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How to Start and Grow a Digital Marketing Agency

Updated: Nov 12, 2023

One of my all-time favorite strategies for taking action towards starting your own business is "learning a digital marketing skill." The reason I love this strategy so much is because it can open up so many different opportunities. I recently connected with Brien Gearin, who shared how learning a digital marketing skill led him to start his digital marketing agency, Richochet Marketing. In this article, Brien shares the process he went through to grow Richochet Marketing and the 5 Steps you can take to start and grow a digital marketing agency of your own! Let’s dive in!

Open Your Mind and Set Realistic Expectations

“You have to open your mind and change your mindset to ‘I'm dedicated to finding a way to do X, Y, Z, whatever this is, start this business, start this marketing agency.’”
  • Changing your mindset: There is a massive importance to shifting your mindset from doubt to dedication when pursuing your goals, whether it's starting a business or a marketing agency.

  • Navigating negativity: Watch out for overwhelming negativity that can discourage you. Always focus on the positives and gradual progress of incremental improvements.

  • Thinking realistically: Know the value of starting small and steadily growing in your journey to success and have a balanced approach to achieving your aspirations. Big change doesn’t happen overnight.

Learn a Marketable Skill

achieving success in digital marketing, or any field, begins with acquiring a valuable skill. This skill becomes the foundation upon which your career and business is built. Let's break down Brien's approach:

  • Choosing a specific skill: In the vast world of digital marketing, there are many specialized areas like Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and website development. Brien suggests that newcomers should initially focus on mastering a single specific skill.

  • Avoid trying to master everything: Brien warns against trying to be an expert in every aspect of digital marketing. The industry evolves rapidly, making it challenging to keep up with every detail. Instead, he recommends collaborating with experts who specialize in specific areas, as they often yield better results.

“You'll never get there without taking that single first step… which is go acquire that skill.”

So, how do you go about achieving this? Brien shares his own journey as an example of how to acquire a marketable skill:

  1. Starting with research: His quest began with online research. He Googled until he could Google no more. He watched YouTube videos until his eyes about fell out of his head. The growing significance of digital marketing was apparent, and he felt compelled to dig deeper.

  2. Enrolling in online courses: He found a few different online courses and coaching communities that provided comprehensive digital marketing instruction. This allowed him to learn through observation, hands-on practice, and direct instruction/feedback.

  3. Mastering the basics: The first course he opted for was one that covered the fundamental aspects of digital marketing, including advertising and search engine optimization (SEO). This foundational knowledge set the stage for his future success.

  4. Begin to connect with other agency owners who are where you want to be: Or even just one step ahead of you! Nothing replaces real-life experience and learning from those who have been where you are and know how to get to the next level.

Find a Mentor

As you develop a skill, the next best thing you can do is find a mentor or a coaching community to help you refine, develop, and expand upon this skill. A great example is the Facebook advertising course Brien found his way into taught by Mike Yanda and Bobby Hoyt. The knowledge shared through this course, the "Facebook Side Hustle Course," remains a treasure trove for those interested in digital advertising.

“Find who you're comfortable with, study up on them. Don't just go out and buy a million different courses… Really do your homework and make sure these people are for real.”

Choosing the Right Mentor:

Place emphasis on picking mentors specialized in your chosen marketing field. Avoid hoarding too many courses and take time to research potential mentors to ensure their expertise is genuine. Be cautious in the online course space, as there are some untrustworthy sources.

Learning from Guided Mentorship:

Mentors offer important advice and experience that can help you grow faster but also show you how to avoid pitfalls that can slow you down. By choosing mentors skilled in your type of marketing, you can learn more and use their expertise.

Mentorship and Getting Experience:

Hands-on experience is just as important as mentorship. Connect with mentors, especially those offering coaching in their courses. Think about working in the industry, whether it's with a company or in an entry-level media role (or better yet, snag your first client!). Gaining experience any way you can is key.

Taking Your Digital Marketing Business to the Next Level

Once you've mastered your skills, it's time to take your digital marketing venture to the next level. This stage involves expanding and turning your newfound expertise into a successful business. Brien provides essential steps to guide your progress, helping you transform your passion and knowledge into a thriving digital marketing business.

Finding Clients and Networking

Connecting with other business owners and effective networking play a crucial role in getting your agency off the ground. Having skills alone isn’t sufficient; reaching out to businesses in need of your services is how you start building from the ground up. Here's how Brien tackled the challenge of finding clients and creating meaningful connections through networking:

“Check your inner circle… There's likely someone within your family or friend's circle who either owns a business or knows a friend or family member with a business who would be willing to help you out.”
  1. Building experience: Begin by providing your services to friends or acquaintances who own a business, just as Brien did by running Facebook Ads for a college friend of his who ran a real estate business. If your immediate circle doesn’t include a business owner, ask those who are in your circle if they know anyone in their circle who owns a business. This helps you gain practical experience and boosts your confidence.

  2. Networking: To expand your client base, actively participate in networking events. These can include local chambers of commerce, BNI groups (or similar), or online platforms. Build your connections with other people in, or adjacent to, marketing. Once you’re a trusted friend, they can refer you work in your genius zone that they can’t or don’t want to fulfill.

  3. LinkedIn strategy: Utilize LinkedIn's Sales Navigator to connect with prospects in your niche. Craft tailored messages and follow up effectively to create meaningful connections.

  4. Facebook Groups for Niche Markets: If you're targeting specific niches, engage in relevant Facebook groups. Focus on providing value and expertise rather than aggressive selling to gradually attract potential clients.

It is important to use a variety of methods to get new clients. You can build a strong client base and be successful in digital marketing by reaching out to people consistently, both in person and online, and by building meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships with other business owners.

Cold Emailing

Cold emailing can be tough and overwhelming. To make your cold emails work, you need catchy subject lines and hooks to grab attention. But don't overdo it because many people ignore cold emails due to their frequency. This is not his favorite method by far, but when done well, it can work.

“Be very personable in these emails. Be very genuine.”

Here are some strategies for better cold emailing:

  1. Research and find niches that match your skills.

  2. Start small by targeting local businesses.

  3. Be a customer of the businesses you contact, if possible.

  4. Show appreciation for their business in your email.

  5. Avoid hard-selling and ask questions that encourage replies.

  6. Be friendly, real, and polite in your emails.

  7. Be resourceful in finding emails, even if it means some online detective work.

  8. Remember that while cold emailing can work, it's not for everyone, and it's easy to annoy people with it.

Cold emailing is a valuable tool in the digital marketer's arsenal, but it requires finesse and thoughtful execution. By staying persistent, being genuine, and showing a sincere interest in your prospects' success, you can transform cold outreach into meaningful connections and potential clients.

Brien's Pro Tips

“If there's one piece of advice that I'd give, it is every single day, set your goal, determine what you're going to do.”

As we wrap up, Brien leaves us with some valuable words of wisdom. Whether you're just starting in digital marketing or deeply entrenched in it, these nuggets of advice can serve as guiding principles:

  • Take daily action: Take at least one step towards your bigger goal every single day, no matter how small that one step may be. Even if it’s writing one post or watching just 5 minutes of a training video, no action is too small. Similar to compound interest, consistent effort builds up over time.

  • Embrace lifelong learning: The more knowledge and expertise you gain, the more valuable you become. Digital marketing evolves constantly, so staying informed is crucial for staying relevant.

  • Persistence pays off: Brien acknowledges that he is still learning as he grows his businesses. Success comes from continuous growth and adaptability.

  • Enjoy the journey: Passion and enthusiasm are crucial motivators. Brien's journey from beginner to agency owner has been long, but his love for what he does keeps him going.

Brien is an example of how ANYBODY can commit to learning a technical skill in marketing and turn it into an entrepreneurial endeavor that makes you great money and affords you certain freedoms that most people don’t have. His advice is clear: never stop learning, and you might uncover new chances for even more success in the always-changing digital marketing field. To get in touch with Brien or learn more about his expertise, visit Ricochet Digital Marketing.

…Class Dismissed!

Remember, your path in digital marketing is unique, and while it may have its challenges, it's also filled with incredible opportunities. Keep learning, keep progressing, and you might discover that the world of digital marketing offers limitless potential, just as it did for Brien. Your journey is just beginning, and who knows what remarkable adventures lie ahead in this ever-evolving landscape.

What Are You Waiting For?

Your journey to success begins now! Take action today and kickstart your journey with our FREE BUSINESS COURSE. And if you're ready for more amazing podcast content, check out Episode 20: Millionaire Mentor Bill Allen Shares What It Takes to Be Successful in Business and Life.


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