In the age of digital marketing, setting up a digital agency is relatively simple. The challenge? Making it profitable.

Which doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The key is in understanding your clients’ priorities and changing demands. With some agile thinking, a little pre-planning, and a lot of learning, you can turn your digital marketing agency into a successful business.

1. Make it easy for your clients to engage

As with all businesses, you need to be sure you're offering what your customers want. Make your onboarding process simple, and show them that you have what it is they're looking for. You can also be open to asking them what they want. Get your customers to engage with you and you'll find they'll be more invested in helping you succeed.

2. Have a great website

Massimo Bottura says you should never trust a skinny Italian chef. For the same reason, you’ll find that if you’re offering to take control of your customer’s websites, you need to make sure your website is up to scratch. Make sure you’re showing off your skills of SEO and attracting sales. Your website is your calling card!

3. Don’t be stingy with tools & technology

It’s important to note: expensive tools are not necessarily the best tools, but the best tools may be more expensive than others. You want to make sure you have the right technology to do your business, and that you have the tools to monitor your data.

4. Treat your employees well

In the world of startups of any kind, your most valuable investment is in your team. Invest in entry-level people who have the drive to learn. In general, don’t be swayed by people who want large amounts of money - if they fit in your team, great! If not, you may find it makes more sense to get people you want to train. This also allows you to provide next level service, as you can train your team to fill gaps in the market that you’ve found.

5. Balance budget with service

Make sure you have a project risk analysis at the beginning, as you’ll find that when you’re running a small profit margin, it’s important to keep the balance between the project and budget. This kind of analysis helps to reduce the risk of overworking your employees and creates a supportive environment. The risk analysis will also let you know when it’s time to step in and talk to your client about the project scope.

6. Offer strategy services

Before you take on a client, offer your potential clients a strategic plan - but not for free! This allows you to set out the potential scope for your clients, as well as allowing you to prove your value. It means that before they take you on for any project work, there’s a clear and realistic understanding of what can be delivered on.

7. KPIs

Set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with your clients. This makes it possible to show clients exactly where your value has been to their company, and the impact you have made. Internal KPIs allow you to more accurately calculate the prices for your services based on the impact you’re having.

8. Stand your ground

It can be tempting to say yes to everything, especially when you're first starting out. But not all business is going to be good business, and it's important to learn when to say no. Wasting time on new clients that don't fit your company ethics, is difficult and demanding, or who don't listen to what you say are a no-no. Instead, focus on improving your relationships with existing clients.