding the marketing agency. Just be clear with your partner about the following questions to avoid any kind of dispute in the future –

  1. How will the workload be divided?
  2. How does including a partner in the agency strengthens it?
  3. How much can your partner commit?

And if you decide to go solo and take this forward on your own, then I think you should go with a sole proprietorship, which means that only one person owns the agency, manages it, and controls the business.

Comprehend Partnership Deed


A Partnership deed while creating an agency is a very important step that many overlooks and don’t give much importance to. A partnership deed is the laid down legal documents about the rights of the partner and how much a partner is responsible for the agency and towards the other partners. The sole purpose of the partnership deed is to bind the partners together by linking the partners together based on trust and mutual understanding.

Registration of a Firm


Although, as per the Indian Partnership Act 1932, it is not mandatory to register a firm, although it is suggested to register your firm. If you register your firm, then you can sue your partners and your clients as well. But if your firm is not registered, then you can neither sue your partner nor your clients, but your clients can sue you. So, it is always advised to be on the safer side in case someone is jealous of your works and decides to sue you, and you can file a countersuit.

Deciding on the Business Model

Business Model

There are a lot of different ways to set up your business models. The vast services you provide and the way you charge for them is an essential factor for deciding your business model. The following are the different business models –

  1. Flat Retainer – This is the most common type of business model found in the digital marketing industry. In this model, agencies calculate how much work is to be done, and then they sit with the client and talk about a low amount that they are going to charge for their work. Basically, both are agreeing on a flat monthly fee.
  2. Hourly – If the digital marketing agency works through interacting with their clients on a one on one basis, then they charge their clients hourly. Not necessarily it has to be in person. These kinds of conversations happen mostly over phone calls or video conferences.

These are the two most common business models that are used by marketing agencies. My personal opinion on the newly started agencies would be to go with the model of flat retainer. At first, it might seem that there is too much work compared to the money you are making, but this model is the best to attract customers. And as time goes by and you build clients, then you can shift to an hourly basis.

Give a Clear Idea About Your Agency


During your initial days, when you are looking forward to any business, it is easy to lose track and go astray from what you’ve wanted to do. You’ll not be able to say no to anyone even when you know it yourself that it’s not what you wanted to do. But the mere idea of conduction business will allure you in doing what didn’t want to do. There are many marketing agencies, and you need to stand out from them. Specialize in what you do best and market it. Choose clients based on your grounds of specialization. This will improve the quality of your service as well.

Don’t Quit

stick to it

Once you’ve made the decision of running your own agency, stick to it. Managing a business comes with a lot of ups and downs and it is a part of your journey. Once you commit don’t quit believing in yourself and one day, you’ll realise how fulfilling it is to run your own agency. Sometimes when there’s too much stress, do what you love the most. Keep away from work. Stick around till the end for this is your decision, your venture, your journey to live.

Sachin Gupta

Author Sachin Gupta - Digital Marketing Consultant


Read More: About Sachin Gupta

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