How to become a freelance digital marketer from home in 10 steps:
- Decide on a specialty
- Obtain the right training
- Gain relevant experience
- Create a personal website portfolio
- Implement a marketing blog
- Determine your pricing
- Set up a legal business entity
- Market your services
- Send proposals to clients
- Obtain client testimonials
Freelancing has become very popular, with approximately 47% of the global workforce operating in a freelance capacity, according to data from the World Bank. Digital marketing roles are among the most popular freelancing jobs available, as more companies look to outsource digital marketing work. In fact, digital marketing is one of the most outsourced business activities, with 34% of small businesses outsourcing it, according to data from business solutions provider Clutch. For those that want to work from home, this is great news. You can be a digital marketer from home as a freelancer because all your work occurs in a remote setting.
Freelance digital marketing entails offering digital marketing services like social media marketing and email marketing to clients on a contractual basis instead of as an employee. Many choose the freelancing route because a freelance career offers extensive flexibility compared to traditional employment, like uncapped earnings potential and the ability to work from anywhere. In this article, we break down how to become a freelance digital marketer from home into 10 easy to follow steps so you can start earning money online with freelance digital marketing ASAP. We also provide 6 actionable tips to boost your income potential as a freelance digital marketer so you can optimize your earnings ability.
1. Decide on a speciality
A digital marketing freelance from home career starts with deciding on which services you will offer customers and also which specific niche you intend to target. Fortunately, there are a variety of freelance digital marketing jobs you can do and countless niches to choose from, depending on your skills, experience, and aspirations.
What are common freelance digital marketing jobs?
- Digital marketing manager
- Social media manager
- Paid ads specialist
- Content marketing specialist
- SEO specialist
- Email marketing specialist
Digital marketing manager
Digital marketing manager is a comprehensive role that requires broad digital marketing experience. A freelance digital marketing manager is responsible for coming up with the digital marketing strategy and leading the overall marketing campaign for a brand. They use their expertise to effectively coordinate the actions of the marketing team to accomplish marketing initiatives, like increasing leads.
Social media manager
A social media manager oversees social media marketing activities like content creation, post scheduling, and influencer partnerships. Social media management is a sought after skill, as 77% of small businesses use social media to reach their clients, according to data compiled by small business support platform SCORE. The top social media platform options that social media managers focus on are Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, WeChat, and TikTok, according to social media tool suite Buffer.
Paid ads specialist
A paid ads specialist develops and implements PPC advertising campaigns to reach a brand’s target audience. Paid ads specialists can use Google Ad, Facebook Ad, YouTube Ad, or any other PPC advertising network where the brand’s audience has a presence. Companies around the world put a major emphasis on paid search, with a whopping $190.5 billion expected to be spent on this specific digital channel annually by 2024, according to Statista.
Content marketing specialist
Content marketing is a digital marketing service that focuses on creating and distributing content that attracts a relevant audience to a brand. Content marketing can include digital media like blog posts, videos, and social media post graphics. 82% of companies use content marketing, according to SEO tool suite Ahrefs.
An SEO specialist performs search engine optimization tasks to increase a brand’s visibility in search engines like Google, Bing, YouTube, or Amazon. There are three main categories of search engine optimization that an SEO specialist can master, including on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO. On-page SEO is everything that a potential customer can see, like keywords in a blog post or the meta description of a product. Off-page SEO are the tasks that improve a webpage’s visibility from outside the website, such as brand mentions on social media or backlinks from authoritative websites in the brand’s niche. Technical SEO is the brand’s web page performance in search engines, like how fast the website loads or how technically prepared the website is to be crawled by a search engine. The majority 69% of companies actively invest in search engine optimization, according to Enterprise Apps Today.
Email marketing specialist
An email marketing specialist is a digital marketing job that entails implementing successful email marketing campaigns by writing emails, analyzing email data, and managing email contact lists. Email marketing has been a popular marketing channel for years, with 64% of small businesses currently use email marketing to reach customers, according to Campaign Monitor.
10 Freelance digital marketing niche ideas
- Personal finance
- Real estate
- Recreation and tourism
Many freelance digital marketers target a niche that they already have some experience with or an interest in. For example, someone who spent a lot of time at the gym may find serving clients within the fitness niche a good option because they have a firsthand understanding of the industry.
2. Obtain the right training
Once you decide which specific digital marketing services you want to offer to clients in your chosen niche, you need to track down the resources to learn those skills if you want to land a freelance job. Fortunately, there are a plethora of digital marketing resources available online. You can find free information through digital marketing blogs and YouTube channels, as well as a range of paid courses available on platforms like Udemy and Coursera. Some courses, such as Digital Marketing & E-commerce Certificate through Coursera, even offer an actual digital marketing certification you can use to show potential clients that you have the proper training.
You can become a digital marketer with no experience by taking a digital marketing course. A digital marketing course enables you to learn the precise digital marketing skills you want to learn from an expert in the field in a concise format.
9 Digital marketing courses for freelancers
- 1TikTok Rapid Growth Program by Keith Krance
- 2Instagram Hacks University by Taijaun Reshard
- 3TikTok Insiders by Maxwell Finn
- 4Online Revenue System by Nick Ponte & Tom Gaddis
- 56-Figure Agency by Billy Willson
- 6Paid Traffic Mastery by Kasim Aslam
- 7The Blueprint Training by Ryan Stewart
- 8Traffic Hacks Accelerator by Greg Morrison
- 9Local Lead Generation Training Program by Dan Klein
3. Gain relevant experience
Just learning digital marketing skills is not enough to be a digital marketing freelancer, you also need to have relevant experience to show prospective clients you can successfully do marketing tasks for their business. Unfortunately, gaining that relevant experience in the beginning can be tricky. Here are some tactics you can use to gain freelance digital marketing experience as a beginner.
4 Tactics to gain digital marketing experience as a freelancer in the beginning
1. Use your digital marketing skills for your own freelance business
One of the most popular tactics for gaining relevant freelance digital marketing experience as a beginner is to use the digital marketing skills you have learned to promote your own business. For example, if you want to do social media marketing, you can create social media pages for your freelancing business and start posting content. This can simultaneously attract clients and act as a portfolio to showcase what kind of work potential clients can expect by working with you.
2. Use your digital marketing skills to promote another project you're working on
If you have another business or side hustle you’re working on, like an affiliate marketing blog or Ecommerce store, you can build experience with your digital marketing skills by using them to promote your other project.
3. Get employed
Instead of using your skills for freelancing to start earning money from digital marketing, you can try to get employed with a digital marketing company in an entry level role to start building your experience. Some strategies to find an entry level digital marketing role are submitting your resume to relevant jobs through LinkedIn, setting up a profile on Upwork, creating gigs on Fiverr, or searching Craigslist for job hire posts. Digital marketing companies don’t always require experience from entry level roles because they typically have their own processes and systems they want to teach new employees anyway. By starting your digital marketing career as an employee, you can gain real experience while getting paid to learn. You’ll also have access to co-workers who can help you improve your skills through their insights and experiences.
4. Work for free
If all else fails, you can offer your services for free to start gaining the relevant experience you need to land paid clients. This is all about relationship building. Go out there and find local businesses with lacking social media accounts or poor Google search rankings and offer to help for free in exchange for a testimonial video or referral once you've achieved your promised outcomes. Don't underestimate your warm contacts here, like your family and friends. You can see if someone you already know who has a business would be interested in your services for free. A prospective client doesn't really have anything to lose by allowing you to work for free, so it’s often an easy sell. Furthermore, free work doesn’t have the same pressures associated with paid projects, so you can establish confidence in your skills and abilities without allowing stress to interfere.
4. Create a personal website portfolio
As you gain digital marketing experience, it’s essential to record that experience for potential clients to see. The best place to showcase this experience is with a freelance marketing work portfolio on a personal website. Although freelancers who obtain clients through freelancer platforms like Upwork or Fiverr will have client jobs and testimonials on their profile automatically, taking the extra step of setting up a website portfolio has many benefits, including the ability to:
5. Implement a marketing blog
Adding a marketing blog to your website portfolio is a good idea because it enables you to showcase your expertise and reach prospective clients through search engine marketing channels. Blogging enables you to attract organic traffic through SEO, meaning you could attract new clients for free. You can also promote your blog posts for relevant keywords with PPC advertising, which can lead potential customers from the search engine to your website to see your services. Once a potential client reaches your website, your marketing blog can act as another reference for the quality of work that a potential client can expect from you. A 2021 Demand Gen Report found that 44% of businesses typically consume 3 to 5 pieces of content before engaging with a vendor, so implementing a content marketing strategy on your portfolio with a blog could definitely help land more clients.
Many keywords are already very competitive to rank for on Google. However, you can increase your chances of ranking on the first page of Google for your specific service niche by including the city near where you live. For example, Best SEO Specialist in Dallas Texas. This improves your chance of gaining visibility for local businesses in your area who are searching for your service.
6. Determine your pricing
Choosing the right pricing strategy is a crucial step for getting started with digital marketing freelancing because it directly affects your profit potential. Some factors you should consider when setting the pricing for your services are your skill level, the amount of competition who do similar work, and the financial ability of the type of clients you serve. To get an idea of what you should charge, you can research other freelancers’ websites or profile pages on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr to see approximately where you should set your rates. Here are the median hourly rates for some common freelance digital marketing jobs, according to Upwork.
- Social media management is $20/hour
- SEO is $21/hour
- Email marketing $25/hour
Another aspect of pricing is deciding how you will charge for your services. Although many freelance digital marketers charge hourly, you can also charge for your services by project. Some digital marketing freelancers even establish long-term agreements with their clients and set up a retainer. A retainer is a contractual agreement whereby a business prepays a predefined rate each month for freelance marketer to perform a set of ongoing services.
7. Set up a legal business entity
Setting up a legal business entity is not a requirement to earn money as a marketing freelancer, but many elect to do it because of the benefits it provides. For freelance digital marketers in the United States, a Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a popular option because of its affordability and ease of management. Some of the advantages of setting up an LLC as a freelance digital marketer instead of operating as a sole proprietor include:
8. Market your services
Now that everything is set up, you can start actively promoting your digital marketing freelance services to potential clients. As a freelance digital marketer, you’re already equipped with the skills you need to market your business, especially through the marketing channel that you specialize in. Beyond your website and social media accounts, it’s also a good idea to market your services through the available freelancing platforms because prospective clients are actively searching for digital marketing support there. No matter which marketing channels you decide to use, the important thing is to promote your business through a variety of digital channels. B2B campaigns that leverage a multichannel marketing campaign see an average ROI increase of 24%, according to customer data platform Lytics.
9. Send proposals to clients
If your marketing efforts are successful, they will start generating potential leads for your business. To convert those leads into paying clients, you’ll need to send enticing proposals that convince those potential clients why they should work with you.
What should you include in a digital marketing freelancer proposal?
10. Obtain client testimonials
Making sure to obtain testimonials from clients after you successfully complete digital marketing work is perhaps the most important step in building your freelance digital marketing business. In fact, 89% of marketers say that testimonials and case studies are the most effective form of marketing for influencing purchase decisions, according to Webdam. Therefore, you should do whatever it takes to secure testimonials from each successful client, including through incentivizing the client to spend the extra effort to provide you with one. For example, you could offer your clients a discount on their invoice if they provide you with a testimonial.
6 Actionable tips to boost your freelance digital marketing income potential
- Achieve mastery - Instead of trying to learn many digital marketing skills, you should focus on mastering just one skill. By mastering one skill, you can optimize your earnings because you can charge the expert rate for one service instead of the entry level or mid-level rate for multiple services. Once you master one digital marketing skill, you can start mastering more digital marketing skills if you want to eventually take on a more comprehensive role like a freelance digital marketing consultant or digital marketing specialist.
- Do affiliate marketing on the side - Beyond offering services to clients to earn money through your freelance digital marketing business, you can also leverage your skills to generate affiliate marketing income on the side. Affiliate marketing is a type of digital marketing where you earn commissions by promoting products for brands as a third-party marketer. The brands you promote are only obligated to pay you when your marketing efforts result in a predefined, traceable benefit, such as sales.
- Avoid platforms for long-term client relationships - Platforms like Upwork and Fiverr can be a great place to find clients, but they take a percent of your earnings. Therefore, if you are going to use a platform, it’s best to move your relationship with a client off the platform eventually and bill them directly in order to avoid additional fees once you have already made the connection.
- Network with other freelancers - Networking with other freelancers has multiple benefits that can boost your income potential. It allows you to exchange skills and knowledge so you can improve your digital marketing abilities more quickly. Making connections with other professionals also enables you to provide and receive referrals to obtain more projects.
- Raise rates - As a freelance digital marketing professional, you need to raise your rates periodically to adjust for your advancing skills. If you have more work than you can handle, it usually means it’s time to increase your prices.
- Implement AI - Implementing AI marketing tools can help you be more efficient in your work, which means you can get more done in a shorter amount of time and make more money. AI is taking the digital marketing world by storm, with a range of tools available no matter your specific discipline. For example, if you need copywriting, you could try an AI digital marketing tool like Jasper AI to generate effective copy almost instantly.
What are the most important skills for freelance digital marketers?
What is the freelance digital marketing salary?
The freelance digital marketing salary is around $66,000/year on average, according to an average of digital marketing salaries by data from Upwork, Talent, ZipRecruiter, and Glassdoor. Freelance digital marketers make between $2,800 and $100,000+/year. Exact earnings are dependent on a variety of factors, including experience level, role, client acquisition method, and location.
How many hours do freelance digital marketers work?
Freelance digital marketers typically work around 8 hours each day. According to a poll of digital marketing professionals on Twitter by Search Engine Journal, 35% of digital marketers work 8 hours a day, 33% work 9-12 hours a day, 15% work nearly all hours of the day, and 14% work no more than 4 hours a day. Freelance digital marketers have extensive flexibility in how much they work, but most still elect to work the hours of a typical working day.
Related Articles on Freelance Digital Marketing
Conclusion: Is freelance digital marketing right for you?
Freelance digital marketing may be right for you if you want the ability to work on multiple projects for a range of clients in a remote setting. However, traditional employees will find many drawbacks to a career in freelance digital marketing. Instead of having just one boss, freelance digital marketers have many “bosses” in the clients they work for. Furthermore, many find that freelance digital marketing actually requires more work than a traditional role. This is because you only get paid for the hours you put into your freelance work. All the hours you put into additional aspects of a freelance digital marketing business like billing clients, marketing your services, or learning new skills are unpaid. Lastly, freelance digital marketing professionals need to be actively working in order to make money, unlike other digital marketing opportunities.
On the other hand, a local lead generation business can earn you money without active work. Local lead generation is an alternative digital marketing from home opportunity that entails ranking websites on Google to attract customers for local service businesses. A local lead generation website typically takes 6 weeks to 6 months to rank on Google using local SEO, after which you can charge a local business between $500 and $3,000/month for the leads that the website generates. Once you get a website to rank, it requires very little maintenance and your clients will typically stay with you long term because you are providing them with a more efficient marketing channel than they might otherwise have access to. This means that the income you receive from the website after getting it to rank and partnering with a client is mostly passive income.
Furthermore, with local lead generation, you're doing SEO on a website that you own, not that a client owns like you would as a freelancer. Therefore, you're essentially working on your own business instead of someone else's, which means you have more control and freedom. You can learn more about location lead generation by checking out this lead gen program.