How to Become a Digital Marketing Freelancer in 9 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 20, 2022

Published September 29, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Digital marketing is a growing need for businesses as the internet gains more active users. Freelance digital marketers cater to the marketing needs of thousands of businesses looking to take advantage of the internet's population. Understanding how to become a digital marketing freelancer is important if you're preparing to start a career in this field. In this article, we discuss what a freelance digital marketer is, explain how to become one, and highlight the skills necessary for effective performance in this role.

Related: How To Become a Freelance Marketer (With Relevant Skills)

What is a freelance digital marketer?

A freelance digital marketer is an independent professional who uses digital means to promote a client's products and improve sales. Freelance digital marketers promote their clients' brands through various means, such as email, social media, and search engine marketing. Their daily activities include consulting with clients, conducting market research, creating marketing copy, and making basic marketing designs. The work environment of a freelance digital marketer is largely self-paced, though they follow their clients' schedules. Most of these professionals work remotely and can partner with a company's existing marketing team.

Related: What Does a Digital Marketer Do? Everything You Need To Know

How to become a digital marketing freelancer

Here is an overview of how to become a digital marketing freelancer:

1. Decide on a specialty

Digital marketing is a broad field, as there are various marketing channels. Marketers usually study these channels individually to be more effective at them. As a freelance digital marketer, you can pick one or two channels to focus on learning. For example, you might decide to specialize in email or social media marketing. Even within certain broad channels, there are still sub-channels you can choose as a specialty as well. For example, you can specialize in running ads on a specific social media platform. Specializing is a great way to grow a loyal clientele.

Related: What Is Digital Marketing? (Types of Marketing and Tips)

2. Obtain the right training

The next step is to develop your marketing skills. Fortunately, there are thousands of digital marketing resources online for you to use. Many digital marketers learn independently using tutorial videos. However, you can also sign up for a digital marketing program that issues a certificate. This can also be online or in-person. Certificates are important for demonstrating competence to potential clients. Some institutions also offer diplomas and associate degrees in digital marketing, which you can consider.

  • Related: What Are Online Marketing Strategy Courses? (With Benefits)

  • Related: How to Choose the Right Marketing Training Program

3. Gain relevant experience

For a skill-based profession like digital marketing, you need the experience to develop your skills and build your personal website. You can gain experience by interning at a digital marketing firm or understudying an established digital marketer. This allows you to try out tasks under the supervision of more experienced professionals. Many training programs also include practice tests you can use to improve your skills. Volunteering is also a great option to gain experience.

4. Build your website

Your personal website is essential for growing your business. It acts as a portfolio for you to display your previous work and achievements. Your website is also a landing page you can direct traffic to so that potential clients can view your work. You can create a personal or business website, depending on your long-term goals. Ensure you include your best and most recent work on your website. Also, make your website SEO-optimized and aesthetically pleasing so it can attract and retain your audience's attention.

  • Related: How To Write an About Me Page for Your Website

  • Related: What Are Marketing Portfolios? (With Examples)

5. Create a marketing blog

A marketing blog is essential for driving traffic to your website. It allows you to create content around digital marketing for internet users who need them. With SEO and SEM, you can aim your blog content at people who are likely to want your services. Then, after reading your blog, you can use copywriting and other marketing tricks to inspire them to open your website. This is one of the most effective digital marketing techniques.

6. Determine your pricing

Choosing your price is a delicate process, as it can affect your patronage and profitability. There are many factors to consider when fixing your price, including your skill level, the complexity of your work, the availability of competition, and the nature of your clientele. Research competition that uses similar channels as you, and find out their prices. As a beginner, you can benefit from starting low to build your reputation and client base.

7. Register your business

Registering your freelance digital marketing business is important, especially if you intend to make above $30,000 per year. Business registration helps you avoid legal and tax issues with government agencies. You can also take advantage of certain government perks like input tax credits after registering your business.

8. Market your services

After setting up your business, you can now market your services. As a freelance digital marketer, the bulk of your marketing is through your website. You can explore other effective marketing channels, like social media, email marketing, and even traditional marketing. Client referrals are also an important marketing channel, so ensure you offer your clients the best quality work. By being dedicated and honest, your clients are more likely to refer you to others.

9. Send proposals to clients

Sending proposals is the last step before you start gaining clients. An ideal proposal contains your understanding of the client's marketing needs, your action plan, budget, and a timeline for execution. You can use various professional platforms and websites to search for clients who are likely to want your services. You can also send them proposals through cold emails or direct messages.

Skills you need as a freelance digital marketer

Here are some skills needed for success as a freelance digital marketer:

Research skills

Market research is an essential part of a freelance digital marketer's work. You conduct hours of research on people's market behaviour to develop customer profiles. These profiles determine who you send adverts to and what kind of adverts you send. Depending on the location you're researching, finding market information can take hours. Compiling and sorting market information for analysis also takes time. Therefore, research skills are vital for locating comprehensive and accurate market information.

Technical skills

Freelance digital marketers rely on a lot of software tools to perform their duties. They use data analysis tools to analyze market data and track market trends. There are also various email and social media marketing tools that digital marketers use to send automated messages to clients. Freelance digital marketers also frequently use graphic design, word processing, and teleconferencing software. They need adequate technical skills to use software to solve problems for their clients.

Negotiation skills

Freelance digital marketers determine their prices and source for their clients. Some digital marketers have static prices for interested clients, but most marketers negotiate on an individual basis. This especially happens when the client is offering a long-term project. Freelance digital marketers therefore require negotiation skills to ensure they get the best compensation for their work without losing too many clients. Adequate compensation can improve morale and lead to better quality work.

Related: The Most Important Digital Marketing Skills for Your Resume

Communication skills

Freelance digital marketers usually have a consultation session with clients to determine their needs. They require active listening to understand their client's demands. Paying close attention to a client and their nonverbal cues can help freelance marketers guarantee client satisfaction. For example, an attentive digital marketer can detect when a client cannot explain the ideas in their head. These professionals also require excellent writing and speaking skills to provide feedback to clients. Having excellent communication skills can aid freelance digital marketers in explaining technical terms to customers.

Creativity

Creativity involves using your imagination to create unique work or perspectives. Creativity is an essential skill in marketing, as marketers attract their audience's attention using novel ideas that uniquely present products and services. In addition, creativity is important to freelance digital marketers to help them solve marketing problems. For example, they need creativity if they have a client whose products are unpopular or controversial in a particular location. Digital marketers also apply creativity to their proposals and pitches.

Copywriting

Copywriting involves writing promotional texts for businesses or individuals. This skill is a core requirement as it's a huge part of a digital marketer's work and daily duties. For example, when digital marketers promote a brand, they can write content to engage readers. This is especially important for long marketing text. Excellent copywriting can improve audience engagements and sale conversions as people can relate to the marketing copy. Copywriting requires excellent writing skills and an understanding of storytelling.

SEO and SEM

Often, digital marketers encounter search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) in their duties. These skills are essential for digital marketers to create effective websites for themselves and their clients. SEO and SEM use search engine research and analytics to ensure internet traffic reaches websites. Likewise, digital marketers require SEO and SEM skills to ensure potential buyers can find their client's products when they search.

Related: How To Become a Freelance Web Designer (With 7 Steps)

This article is based on information available at the time of writing, which may change at any time. Indeed does not guarantee that this information is always up-to-date. Please seek out a local resource for the latest on this topic.

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