Considering that approximately 5 billion people around the world use the internet today, starting a digital marketing agency to help companies reach this massive pool of potential customers is one of the best small business opportunities. However, digital marketing is not a single business idea, it is a term that encompasses many business models. Some of the most common options an aspiring business owner can choose from when starting a digital marketing agency include an SEO agency, a local lead generation business, or affiliate marketing.
Although these are all tried and tested business models, there are many more digital marketing ideas you can make money with. In the following article, we look at 23 marketing ideas that a digital marketer can start a business around, discuss the pros and cons of each model, and help you decide which opportunity is right for your situation so you can start making money online in no time!
1. Local lead generation business
What is local lead generation?
Local lead generation is finding potential clients for local businesses. A local lead generation business creates websites for specific business niches in markets where the population is high enough to get many customers but where the online competition is low enough to get the website to rank on the first page of Google using local SEO tactics. There are many great local lead generation niches to choose from, like a lawn care business.
Why a local lead generation business?
With just one local lead generation website ranking on Google, you can generate hundreds to thousands every month from selling the leads. Although some local lead generation business models rely on paid advertising to drive customer traffic to the site, the organic local lead generation method emphasizes organic search so that you keep much more of the profits and have a long-lasting, established piece of digital real estate that generates passive income.
Pros and cons of a local lead generation business
2. Email marketing agency
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is a direct marketing channel that businesses leverage to promote offers and share brand updates with a list of potential customers. An email marketing agency creates and runs email marketing campaigns for brands.
Why an email marketing agency?
Email marketing is one of the most popular marketing channels. According to Campaign Monitor, 64% of small businesses use email marketing.
Pros and cons of an email marketing agency
3. SEO agency
What is search engine optimization (SEO)?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of optimizing a website so that it ranks well on search engines like Google and Bing. An SEO agency specializes in improving a business’s online presence so they rank higher in the search engines and can draw more organic traffic to their website.
Why an SEO agency?
According to WebFX, 93% of online experiences begin with the search engine. Therefore, SEO is one of the most powerful marketing channels because all brands want to get their website and products in front of customers on the web.
Pros and cons of an SEO agency
4. Content marketing agency
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is creating virtual material like blog posts and videos geared towards a specific audience to lead them to a business and promote interest in the product or service being offered. A content marketing agency creates promotional content for a business.
Why a content marketing agency?
According to Bill Gates, “Content is King”. The ability to create content that captivates and moves a specific audience to take an action that benefits a brand is a sought after skill. For those who are creative, content creation services like graphic design, video production, and copywriting are great avenues to make money online.
Pros and cons of a content marketing agency
5. Social media marketing agency
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing is running marketing campaigns through social media channels like Pinterest, Instagram, or LinkedIn to generate interest and brand awareness for a business. A social media marketing agency analyzes the most effective social channels for a particular business, creates relevant content for those channels, and then publishes the content in the timeframe that optimizes audience visibility and interaction.
Why a social media marketing agency?
According to Oberlo, people spend an average of 2 hours and 27 minutes a day on social media. Therefore, social media platforms are one of the best channels for reaching potential customers. Social media marketing reporting platform, Agency Analytics, highlights that social media agencies charge between $1,500 and $25,000/month for their services.
Pros and cons of a social media agency
6. Affiliate marketing
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a strategy where brands outsource marketing efforts to third party marketers in exchange for a commission. An affiliate marketer earns money by promoting products for brands by using whichever marketing channels they want within the brands’ guidelines.
Why do affiliate marketing?
According to Zippia, 81% of brands have affiliate programs. Affiliate marketing is based on performance, so it’s an especially efficient form of marketing that brands are emphasizing more. Affiliate marketers can generate passive income from their marketing efforts while working on their own schedule.
Pros and cons of affiliate marketing
7. Branding consultancy
What is branding?
Branding is the process of creating and shaping a brand in the minds of customers. Good branding means a business is perceived positively and customers are open to buying from them. For example, Patagonia brands itself as a sustainable company for outdoor clothing and gear. A branding consultancy handles the branding process for brands by analyzing the market and providing expertise on how brands can shape their identify and develop a good reputation.
Why a branding consultancy?
According to Entrepreneur, companies rebrand every 7-10 years. Therefore, both new businesses and existing businesses can benefit from the expertise of a branding consultancy.
Pros and cons of a branding consultancy
8. Messaging consultancy
What does a messaging consultancy do?
A messaging consultancy leverages digital messaging formats like email, instant messenger chatting, and text messaging to communicate with customers. Messaging can be a very effective marketing method because of the benefit of one-to-one communication, in that you can tailor your message to the needs of a specific person instead of generic communication for a larger audience.
Why a messaging consultancy?
According to Constant Contact, SMS messaging, email messaging, and conversational marketing are major digital marketing trends right now. These are all aspects of messaging, showing just how in-demand messaging marketing is. Furthermore, as artificial intelligence becomes more widely adopted in digital marketing, a messaging consultancy is well positioned to assist brands in automating chatbot and email marketing efforts.
Pros and cons of a messaging consultancy
9. Social media influencer
What is a social media influencer?
A social media influencer creates content on a social media channel like Instagram or TikTok to build an audience and then makes money by promoting the products of brands to their audience.
Why become a social media influencer?
For the right type of person, influencer marketing can be extremely lucrative. For example, Charli D’Amelio used the social media platform, TikTok, to amass over 80 million followers and now has a net worth of over $20 million from working with brands like Hollister, Dunkin Donuts, and Invisalign, according to Stylecaster. Even for nano-influencers with just a small following of 1,000 to 10,000 people, a social media post can be worth up to $195, as highlighted by data from Statista.
Pros and cons of being a social media influencer
10. Link building firm
What is link building?
Link building is the process of getting websites to link to your website to improve website ranking on Google. Backlinks from other authoritative websites are a major ranking factor for Google, according to ahrefs.
Why a link building firm?
Link building is an essential aspect of SEO, but can be very time-consuming. It's also very difficult to convince other site owner to link to external content. According to Siege Media, you can charge anywhere between $100 and $1,500+ per link, depending on the industry.
Pros and cons of a link building firm
11. Mobile marketing consultancy
What is mobile marketing?
Mobile marketing is targeting customers specifically through mobile channels like phone or tablet. A mobile marketing consultancy focuses on achieving marketing objectives, specifically through mobile channels.
Why a mobile marketing consultancy?
According to Tech Jury, Americans spend an average of just over 5 hours per day on their smartphones. Most of us are literally glued to our smartphones for nearly half the day, so it doesn’t take much explaining how a mobile-specific digital marketing campaign can be extremely effective.
Pros and cons of a mobile marketing consultancy
12. Digital PR agency
What is digital PR?
Digital public relations (PR) is a company’s online presence. A digital PR agency creates strategies for brands to improve their online presence by networking with journalists, bloggers, and influencers to generate high-quality backlinks and get mentions on social media. A digital PR agency can also manage brand crisis like a bad Google review or negative social media comments, to ensure a positive perception of the brand online. For example, a digital PR agency may engage in social listening by using a digital marketing tool like Hootsuite to track brand mentions on Twitter and analyze public perception.
Why a digital PR agency?
According to Google’s Search Advocate, John Mueller, digital PR is probably more critical for companies than even technical SEO.
Pros and cons of a digital PR agency
13. PPC consultancy
What is PPC?
PPC, or pay-per-click, is running paid advertising through digital channels like Google ads or Facebook ads.
Why a PPC consultancy?
According to Tech Jury, PPC generates twice the number of visitors compared to SEO. Furthermore, data from Search Engine Land shows that the average yearly cost for PPC services is between $115k to $122k, meaning you can make bank with just a single client.
Pros and cons of a PPC consultancy
What is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is an Ecommerce method where you act as the middleman between a supplier and customer. You market the products online, and when a customer buys from you, you go to your supplier to purchase the product and provide them with your customer’s shipping address. Although dropshipping is Ecommerce, it’s also digital marketing because the business model relies heavily on online marketing activities to generate profits.
Why do dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a low-risk business model that simultaneously forces you to learn and use entry level skills in Ecommerce and digital marketing.
Pros and cons of dropshipping
15. Webinar business
What are webinars?
Webinars are online presentations that brands use to deliver their message to a large audience. A webinar business designs and delivers webinars for brands to track down more leads.
Why a webinar business?
According to Zippia, the average webinar generates between 500 and 1,000 leads. Webinars are one of the most effective forms of digital marketing for generating leads available today.
Pros and cons of a webinar business
16. SEM agency
What is SEM?
SEM, or search engine marketing, is a digital marketing strategy that goes beyond SEO to increase visibility of website pages by leveraging both organic SEO and paid advertising. A SEM agency is responsible for coming up with and implementing an effective strategy to improve brand visibility online.
Why a SEM agency?
SEM marketing leverages the abilities of two powerful strategies in organic search and paid advertising to optimize results. According to HubSpot, SEM is one of the most effective ways to grow a business.
Pros and cons of a SEM agency
17. CPA marketing
What is CPA marketing?
Cost-per-action, or CPA marketing, is a marketing strategy where brands outsource marketing to third-party marketers for a fixed commission for driving pre-specified results. CPA marketing is similar to and falls under the affiliate marketing umbrella.
Why do CPA marketing?
CPA marketing is a performance-based marketing method that is extremely valuable and effective. As a CPA marketer, you have the freedom to choose which brands you work with and when you want to do the work. There are also many more ways to earn money with CPA marketing than affiliate marketing.
Pros and cons of CPA marketing
18. Retargeting advertising agency
What is retargeting in advertising?
Retargeting is the process of targeting users who have already visited a website because they have shown interest in the product or service being offered. For example, if a user reads a specific blog post on your site, you have some idea of their interests and desires and can use that data to effectively follow up with a related offer. A retargeting agency specializes in retargeting efforts for brands to capitalize on user interest.
Why a retargeting advertising agency?
Retargeting is most common in Ecommerce, with 27% of Ecommerce companies using the tactic, according to TrueList. With Ecommerce expected to continue strong growth through this decade, the market for retargeting expertise is only growing.
Pros and cons of a retargeting advertising agency
19. Web design agency
What is web design?
Web design is arranging digital content on a website to display the company’s branding and information. A web design agency specializes in designing and developing web properties for brands.
Why a web design agency?
According to WebFX, 73% of companies invest in web design to enable their brand to stick out from competitors. Web design is well paid because it requires a broad range of aesthetic and technical skills, from understanding color theory to the capability to use design software.
Pros and cons of a web design agency
20. Copywriting agency
What is copywriting?
Copywriting is writing the text for branding, advertising, and publicity materials. A copywriting agency handles copywriting efforts for brands by using its expertise in persuasive writing.
Why a copywriting agency?
Copywriting is a skill that will always be in demand and is an easy path for people who are capable writers to start an online business. Copywriting is needed in every aspect of digital marketing, from web design content to email marketing and paid advertising.
Pros and cons of a copywriting agency
21. Ecommerce marketing agency
What is Ecommerce marketing?
Ecommerce marketing is digital marketing specifically for Ecommerce brands to increase brand awareness and generate sales. An Ecommerce marketing agency uses its specialized knowledge of the Ecommerce industry and related marketing practices to boost results for Ecommerce brands.
Why an Ecommerce marketing agency?
Global Ecommerce has experienced an incredible rise over the last few years and is expected to increase from $3.3 trillion in value today to a whopping $5.6 trillion in a few short years by 2026. Ecommerce agencies are particularly well positioned to take advantage of the hot Ecommerce industry.
Pros and cons of an Ecommerce marketing agency
22. App development agency
What is app development?
App development is the process of creating mobile applications. An app development agency develops mobile apps for brands who want to enhance their digital presence beyond just a website and social media accounts.
Why an app development agency?
According to SPD Load, the average app development cost is $60,000 to $150,000, so an app development agency can demand a high price tag on each project.
Pros and cons of an app development agency
23. Video marketing agency
What is video marketing?
Video marketing is using videos to market products and services. A video marketing agency creates effective video advertising materials for brands by leveraging current trends and video production abilities to produce branded video content.
Why a video marketing agency?
According to HubSpot, 86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool because of its effectiveness in increasing understanding of the product or brand, generating leads, and increasing sales.
Pros and cons of video marketing
Which digital marketing business model is the best?
As you can see, each digital marketing online business idea has pros and cons. To choose the best option for you, consider your skills, financial situation, and what your goals are. For example, if you have little money to get started but enjoy creating content and are active on social media, you could start a content marketing or social media marketing agency. If you already have experience as a copywriter and have a bit of money you can put towards expanding your earnings potential, you can start an SEO or SEM agency. If the most important thing for you is an end goal of generating passive income, local lead generation and affiliate marketing are the business models you should look at.
In today's world, digital marketing is far more important than traditional marketing and there are so many ways you can make money within the digital marketing industry. You could even do something as simple as helping companies set up their Google My Business profile. No matter which digital marketing service you choose to offer, the chances are high that someone is already making money from it. There is plenty of information available on the internet to learn how to perform any digital marketing service. You may even want to consider taking a digital marketing course like this one to optimize your results and earn money faster by avoiding mistakes.
Are you going to start your digital marketing business and create yourself an exceptional lifestyle of location and financial freedom, like many others have already done?