How To Start Your Own Digital Marketing Agency
4.2 (689 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
7,749 students enrolled

How To Start Your Own Digital Marketing Agency

Learn everything you need to know about starting your own SEO & Web Design business as a digital marketer.
4.2 (689 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
7,749 students enrolled
Created by John Shea
Last updated 2/2019
English [Auto]
Current price: $135.99 Original price: $194.99 Discount: 30% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 9 hours on-demand video
  • 1 article
  • 2 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Setup a Wordpress Agency Website
  • Understand how to start an LLC
  • Find new clients through cold calling and other online methods
  • Understand how to outsource SEO
  • Utilize CRM and invoicing tools you can use with your business
  • Send & Create Proposals for clients
  • Understand basic concepts of SEO and offering it as a service
  • Everything is covered in the course, you can go at your own pace

*Last Updated August 2018*

There are now over 130 lectures in the course and over 8.5 hours of content!

I've added over 60 brand new lectures which cover topics such as additional tools, prospecting methods, working with clients, reporting, outsourcing, organization, a project management approach to SEO and much more.

Have you ever thought about starting your own SEO Agency?

This A-Z Blueprint Will Teach You How To Build Your Own SEO Consulting Business

It's Time To Start a Real Business..  

Let's go through the "pains" of starting your own SEO consulting business...

Pain #1: How Do I Start My Own SEO Agency Website & Business?   

I walk through my own personal agency site and show you exactly how to set one up yourself using the Wordpress platform. I reveal everything I'm doing myself so you can model it. I even walk you through concepts of starting your business LLC. 

Pain #2: How Do I Start Getting SEO Clients?   

I'm going to walk you through actual case studies of how I landed both web design and SEO clients using various different methods. I leave nothing on the table and show you everything you need to know to do this yourself. This section alone includes over 3 hours of tactics and methods.

Pain #3: I'm Not Good At Closing Sales  

I'm going to share methods on how you can start closing sales right over the phone. One of the biggest issues with closing clients is actually getting them to move forward with saying "yes" and getting that first invoice paid. 

Pain #4: How Do I Manage Leads & Automate Client Outreach?   

I'm going to show you the exact CRM tools I use to collect prospect information and keep track of the progress you make with each lead. This will help you stay organized and automate as much as possible.

Pain #5: Ok Now I Have Clients, How Do I Do The SEO Work?   

I walk you through a step by step task list I use for my clients on a monthly basis. You can copy this exact list and modify it as needed for your own clients. The task list has 6+ months of very specific tasks you can do yourself or outsource with a virtual team. 

Pain #6: There Are So Many SEO Tools Out There, What Do I Really Need?   

I have specific videos covering various tools that I use in my business and why they are important. You will know exactly what tools you can incorporate into your consulting business. 

Pain #7: I'd Rather Focus On Sales and Not Do Any Of The SEO Work  

I dedicate an entire week to showing you outsourced SEO service providers you can use to literally outsource ALL of the work if you choose to. I give you the option of either doing it yourself or simply letting others handle all the work for you.

Pain #8: I've Already Invested In Other SEO Courses, How Is This Different?   

I spent thousands on various SEO courses, I started taking action on as much as possible but quickly found there were many 'gaps' in areas a lot of these other courses didn't cover. That's exactly why I built this course based on my own experiences of trial and error.   

What People are Saying...

I wish this course existed 5 years ago when I started my digital marketing agency!

I already own a digital marketing agency, but I bought this course as I thought I may find some useful stuff for me. And, I was very happy that I did it - my investment in this course was well worth. I wish such course existed 5 years ago when I started my digital marketing agency! This is a no BS, straight to the point course which will guide you in a very detailed manner how to start and run your web agency.

It will clearly show you the action plan for setting up a real business, and demonstrate how to prospect for clients using many proven tactics. It is indeed very useful and valuable information you'd need to run a successful digital marketing agency. As John shares his own experiences in setting his own digital marketing agency, you can learn how to avoid many of the pitfalls, saving your time and money. If you are planning to start a web agency selling services to offline businesses, I'd highly recommend you to enroll in this course. This course is packed full of useful actionable information. Whether you are a newbie or an experienced marketer.

Raaj P. (Web Designer & Digital Marketer)

He takes you right along with him, like he would an apprentice in his own office...

I've taken some other courses by John Shea, so when I saw this new course--his most comprehensive yet--I didn't hesitate to buy it. Why you may ask? Because of the two words that come to mind when I think about John and his work: Authenticity and Actionability. Firstly, John is real--he's not just another mass course-producing vending machine that relies on flashy videos and slick promises, but with little substance.

John actually works full-time in real life, doing exactly what he's teaching in this course. And he takes you right along with him, like he would an apprentice in his own office, and shows you everything with great honesty. Secondly, you will discover many valuable, actionable strategies in this course--from starting up your LLC and website to finding clients and writing up contracts to outsourcing work. Even already established web or SEO business people are likely to discover useful tips. So if you want a fluff-free, non-sugar-coated look at what it's really like to have your own digital online marketing agency, and want all of John's insight into how he made his successful, then I strongly recommend for you to sign up now.

Dr. Philips. (Entrepreneur)

In-Depth Video Training 

8+ Weeks Of Video Training That Will Get Your SEO Consulting Business Off The Ground

Module 1 - Your Website

Duration: 35m

You will discover how to start your own consulting website to show your prospects and showcase your work.

Module 2 - Your Business

Duration: 20m

This module covers starting your business and what you should be aware of when getting started. 

Module 3 - SEO Training

Duration: 1h 30m

We show you how to create a project management approach for outsourcing SEO Tasks and how to perform them.

Module 4 - Getting Clients

Duration: 2h 30m

This modules shows live case studies of actual clients I brought on board and various ways you can bring on new clients for your business. 

Module 5 - Closing Sales

Duration: 1h  

This module covers closing sales and working with existing clients once you have them. 

Module 6 - CRM Tools

Duration: 20m

This module covers automation and using CRM tools for tracking prospects and lead data. 

Module 7 - SEO Tools

Duration: 1h  5m 

This module covers various SEO Tools I use within my business that will help with all aspects of SEO. 

Module 8 - Outsourcing SEO

Duration: 1h               

This module covers outsourcing SEO to various services providers and companies. 

Module 9 - Taking Action

Duration: 10m

In this module we discuss taking action on what you've learned and how you can go out and start generating some new business.

Bonus Content

Duration: 2h                

The bonus section includes interviews and live calls to help you propel your business and get you motivated to do more. 

Even More Testimonials...

Incredible amounts of information on starting a digital marketing agency.

“Really enjoyed having each lecture description in discussion area. You literally optimized the course for everyone to learn as much possible without spending time taking notes or hunting down your resources.

Excellent, clear, concise instruction presented in a professional, straight forward manner. I have to say I am a bit shocked you would just lay out a business for people like this, but believe me when I say, it is greatly appreciated John.

You really got me thinking about narrowing down my niche and approaching this from a completely different manner, as well as outsourcing and finding a partner. I really enjoyed and appreciate the course and the amount of information shared in it. Outstanding job honestly."

Ron R. (Web Designer & Digital Marketer)

It's very helpful for me to learn from someone who is actually in the trenches and doing it...

“This is someone who actually works in the digital marketing field and knows the tools and tricks to get results. Its very helpful for me to learn from someone who is actually in the trenches and doing it."

Marco L. (Entrepreneur)

No stones are left un-turned...

“The instructor walks through all the steps he takes and has taken to build his web design/SEO business. No stones are left un-turned. I walked away from this course feeling like I could repeat the exact steps outlined and be successful."

Eric S. (Entrepreneur)

John actually built an agency from this model...

“I was really happy to see that this course was built from experience and not just from theory. John actually built an agency from this model (and shares real world examples in the course), and thanks to this course I am confident I can too. Well worth the money!"

Lee M. (Entrepreneur)

Who this course is for:
  • People that are interested in offering web design and SEO as a service
  • If you are afraid to put a lot of time into cold calling and finding new clients this course probably is not for you
Course content
Expand all 135 lectures 09:10:15
+ Week 1 - Building a Simple Agency Website
12 lectures 41:24
Should You Focus On a Specific Niche & Service Offering?

It actually took me a couple weeks to come up with "Frozen Wave Media" which is my agency name. Just get creative and come up with something easy to tell people about.

Getting Creative With Your Agency Name

I use GoDaddy for registering all of my domain names and I've always been happy with their service for domains.

You can find 99 cent coupons online as well if you look.

Registering a Domain

I recommend a company called for all of your webhosting. Check out the link for more details. 

Web Hosting

If you have never used Wordpress before you are definitely going to need to spend some time learning how to use the platform to get going with your agency website. You could hire someone to create a site for you but it's honestly not that difficult to make a nice looking site.

  • Start out by checking out this free Wordpress courses on Udemy
  • Look for a professional theme design you can use. I used the One Pager Theme combined with Thrive Themes Landing Pages Plugin. You can also look for themes on Themeforest, many will have built in landing page editors.
  • It took me about 1 week to build Frozen Wave Media, don't expect to complete a site quickly if you have never used Wordpress before. Just don't spend too much time at the beginning with design and the "look", as you progress through the course you will need to spend most of your time acquiring clients.
Setting Up Your Website With Wordpress

When I first started out I continued to use my personal gmail address. It didn't look 'unprofessional' by any means but ideally when you get started with your agency you really want to switch over to a real company email address.

Most web hosting providers offer a built in mail platform through Cpanel, so the setup will differ depending on your host. I recommend setting up the email in Cpanel and then syncing it to a client such as Microsoft Outlook or you could use MailBird.

Creating a Professional Email Address

Here is a list of the plugins that I use and recommend, some you may not need but all are worth checking out.

  • Pretty Link Lite
Speed, Optimization & Security
  • w3 Total Cache
  • BJ Lazy Load
  • Use Google Libraries
  • Remove query strings from static resources
  • WP All In One Security
Comments and Spam
  • Akismet
  • Disqus Comment System
  • Contact Form 7
  • Google XML Sitemaps
  • WordPress SEO
Social Media & Email Marketing
  • Thrive Themes (Premium Themes, landing pages and email opt-in forms)
  • NextGEN Facebook (NGFB)
  • Pinterest Pin It
Site Management
  • Infinity WP
Recommended Themes & Plugins

I use a seller on Fiverr named TwentyTwoMedia for all of my graphic work.

I have tried ordering several logos from other sellers and most of the time I am not satisfied with the work. The owner is named Joanna and they really do amazing work, every logo or design I've ever had done was by her team.

You can order from her on Fiverr here.

If she is unavailable via Fiverr you can always go direct but you may end up paying at least $30 for a basic logo.

Website Graphics & Business Cards
Another Source For Graphics

In this video I show my marketing agency website. Keep in mind if you decide to grab the theme, the discount is only applied after you click 'buy now'. 

Preview 09:55

In a lot of cases you may find most digital marketing companies offer all kinds of services. They will do paid advertising, social media, SEO, web design etc.

It all goes hand in hand but if you are running solo and just starting out you really should focus on one specific area. If you want to build Wordpress sites you should start there and possibly upsell SEO, maybe you could outsource web design and do the SEO yourself.

I generally build the websites myself and try to upsell SEO, I don't really do paid advertising or any social media. If a client were to ask me I'd most likely find a freelancer to do the work for me.

Offering Web Design & SEO?
Real Quick..
+ Week 2 - Setting Up Your New Business
5 lectures 10:07
Introduction To Week 2

Obviously if you are just starting out you may find starting your own LLC is a wise decision. Depending on how you do this it will most definitely cost you some upfront costs, every state is different.

If you start earning a lot of money from your SEO efforts you will really want to get yourself established as a business.

Starting Your Own Company

When I started I used a service called Legalzoom to start my own LLC. They do all of the work for you and setup everything without needing to do a whole lot on your end. Depending on your state this might be a good move as it will save you time, but if you are looking to save some cash you may just want to read up on your state laws and set one up directly through them.

Registering an LLC

You definitely want to establish yourself on Google+ at very least when starting out. Google will send you a postcard to verify your address, when I started I just used my home address since all of my work is done from home.

Google is where clients can leave you reviews and you can really showcase who you are as a brand. Yelp is another fairly popular business listing site so that is another good place you should really get started on.

Both are 100% free and there is no reason you shouldn't set these up.

Setting Up Your Business On Google+ & Yelp

A good friend of mine that I've known for over 10+ years had been a huge fan of a podcast that I run.

I decided to approach him to help me out with both video creation and sales, I pretty much taught him everything I know and we work together to bring in more clients. This obviously is not a requirement but if you can find a good friend or someone to help you with the sales side of business it will really help you generate a lot more business.

As you grow you will be able to hire more people to fill in more roles, although I am a huge fan of outsourcing I tend to use freelancers for most work that I need done.

Why Having a Partner Will Help Grow Your Agency
+ Week 2 - A Project Management Approach To SEO Tasks
21 lectures 01:28:22
Introduction To This Section
Introduction To Trello
Trello Setup & Demo
Trello SEO Overview
Google My Business
Bing Places
Apple Maps
Bing Webmaster Tools
Google Search Console
Wordpress Plugins
Google Analytics
Pretty Link Lite

Sign up for Marketers Center to get 5% off all future orders:

Enter the approval code: noshameseo

Marketers Center Services
Schema Markup
Google Shares
Brightlocal Reports
SEO Powersuite Audit
On-page SEO
Silo Structure
Final Walk Through
+ Week 3 - How To Acquire New Clients
17 lectures 01:36:12
Introduction To Week 3

In this course I'm going to focus on one primary method for acquiring clients.

If you went through my other course on getting clients you might be overwhelmed with ideas.

In this course I'm going to show you my #1 favorite way to get new clients. I do a combination of cold calling and creating videos to approach new businesses.

Introduction To Getting Clients For Your Agency

Some tools you might need for creating videos and quick screenshots:

  • Camtasia (ScreenFlow on Mac) - I use this tool for all of my video capture needs. It's not cheap but it works really well. You might be able to find some free solutions out there is you search around, I don't know of any off hand.
  • Jing - I use this free tool for quick capturing screenshots
Video & Photo Tools

When I create analysis videos for potential prospects I follow a few simple strategies for giving a lot of value.

Here is my process:

1. Open Web Browser

2. Open Moz Local -

3. Open G+ Page after searching business - From Moz Local

4. Open Mobile Site Test Tool - - Search the business site

5. Open searches in new tabs:

6. Open Camtasia

The two searches I provided are my own personal results, 2 clients show up in the local 7 pack. Obviously if you don't have any results to show your prospects you will just need to briefly explain the 7 pack and why being there will benefit the business.

Keep in mind, I'm focusing on local SEO with these proposals. You won't be able to use Moz local if you are going after organic global SEO.

Creating Valuable Website & Local SEO Analysis Videos For Potential Clients

Hot Lead Finder is my favorite free tool for finding new leads.

Prospecting Strategy #1 - Hot Lead Finder

In this video I show you how you can seek out businesses paying for advertising. In most cases when I cold call these businesses I find they are not happy with the results they are getting, and in most cases are either going through Yellowpages or have setup Adwords themself without any clue as to what they are doing.

Preview 09:18

LinkedIn is awesome way to find new prospects and get your custom videos directly into the eyes of a decision maker. In this video I completely find a prospect completely on the fly who would be a perfect company for me to create a video analysis for.

You can also use the trick of joining groups prospects are in and messaging them that way without upgrading to LinkedIn premium.

Prospecting Strategy #3 - Using LinkedIn To Approach Prospects

This is a really awesome plugin you can get for LinkedIn. You can read all the details of the method over on the post that I linked within this module.

Basically you are setting up your LinkedIn page as a "sales page" and visiting tons of peoples profiles within their niche.

At the time of posting this I have only been using the plugin for a few days and I am already starting to see a drastic increase in views on my Linkedin profile by owners and CEO's of the types of businesses I am targeting.

Prospecting Strategy Bonus: LinkedIn Auto Client Method

Moz local will analyze a business for issues with consistency across various business listing websites across the internet.

It will show issues with NAP (Name, Address, Phone) across sites like Google+, Yelp, HotFrog etc.

Google heavily relies on having consistent information matching the Google+ business profile when compared with other business listings.

This is a great tool to show business where they have issues and what needs to be fixed, it's 100% free to analyze a business with it.

Preview 06:18

This prospecting video managed to land me a client willing to pay $750 a month. The reason I was able to ask for such a high cost was because the business owner was spending over $4000 a month on Google Adwords and they were getting poor results!

Using this to your advantage to get businesses to make the switch to you for local SEO is always fairly easy.

Most people use Adwords alone without help so they don't get good performance, they don't use landing pages of any kind or attempt to collect leads. Most companies I speak with tell me they are getting poor results, most people 'ignore' ads because it's what we've all become accustomed to when browsing online.

Seeing a local business in the 7 pack is going to provide a much better perception of a company when seeing an ad in the sidebar.

I'm not saying Adwords does not work, but for a local business the 7 pack ranking with positive reviews will always outperform an ad.

An Example Prospect Video That Landed Me a $750/month Client

This is another example of a prospecting video that landed me a website client with ease.

An Example Prospect Video That Landed Me a $500 Website Design Client
Using Scopeleads To Find Unlimited Prospects

This is the exact template I use, it's simple and straight to the point.

Somewhat 'fill in the blanks'.


My name is John Shea and I am the owner of a company called Frozen Wave Media. I work specifically with Insurance agencies to help increase their online internet presence.

I made a custom video for your company showing you some valuable tips you can use to improve your visibility on Google and some of my thoughts on your current website.

Feel free to check it out and give me a call back at xxx-xxx-xxxx if you would like to discuss further.

See the video here:

*Here I include a shrunk preview image of the beginning of the YouTube video I am going to link to them*

You can also change the 'insurance agencies' to something in regards to your local area or the niche you are focused on.

Template Emails For Contacting Potential Clients

Cold calling at first might be really daunting for you but the more you do it the better you will get at it.

When following my paid advertising method for finding leads, I might just make a call without even doing a video. I like to have some information about a company before I call them so I'm at very least going into it with some background of what is going on with their rankings, website etc.

When sending videos I like to call after 2 days and I'll call a maximum of 3 times before moving on. This way I'm taking a more quality of quantity approach but it's entirely up to you how you decide to do this.

Following Up With a Cold Call

With this method you can start offering cheap Google+ business page optimization to businesses.

Use this to your advantage for building trust with clients and then up sell them on higher cost services.

Cold Call Tactic - Offering To Setup The Google+ Business Page

My very first big client actually had me come in for a job interview, it was a 20 hour per week part time job that I turned into a consulting position.

I agreed to come into their office every week for an hour to discuss goals, actions they could take and the report I generated for them every month. The key to this was being confident in what I was doing and having the diligence to learn as much as possible about helping them out.

If you can find local businesses who are willing to pay extra to have to meet them in person, take advantage of the opportunity if it's available to you.

Offering To Meet Clients In Person
HubSpot Sales For Email Prospecting
+ Week 4 - CRM Lead Tools & Automation
5 lectures 15:46
Introduction To Week 4
Getting Started With Nutshell

I show you my lead flow in the Nutshell CRM

Setting Up a Lead System In Nutshell

You can integrate a WuFoo form with Nutshell, this will allow for you to automatically have a pending lead get generated when someone fills out a contact form on your website. Very useful once your site starts to gain more traction and generate inquiries.

Integrating WuFoo Forms with Nutshell

You can also use the Google Spreadsheet tool as a CRM instead of Nutshell if you choose.

Using Google Drive as a CRM
+ Week 5 - Closing Sales & Working With Existing Clients
5 lectures 14:00
Introduction To Week 5

In this video I mention a tool called Right Signature which you can use for digitally having clients sign your contracts or work agreements. Much more effective vs. asking someone to print, sign and scan a contract back to you. Right Signature also can be integrated with Nutshell.

Contracts For Your Work

I use a tool called Freshbooks to invoice all of my clients. I highly recommend using this and getting your clients credit card numbers so you can invoice them that way. This means you won't need to chase people with Paypal invoices.

How To Invoice Clients

In this video I talk about creating proposals for your clients. I show you a template that I use which is very simple to modify. Simply replace your own graphic logo on each slide and replace the company name and Moz screenshot for each new proposal.

Providing Clients With a Proposal For SEO

Case Studies are a great way to create proof of your work and what results you have achieved for your clients. See the example case study I have for Segreve & Hall.

Creating Case Studies After Getting Positive Results For Clients
+ Week 5 - Working With Clients
8 lectures 33:51

Please send me a message on Udemy. 

The Bigger Picture
Onboarding Your Clients
The Typical Types Of Clients You Will Find
Scheduling Bi-weekly or Monthly Calls
Taking Notes & Being Hands Free
Organization For Next Steps, Scheduled Calls & More
The Importance Of Regular Communication
The Mentality Between Getting a $300 Client vs. a $1000 Client
+ Week 5 - Pro-Active Communication About Client Success
3 lectures 07:59
What Does It Mean To Be Pro-Active?
Listen to 5 Phone Calls
Leadpages Custom Rank Tracking & Audit Reports For Clients
+ Week 6 - SEO Tools I Use
16 lectures 01:06:25
Introduction To Week 6

SEO Powersuite is pretty much the ultimate tool for generating while labeled reports for rankings, backlinks, doing outreach and checking on competitor competition.

I own the Enterprise version and was quickly able to recoup the costs just offering website audits with this tool to clients.

SEO Powersuite

If you plan to do any keyword research yourself you should definitely checkout long tail pro.

LongTail Pro Keyword Research
UpCity Local SEO
GeoRanker For Checking Your Rankings
Sales Genie
Leadpages & Thrive Themes
Social Media Auto Posting: JetPack & Buffer
Infinite WP - Website Management