Digital marketing is imperative for businesses of all sizes to stay competitive and build better customer relationships. Most consumers have smartphones and use the internet daily to purchase products, learn more about a brand or read customer reviews. Whether you’re looking to change careers or want to start a digital marketing side hustle, digital marketing freelancing can be a lucrative and flexible career choice.
In this article, we’ll address several questions related to becoming a digital marketing freelancer.
What is digital marketing?
Before diving into the world of digital marketing freelancers, let’s zoom in on digital marketing. Digital marketing is essential because organizations need the internet to promote their brand. To do this, they work with in-house or freelance digital marketing professionals to build digital marketing campaigns. These campaigns are accessible via mobile phone, laptop, tablet, etc., ensuring that the organization reaches a broad audience. In this digital world, it would be almost impossible to communicate to your target audience and grow your business without digital marketing.
What is digital marketing freelance work?
Freelance digital marketing is when a marketing professional uses their skills to promote an organization’s products or services and increase brand awareness through many digital channels. As a freelancer, you are contracted to complete projects or jobs for your clients.
What does a digital marketing freelancer do?
Freelance digital marketers are individuals who provide digital marketing services to their clients. Typically, freelance digital marketers are hired for:
- Search engine optimization
- Paid advertising
- Video marketing (this includes ideation, scriptwriting, etc.)
- Creating and managing campaigns
- Influencer marketing
- Social media marketing
- Building content strategies or sales and marketing funnels
They use various marketing tools and channels to communicate with an organization’s clients. A typical day for a digital marketing freelancer is very similar to a day in the life of a digital marketing manager. Digital marketing freelancers do things like:
- Meet with new clients to learn about their company and assess their needs
- Develop a digital marketing strategy or update an existing strategy
- Set up and track KPIs
- Generate content for blog or social media channels
- Develop brand book
- Create sales collateral like brochures
- Maintain social media platforms
- Increase google presence
- Analyze and report to clients
The list above may differ based on the digital marketing freelancer’s specialization. Still, it gives you a taste of what tasks would fall on your plate as an independent digital marketing contractor.
How to start freelancing as a digital marketer?
Anyone can become a digital marketing freelancer as long as they have the right skills. While having a degree can be helpful, you don’t need it. In fact, freelancing as a digital marketer can help you gain hands-on experience and build your resume should you decide to pursue a digital marketing role at a company.
Build your digital marketing skillset.
To get started, you’ll want to boost your digital marketing skills. A freelance digital marketing professional usually has a wide range of skills such as content marketing, graphic design, search engine optimization (SEO), strategy building, paid advertising, etc. To learn more about the top digital marketing skills you’ll need, check out our blog:
You don’t need to return to school if you want to develop these skills. Seek out an online certificate program to learn the most recent technologies and tools. At Pathstream, we offer a program to help you get started and teach you a broad overview of digital marketing skills. We also include hands-on labs that mimic projects you would work on in a business setting to help you build confidence in your new skillset. We’ve helped countless students without past experience learn the skills they need to thrive as freelancers and small business owners.
Check out some of our digital marketing alumni success stories below:
Yun-Ching (Claire) Liao built up her resume as a freelancer before finding an entry-level marketing opportunity.
Itai Joseph started a digital creative agency focused on brand storytelling through high-end video content work.
Build your digital marketing portfolio online.
Another asset you need before you start your freelance career is a digital marketing portfolio. Showcasing examples of your creative work and the outcomes of your campaigns can help prove your potential to prospective employers and clients. You can also demonstrate your SEO skills by optimizing your website!
Your digital marketing portfolio is the best form of advertisement. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Find a portfolio website to organize and showcase your work such as SquareSpace, Wix, or Crevado.
- Research some web design trends to inspire you when you start to think about the look and feel of the website
- Include a home page to improve navigation
- Use an about page to describe yourself and show your personality.
- Showcase visuals of your work, the goals you set up, and the results achieved.
- Pick 4-5 projects to start. You can pull them from the digital marketing program you took or help a small business out by offering your services for free to get started.
We explore each of the tips above more in this blogpost:
Find your digital marketing niche.
You don’t have a team behind you when you first start freelancing, and you might never want to start your own creative agency. You can’t do it all; spreading yourself thin will make you look bad in front of clients. So finding your niche is critical to the success of your digital marketing career.
For example, you could determine whether social media marketing is your niche. You decide you only work with B2C brands to develop their social media strategies, manage their channels, create visuals and content for their channels, etc. You’ll find that your niche is what your best at and most enjoy within digital marketing.
Network to build up your client base.
Between 50–80% of jobs are filled through networking. Networking can be stressful, but that’s because most people don’t know where to start. Building your client base may require reaching out to your professional network. We suggest you start with people you know. You may be able to get jobs from them or be referred to potential clients.
Finally, check out our workshops on networking below. We break down the process and provide tactics for networking efficiently and painlessly!
What is the average salary of a digital marketing freelancer?
Digital marketing freelancers are independent agents, and salary ranges can vary widely. They depend on multiple factors, from how valuable your services are, your clients, years of experience, industries you work with, and more. To learn more about how different factors affect salary, read, “What is the average Digital Marketer salary in 2022?“
Even the digital marketing services you provide are more lucrative than others: email marketing, growth marketing, and paid advertising command higher fees. On average, you can earn between $23,000 and $ 128,000 annually. According to ZipRecruiter, the national average is around $68,000.
What are the Pros and Cons of becoming a digital marketing freelancer?
Digital marketing freelancing affords you a lot of freedom. But it would be best to weigh the pros and cons before starting.
Pros of digital marketing freelancing
- Working remotely
- Flexible work schedule
- All business profits belong to you.
- Freedom to choose your clients and projects
- Unlimited income potential (you set your rate, can work as much as you want, or combine freelancing with a full-time job)
Cons of freelancing
- Unpredictable income
- No employment benefits
- Constantly hustling to get jobs may creep on your work-life balance.
- You’re a one-person company and will have to wear many hats.
Figuring out where to start can be challenging, but we just gave you back some time by sharing the tips above. If you already have the skills, follow the steps above.
But if you lack a strong digital marketing foundation, Pathstream wants to help you. Learn the basics of digital marketing, new tools, and more in our Digital Marketing Certificate Program.
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