How To Make Digital Marketing Your Side Hustle?: 12 Easy Steps + Upsides & Challenges

January 24, 2024

How to make digital marketing your side hustle (12 easy steps):

  1. Learn the digital marketing business model.
  2. Acquire the necessary digital marketing skills.
  3. Pick a digital marketing niche.
  4. Select a digital platform.
  5. Develop in-demand digital marketing services.
  6. Create a digital marketing business plan.
  7. Generate data-backed digital marketing content.
  8. Use cost-effective digital marketing strategies.
  9. Engage your target audience.
  10. Track and improve your digital marketing campaigns.
  11. Build your digital marketing portfolio.
  12. Connect with digital marketing professionals and groups.

Many aspiring business owners, digital marketers, and online entrepreneurs are diving into the digital marketing industry because of the boom in online shopping and digital transactions. According to Statista Market Insights, global digital marketing ad spending is expected to grow by 9% in 2024. This upsurge is due to the rising e-commerce and m-commerce (mobile commerce) retail sales in countries like the U.S., China, the UK, South Korea, the Philippines, and India. In fact, a Pew Research Center survey revealed that 97% of Americans own a mobile phone. This shows how increased internet penetration is driving consumers to purchase more.

In Shane Hummus’ YouTube video entitled Is Digital Marketer A Good Career? (Digital Marketing Salary), he highlighted the profitability, industry demand, and career potential of a digital marketing side hustle. Many freelance digital marketers and digital marketing agency owners thrive in the 21st century because almost 60% of small businesses use this online marketing strategy to increase their sales and revenue. In a video interview with Shane Hummus’ student, Christopher, he shared how aspiring digital marketers can expect to make around $35,000 to $60,000 yearly in just 2 to 4 months of internship and training.

Digital marketing is a good side hustle because of the rising number of potential clients available worldwide. LinkedIn features over 354,000 digital marketing opportunities globally, not to mention platforms like Glassdoor, Upwork, Fiverr, and many more. However, you need critical digital skills, access to high-level resources, and industry insights and best practices from experienced professionals to build a successful online business. Learn the 12 easy steps to starting a digital marketing side hustle and the business model’s upsides and challenges.

How To Make Digital Marketing Your Side Hustle? (12 Easy Steps)

1. Learn the Digital Marketing Business Model.

The first step to making digital marketing your side hustle is to learn the business model. Learning about digital marketing means knowing how the industry performs, different consumer buying behaviors, your potential clients, and the digital products and services you can offer. According to Tariq Siddiqui’s LinkedIn article The Failure of Digital Marketing and How to Overcome It, inefficient resources, lack of data-driven decision-making, and the inability to adapt to changing trends and algorithms are the main causes of failures in digital marketing. These factors are the direct consequences of having limited knowledge of the business model.

This is why doing an in-depth analysis of industry data is crucial. It entails researching the various aspects of digital marketing, such as social media and search engine marketing, customer journey mapping, online public relations, digital storytelling, and many more. Customer journey mapping deals with streamlining your customers’ and clients’ online experience, while digital storytelling and online public relations focus on creating a reputable digital presence.

What are the Best Resources for Learning About Digital Marketing as a Side Hustle?

Google Digital Garage, LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, HubSpot Academy, and edX are the best resources for learning about digital marketing as a side hustle. These platforms offer online courses, certification programs, and short-term skills training related to digital marketing. As mentioned in an article by Sloboda Studio, 91% of marketers firmly believe that platform investments directly affect a business’s value and performance.

What are the Requirements for a Digital Marketing Side Hustle?

A comprehensive understanding of digital marketing, a website, and basic online marketing skills are the requirements for a digital marketing side hustle. You don’t need technical skills when starting your online side hustle. According to a LinkedIn article entitled How to Start Digital Marketing from Home: Actionable Steps and Examples, you can read digital marketing blogs and websites, attend workshops and webinars, or watch experienced and skilled marketers online to gain more knowledge about the market and the industry.

2. Acquire the Necessary Digital Marketing Skills.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), email marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media marketing, and data analytics are the necessary skills for a digital marketing side hustle, according to FirstCom Academy. Your content writing and online marketing process will depend on your proficiency with these skills. You can create relevant, engaging, and keyword-rich ads and campaigns by developing all five skills. In a survey by SEMrush, 44% of businesses said that SEO success entails a well-crafted strategy, while 49% of marketers commented on the difficulty of social media marketing as a core skill. These testimonials highlight the importance of acquiring the necessary digital marketing skills before starting an online side hustle and venturing into a specific niche.

3. Pick a Digital Marketing Niche.

You must pick the most lucrative yet sustainable digital marketing niche. According to Saurabh Anand, e-commerce, health and wellness, finance, real estate, and education are the digital marketing niches that are profitable. These industries have been growing in terms of revenue and market size in the last five years. Take e-commerce and digital health, for example. Based on the latest data from Statista, their global revenue from 2019 to 2023 grew by 56% and 71%, respectively. You can choose the right digital platforms and increase your potential clients and income by choosing high-performing and in-demand niches.

4. Select a Digital Platform.

Selecting a social media platform for your digital marketing side hustle entails considering your business goals and target market. As stated in Eight Media’s Starting on Digital Ads? How to Choose the Right Platform article, you should also think about the platform’s potential cost, audience reach, existing market, and internal capabilities. Digital media planning becomes crucial in this step. You must develop an online marketing strategy that fits your future social media and search engine campaigns. It comprises campaign launching, monitoring, and optimization to produce high-performing ads and promotions.

What are the Best Platforms for Your Digital Marketing Side Hustle?

Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat are the best platforms for your digital marketing side hustle, according to Shelley Walsh’s Search Engine Journal article. This is based on the number of worldwide monthly active users (MAU) of each platform. Picking the right platform to base your digital marketing services and strategies is key to building a profitable side hustle.

5. Develop In-Demand Digital Marketing Services.

Aspiring digital marketers must choose in-demand digital marketing services. Based on Upwork’s 10 Digital Marketing Side Hustle Ideas for 2024, social media management, content creation, influencer marketing, SEO consulting, and PPC campaign management are the most popular digital marketing services in 2024. Prospective clients will aim for marketers who have unique and well-crafted service offerings. One of the most sought-after digital services in 2024 is reputation management. According to BrightLocal’s 2023 Local Consumer Review Survey, 98% of consumers check online reviews of brands. This drove businesses to create and maintain a reputable name in the digital landscape. It shows the potential of unique digital marketing services in building your success roadmap and increasing your monthly income.

6. Create a Digital Marketing Business Plan.

Creating a business plan for your digital marketing side hustle is important. It will act as your success roadmap and guide you with your business goals, marketing strategy, and financials. As stated in Noah Parsons’ article on Bplans, 92% of companies with higher sales growth are those with business plans. This also helps with setting your marketing ethics or your guiding principles when launching online campaigns and interacting with potential customers and clients. Data from Investopedia reveal that 70% of brands with business plans survived for over 5 years. This means that proper planning and data-driven decision-making can help your business grow.

7. Generate Data-Backed Digital Marketing Content.

Your marketing and other online content should be well-researched, engaging, and relevant. This process requires intensive insight acquisition through analysis platforms like Google Analytics and keyword research tools like Ahrefs, Google Trends, and AnswerThePublic. Gaining comprehensive data on the market, the industry, and the potential clients allows you to produce valuable content that performs. HubSpot’s The State of Marketing Report 2024 reveals that blog posts, images, and videos are the three most popular content types in 2022. However, you must ensure that your digital marketing content is timely and adds value to the readers. In fact, interactive content is 52.6% more engaging than static content, according to Jodi Cachey’s article on Mediafly.

What Content Creation Tools Can You Use for Your Digital Marketing Side Hustle?

Grammarly, Canva, ChatGPT, Buzzsprout, and Descript are the content creation tools you can use for your digital marketing side hustle, as published in Rachel Handley’s SEMrush article. These tools enable you to speed up content research and creation. Their wide array of internal capabilities helps generate high-quality videos, photos, blog posts, and podcast content.

8. Use Cost-Effective Digital Marketing Strategies.

You must promote your digital marketing services through reliable and cost-effective omnichannel marketing approaches. Implementing the right digital marketing strategy for your business is also crucial. The more creative and unique you get with your strategies, the higher your engagement will be. Professional digital marketers often use social media marketing, paid advertisements, and SMS marketing. In a 2022 article, Adobe Experience Cloud mentioned how these strategies act as your game plan to entice your target market and convert them into paying clients.

Social media marketing offers a free way of engaging your potential clients through informative posts and catchy captions. Paid advertisements like Google Ads and Facebook Ads are also great ways to amplify your online reach. However, this option requires a significant budget to run. Lastly, SMS marketing is quite traditional but effective. According to SimpleTexting, over 30% of consumers check their phone notifications within the first minute of receiving a text.

What are the Best Ways To Promote Your Digital Marketing Side Hustle?

Content marketing, SEO, email marketing, paid ads, and affiliate marketing are the best ways to promote your digital marketing side hustle, according to Digivizer and the Digital Agency Network. You can choose the ones that require less to zero usage costs if you're just starting your digital marketing side hustle. SEO and content marketing are the best ways to maximize free marketing initiatives. Alternatively, email marketing, paid ads, and affiliate marketing are digital marketing methods that require a set budget. While they consume a significant cut in your marketing spending, these strategies also effectively drive higher engagement and traffic.

9. Engage Your Target Audience.

Engaging your target audience entails clearly setting your ideal customer segment based on specific factors like location, age, gender, income, and many more. You must also determine your audience’s needs and wants to craft personalized online campaigns. Digital marketers use different marketing tricks and gigs to engage their target audience. Some common tactics include using hashtags, posting creative visual content, and conducting surveys. According to Reddit user Akrish_17, doing virality, hashtag, and audio research is a great method for driving organic traffic toward your accounts.

You can launch interactive social campaigns and contests, create games, provide incentives, and offer giveaways to attract your online audience creatively. Many marketers make social campaigns like daily challenges, “share to win” contests, and “tag-a-friend” programs. As mentioned by Aaron Lee in Neal Schaffer’s blog, implementing interactive engagement strategies like these helps your potential customers and clients build a community, amplify your online reach, and boost your potential sales.

10. Track and Improve Your Digital Marketing Campaigns.

Successful digital marketers track and improve their online marketing campaigns regularly. This allows them to adopt the latest trends, marketing technologies, and consumer demands to optimize their services. Ishika Gupta, a digital marketing executive, mentioned these common Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in his Quora post:

  • Website Traffic
  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
  • Total Ad Spend
  • Conversion Rate
  • Average Session Duration
  • Engagement Rate
  • Click-Through Rate
  • Return on Investment (ROI)

It’s important to track marketing metrics on specified time frames to get accurate results. The insights from these data-rich reports offer information on how the industry performs and how your potential clients or consumers react to your launched campaigns. Reddit user Digitaldave2311 commented on the significance of monitoring strategies and tools in initiating competitor analysis, measuring your current digital reach, identifying performant marketing channels, and developing cost-effective ads and promotions.

What are the Best Tools for Monitoring Your Digital Marketing Campaigns?

Funnelytics, Google Data Studio, Hotjar, Hootsuite, Google Analytics, SEMrush, and Fullstory are the best tools for monitoring your digital marketing campaigns and operations, according to Mayple and Meltwater. These tools help you track your content marketing, advertising, funnel performance, social media management, and customer experience workflows. They streamline and improve a digital marketer’s online business operations while helping them build a holistic digital marketing portfolio.

11. Build Your Digital Marketing Portfolio.

You need to build your digital marketing portfolio to produce a comprehensive compilation of high-performing, successful online campaigns. As mentioned in CareerFoundry’s YouTube video Create an Effective Digital Marketing Portfolio in 2024, a digital marketing portfolio should have a professional introduction, an in-depth list of your skills and services, the tools and platforms you use, work samples, and a comparative analysis of your work outputs. Prospective clients will look for this compendium to check the quality, style, and relevance of your digital marketing campaigns versus your previous clients’ brand objectives and growth.

Quora user Aakarsh Agarwal commented on how your portfolio can help showcase your digital skills, increase business credibility, and provide data-backed proof of your accomplishments. It should be comprehensive but easy to understand. Including photos and graphs of complex data allows your potential clients to grasp everything on your portfolio.

12. Connect With Digital Marketing Professionals and Groups.

Growing your knowledge about digital marketing and its latest trends and best practices involves connecting with multiple digital marketing professionals and groups. According to Aranyak Patnaik, a digital marketing and SEO expert, community marketing or engaging with customers, clients, and other marketers enables you to increase brand awareness and customer satisfaction. Facebook, Meetup, and Slack communities are famous channels for this activity. Some exclusive groups on digital marketing include Superstar SEO, Traffic Think Tank, AstroLabs Digital & Tech, and Growth Hackers. These groups offer insightful interactions with different marketers, such as freelance writers, social media managers, digital marketing executives, and many more.

What are the Upsides of Making Digital Marketing Your Side Hustle?

Scalable monthly income, massive customer bases, global reach potential, and low startup costs are the upsides of making digital marketing your side hustle, as mentioned by WPForms and Simplilearn. It’s getting easier to start a digital marketing side hustle because of these factors. Reddit user Xoshua shared how he/she started with $0 operating cost because he already had a website and a hosting service provider. All he needed was free online tools to jump-start his digital marketing journey. This industry also has a significant amount of potential clients. You can use platforms like LinkedIn and Upwork, online directories like Yellow Pages and Yelp, and social channels like Facebook and Quora.

What are the Challenges of Making Digital Marketing Your Side Hustle?

Market saturation, complex digital tools and software, fast-changing social media algorithms, and digital scams are the challenges of making digital marketing your side hustle, based on Semetrical and DMCG Global. Experienced marketers can easily navigate through these challenges. However, beginners in the industry will need more high-level resources, time, and effort to surpass these drawbacks and succeed in building a digital marketing business.

How Can You Make Your Digital Marketing Side Hustle More Successful?

You can make your digital marketing side hustle more successful by creating quality content, keeping up with the latest industry trends and technologies, and targeting in-demand market segments, as featured in Ali Ahmed Khan’s LinkedIn article. You can also learn the intricacies and capabilities of different social media platforms to develop more unique omnichannel marketing strategies. Quora user Yordan Tachev mentioned how he built his digital marketing career by growing his social media account followers and taking SEO certifications and courses.

Can You Make Money With Digital Marketing Side Hustles?

Yes, you can make money with digital marketing side hustles through lead generation, content marketing and SEO services, PPC campaign management, and freelancing opportunities. Digital marketers can earn around $300 to $30,000 monthly by venturing into any of these lucrative online models. Reddit user Jet32123 commented on how he/she started his/her career with no experience. Jet32123 spent 16 hours daily for a year training in digital marketing. Now, he/she makes money online with a 6-figure income yearly.

Is Digital Marketing the Best Side Hustle Idea To Make Extra Money in 2024?

Yes, digital marketing can be the best side hustle idea to make extra money in 2024, given that you don’t spend as much time to make significant income. According to The Freelance Hustle, digital marketing specializations like social media management, content creation, and SEO consulting are the most common in 2024. You can spend around 5 hours weekly and make around $200 to $2,000+ monthly. However, getting clients and competing with professional and experienced digital marketers requires more than 5 hours of your time daily to hone your skills and make an impactful online presence.

Local Lead Generation is Still the Best Side Hustle in 2024

Digital marketing side hustles are popular because of the upsurge in internet penetration globally, but local lead generation offers more than just popularity. This business model lets you earn higher monthly passive income by building multiple digital assets. Starting a digital marketing business entails learning more than 10 basic skills and acquiring in-depth knowledge of different digital specializations to compete with thousands of online marketers worldwide. It’s also challenging to build your following and create a reputable digital presence in an overly saturated industry.

According to Reddit user Braney12, starting a digital marketing side hustle is painfully difficult because most companies hire the ones with more experience and broader skill sets. Beginners in the industry with zero experience and a few core skills are at a disadvantage. You will need to spend more time learning the business model, industry movements, technical digital skills, and consumer behavior. This takes a significant cut off your extra hours or leisure time just to keep up with your competitors. It can also interfere with your full-time job. Yes, you can get small and local businesses to hire you, but gaining their trust takes tremendous effort and time sacrifice.

The local lead generation business model is much simpler. Since it’s localized, you get better opportunities to target specific service niches. You don’t need to compete with the relentless global markets. First, you need to create a website for your chosen local service. Next, craft an engaging, keyword-rich, and well-researched article to rank organically on search engines like Google. And because of the high internet penetration in different countries, it’s easier to rank for high-performing keywords. Once you’re ranked, hundreds of free leads will start reaching out. Forwarding these leads to local businesses lets you earn around $10,000 monthly for every website you make.

Choose the best online side hustle that offers a scalable passive income. Begin your local lead gen journey today.

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Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

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