How To Start A Digital Marketing Agency + 5 Best Agencies

Khyati Hooda
By Khyati Hooda 21 Min Read

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and establish your digital marketing agency. That’s Wonderful!

You must, however, do it properly if you are to succeed. Many would-be digital marketing agency entrepreneurs begin with lofty goals only to see them fade away after a few months.

Advanced AI algorithms can now predict every risk you can face when creating a digital marketing agency – this can be a lifesaver for your business.

Only skilled individuals and a small team can build a perfectly sustainable digital marketing agency from the ground up using the correct technologies.

The digital economy is booming, and everyone wants a slice of that pie. This article provides a practical, in-depth look at creating a digital marketing agency.

Prepare to dive in if you’re ready to make your ideal digital marketing agency a financial reality.

Build your skills 

Before you get started, you should educate yourself and learn as much as you can about digital marketing for agencies. 

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You may improve your digital skills and grow your career with online courses and tools from reputable institutions. It would be helpful if you had a good understanding of the industry. Invest your time and money in learning as a result.

You’ll need to know the basics of PPC (pay-per-click marketing), SEO (search engine optimization), email marketing campaigns, and creating funnels. Graphic design and content marketing are equally important skills to have.

Choose a specialization

Finding your digital marketing agency specialty is essential to stand out because of the fierce competition. When a smaller group of people are interested in what you have to offer, you may concentrate on them.

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The field of digital marketing is incredibly vast and consists of:

  • Web development and design
  • SEO Services
  • UX/UI Services
  • PPC Services 
  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing 
  • Email marketing services
  • Boosting conversions

The most successful digital marketing agency chooses one specialization and excels at it (particularly the most successful small firms). That only represents the shortlist. So, despite the temptation to provide these services, refrain from doing so.

Keep in mind that your current objective is to rely on your skills and keep your costs low. There is a good probability that you’ll lose your way in the process if you attempt to go full-service immediately.

Market research

Considered your position in the competition before establishing any business. You’ll be able to outperform your competition once you have a thorough understanding of your rivals.

You should use the same keyword phrases your company would use to conduct competitor analysis. Reduce the number of rivals you face to 10 to 15.

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Once you’ve identified your rivals, look into their revenue streams (obtaining their money). Then, you may discover their strategies and what works for them.

Make profiles of your target clients

It would be like trying to drive with your eyes closed to try and offer your services without knowing who your target client is. Because of this, you should concentrate on determining your potential customers’ niche.

A client profile is an in-depth description of your target market; it is not an assumption but based on factual information.

But let’s begin with a recommendation for finding the ideal clientele for your digital marketing agency:

  • New startups
  • Entrepreneurs
  • E-commerce platforms
  • Drop-shipping websites
  • Local retail establishments

It is now your responsibility to comprehend their difficulties and explain how the solutions provided by your company would address them.

SWOT evaluation

The easiest way to accomplish that is to thoroughly analyze your digital marketing agency’s SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis.

It is one of the simplest ways to examine all internal and external factors that may impact your marketing agency’s success in the future and support goal-setting.

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You can greatly improve the clarity of your planning and testing procedures by including SWOT analysis in your strategy. It comes together quickly, is simple to use as a tool, and offers a fantastic foundation for conversations.

Market potential

The market potential is the overall demand for a service in a specific commercial setting.

If you were planning to create a book about marketing, for instance, you would look at all the books that have been written about marketing and the sales they have. That is the size of your market.

Figuring out the genuine values is highly difficult, so you must employ a variety of approaches and conduct extensive research.

Analyzing the data from the past five years of digital marketing can help calculate the market growth rate. You can find the information you need on several trustworthy websites. 

Even newspapers occasionally do regular analyses of the expanding industries and by what percentage.

Develop a business plan

You can establish a digital marketing agency in numerous ways. Over time, how well you run your business depends on the services you offer and the way you charge for your services.

Here are the methods that are most frequently used to charge clients:

Hourly Billing

Many consultants choose to charge their clients per hour. This is because they spend much time talking to clients one-on-one, either on the phone or in person. With longer and more complicated service offerings, this billing model gets murky.

Hours spent on digital marketing for a client can fluctuate over time; this is usual. Setting up and launching new campaigns or promotions, reorganizing accounts, time spent on calls, and keeping something working for them are just a few of the variables at play.

Flat Retainer

The flat retainer fee plan is the most straightforward. You decide on a set monthly cost after determining how much the work and effort for a particular client are worth.

In addition to being straightforward, it also makes it easier to send out invoices by removing any obstacles. The client is fully aware of the cost and will have no trouble making the payment if you live up to their expectations.

Commission based billing

Agencies frequently employ this one to outdo rivals in the marketplace. Essentially, they are compensated when a sale is profitable for the client.

Because you want to establish a client’s trust by showing them that you will do everything you can to ensure they succeed, this initially sounds alluring. 

People who have had negative experiences with agencies frequently mention how much they paid for services only to receive no outcomes or return on investment. An experienced client may find a gun-for-hire strategy like this to be incredibly alluring.

This model’s drawback is that it will be very challenging to bill clients unless you have extensive knowledge of the client’s operational side of their business.

Percentage of spending

Due to its consideration of the client’s capacity for growth and scalability, this price model is particularly well-liked by agencies. When agencies reach a particular level of maturity, they will decline clients with little or no prior spending.

When you first start, this might not be the ideal choice because you’ll want to expand your network, but with time, you’ll understand that having a larger clientele is far more advantageous to you for various reasons.

The drawback is that numerous internal business aspects will determine the budget if you run your company entirely on a percentage of expenditure basis.

Business registration

Before announcing your digital marketing agency, it’s time to tackle the following phases. To do this, you should:

  • Select a name for your company
  • Register your domain name
  • Create a logo for your business
  • Register your company’s legal entity with the authorities
  • Obtain a toll-free number
  • Find a CPA and an auditor
  • Hire a lawyer
  • Make business cards

Even if you don’t need every item right away, it’s important to do this right away and put everything together.

Make your online presence known

Creating a website for your company is the first realistic action thing on the agenda to help you develop your web presence. Ensure that your website reflects your brand because it serves as an introduction to your digital marketing agency.

Your website must have a professional appearance and include all the details necessary for potential customers to decide whether to work with your business.

Be sure to include information about the advantages clients will experience if they choose to work with you, who you are, and what you do. Make them the focal point of your website rather than yourself.

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Make sure you have landing pages for each of your services and make it simple for potential customers to contact you without overwhelming them with questions or filling out lengthy signup forms.

To focus on the leads with the best potential to become customers, you should gather as many leads as you can.

In addition to building a website, you should secure your brand name on all major social media platforms (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and establish company pages.

Avoid skipping this step because prospective customers may check your Facebook page and learn more about your business before hiring, so you need to ensure everything seems clean and professional.

Demonstrate your skills and knowledge

Being able to persuade potential clients to work with you is crucial. The easiest approach to do this is to show off your knowledge and skills.

  • An “about us” page 
  • Success stories
  • Case studies
  • Academic credentials
  • Prior employment
  • Customer reviews
  • Partnership agreements
  • Certifications
  • Website mentions

Understandably, some of the items mentioned above may not apply to you if you are just starting now and lack expertise, but keep them on your to-do list and work to complete them gradually.

Use the outcomes of your efforts on your websites and use them as case studies on your company website. Consider posting as a guest on a few trustworthy websites, and mention it on your homepage.

Select the proper tools

You will eventually require a wide range of tools to manage your digital marketing agency effectively. In fact, after paying personnel, purchasing licensing for tools will be your second-largest expense.

Creating customer reports, billing, accounting, and many other tasks will require the use of tools that you’ll need to enhance your digital marketing efforts.

There are many tools available, but you should choose ones that offer capabilities you’ll use rather than those that are good. Purchasing software features that a company will never utilize is typical, so make an informed decision.

Some marketing tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, Hubspot, or Moz can help you. These systems provide features that can assist you in managing PPC campaigns, social media marketing, SEO, and content marketing for your digital marketing agency.

Start a blog dedicated to digital marketing

You should carve out some time to launch your blog while working on your first client. A digital marketing agency’s most successful lead generation strategy is an informative blog.

You don’t need to “market yourself” when customers find you on Google search because they already know you can rank websites high, which greatly facilitates the signup process.

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When writing blog posts, attempt to focus on keywords that potential customers would use to search for the kind of services you are currently providing; that way, you’ll attract potential clients.

Your blog’s growth should precede all other considerations because it will help your digital marketing agency develop. You’ll be able to establish your company’s growth more quickly if you are not dependent on advertising.

Assemble a digital marketing team

It indicates that your business is established, profitable, and has proper procedures when you reach the point where you need to hire additional staff.

The following tips will assist you in this process:

  • Initiate by employing individuals for simple tasks. Inform your staff of your expectations and ensure all procedures are documented. Update and make useful the processes you created in the previous stage by refining them.
  • Start by hiring freelancers on LinkedIn. With the help of an email finder tool, it would be easy to find your prospect freelancers. This will reduce your expenses and provide you with more flexibility. You can employ the extra assistance as needed and for each assignment.
  • The easiest method to determine whether a freelancer is a suitable fit for your team is to recruit them for a pilot project before moving through with a full-time job because it’s not always simple to comprehend a freelancer’s abilities. 

This will help you avoid wasting money and time by hiring the incorrect personnel. It can be difficult to replace yourself with fresh employees, and many proprietors of digital marketing agencies first struggled to do so.

Top 5 Digital Marketing Agencies In The US

How can you know which agency genuinely delivers on what it promises when there are over 25000+ digital marketing agencies in the USA today? Choosing the right digital marketing agency for you can take some time.

We compiled a list of the USA’s top 5 digital marketing agencies.

1. Performics

Performics claimed to be one of the initial performance marketing companies and was founded in 1998. They were innovators in the fields of search marketing and affiliate networking.

They have a specialty in linking marketing expenditures to consumer intent. They established Growth Solutions to promote innovation.

They are set up to serve clients from various markets at scale on a worldwide scale. Publicis Groupe’s performance marketing agency, Performics, was founded by DoubleClick and acquired by Google.

2. Silverback Strategies

Neil Walsh founded Silverback Strategies. Silverback Strategies is a top-performing digital marketing agency in Alexandria.

They have been included on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the US for more than four years, and they most recently received accolades for having the finest workplaces from Ad Age, Washingtonian Magazine, and The Washington Business Journal.

The Silverback Strategies draws on their knowledge to develop growth-oriented plans for their clients.

Their multi-award-winning culture creates a collaborative atmosphere where performance marketing specialists, creators, and developers produce cutting-edge campaigns that increase traffic, leads, and revenue.

3. Ignite Visibility

Ignite Visibility, a premium full-service digital marketing agency in San Diego, California, was established in 2013 by co-founders John Lincoln and Krish Coughran. They aim to deliver financial outcomes, a high-touch client experience, and the industry’s most effective digital marketing solutions.

One of the USA’s most successful digital marketing companies is Ignite Visibility. Some of the most recognizable brands in the world have collaborated with them.

They currently employ 90 full-time staff members, 100 or more contractors, and 160 or more clients and are recognized as one of the top digital marketing companies in the USA. 

4. Thrive 

Since its founding in 2005, Thrive has become one of Los Angeles’ top digital marketing agency. The company is now based in Arlington, Texas, which was once known as MLB Web Design.

Furthermore, they have additional locations in Texas, Florida, Minnesota, New York, California, and other states. Hong Kong, Germany, and the United States of America are just a few of the countries from which Thrive has worked with clients.

Thrive has evolved into a complete digital marketing agency with a specialized, close-knit team of experts in all areas of digital development, including strategic, creative, and technical.

5. Smart Sites

Alex and Michael Melen, brothers who grew up loving all things digital, launched SmartSites. SmartSites immediately rose to the top of the list of the USA’s fastest-growing digital marketing agency thanks to a creative vision and much effort.

Since their launch in 2011, their unwavering dedication to their customers has earned them over 100 5-star reviews. Smart Sites is a Facebook Marketing Partner and a Google Premier Partner. It is a three-time fastest-growing digital marketing agency on the Inc 5000 list (2017–2019).


Owning your own business involves many ups and downs, and you must be able to handle them to reap the rewards.

You must approach it as a dramatic life event because it is one. Don’t drag yourself along if you know early on that you aren’t up for the task you have set for yourself.

You won’t succeed if you decide anything but don’t firmly believe in it. You must make a decision. After doing that, you might realize how gratifying owning your digital marketing company is.

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Khyati is an entrepreneur, marketing consultant, and a personal finance expert.Building on her achievements, Khyati wrote two acclaimed books: "Failure's Gold," exploring success through hardship, and "Tomorrow's Wallet" on the future of money management.Her work has also been featured by LinkedIn, PPC Hero, Social Pilot, and Training Mag.Khyati has managed over $50M in marketing budgets across various industries including technology, finance, education, retail, consumer goods and more - successfully delivering over 15x ROI for her clients.Khyati has managed over $50M in marketing budgets across various industries including technology, finance, education, retail, consumer goods and more – successfully delivering over 15x ROI for her clients.
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