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Starting a Digital Marketing Agency in 2018?

Sometimes I get an email from someone that bought my agency blueprint a year ago, or even longer. One of the questions they have, is “is it really still a good time to start an agency”?

I guess the question could also be translated to business in general.

People are always wondering when the perfect time is to start a digital marketing agency, or any business for that matter.

So we’re going to dive into this.

In this post you’ll learn:

  • The benefits of getting into this industry
  • Why it’s basically a recession proof business
  • How to view your competition
  • Why it’s easier than ever to start
  • and more!

Maybe you’ve already been established in this industry but have been questioning how your business will be next year, or the year after. Or, maybe you’ve been on the fence about getting started because you think the competition is too high.

Yes, This Type of Business IS Recession-proof

When I really got started in this business, it was 2008-2009 when we were in the heart of the recession. I had struggles, and people kept telling me that it’s because of the recession, businesses aren’t spending money on web design or SEO. That I picked the wrong time to get into the industry.

Obviously that wasn’t true.

The problem for me wasn’t the recession, the problem was that I didn’t know what I was doing. There wasn’t nearly the amount of information available like there is today.

I didn’t have a good marketing strategy.

I didn’t have a marketing strategy that didn’t depend on full time cold calling or craigslist posting.

The fact is, businesses were still spending money. People were buying web design services or redesigns on a daily basis. They just weren’t buying from me. 

With my pretty crappy marketing, I saw a bit of success. That was an eye opener for me, to be able to realize that with a better marketing plan, I would have better results.

This was a time where jobs in the US, from January 2008 to December of 2009, vanished. Almost 9 million jobs were lost, and theoretically, those naysayers that said I wouldn’t make it in this recession, had logic behind their statements.

But here’s the reality…

In a recession, consumers still consume. Businesses still need to get customers or else they’re not going to be in business anymore. Job or no job, if their furnace stops working in winter, they’re going to need it fixed. That business, needs to compete for that customer.

Smart businesses know that in bad economic conditions, they need to spend more than they usually would.

Recessions actually drive the competition between businesses to a higher level. For someone in the web design, SEO, or digital marketing space, that’s an excellent thing.

It’s not just my opinion or my experience, even Forbes said that creative industries like web design and graphic design, fair much better in a recession.

Of course, that’s if you properly position yourself which could be an entire post on its own.

But Isn’t There a TON of Competition?

Got me. Yes, there’s a lot of competition overall but not a lot of “true competition”. True competition drives prices down, they’re aggressively competing for customers, and as long as you aren’t treating this business like a retailer would, you get to avoid “true competition”.

Just because someone is in the same industry, doesn’t mean they are actually one of your competitors.

Yes there are people offering the same services for just a fraction of what you would.

Yes, there are major companies wanting these clients, like web.com / Yodle, GoDaddy, Wix, etc.

Yes, there are even local competitors going after the same local market that you would.

But Competition Can Help You

Having competitors can be a good thing. It proves that the industry is doing well, it gives you an idea of how to position yourself to set yourself apart from the competition.

Best of all, especially when it comes to local competitors or niche competitors, they usually include a footer link on the bottom of their client sites. A simple google search “Designed by: xyz company name” will give you a list of their clients.

Your competitors are basically providing you a list of proven buyers.

Having conversations with clients of one of your competitors, can give you information on how you can sell to them. How you can differentiate, and the different things you can do to give yourself an advantage in sales.

Everyone has a family member or a friend that can build websites, do social media, and probably have someone that thinks they can do SEO too.

Big Companies Provide 3rd Party Validation

When I started, SEO wasn’t very well known. Nobody was really referring to themselves as digital marketing consultants. In fact, SEO wasn’t a household term among business owners.

Now, all that has changed.

Even 5 year old kids have tablets, families having sit down dinners at restaurants have their eyes glued to the phone.

10 years ago, nobody really knew what SEO was.

10 years ago, having a website wasn’t a prerequisite of having a business.

Now, everyone that runs a business gets 10 cold calls a day, mixed with a few robo calls about claiming your free google listing, and countless emails offering SEO, web design, and other digital marketing services.

Is that a bad thing?

No, I don’t think so, in fact, I see it as an encouraging sign.

What you do in this industry, is no longer a mystery, and you can benefit from the marketing efforts of everyone else, from small time freelancers, to big companies with huge marketing budgets.

Web.com, GoDaddy, etc. have commercials on TV…. their customers usually aren’t that happy with the results, and as long as you know how to appeal to them, it’s relatively easy to get them to switch, and trust you as a provider.

The countless emails and cold calls, most people aren’t implementing a real strategy, they’re one time emails. Everyone that has purchased Ice Cold Email Gold already knows how to implement a strong email marketing strategy and will get better results long term.

The competition, is doing work for you.

With a strong marketing strategy, and a dedicated follow up process, you will see growth in your agency. It’s that simple!

Why It’s Easier to Start NOW Than ANY Time in the Past!

Some of you that have been thinking about getting into this industry, and maybe some of you that are kind of in it but just have one foot in, afraid to put the other one in… might be thinking, have I missed my chance?

Fortunately for you, it’s not like bitcoin, you didn’t miss your opportunity yet.

The industry is alive and well.

For web design, SEO, digital marketing of all sorts, inbound marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, “whatever type of” marketing, there is a need and will continue to be a need.

Now, more than ever, businesses understand the power of the internet.

The majority of businesses aren’t like John over here, who responded to an email of mine a while ago saying:

I have no interest in this rate race on the internet. It’s all a giant scam. Teenagers that use Google aren’t my target market and I would be foolish to care about anything you have to say.

Obviously, John is an idiot. And yes, this was a REAL response to a marketing email of mine years ago. It’s been a while since I even checked in on John, but I would bet that business isn’t going too well for him anymore.

Businesses are spending more money on having their website redesigned now than ever before. More marketing dollars are spent on SEO than ever before. Pay per click advertising is having record years, year after year.

These trends will continue.

Why it’s actually EASIER to Start Now

Back when I got into this industry… holy cow… I made a ton of mistakes.

I knew nothing about project management, marketing, didn’t know that much about SEO, was terrible at making hiring decisions, outsourcing, knowing what to delegate and what to focus on.

It was hard to form a company because there wasn’t a lot of publicly available information.

There weren’t a lot of tutorials available, there wasn’t content freely shared everywhere that you can research and use as a guideline to make educated decisions.

Now… you have 1000s of platforms you can use for project management. Many of them free, some have paid plans. Some you can install on your server, others are stand alone.

Now you have more CRM choices available than just an overpriced Salesforce platform.

You have countless blog posts, sharing information on pretty much everything from SEO, to sales, to hiring and management, organization and decluttering your life, sales training videos, video tutorials on pretty much everything imaginable.

The best part is, you have a TON of options for marketing.

Cold email is a mysterious tactic, and while I am the only person on the entire internet to put a detailed guide on everything start to finish, for the most effective way possible (I may be biased) … there’s starting to be more, freely shared content on the topic.

Adwords was a mystery, but then as more content was shared, people figured it out. A total newbie can be proficient in adwords, content marketing, and other forms of marketing with a few hours of research and testing things out for themselves.

There’s guides for taxes, forming a business, what insurance to choice, best ways to invest your money, etc.

There’s digital contracts available, invoicing systems that act electronically.

I can go on and on.

The point here is that you have so many tools available to you right now, that if you compare yourself right now, in 2018 to me back in 2009… you have such a distinct advantage.

I wasted time, money, effort, on a lot of things that if I started today, wouldn’t have been an issue. Imagine spending 100 hours trying to figure out piss poor CRMs. Yeah, you guys definitely have an advantage.

However, you only have an advantage as long as you start now… no more waiting, just jump in and get started.

Looking for a detailed, start to finish guide on running an agency? The Ultimate Agency Blueprint is for you! Once you purchase, you can take part in the mastermind group, filled with people like you, but at different stages in their journey. Some have been at this for years, others are in the beginning stages. It’s a great place to network and learn from others. 

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