Everything is going digital these days.
As a result, the search for digital marketers is skyrocketing, making this year the one to begin or grow your career in this creative and strategic field.
You don’t have to sign on with an employer, however. Now is the perfect time and opportunity to become a freelance digital marketer.
As a freelancer, you can determine what services to offer, who to work for, and how many projects to take on at any given time.
And for businesses and professionals in need of marketing services, hiring a freelancer can also be a huge benefit, not only strategically but to the bottom line.
Whether you’re looking to start your own freelance career or are a professional wondering if hiring a freelance digital marketer will be beneficial, we tell you what you need to know.
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What is a Freelance Digital Marketer?
A freelance digital marketer is a contracted professional who provides one or more digital marketing services to companies of different sizes, as well as nonprofits, entrepreneurs, and professional individuals.
Armed with a special set of skills, freelancers can come in and provide creative and competent services to boost the marketing efforts or manage them all together.
Digital marketing techniques continue to evolve and require focused attention to be successful. This is where a freelance digital marketer comes in.
What Will a Freelance Digital Marketer Do?
Freelance digital marketers can offer a variety of services or specialize in one or two different areas. The range of these services is broad and can include any of the following:
- Search engine optimization (SEO), to include keyword research, link strategizing, and optimized content creation.
- Social media marketing and management
- Content marketing
- Ad campaign management, including pay-per-click (PPC), Google ads, and Facebook ads
- Video marketing
- Email Marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Digital marketing strategies and plans
- Creation of promotional materials and campaigns
- Brand building
- Marketing analytics
In addition, a freelancer will also need to take care of business and administrative tasks associated with running their own business, including filing self-employment taxes, generating leads, and bookkeeping.
When considering how to become a freelance digital marketer, also consider whether these advantages will outweigh the disadvantages and keep you in a career you enjoy and excel in.
- Be your own boss
- Set your own flexible schedule
- Ability to choose what projects to work on
- Freedom to select your clients
- Work in your own space
- Experience a lower cost of doing business
- Unlimited potential when it comes to income
- Unpredictable income (lack of a fixed salary)
- Responsible for marketing and selling your services
- Lack of company benefits (health insurance, retirement benefits, company perks)
- Working alone, often in isolation
- Must track and pay your own business expenses and freelancer taxes
How to Become a Freelance Digital Marketer
While the path you choose is unique to you and your interests, the following steps for how to become a digital marketing freelancer can help you achieve success.
1. Determine Your Niche
While you may have several interests, it’s essential to determine a niche to focus on and build your brand around.
Clients want someone specializing in what they need, what they offer, or the type of industry they’re in, not a jack-of-all-trades who is trying to be all things to all people.
Start by conducting research. Learn everything you can about the digital marketing landscape.
Talk with those already in the field of digital marketing. Learn about the possibilities and also the needs and current trends.
Then, choose your specific niche. Perhaps you want to focus on small business owners, entrepreneurs, or startups. If so, determine what industries to focus on.
For example, do you want that focus to be on health and wellness providers or on financial technology companies?
Determining a niche will help you build your personal brand and tailor your pitch to potential clients.
2. Concentrate on Building Your Skillset
All freelance digital marketers need to have a skill set to offer clients.
These skills will depend on your interests, experiences, and the services you wish to provide. Consider the ones you currently have and what you will need to develop others.
Common digital marketer freelancing skills include content writing and copywriting, SEO, and marketing analytics.
You’ll be responsible for your own training, so choose wisely.
Find relevant courses, workshops, seminars, or certifications that can benefit you. Watch videos, follow influencers on LinkedIn and other social media platforms, and also interact.
Volunteer, intern, or accept a part-time position with a company marketing department or a standalone marketing agency, and learn as much as you can.
Practice on your own website and blog or that of family members or friends.
Become experienced with Google or Facebook ads to draw traffic to your own website.
3. Create Your Personal Brand
Establishing your personal brand is crucial to your success as a freelancer. It is a way to build client recognition and credibility.
Personal branding refers to how you define yourself and then promote it consistently everywhere you can. It is about your unique combination of skills, experiences, and values.
Determine what you are most passionate about and what you want to be recognized for.
Be consistent throughout your online presence, including your website, blog, and social media accounts.
Also, go beyond your own website and try guest posting on other high-traffic websites. By doing so, you gain backlinks, increase traffic, boost your reputation, and establish yourself as knowledgeable.
4. Build a Digital Marketing Blog
Blogging is still one of the more effective marketing methods for your business as a freelancer and can be a major contributor to your positive online presence.
Build a digital marketing blog and publish posts that let potential clients know your capabilities and how you can help to reach their marketing goals.
Content is a powerful tool for expressing your abilities and showing your knowledge and skills.
Make the majority of your blog posts relate to what marketing services you offer clients.
5. Set Your Freelancing Rates
Determining your pricing as a freelancer can be challenging. Start by considering how you wish to structure your pricing. Options include:
- By the hour
- Per the project type
- Per a monthly fee
- Fixed price projects
- Retainer projects
- Any combination of those above
Will you offer discounts for clients who require a lot of services or are returning customers?
Are you a beginner or have several years’ experience already? If you are new, be open to working for a lower rate to gain experience, customer testimonials, and samples for your portfolio.
Stay flexible, however, so you can better fit your different customer needs.
The key is not to undersell yourself or overprice yourself out of contention with clients.
Stay up-to-date on fees of freelancers and that of employed digital marketers, and always know your own worth and abilities.
6. Compile Customer Reviews and Create a Portfolio
Back up your personal branding and showcase your experience by compiling customer reviews and creating a portfolio.
Always ask for reviews from clients, and use this social proof to further market your digital marketing services.
On your website, add the customer reviews or testimonials in strategic locations or on a separate page. Include customer names, websites, and positive quotes.
Website visitors considering you for work will check these out to gain a sense of how you work with others and how you and your work are perceived.
Also, create a portfolio of your completed work to showcase to potential clients. Dedicate a webpage specifically for your portfolio, making it easy to find and review.
7. Efficiently Organize your Schedule
To begin with, you may be able to fit all your work in neatly each week. As you grow, however, you’ll have more deadlines and tasks to perform.
You’ll need to determine the best way to organize your time efficiently.
Set up a time to answer emails, send out invoices, and meet with clients via Zoom or in person. Find a way to delegate your time for each client that works best for you.
Consider using a project management software to keep you on track for deliverables, deadlines, and communications.
Automate as many administrative-related tasks as possible, such as creating templates for proposals and invoices, which will allow you to spend most of your time on income-generating tasks.
Set aside time to work on your own marketing efforts as well, such as writing and posting to your blog. Also, continue learning by scheduling time for training and reading industry publications or blogs.
As a freelancer, you can quickly become overwhelmed and find yourself trying to work 24/7. To stay fresh, you need to allow yourself some free time to close your laptop and relax.
How Much Do Freelance Digital Marketers Earn?
Many factors can contribute to how much freelance digital marketers earn, including:
- Experience level
- Value of your marketing services to clients
- Type of clients you attract
- Number of clients
Certain services may tend to trend higher in pay than others, with one example being email marketing.
Specific industries are also known to pay higher rates due to the expert knowledge needed. Such examples include technology, finance, and medicine.
Currently, full-time freelance digital marketers can make anywhere within a range of $45,000 to over $80,000.
The hourly rate for freelancers can be between $50 and $200, depending on specialty and experience.
Often, you’ll need to enter negotiations with a client, so it is essential to have a baseline that you will accept. While you need to remain flexible, you also need to earn a living, so stay confident.
The need for digital marketers continues to rise.
Businesses that are overwhelmed and need help with their digital marketing efforts can benefit from adding freelancers to their team, whether on a project-by-project basis or over the long-term.
By focusing on finding your niche, building up your skillset, creating a personal brand, blogging, setting flexible rates, utilizing social proof, and efficiently scheduling your time, you can make the most of a growing career.
To help save both more time and money, also check out these best freelancer tools to help you get ahead.