How about making money with freelance digital marketing from home?
If you’re on this post right now, you’re probably thinking of starting your own digital marketing agency to make some extra cash or you’re looking at the bigger picture of establishing your own home-based business.
This guide is here to help you start a freelance digital marketing agency, whether it’s as a side job or a full-out career, without making any costly mistakes.
From planning to getting your work out there and everything in between, we’ve got you covered!
The best thing about freelance digital marketing is that there are no limitations on what industries or topics you can specialize in.
Ready to learn how to start digital marketing? Let’s dive into the world of digital marketing for beginners!
What Is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is the practice of creating, delivering, and optimizing customer experiences using digital channels (such as websites, social networks, paid advertising, email newsletters).
These digital channels are being used to promote a product or service in order to create demand among the right audience. The end goal is to increase revenue or market share.
Essentially, digital marketing encompasses any marketing activity that is performed using digital technology. Its goal is to reach a wider population as possible, usually by using the web.
What Is Freelance Digital Marketing Then?
Freelance digital marketing is therefore any form of marketing that is performed by someone who is contracted to perform digital marketing. Pretty simply!
The digital marketing freelancer ‘sells’ either the services of marketing or the actual products themselves.
Their work can consist of anything from social media management, search engine optimization, web design, and development, email campaigns, paid search/display advertising, content marketing, and conversion optimization to name a few.
The important distinction here is that a freelancer works on a project basis and is not employed by an agency or company.
They make their own income for every project they successfully complete.
If you’re wondering “what does a digital marketer do”, below is a list of the most common functions performed by a digital marketer.
There has been a surge in the importance of digital marketing for small businesses as well as corporations to compete against larger companies using more sophisticated marketing techniques such as search engine optimization and social media management. We’ll touch on that a bit later.
What Are The Types of Digital Marketing?
Before I show you how to get into digital marketing, let’s do a bit of digging and let me show you the different facets of this amazing business.
Digital marketing is a huge field and there is a multitude of marketing channels available to use.
Some of the most common digital marketing channels include:
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – Engage users and potential customers with paid advertisements in search engines.
- Social Media Marketing (SMM) – Use social media to advertise your business or product.
- Email Marketing – Send targeted messages to a targeted audience via email.
- Content Marketing – Create high-quality content that will convert people into customers or subscribers.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Modify existing websites, change SEO settings on new websites, and/or create new websites with SEO optimization as part of their contract requirements.
- Display Advertising – Pay-per-click/pay-per-impression ads on search engines where users see an ad for a set amount of time.
- Cold Outreach – Contact or acquire an individual or company that has an interest in your product or service, and then try to convert them into a customer.
- User-Generated Content (UGC) – Promoted content by someone who’s not an official representative of the brand.
- Mobile Marketing – Paid advertisements that happen on smartphones and tablets.
- Affiliate Marketing – Promote 3rd party products or services in exchange of a commission.
Now let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of running a home-based digital marketing agency.
What Are The Pros & Cons Of Having A Home-Based Digital Marketing Agency?
The pros of having your own freelance digital marketing agency include:
A digital marketing agency offers extensive networking opportunities, as you get to meet other digital marketers and companies.
A good digital marketing agency helps maximize your social media presence, by posting content and promoting your business via a website and social media.
The Cons of Being a Digital Freelancer
How Much Do Digital Marketers Make?
Knowing how much does a digital marketer make might be a motivating factor for you to take up freelance digital marketing.
Check this estimate below of what you can expect for a freelance digital marketing salary:
Nowadays, freelance marketing jobs are very profitable for those who are able to successfully market their services online or offline. The freelance digital marketing salary will depend on a few factors such as:
- Your location
- The size of your projects
- Your skill level
- The clients you work for
- The growth of your business
- The demand for digital marketing services in your local or national market
How To Get Started with Freelance Digital Marketing – 10 Steps To Get You Up & Running
With the rise in demand for digital marketing, aspiring to become an independent marketing consultant is an amazing initiative.
Yes, the competition is fierce outside but with a very well-planned strategy, you can get your piece of the cake.
Now, let’s find out how to become a freelance digital marketer, what skills you should develop and how to get your name out there.
1. Analyze Your Skills
Before starting any freelance work, make sure you know your skills. Many “gurus” online mislead beginners with the concept of “no experience, no skills needed”…
You have to have some form of skills to enter a competitive industry like digital marketing.
I’m not saying you should be an expert in paid advertising before you start but you have to possess some form of skill first.
For e.x, knowing a bit of Excel, using a photo editing software, knowing how to upload a video on youtube or anything basic is a skill.
Remember this: you’re getting your feet into the real world where you will deal with real customers.
You can’t show them that you’re a beginner who doesn’t know how to upload a photo on Instagram!
How would you take social media marketing clients! That would be a direct sign of unprofessionalism.
Even if you just know the basics, it’ll do. So brush up on those skills and gradually, learn more and perfect your skills.
Also, you have to know what you’re good at first and then find some online resources to master that skill.
Below are some valuable sites where you can learn the fundamentals of business and digital marketing and get really good at it. These 3 big guys below are the experts in the playground.
- Ahrefs (See also Ahrefs on Youtube)
- Hubspot (Free business & marketing resources)
- Hubspot Academy (Free courses and certification)
- Google Digital Garage (Free course and certification)
Having a solid foundation is a must before considering starting any business. Without it, you can get overwhelmed easily and fail to take the right steps.
2. Identify Your Niche
The next step is to find your niche.
Some will tell you to start broad, others will advise you to niche down. But what is the proper approach?
From my experience, you should start broad and narrow down afterwards.
And if you want to start with a broad area, that’s fine but don’t go too broad. You might get overwhelmed and frustrated!
For e.x, you might want to offer content marketing services + social media marketing OR email marketing + content marketing + SEO.
Remember that in the beginning, your mailbox won’t flood with work contracts. So it might be a good option to leave a few doors open and then hone in on what’s really working.
Later on, when you get your name out there, you can then proceed to specialize in one field.
3. Build A Strategic Plan
Freelance means you’re on your own, so you have to do all the work of an employer. This means you have to create a strategic plan that will tell you what to do and when.
Developing a marketing strategy for yourself is a great idea for anyone. It’s even more beneficial for someone who’s going through the process of starting a freelance business.
Without one, it’s hard to keep on track and stay motivated during slow periods (yes, there will be slow periods).
Having a thorough plan in place will help you:
Developing a good strategy for your next digital marketing business can be a tricky one but with the help of this guide, you will be able to get started!
With that being said, in your plan of attack you should be able to determine the things below:
- Short-term and long-term goals
- The roadmap for reaching your goals
- What services you will offer
- Budget for cash flow
- Tools you will need
- Your workspace
- Strength, weaknesses and opportunities
- Your pricing structure
- Demographics of your clientele
- What industry will you serve
When your business plan is ready, it’s time to take action!
4. Get Your Equipment & Tools
No soldier goes to war without his weapons, right?!
As a freelance digital marketer, it’s unlikely that you’ll take on projects without your essential tools like software and services for marketing.
In this section, I’m going to list some of the important tools you will need as a freelance marketer.
As you start, I recommend you only acquire the essential tools. Only when you start growing and make some revenue, you can purchase the more professional tools. But for now, do not throw your cash into unnecessary subscriptions.
You can directly click on the tools I recommend to learn more.
Digital Marketing Tools List for Beginners:
- Namecheap (domain)
- Bluehost (web hosting)
- Kadence Pro (web Theme)
- WP Rocket (caching plugin)
- Google Analytics (traffic analyzer)
- Google Search Console (google performance optimizer)
- Pagespeed Insights (performance analyzer)
- Rankmath (SEO content optimizer)
- Shortpixel (image compressor)
- Wordfence (website security)
- Convertkit (email marketing software)
- Ahrefs (keyword research and competitor analysis tool)
This is the ultimate basic toolkit to get started. There are other tools that you would probably need in the future as you upgrade your services but these few tools are all you need to get started.
5. Set Up Your Website/Portfolio
Having an online presence in this day and age is a must!
Your website will be your own personal space where you can showcase your best work, display your skills, and connect with other businesses and clients.
Your website should be the hub for all your digital marketing services. It should display all the services you can offer to your clients.
Remember that your website is the first impression a client will get of you. Make sure you leave a lasting one!
Here are a few things to keep in mind when setting up your digital marketing business website:
Be Unique & Professional
Your website should be unique, meaning it shouldn’t look like any other websites. However, make sure you keep it professional and give off a good impression of yourself; otherwise, you won’t attract any clients.
Optimize Your Site for Search Engines
Creating SEO-optimized content in the form of articles is the best way to get clients. Your website should also rank high on search engines when people type keywords related to your services online.
Create a Blog
A blog is a must for any online business. It’s your SEO friend, it connects you to other businesses, and it will become an important resource for your clients who come to see what you’re up to.
A blog is a great way to tell people what you’re capable of, who you are, how your services work etc…
If you don’t have the budget to market your services with Google Ads or other advertising platforms, a blog can be your main marketing channel.
This is the best way to stay relevant on the web. Instead of flat-out marketing yourself, be useful by sharing your knowledge and experience with others. Doing this will increase the likelihood of others sharing your website!
Keep Up With Latest Trends
To succeed in this field, you need to constantly be aware of what’s going on around the web and keep up with trends or popular topics in your niche area.
A great place to start is by checking out your favorite blogs and websites in your niche. This will give you a feel for the content that’s trending and help you determine who your competition is.
Keep It Clean:
Keep your website clean and easy to navigate. Avoid flashy designs and distracting elements that will distract visitors from finding what they want.
Responsive websites are the best because they do not take too long to load, which is important for digital marketing business owners who are tight on time with their schedules.
Also, your site should look great across mobiles and tablets.
Expand Your Reach Via Social Media Networks
For this, you can use a few social media channels like Facebook groups, Pinterest or Linkedin to showcase your work and attract potential customers.
These platforms have millions of daily users, so if you are respectable enough with your work, building your target audience there can really bring those project deals…
You just need a little bit of ingenuity and patience.
10 Signs You’re Ready for a Career in Digital Marketing
All digital marketing freelancers are not the same obviously but each has a few similar characteristics when it comes to becoming a successful digital marketing consultant.
Let’s find out what those are!
1. You Think Critically
This is the most important trait for any entrepreneur who wants to succeed in today’s world. Critical thinkers are those who can see beyond what’s immediately in front of them and look at how things could be better, how to improve and how to change things for the better.
This doesn’t mean you have to be a know-it-all; it means you want to learn new things as often as possible, especially about your field of work.
2. You’re Always Pushing Yourself
If you have a tendency to get comfortable in your job, it’s time to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll need to continually strive to bring in new clients and learn new things.
Pushing yourself allows you to learn from the mistakes or the successes of your previous attempts and keep moving forward.
3. You Ready to Get Committed
Entrepreneurship requires lots of work on your part, as well as dedication to your business and clients.
If you’re not ready to commit yourself to a full-time job with long hours, you should wait before going into business for yourself for at least a year or two.
4. You’re a Decision Maker
You need to know when it’s best to keep things quiet and when it’s time to speak up and make a point.
You’ll need the ability to organize yourself when it comes to working in a team and handle multiple tasks if you want your company to be successful.
5. You’re Hard-Working
You’re going to have to work harder than your full-time colleagues, especially when you first start out. If you’re not willing to work hard for your clients, it’s not the right time for you to become a freelancer.
6. You Like Being in Charge
Most entrepreneurs who run their own businesses like making the big decisions, and they also like taking responsibility if something goes wrong.
If you prefer to have someone else make all the big decisions and accept no blame, this is probably not the best job for you at this point in your life.
7. You’re Ready to Make a Change
Sometimes you have to make a big change in your life if you want to get what you want.
Making the decision to become a digital marketing freelancer is one such change, as it can be extremely lucrative and allow you the chance to do what you love while creating your own job.
As an entrepreneur, you must make the decision that this is something that can put food on your table and allow you to create a lifestyle of your own choosing.
8. You Are Patient
Taking time to do the right thing with your freelance business is important, especially when it comes to finding new clients.
Patience is one of the most important traits for an entrepreneur, which means you need to be willing to wait for opportunities and take small steps toward success.
9. You Are Transparent
You are about to start a business that requires you to be as transparent as possible when it comes to your clients.
As someone who is going into business for yourself, you need to be honest about your work and offer full disclosure when it comes to all of your services.
Your clients will appreciate it and you can build better relationships because of it.
10. You Are Creative
Freelancing can take a lot of creative thinking, especially when you first start out.
You’ll need to think outside the box and anticipate what your clients want before they even know it themselves.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll need to be able to produce new ideas that will help your business grow and stay ahead of the competition.
How To Get Started with Freelance Digital Marketing – Wrap Up
Let’s do a recap on all the points discussed.
If you want to start a freelance career in digital marketing in the 2020s, it can be challenging but not impossible if you know what you’re doing.
So, how to be a freelance marketer?
Determine your specialization: How do you know what you can offer your clients? Is it social media management, customer support or web development? After you have determined your target industry, consider choosing one of the most common ones to get started.
Identify your niche: Do you have a particular skill or interest that will separate you from other freelancers? If so, figure out what it is and use that to focus on your marketing efforts.
Educate yourself: The more information and research you do on this industry, the better chance you’ll have at finding professional contacts that can help you build a successful digital marketing agency.
Get noticed: Once you have identified a target market, start by offering your services for free. If they like what they see, offer different packages with different price points to keep them interested and coming back.
Seek advice: It’s always a good idea to get advice from people who are successful in the digital marketing industry. You’ll get new ideas and discover hidden resources that you might not have known about before.
Once you’ve set up your digital marketing agency, the most important thing is to market yourself aggressively online.
Find where your audience hangs out: Are they on Forums, Linkedin, Instagram? That’s where you should be too. Go over there and get active there so they can find you.
Don’t forget to be social. Post pictures of your work in progress on a social network where you can find your audience. Engage with them with eye-catching content of your workflow, your workspace etc… so people can see what it’s like working with you before they hire you.
Post short blog entries on LinkedIn or pen short comments below posts of other professionals on Twitter to start getting your name recognized.
You are not just a business, but a person and everything you do will shape how potential clients perceive you as a person.
People will start to take notice at this point in your career, which is the best way to get more customers.
When it comes to marketing, some of the most important things to do are:
Be sure that you have a memorable domain name so people can find you easily when they’re searching online.
Make sure your site is designed in a way that makes it easy for potential clients to find what they’re looking for. Always talk about your agency in terms of your target market, update your portfolio with your best recent projects.
Register with Google Analytics & Google Search Console so that you can track and understand the traffic coming to your site and see what parts of your site need improvements and fixing.
Make sure you have clear call-to-action buttons on your pages and also an easy-to-use contact form.
A great way to build referral relationships is to give your current clients a great deal on their next project.
Give them a special price on anything they need and they’ll love you for it. In exchange, they’ll probably recommend your services to their friends, family or business connections they might have.
Some Tips for Making Your Agency Successful with SEO
Finding the right keywords that potential clients are searching for on Google.
Using long-tail keywords for different phrases and combinations will help your content rank faster on Google.
Optimize your articles by using these keywords in your title tags, meta descriptions, alt tags and image names.
Make sure that your site loads quickly and is easy to navigate. When content is created through search engine optimization, it has to be accessible to all types of users. Once you have an online presence, keep it up.
But it’s also important to add new blog posts consistently so that you increase your chance of ranking for new keywords your audience might be looking for on the search engines.
Just like any other business, the most important thing when you’re starting out is getting your name out there.
As a freelance digital marketer, one of the best things you can do after you finished setting up your website and blog is to start an outreach campaign.
You can reach out to them to even propose them something valuable for a free guest post on their blog.
If they accept your offer and publish your guest post, they will link to your site, their audience will your name and a percentage might even land on your own blog.
And this is when your optimized website comes into play to convert this traffic into customers.
You should always be working to improve your services and your target market. If you advertise your services through the proper channels, you’ll have the opportunity to reach people who are actively looking for the kind of work you do.
Learning how to start a freelance digital marketing agency with no experience can be incredibly difficult, but it’s important to remember that you’re only at the beginning.
With time, your business will grow and will become a valuable asset that can help you earn a great deal of money while being creative and having fun in the process. Start by using detailed research and smart marketing tactics so that you can build your business like a rock star!
Wish you good luck!