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How to start a digital marketing agency in Africa

How to start a digital marketing agency in Africa

A digital marketing agency is undoubtedly one of the most profitable and rewarding businesses you can operate in Africa for a number of reasons. 

Firstly, it is actually comparatively easy to set up from nothing. While other types of businesses - such as a manufacturing business, clothes shop, or tech company - require a significant amount of capital (whether equipment, real estate, or a large workforce) to get off the ground, a digital marketing agency can be started with nothing but a laptop in your bedroom. 

Secondly, digital marketing is thriving and is only set to become more important as the world begins to migrate fully online. This means that you will (in theory at least) never struggle to find willing customers who require your services. Indeed, these customers are often high-paying companies who don’t mind paying a lot of money for your expertise, so your profit margins are likely to be healthy, too. 

Furthermore, it is also relatively easy to garner the expertise which will later become valuable. You can enroll in a degree, learn tips from online experts and start honing your skills immediately from the comfort of your home.

This is not to say that making a success of your digital marketing agency will be easy because having the determination to land a consistent stream of clients, practice repeatedly, and relentlessly market your own services is a tough road to take. 

Above all, it is important to have a rounded understanding of the industry and how you might go about starting an agency.  

This is how to start a digital marketing agency in Africa in 2021: 

Start by developing the necessary skills

The first step towards starting your own digital marketing agency in Africa is to have the necessary skills at your disposal. After all, your success is directly correlated with how valuable you are to your customers. 

Average skills yield average results, while exceptional skills will help you constantly stay in demand by high-paying clients. 

To develop a high level of digital marketing expertise, you should start by building a strong foundation layer of knowledge. For instance, you could enroll in an online masters marketing analytics course, which will teach you a crucial element of digital marketing - the ability to process online data. 

You should complement this by continually practicing different digital marketing specialties which you may want to provide your clients in the future - including copywriting, social media management, and even Photoshop skills. 

Identify where your market is

Once you have spent time developing your digital marketing skillset, the next step is to identify who your market is and where you might find them.  

This stage is not as simple as it might seem at first. 

Almost every business now has an online presence, which means they will need the help of a digital marketing agency at some stage. Although this offers you an incredibly wide scope of potential clients, it is a sensible idea to specialize in a certain industry, business type, or niche. 

There are a couple of key reasons for this.  

The first reason is that it is easier to find clients once you have narrowed the choice down to a particular industry. When it comes to attracting clients, a sniper is better than a shotgun approach, which can often leave you all at sea trying to cling onto different clients, with no continuity or strategy to keep you on the right track. 

Another reason why picking a certain niche is sensible is because your customers will find your business more attractive and trustworthy. Their market will have its own unique peculiarities, and they will want to know that you are fully aware of them. 

No one wants to hire a cookie-cutter marketer who uses the same approach with every business they work with. Your customers want a tailor-made approach from an industry expert, so choose a niche (or handful of niches) and stick to it. 

You can start your agency alone and hire freelancers

One of the most compelling benefits of starting a digital marketing agency over other types of businesses is that you can start the company all by yourself, with little need for other employees. 

In fact, many agency owners who later expanded to incorporate full-time staff members admit that their business was at its best when they worked alone. 

This is not to say that you never reach out to experts for help. You can’t possibly become a specialist in every area of marketing (otherwise, you wouldn’t be a specialist), so it is worth hiring freelancers for certain projects to help you deliver it to the customer’s requirements. 

All you need is a laptop and an internet connection

Another great benefit of starting a digital marketing agency in Africa is that you don’t need to spend lots of money on office space or equipment. All you require to do your job is a reliable computer and a strong internet connection. 

Therefore, you can choose to work where you like. If a certain area or country offers a particularly high quality of living or offers cheaper rent, then you might want to consider working there instead. 

Put simply, you are not beholden to a particular piece of real estate to do your job, so make the most of it.

Become a marketing thought leader

One of the hardest tasks you will face when you are just starting out with your digital marketing agency is trying to build a strong reputation. When you have no experience or previous clients to rely on for testimonials and evidence of your expertise, then you may struggle to attract clients in the first place. 

To get around this, you should consider becoming a thought leader in your marketing niche. 

This means offering your advice and views in the form of blog posts on your website, a podcast, a YouTube channel, or even guest posting or starring on other people’s websites and platforms. 

By doing this, you will prove your competency and encourage prospects to want to work with you. 


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