Beginner’s Guide To Freelance Digital Marketing
Are you thinking about a career in freelance digital marketing? Do you have questions regarding how to find work and how much digital marketers earn? Find out in this article.
Freelance digital marketing is an upcoming and highly-rewarding career option. There are many advantages that a freelance life offers. These advantages draw many people to choose working as a freelancer.
In this article, you will learn about many tips and tricks of digital marketing for freelancers. You will learn various advantages of freelance digital marketing work, how to obtain work, the best practices of the industry.
Freelance digital marketing is a way of helping businesses promote their products and services with the help of digital communication technologies. As a digital marketing freelancer, your job would be to reach out to the target audience of the business. And generate leads to convert to customers.
Digital marketing has various parts to it. As a freelance digital marketing professional, you will need to be acquainted with all these segments.
There are various stages of content marketing ie. content strategy, content creation, and publishing or distribution.
Content strategy is a plan for the development of content for the client. Developing a content strategy includes finding out what content would be relevant for the customers and under the realm of expertise of the client. You will also need to do keyword research and write for topics that are searched more on the search engine.
The purpose of content writing would be to encourage the reader to take certain actions. The action may be to sign up for the newsletter or buy an ebook. However, this is achieved after providing the customer information that they consider valuable.
Content writing will include various forms of content. this may include writing blog articles, ebooks, whitepaper, landing pages, e-mail newsletters, and more.
Then the next stage would be content distribution. This is the stage where you decide how to distribute and promote this content. Various ways of content distribution include social media, e-mail, blogger outreach, and so on.
As a freelance digital marketing professional, you will need to be an expert in promotion through social media channels. The most popular ones are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn. But there are others that could be more suitable depending upon the target market.
There are inbuilt marketing tools for digital marketing. With the help of these tools, freelancers can design marketing campaigns to be shown on social media channels. They can also monitor, analyze, and manipulate campaigns in real-time.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is the method of ranking the website or the blog article as high as possible in the search engine results. It is very important for the website to rank on the first page. This is because, according to statistics, less than 2% of the users visit page 2 or more.
SEO is the most important skill for freelance digital marketing. SEO is an organic way of getting users to the client’s website. SEO is also associated with reliability and trust by the users as the content that ranks high is considered more trustworthy.
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Search Engine Marketing SEM
While SEO is an organic way of getting customers, SEM is paid advertisement. This advertising is done on search engines. This is also called PPC advertising ie. pay-per-click. This is because the advertiser only pays when a user clicks on the ad.
Through SEM, businesses can gain visibility on search engines faster than SEO. SEM tactics can be analyzed and manipulated quickly. The results are also instantaneous.
There are also other parts of digital marketing that you will need to learn as a freelancer while freelance digital marketing. These are affiliate marketing, influencer marketing, e-mail marketing, and others.
Why digital marketing for freelancers?
Now let’s learn about the advantages and disadvantages of freelance digital marketing.
Advantages for freelance digital marketers
- You are your own boss.
- You can work whenever you want.
- You can work from home or even while traveling.
- Every business is different so you will have variation in work.
- You can demand a higher income. You will not have to wait for annual salary increments.
Many digital marketers take advantage of these pros of digital marketing as freelancers. They work whenever and wherever they want. They even work while traveling or travel while they work. Since the work is completely done online, the only things you need are a laptop and an internet connection.
You can also work part-time as a student or a stay-at-home parent. This is why digital marketing is a great way to work from home for housewives and students. Freelancers can find work online and submit it online too. They also receive the payment online. There is no need to stay at one particular location.
Digital marketing also has a higher ROI ie. return on investment than other forms of marketing. Many companies are giving more and more share of their marketing budget towards digital marketing. This also provides a certain level of security to your job as it is highly unlikely that a company cuts off all its marketing even during an economic slowdown.
Disadvantages of digital marketing for freelancers
There are many pros but no work in the world has zero cons. Let us learn what are the challenges for a digital marketer.
- There would be many competitors. Since it does not take a lot to start out as a digital marketer, many people start working as a freelance digital marketer. You can only differentiate yourself from others by doing great work for your clients.
- There is no fixed income as work is contractual. Sometimes, the work is more so the income is more. But there is uncertainty. Freelance digital marketing is like owning a small business. If there are rewards, there are risks too.
- You will have to invest in upgrading your own skillset. Since you do not work for a company, you will need to spend on training yourself. However, you can upgrade your skills easily from home by joining an online digital marketing course from IIM SKILLS.
How to become a freelance digital marketer?
Now that we have learned about the pros and cons of freelance digital marketing, let us learn how you can become a freelance digital marketer.
- The decision
A freelance digital marketing career is definitely one of the best career options today. But even then, there are many challenges on the road. Before deciding to become a freelance digital marketer, it is important to have realistic expectations and know the possible challenges that may come your way.
A common myth about freelance digital marketing work is that it has no stress. This is not true. Even if freelancers do not work under a boss, there are still deadlines set by the client. In order to finish the work within deadlines, you may have to work for long hours too if you have multiple projects.
You also have to produce great quality work within those deadlines. It is not as easy as it sounds. Many times, clients would return the work for improvements. This may happen more than once. If the work is not up to certain standards, it will damage your reputation and you will need to give answers to the client.
Another fact is that it is easy to enter the freelance digital marketing scene. Freelance digital marketers do not need any educational degree like engineers, doctors, or lawyers. a digital marketing certification is all you need. This has made many people start working as digital marketers. So in order to reach a level where you have built enough reputation to demand good pay and work on your own terms, it takes time.
In order to get great high-paying contracts, you will need a strong portfolio. Because a portfolio shows credibility and the client can trust your skills. A strong portfolio can only be built over a long duration.
In order to start working as a freelance digital marketer, you need to see if your skills align with the requirements of the job. For example, do you know how to use various features of Google Ads? Do you have a social media account with a huge following? Do you have experience writing content?
If you do not have a social media account with a good number of followers, how can you guarantee social media engagement to your client? Doing any form of marketing successfully requires great story-telling, critical thinking, and understanding of the market.
All successful digital marketing professionals have a certain niche or area where they are experts. You will need to choose your niche depending upon your interests and your knowledge. Finding a niche is the key to getting higher-paying jobs.
A common mistake new freelance digital marketers make is that they want to work in every industry. As a freelancer, it is essential to narrow down your niche so you can become more knowledgable in one area. Once this happens, you can demand more price for your work.
So instead of working for whatever work you get in any industry, narrow down your niche. You have to be specific about various factors about the businesses you want to work for. The factors include the size of the company, the industry, location, kind of service, etc.
For example, some digital marketers specialize in social media marketing while some specialize in SEO or pay-per-click marketing. In social media marketing, you will need to be attentive throughout the day. Even if you schedule posts with the help of some app, you will still need to reply to posts.
SEM campaigns are comparatively more complex. You need to constantly modify the parameters to optimize the ad. With SEO, once you prepare the content and submit it, you will not need to work on it repeatedly.
In all forms of digital marketing, a freelance digital marketing professional will need to work even on holidays and festive seasons since that is the buying season.
You can also work in various combinations of niches, for example, SEO for FMCG brands, social media marketing for restaurants or tourism sector, SEM for educational websites, and so on.
4. Personal reputation
As a beginner in freelance digital marketing, you will not be known much. But as you work for a few months or years, you need to focus on building your reputation and your name in the digital marketing world. Just thinking that good work will be enough is a mistake. You need to create a personal brand of yourself.
You must be associated with certain qualities and certain industries. Just think about what comes to your mind when you think about your favorite brand. Aim for something like that.
Your website and business front must align with the brand. If you want to appear an expert in the healthcare sector, your website must show that. A website reflects your style of working so design it accordingly. Get professional help if needed.
You should have blog posts about your domain that show your expertise in the area. You should blog articles regularly. You should also post in popular online forums and write for reputed publications. Also, look for opportunities for guest posting in leading blogs in your industry. Another great idea would be to write an ebook that you can sell on your website.
It is often important to be professional and corporate when dealing with clients. But you do not want to be too professional. Adding some personality as part of your brand would do you good. A personality distinguishes you from the other professionals who offer the same skills as you.
Clients do not just look for someone to do the job. They also see if they can work with someone for long-term projects. Communicate not just with your words but also with the branding. You can use the name of some previous clients you have worked for who are well-known in the industry. You can also use some of the achievements that set you apart.
You may also want to consider creating a simple logo. Logos are the simplest and most basic form of brand communication. Although you may not need a logo when you have been working for only a few months as a freelance digital marketing professional. You will certainly need a logo when you decide to scale up and start a digital marketing agency. Having a logo is not going to affect your chances of getting work as a freelance digital marketer.
But even as a freelancer, you will need your own website. Here you can show your portfolio and your industry knowledge to the clients. A website is also much more professional. It is a good and advisable investment.
You do not need any coding skills to create a website. Do not let any misconception stop you. Today it is very easy to create a website. Many features come in templates. You can create a website free with services like WordPress, Wix, Joomla, etc.
All you need to do is buy a domain and hosting plan. You can design your website using templates. Pre-designed themes can also be found for blogs and artist’s portfolios. You can publish blog articles to show your knowledge on your website. You can also use our website to direct users to your social accounts and other websites.
5. Finding work
There are various ways for freelance digital marketers to find work online. One of the most common ways is to find work on sites like Upwork, freelancer, and Fiverr. These are the most popular but not the only sites. Here clients look for freelancers on contract-basis.
On these websites, you will be able to see various listings where freelancers are required. You can apply through the website itself. For specific work like content writing, there are many other websites. But you can also send proposals directly to clients if you find a website that looks like it needs some work. As you proceed in your career, the latter would be a more common way to find work.
6. How much money to charge
Deciding how much money to charge as a freelance digital marketing professional can be confusing at the beginning. You should always look for standard rates by asking an expert in your niche.
It is necessary to never accept work for free, or extremely low rate. even as a beginner, you are entitled to some level of income from your work. If you do not reach a suitable price, you can move on and find another work.
Unless the business is well-known in your industry, which you can strategically use in your CV, you should never work for free. Here are some tips to decide how much you should charge.
The first step to decide your rates as a freelance digital marketing professional is to find out how much others are charging. You could ask a friend or your teacher from where you learned digital marketing. If you absolutely know no one, you can always ask someone on online forums. There are a few good forums for all kinds of digital marketers like content writers, SEO professionals, social media managers, and so on.
Do not keep the rates too high when starting out. You should always charge as per your competence. No less. No more. This is necessary for lasting long in the industry. The actual rates would differ on the basis of the type of work, your location, your client’s location, the amount of work, and your level of skill.
In some countries, digital marketing freelancers work according to an hourly rate. But content writers would work on a word rate ie. fixed price for a certain number of words. You can also charge a fixed price for the project. If the project is large, you can also provide a discount to the client.
You can also not charge very high if you have no specific niche. This is because you have not yet proven your expertise in any area. But as you develop a niche, you can charge more per project.
Try to keep your rate in terms of measurable deliverables. Examples would be per hour, per word, per article, etc. If you are working as a social media manager, be sure if you are required to just post on their account or also manage comments and queries from other users.
If you work faster and are more productive, it is better to charge a fixed rate per project than to charge hourly.
Another common form of working for freelance digital marketing professionals is by working on retainer projects. Here, you get a fixed monthly payment and you will be required to perform various tasks every month. The work may be more and less depending on the time, but your pay would be fixed. This way you can relax as long as you have the project as you do not need to look for work.
As a beginner freelance digital marketing professional, be sure to use the various online resources available. There are many tools for performing various tasks like keyword research, competitor analysis, getting backlinks, learning SEO, making tutorials, social media management tools, Content management systems, graphic designing tools, stock photos, and many more.
Some common tools are Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, Buzzsumo, answerthepublic, WordPress, Pixabay, Canva, Bonsai, and many more. You only need to search for them.
Freelance digital marketing is certainly a promising career for professionals from various backgrounds. There are many benefits of digital marketing as a career. Marketing as an industry will always grow no matter what. This also ensures a stable and successful career.
However, owing to the lack of any academic qualification and any hurdles to start as a freelance digital marketer, many people have ventured into it. This has made the competition very high in the early stages. This means it is hard to distinguish yourself as a professional in the early stages of your career.
You will need to work very hard and do great work. But additionally, you will also need to build contacts and keep your skills updated constantly. You will also need to find a suitable niche that you feel comfortable in and become an expert on. You can find it by considering your qualifications and your interests.
If you are looking for a course where you can learn all the fundamentals of digital marketing, IIM SKILLS offers a digital marketing course for freelancers. In this course, you can learn various skills of digital marketing, like
- Web design
- Search Engine Optimization
- Search Engine marketing
- Social media marketing
- E-mail marketing
- Content marketing
- Using online digital marketing tools
And so on.
For more such articles, visit our digital marketing blog.