Top 7 Tips To An Effective Marketing and Communication Strategy During The Coronavirus Outbreak.

Digital-Marketing-communication

In the wake of the #Coronavirus outbreak, businesses are facing the heat due to quarantine restrictions, travel bans, event cancellations, and so on. We have compiled a list of seven tips to help you prepare a crisis marketing strategy .

To help you do that, let’s look at seven pointers to help you tweak your marketing and communication strategy during a crisis.

1. Assemble Your Crisis Management Team
 

While it’s impossible to anticipate when a crisis will hit your business, you can ensure to take the right measures so that you can swiftly manage it when it occurs. That means you need to have a crisis management team in place that will be responsible for the communication that goes out in public. The team should ideally consist of a few executive members and in-house PR or marketing people. It helps to work with a PR agency in case the in-house personnel doesn’t have this kind of experience.

You should also have in-house spokespersons in case you have to interact with media or publications. Also, conducting training sessions for spokespersons ensures that they can appropriately answer any queries that might be asked.

2. Protect Your People
 

During the early outbreak, it’s difficult to communicate the correct information because new data and events might make the present practices obsolete. Also, the scare might create room for misinformation. Therefore, it’s mandatory to protect your employees. This can be done in the following ways:

1- Make commute optional, if possible. Many tech companies have adopted the route of remote working. To conduct meetings, they largely rely on communication apps like Slack or Skype and Zoom for video conferencing.

2- If you are a brand where you have to interact with consumers such as retail or hospitality, reduce the daily working hours. For instance, many luxury malls in China reduced their operating hours after the Coronavirus started to spread.

3- Create a wiki page where employees can find essential information regarding the crisis, updated work policies during the crisis, and so on. It’s highly likely that since conflicting information and rumors would be doing the rounds during such periods, an official wiki becomes a trusted resource for employees to get the information they need.

3. Evaluate Various Possibilities and Create Communication Plans
 

As an organization, you also need to communicate with your stakeholders, such as investors, suppliers, and vendors.

Assess and evaluate various possibilities that may happen due to the crisis (COVID-19 in the present scenario), and how they may impact the organization and its stakeholders. Develop holding statements or response modules for every possible situation so that you can communicate with your stakeholders on-time.

Holding statements should cover the crisis/scenario and the steps your brand is taking to tackle/manage the situation. It should be empathetic, action-oriented, and should steer away from speculations and unverified updates.

4. Pick the Right Communication Channels
 

You need to choose the right communication channels to deliver information. Similar to an internal wiki, you can dedicate a webpage on your website to post updates regarding the crisis and how you plan to manage it. Let your stakeholders know if someone from your organization is infected with COVID-19 and what precautions you’re taking to prevent it from spreading.

The crisis management team should connect with media houses and publications to address any potential rumors. Along with your official website, emphasize on social media and email newsletters to consistently communicate information. Up your social listening game and proactively respond and reach out to customers to reply to their queries, complaints, and seek feedback. Ask them what they need and want, be open to online shopping and home deliveries, now more than ever.

5. Develop Marketing Contingency Plans
 

It’s not enough to simply have a well-defined communication policy. In times of a crisis, the market is volatile, consumer behavior is unexpected, and the business, in general, will face sudden fluctuations. Therefore, evaluate the current market scenario and predict short and long-term market behavior and plan your marketing activities accordingly. For example, Puma has taken a serious hit in China due to COVID-19 and had to close more than 50% of its stores, but they are working under the assumption that the situation will normalize in the short term, and the company will be able to reach its annual revenue goals.

Simultaneously, you may also need to identify and work with other vendors and suppliers to balance your supply chain. This would also mean the reallocation of certain budgets to other essential marketing activities in the short run.

6. Find Alternatives to Deliver on Your Promises
 

The primary industries that are adversely impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak are events, retail, hospitality, and SMBs.

To prevent the spread of the virus, many event organizers have decided to either cancel or reschedule their events. Another alternative to this is to make it a virtual event. There are a plethora of applications available that can help you run the event digitally. You can optimize this by introducing online discussion tools before and after the event to enable the participants to continue the dialogue, for example, by informing and engaging users on Twitter or LinkedIn. Retailers can even double up on e-commerce efforts, but be mindful when communicating about it.

7. Prevent the Spread of Misinformation
 

There’s naturally fear among people when a crisis strikes, which paves the way for misinformation. In the early stages of the crisis, news, many times, may not be most reliable due to the lack of facts available. Therefore, organizations should evaluate their news sources and news itself before communicating with customers and making decisions.

A great example of this is how Google is cracking down on unreliable sources. Google has been working to curb phishing attempts, conspiracy theories, malware, and misinformation and removing YouTube videos and ads.

Closing Thoughts

There’s still not enough clarity on COVID-19, and organizations need to be on their toes to ensure that employees, stakeholders, and customers are adequately informed. Even though the intensity of the crisis may lessen in the future, organizations should revisit how they addressed the crisis management challenge and improve and update the strategy to remain prepared.

What measures and strategies have you taken to communicate with your stakeholders and customers? Let us know by commenting below.

Top 9 Digital Marketing Ideas In The Time Of Coronavirus

Digital-Marketing-During-the-Coronavirus

Our world is facing a very serious challenge with the spread of the coronavirus, but there is hope on the horizon.

Businesses have been greatly impacted as the economy has taken a hit. Grocery stores have been left with empty shelves while restaurants are like ghost towns.

As a business owner, you’re likely looking for ways to survive the wave that has people shifting their budgets.  

Try to Stay Positive – It’s Going to Get Better

If you’re following the constant news updates about the coronavirus, you’re likely wondering if we’ll ever be able to leave our homes again.

But this situation isn’t going to last forever. And your business isn’t closing.

As the medical experts said, “it’s going to get worse before it gets better.” But don’t overlook the end of that quote: It’s going to get better.

Top 9 Digital Marketing Ideas to Consider During the Coronavirus

1. Connect With Your Customers on Social Media During a Critical Moment

We’re all dealing with the impact the coronavirus outbreak has had on our lives whether you’ve tested positive or not. We’re all taking precautions. We’re locked in our homes and our kids aren’t in school. We can’t visit our friends. We can’t eat at our favorite restaurants or go out to the movies. Sure, all minor conveniences but jarring nonetheless. This is a time to really show empathy to others and help out where you can. This is a time we all need to be sensitive — and not too salesy or pushy — but it’s a great opportunity for your brand to stand out during a difficult time. More people are on social media now while stuck at home, scanning for updates and trying to stay connected in a suddenly isolated nation.

Also, use your business to contribute to area food banks or assist the elderly with their grocery shopping. And promote your good deeds with social media marketing to help build your brand.

“It’s a unique opportunity for brands to unite together!” “Our communities need each other now more than ever. People need support, understanding, education, resources. Social media can provide just that and can be extremely powerful if it’s done correctly.”


Make Sure Your Business Can Be Found Online

2. Make Sure Your Business Can Be Found Online

In case you haven’t noticed, more people are online right now than in their cars or walking the sidewalks. Search traffic has increased significantly over the past week and will continue to climb as we hunker down. We’re all glued to our computers and phones looking for updates within our community. We’re also looking for entertainment and ways to pass the time. For many, that includes shopping online.

Anything online right now will be consumed more than ever before. This is not the time to be hidden online. You should be using search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to climb to the top of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) so your business can be easily found. This is not a time for a business to go into a shell and poke out your head every few days to see if the sun has come out.

“People still place orders and need things even when at home,” “A lot of people still contact companies during work hours, and that is not going to change just because they are home. Your competition may adjust but that doesn’t mean you have to stop everything and lose sales.”


Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising is a Smart Move

3. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising is a Smart Move Right Now

With more people at home in front of their screens, it’s a great opportunity for businesses to use PPC marketing to connect with their customers and gain a competitive advantage. Oh, and it’s a great chance to save some money within your digital marketing budget. 

On average, cost-per-clicks have decreased by 6 percent across all verticals since last week. And CPC is likely to continue to decrease in the coming week, reducing the amount of money an advertiser pays a publisher for every ad click. That gives your business another opportunity to scoop up that lost market share from others pulling back during this time.

“It’s a great time to continue your digital marketing as other advertisers may go offline at this time,” “and businesses can capture traffic and conversions because of reduced competition. We have clients’ best interests in mind and work to provide solutions to maintain exposure while prioritizing budget spend during these uncertain times.”


Stay Ahead or Jump In Front of Your Competition

4. Stay Ahead or Jump In Front of Your Competition

SEO helps your business increase organic traffic to your website and move past your competition. You want to be on the front page of the Google SERPs — and at the top of the list — so that when your customers search for certain keywords you’re the company they end up calling. To climb to the top of the SERPs takes time and strategic optimization strategies. If you don’t continue to optimize your website and content daily, you lose valuable ground in the search results and your freefall could cost your business thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

“It’s important to stay ahead of the curve and do whatever is possible to keep your website updated and optimized,” “The level of competition within businesses will probably increase in the near future and it’s also important to remain competitive with your digital marketing strategy to help your site rank higher than competitors.”

What you don’t want to do is halt an SEO campaign. That can be a critical mistake for your business. Your leads and revenue will suffer. But if others choose to pull back on SEO, it’s also a perfect time for your business to push even harder to surpass your competitors.

“Competitors may be stopping their campaigns because of their fear of what is ahead or their current situation,” “This is a great time to strengthen your campaign in order to improve your rankings and potentially outrank competitors.”


Prepare Your Business For the Bounce-Back Surge

5. Prepare Your Business For the Bounce-Back Surge

As we noted earlier, the coronavirus outbreak should fade (just as it has in China) after a few months. That’s when normalcy returns and consumers’ spending habits stabilize. You have to remember that SEO is more of a long-term strategy. What you do today for your SEO campaign will affect your organic search traffic two months from now. Pausing your SEO campaign now could have a detrimental impact on your revenue potential two months from now when the coronavirus starts to become a distant memory.

“As SEO professionals, the work we do today will affect the results months from now,” “If you stop the momentum now when the market starts to rise you won’t see the results you want. Anticipate the low times, prepare and press now while others are letting up. The results will be in your favor when you will need it.”


Provide Opportunities for a Special Offer

6. Unique Circumstances Provide Opportunities for a Special Offer

During this uncertain time period, you have the opportunity to show support for your customer base by offering special discounts that will keep your revenue flowing. Identify your product-market fit and create a special offer. Many people are at home browsing, looking for discounts to save money during a time of unrest. It’s a great way to engage with your customers and keep a steady stream of revenue that will keep your doors open. You can push out your special offers through pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and social media.

“Be prepared to jump into action with new strategies to help your brand come back to a ‘healthy market,’” “The preparation should start today.”


Local SEO is now More Relevant

7. Local SEO is now More Relevant

We’ve all reduced our travel and are staying close to home. In the rare times when we do leave our house, we’re looking for nearby destinations for services and supplies. So you want to make sure your business is using local SEO strategies to optimize your website for “near me” searches. You want customers in your geo region to be able to easily find you online so they turn to you first. At a time when we’re all looking for more convenience, this gives your business a chance to provide assistance during a critical time for families.

This is also the perfect time to start an Amazon marketing campaign to take advantage of the eCommerce surge.

“Now is a perfect time for eCommerce businesses to leverage digital marketing,” “There has been a massive influx of consumers shopping online with recent events, causing businesses such as Amazon to hire nearly 100,000 new employees to prepare for the increase in business. Utilize digital marketing now to stand out.”


Inform Your Customers

8. Be Prepared to Pivot as a Business and Inform Your Customers

In a fluid situation, your business should also be fluid. This is a time that you should find ways to connect with your customers like never before. It shows empathy and keeps you relevant at a time when your business may have been impacted by people staying at home. For instance, restaurants are shutting down right now because customers aren’t dining in. You should make sure you’re offering free delivery services. Just the other day, a local Dallas restaurant emailed offering three ways to get their food into their customers’ hands: delivery, curbside ordering and parking lot pickup. Also, let your customers know you’ve increased your sanitary practices and how you’re doing that specifically.

But other businesses should pivot right now, too, as we stay in. Gyms have closed their doors in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but why not offer online workout classes right now? Dentists could offer online consultations. Grocery stores should offer free curbside pickup. All of these opportunities can be boosted with strategic social media campaigns.

“Since people are forced to be quarantined at the moment, there will be more eyeballs than ever before online so people will be consuming more digital marketing on all fronts,” “People will be looking to social media especially for updates on closures, new procedures for businesses and news. They will also be looking to see how brands and businesses are reacting to the current business environment. Now is probably the most important time to be visible digitally because other forms of traditional marketing will be stalled.”


Don’t Fall Victim to the Panic Move

9. Don’t Fall Victim to the Panic Move

How much toilet paper do you have at your house right now? If your answer is a closet full, you’re likely one of the people who flocked to the store when the coronavirus hysteria started to accelerate over the weekend. That’s not how you want to react if you want to implement a smart digital marketing strategy. You never want to make a panic move. You always want to use metrics and analyze all of the data you have available before making a decision.

Knee-jerk reactions usually don’t end well in digital marketing. Take caution when quickly reacting to a sudden shift in the economy or market.

“The economy isn’t stopping,”. “Homeowners still need home service providers. People still need goods and services. Money is still changing hands and consumers are still relying on Google to find people to do business with.”


“It is a great time to go back to the roots, using some of your hours on your current service contract to revise your marketing strategy with your specialist.”

If you have any questions about how Business Relauncher’s full-service digital marketing agency can help your business grow, please contact us online or call us at +442033974709


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How much should I pay for PPC management?

ppc management

On average, businesses should expect to pay $1-$2 per click to advertise on the Google search network. On a monthly basis, the average small and medium-sized businesses spend between $9,000 and $10,000 on PPC

“You have to spend money to make money.”

At some point in your life, you’ve probably heard this tired adage.

While it’s neither novel nor iron-clad, it’s kind of the mantra the pay-per-click industry lives by. And hey, if the money you’re spending is PPC money, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to make money on that spend. 

When you consider the costs of delivering a product or service, a 2-to-1 return is not awesome. We know that. But smart, data-driven marketers can typically do much better than average with their campaigns. 

Achieving an excellent ROI on your PPC spend is very doable, so long as you’ve found a good partner to manage your ads and you have a good understanding of what you’re paying them to do and, of course, you’ve got to be able to track those leads and sales. So if your business is working with a marketing agency to manage your PPC campaigns, just how much should you be paying? 

We jumped on the phone with our friends at New Orleans-based Search Influence to get their perspective on the topic.

Search Influence has been helping businesses succeed online since 2006. The team at Search Influence makes marketing accountable for businesses across a wide range of industries and sizes. Tracking and accountability have always been central to Search Influence’s work with clients.

Common PPC agency pricing models

Before we answer the “how much” question, it’s important to be familiar with the different pricing models that PPC management agencies use for billing.

Here’s a brief overview of the three most common PPC pricing models:

Percentage of ad spend pricing

If you’re shopping for help with PPC, you’ll probably see a lot of agencies using a “percentage of spend” pricing model. Under this model, clients pay agencies a pre-determined percentage of their spend on the ads that the agency is tasked with managing.

Typically, the agency’s percentage will shrink as its workload increases, but this isn’t always the case.

Good for: Companies with a larger or growing ad spend, given the percentage reduction that comes with a total budget increase. Many agencies that use this model will require a minimum spend.

Not great for: Smaller companies with tiny budgets. Minimum spends are often associated with this model, so if your budget isn’t big enough, you’ll likely be stuck with some hefty fees to make it worthwhile for the agency to work with you.

Management fee + percentage of ad spend pricing

Many mature marketing agencies will charge a management fee to cover overheads related to the PPC ad campaigns they’re managing for clients. Like the first example, this pricing model also uses the percentage of ad spend as its baseline, just with an additional fee.

This model is going to be less prevalent among legacy media companies and commodity PPC houses. More complex campaigns are seldom static, because even small businesses have to consider seasonal marketing and promotion needs.

Good for: Customers who want transparency and ultimate ownership of their accounts. When you’re paying a management fee in addition to percentage of spend, it’s harder for the agency to justify holding accounts as “proprietary.” This model also ensures there is a budget available for A/B testing, as well as advanced conversion tracking both online and by phone, text, etc.

Not great for: Very low-cost accounts. Very small businesses are best served with automated platforms for which a pure percentage of spend makes sense.

Flat fee pricing

Some agencies will charge a flat, pre-determined fee after settling on a scope of work and calculating the static costs related to managing the client’s PPC campaigns. Some businesses prefer the straightforward nature of this model, so long as the activities and services included in the scope are clearly defined.

This is most often a simplification of the management fee plus percentage model, where the value that would accrue per the percent of spend is factored into the flat fee.

Good for: Relatively static campaigns and clients who want fixed expenses each month.

Not great for: Dynamic campaigns. Many businesses are seasonal and/or use specials to drive business. In these cases, both the management burden and the ad-spend will need to be more flexible.

Performance-based pricing

In addition to the three PPC pricing models mentioned above, on occasion, you may see a “performance-based pricing model.”

Under this model, most businesses are paying for lower-funnel actions –– think inbound calls, emails, form conversions, trial signups, demo requests, and the like. Some agencies also set up a commission rate with this model and collect a small percentage of revenue from closed sales, if they can claim responsibility for lead origination. This is most commonly seen in e-commerce and referral-based business models, and is also known as a “CTA pricing model.”

A look at today’s PPC rates

Using the framework of the pricing models above, let’s take a look at the costs associated with each. The rates shared below represent middle-of-the-road pricing in the PPC world.

Percentage of ad spend: 15-30%

While it isn’t incredibly common for agencies to charge rates as low as 15 percent of total ad spend, big media conglomerates can offer such terms to promising accounts by utilizing kickbacks, or performance incentives. Most agencies charge upward of 20 percent to manage PPC campaigns.

When considering a proposal that uses this pricing model, the main thing you’re going to want to ask is what’s included: Will the agency be updating ad copy? Building landing pages? Rotating ads?

Some agencies roll these PPC service offerings into a buffet model, while others are more a la carte or pay-as-you-go, where each activity is itemized as its own line on a monthly invoice.

Another variation of the percentage of ad spend PPC pricing model includes a setup fee, which you’ll find to be pretty common. Agencies charge this fee to cover important activities like landing page implementation, lead tracking with forms, calls and creative for display and native advertising.

Search Influence adds some color to the additional costs in their post,”

Percentage of ad spend + management fee: 15-30%, $500-$5,000/ month

Monthly management fees are flat and fixed and may be assessed in association with activities like ad copy updates, ad rotation, and landing page creation. Depending on the workload related to managing a particular company’s PPC campaigns, a management fee can span a pretty wide range: Typically no less than $500 a month, and up to $5,000 a month or more.

How much should you pay an agency for PPC services?

The answer to this requires you to answer a separate question: How hands-on do you want to be with your PPC management?

In Search Influence’s experience, the typical small-to-mid-sized business decision-maker simply wants to see a lift in inbound leads from activities like PPC — you might be able to relate. A lot of times, the details are tiresome and pull you out of your sweet spot.

If that’s the case, a pricing model based on the percentage of ad spend probably makes the most sense. But if you’re looking to tinker and get hands-on with your PPC ad spend, you’ll need to look for agencies that itemize their services so you can carefully manage your budget.

Most of all — as a buyer of marketing services, whether organic or paid — it’s critical for you and your agency to clearly discuss and agree upon goals and timelines before you get started.

Step one is always about getting clear on that very thing: Where do you want to go?

Need help with your PPC?

How to Start a Digital Marketing Agency with No Experience

how to start a digital marketing agency

How do you start a digital marketing agency with no experience?

There have never been more opportunities to strike off on your own in the digital marketing space than there today. But how do you actually do it? Where do you start, and how do you scale?

The secret to starting a digital marketing agency with no experience is to have an actual strategy, grow organically as you learn, and deliberately build word of mouth with a specific type of client. It’s about taking aim vs. shooting randomly and hoping something lands.

There’s also a major misconception that starting a digital marketing agency has to mean a HUGE process that requires building a massive company and doing “all the things” and taking all the clients.

In reality, a digital marketing agency can be just…you. It’s not about the pricey software or offices or employees. It’s about determining who you help, how you help them, and then actually doing the work.

The business model of an agency is fairly straightforward. Sure, you can tinker around the edges about whether to bill by hour, by week, by task, or by project. But at its core, you are providing specialized knowledge for a fee. An agency of one and an agency of 10,000 work in basically the same way.

With that concept in mind, here’s how to start a digital marketing agency with no experience. 

1. Set Your Business Goals

Before you decide to do anything, you’ve got to do some planning. What do you want the business to actually look like? What’s the end goal? The vision? 

Starting your digital marketing agency without some sort of direction in mind is like trying to get to a new restaurant with no address and no navigation. You end up lost, taking wrong turns, and probably not having much success.

If you’ve observed the industry for any length of time, you’ll notice that agencies with conflicting goals run into trouble often. But the ones that stick to their vision do well.

Some agencies want to maximize prestige. They focus on recognizable clients who are willing to do interesting work. Some agencies want to maximize profits. They focus on boring but high growth, high opportunity clients. Some agencies want to maximize freedom / autonomy. They focus on low maintenance, consistent clients. And some agencies want to maximize business value. They focus on internal operations, cash flow, and strong branding.

There is no correct goal – except to choose a specific goal and stick to it no matter what.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to starting a digital marketing agency. There are big agencies, small agencies, agencies that focus on just one part of digital marketing (like search engine optimization) and full-service agencies who do everything from design and development to paid media, local marketing, and SEO.

It’s up to you to decide who you want to serve and how you want to serve them. 

What To Consider

  • Do you want to serve local clients, or go outside of your local sphere?
  • Are you focusing on a specific industry? 
  • Do you want to offer a specific digital marketing service, or a variety of services? 
  • Do your clients need to be within a certain budget? 
  • Are there services you don’t want to offer? Niches you don’t want to serve? 

What To Avoid

  • Avoid trying to have something for everyone. You know what they say about a jack of all trades… you’re a master of none. 
  • Avoid direction hoping. Pick a direction and see it through until you have enough data and experience to make a decision on changing directions. 

2. Define Your Target Audience 

The irony of all ironies is that usually, marketers are horrible at marketing themselves, mainly because they don’t go through their own steps. 

If you’ve done any marketing before, then you know one of the first things you do as you develop your marketing strategy is get clear on your target audience. The same applies for starting your digital marketing agency. 

Once you’ve decided on who you want to serve, it’s time to dive a bit deeper. What are they struggling with? How do you help them with that problem? 

Outline the wants, needs, likes, dislikes, habits, and information of someone you think would definitely be an ideal client for your agency. Outline what their marketing needs are, what their goals are, and how you can help achieve those goals through the service(s) you’ve decided to offer. 

Don’t just armchair imagine this. Ask potential customers what they struggle with when it comes to getting the word out about their business. What do they wish they could get some help with? What do they look for in a digital marketing agency? 

Make 2 to 4 very specific personas. Remember that your initial market is not your total market. Even if you start out by targeting a very specific geographic area or a very specific customer doesn’t mean that you can’t expand. It’ll just give you more focus.

What To Consider

  • Get specific. It’s better to start small and scale (i.e. being a digital marketing agency that helps local dentists get more clients through organic search) than try to help everyone and get lost in the noise (i.e. being a general marketer who can do anything for any business). 
  • Remember that your initial market is not your total market. It just gives you focus. 

What To Avoid

  • Avoid businesses that don’t align with your overall business strategy. Sure, it’s great to get work in the beginning, but remember… pick a direction and stick to it. If you don’t offer a service, don’t offer it – even if it means turning down a little bit of money at the beginning. 
  • Personas aren’t just for marketing strategies. Have 2-4 for your own business direction so you know who to say yes to and who to say no to. 

3. Build an Online Presence

Once you have an idea of what type of agency you are, who you serve, and how you serve them, it’s time to think about how you’re going to present this information.

This means building your online presence through your website and social channels.

Setting Up Your Website

You don’t need to have a full-blown website to have a digital marketing agency. But given you’re helping people get seen online, you should have some sort of online presence.

If you are going super-lean, you can use a Facebook page, Yelp profile, or a few focus (aka “landing”) pages (more on that in a minute). But going without a decent looking website will put you behind the curve and place limitations on what you can do with your brand & marketing.

I recommend setting your own website up with a common, well known software like WordPress and hosting it on your own hosting account**.

That route will give you a good technical foundation with fast, simple setup and access to other business tools like email and digital storage. It will also allow you to implement a customized off the shelf design – “themes.” Themes allow you to have a website that looks good enough to make a sale without spending months and lots of money on a 100% custom design. Creating a website on something like WordPress also allows you to implement a 100% custom design when that time comes.

**Note – self-hosting WordPress does have a learning curve. For a long-term website with a business that has resources, it’s worthwhile. But – there is absolutely a role for a hosted website builder for many businesses – especially if your business will focus on clients who use a specific platform (like Wix or Squarespace or Shopify). I have a guide to selecting a good website builder here.

Setting Up Focused (aka “Landing”) Pages

As I mentioned above, a few high-quality focused pages on your website can get you a long way. In addition to your Home page, About page, and Privacy page, you need landing pages to address specific needs.

When I say “landing pages” – don’t think of anything too complex or anything that you would need to A/B test. I’m simply referring to pages that visitors can land on from a search engine or an ad and find exactly what they are looking for. I like to call them Focused Pages rather than Landing pages.

Why? Here’s pro tip that few website owners will admit to: nobody cares about or even sees your homepage.

Your homepage is for people who already know you who are. For businesses in a single specific service, you can use it to “rank” for your main industry term.

Landing pages go beyond your homepage.

Landing pages are for new (or returning) visitors to land on and convert. Before you build out all your website pages, you should develop focused landing pages that sell to one or all of these buckets:

Service specific – These pages should promote your services. But, they shouldn’t be generic. You should make them either focused on the problem that your service solves (ie, no website traffic) or focused on the application of your service. For example, it’s one thing to offer “SEO” – it’s another to make websites more crawlable, more relevant, and more visible in search.

Geography / Demography specific – These pages are all about the location service & logistics of obtaining your agency’s services. Even though your work might be global, your clients’ are likely not global. They will pay for someone who understands their local market. Additionally, if you have a keen understanding of a demographic (ie, college students), then you can focus on that as well.

Industry Specific – These pages should promote your expertise within specific industries. Even though marketing principles do not differ much across industries, clients want someone who can understand their perspective. If you know more than someone else about [X] industry, you should promote that. And if you can go deeper within a niche, then do that.

Now – the magic here is combining buckets & going deeper within each bucket. Until you are big & growing, going niche is your friend. Create combinations to make extremely focused pages.

“Digital Marketing for the Travel Industry” will not bring in your first clients.

“Facebook Marketing for AirBNB Hosts in Atlanta, Georgia” absolutely will.

The goal here is to sell to people at the very bottom of the marketing funnel – the customers most likely to convert and most likely to succeed. These pages will both rank organically – and you can use them for paid ads.

What To Consider

  • Detailed content content (like a blog) can take your presence a long way. Think about future functionality you may want to have on your site so you can choose a platform that supports it and don’t have to create something from scratch once you’re ready to implement it.
  • Practice what you preach. If you’re a copywriting agency, make sure your copy is up to par. If you’re a design agency, make sure your site looks like you can actually design something.
  • You don’t have to be everywhere (i.e. Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, WordPress, Facebook, YouTube). Pick your starting channels and expand later if need be.

What To Avoid

  • Avoid perfection. The goal is to have a online presence that shows you’re legit, but being an agency is about billable hours. Don’t spend more time working on your own presence than your clients’.

4. Get Visible (AKA Getting Leads and Clients)

Once you have a place to send people, it’s time to get some leads and clients.

Again, marketers are notoriously bad at marketing themselves. But the days of “build it and they will come” are long gone. You actually have to do something to get clients and start building your portfolio, especially if you’re starting a digital marketing agency with no experience.

Here are a few key steps to follow to get the word out about your digital marketing agency.

Word of Mouth / Referrals

Above all other marketing techniques, agencies thrive on word of mouth and referrals. In fact, many top agencies are past the point of direct response marketing. They grow exclusively on word of mouth. They know how to appeal to certain markets and what kind of performance it takes to get further referrals.

The focus of your landing pages will help word of mouth since you’ll develop a simple, straightforward reputation.

In order to get referrals, you’ve got to get clients to back up your reputation. Which brings me to…

Direct Outreach

Also known as hustlin’. This consists of all the tedious and tough pitching that you know you need to do… but don’t want to do.

Now, it doesn’t mean spamming. It means going directly to your market and doing appropriate outreach.

It means emailing and Facebook messaging people that you know might be interested in your marketing services (or know others who might be). And sending them to your landing pages to learn more about your agency or hopping on a call with them to talk about how you can help them. And again, the focus of your landing pages will help make word of mouth simpler. You’ll stand out when people remember you as “the [X] marketer for [Y] industry in [Z] city.

It means helping within industry forums. I got my first handful of web design clients after helping people on the WordPress.org support forums. I got my first ecommerce client after helping in the Shopify forums. I never pitched anyone directly, but this type of manual, hand-on work counts as direct outreach.

When you’re just starting out with no experience, direct outreach is one of the most effective ways to get clients quickly (which you can then turn into referrals).

Tap into your existing network, look for projects that you can knock out of the park, and continue to get your name out there without having to spend money on ads or wait for your inbound strategy to grow (more on that in a minute).

Paid Traffic

Yes, it’s true — Google Ads and Facebook can be expensive for a good return on investment, especially for the close to converting keywords that you should try to buy.

But if your serious about building a long-term marketing strategy for your digital marketing agency, then your goal is a bit different when using paid traffic.

You are buying data. Lots of data.

You should be doing a few things with your new traffic.

  • Look at what keywords are driving the best leads. Google Ads & Facebook give you this information. Try using modified broad match for your keywords. Many times customers are using a wider variety of keywords than you’d guess.
  • Run your ads very focused on geography, especially if you’re a local agency. If you have a landing page for a neighborhood, set up a campaign for that area.
  • Look at what landing pages are driving sales & calls.
  • Look at what areas are driving sales.
  • Test ad copy and figure out the right messaging. You can use this data to inform any print or display campaigns..
  • On Facebook, you can get *really* specific with your audiences. Do that. Create an audience of 100 who you *know* would be perfect. Make sure they know about you. Use the campaign to warm up any direct pitch.

Organic Search (SEO) Traffic

Organic traffic (SEO) still might not be the best next channel to pursue after paid traffic. There’s a great big wide world of paid and organic traffic sources, and if you’re working on building a portfolio and just get some experience, this is going to take awhile.

And yet, if you’re playing the long game, setting up your SEO strategy now can have huge payoffs in the end.

Google processes more than 3.5 billion queries per day. And for most queries, most of the clicks go to an organic result. And you’ll know from your Ads campaigns that clicks for competitive keywords can be quite expensive. That’s a cost you don’t have to pay if you rank in the organic results.

So I won’t hide my enthusiasm for SEO. It’s my specialty and is the giant battleship that will keep on going once it’s headed in the right direction.

When you are setting your marketing strategy for your digital marketing agency, you just have to know what it takes to get organic traffic and what it will take on your part to get it done.

Often you’ll just need a handful of really useful posts to prove your expertise. Don’t go after generic topics. Show off your specialty. Do a tutorial on tools that you know your audience is trying to use. Write about an issue that you know everyone is dealing with.

What To Consider

  • Your first goal when you’re starting an agency is to get clients. Billable hours drive everything (and is what will enable you to invest in other marketing efforts).
  • Some of your best leads can be in your own circle. Don’t discount the network you already have.
  • No one will know about your business if you don’t tell anyone about your business. You don’t need fancy business cards, a beautiful website, or even some elaborate marketing funnel. You DO need to tell people what you do.
  • You do have to walk the walk, but you don’t have to rely on your own area to build your business. If you do SEO and you choose not to use SEO to generate leads, that’s fine — but be prepared to speak to that with potential clients.

What To Avoid

  • Avoid being a generalist. Yes you need clients, yes you need revenue — but remember the business strategy you set upfront.
  • Avoid adding additional work without increasing the scope to “win” a client. If clients want additional services and you offer them, great! Let them know how that changes your fees. Earn respect with results, not with price or perceived responsiveness.

5. Define Your Growth Plan

Building a digital marketing agency doesn’t mean you have to become the next big company doing Super Bowl commercials. As I mentioned before, a digital marketing agency can be an agency of one.

You should however, have an idea of how you’d like to grow. Being a one-person company still doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself. ShivarWeb is made up of exactly 1 person, Nate Shivar, but several amazing contractors help shoulder specific responsibilities. Employees are great once you have a solid book of recurring contracts, but contractors can help you bridge any gap.

As you start to grow, think about the teams, systems, and deliverables you want to have in place to help support your clients.

For your team, would bringing on a full-time copywriter help you sign two more clients? Could you outsource design work or administrative tasks that take up your time?

For your systems, do you have a written system for new clients? Even if you are solo, you need to have a written system that clients pass through. It should be something that you can set out in a contract. You can (and should) find examples for Master Service Agreements (MSAs) & Statements of Work (SoW’s) to build of of. Make sure you have an internal project management system – even if it just lives in a Google Sheet.

For your deliverables, do you have a way to show value to your clients? Do you have a way to gather feedback from them. If you are an SEO, then written audits, keyword maps, and written outreach & content strategies will help make the “magic” of SEO real for your clients. It goes the same for every type of marketing. What format will you use? Who can you talk to within the industry to get a base understanding?

Doing some advanced planning here will help you scale faster and easier than waiting to figure it out when the workload becomes too much.

What To Consider

  • There are certain tasks only you can do. What are those? Keep your focus there.
  • A bigger team doesn’t necessarily mean a better agency. Some of the best marketers I know run with a very lean crew.
  • Think back to your business vision. Do you have services you want to provide but YOU can’t do? Are there people you can hire that can cover a few different areas (i.e. a writer with graphic design experience)

What To Avoid

  • Avoid getting caught in the weeds. You can’t make any money if you’re sitting in your inbox for five hours a day.
  • Avoid thinking of outsourcing as an expense. Crunch your numbers and think value and reinvestment.
  • Avoid going the “cheap” route when hiring help. You get what you pay for.
  • Charge what you are worth. If you are making your clients money, then charge what you are worth…and make them even more money!

Conclusion & Next Steps

Starting a digital marketing agency with no experience doesn’t have to be a daunting process full of questions, unknowns, and hurdles.

If you want to start a digital marketing agency with going through setting it up your self, you can join Business Relauncher Partner program to start digital marketing ency in 30 days or less.

You may also like our other article

How do I start an affiliate marketing business?

business digital success

The lure of affiliate marketing is undeniable; who can resist passive income?

But to make that passive income happen, you have got to put in some work first. 

To succeed in affiliate marketing, there are a number of crucial steps you must take before you earn that first affiliate profits. And these steps are, well … not passive.

The good news is that if you’re determined to make this work and are willing to put in the time and effort, you’re already well on your way to affiliate marketing success.

All the work you put in is to help you make your first affiliate marketing sale. There is nothing like a first sale to motivate you and make you keep at it.  When promoting affiliate offers, just make sure you are fully aware of all the terms and conditions attached to your affiliate program. Some programs can be strict about how they allow you to promote their products. For example, some may limit you to banner ads and links only, while others will allow you to use paid advertising, but won’t allow email marketing. 

So, what do you need to do to get started?

7 Steps to Earning Your First Affiliate Commission

  1. 1. Choose your niche.
  2. 2. Research different affiliate programs and products.
  3. 3. Build a site.
  4. 4. Produce excellent content.
  5. 5 . Build an audience.
  6. 6. Promote your affiliate product(s).
  7. 7. Repeat steps #4–7 on a continual basis!

Put in the work, and you’ll soon be reaping the rewards of your first sale.  Your ongoing work as an affiliate marketer will be to repeat steps 4 – 6 on a continual basis. Building a site up to a point where it can make you consistent income takes a bit of work and you must be willing to constantly create, promote, market, innovate and of course, sell. 

Most common asked questions

How much money can you make as an affiliate marketer?

In simple terms, affiliate marketing means selling goods or services from another person or company. Nine percent of publishers surveyed produced more than $50,000 in affiliate income.

What is affiliate marketing and how does it work for beginners?

Affiliate marketing is the process by which an affiliate earns a commission for marketing another person’s or company’s products. The affiliate simply searches for a product they enjoy, then promotes that product and earns a piece of the profit from each sale they make.

Can affiliate marketing make you rich?

Yes, affiliate marketing can make you rich. But you need to exert a lot of time and effort. Sorry to say this, but affiliate marketing isn’t a getrich-quick scheme. … If you think you‘ll earn easy money with affiliate marketing, then you are bound to fail.

How do affiliate marketers get paid?

  • Pay per Sale: In this program a merchant pays you a percentage of the sale price when the purchase is completed.

Can I do affiliate marketing without a website?

There’s a certain stigma about affiliate marketing that led people to think that they cannot do it without a website. Truth is, you actually can become an affiliate marketer even without a website or blog. … There are plenty of ways to do affiliate marketing even if you don’t have a website.

Do you feel overwhelmed about making that first affiliate sale?

If you want start an affiliate marketing business in 30 days or less without a website.

How to attract more clients?

conversion optimization

How can I get more clients? Building a healthy client list can seem like an overwhelming task. Try these 7 steps to help get more clients for your business.

As a business owner, you’re no doubt keenly aware that your client base is the lifeblood of your company. A steady stream of new customers allows you to grow your business and fulfill your company vision.

It turns out that a seven-step approach works best for attracting new clients.

1. Identify Your Ideal Client

It’s easier to look for customers if you know the type of consumers you seek. Without a composite of your ideal customer, you probably wouldn’t know where to start looking.

“Have a crystal clear picture in your head of exactly who you’re targeting,” says former OPEN Forum community member Nicole Beckett, president of Premier Content Source. “Think about what makes those types of people happy, sad, scared, relieved, and then think about how you can make their lives a little easier.”

Narrow down the focus of your ideal client and avoid making broad target market statements, such as every woman, every man or all baby boomers. Few products appeal to that vast of a group of people, and overstating your market will prevent you from developing viable targeted strategies for attracting clients.

2. Discover Where Your Customer Lives

With your targeted customers in mind, “identify those places where they are likely to be found (media, online, offline, mail, etc.), and then create messages for them.

Where you look for customers will depend on the nature of your business. Some good online locations include forums and social media pages, including your own and those of similar or complementary businesses. Offline, you can meet plenty of potential customers at conferences and conventions in your industry.

3. Know Your Business Inside and Out

Thoroughly understanding your industry and having a firm knowledge of your product or service is critical to being able to attract interested clients. When you know your product backward and forward, that fact comes through. The people who would be interested in your offerings can see how knowledgeable you are and will seek your assistance.

4. Position Yourself as the Answer

Give potential clients you come into contact with a good reason to try your services, which is your first step to making them loyal customers.

“Provide value and establish yourself as having an in-depth understanding of the problems they are looking to solve,” he says. “This takes the form of creating content via webinars, blog posts, guest blogging, and getting out there and physically networking with people. From all this you will start to attract a following, and as long as you have a structured sales funnel setup, you will be able to convert the followers/fans into paying customers.”

5. Try Direct Response Marketing

Your best bet for reaching out and touching customers is to use tactics to encourage them to complete a specific action, such as opt into your email list or request more information.

Create messages directed at your target market. “Learn to create ads that attract your ideal clients by giving them something of value for free to get them started in your funnel. Learn all you can about direct response marketing practices, because they will teach you to focus on results that matter. Create compelling messages that tell your ideal audience why they’d have to be a fool not to work with you. Show them you understand their pain, and can make it go away faster and cheaper than they could without you.”

6. Build Partnerships

Teaming up with businesses that offer complementary services offers you the opportunity to take advantage of synergy, which can be very effective in building a business.

When all is said and done, nurturing relationships, either with other business owners or customers, helps you create a client base, Beckett suggests. “Focus on building human relationships. The stronger your relationships are, the more likely your customers will be to tell their friends about you. And, the more likely they’ll be to come back.”

7. Follow Up

After your efforts to bring in business, always remember to close the loop. Remember to set follow up tasks (follow up to sample sent, etc.), and execute your plan. So many leads and great conversations are wasted because you forget to follow up.” Doing this simple step is sure to get your client base to grow.