Freelance Digital Marketing: Strategies for Success

Freelance Digital Marketing

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What Is Freelance Digital Marketing?

Freelance Digital Marketing: a laptop on a table with coffee - AI generated

Freelance digital marketing refers to a self-employed contractor who assists one or more companies, organizations, or other clients with their marketing needs, usually remotely.

The word freelancer just means that you have the freedom to choose your clients and projects, set your own schedule, and work from anywhere in the world. Freelancers can offer a wide range of digital marketing services, such as social media marketing, content creation, content writing, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, email marketing, and lots more.

Digital marketing specialists who choose to pursue a freelance career have the opportunity to earn a higher income than those who work as in-house digital marketers. According to ZipRecruiter, freelance digital marketing managers earn an average of $68,970 per year in the United States, while in-house digital marketing managers earn an average of $72,589 per year. 

However, as a digital marketing freelancer, there is really no limit to the amount of income you want to make. You can take on as many projects as you can (and even outsource them in some cases) to make the most money every month. You are not tied to certain office hours, nor do you have to apply to take days off. You are literally in charge of your own time.

A freelance marketer can work with clients across a variety of industries, from small startups to large corporations. You can also specialize in a particular niche, such as healthcare, finance, or technology, and become an expert in that field.

All the freelancing jobs you can do – check out full list here.

What Does A Freelance Digital Marketer Do?

Freelance Digital Marketing: a freelancer at his laptop

As a freelance digital marketer, your job is to help clients promote their products or services through various digital channels. This can include social media management, email marketing, web design, funnel building, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, content marketing, becoming a closer for their highly-priced programs, working as a front-end customer representative, and more. The possibilities are endless.

Your role as a freelancer is to work with clients to identify their marketing goals and develop a strategy to achieve them. 

This may involve conducting market research, analyzing data, interviewing people, creating surveys, and crafting a plan that includes specific tactics and timelines.

It can also mean creating funnels, designing websites, writing emails, social media posts, and even blog posts.

Once a strategy is in place, you will be responsible for executing it. This can involve creating content, managing social media platforms and accounts, running advertising campaigns, and more. You may also be responsible for tracking and analyzing the results of your efforts to ensure that they are meeting the client’s goals.

You will, however, need to have a wide range of skills and be comfortable working with a variety of digital tools and platforms. You will also need to be able to communicate effectively with clients and work independently to meet deadlines and deliver results.

New freelancers:

  • Follows instructions, do as they’re told.
  • Does not give lots of ideas.
  • Is not paid well.

Seasoned freelancers:

  • Gives ideas and strategies from success, backed by experience.
  • Comes across as a consultant and has better credibility
  • Commands better salaries.

Skills You Need As A Freelance Digital Marketer

Freelance Digital Marketing - laptop and stationery on a messy ytable

Doing digital freelance marketing requires, to a certain extent, that you have some skills when it comes to writing, content creation, or even just email management.

If you’re new, you don’t need to have done them professionally, but at least know your way around basic tools and platforms, such as Google Workspace, Trello, and social media. You get the idea. If you’re not completely starting from scratch, they find you easier to train, and you’ll it easier to adapt and learn as well.

So do not feel pressurized into thinking freelancing isn’t for you. It is for anyone who is willing to learn and committed to improving.

Examples Of Digital Marketing Skills

While these skills aren’t compulsory, having a background or some experience in having done them professionally will help your freelancing career go a long way

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): This one isn’t a must, but it is a huge bonus. Having a good understanding of SEO principles as well as knowing how to optimize content for search engines can help you go a long way. This includes keyword research, on-page optimization, and link building.
  • Pinterest Content Marketing: A popular freelancing option, as a Pinterest VA or a Pinterest Manager, you’ll be in charge of creating pins, scheduling them, pinning, and growing your clients’ accounts.
  • Social Media Management: This means you become a social media manager. You manage social media accounts for clients, including creating and scheduling posts, responding to comments, and analyzing social media metrics. It’s like managing your own social media channel, but more consistently and with a different outcome in mind – and that is to grow the brand and monetize it.
  • Virtual Assisting: Managing email inboxes, scheduling appointments between employer and clients, taking notes during meetings, becoming a front-end customer representative, and answering email inquiries.
  • Email Marketing: Manage email marketing campaigns that are designed to nurture leads and convert them into customers. Skilled in the art of persuasion and emotional buying.
  • Content Creation: Create a variety of content types, including blog posts, social media posts, infographics, videos, and more on a consistent basis. It can also mean being able to create designs for sites and funnels.
  • Brand Awareness: Reaching out to media outlets and sponsors to help your employer or clients grow their brands.

The good thing is if you do even just one or two of the above well, you’re highly likely to be hired on a regular or retainer basis.

Business Skills

Business skills are more geared towards your ability to juggle, organize, and manage different business requirements. The end goal is to help your clients make money. Such skills prepare you for roles as such becoming a project manager, sales manager, development executive, and more. Here are some basic necessary skills that you most likely have if you’ve worked in corporate or ran businesses before:

  • Marketing Skills: A good understanding of marketing principles and how to apply them to your work. Know the basics of validating offers, audience targeting, and the best methods to align those with the company’s goals.
  • Marketing Strategy: Create and implement effective marketing strategies that are designed to achieve specific business goals based on audience type and niche.
  • Managerial Work: Manage multiple digital marketing projects at once, ensuring that they are completed on time and within budget – be the intermediary between different departments and make sure communication is at optimal.
  • Content Strategy: Create and implement a content strategy that aligns with your clients’ business goals. Jump on meetings with clients to ensure the best strategies to manage client’s goals and expectations.
  • Social Media Advertising: Craft and manage social media advertising campaigns that are designed to drive traffic and generate leads, such as Facebook Ads, TikTok Ads, and more.
  • Potential Clients: Identify new clients and develop strategies to attract them, ie to have effective outreach and networking methods in place.

How Much Does A Freelance Digital Marketer Make?

a digital marketing chart - AI generated

Setting Up Your Business

Before we dive into how much you can make, it’s important to make sure you have your business set up properly. 

This includes registering your business, setting up a website, and creating a portfolio of your work. Having a professional website and portfolio can help you attract clients and showcase your skills and experience.

Setting Your Rates

Now that’s over, let’s talk about rates. According to research, the average yearly salary of a freelance digital marketer is around $80K, with entry-level specialists usually earning $49K and top specialists earning over $150,000 a year.

This can vary significantly based on your experience, knowledge, track record, strength of referrals, and skills.

There are several ways of charging a client.

You can go with hourly rates or per-project rates, with project rates being the most popular option.

Hourly rates can range from $30 to $150 per hour, depending on the job scope, timeline, and amount of work needed. Project-based rates can vary widely depending on the scope of the project and the amount of work involved.

Most freelance marketers don’t consider this, but you’ll want to take into account your own taxes, health insurance, rent, and other expenses. Make sure to factor these costs into your rates to ensure that you’re making a profit.

Check out the complete guide to setting your rates here.

Freelance bookkeeping – guide to getting started.

Building an Online Presence

laptops, tablets and gadgets - AI generated

The world we are living in now dictates that one have a strong online brand to get seen, have followers, and make money.

Creating a personal brand, leveraging social media, and implementing SEO best practices are just some of the essential components of building a strong online presence that helps you to become a successful freelance digital marketer.

Creating a Personal Brand

Creating a personal brand is the foundation of your digital marketing efforts and a great place to start. It involves defining your unique value proposition, identifying your target audience, and developing a consistent brand voice and visual identity.

To create a personal brand, start by defining your niche and determining what sets you apart from other digital marketers. Next, identify your target audience and tailor your messaging and branding to appeal to them. 

Imagine your dream clients following you on social media. Think of the type of content and values you’d want them to see in your brand, and how your offer can help them with their problems.

SEO Best Practices

Before we talk SEO, let’s just think of what you’d like to have on the Internet that represents your brand.

That would be your own website. 

A site that showcases your work, your values, beliefs, testimonials, and skills.

This is the best way to get someone to hire you – it’s your portfolio.

Share the link everywhere and anywhere – the more, the better.

If you can rank on Google, you’d get even more visibility – and that’s where SEO comes in.

Search engine optimization (SEO) helps you rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) and drive more traffic to your website. 

In short, SEO is about keyword research, understanding search intent, and answering these intents.

SEO is also about page load speed and mobile optimization. It involves good, helpful content, exciting meta descriptions and high-quality backlinks.

Acquiring Clients

Freelance Digital Marketing - pie charts and graphs

Finding Your First Client

When starting out, finding your first client can be challenging. However, there are a few strategies you can use to get your foot in the door. 

Start by reaching out to small business owners in your network and offering your services at a discounted rate. This can help you build your portfolio and gain valuable experience.

Another strategy is to offer a free digital marketing audit to potential clients. This can help you demonstrate your expertise and show potential clients how you can help them improve their digital presence. Free audit clients also have the potential to become paid clients.

Offer free redesigns, if you’re a designer. Get testimonials in return.

Growing Your Client Base

Once you have your first client, it’s important to continue growing your client base. One effective strategy is to ask for referrals from your current clients. 

Happy clients are often willing to refer their friends and colleagues to you.

The keyword here is happy. If you want your client base to grow and you want the referrals to keep coming, make sure you produce quality work that gives your client results.

No results, no referrals. It’s a simple equation.

If it’s applicable to you,  attend networking events and conferences to connect with potential clients. Make sure to bring business cards and be prepared to talk about your services and how you can help businesses improve their digital presence.

This only works if your clients are within the same geographical location as you are.

Using Job Boards

Job boards can be a great way to connect with potential clients who are actively seeking digital marketing services. Some popular job boards for freelance digital marketers include Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr.

When using job boards, make sure to create a compelling profile that highlights your skills and experience. Be proactive in applying for projects and make sure to follow up with potential clients after submitting a proposal. Remember, competition can be rife, though these job boards will highlight and showcase your services if you consistently garner great testimonials.

By implementing these strategies, you can build a strong client base coming back to you on repeat and grow your freelance digital marketing business.

Continuing Education and Professional Development

Freelance Digital Marketing - books and pens and a laptop

I strongly believe in investing in courses.

I’m not a course junkie, though I’ve invested in several not-so-great courses before.

However, every course (good or bad) teaches us something.

Courses allow us to learn and perfect our skills more quickly. It allows us to stay up to date with industry trends. It gives us opportunities to meet with other entrepreneurs and grow our network of referrals.

In short, I strongly believe that to get forward faster, one needs to invest in a good course or coaching program. 

It’ll also make you stand out amongst the huge numbers of freelance marketers that wing it with YouTube and Google.

If you were a paying client, you’d want to hire someone who had spent money and time learning and honing their craft, rather than someone who picked bits and pieces up from all over the Internet for free, right?

However, if you are looking to start off without any investment or with minimal investment, check out this article.

Online Courses and Certifications

Nowadays, almost everything is accessible. Especially online courses and certification programs.

Many reputable institutions offer digital marketing courses that cover a range of topics, from SEO and social media marketing to email marketing and content creation. Udemy alone offers courses from Google Analytics to Instagram Growth to Adobe Photoshop.

There are also several online platforms that offer digital marketing certifications. Google’s Digital Garage, for example, provides free courses on topics such as search engine optimization, social media marketing, and digital advertising. 

HubSpot Academy also offers a range of certifications that cover topics such as inbound marketing, email marketing, and content marketing.

The possibilities are endless. Pick one that you’d like to learn and that suits your current niche, and uplevel your skill sets.

Staying Updated With Industry Trends

To stay ahead of the curve, it’s important to stay updated with the latest trends in the digital marketing industry. 

One way to do this is by reading industry blogs and publications, such as Moz, Search Engine Journal, and Marketing Land. These publications provide insights into the latest industry developments, best practices, and case studies that can help you refine your digital marketing strategy.

Simply sign up to their weekly newsletters or opt into their email list for regular updates.

Attending industry conferences and events is another effective way to stay updated with industry trends and network with other digital marketing professionals. 

Events such as the Digital Marketing World Forum and the Content Marketing World Conference and Expo bring together industry experts to discuss the latest trends and share best practices.

Benefits of Freelance Digital Marketing

Freelance Digital Marketing - post-it notes, charts, designs

As a freelance digital marketer, there are several benefits that you can enjoy. Here are five pros of being a freelance digital marketer:

  1. Flexibility: One of the biggest benefits of being a freelance digital marketer is the flexibility it offers. You have the freedom to choose your own working hours, work from anywhere, and take on projects that interest you.
  2. Higher Earning Potential: Another advantage of freelance digital marketing is the potential to earn more money. According to Zip Recruiter, freelance digital marketing managers earn an average salary of $68,970 per year. This is higher than the average salary of a full-time digital marketing manager. In fact the more projects you take on, the more you make!
  3. Diverse Skill Set: As a freelance digital marketer, you will need to have a diverse skill set to succeed. This means that you will have the opportunity to learn new skills and expand your knowledge in different areas of digital marketing.
  4. Variety of Projects: Freelance digital marketing also offers the opportunity to work on a variety of projects. You can work on projects for different industries, businesses, and clients, which can help you gain valuable experience and build your portfolio.
  5. Autonomy: Finally, being a freelance digital marketer gives you the autonomy to manage your own projects and clients. You can work on projects that interest you and have more control over your work.
FlexibilityChoose your own working hours, work from anywhere, and take on projects that interest you.
Higher Earning PotentialFreelance digital marketing managers earn an average salary of $68,970 per year.
Diverse Skill SetLearn new skills and expand your knowledge in different areas of digital marketing.
Variety of ProjectsWork on projects for different industries, businesses, and clients.
AutonomyManage your own projects and clients.

Challenges of Freelance Digital Marketing

Freelance Digital Marketing - man working on his computer

As you travel down this career path, you have a lot of work to do in a given time to ensure the success of your career. However, there are some challenges that you may face along the way. In this section, we will discuss some of the common challenges that you may encounter and how to overcome them.

Managing Administrative Tasks

One of the biggest challenges of being a freelance digital marketer is managing administrative tasks. This includes tasks such as invoicing, bookkeeping, and client management. 

To stay organized, you can use tools like Google Docs or Trello to manage your tasks and keep track of deadlines. I personally use Google Docs, ClickUp, and an A4 notebook, because I’m old school.

Maintaining Work-Life Balance

Another challenge that you may face as a freelance digital marketer is maintaining work-life balance. Even though we know it is one of the most important things and one of the main reasons why we choose to work freelance, we never seem to appreciate or take advantage of the fact that we can actually go and enjoy some time off whenever we want to.

Since you are your own boss, you have the freedom to work whenever you want. The thing is, we bosses never know when to quit. We’re stuck at the PC the whole day, sleeping late and forgetting to eat.

It’s important to set boundaries and create a schedule that allows you to take breaks and spend time with your loved ones. Go for a run in the evenings. Take in the greenery and breathe fresh air. 

I realize I always come back with better ideas for my funnel design after a run!

Securing Health Insurance

As a freelancer, you are responsible for securing your own health insurance. This can be a challenge, especially if you are just starting out and don’t have a lot of income. 

However, there are options available, such as purchasing insurance through the Affordable Care Act or joining a freelancer’s union that offers health benefits.

I choose not to put acquiring clients as a challenge, because I believe if you put in good work for your clients, your services will always be in high demand.

A Quick Guide On How To Get Started As A Freelance Digital Marketer

AI generated image of a man working at his computer with multiple screens

If you have decided to embark on a successful career as a freelance digital marketer, congratulations! You have made an informed decision that can potentially lead you to a fulfilling and lucrative career. 

The first step towards achieving your goal is to identify your skills. 

Whether it’s design, copywriting, blogging, or social media management, you need to know what you are good at and what sets you apart from others in the field.

The next step is to know your target audience

You need to understand what they need, what helps them, and how your services and skills come into play. This will help you tailor your services and approach to meet their needs and expectations.

Creating a portfolio is crucial to showcase your skills and expertise. 

Your portfolio should include examples of your work, such as case studies, blog posts, social media campaigns, and any other relevant work that demonstrates your capabilities. 

You can create different types of portfolios, such as a website, a PDF document, or a social media page, depending on your preference and the needs of your target audience.

Setting your rates can be a tricky task, but it’s important to determine your worth and the value you bring to your clients. You can research industry standards and compare your rates with other freelancers in the field. 

Don’t undervalue your services, but also don’t overprice them.

Collecting testimonials is an effective way to build your credibility and reputation as a freelance digital marketer. 

Ask your clients for feedback and testimonials, and showcase them on your website or portfolio. This will help potential clients trust you and your services.

Finally, hone your skills and be really good at what you do. 

Give your clients results and exceed their expectations (I cannot stress this enough!). Keep up with the latest trends and technologies in the field, and continuously improve your skills and knowledge.

By following these six steps, you can get started on your journey as a freelance digital marketer and build a successful career. This ultimate guide can help you navigate the challenges and opportunities of the field, and make the most of your skills and expertise.

Success never comes easy, but as long as you stay focused and put in the work, you’re set for an amazing journey as you forge your freelance digital marketing career.

Frequently Asked Questions

digital marketing image with lightbulb and charts

What is the average salary for a freelance digital marketer?

The average salary for a freelance digital marketer varies depending on factors such as experience, location, and niche. However, according to CareerFoundry, the average hourly rate for a freelance digital marketer in 2023 is around $60-80 USD.

How can I start freelancing in digital marketing from home?

To start freelancing in digital marketing from home, you will need to develop a strong skill set and build a portfolio of work. LinkedIn suggests that you should focus on building your skills in areas such as SEO, PPC, social media marketing, content marketing, and email marketing. You can start by taking courses in these areas and building your portfolio by working on projects for friends and family.

What are some reputable courses for freelance digital marketing?

There are many reputable courses available for freelance digital marketing. Coursera recommends courses such as the Digital Marketing Specialization from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Social Media Marketing Specialization from Northwestern University, and the Google Ads Certification.

Is freelance digital marketing a legitimate career choice?

Yes, freelance digital marketing is a legitimate career choice. According to HostAdvice, freelance digital marketing is a growing field with many opportunities for those with the right skills and experience.

What are some popular websites for finding freelance digital marketing work?

Some popular websites for finding freelance digital marketing work include Upwork, Freelancer, and Guru. These websites allow you to create a profile, bid on projects, and connect with clients.

What skills and tasks are involved in freelance digital marketing?

Freelance digital marketing involves a range of skills and tasks, including SEO, PPC, social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, analytics, and more. As a freelance digital marketer, you will need to be able to develop and execute marketing strategies, create engaging content, analyze data, and communicate effectively with clients.

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