Digital marketing is a broad term that covers many exciting areas. From mobile marketing to interactive technology (including AI) and social media influencing to video/audio production, now is the time to build on top of the progress the marketing field has made in the last decade to move the world forward. Keep reading to see how you can get started in freelance digital marketing and change your future.
Quite simply, digital marketing is an expanding sector with the highest demand. With such a significant digital skills gap, there are many opportunities for freelancers to get in on the action.
After you get started in freelance digital marketing, you’ll be able to build creative plans to help your clients prosper. Even better, you can do this all from the comfort of your home or any corner of the world!
Why become a freelance digital marketing consultant?
Many people never realize their dream of becoming a freelancer and doing what they love. That said, most of those who take the plunge achieve their goals! They get to be their own boss, work from wherever they want, and wear whatever they want when working. If the thought of working for yourself and seeing the world or being financially stable sounds good to you, then keep reading.
The freelance economy is booming and offers many angles to explore simply because businesses need skilled workers but not on a full-time schedule. More companies are looking to outsource work as a result. This is creating even more opportunities to make a viable career as a freelancer and create the flexible working routine you desire. Even if you’ve only been in a job for less than a year, you can earn decent pay as a freelance digital marketer that is often two to three times what you currently make.
What you need to get started in freelance digital marketing
The first and most important thing you need to learn as a freelancer is how to sell yourself. To be successful, you need to pitch your ideas and services to bring in the money. For many people, this is a case of practice makes perfect, so treat it like every other skill. Think about what makes you different and how you can bring value to a company. With time, you will have a short, well-crafted pitch for anyone who asks, “So what do you do?”
Digital marketing covers a handful of areas. While you want to master all aspects of this field, you can specialize in one when just beginning.
A background in the following areas will give you some of the skills needed to be a digital marketer:
- Marketing management
- Search Engine Optimization
- Social Media Management
- Web design and development
These are just some of the common aspects of digital marketing. Think about what skills you have and how they can help a business or organization spread its message.
More than anything, time management and personal responsibility are the most important traits you will need to succeed as a freelancer!
It pays to get some certifications from a reputable source, like Google Digital Garage that offers several courses on digital marketing. There are many other certificates available if you have the cash to spend on them, but make sure that they actually enhance your skills and tell clients you are professional.
Those working in the US may want to target the American Marketing Association’s Professional Certified Marketer® program. For others, the Online Marketing Certified Professional (OMCP) is another industry certification standard to consider. These certifications help establish that you can do the work and meet a level of professionalism, which sets you apart from others. However, digital marketing is always pushing the boundaries forward, so be prepared to pick up new skills and tools and continually learn as you keep earning.
Here are some places to get digital marketing certifications:
Taking the Leap
For many of us, overthinking things prevents us from acting. Don’t let this happen to you. You need to stop thinking of how to get started in freelance digital marketing and just do it!
You will be relieved to know that the best way to begin is when you already have a job. Start building your brand and develop a portfolio to demonstrate your unique digital offerings. You will want to demonstrate your writing abilities, familiarity with Google products, and social media marketing results.
Freelancing sounds great to many people before they realize it is like running a business. You must realize you won’t get paid until you have some actual clients.
Make sure you have enough money before jumping in full-time to avoid going into debt or having to return to your old job. Start putting away at least six months of cash to get you through the first months of freelancing. And if possible, line up one or two clients before turning in your notice.
Before you launch into full-time freelance, make sure your social media streams are consistent with your skills and aptitude. In other words, talk about what you are interested in publicly and as often as you can. Use a Medium blog to outline your thoughts, talk about issues in the market, and build recognition in the community. Remember to join some relevant LinkedIn and Facebook groups, providing your contributions after you established yourself as a member. These steps won’t get you clients immediately, but they will help you stand out.
How Do You Find Clients?
This question doesn’t have a simple answer. It all depends on your skill level and connections. If you are inexperienced or need to build out your profie, you can some gigs on Reddit, particularly For Hire and Slave Labour subreddits.
If you’re already established in the professional community, then don’t be afraid to sell yourself to those LinkedIn connections. Lastly, I have found clients in all types of places, from networking meetups to the local coffee shop. It is very important to have some business cards with you at all times to hand to prospective clients when out and about.
Places To Find Freelance Digital Marketing Jobs
Obviously, you will want to find the best freelance digital marketing jobs before everyone else does. When you are a full-time freelancer, developing this daily habit is essential, even if you already have a stack of work to complete. Keep adding to your portfolio and keep it refreshed. Start developing a network of contacts and keep reaching out to them each month. One of the best tools to use is the internet; there are many noteworthy resources that may connect you with clients you may never even have considered.
Entry-Level Freelance Websites
Until you build your personal website and can bring in clients organically, it helps to turn to freelancer websites. Fiverr and Freelancer are easy to join, though it may take some time to find worthwhile opportunities because of how many spirits use it. Upwork is an awesome resource and is where I found most of my jobs when starting, but getting accepted can be difficult if your skills are similar to many other people on the platform.
You can also bookmark Remote.Co, WeWorkRemotely.com, and PrimePixels.media to find remote, contract positions with companies. It’s good to check aggregators, like Indeed.com and Jooble.org, at least once a week or set up an email notice of roles that match your criteria.
Related Post: Where to Find Freelance Jobs Online for Beginners
Finding Freelance Jobs for Experienced Marketers
Searching the internet to find clients who need assistance is the most effective but challenging route. You need to look for businesses that could benefit from embracing digital marketing or those that are doing it wrong. For example, if you see a Detroit car dealership running ads in Hawaii, you can contact the decision-makers about their marketing efforts. After telling them how this is causing unnecessary costs and providing them bad leads, you can then pitch your marketing services.
After you get started in freelance digital marketing, you will want to imrpove the quality of your clients. Big businesses and established organizations usually pay more, but earning their business can be tough. Once you have experience and can demonstrate your results, polish your portfolio and send it off to these places. Large agencies or similar businesses usually have a pool of freelancers. Some even employ them full-time to work on projects. Once you start working with these clients, you will truly feel like you’ve made it.
Tips To Succeed And What To Avoid
Knowing how to start freelance digital marketing is quite simple. Build up some skills and get certifications, gain a few clients to build your portfolio, and don’t quit your job until you can support yourself. However, this is just a basic plan, and you are bound to make some mistakes.
Ways to Be a Better Freelancer
- Make yourself a brand. People should know you for your unique style, professionalism, or any other desirable trait
- Always be ON. You never know when a chance meeting could lead to work. Have your updated portfolio ready to send out to any prospective clients at a moment’s notice
- Work every day. Set aside time to find clients and make it your mission to earn at least $1 per day. Keep developing your skills and adding work to your portfolio
- Get social. Share your story on Facebook and LinkedIn. Not only will this help you connect with others, but it gives you social proof when clients are considering to hire you
- Track your time. At most jobs, you are paid regardless of how productive you are each day. As a freelancer, you are only paid if you are working. Set your rates to account for this and track your time using a notebook or app. This helps you submit more accurate cost estimates when pitching your services
- Don’t be afraid to outsource. As a digital marketing consultant, you are often responsible for many moving parts. Instead of spending hours creating SEO content, why not hire a writer to help you? The same can go for optimizing ads and building websites. By outsourcing, you can focus on the important issues
Some General Warnings
- Don’t be judgmental. You will see there are A LOT of bad freelancers out there. These people might spam networking groups or social media pages in search of advice. Be nice to them and give advice when possible
- Bad clients exist. Beware of anyone who wants something cheap and fast. They will make you work for pennies but treat you like they’re paying you millions. It’s best to decline these offers because they end up eating much of your time
- Burnout is real. Freelancers sometimes don’t know when to stop. I’ve seen people put in 15 hour days repeatedly. While it’s good to take your work seriously, your body and mind need some rest. Taking on too much work will only produce poor results for all your clients
Ready to Get Started in Freelance Digital Marketing?
While being a freelance digital marketer can be rewarding, you may find a firm that really clicks with you and return to the workforce. Alternatively, you might realize that you have several people working for you and are ready to start a digital marketing agency.
Your true calling may evolve during this journey, and this is totally fine. Best of luck – I’m sure you’ll do great!