How To Become Successful Digital Marketing Consultant as a Freelancer Ultimate Guide
Do you aspire to be a freelance marketing consultant?
Have you fancied going out on your own for a long time but haven’t quite managed to do it just yet? Maybe you just want a job, or on the other hand, you just don’t want to salute your boss anymore, and you want to take more control of your destiny. More precisely, you want more control over how you spend your time, how much you can earn and how you want to grow. If this describes you, then becoming your own boss is probably the answer for you.
The thing is, up until a few years ago, an overwhelming method to gain such control was to start your own traditional business (like the one you are currently trying to get away from). If you ask anyone who has tried it before, it’s not that easy. In fact, for some, it is downright terrifying.
so just not worry, i just want to confirm that, you’re interested to become as a digital marketing consultant to help in digital marketing aspects using your experience in getting online leads organically or using paid opportunities, then you are at the right place to learn. Here is some motivation for you – US research estimated, profit of an digital marketing consultant would be $120 Billion dollar by 2021. Your choice is not so bad, Isn’t it.
Today, however, there is an alternative. FREELANCING.
A freelancer is a person who is self-employed and provides their services to one or several different clients at a time. Almost any service required by a business can be provided by a freelancer. This includes jobs in different areas like programming (and technical support jobs), graphic design (and other creative and artistic jobs), accounting (and other jobs in the finance sector) and as you shall find out below, marketing jobs as well.
The proliferation of freelance and traditional part-time jobs today describes the new (and growing) reality of today’s labor market. This new Gig Economy has excited everyone from professionals to non-skilled workers and everyone in between. Most people today want more control over their time and efforts vis-à-vis the different types of jobs that are available across the world. The question is how do you get started amidst the fierce competition. This post will provide you with useful answers and direction on how to become a freelance digital marketer today.
Who is a digital marketer?
To understand who a digital marketing expert is, we need to be on the same page about ‘what is digital marketing.’ Traditional ideas of digital marketing use a limited scope of what digital is all about. They restrict their scope to a business/corporate website and probably a Facebook page. This often means that there are several opportunities for marketing that are missed. You should not make the same mistake.
The scope of digital marketing can be more comprehensively defined according to the 5 Ds of Digital. That is:
- Digital devices, e.g., an audience to business interaction (and vice versa) using TVs, tablets, smartphones, computers, etc.
- Digital platforms: the browser or apps used for interaction in the digital devices, e.g., Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Snap chat, etc.
- Digital media: Channels used to reach and engage audiences, e.g., search engines, email, advertising, social networks, etc.
- Digital data: Insight businesses collect about their audiences using google analytics, SEMRush, Tableau, Ominiture or SEO Catalyst and other SEO Tools
- Digital technology: the marketing technology businesses use to create interactive experiences
Therefore, a digital marketing expert is a person that achieves the marketing objectives by applying or making use of the 5D’s mentioned above.
The marketing objectives are often defined as follows:
- Identifying customers’ needs and wants
- Anticipating or evaluating demand for resource allocation
- Customer satisfaction including the customer’s digital experience and delivery of services and physical products.
Why become a freelance digital marketer?
Now that we have answered the central question ‘what is digital marketing?’, here are some advantages and some disadvantages that you should be aware of while you research further.
The advantages are that:
- Demand is high
- Low entry or startup cost.
- Freelancers get paid what they are worth
- Freelancing is flexible, you can work full-time or part-time.
- Freelancers are independent contractors and not employees. You can choose the jobs to take up or set aside and control to some extent how you will deliver.
- You are not bound to a specific location
- You often pay less in taxes
Some disadvantages are as follows:
- Your time may still be dictated by your clients to the extent of when you communicate, and when you should deliver.
- Work may not always be consistent
- It will take some time and effort to become successful
- You must wear a lot of hats, for example, managing invoicing, follow-up and managing of different clients, marketing your brand, managing finances and so on.
If the above disadvantages are discouraging, here are some fast facts about digital marketing that should encourage you and help you realize that there is space for you as a freelance digital marketer:
- About half of small-medium businesses do not have a basic understanding of SEO
- Mobile will account for almost three-quarters of all digital Ad spend.
- eCommerce customers that receive multiple emails as opposed to a single email about items that they have abandoned in their cart are 4 times more likely to complete the purchase.
- Content marketing generates 3 times more leads than traditional marketing and also costs more than 60% less.
- Social media marketing is the most popular form of content marketing accounting for 90% of B2C business
There are a lot more statistics on digital marketing that you can find online. More importantly, these statistics expose the role that you can fill as a freelance digital marketer. So, let’s turn our attention to how you can become a digital freelance digital marketer.
How do you become a freelance digital marketer?
There are several different routes that you can charter towards becoming a freelance digital marketer. That said, with whichever route you decide to pursue, you must consider these Nine critical tips:
- Find your niche,
- Cultivate an understanding of how to influence branding with digital marketing,
- Self analyze for required skills, continue to educate yourself to stand out,
- Establish your reputation.
- Have key promotion platforms in place, find useful tools,
- Find the right clients, do thorough research on each client.
- Earn their trust.
- Decide what to charge, set the right price for your services.
- Don’t be afraid to ask good questions & be a business
Find your niche
Which freelance marketing role do you want to own? You probably already have some ideas but if you don’t.
Here are some simple questions you should answer to lead you in the right direction.
- What are your current skills?
- What do you love to do?
- What do you have an aptitude for? For example, analytics, trends, SEO management, PR and customer relations, etc.
- What do your family and friends say that you are good at? Maybe you are known to be the defacto analyst, storyteller or tech guru. This can give you some insight into talents you may not have considered.
- What do you spend most of your time doing or what are your hobbies? It is easy to pivot your habits or passions into a new freelance digital marketing niche.
Once you answer these questions the next step is to find out who you want to target or what the client’s specific needs are. Some of the questions that you should ask yourself include: Who are your client’s customers? Where do they live? What’s their age group/interest/income level? Do they like to read/skim/watch their media? What is their preferred platform for information/news/media consumption?
Based on the skills that you have you should find a niche in one or more of these marketing channel expertise fields:
- Email marketing
- Data analysis
- Paid social media advertising
- Search engine marketing
- Social media marketing
- Content marketing
- Viral marketing
- Mobile marketing
- Visual marketing
- You could also become a technology expert in the tools and platforms used in digital marketing
The great thing about being a freelancer is that you can change your role based on what you find is a good fit for you at any time. The critical thing to remember is to find a niche and focus on it. To reiterate the point, here is a case study describing how to find a niche and how to profit from it.
Cultivate an understanding of how to influence branding with digital marketing,
Understand what works, what will not work, find ways that will help business sustain its growth in the long term. You as an digital marketing strategist, must be aware that every brand will always works to improve their profits, also they work hand-in-hand with digital marketing service agencies, or freelance digital marketers to become long lasting brands that a customer trusts. So suggesting strategies those can boost its revenue margin for quarters will never help brands to sustain growth in long run. So being an marketer, never make such mistakes i.e. helping brands providing strategies those improve revenue, never give scope to improve brands.
Here is one such thesis that can help any Digital Marketer to understand how marketing influence brand of the business?
What skills you need?
The skills you need will depend on your chosen niche. That said, some of the personal skills and qualities that will be required include:
- Good time management skills.
- Good relationship management skills.
- A likable personality.
- Self-promotion savvy.
- Well-organized, disciplined, and motivated.
- The ability to think objectively i.e., the ability to separate yourself from your passion and to see beyond theory into what actually works.
- A mix of creativity and analytical abilities. Today, creativity and analytics are two sides of the same coin.
- Good sales copy and visual storytelling skills. You will only win over clients and customers if you can separate yourself from the crowd by telling a compelling story.
- Be accurate, clear and concise. You must be efficient and effective in how you communicate your message
- Listening skills. Listening to consumers and client’s thoughts on relevant issues, products, and even your own services is critical. Thereafter, creating a solution based on observation and insight is also crucial.
- Agility to adjust to a rapidly changing market in the midst of constantly changing tools, algorithms, and platforms.
Some of the technical skills that you will need are as follows:
- Basic design skills.
- Sales skills. Understanding how to engage people and then turning them into sales opportunities is crucial.
- Paid social media advertising skills. You need to understand the popular digital marketing platforms and how they can be used to find budget-friendly opportunities.
- An understanding of WordPress, one of the most popular content monument platforms.
- Ability to analyze quantifiable metrics. The ability to deliver actionable metrics and prove real value with real data is an essential skill for success.
- The ability to analyze and execute drip marketing campaigns. Not just automated ones but personalized and well-thought-out communications based on actions performed.
- Specific marketing channel expertise skills, e.g. email marketing, mobile marketing, etc. as listed above.
Together, both the personal and technical skills will allow you to become accountable, responsible, trustworthy and most importantly successful as a freelance digital marketer.
Useful digital marketing tools for freelancer
The tools that a freelance marketer needs mostly depend on the specific tasks or jobs that they are going to accomplish. That said, the main tools that a freelance digital marketer needs, based on specific work requirements are as follows:
- Digital Marketing Research Tools: Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, Ahrefs, App Annie, SimilarWeb, Buzzsumo, and Facebook Audience Insights
- Advertising Platforms: Bing ads, Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Appstore Search Ads.
- Instant message marketing: Pushengage, Manychat, and Leanplum
- Analytics & Report tools: Yandex Metrica, Google analytics, WEBRIS SEO Report Tool, Google Data Studio, and Facebook analytics
- Design Tools: Canva, Marvellapp, Bootstrap Studio, Flatpack, Igloo
- Email tools: Pitchbox, Buzzstream, Headreach, Active Campaign, MailChimp, GetResponse
- Project Management Tools: Todoist, pCloud, Confluence, Jira, OneNote/Evernote, Slack
- Additional Tools: Google Tag Manager, Google analytics URL builder, Color picker, Tag Assistant, FB Pixel Helper, Data Scraper, Pocket, Google Analytics Debugger, and pCloud Save.
A more detailed listing of tools is shown in the infographic below from smartInsights.com
How to find the right clients, do thorough research on each?
Now that you understand more about the required tools and skills, how can you find digital marketing freelance work? Well, generally, freelance work can be found in the following places:
- In your personal networks, both online and offline. (acquaintances and friends, social media friends, etc.)
- Wherever your niche target groups meet. For example, in forums where clients meet to share and look for help.
- Associations within the marketing industry and in specific niches. E.g., Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO)
- Freelance job sites: There are several freelance job sites including some that attend to specific freelance needs.
Some of the top freelance online marketing job sites are as follows:
Upwork, Freelancer, Guru, Fiverr, People Per Hour, Simply Hired, iFreelance, Freelance Writing Gigs, Aquent, The Creative Group, Croogster, Crowded, Flexjobs, CrowdSource, Peer Hustle, Project4Hire, 99designs, LocalSolo, LinkedIn Profinder and Remote
How to decide what to charge, set the right price for your services?
There are no hard and fast rules for how much you should charge, and this can, therefore, make it quite confusing for freelancers who are just starting. The rule of thumb, especially when starting off is not to be too obsessed about the freelance marketing salary but instead make a case by case decision based on whether you are working per hour, per project, on commission or by a retainer.
As you gain more experience and learn to appreciate your worth, you will have a better idea of what your target clients are ready to pay for your service.
With that said, below are some industry standards for how much a digital marketing freelancer can earn:
- According to ZipRecruiter, on average, digital freelance marketing experts in the United States get a salary of $4917 per month and $ 59,000 per year. Hourly and weekly Wages amount to $38 and $1,519 respectively.
- According to SEMPO, members who are SEO analysts get paid about $80,000
- Web Writers or Content Marketers get paid about $77,450
- Social Media freelancer around $76,500
- SEM analysts around $50,000
Remember that these are averages and you will find significant variances depending on several factors. For example, according to payscale.com, a social media freelancing marketer gets paid $46,000 annually while Salary.com reports their average of the same to be $107,000.
Don’t be afraid to ask good questions & become a good business.
At the end of the day, if you think of yourself as a business as opposed to a typical freelancer, you are more likely to succeed. The main difference in mentality is that a freelancer thinks in terms of feast and famine while a business starts looking more about sustainability and balance. Principally, a business will try to ensure that their clients have them at the top of their minds as opposed to focusing on talking to each client one-on-one and hoping for the best.
Some of the basics you need to be a freelance digital marketing business include:
- Creating a business plan outlining your services, portfolio of work and testimonials. You can then summarize some of these details on a website that talks about you and your services.
- Develop a LinkedIn profile as well as other social media profiles that are specific to your digital marketing work.
- Have dedicated contact details where clients/prospects can reach you. Phone number, email, social media contacts, etc.
- Create business cards (digital and physical)
- Create a menu of the specific services you offer and the corresponding rates
If you want to know how to become a digital marketer, there are several paths that you can follow depending on your current skills, aptitudes, passion, motivation and so on. As such, it is important to understand your current situation, what is expected and required in the industry and where you intend to arrive eventually on your new freelancing path. In other words, Find niche, Cultivate an understanding of how to influence branding with digital marketing, Self analyze for required skills, continue to educate yourself to stand out, Establish your reputation, Have key promotion platforms in place, find useful tools, Find the right clients, do thorough research on each client, Earn their trust, Decide what to charge, set the right price for your services, Don’t be afraid to ask good questions & be a business.