Freelance digital marketing has become an increasingly popular and rewarding career path. If you’re looking to embark on this exciting journey in 2023, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will walk you through the steps to get started in freelance digital marketing without overwhelming you with technical jargon.
Freelance digital marketing involves promoting businesses and their products or services through various online channels. With the ever-growing demand for online presence and brand visibility, digital marketing has become a crucial aspect of any successful business strategy. As a freelancer, you have the opportunity to offer your expertise and services to clients while enjoying the freedom and flexibility of working on your terms.
This guide aims to provide you with the essential knowledge and practical advice you need to kickstart your freelance digital marketing career. We will explore the basics of digital marketing, the skills required, and the steps you can take to establish yourself as a successful freelancer. Whether you have a background in marketing or are completely new to the field, this guide is designed to be accessible and helpful to beginners like you.
So, if you’re ready to dive into the world of freelance digital marketing and start building a thriving career, let’s get started!
Let’s Understand the Basics
Before diving into freelance digital marketing, it’s important to grasp the basics of this dynamic field. (Don’t worry, we’ll keep it simple and straightforward.)
What is digital marketing?
Digital marketing refers to the promotion of products or services using digital channels such as websites, search engines, social media platforms, email marketing, and more.
It encompasses a range of strategies and tactics aimed at reaching and engaging target audiences in the online space.
Different types of digital marketing channels
Digital marketing utilizes various channels to reach and connect with potential customers. Here are a few common ones:
- Social Media Marketing: Leveraging social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to engage with the target audience, build brand awareness, and drive website traffic.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Optimizing websites and content to rank higher in search engine results pages, thereby increasing visibility and organic traffic.
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising: Running targeted online ads on search engines or social media platforms, where advertisers pay only when their ads are clicked.
- Email Marketing: Sending personalized emails to nurture leads, build customer relationships, and promote products or services.
- Content Marketing: Creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and engaging content such as blog posts, videos, infographics, and podcasts to attract and retain an audience.
Key skills required for freelance digital marketing
While expertise in every aspect of digital marketing isn’t necessary right from the start, certain skills will greatly benefit you as a freelance digital marketer. Here are a few important ones to focus on:
- Communication Skills: Effective written and verbal communication skills are essential for understanding client needs, conveying ideas clearly, and building relationships.
- Analytical Skills: The ability to analyze data, interpret metrics, and draw insights is crucial for optimizing campaigns and measuring success.
- Creativity: Developing creative and engaging content that resonates with the target audience is a valuable skill in digital marketing.
- Adaptability: The digital landscape is constantly evolving, so being open to learning new tools, platforms, and strategies is vital for staying ahead.
- Time Management: As a freelancer, you’ll be responsible for managing your own time and juggling multiple projects. Good time management skills will help you stay organized and meet deadlines.
Start by Building a Strong Foundation
To succeed as a freelance digital marketer, it’s important to establish a strong foundation that sets you up for success. Here are essential steps to follow:
Identifying niche expertise and specialization
“Digital marketing is a vast field, so it’s beneficial to identify a niche or area of expertise that you can specialize in. That way, you can cut through the competition and get specific types of clients fast — and charge more because you’ll be a specialist of that skills area”, says Sumeer Kaur, Founder of Lashkaraa.com.
Whether it’s social media marketing, content creation conversion rate optimization, SEO, or email marketing, focusing on a specific area allows you to develop specialized skills and stand out from the competition.
Developing a personal brand and online presence
“Establishing a strong personal brand is crucial for freelance digital marketers. Create a professional website that showcases your skills, experience, and portfolio. Utilize social media platforms like LinkedIn to engage with the industry and share valuable content.”, says Tom Miller, Director of Marketing at FitnessVolt.
Building an online presence not only helps you attract clients but also positions you as an authority in your field.
Learn Essential Knowledge and Skills: Here’s How
To excel as a freelance digital marketer, it’s crucial to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills. Here are some practical steps to help you in this process:
Educate yourself about digital marketing strategies and techniques
Start by familiarizing yourself with the various digital marketing strategies and techniques. Explore resources such as online courses, blogs, and tutorials that offer beginner-friendly explanations of concepts like social media marketing, SEO, content marketing, and email marketing. Focus on understanding the fundamentals and how each strategy fits into the broader marketing landscape.
Explore free online resources and courses
Jeanette Johnson, Co-founder at Cool Chicken Breeds, says, “Take advantage of the wealth of free online resources available. Platforms like Google Digital Garage, HubSpot Academy, and Coursera offer free courses on digital marketing fundamentals, SEO, social media marketing, and more.”
These resources provide valuable insights, practical knowledge, and even certifications that can boost your credibility.
Network with industry professionals and join relevant communities
Networking is key to success in the digital marketing industry. Connect with other professionals in the field through social media platforms, industry events, and online communities. Participate in discussions, ask questions, and seek advice. Dan Close, Founder and CEO at We Buy Houses Louisville, shares, “Building relationships with experienced marketers can provide invaluable insights, mentorship, and potential collaboration opportunities.”
Set Up Your Freelance Business
To succeed as a freelance digital marketer, it’s important to set up your business properly. This involves taking care of legal and financial aspects and establishing a professional framework for your services. Here are key steps to consider:
Determining pricing and creating service packages
“Determine your pricing structure based on factors such as your expertise, and the value you provide to clients. Consider offering different service packages tailored to different client needs and budgets. Clearly outline the scope of each package, the deliverables, and the pricing for transparency”, says Max Whiteside, SEO and Content Lead, Breaking Muscle.
(Pro tip: Keep your prices a bit lower, in the beginning, to grab projects quickly!)
Develop a client onboarding process
“Create a streamlined client onboarding process to ensure a smooth transition from initial contact to project kickoff. This may include creating a standard contract or agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of your services, defining project timelines and deliverables, and setting expectations for communication and feedback,” says Richard Kennedy, Managing Director at Arken Digital.
(Don’t worry, it’s just a fancy way of saying welcoming your client and communicating with them.)
Start Finding Clients
Finding clients is a crucial aspect of building a successful freelance digital marketing business. Here are some effective strategies to help you find and attract potential clients:
Use Online Freelance Platforms
Consider signing up for reputable online freelance platforms such as Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr. These platforms provide a marketplace where clients post job listings, and freelancers can bid on or showcase their services. Build a compelling profile, highlight your expertise, and actively pursue relevant projects to secure clients, shares Faizan Ahmed Khan, Sr. Content Marketing Specialist at UBUY Kuwait.
Tap into Personal and Professional Networks
“Leverage your personal and professional networks to find potential clients. Let your friends, family, former colleagues, and acquaintances know about your freelance digital marketing services. I got my first few clients like this.”, shares Michelle Wells, Director of Marketing at Boiler Cover UK.
Also, attend industry events, join relevant professional groups, and engage with online communities to expand your network and gain exposure to potential clients.
Create a Professional Website
Having a professional website is essential for establishing your online presence and attracting clients. Showcase your portfolio, highlight your services, and provide contact information on your website. Additionally, optimize your website for search engines by incorporating relevant keywords, creating informative content, and ensuring it is mobile-friendly. This will help potential clients find you when searching for digital marketing services, shares Warren Phillips, Co-Founder of Lantana Recovery.
(Pro tip: If you don’t have a budget or means to develop your website, skip this part as a beginner. You can always build your website later. Start from your socials.)
Build Strong Client Relationships
Building strong client relationships is vital for freelance digital marketers. Happy clients not only bring repeat business but also serve as valuable references and sources of referrals. Here are some strategies to foster positive client relationships:
Effective communication and understanding of client goals
“Maintain clear and open communication with your clients. Actively listen to their needs and objectives, and ask questions to ensure a thorough understanding. Regularly update clients on project progress, seek their feedback, and address any concerns promptly”, says Kenny Kline, president and financial lead at BarBend.
Clear and transparent communication builds trust and strengthens the client relationship.
Setting realistic expectations and delivering on promises
“Set realistic expectations from the beginning. Clearly define project timelines, deliverables, and any limitations or constraints. Be honest about what you can deliver and avoid over-promising. Consistently meet deadlines and deliver high-quality work that aligns with client expectations. Going above and beyond can exceed client expectations and leave a lasting positive impression,” says Abigail Clemente, Chief Editor of Your House Your Garden.
Going the extra mile to provide exceptional customer service
“Providing exceptional customer service sets you apart from the competition. Be responsive to client inquiries and requests. Offer valuable insights and recommendations based on your expertise. Show genuine interest in their business and go the extra mile to deliver exceptional results.”, shares Mark Valderrama, owner of Aquarium Store Depot.
By exceeding client expectations, you’ll establish long-lasting relationships built on trust and satisfaction.
Scale Your Freelance Business
Once you’ve established a solid foundation as a freelance digital marketer and built a client base, it’s time to consider scaling your business. Scaling allows you to take on more clients, increase your revenue, and expand your impact in the digital marketing industry. Here are some strategies to help you scale your freelance business:
Hiring subcontractors or forming partnerships
As your workload increases, consider hiring subcontractors or forming partnerships with other freelancers who possess complementary skills. This allows you to take on more projects and offer a wider range of services. Ensure that you establish clear communication channels and processes to maintain quality control and ensure smooth collaboration.
Develop streamlined processes and systems
Streamlining your business processes can help you save time and increase efficiency. Invest in project management tools, automation software, and other resources that can streamline your workflows. Develop standardized templates, documents, and communication protocols to ensure consistency in delivering your services.
Expand your service offerings
Consider expanding your service offerings to cater to a broader range of client needs. Identify emerging trends and industry demands, and acquire the necessary skills to offer new services. This could include additional digital marketing channels, specialized consulting services, or targeted industry-specific marketing campaigns.
Investing in marketing and self-promotion
Allocate time and resources to market your freelance business. Utilize various marketing strategies such as content creation, social media marketing, and email marketing. At this point, you should have your website. To get clients from your websites directly, create high-quality content targeted at your client, optimize it for search engines, and get tier-1 backlinks to gain Google ranking. Regularly update your portfolio and website to showcase your latest work and achievements. Networking and attending industry events can also help you connect with potential clients and partners.
Prioritizing client retention and referrals
While seeking new clients is important, don’t overlook the value of client retention and referrals. Focus on delivering exceptional results and maintaining strong relationships with your existing clients. Request testimonials or feedback from satisfied clients, and ask for referrals to expand your client base through word-of-mouth marketing.
Conclusion: Ready to Start?
Starting a career in freelance digital marketing in 2023 presents a world of possibilities. With the right foundation, knowledge, skills, and strategies, you can embark on a fulfilling and successful journey in this dynamic field.
Remember, it’s important to understand the basics of digital marketing, develop key skills, and create a strong portfolio to showcase your expertise.
Building client relationships based on effective communication, delivering on promises, and providing exceptional customer service is essential for long-term success.
As you gain experience and establish your freelance business, consider scaling your operations by hiring subcontractors, streamlining processes, expanding service offerings, and investing in marketing and self-promotion.
Embrace the ever-changing nature of digital marketing, stay updated on industry trends, and continue learning to stay ahead.
With dedication, perseverance, and a commitment to delivering value to your clients, you can thrive as a freelance digital marketer in 2023 and beyond.
Good luck on your journey into freelance digital marketing, and may your career be filled with growth, success, and fulfillment!