Digital Marketing

How to set up a Digital Marketing Agency

Do you want to be an entrepreneur in the agency market and don’t know where to start? In this article we show you the first steps, check it out

Would you answer “YES” to the descriptions below?

1 – Entrepreneurship is at its core?

2 – Are you creative?

3 – Do you like Marketing, Sales, team and project management?

4 – Are you the “go scared” type, who likes to take risks?

5 – Do you know your ability (you have self-esteem and confidence), and despite what others may say, do you trust that it will work or that it is at least worth a try?

If the answers were positive, then you are the ideal profile to open your own Digital Marketing agency!

But how to set up your Digital Marketing agency? Where to start? Blue World City will try to elucidate these issues in this article.

Business Plan in the “what if…?” model

There is no magic formula for avoiding mistakes, but there is a way to reduce them: planning. You need to know which is the most positive possible scenario, the worst scenario and all in-betweens; and knowing how to act in front of each one.

On Natalie Frito’s TEDx , an expert on interviews with startup CEOs, she commented that she didn’t assess the profile of the great achievements of the past or the plans for the future. She based her assessment on the CEO’s chances of succeeding or not in a new business by asking “what if…?” 

We really like this approach as we believe that for you to be successful in owning a Digital Marketing agency (just like any other new business), you must be prepared for ALL “what if” scenarios. See below some examples for you to reflect:

Pessimistic scenario

What if you run out of regular customers for a year? Would it have the cash flow to support both the agency and its living costs? If yes, for how long? Could you deal with internal pressure, expectations, and comments from friends and family indicating to give up?

Conservative Scenario

What if you managed, between fixed clients and projects, just enough to keep the agency’s costs, without profit? Would you have investments today that help you pay the bills to be able to focus on business development?

Bold scenario

What if you got more customers than you can handle on your own? Do you have a good network of professionals in the field of Digital Marketing and would you be able to quickly hire permanent employees or freelancers to meet the demands of your clients?

In Natalie’s work, the valuation model does not focus solely on past historical achievements or current success. The priority is to assess whether a person has a successful profile in their new business, determined by their adaptability.

We can be natural leaders, good at project delivery, excellent in customer relationships and have incredible networking. But what if today you woke up and found that 50% of your customers went to your competitor? Or that 50% of your employees quit?

The best entrepreneurs, according to the TED interviewer’s observations, had a quick response that made sense in the face of the possibilities of catastrophes happening. And, most importantly, they still held to their faith that everything would work out and had a plan of action on the tip of their tongues.

In short, good entrepreneurs think fast, act cautiously and strategically thinking about the short, medium and long term.

How to set up a Digital Marketing Agency: First steps

Ok, so let’s assume that you have the profile mentioned above and are VERY willing to open your own agency, with enough knowledge to ensure delivery of results for your future clients.

Let’s go to a practical step by step how to open your agency?

Define your agency’s positioning

Recognizing an identity and positioning yourself is more difficult than many entrepreneurs believe, but it is the starting point for unfolding your agency’s business model.

Therefore, we leave some provocations for you:

  1. Stop and reflect for a moment: which words represent your business (content, design, strategy, results?)
  2. How do these words connect to deliver your agency’s value proposition?
  3. If they stopped you on the street right now and asked, “In one sentence, what is your agency about?” what would you say?
  4. In at least 2 years, how do you see your business?

Putting together the answers to the questions above, we can see at least two paths: either we open even more questions about your business model, or you can better see the core of your agency and where it is (or should be) positioned.

Undoubtedly, there is much more to think about and plan for now, but the first step in keeping your agency on the rise has already been taken.

What does a Digital Marketing Agency do?

First of all, you need to know what your agency does and what your competitors do. Good sellers (yes, because you will be your agency’s top seller) know what they’re selling!

Below we show the top rankings of marketing agencies today. See which one best fits your profile:

  • Full-service agency: It is one that meets ALL your client’s Digital Marketing demands, whether through internal employees, freelancers or even partnerships with other agencies. The important thing here is that the client has a single point of contact (or focal point in your agency) to meet all your demands.
  • Expert Agency: In this case, you become known for doing just one, or a few, parts of a Digital Marketing project, and you become extremely good (or highly expert) in that part(s).

Whichever model you adopt, you can have different project types:

  • Punctual Projects have a beginning, middle and end, such as building a website. These projects may be more expensive, but they do not provide long-term revenue predictability;
  • Long-Term Projects: assumes the payment of monthly fees. This type of project ensures more predictability for the business. Some examples are social media management, Inbound Marketing, website maintenance, content production and publishing.

Do you know what customers are looking for when choosing a digital marketing agency? Always be aware of market needs! Use this as a guide to establishing your agency’s positioning.

Whichever model you choose, be your own success story. As a new agency in the market, you won’t have many client cases yet, so it’s important to follow the maxim: “blacksmith’s house, ninja sword in the window”! No stick skewers with your own business, okay?

And of course, deliver relevant results to your customers, so that they stay with you, after all, recurrence and referral are great sources to ensure profitability and predictability.

How to legalize a Digital Marketing Agency?

The procedure here is quite simple. It’s like opening any other type of business in Brazil, as you will need the following items:

1) A CNPJ to issue invoices to its clients and justify their income;

2) A Legal Entity account in the bank of your choice;

3) Choose the company/tax model your company will fit into. There are several business models in Brazil:

  • Limited Business Company (Ltda.)
  • Individual Limited Liability Company (Eireli)
  • Simple Society (SS)
  • Corporation (SA)
  • Microenterprise (ME)
  • Small Business (EPP)

The simplest, most common and fastest option for those who want to start a company is the ME option.

Individual Micro Entrepreneur (MEI)

This is the option with less bureaucracy and can be carried out entirely electronically. As an MEI you can earn up to R$ 81,000.00 per year, paying a low tax amount.

Other facilities are:

  • Being able to hire an employee
  • Get credit to expand the business
  • Selling by Credit Card (Machine)
  • Be entitled to Social Security Benefits

Ah, but it is worth noting that you cannot be MEI if you are already the owner, partner or administrator of any other company. In this case, you can only be an MEI if your specialization is to work with specific event projects, and register as an Events Promoter with CNAE 8230-0/01 – dedicated to Fair, Congress, Exhibition and Party Organization Services, and partnering with Full-Service agencies for the Execution of Digital Marketing Services in these events that have CNPJ suitable for a digital marketing agency.

Microenterprise (ME)

If you follow this path, you will need an accountant to help you, but the process is usually simple and quick. ME is recommended if you intend to have more than one employee or to earn between R$ 81,000.00 and up to R$ 360,000.00 per year.

How to choose which is the best option for me to open my Digital Marketing agency?

The first step is to hire an accountant. He will define with you which tax option is best based on what you need. After this definition, you will need to obtain a CNPJ Open the company and obtain a CNPJ and create a bank account of Legal Entity

Register your brand

When creating a Digital Marketing agency, you will certainly have your brand: name, logo, colours, font, etc. In order for your brand to be yours, you need to register it. Remember that legally opening a business is not the same thing as registering a trademark.

There are three main reasons for you to legally protect your brand:

1. Security

Talking about security may not even be something “cool” and “hipster” as talking about innovation and creativity, but it is essential for companies, especially when a project stops being a project and starts to become a business.

In a simple example, imagine a small error in a logo – it barely appears when printed on a business card. Now, imagine if you made a billboard with this logo. The error will likely stay wide open for all to see.

It’s the same thing in the legal area. The first point, when thinking about security, is that when registering your brand you are sure that you will be able to use it in your entire Inbound Marketing strategy.

For this it is necessary to do previous research first, and this includes checking if the name is available at the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) if there are no similar or the same names in similar services/products and even if the phonetics is not the same or similar to a competitor. Generally speaking, it’s not just about seeing if the name is available, it’s much more than that.

So don’t try to be smart. The trademark “Dorito” is available, but you will definitely not be able to register the trademark to use in a snack.

In summary, before creating a brand, do the research and register it, as simple as that. The reason is just as simple. Count the time and money (yours and the client’s) to create a logo, website, inbound strategy, etc. Now imagine that after all that, at the end of the process, you discover that the trademark cannot be registered (let alone used). All that time and money was wasted. And you could have avoided all that with a survey.

That’s why I speak of security. By registering your brand, you have the assurance that you can invest in it and position it in the market without fear of losing it.

2. The brand is a property

This is a point that must always be said. A trademark is an immaterial property, but it is still a property (in legal jargon it is an “intangible asset”). Therefore, if it is a property, it can be sold, sold, given away – the possibilities are diverse. Now how are you going to sell something that you can’t prove it’s yours?

When you register your trademark, you receive the Registration Certificate for the respective trademark, which is a document that proves that you are the owner of the trademark. This makes the sales process much simpler, gives security to the buyer (and seller) and allows you to earn money from this asset.

When you buy a car (or a property), don’t you worry about having all the right documentation? So here the same reasoning holds.

You probably believe this is only true for big companies like Apple, for example, which, in a Forbes survey, was valued at $154.1 billion. But that’s not true – this is also true for small businesses.

There is a very interesting case, between Subway and a bar called Subway Bar and Restaurant. You must have already noticed the confusion, right? Well, what happened is that the bar had first registered the Subway brand with the INPI, and this made the registration of Doctor’s Associates Inc., holder of the Subway brand in the United States, unfeasible. What happened was a long (and expensive) court case in which, in the end, the owners of Subway Bar and Restaurant became rich men.

Obviously, this kind of coincidence is quite rare, and it’s not something that happens every day. But the main point is to emphasize that a brand is a very important asset for a company, and about that you may already know a lot more than I do. Not to mention that even a small company should seek to create a well-positioned brand in the market, which attracts its customers and inspires confidence, and to do this it needs to be sure (and I’m back to the first point here).

3. The brand is your startup

Issues related to the brand and the entire universe of intellectual property (patents, inventions, copyrights, etc.) are a very important point for a startup. However, I will now only talk about the brand issue so as not to present excessive information – this subject is for the next post.

A point that we must understand, and accept, is that an investor always takes risks when investing in a company (whether it is a startup or not) and that there is an account that is made by the investor, which is basically the following:  Risk x Potential profit. Generally speaking, the greater the risk, the greater the potential profit to motivate the investor.

Trademark registration, and a whole other universe of legal issues, serves precisely to reduce risk. During a negotiation, the investor accepts certain risks, which are typical of any business, but others he does not accept. And what types of unacceptable risks are?

Avoidable ones. And in this category fall a good part of legal risks, a typical example of brand risk is the example of Subway, which is something that inevitably alienates investors.

Obviously, the trademark registration will not solve all the legal problems for your agency and your clients, but it is one less problem, a point of uncertainty that is resolved before it becomes a problem.

In conclusion: Next steps to set up a Digital Marketing agency

OK! You have the profile of an entrepreneur, you have decided which type of agency you will be (full-service or specialist), you have chosen the type of project that will be your focus (one-off or long-term) and have already defined which business model is best suited for your marketing agency! And now?

First, you need to stick to the team definitions. Will you be acting alone or with a team? Even if you initially operate alone, it’s good to know who to hire, where and when, so you don’t risk being unable to deliver a project. Therefore, be sure to know about organizational chart templates for agencies.

When starting a business, you will also have to deal with sales. It is common for the owner of the agency to also be the seller, but it is always good to think about having a professional dedicated to this function. A tip here is to hire a seller with a lower fixed salary but with aggressive commissioning. For those starting out, this can help leverage business opportunities. Learn more about seller compensation models. And, of course, be sure to establish a good business process.

Another important activity you will have to invest in is pricing. It is important that you establish values ​​that are consistent with the projects you deliver. In this kit, we teach you everything you need to know to do this.

Finally, our tips are: make strategic partnerships and participate in events in your market. These are great ways to connect with entrepreneurs on the same journey as you, network and build win-win relationships.

The path of entrepreneurship is not an easy one, but it can be extremely fruitful. Good luck and be persistent!