How to start a digital marketing agency in Dubai

start a digital marketing agency

Dubai is home to businesses of all sizes, across all sectors. But all share a common goal. Bringing high quality products or services to market. And they need help getting there.

That’s why marketing – and particularly digital marketing – is big business in this part of the world.

In recent years, digital marketing spending in the Middle East is estimated to account for 10% of the global market, with total spend predicted to reach around USD 27.5bn by the end of this year.

But a large and growing market is just one reason why digital marketing businesses continue to succeed in Dubai.

The UAE is also home to an incredibly welcoming corporate environment, regularly ranking highly in the global Doing Business Index. On top of this, the country’s 0% tax rate, strategic location, world-class infrastructure, and many free zones make it popular with entrepreneurs the world over.

If you’re looking to get into the marketing space, there are plenty great reasons to start a digital marketing agency in Dubai. Here’s how to get started.

How to start a digital marketing agency in Dubai

So, you’re looking to start your digital marketing agency in Dubai. The process can be simple, providing you go in with your eyes open, armed with the knowledge to navigate licensing and visa requirements.

To ease this process, it is always advisable to partner with a company formation agent. Working with an agent makes business setup in Dubai easy. We can manage the entire process for you, taking care of early admin and assisting with license, visa, and bank account applications.

When you work with a formation agent, the set up process consists of just five simple steps:

Step 1

First, we’ll help you choose and register your company name, ensuring that it complies with the UAE’s naming criteria.

You cannot include any offensive or blasphemous language, nor any references to Allah or Islam in your company name. If you wish to include your name in your company name, you must use it in full rather than just your surname or initials. You must also check that your chosen name is available to be registered.

Step 2

Next, we’ll take you through the difference types of setup on offer in Dubai. The most common are mainland and free zone.

Free zones offer a range of benefits, including, but certainly not limited to, full customs tax exemption, no currency restrictions and the ability to repatriate 100% of your capital and profit.

Mainland companies cannot take advantage of all of the benefits offered by free zones but they are permitted to trade directly with the local UAE market without the need for a service agent and can also take on government contracts – both things that free zone businesses cannot do.

In most cases, particularly for digital marketing businesses, it is most cost effective to set up a company in a Dubai free zone rather than opting for the mainland.

Step 3

Now for the all-important step – applying for your company license.

The process here is slightly different depending on whether you have chosen to set up a free zone or mainland business.

If you’ve decided that the mainland is a better base for your business, you’ll need to make your application directly to the DED. Most of this process takes place online.

Alternatively, if you have decided on a free zone setup then you can make your application directly to your chosen free zone. As free zones are self-regulated, you do require additional approvals to trade, making the process faster and more efficient. This is one of several reasons why free zone company setup is often the most affordable and straightforward method of starting a business in Dubai.

Step 4

Next, we’ll help you apply for your visa.You will need to visit an immigration centre during the process to provide biometric information. The visa application also includes a fitness test, blood test and chest x-ray.

Providing you meet the salary criteria, it is also possible to sponsor others for their UAE visas too, such as your children, partner or parents.

Step 5

With your license and visa in hand, you can now apply to open a corporate bank account.

Dubai is home to wide range of banking institutions, both local banks and international brands. However, bank account opening can be a complex process for overseas business owners, so it is best to make your application with the help of an expert that is well-versed in the process and its requirements.

Benefits of starting a digital marketing agency

There are many compelling reasons to start a digital marketing business in Dubai. Here are just a few:

Growing market – The digital marketing industry has been steadily growing in Dubai for a number of years. This is an emirate famed for its business environment – and most companies out here are looking for help promoting their wares. If your business can do that successfully, you’re sure to be in demand.

Low tax – It’s impossible to discuss the benefits of business setup in the UAE without talking about the tax environment. The emirate continues to levy 0% on both corporate and personal income. And, when you set up in a free zone, you can also benefit from no currency restrictions, repatriation of capital and profit, and easy 100% ownership.

Easy setup – When you work with a reputable agent, setting up a digital marketing company in Dubai doesn’t have to be complex. In many cases, you can have your license to trade within a matter of days.

What is the cost of starting a digital marketing agency in Dubai?

This is never an easy question to answer with complete certainty as every business is different. The size of your company, the type of setup, and your chosen location can all have a bearing on price.

However, to speak generally, free zone licenses range from AED 9,600 with no visa application, up to AED 24,700 inclusive of six visas, and so on. 

Business setup in Dubai

The process of company creation in Dubai has been designed with simplicity in mind. That said, it does take some in-depth knowledge of the UAE and its many customs and regulations.

That’s why it’s always advisable to acquire the services of a business setup company who can not only advise on the process but also seek out the most suitable license and setup type for your business, based on your needs and your budget.

When you use business setup services, you also gain peace of mind that your license and visa applications are free from errors and omissions – both of which can lead to delays and rejection.

When you work with a UAE company formation specialist, all you need to provide is some basic documentation and a little information about the nature of your business. Then, sit back and let the experts take care of the rest – managing your license and visa applications, communicating with all relevant departments and authorities, and reporting back when you’re ready to start trading. It really is that simple.