Starting a new career can be daunting. However, if you are good with people and words, freelance digital marketing can be a great option. Small businesses need a tech-savvy marketer who can handle advertising and communications while they focus on their core business.
Digital marketing includes any advertising that occurs online. This includes creating social media posts, exploding emails, and managing websites. If you love marketing and are familiar with computers, follow these five steps to become a digital marketing freelancer.
1. Get certified
Even if you already have a degree in communications or marketing, showing customers that your training is current and comprehensive is important. College certifications or other providers are a great way to do this.
Make sure you get meaningful certifications backed by reputable organizations. An accredited college or well-known marketing organization can offer certifications on relevant topics and skills.
It is good to learn new things, but sometimes it is better to strengthen existing skills. For example, modern website design is so complex that low-level certification may not get you very far in your work. Focus on everyday skills like copywriting and social media first, then branch out into additional subject areas when you have the time and interest.
2. Set up a profile
Your image and brand are critical to your success as a marketer. If you can’t market yourself, a company won’t trust you to market them.
A simple LinkedIn profile goes a long way, but make sure you have up-to-date profiles on other websites and platforms and that they look just as good. To protect your privacy on public websites, you should post a partial version of your resume and only send the full copy to potential customers.
You also need to add a friendly and eye-catching bio. While you should keep it professional overall, you can also add fun details about your family and pets. Use your bio to illustrate that you are both knowledgeable and easy to edit.
3. Network and connection
Calling customers cold is intimidating, but it allows you to get in touch with local small businesses who may not realize they need a marketing freelancer.
Even if your client list is full, you can still connect with local businesses or companies in an industry that you specialize in. Follow them on social media and share their content if it applies to your audience. They can recommend you to a friend or colleague if they are impressed with your work.
4. Pitch clients
Customers are often aware of their general needs for services, but they don’t know exactly what to look like. Propose a plan to your customers about the type of content or perspective their new marketing services should have.
This may require extensive research on your part, especially if the customer has done little research on their current and targeted demographics. While you should be willing to do a few hours of this research for free for brand new customers, keep the rest until you have a formal contract with them.
5. Set up a contract
Although many freelancers bill by the hour, this method can be problematic and make it difficult to estimate your monthly income. The best way to become a part- or full-time freelancer is to look for clients who will pay you the same minimum number of hours each month, even if the type of work you are required to do varies. If you exceed that amount, you will charge them the difference.
Many small businesses with established social media and advertising campaigns require roughly the same amount of work every month to manage and update their marketing. It is common for companies to agree to a 10 to 20 hour retention per month and then pay hourly when they have an additional project.
Regardless, you need a contract that clearly states your payment rate, overall availability, and the cost for which you will charge additional fees. Make sure your client understands whether you are charging for research and other related tasks, not just services.
While you can charge a per-project fee, projects can quickly get out of hand due to repeated requests for changes from customers. Avoid this approach unless you have a solid relationship with the client or it is a simple and well-defined project.
Use all the advantages of freelancing
People are drawn to freelance marketing because the work is diverse and usually flexible. Whether you are experienced in marketing or a relative newbie, the starting point is the same. Make sure clients are aware of your skills and expand your repertoire if necessary. From there, you can steer your new career towards any specializations and niches that you are attracted to.