With the advent of online businesses and digital marketing, more brick-and-mortar companies are transitioning to the online world daily. Unfortunately for entrepreneurs, online marketing is easier said than done. Aside from marketing skills, countless hours of optimization, trial-and-error, and prayer go in before a successful campaign.

Fortunately for digital marketers, we have the tools of the trade to scale their businesses. There’s just one problem: Different businesses mean varying needs as well. While some companies may benefit from pursuing email marketing, others might need SEO or a better social media presence. If you’re a one-man, one-expertise show, it’s physically and skillfully impossible to cover a company’s digital marketing bases.

This is where a digital marketing agency comes in. For readers wondering how to start a digital marketing agency in the Philippines, this comprehensive guide is for you! We’ll explain the following:

  • What Is Digital Marketing?
  • What is a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines?
  • Digital Marketing Services in the Philippines
  • How to Start a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines
  • Digital Marketing Courses and Tools for Digital Marketers
  • Is a Digital Marketing Agency Profitable in the Philippines?

What Is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing, as opposed to traditional marketing, is the method of promoting brands to consumers via online marketing channels. 

Think of it this way. Instead of placing a physical billboard up in EDSA, you create ads that people see as they scroll on Facebook. Ya dig? It’s pretty much the same thing, only the channel differs.

Bakit pa ako magdi-digital eh parang mas nakakatuwa at sosyalen naman yung may sariling billboard.”

Here’s the thing: the pursuit of digital marketing does not nullify traditional practices. In fact, traditional marketing still holds in this day and age, especially with a structured blueprint. Case in point, you can do both provided you have the skills, people, and budget to make them happen.

What is a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines?

More often than not, digital marketers (people who render digital marketing services) have a single focus in their practice. For instance, I specialize in search engine optimization and all its tidbits. That includes keyword research, competitive analysis, on-page optimization, and content creation. Lucky for me, working at an agency has honed my other skills too, like writing ad copy and landing pages.

That said, my limited skillset can only serve clients if they need SEO and ad copywriting. But what if they’re looking for social media marketing? My relevance gauge for the client subsides to zero.

A digital marketing agency prevents this by pooling freelancers of various practices into a single multi-faceted unit. This enables teams to offer a plethora of digital marketing services because they have freelancers with varying specializations. Think of agencies like an ecosystem where each organism plays a specialized role that helps the group thrive.

Digital Marketing Services in the Philippines

Okay, so we’ve defined digital marketing and digital marketing agencies. Now what are the must-have services you need in your team? Here’s a quick rundown:

1. Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Perhaps the biggest (and hottest) digital marketing skill today is SMM. According to this article by Forbes, there are over 4.9 billion social media users across all platforms this 2023. Plus, with the gradual collapse of Twitter, businesses are turning their gaze to Zuckerberg’s new brainchild— Threads.

Social media is shaping the world, be it in business or news. There’s no question that social media marketing will outlast other forms of digital channels. For your agency, you need SMMs that are at least adept in the following platforms: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Philippines

Like SMM, SEO sits high up on the list because of the high demand for search engine visibility. Google, being the largest search engine, is the biggest driver of traffic across websites. 

With search engine optimization, businesses can siphon some of those traffic into their domains, boosting their visibility and traction. However, it’s important to note that there’s more to SEO than keywords and links.

Here are the skills your SEO specialist must have for your digital marketing agency in the Philippines:

  • On-page optimization: keyword research, competitive analysis, internal linking, etc.
  • Off-page optimization: link building, guest posting, etc.
  • Technical SEO: site speed optimization, server management, fixing broken links, etc.

3. Web Design and Development

How would you feel if you visited an online business without a professional website? Exactly.

It’s difficult to trust businesses with sketchy interfaces. As such, web developers are the backbone of digital marketing agencies. Web designers are especially useful for companies taking baby steps into online marketing. Having no place on the world wide web, developers help entrepreneurs build their first online home that users can visit.

For a digital marketing agency in the Philippines, you need a web developer and designer that can build:

  • Interfaces and layouts with good UI/UX
  • Attractive design that accurately represents your brand
  • Mobile-optimized websites
  • Topnotch-quality content that’s engaging
  • Eye-catchy media

4. Pay-per-click Advertising

Social media and SEO serve to boost a company’s organic traffic, but PPC advertising circumvents this tedious process. Using PPC ads, companies can drive immediate traffic and leads to their website until their budget runs out.

As the name suggests, PPC ads refer to advertising platforms where entrepreneurs pay a cost for every click on their ad. Given the lucrative returns of PPC ads, it’s crucial to have one on your digital marketing roster. Preferably, they must be skilled on platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. 

5. Email Marketing

If anyone told you emails were dead, they lied. According to HubSpot, the email world sports over 4 billion users daily. Moreover, businesses are increasing their email marketing budgets by 37% this year.

With emails, businesses get laser-focused with their targeting. That means having a captured audience to build connections, generate leads, and sell solutions regularly. Contrary to popular belief, email marketing is more than sending email blasts. It involves a lot of research, segmentation, and analysis to send the right message to the right audience.  

For your digital marketing team, we recommend hiring persuasive copywriters and strategists who have open rates, click rates, and selling down to a T.

6. Content Marketing

Finally, content marketing is the final component to complete your roster. Content is the barometer of expertise in a business. Even if businesses have the most persuasive email or clickable ad, people might look for more reasons to hire them. 

This is where content comes in. With content, like this blog article you’re reading, a business jumps in authority, boosting its perceived value among users. An ideal content marketer should be a jack of all trades. People with copywriting, design, and SEO skills rolled into one.

How to Start a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines

Knowing the people to get for your team is one thing, but how do you actually build one? I’ve compiled a list of steps below that you can follow to start your digital marketing agency in the Philippines:

1. Become a digital marketer, yourself

Only a digital marketer understands the grind of online marketing. Without this experience, you are bound to overwork or even demand the impossible from your team. So, before attempting to build your own super team, immerse in the grind.

Find something you can be good at and do the work. Aside from learning the ropes, this will also serve your bottom line since it’s one less marketer to hire. If you’re into SEO, make every effort to be an expert in that field. This way, you will have no reason to hire other specialists for SEO endeavors.

2. Curate a list of services to offer

Another benefit of embracing a digital marketing career is knowing what services you prefer to offer. It’s not compulsory to have all the abovementioned six services on your team. If you feel like it, you can focus on a single channel but diversify on platforms.

For instance, have a social media marketing agency with each team member having specific specializations. In this case, one might be a Facebook expert and the other a TikTok specialist. This process depends on your preferences and management capability.

3. Determine how to operate your business

One big advantage of digital marketing is flexibility. Since the world wide web is accessible from a single computer, you don’t need a physical location for your team. You could if you want to, but it’s not necessary for success.

Many digital marketing agencies operate via a remote setup. If you’re based in New York, you could outsource your team from all over the globe. Of course, it’s crucial to set up a screening process to assess whether applicants qualify for the position or not. Moreover, develop an established system too for onboarding clients and completing tasks.

4. Find your team

Only when you have specific parameters, systems, and KPIs at hand do you find your team. With this, you create a fool-proof environment and processes that newly onboarded members can follow. 

Depending on your preferred services, find digital marketers who fit the bill and the job description. Don’t be afraid to jump from person to person if they are not the right fit. But, for the love of God, put them down nicely, will you?

5. Showcase your relevant experience and expertise

With your team’s permission, use their expertise and experience as selling points for your website. Because, let’s face it, nobody wants to hire newbies for marketing. With an impressive portfolio, you attract more clients to hire your services and maintain leverage during sales calls. Make sure to showcase these aspects on your website’s homepage and about us page, for visitors to see.

6. Build a solid web presence

While your web developers will be responsible for putting your company up for business, it’s the SEO specialists, content marketers, and social media managers who will put your brand on the map!

With effective and engaging content, Google will inevitably take notice, granting your agency competitive positions on search engine results pages. This puts your business in a good position to siphon good ol’ traffic from search queries. More traffic leads to more leads, which invites more opportunities to make sales.

7. Invest in tools and upskilling

You’re not the only digital marketing agency in the Philippines. That’s why it’s vital to remain competitive in the industry. Investing in tools that streamline processes and upskilling your team members helps build your competence.

8. Reach out to your first client

Clients are just out there, scattered and confused about how to thrive in the online space. Once you have your team, systems, and processes, now your digital marketing agency in the Philippines is ready for take off. Clients can be found everywhere, from freelancing platforms like Upwork to job sites like LinkedIn.

Don’t be afraid to do the first move and reach out. Who knows? They might also be looking for the services you offer. Conversely, you may also begin advertising on social platforms or Google to fish your first client. This depends entirely on you and your marketing blueprint.

Digital Marketing Courses and Tools for Digital Marketers

Now, courses are a vast subject to tackle, especially because digital marketing agencies are big teams with distinct practices. To find the best course for your team member, it’s important to ask them what skill they want to develop. Or, you can observe their performance and find their weaknesses so you may reinforce them accordingly. 

Either way, scour the web for courses that can develop their skills. A simple investment today can get them and your agency a long way. As for tools, here are some necessaries to include in your marketing agency:

  1. Project Management Software: For seamless team management, task assignment, and progress assessment (example: Monday).
  2. All-in-one SEO Tool: To help your SEO specialist complete their tasks and responsibilities (example: ahrefs and SEMrush)
  3. Communication Tools: A professional platform that can help you reach out and streamline communication with your team (example: Slack)
  4. Content Planning Software: To help content and social media marketers distribute their content plans throughout the duration of the project (example: Airtable)
  5. Customer Relationship Management: Tool for streamlining sales, customer service, and marketing automation (example: Salesforce)
  6. Analytics Tool: Software to aid your team in analyzing data and pursuing data-driven approaches to your marketing tactics (example: Google Analytics)

There are more tools to this list. But these are some of the basic ones to have for your agency.

Is a Digital Marketing Agency Profitable in the Philippines?

Finally, let’s address the biggest elephant in the room. Is setting up a digital marketing agency profitable?

The quick answer? The financial gains of having a digital marketing agency are unquestionable. However, there is a steep learning curve to owning and being successful at one. If you have the skillset, knowledge, leadership skills, and grit to manage an agency, there’s no ceiling to how much you can make, except your team.

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How to Start a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines

By Joel John Cariño

Hello The Thrifty Pinay readers! Look, managing a business can be a pain in the ass. Even if you have the most revolutionary product or world-class service in your artillery, you need effective marketing to get the word out. Hey, my name is Joel John Carino, your friendly neighborhood SEO content writer and copywriter. So, if you want persuasive, conversion-driven, and killer content, I’m your assassin.