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How to start a digital marketing agency in 2020?

As someone that's been self-employed since 2014 with digital marketing, I know a thing or two.

I've compiled a list of top 10 secrets when starting your very own digital marketing agency.

I tried all types of digital marketing

  • Social Media Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • SEO
  • Lead Generation

In this article I will show you the top secrets I learned that has allowed me to reach the highest income level in the digital marketing space.

Secret #1

Always Be Prospecting

When building your digital marketing agency, it is important to always be prospecting.

Because when you have a full pipeline, you can pick & choose from the best prospects to work with and you won't come across so desperate when you do end up talking to the prospect.

You will think... that even if I don't close this person, It's not the end of the world.

Also you may across some people that you don't want to work with depending on how much work they're requesting from you.

I will share just 1 prospecting strategy I have used when it comes to landing SEO & Lead Generation deals in local marketing.

I would target different markets across the US, record a video on how Google search works and why the #1 Ranked guy is ranked at the top.

I would then send this video out to all the companies that are not in the top 3 map pack.

Prospecting is a numbers game and as you keep prospecting more and more, you will be able to start making more offers.

More offers you make, the more money you make.

In our coaching program we're teaching ways to prospect on Linked-In as well as creating our own local Facebook group of local busienss owners, sort of like a BNI group but on FB.

There's many different prospecting strategies I've used over the years to land my clients, what's important is that you do it. Not just for couple days, but over a significant amount of time.

Once you get one strategy that works. You simply...

Rinse & Repeat.

You'll begin to see that there's a lot of money out there.

Secret #2

Have an Irresistable Offer Ready

One of the struggle with digital marketing is that these business owners get pitched by marketers all day everyday.

Their biggest grip is the marketers always ask for money upfront, without proving themselves, and these business owners are worried if they pay all this money and what if the marketer never delivers on his promises?

Here's some of the main strategies I've used & I've seen my marketer friends use to break down this barrier.

  • If you're doing paid ads, offer to run a trial for the biz owner, like $2000 ad spend for 2 weeks and once you're happy with the results, then we can move forward. If you're really confident, you can guarantee that they'll get a ROI if not, you'll pay back the difference.
  • If you're doing SEO you have to request bit longer trial, offer to do the work for them for 3 months at $X, if they're happy with where things are headed, then continue to proceed with the project
  • Lead Generation provides the most irresistable offer because you've already ranked the website that's generating traffic & leads, you're simply asking for biz owners to take care of the customers you're producing. Results are already there to do all the selling for you. I give biz owners FREE leads for a week, and only charge a % of closed business or $X per lead. This is most irresistable because the biz owner can start getting customers right away.
Secret #3

Under Promise, Over Deliver

A lot of people make the mistake of promising wayyyy too much and setting themselves up for failure down the road.

In my experience, I've found that its much better to under promise meaning if you think you can rank a website (SEO) in 3 months, I'd tell him best case scenario is 3 months but it can take as long as 6 months.

The problem with over promising is that you will get clients that nitpick your results and then both parties are unsatisfied.

Better to over deliver on your results because then you don't have all this pressure but you're consistently making your clients happy because you know how to produce results.

Lets say you have a good idea of how many leads you can produce with $2000 of ad spend. 

Instead of promising a specific number of leads, you'll tell them during a trial we have to test many different things so for now we're hoping you at least make your money back.

You're leaving your client with no expectations, but then when your campaign does really well. You've definitely got them on board. And if it doesn't, you still have some leg room to ask for little bit more time to optimize the campaign.

Secret #4

Master Atleast 1 Niche

I think its important to at least have 1 Niche that you develop great insight into. 

When you can speak the lingo of the industry to your potential prospect, you gain their trust. You come across as the expert.

Today I'm quite knowledgeable about 8 niches but back when I first started I decided to focus on building strictly tree service lead generation sites.

In this niche, here's some of the things I know.

  • average cost of tree removal
  • average cost of tree trimming
  • slow seasons are from November to March
  • some companies have big equipment like a bucket truck, chipper, grapple truck which allows them to get the jobs done a lot faster
  • turn over is pretty high, finding reliable help can be challenging at times

When you know the niche, you know the different things that the business owner struggles with.

You are that much more effective at offering solutions.

Secret #5

Hire VA's to Handle Menial Tasks

The great thing about digital marketing is that its all done over the internet.

So you can hire VA's or virtual assistants that are based out of countries like the phillipines and they'll get a lot of the digital grunt work done for you at $3-$6 per hour.

This is one of the first things you should do as you begin to scale and land more clients.

It frees up so much of your time to tackle bigger problems which in your cases should be implementing strategies & automations to scale even further.

I've used to hire my VA's and timedoctor to keep track of how much time they spend on the computer working for me.

I currently have 4 VA's hired full-time for me. Each VA's putting in over 40 hours per week, so yes I am getting a lot of stuff done everyday and that is what allows me to play at the level that I'm at.

Secret #6

Listen To Your Client's Needs

One of the biggest issues I see with novice digital marketer is that they are too busy trying to pitch their product or services.

You would do much better if you just side on the ER of listening more during your business meetings.

Here's an example of what can happen...

The client's problem is that the business is running him and he has no freedom or time to spend with his kids.

His problem is that he needs more consistent customers so that he can hire more staff and remove himself from the business bit more.

If you're not good at listening to that need... you will be busy trying to tell him how you can rank him in Google.

Well to be fair,  alot of these business owners don't really understand SEO, they could care less... it sounds like mumbo jumbo to them.

But if you actually listen to their pain points, you can speak to them at their level and actually move them emotionally, which is key to having people want to work with you.

You think its the Google rankings they want... in actuality, its the result that they are after... which is time freedom.

They don't care if you get the customer from Google, Facebook Ads, or Instagram for that matter.

Secret #7

Get Multiple Skills To Solve Client's Problems

As I've become more experienced as a digital marketer over the years, my area of expertise have expanded.

The more skill you have, the more clients you can work with and it'll have direct impact on your bottom line.

I'll tell you some of the best digital marketing skills to have in 2020

  1. SEO or Lead Generation (#1 Skill imo)
  2. Adwords / Youtube Ads
  3. Facebook Ads (getting pretty saturated now)

I've really honed my craft on SEO or my ability to rank websites in Google and lead generation.

What company doesn't want to be ranked at the top in Google.

With that being said, I also have skills in being able to run paid advertising which allows me to work with handful of clients that have specific needs. 

In our entrepreneur group, we're also adding a secondary element to our digital marketing business which is offering our clients promotional products with their brand logo on it.

Secret #8

Have a Strategy to Keep the Client Long-term

This is BIG.

What seperates the digital marketers that are struggling to break 6 figures to those that are cracking multiple 6 figures & beyond... 

is their ability to keep a client longterm.

If you're running paid advertising its bit difficult because they can tell you not to spend their credit card anymore and there's not much you can do which is why I sort of stay away from paid ad clients these days.

But if you're doing SEO then there's a lot more you can do...

You see, instead of ranking antoher company's website, I'm gonna rank my own properties to the top of Google and then only sell the leads that the site generates.

Yes I technically used "SEO" to rank my site, but it is completely different than having a SEO agency where I'm constantly ranking other people's site.

This is the main difference between doing SEO vs. Lead Generation.

Because we own the website, our clients have to stick with us long-term.

If they don't wanna pay us anymore, cool, we'll send the leads to their competitor.

You see, as long as I own the website, I'll keep making money off of it longterm.

If you rank their company website, they own it so after all the hard work of ranking it, if one day they decide they don't wanna pay you anymore there's not much you can do.

Now in some cases, if its a company with a strong brand that they want to rank, then you may have to do SEO on their site but you need to implement insurance policy if they try to get smart on you.

I recommend creating high quality websites around that site, that you're pointing backlinks from. If they decide to cut you, you can remove all those high quality back links and they will lose their rankings.

Secret #9

Take Electronic Payments, Not Checks

This is major key.

Taking electronic payment is far superior to having your client write you a check every month.


Because everytime the client has to go write the check, they have to think twice about you and whether you're worth the pay, even though you could be over delivering on your promises.

Never underestimated the short sightedness of some of these business owners.

This is why receiving electronic payment is KING.

Especially WEEKLY payments. Yes you heard that right...

If you were going to charge your client $1000 per month, instead of taking that amount once a month. What I do is take $250 per week on auto-pay using Stripe.

Why is this so genius?

Because when you can take automatic smaller chunks on a weekly basis the business owner doesn't notice your payments as much.

Its like death by thousand cuts.

You can sort of fly under the radar and everyone remains happy.

Secret #10

Focus on Building a Relationship

This can't be overstated enough, I see so many marketers screw this one up as well.

Sometimes I'm just flat out super cool with my clients.

If they call me up and tell me their equipment broke down so they're gonna be late on a payment, I don't give them hell for it, I just say "Sure no problem"

When they give me offer for my leads and its not quite the premium price that I was hoping, instead of turning down the offer and going no where with it, if I have no better alternative I'll just take the deal.

"Don't get mad at your money."

Its not good to make a habit out of taking less than your worth but sometimes you just gotta take a deal and move on.

As a digital marketer there's so many markets that you can continue to go into. Why get hung up on one just becuase they're off by couple bucks.

The key is building that relationship because if you do a great job for them, they'll send you referrals.

Just that alone will more than enough make up for the difference of the pay you were hoping for.

Think more longterm and know that when you overdeliver value in the market place, it will come back to you eventually.

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Ippei Kanehara
Founder/CEO Ippei Leads

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2021, is to build your own 6-figure lead gen biz. You can learn more here.
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