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When we look back at the last two years of uncertainty and tumult for the world, there are many conclusions we could reach. One of the first of those would surely be that the already-brisk digitalisation of the various ways in which we live has accelerated even more so since 2020.

One might look at data from Statista, for example, indicating that in for-profit companies, spending on digital marketing went up by almost 10% in the 12 months from January 2020 to January 2021, compared to the 12-month period before that.

What do figures like that tell us? Well, they may have told you that now is the time to start your own digital marketing business. But there are certain crucial things to think about if you are serious about pursuing this ambition, as outlined below.

First of all… what kind of digital marketing business are we talking about?

Presumably, if you have been thinking of starting a digital marketing business for a while, you will have already given some thought to what niche you wish to target.

After all, ‘digital marketing’ is a term referring to an extremely broad industry, encompassing more-or-less everything from website design agencies and mobile marketing specialists to content marketing firms and search engine optimisation (SEO) experts. In such a competitive sector as digital marketing, you will almost certainly be crowded out if you simply try to ‘do everything’.

So, it is crucial to be sure about your digital marketing firm’s niche – the big ‘area of focus’ that will make it stand out – as early as possible. Perhaps you have existing knowhow and connections in a field like event marketing, email marketing or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, which could provide a strong platform to heighten the chances of your business succeeding?

Have you written a business plan?

It doesn’t matter how confident you are that “it’ll all be fine regardless” or “we’ll work it out on the hoof”; a well-formulated business plan, covering such vital aspects as the goals of your business, a cashflow and financial forecast, and what the firm’s revenue streams will be, is essential.

Seeking out the assistance of a trusted external business plan consultant and advisors will help you ensure every vital element of your business plan has been accounted for, including those things you might risk overlooking if you were to try to write it by yourself.

Where will your business be physically based?

We may be entering the post-COVID-19 world – in which it is becoming accepted that a significant proportion of those who work for you may do so from home – but the traditional brick-and-mortar office isn’t completely dead yet. After all, where your business is based can say a lot about your brand in and of itself, and you will want it to communicate only the best things.

When you’re only just starting out, you may be able to initially operate your agency from home, especially if it’s you who will be doing most of the work to begin with. But even if you take this approach – which can also be attractive for keeping costs down – you might still wish to consider the use of a virtual office or coworking space, to give you access to crucial business services.

One big attraction of having a ‘proper’ office for your digital marketing business that someone can visit, is the opportunity to show your would-be clients that you are a serious player, and not a ‘one-man band’.

Speaking of clients, you should also carefully consider your travel needs as a business owner, including for those visits to potential partners based at what may be the opposite end of the country or even abroad. A competitive business car finance deal could give you and your workforce access to the right vehicles, on the right terms, at the right price.

How will you promote your business?

The marketing of your digital marketing company may almost seem “the easy bit”, at least on first inspection – after all, this is the very thing you’re “good at”, right?

But as we referenced above, today’s successful digital marketing businesses tend to have tightly focused niches, so you’re unlikely to have in-house expertise on every aspect of marketing. If you are a video marketing company, then, you may still conceivably seek out a reputable SEO agency in Chelmsford or elsewhere in the UK to help ensure your brand ranks well in the search engines.

Plus, there’s the simple reality that many digital marketing businesses are too busy catering to clients’ needs on a day-to-day basis to have much time to promote their own businesses – at least, to the extent that they would like. That’s another reason to seek out dependable partner companies for such things as designing and putting together your agency’s website, or setting up and updating your firm’s social media profiles.

As all the above makes clear, setting up your own digital marketing business and making it a success is certainly not easy, or the work of a moment. You will need to be savvy, determined, and innovative in the creation of your business – but there is equally no doubt that when you make the right moves, life running your own digital marketing firm can be exceedingly rewarding.

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