How to Start a Digital Marketing Agency in UK USA (Business Plan)


Do you have these questions in your mind?

  • How to start a digital marketing agency with no money?
  • How to start digital marketing from home?
  • Starting a digital marketing agency with no experience?
  • Should I start a digital marketing agency?
  • Digital marketing agency business plan?

In this article, you will find answers to all your questions. So grab a cup of coffee and let’s get started.

Table of Contents

What is a Digital Marketing Business?

The Internet has reshaped the world of marketing like never before; gone are the days when we had to go out to an outlet and shop for our daily groceries or other necessities.

Today, if we need anything , we simply use an app or an e- commerce site from the comfort of our houses. Since the Internet changed how we shop, businesses changed the way they market.

Now, along with offline marketing, businesses heavily depend upon the Internet or say digital marketing to reach their prospective audiences.

Digital marketing is a broad term that includes marketing products and services on the Internet and Electronic devices, such as TVs, mobile phones, and electronic billboards.

Market Insight: As per Statista, the Digital Advertising market worldwide is projected to grow by 10.29% (2022-2027), resulting in a market volume of $1005 billion in 2027.


Types of Digital Marketing Agency?

One of the most significant advantages of running a digital marketing agency is that you have 100% freedom; you can choose what services you want to offer. You can work with any client you wish, charge however you’d like, and work as often as possible.

With that being said, there are mainly two types of digital marketing agencies:

  • Platform / Channel Specific Agency:
    These marketing agencies focus specifically on one marketing channel. Single-channel agencies are specialists that serve one specific area of digital marketing, which allows them to deliver one-of-a-kind results to their clients and dominate a marketing channel.

  • Full Service Agency:
    Full-service digital agencies can service all or most of the clients’ needs. They’ll have a team of developers, designers, analysts, and creatives, covering everything from web development, social media management, SEO, and ad campaigns.


You can look into few DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCIES to inspire you: 


Digital marketing is all about building a brand, and it requires a deep understanding of the mediums and processes to successfully guide and grow a brand through various digital channels like:

  • Social media marketing
  • Website design and development
  • Digital Content creation
  • Search engine marketing (pay-per-click, retargeting)
  • Search engine optimization
  • Multi-Media campaigns
  • Online lead generation
  • Online brand development and management
  • Viral Videos / Product Videos / Customer Reviews / Reels
  • Email marketing Campaigns
  • Data Collection / Subscriber List Management
  • Influencer Marketing Services
  • Mobile App Marketing Agency
  • Online Reputation Management Services


And the list goes on and on, but… you don’t need all of the services; what you need is to offer what you are good at.

The services you should offer depends upon factors like:

  • Your specialization 
  • Clients you are targeting for 
  • Demand for the services

Remember, as a startup, your goal should be to keep your costs low and depend on your skills. If you push the process and try to go full-service from the very beginning, there is a good possibility that you’ll be overburdened and may get lost in the process.


Is Digital Marketing Business, a right choice for me?

Here are some questions to help you decide whether or not digital marketing is meant for you:

  • Do you have a Zest for business?
  • Are you Fascinated by internet technologies?
  • Do you get bored quickly with monotonous work?
  • Are you a Problem Solver?
  • Do you have a keen eye for creativity?
  • How fast will the site be backed up in case of a virus or hacking attack

Top Digital Marketing Trends to Make You Future Ready:

- NFTs

- Big Data

- Social Commerce

- Customized Programmatic Advertising

- Targeted Personalized Marketing

- Artificial Intelligence in Digital Marketing

- Smart Speakers

- AI Neural Based Chatbots

- Augmented Reality and Metaverse

- Voice Search


Pros and cons of digital Marketing

Digital marketing is a viable industry; from the brick motor to tech companies, every business is now moving digital, looking for services that can level up their marketing game.


  • Digital Marketing is an ever-green industry
  • Low-cost entry
  • Open a Free Global market
  • On average, even a small digital marketing company with 3-4 smart people can generate revenue of around $1-2 million annually
  • This business provides you with both Consistent and Recurring Income
  • Doesn’t need College Degree
  • It takes time to establish a business name
  • Fast-moving industry (challenging to keep up with trends)
  • Not suitable as a part-time business or as a passive income source
  • High overhead costs
  • High employee turnover rate

Top 6 Challenges in the Digital Marketing Business

1. Creating contending Content

Content marketing has constantly been evolving, and creating content is one of the evergreen challenges a marketer faces. People always seek fresh content that can educate them, entertain them, and provide a solution.

Content trending and likely to stay in trend includes short-form videos, live-streaming content, podcasts, and Instagram and Facebook stories.

Audiences now embrace raw and interactive content as it seems more relatable and accurate and allows people to express their opinions.

2. Staying updated with Google’s Algorithms

To stay ahead in the digital marketing game, you need to pay close attention to the search algorithms, rules, and latest features released by the search engine.

For example, since voice search came into play, Google’s algorithm stirred focus to answer specific content and long keywords.

3. Keeping Mobile-friendly strategies on priority

‘Statista’ estimates mobile internet users will reach over 295 million by 2023.

From news, information, and entertainment to shopping for groceries, we use mobile for almost all purposes. Compared to any other device, we spend the most time on cell phones.

Marketers are now focusing on mobile-centric approaches and strategies as much as possible.

4. Omni Channel Marketing Control

We have multiple options today Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Whatsapp, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.

As we are active on multiple devices and platforms, it’s no longer wise to focus all your efforts on a single channel such as emails or Facebook.

Instead, analyze and focus on the platforms where your audience is most active and link it to multiple channels.

5. Privacy and Data-Sharing Rules and Regulations

Digital marketers must ensure compliance with GDPR, especially in areas such as your website’s transparency about its cookies, data sharing, privacy policies, and data storage.


6. Digital Marketing is Very Dynamic

Talks and trends change now and then in this fast-moving world. You should be able to catch up with new movements and trends.



You need to be creative while being analytical at the same time.


Investment required to start up a Digital Marketing Agency

Startup costs for a digital marketing agency depend upon various factors:

  • Type of digital marketing agency (Home-based / Office setup)
  • Variety of services you plan to offer
  • The staff you plan to hire / team size
  • Type and size of clients
  • Advertising tools and channels


To give you a benchmark, the estimated cost of your business would range from $5k to $40K, assuming that you’ll start a home-based agency and already have a computer, basic furniture, and a dedicated working room.

Here is a list of setups you require for a Digital Marketing Agency:

- Business Incorporation

- Business Cards

- Website Setup

- Software / Tools

- Insurance

- Business licenses and permits

- Office space rental (Recurring)

- Training and Certification

- Computers / Laptops

- Backup Hard drives

- High-Speed Internet

- Stationary, Coffee, Consumables (Recurring)

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Digital Marketing Service Rate Card

As per the services you decide to offer, you need to set prices for your projects.

Most agencies charge as following:

  • Per project
  • Per hour
  • Monthly retainers fee


Per project–

You charge a fixed amount to complete a project with the client. If your estimations are correct, you make a profit, but you may also make a loss in case you calculate wrong.


Per hour–

Based on your experience, type of services, the complexity of work, location of the client, and type of business: You charge an hourly fee for your assistance. 


Generally, famous firms charge between $30 and $60 per hour.


Monthly fee–

You may charge a monthly fee for SEO services, PPC management, and social media management; clients pay a monthly retainer for such services.

TIP: I recommend starting with the ‘per hour’ or ‘per project’ type for new agencies. It might not be the most profitable, but your initial goal is to get new clients and build your portfolio as fast as you can, and the ‘per hour’ model allows you to handle more clients and adjust your hourly rate as per the new clients.

How do I get my first client?

The idea of business is abstract without customers; the real deal is to bring clients… Right?

So, here are some pointers to help you get your first client.

  • Use your social circle 
  • Reach out to local small businesses – cold call & email
  • Bid on Upwork & Fiverr
  • Run Google, Facebook & Instagram Ads
  • Network in Linkedin
  • Organic SEO and Blogging
  • Quora Answers, Reddit Network 


Since this is your first ‘official proposal,’ try to mention your specific goals and make it as detailed as possible.

Your goal should be building your portfolio rather than making a profit. So make sure that your prices seem like an offer to them.

The lessons from your first project will be invaluable and help you tremendously throughout your journey.

TIP: For new digital marketing agencies, I recommend starting with the ‘per hour’ or ‘per project’ type. It might not be the most profitable, but your initial goal is to get new clients and build your portfolio as fast as you can, and the ‘per hour’ model allows you to handle more clients and adjust your hourly rate as per the new clients.

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Build your Digital Marketing Skills 

To run a Digital Marketing business, you need good Digital Marketing and Business management skills. 

a) Digital Marketing Skills

If you are planning to start a digital marketing agency, you need to build your digital marketing skills first.

This means you must know what digital marketing is, how it works, and how to run campaigns to increase traffic and sales using various digital marketing channels.

The top Digital Marketing skills that are most in demand to become an expert in digital marketing are::

  • Google Advertising ‘Google Adwords’
  • Onpage / Offpage SEO Skills
  • Content Writing Skills
  • Video Making Social Media Targeting / Re-Marketing Skills
  • Facebook / Instagram Ads Design
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media Campaign Management

Always remember, Digital marketing is a practical discipline, and more than just the basics is needed. You need to gain the necessary experience by actually practicing it.

b) Business Management Skills

Since you are starting an agency, it’s not just about digital marketing anymore but the online business also, so you need business management skills.

A degree in Business Management is not what I am saying, but you need to build some skills related to:

  • Project Estimation
  • Time Management
  • Project Management
  • Invoicing and Billing
  • Contracts
  • HR Management


As a business owner, you’ll have to handle these things from the beginning by yourself and maybe for a reasonable span of time until you reach a point where you can hire experts and create a team.

3 Free Resource to upgrade your Digital Marketing Skills:

1. HubSpot / HubSpot Academy
– Best learning platform for inbound marketing skills such as email, content marketing, inbound sales, social media and more.

2. Google Knowledge Center Blog
– Best for checking out updates on Google and google tools.

3. Search Engine Journal
– This an ultimate guide on practices and trends in PPC, SEO, Content and social media apps.

Software for Digital Marketing 

You’ll need a lot of tools to run your digital agency efficiently. In fact, after paying for salaries, paying for tools licenses will be your second most significant expense.

In addition, you’ll need tools for invoicing and accounting to help you optimize your digital marketing campaigns, create reports for clients, and many more.

There are many options in the market to choose from, but you need to keep in mind to select tools that offer features you’ll actually need and not just those that are just nice to have.

Must have Digital Marketing Tools: 

  • Google Analytics
    Tool for tracking traffic on your website and related factors.
  • MailChimp
    Tool for email marketing
  • Google Ads
    Tool to drive traffic to your site and analyze traffic demographics
    Marketing platform that covers all the SEO aspects
  • Ahrefs
    SEO tool with massive data index
  • Yoast SEO
    WordPress plugin to optimize the site’s performance
  • Canvas / Illustrator / Photoshop
    Graphic design tool
  • Kinemaster / Adobe  Premiere / Final Cut pro
    Video editing software

In case if you are looking for some free Google tools, here is a list:

- Google Slides

- Google Tag Manager

- Google Docs

- Google Search Console

- Google Forms

- Google Data Studio

- Google Keyword Planner

- Google Meet


After running a Digital Marketing Agency for the last 20 years, I can say it’s a great, evergreen business. The need for marketing can never diminish but only rise with time, so if you are betting on the industry, it’s a safe bet.


Besides, it is one of the businesses you can start at any level, be it an individual freelancer working from a bedroom, small studio, or large company. 


But remember, you need to keep up with the future technologies and changes; it is also a very competitive, extremely service-oriented business and less likely to be scaled up through franchising.

Want to Save Time in your Business Launch?

  • How to Create a Business Plan
  • What is Market Research, USP, Niche & Positioning
  • How to find a suitable name for your business
  • How to create your brand image (Logo + Branding)
  • How to Register Your Business
  • How to Register for Taxes
  • How to get Licenses / Permits
  • How to Open a Business Bank Account
  • How to Get Business Insurance
  • Which Payment Processing Terminal (POS) to buy
  • How to get Funds for your Business
  • How to do Sales & Marketing – Offline & Online
  • Why have a Website / Blog / Social Media
  • How to build & train your Dream Team
  • How to provide Excellent Customer Service
  • Buying an Old Business Vs Franchisee Vs Own Brand from Scratch

Handpicked inspirational Youtube videos for you

Why Are Brands Choosing To Work With Influencers? | The Business of Influence | Forbes – YT Channel ‘Forbes’ 

Digital marketing and e-commerce strategy | Google Digital Marketing & E-commerce Certificate – YT Channel ‘Google Career Certificates’


A. Yes, starting a digital marketing company does not require heavy capital investment neither does it require any specific qualification (degree). You can start your digital marketing business irrespective of your qualification but you will surely need digital marketing knowledge/skills and experience to jump into the industry. 

A. Setting up a digital marketing agency does not require much capital investment, many companies now opt for home office business model with remote teams to save overhead prices. All you will need to invest into will be some digital marketing tools and websites as per your business requirement. So cost is not going to be a problem if you are planning to start your own digital marketing firm.  

A. You can follow these below mentioned steps to start your own digital marketing firm –

  • Create your own website
  • Choose a digital marketing channel to focus on
  • Learn more about your chosen digital marketing channel
  • Execute on what you’re learning
  • Familiarize yourself with free digital marketing tools
  • Build your portfolio
  • Register your business
  • Specify and Price your services
  • Showcase your experience and achievement
  • Get clients for your business
  • Build your customer testimonial
  • Hire new people
  • Build your team

A. If you have big business size, you can easily hire experts and build your digital marketing team but if you’re just starting out now with no experience and money, it is important to have all the in- demand skills.

In the early stages of your business, this is actually a crucial success factor. You need to minimize dependency on outer sources to minimize your costs.

A. Search engine optimization (SEO) involves making changes to the website and its content in order to make it more searchable and improve its ranking in search results.

The goal of SEO is to increase the visibility and drive more organic traffic to the site in the search engines. 

A. There are many mistakes that digital marketers can make, but some common ones include:

  • Not having a clear marketing strategy
  • Failing to track and analyze data
  • Not being mobile-friendly
  • Ignoring the customer journey
  • Not adapting to changes in the industry 
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