Launching a new career can be daunting. However, if you’re good with people and words, digital marketing freelancing may be a good option. Small businesses need a tech-savvy marketer who can handle advertising and communication while they focus on their core mission.
Digital marketing includes any advertising that happens online. This includes making social media posts, email blasts, and maintaining websites. If you love marketing and are computer-savvy, follow these five steps to become a digital marketing freelancer.
1. Get Certified
Even if you already have a degree in communications or marketing, it’s important to show clients that your training is up-to-date and well-rounded. Certifications through a college or other provider are a great way to do this.
Make sure you get meaningful certifications that are backed by reputable organizations. An accredited college or well-known marketing organization may offer certifications in relevant topics and skills.
It’s good to learn new things, but sometimes it’s better to reinforce existing skills. For example, modern website design is so complex that a low-level certification might not get you very far in your work. Focus first on everyday skills like copywriting and social media, then branch out into more expert areas if you have the time and interest.
2. Set up a Profile
Your image and brand is critical to your success as a marketer. If you can’t market yourself, then a business won’t trust you to market them.
A basic LinkedIn profile goes a long way, but ensure that you maintain up-to-date profiles on other websites and platforms as well and make sure they look just as good. To protect your privacy on public websites, consider posting a partial version of your resume and only sending the full copy to prospective clients.
You’ll need to include a friendly and eye-catching biography as well. Although you should keep it professional overall, you can also include fun details about your family and pets. Use your biography to illustrate that you’re both knowledgeable and easy to work with.
3. Network and Connect
Reaching out to clients cold is intimidating, but it allows you to connect with local small businesses that may not realize that they need a marketing freelancer.
Even if your client list is full, continue connecting with local businesses or companies in an industry you specialize in. Follow them on social media and share their content when it applies to your audience. They may recommend you to a friend or colleague if they are impressed with your work.
4. Pitch Clients
Clients are often aware of their general need for services, but don’t know exactly what they should look like. Propose a plan to your clients about what types of content or what kind of angle their new marketing services should have.
This may require extensive research on your part, especially if the client has done little research on their current and target demographics. Although you should be prepared to do a few hours of this research for free for brand new clients, save the rest until you have a formal contract with them.
5. Set Up a Contract
Although many freelancers bill hourly, this method can be a hassle and make your monthly income hard to estimate. The best way to become a part- or full-time freelancer is to look for clients who will pay you for the same minimum number of hours every month, even if the type of work they need you for fluctuates. If you go over that amount, invoice them the difference.
Many small businesses with established social media and advertising campaigns need around the same amount of work each month to manage and update their marketing. It’s common for businesses to agree to a 10-20 hour a month retainer and then pay hourly if they have an extra project.
Regardless, you need a contract that clearly details your payment rate, overall availability, and what you will and won’t charge extra for. Make sure your client understands if you charge for research and other related tasks, not just deliverables.
Although you can charge on a per-project basis, projects can quickly spiral out of control because of repeated requests for alterations from clients. Try to avoid this approach unless you have a solid relationship with the client or it’s a simple and clearly defined project.
Getting All the Benefits of Freelancing
People are drawn to marketing freelancing because the work is varied and usually flexible. Whether you’re experienced in marketing or a relative novice, the starting point is the same. Make sure clients are aware of your skill set and expand your repertoire if needed. From there, you can steer your new career to any specializations and niches you find yourself drawn to.