Do you want to start an internet marketing home based business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting an internet marketing business with NO money and no experience. Internet marketing services are highly in demand by businesses who look to market their products and services online, so the need for internet marketers have increased because organizations would rather prefer to pay someone to carry out the service for them than engage in it themselves.
An internet marketer is one that helps brands build an online marketing plan and they also ensure that the plan is implemented. An internet marketer will use several online strategies such as social media, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), mobile advertising etc to ensure that the goals and objectives of a client are achieved.
The good thing about starting an internet marketing business is that it does not require a lot of money to start, and with the demand for internet marketing services on the rise, you will be able to rake in enough cash for your business. Another good thing about this business is that it can be run completely from home or from any part of the world. These are therefore good reasons for you to start an internet marketing business.
Just like with any other business that you might be looking to start, it is important that you are very knowledgeable about the business because the initial part of the business is bound to have challenges so you can know how to handle them.
You will need to study those who are already in the business in order to find out how they have remained successful. You will also need to know who your target market is, what your unique selling point is and why your potential clients should patronize your service.
Aside from knowing who your competitors and potential clients are and what they expect from you, it is also important that you are experienced in general marketing techniques, copywriting as well as certain internet marketing tactics. It is from this knowledge that you can then decide on what services to focus on or if you intend to instead use an integrated service plan that will enable you make use of different online marketing tactics.
Setting clear goals is very important in ensuring that your internet marketing business becomes a success. Your goals can be a number of things but ensure that they help drive you forward. Not only should your goals be clear enough, they should also be measurable, aspirational, realistic and bound to time. It is vital that you have these goals written down and that from time to time, you make adjustments according to the reality of your business.
17 Steps to Starting an Internet Marketing Home Based Business
1. Understand the Industry
The internet marketing business has gained a lot of benefit from the rapid switch by clients from traditional and conventional marketing methods to internet marketing and this is due to the fact that more consumers now make use of smartphones, tablets and PCs. It is expected that over the next five years, the industry will continue to experience tremendous growth as internet marketing tools will be able to measure consumer demographics.
There are more than 7,200 internet marketing agencies in the united states employing more than 78,300 people. The industry is worth an average of $14 billion annually and has experienced more than 13 percent growth within a five year period (2011 – 2016).
The industry has a low level of capital intensity as for every dollar spent on labor as at 2016, capital costs of $0.02 were incurred. The industry is therefore capital intensive due to the requirement for specialized employees. The industry also relies heavily on employees for vital aspects such as market research, purchase media and creative work.
The industry that spends a lot on the internet marketing industry is the retail industry as the amount spent on internet ads in 2016 far outstripped other huge industries such as travel, pharma, automotive, media and financial services.
The retail industry in 2016 spent more than $16 billion on internet marketing and it is expected that this amount will surpass $23 billion by 2022. The increase in spending from other industries has however not caused an increase in the level of skills of marketers, as marketing excellence has remained stagnant. However, regardless of this, internet marketing is still on the increase.
The United States has the largest stake in internet marketing on a global level as the country had the highest revenue of nearly $80 billion in 2016 due to the fact that about a quarter of all the marketing and advertisements in the country were devoted to the internet.
It is expected that this industry will continue to grow in the next five years as several sources have reliably predicted that the industry will have generated nearly $94 billion by 2022. The retail industry accounted for about 22 percent of all spent in digital advertising, followed closely by the financial services and automotive industry with 12 percent share each.
The penetration of the internet as well as increase in digital platforms have caused internet marketing to become one of the most important forms of marketing for several companies. The revenue that the industry generated on a global level was at $170 billion in 2015 and it is still expected that this revenue will grow at a fast pace as the United States alone generated more than $48 billion in 2015 with growth projected at 17 percent. As at 2017, it was at $204 billion and by 2022, it is expected that the revenue generated will be more than $330 billion.
Internet marketers have to depend on data because this allows them get quantitative information as regards the target market, what they are buying, why and when as well as which platform is most effectively used by the target market.
This has led to the use of technology to not only gather raw data but also interpret and analyze them as well. Internet marketers who do not make use of the many data visualization tools will find themselves at a significant disadvantage especially as technology will become more sophisticated and data analysis will also increase greatly.
It is expected that internet marketing will start to experiment with augmented reality (AR) experiences and will therefore see more brands making attempts to capitalize on the AR sector that already exists. Because internet users are beginning to demand for better in-the-moment content especially due to fast internet and availability of smartphones, live videos will start to trend and there will be a creation of more platforms in order to accommodate live streaming, thereby drawing more viewers in. This trend is seriously utilized by internet marketers as well as brands.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic compositions of those who require the services of an internet marketing agency are mainly businesses that want to promote their products and or services or that wants to boost their brand regardless of the industry that they are in.
Therefore, if you are looking to define the demographics for your internet marketing business, you should ensure that it is based on the niche of services that you are looking to offer.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
In a bid to make your business start become successful and well known, you might want to focus on a niche but the problem with restricting yourself to a particular niche is that you are literally putting all your eggs in one basket and should something happen to that basket, you will find your business collapsing.
It is important that you offer more than one niche services even though you might not be able to offer as much as a large scale or successful company. Some of the niche ideas within this particular business that you can specialize in are;
- Banner Advertising
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Rich Media Advertising
- Video Advertising
- Lead Generation
- Sponsorship Advertising
- Mobile Advertising
- Social Media Marketing
- Display Advertising
- Email Marketing
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The level of competition that exists in the internet marketing business industry has little to do with the location of the business as one can run the business from any part of the world.
If you intend to specialize in certain niches, then you will be narrowing down your target market as well as the level of competition that you are going to be facing in the industry. Regardless however of what you are looking to offer, clients want results and so will always stick to the internet marketing agency that enables them achieve their goals.
The internet marketing industry is a huge one that accommodates many businesses that want to get a share of the market for themselves, and so if you are looking to start an internet marketing business, you should be aware of the level of competition that you are likely to face.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
The internet marketing industry is a huge one with a lot of internet marketing agencies in existence. Not all these companies are known because while some fail and some simply exist, some have gone on to make a name for themselves and are recognized for their impact in the industry.
Some of the well-known internet marketing agencies in the United States of America are;
- Internet Marketing Inc.
- Digital Marketing Agency
- Ignite Digital Inc.
- Greybox Creative
- Bruce Clay
The internet marketing industry is becoming more crowded, even as the number of consumers has increased. This has led to a near saturation in sectors such as content and social media marketing. A solution to this is however to target a niche that is more specific in order to be able to appeal to a more narrow range of demographics.
Mobile has largely dominated the internet marketing industry ahead of desktops and this therefore influences location-based marketing as marketers have to be sure that the brands they promote are visible for local search.
It is expected that marketing analytics will help internet marketers better identify marketing channels that are effective, measure return on investment (ROI), justify the budget spent, understand better the success of their campaigns as well as drive action. Engagement analytics has constituted a driving change as this allows marketers to not only track the number of visitors to a site but to also dig deeper into the activities of users.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
One important decision that you will need to make when looking to start any business is whether to buy a franchise or simply start from scratch. However, while each option has its pros and cons; what option you finally go for will enable you achieve your corporate goals and objectives.
The reason why entrepreneurs buy franchises is due to the fact that they need someone experienced in the business to guide them in taking critical decisions. However, the internet marketing business would not require the buying of a franchise as this option does not exist.
Starting one’s business from the scratch might seem challenging especially if the person has no idea as regards running a business, which is why it is necessary to make a thorough research of the business before you start so that you can minimize the mistakes that you are likely to make while running the business. Because you will be in charge of all the major aspects of your business, it is important that you have a clear plan of what you are looking to achieve so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
As an entrepreneur looking to start a business, you should be aware of the challenges and threats that you are likely to face and therefore get yourself prepared. The internet marketing business is no different from other kinds of businesses, and even though this might be regarded as one of the easiest businesses to start, it doesn’t mean that you won’t also have enough threats and challenges plaguing you. While some threats can be easily handled, others might not and when this does happen, the best that you can do is remain optimistic and focused on your business.
Some of the threats and challenges that you will therefore face when looking to start your internet marketing business are; finding initial clients for your business, having to remain proactive regarding the tools and resources used in effectively running the business, having to compete with already existing and successful internet marketing companies, and being able to prove your results to clients.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
Regardless of whatever business you are looking to start, the decision of the appropriate legal entity to be used is a very important because not only will the legal entity have an impact on your business, it should also align with whatever goals and objectives you intend achieving with the business.
Due to how confusing it might be choosing a legal entity for your business, you might ask others running your kind of business advice on the appropriate legal entity or you might seek the services of an attorney to help you in choosing the appropriate legal entity.
There are five major legal entities for entrepreneurs that are looking to start their business in the United States of America and they are sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), S Corporation and C Corporation.
Regardless of which legal entity you intend choosing, you should use the following attributes to help you in making the best decision and they include; the ease at which you can set up and control the business, investors’ expectations, the taxation structure that comes with the legal entity, the financial needs of your business, the risks involved and the extent of liability open to you.
One of the easiest legal entities chosen by most entrepreneurs in the United States is the sole proprietorship. This sort of legal entity is easy to set up and control as there is no need for paper work. The entrepreneur under this legal entity gets all the profits made by the company and all the losses as well. The partnership sort of legal entity is similar to that of the sole proprietorship with the major difference being that two or more people came together to run the business.
The LLC, S Corporation and C Corporation have a little similarity in that the owners enjoy limited liability and the companies are regarded as separate entities from their owners. However, while the LLC is regarded as more flexible in terms of taxation and paper work, the S Corporation and the C Corporation especially is said to be stricter as regards setting up, control and taxation structure.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
Internet marketing agencies know that to attract clients they must be attractive themselves and being able to attract your target market starts with the name you choose for your company. Therefore, choosing a name that is not only unique but that can be easily pronounceable or remembered is vital to the success of your business.
Below are some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for an internet marketing business;
- Swift Inc.
- Guru Digital Advertisers
- D&G Media Inc.
- OT Agency
- Sahara Inc.
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
Regardless of whatever business you are looking to start, knowing the best insurance policies to acquire that will allow you to protect your business, self, employees and bottom line is very important as many businesses who do not take this seriously have found themselves unable to bounce back after a challenge.
If you aren’t sure of what insurance policies you should procure for your internet marketing agency; then ensure that you seek the services of an insurance agent or broker to help you out. Some of the insurance policies that you should therefore look to purchase while starting your internet marketing business in the United State of America include;
- General Liability Insurance
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance
- Errors and Omission Insurance
- Employment Practices Liability Insurance
- Business Owner’s Policy Group Insurance
- Payment Protection Insurance
- Commercial Property Insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
There are many tools that are being used by internet marketing agencies in offering their services and these tools and techniques can be used by anyone in the industry. Also, whatever content you end up producing is considered owned by your client except there was an initial agreement in place.
This does not however mean that you cannot apply for an intellectual property protection (IPP) for your company name, logo, slogan or any other concept you deem worthy of protecting. Engage the services of a lawyer that is proficient in intellectual property and copyright laws to help you out.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
As an internet marketing agency, acquiring professional certifications is a way to set you apart from others running the same business and to boost the confidence of your clients in your abilities. Many corporate clients will not take you seriously if they check your profile and find that you haven’t been acquiring certifications. They would feel that you aren’t taking the business serious enough.
Some of the certifications that you should look towards getting as you intend starting your intend marketing agency include;
- Online Marketing Certified Professionals
- Professional Certificate in Digital Marketing
- Google Analytics Certification
- Digital Marketer Customer Acquisition Certification
- HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification
It is very important that you acquire these certifications from accredited sources if you intend to have leverage over your competitors. The more certifications you have, the better your chances of standing out.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
Before launching your business, it is important that you have all the necessary documents that you would need in place; this is because regardless of the business you intend to run; the law requires that necessary documentations be in place so that you do not run into any problems with the authorities.
If you have no idea of what documents you might need, then you should engage in a thorough research of what other internet marketing agencies use. Some of the legal documents that you will need to run your internet marketing business include;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Business Plan
- Business License and Certification
- Employment Agreement
- Contract Documents
- Insurance Policy
- Federal Tax Identification Number (TIN)
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
When it comes to starting any business, having the necessary start-up capital is very important and even though the internet marketing business doesn’t require a lot of capital to start up; you will still need money to run the business – paying of utility bills, promoting the business and paying employee salary (if any) – before the business starts to generate revenue to run itself.
Some of the financing options that you can employ when starting your internet marketing business include;
- Generating start-up capital from personal savings and sale of personal stocks
- Sourcing for soft loan from family members and friends
- Raise money from investors and business partners
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Deciding on where to locate your business is a very important decision because this has a lot of impact on your visibility. The good thing about an internet marketing business is that you do not have to physically meet with all your clients, and this therefore means that this business can be run from home.
In fact, entrepreneurs who are just starting their internet marketing business usually choose to run the business from home and this is usually very helpful in situations where start-up capital is limited. If you are running the business from home, you can outsource certain jobs to others especially if you are getting more jobs than you can handle.
It would get to a certain stage where you will need to lease or rent a facility run your business and this usually happens when the business has grown to a level where you would need to recruit several hands to help you out.
If you are therefore going to be leasing or renting a facility, ensure that the location is within the hub of your target market. If you are new to the dynamics of choosing a location, ensure that you engage the services of a real estate agent to help you out.
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
The internet marketing business is not only easy to run but can be operated from any part of the world where there is a strong network capacity. Most of what the internet marketing agency does is gather data, analyze and interpret them and then use this interpretation to ensure that their clients’ achieve their intended goals and objectives.
Internet marketing agencies also have to rely on several tools and techniques in order to effectively help their clients. Staying on top of trends is very important because tools that were deemed useful can suddenly become obsolete.
You do not need a lot of equipment before you can run your internet marketing business as most of the equipment you require are; computers, phones, online marketing software and broadband.
This is a business that you can run by yourself but only to a certain extent because once your business starts to grow, you will need the help of other competent and skilled hands to help you out; therefore it is important that you build a solid business structure.
Some of those you will need to recruit are; Chief Executive Officer (owner), Admin and Human Resources Manager, ICT Consultant, Business Development and Marketing Executive, Customer Service Executive, and Accountant. Therefore from the above analysis, you will require at least 6 people in order to be able to run your internet marketing business effectively.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
The internet marketing business is relies on the internet and the processes involved in running this business starts with creating a name for yourself.Clients believe that if you can successfully market your brand, then you can help in marketing theirs as well.
Once you have gotten your clients, then you proceed to create the marketing plans they would need in achieving their goals and objectives.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
Even though you will be offering internet marketing services to your potential clients, how you market your own brand is also very vital to your attracting clients. The intriguing thing about marketing your internet marketing business is that even though the marketing is aimed at promoting your brand, it should be done with your target market in mind.T
his means that you must identify who your target market is and then look towards making win-win plans for both you and your clients.
In order to create marketing strategies and ideas that are effective, it is important that you conduct a market survey so that you can use this to identify what niche you intend going into, who the target market for the niche is, where they are located, what they expect from you and what you as a business should expect from them.
Before you can hope to attract big corporations as clients, you must have attained a level of success that will boost their confidence in letting you help them attain their goals and objectives. This is why you must have a compelling profile through acquisition of professional certifications and a relatable degree of success rate.
As an internet marketing agency, you should know all the different channels available and how you can best use this in not only promoting your clients but your business as well. Below are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can use for your internet marketing business;
- Use your social media platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Google Plus and Instagram to market your services
- Distribute your business cards, handbills and fliers in different strategic locations
- Create a professional website and use this to promote your business
- Ensure that your internet marketing agency is listed in accredited online directories
- Attend seminars and events in order to network and raise awareness about your your internet marketing business
17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
No business is started with the intention of remaining unknown especially as popularity is one of the key factors that helps a business achieve its revenue generation objectives; this is why businesses go a great length to invest in promotional activities. Once you are able to boost awareness for your brand and create a corporate identity, you stand a chance of penetrating the market and getting a fair share for yourself.
The essential advantages that boosting one’s brand brings is why many companies that are already successful do not mind setting aside a particular amount of money every year in order that they might be able to continue boosting their brand.
Just like any serious strategy that you would make in the course of starting the business, it is important that you conduct a thorough research regarding who should likely see your promotional activities, where they are likely to be in order to see it and how much it would likely cost you. You should remember that your major target market are corporations and businesses and not the general populace.
Ensure that you set aside a budget that will be used in boosting awareness and creating a corporate identity for your brand so that you do not end up causing a strain on your overall budget.
Some of the strategies that you would need to boost awareness for your brand and create a corporate identity include;
- Apply Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your website in order to boost your site’s rank and visibility especially for clients that will use the search engine to search for internet marketing agencies
- Ask your contacts and satisfied customers to help refer others to your internet marketing agency
- Make use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Google Plus, and Linkedin to promote your internet marketing agency
- Attend conferences, seminars and events in order to network and try to become a keynote speaker at some of the conferences you attend in order to create more publicity about your business
- Place adverts in popular blogs and forums in order to increase awareness for your business