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Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Digital Marketing Agency


Throughout the country, there are more than 13,000 marketing or advertising agencies. So if you’re starting a digital marketing agency, you have a ton of competition, no matter your niche.

And with so many small businesses failing, how can you ensure success for your company? It’s a tough question.

For this reason, we’ve created this guide outlining the top 5 mistakes to avoid when creating your digital marketing agency. Keep reading to learn more.

Not Checking the Numbers

There are lots of different areas of marketing. Perhaps you’re an expert in PPC and SEO. Maybe graphic and web design is your forte.

In any case, it’s likely that accounting isn’t your biggest passion or area of expertise. And because of this, many people who start digital marketing agencies fail to pay close enough attention to their numbers.

If you do this, your business won’t last long. It’s as simple as that.

Many of us have experienced this in our personal budgets. Maybe you’ve gone a week without checking your bank account, only to log in and realize your balance is much lower than you expected.

When this happens, there’s hardly a worse feeling. And the same principle applies in your agency’s financial affairs too.

You should keep an eye on all of the following:

  • Expenses
  • Savings
  • Revenue
  • Profit
  • Taxes

Set a schedule for yourself so you keep a regular pulse on your books without becoming obsessive about them. This is the sweet spot you’re looking for.

You Don’t Know Your Limitations 

Another mistake you want to avoid? Not knowing your limitations.

In most cases, entrepreneurs are incredibly talented. They have a wide skillset and a certain sense of confidence and drive.

This is great, but it can also lead to issues. Keep in mind that you need to know where you need help. 

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Start by delegating! If you’re better with big picture plans and struggle with day-to-day operations, it might be time to hire someone or contract an employee who can help you envision your future.

You Take on the Wrong Clients

When you’re starting a digital marketing agency, it’s common to take on any client who wants to work with you. You’ve invested money into your business and you want to start producing revenue.

While you’re just starting out, this is understandable. But as you start growing, it’s a good idea to be more selective about your clients.

As hard as this can be, it will be better for you in the long run. And agencies that work with anyone always feel some pain at a later date.

When meeting with a prospective client, notice a few different things. First, check out their attitude.

Are they easy to work with? Do they criticize every single thing you do? Do you align in expectations?

Also consider their ability to receive pushback. As the marketing agency in the relationship, it’s your job to make suggestions, recommendations, and changes to their current strategy.

If a client is unopen to change, resistant to ideas, and unwilling to compromise, this is a red flag. Avoid these types of clients and you’ll be happy you did so in the long run.

Hiring Too Early

Here’s another thing many agencies go through. As they start to take on more clients, their time begins to stretch thin. The workload increases, and it all starts to feel overwhelming.

And when this happens, it’s common to want to hire a team member. But be careful of hiring a team too early. Here’s why.

It’s a simple fact of being a business owner: employees require overhead. And lots of new agencies really can’t afford that extra cost.

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Yes, it would be great to have an extra set of hands, but you’ve also got to think of all the costs of hiring an employee.

First, you’ll have to pay their salary. And then there’s the extra cost of health insurance and a 401(k). 

You’ll also have to take time out of your schedule to train them and don’t forget about the potential risk of their mistakes as a new employee.

Often, you can receive just as much benefit from reorganizing your schedule. Or you could get a lot of the same help from a specialized software program. There are lots of tools out there that can help automate account management.

Thinking You’re Done Learning

Last but not least, let’s talk about arrogance. As you’re starting a digital marketing agency, make sure you’re still open to learning more.

The digital marketing industry is constantly changing and evolving. Every year, there are new trends, new technology, and new best practices.

If you think you know it all, you’ll fall behind. And maybe it’s not even arrogance coming into play and you’re really busy. If this is the case, you should still keep up on the latest trends so you’re in the know and staying competitive in the market.

Starting a Digital Marketing Agency: Final Thoughts

Now that we’ve gone through the mistakes you should avoid when starting a digital marketing agency, what’s next? It’s time to get started.

Get to work on your business plan. Decide on which areas of marketing you want to focus. And then start looking for clients.

Soon, you’ll enjoy a growing digital agency that you’ve grown from the ground up. Just make sure you avoid these common pitfalls.

Want to learn more? Check out our blog for additional marketing tips and tricks.