Benefits of starting an internet marketing company
When you start an internet marketing business, you’ll work directly with clients to establish their marketing goals and develop strategies to implement them. You’ll create plans to help the company promote its products or services, while building brand awareness. Common benefits of starting your own internet marketing company include:
- Increased demand of internet marketing services: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for advertising, promotions and marketing managers should increase by 6% over the next 10 years. As technology advances and more people use the internet as their primary source to find information, more companies will need assistance in optimizing their content to fit different formats and reach a wider audience.
- Little equipment or office space is needed to start: A computer with internet access is the main piece of equipment you need when starting your company, so you won’t have to pay for extra equipment or tools when you start out. You could work from home, then expand your business further to an office space once you save money, gain more clients and hire additional employees.
- All work can be completed virtually: A majority of your tasks can be finished using marketing software systems, email platforms and various media outlets. This allows you to work on projects on your laptop from home or any remote location.
- You control your own schedule: Owning your own company often allows you to build a work routine that works best with your productivity schedule, as long as you’re still completing projects by their deadlines and holding meetings with clients when it’s most convenient for them.
Estimate of how much is needed to start an internet marketing company
The amount you’ll need to start your internet marketing company depends on how many employees you hire, office space you rent out and the permits and licenses you’re required to obtain in your city or state. If you’re starting a small business from home, your costs will start at around $2,000 to $5,000. When you transition to an office location, expect your fees to increase drastically as your budget must cover office rental space expenses. Expenses you’ll cover when starting an internet marketing company include:
- Team members: Depending on your current skill set, the services you offer and how many clients you have, you’ll eventually need to hire employees to keep up with the increasing workload. Consider costs like wages, health insurance and extra benefits to provide your team members.
- Marketing platforms and tools: Certain software tools are required to effectively manage your clients’ marketing campaigns and track their performance metrics. You may also need to budget for a business communication platform to regularly stay in touch with clients. These software services usually charge monthly fees.
- Permits, insurance and licenses: To legally operate as an official business, you must pay certain fees that vary depending on your company’s location, size and type of services offered.
- Advertising and marketing costs: Starting a business requires spending a large portion of your budget and time promoting your company to potential customers and paying for advertising costs to reach a wider audience.
- Office rental space and equipment fees: If you start out in an office or eventually move to one, you’ll need to budget for rental space and equipment, like desks, chairs, copiers, office supplies and furniture items to fill your lobby area.
How to register your internet marketing business
You must first officially register your small business before it’s considered a legitimate organization by building your business plan, choosing a business structure and retrieving the necessary permits. These steps will help you properly register your internet marketing business:
1. Research industry demands and define your niche
Before you operate as an internet marketing business, establish your niche and the services you’ll offer. Consider your interests, experience and current skill set you can provide to clients. If you have extensive experience in a specific industry, consider specializing in providing marketing services to companies within that industry. For instance, if you hold experience building fundraising strategies for nonprofits, consider starting a business that focuses solely on marketing efforts for nonprofit organizations.
When you know which services you’d like to provide, conduct research to determine if those skills are in demand for your desired industry. This also helps you better understand the audience in need of those skills and how to market your material to them. Your internet marketing business can provide a wide range of general digital marketing services, or you can stick to one or two and offer more as your business grows. Common specialties and services your internet marketing company can offer include:
- Copywriting and content marketing
- Email marketing
- Search engine optimization
- Pay-per-click advertising
- Social media marketing
- Graphic design creation
- Website design and content creation
2. Build your business plan
Draft a business plan that states the status and details of your business starting out, where you plan to go and what’s needed to get there. Your business plan is typically viewed by potential investors, executives, suppliers and lenders, so make sure it’s clear, relevant and free of grammatical errors. Here’s what an effective business plan must include:
- A summary of your business
- A description of your service and how it benefits your customers
- Your current budget and the funds you need to be successful
- Your income projection for the upcoming years of operation
- Your strategies for success
3. Name your company
Your business name represents your company and its services. It should be relevant to the products and services you offer and appeal to your target market. After narrowing down potential names, check the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s website to learn which of these businesses’ names are available to use. Research competitors and other companies in your industry to ensure your desired business name isn’t too similar to theirs to avoid potential confusion and trademark issues.
4. Determine your business structure
Defining your official business structure establishes how much you’ll pay for taxes and the paperwork you’ll file. Your state will have specific regulations for building business structures, so research these rules before deciding. Luckily, the state does allow you to switch to a new business structure later on as your organization grows. The two main structures for small businesses include:
- Limited liability company: This structure is popular among most small businesses and allows you to separate your business and personal assets from each other, which protects your house, car or other personal investments in case your business experiences an unexpected financial setback. You’ll be expected to pay self-employment taxes when you own a limited liability company.
- Sole proprietorship: With this structure, your personal business assets aren’t separated, so any financial declines you experience could affect your personal investments. Most people who start a low-risk business and act as the sole employee at the start of their company usually pursue a sole proprietorship structure. As you gain more employees, partners and customers, research other structures well suited for larger businesses.
5. Get your permits, licenses and insurance
Depending on where you plan to operate your business, you’ll need to gain the necessary licenses and permits. To get a home business license, visit your city or county’s government website to find their guidelines and possibly a registration form. Most business license fees range from around $50 to a few hundred dollars, depending on your business’ information.
The main type of insurance you’ll need is general liability insurance. This protects you from any legal repercussions that may occur if someone is hurt on your property. If you rent office space, consider getting a business owners insurance policy that covers liability, your business’ belongings and your businesses’ earnings if you face a financial loss.
The permits you need often depend on where your business is operating and your zoning regulations. Operating in an office space usually requires more permits than if you ran your business from home. Common required permits you may need to obtain include:
- Fire department permit
- Permit to hang certain sizes of signage
- County permit
- Sales tax license
- Health department permit
- Federal license
- Zoning waiver or permit
- Occupational license
How to hire employees
When you’re ready to grow your business and add team members, search for quality candidates who have the skill set your organization needs to thrive. These steps will help you hire effective employees for your internet marketing business:
1. Establish your employee hiring budget
Deciding the type of employee to hire often depends on your company’s budget and how many tasks you have available for new employees to complete. Consider your business’ needs and the cost of onboarding certain employees. Common employment options to pursue are:
- Intern: If you have smaller, clerical tasks available, consider hiring an intern to work a few hours a week completing your day-to-day simple tasks.
- Freelancer: This is often a self-employed individual who completes short-term projects for you as needed. They’re typically either paid per hour or per completed project.
- Contract: These employees sign short-term contracts to work on certain projects for your business. They can work anywhere from a few months to a year or until they’ve successfully finished the project.
- Full-time: You’ll hire these employees to work a full 40 hours each week. They’ll receive benefits and perks from your company, like paid time off and health insurance.
2. Build your job description
When creating your job description, think about the skills and expertise your company still needs to provide valuable internet marketing services to clients. Analyze the skills and resources you currently provide clients and what’s still needed to offer a well-rounded and competitive serve. This can be copywriting, graphic design or social media marketing. Once you better understand the type of employee you’d like to hire, list their ideal skills and experience and copy this onto a job description.
Your job description should clearly detail the wants and needs of your business. Craft your employee value proposition as well, which details the benefits your employees will receive if they work at your company. Post this job description on job listing sites and social media pages. Encourage your followers to share it with connections in their network. Search social media and candidate profiles on popular job listing sites to find qualified candidates and invite them to interview as well.
3. Interview qualified candidates
Once you have a sufficient number of applications, begin the interview process by calling and screening candidates with relevant experience. Ask them basic questions about their experience and why they’re interested in working with your company. When you’ve narrowed your candidate selection further, invite them onsite to interview in person. Ask questions related to their marketing experience, skills and personality to determine how well they’d fit in your business and office culture. Contact the candidate you believe is most qualified and well suited for the role.
How to set rates and build your business model
A crucial part of effectively managing your internet marketing business is determining how you’ll charge your clients. Follow these steps to build a business model and set appropriate rates for customers:
1. Think about the type of services you’ll provide
When building your pricing and income strategy, consider the services you offer and how long it takes you to complete tasks. If you’re providing strategy-building and consulting services, you’ll spend a majority of your time working one-on-one with clients strategizing and building plans to meet marketing goals, so you should charge hourly for these services. If the client has certain services they need from you, consider creating a package that lists out each project you’ll complete, how long it’ll take and the resources you’ll need to finish it.
2. Consider your client’s preferences
Deciding rates also depends on how clients prefer to pay. Some clients enjoy paying companies according to how long the project takes, so they may ask you to log the hours you work and will pay you once you finish the project. Others would rather select pre-designed packages. Many clients also prefer service packages they can customize according to their specific needs.
3. Select your preferred pricing model
Once you’ve considered both your own preferences and the client’s, choose your preferred pricing business model. Common options include:
- Hourly: This involves establishing an hourly rate with the client, logging the time it takes to complete it, billing the client once it’s finished and sharing the timesheet with them.
- Flat retainer: This is a flat monthly fee you agree on with the client beforehand based on the effort, time and resources you put into their campaigns each month.
- Project packages: This business pricing model consists of billing a client for each project you complete, so you’re paid every time you finish larger assignments for them. These are often pre-packaged with a pre-determined cost based on similar projects you completed in the past.
Best ways to market your business
A major way to gain a strong profit is if you market your products and services properly to your target audience. Common ways to promote your business include:
- Posting on social media: Create engaging and entertaining posts informing your followers of your business and the services it offers.
- Building an SEO-optimized website: Write content on your website with messaging catered toward your target audience. It must be search engine optimized to ensure it appears at the top of search engines, by including the necessary keywords, images and links within your copy.
- Attending networking events: Visit networking and industry events to introduce yourself to other business professionals. Deliver a strong elevator pitch informing them of what services your company offers and provide potential customers with your business card.
- Speaking at conferences and conventions: Establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry and build awareness of your business by presenting on related topics and educating your audience.
Starting an internet marketing company takes time, resources and extensive research. Once you’ve gathered all the necessary materials and paid the required fees, you’re ready to begin providing valuable and reliable marketing services to your clients.