How much a freelancer can earn in digital marketing is around $66,000/year, according to an average of top digital marketing freelance salary sources that included Talent, ZipRecruiter, Upwork, and Glassdoor. However, the precise amount really depends on a variety of factors, including experience level, role, method of finding clients, and location. For example, freelance digital marketers in the United States earn the most, and freelance digital marketing manager is the top earning position because it requires extensive expertise in the industry. There is immense variability in how much a freelancer can earn in digital marketing, with some earning as little as $2,800/year and others earning nearly $100,000 or more from their freelance marketing activities. If you want to be in the latter group, stick around. This article breaks down the approximate earnings you can expect from freelance digital marketing based on the most common factors that influence earning potential so that you can decide which career path is best for your earnings goals. You’ll also receive some tips that can boost your freelancing digital marketing earnings beyond the typical range.
Before diving in, it’s important to know what exactly a freelance digital marketer is. A freelance digital marketer is a professional that performs online marketing tasks for clients on a contractual basis. Instead of working for a single company, freelance digital marketers can earn money by taking on projects for multiple companies. Therefore, freelance digital marketers have a lot of flexibility in their working schedule and the clients they work with. Now, here's how much you can earn as a digital marketing freelancer.
How much can you make freelance digital marketing?
You can make between $2,800 and $100,000+/year freelance digital marketing. Your freelance digital marketing salary is highly dependent on a variety of factors, such as what skills you can offer a business. Freelancing as a digital marketer has the potential to earn you a lot of money if you put effort into building your skills and freelancing portfolio.
What is the freelance digital marketing hourly rate?
The freelance digital marketing hourly rate is around $25/hour, according to data from freelance platform Upwork. Although there is a wide disparity in digital marketing freelancer earnings, this is the median rate according to one of the most authoritative sources in the world on freelance digital marketing.
How much do freelance digital marketers make a month?
Freelance digital marketers typically make around $4,000 a month. That’s when considering $25/hour on a standard 40 hour work week. However, digital marketing freelancers don’t usually have a set number of hours to work each week like an employee does, so monthly earnings can vary greatly.
What factors influence the earning potential of freelancers in the field of digital marketing?
How much can a freelancer earn in digital marketing based on experience level?
Between $41,828 and $82,483/year is how much a freelancer can earn in digital marketing based on experience level, according to data from online education platform Thinkful. These figures are based on the role of a freelance digital marketing specialist that performs broad digital marketing functions. According to European HR tech company Join, entry level is little to no experience, mid-level is 2 to 8 years of experience, and senior level is around 8 to 10 years of experience.
- Digital marketing freelancer entry level salary is approximately $41,828/year.
- Digital marketing freelancer mid-level salary is approximately $72,043/year.
- Digital marketing freelancer senior level salary is approximately $82,483/year.
How much can a freelancer earn in digital marketing based on their role?
Between $51,068 and $87,280/year on average is how much a freelancer can earn in digital marketing based on role. Here are some of the most common roles in digital marketing and the precise earnings you can expect to receive in the United States for each role.
Digital marketing manager freelancer
A digital marketing manager freelancer makes approximately $87,280/year on average, according to ZipRecruiter. Digital marketing managers are responsible for managing broad internet marketing initiatives and driving the overall marketing strategy. They oversee digital marketing teams in the pursuit of tasks like increasing website traffic, creating brand awareness on social media, or generating leads for the sales team.
SEO specialist freelancer
An SEO specialist freelancer makes approximately $62,143/year on average, according to Indeed. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing visibility in search engines like Google or Bing. As such, an SEO specialist is responsible for completing or directing the tasks required to optimize search engine visibility for clients. An SEO specialist can do this through a combination of on-page, off-page and technical SEO strategies. On-page SEO is tasks like implementing keywords throughout content and updating meta descriptions, off-page SEO is tasks like backlink outreach and encouraging branded searches, and technical SEO is tasks like web page speed optimization and making a site easier for search engines to crawl.
PPC specialist freelancer
A PPC specialist freelancer makes approximately $61,204/year on average, according to Indeed. PPC, or pay-per-click advertising, is a digital marketing strategy that leverages paid ads to reach the target audience. Popular PPC advertising channels include Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, and Amazon Ads. PPC specialists can leverage data to create personalised ads that reach the most relevant audience to optimize marketing spend.
Social media manager freelancer
A social media manager freelancer makes approximately $58,313/year on average, according to Indeed. Social media management entails leveraging social platforms to establish online presence for brands and communicate with potential customers. There are many social media platform options to choose from, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and even YouTube. A social media manager can perform a variety of tasks, such as managing interactions in a Facebook group, coordinating the creation of video content for YouTube, or working with Instagram influencers to promote a brand’s products and services.
Content marketing freelancer
A content marketing freelancer makes approximately $71,131/year on average, according to Glassdoor. Content marketing is creating and sharing content to attract a relevant audience. A content marketer can manage content creation, or take on responsibility for the content creation themself, such as acting as a freelance writer or video editor. The purpose of content marketing is to showcase a brand’s influence and expertise online, which can stimulate trust in the brand.
Marketing analytics specialist freelancer
A marketing analytics specialist freelancer makes approximately $71,273/year on average, according to Glassdoor. Marketing analytics is the study of marketing data to optimize marketing performance metrics like conversion rate, bounce rate, click-through rate, or cost-per-lead. Marketing analytics freelancers carry out their tasks by leveraging a range of tactics and softwares, like Google Analytics or SEMRush.
Email marketing specialist freelancer
An email marketing specialist freelancer makes approximately $62,245/year on average, according to Glassdoor. An email marketer is responsible for reaching potential customers through the digital channel of email. They can plan and implement email campaigns to drive sales, create regular newsletters to keep audiences engaged, manage subscriber lists to make sure the right emails get to the right people, and analyze email data to help make informed email marketing decisions.
A copywriting freelancer makes approximately $65,408/year on average, according to Glassdoor. A copywriter creates clear, concise written text for advertising channels. Unlike content writing, which is used to attract and engage potential customers, copywriters are responsible for crafting taglines, sentences, and paragraphs for the specific purpose of driving sales.
Graphic design freelancer
A graphic design freelancer makes approximately $51,068/year on average, according to Glassdoor. Graphic design is a digital marketing service that entails creating digital designs for branding, advertising, and content marketing purposes. For example, a graphic designer can help a brand establish their identity by helping them choose the appropriate colors and font, create informative imagery for social media posts, or create appropriate images that supplement content in a blog post.
How much can a freelancer earn in digital marketing based on the client acquisition method?
Between $28,080 and $84,240/year is how much a freelancer can earn in digital marketing based on the client acquisition method.
With over 18 million freelancers and 5 million prospective clients, according to Demand Sage, Upwork is one of the leading platforms for freelance digital marketers to find opportunities. Upwork digital marketing jobs can earn a freelancer between $15 to $45/hour. After considering Upwork’s service fee, that means digital marketing freelancers can expect to make between $13.50 and $40.5/hour. Considering a 40-hour workweek on an annual basis with no time off, that's $28,080 to $84,240/year on Upwork.
Fiverr is a freelance platform with over 830,000 freelancers that is geared more towards jobs and projects rather than long-term, ongoing working arrangements like other freelance platforms offer. A digital marketing freelancer at Fiverr makes about $4880 on average, according to data from Glassdoor. However, Fiverr takes a 20% cut of payments. Therefore, the average freelance digital marketer operating through Fiverr can expect to earn $3,904/month, or $46,848/year after considering Fiverr’s service fee.
Digital marketing agency
Freelance digital marketers that want to separate themselves from the pack can operate their freelance business through their own agency and website. To successfully run a digital marketing agency, you’ll likely need the broad skills and expertise of a digital marketing manager. According to ZipRecruiter, a Freelance Digital Marketing Manager earns nearly $88K/year on average. However, unlike when operating through a freelance platform where much of the marketing and administrative work is done for you, a digital marketing manager operating their own digital marketing agency needs to consider additional expenses like marketing costs and payment processing charges.
It’s recommended to spend between 10% to 20% of revenue on in-house marketing for client acquisition strategies like paid advertising or support with content creation and SEO. To receive digital payment from customers, many digital marketing agencies use a payment processor like Stripe, which charges a standard rate of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. Therefore, you can expect to take home between $70,400 and $79,200/year after marketing costs, and then expect to spend another $2,000 to $2,500 in payment processing charges with your own agency.
How much can a freelancer earn in digital marketing based on the location?
Between $2,800 and $95,794/year on average is how much a freelancer can earn in digital marketing based on location. Here are some of the most popular countries for freelance digital marketers.
A freelance digital marketer in the United States earns $78,000 on average, according to Talent. Entry level digital marketing freelancers in the United States can earn as low as $48,750/year on average, while senior level digital marketing freelancers make up to $95,794/year on average. That means some US-based senior level freelance digital marketers are even making over 6-figures from their business.
A freelance digital marketer in Canada makes between CAD52,000 to CAD58,500, according to online education platform Simplilearn. The salary can be as low as CAD32,250 for entry level and upwards of CAD99,450 for senior-level digital marketing freelancers.
A freelance digital marketer in India makes ₹3,57,811/year on average, according to Glassdoor. The highest salary for a digital marketing freelancer in India is ₹63,00,000. This amount is for those freelancers with extensive experience who work on premiere projects for major international companies. The starting salary for a digital marketing freelancer in India is ₹2,31,923/year, according to the Economic Times. This is roughly $2,800 in USD terms.
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
A freelance digital marketer in the UAE makes AED72,000/year on average, according to Gulf Talent. That can go as low as AED36,000 for entry level and as high as AED126,000 for senior level digital marketers.
A freelance digital marketer in Australia makes AUD87,677/year on average, according to Talent. Entry level freelance digital marketers can earn as low as AUD72,500, and a senior level can earn upwards of AUD120,000.
What are the pros and cons of becoming a freelance digital marketer?
Working hour flexibility
Choose who you work with
Uncapped income potential
Potential for faster career progression
Work from anywhere you want
No benefits like PTO, 401K matching, or sponsored health insurance
Responsible for additional unpaid tasks like client acquisition and billing
Requirement to make quarterly tax payments to the IRS (US only)
3 Tips to boost your freelance digital marketing earnings
- 1Utilize multiple client acquisition channels - As a digital marketing freelancer, you aren’t limited to using any single method of attracting clients. You can increase your earnings by leveraging multiple digital channels to find potential client opportunities.
- 2Use your skills for affiliate marketing - Instead of just using your digital marketing skills to help other businesses, you can use your skills to generate affiliate marketing income on the side to increase your overall earnings. Affiliate marketing entails promoting businesses to earn commissions when your marketing efforts result in beneficial actions for a brand, such as sales or free trial sign ups.
- 3Network with other freelancers - Networking with other digital marketing freelancers allows you to make connections with professionals that can help support you in taking on larger client projects where your skills alone may fall short. Networking connections can also give you another client acquisition channel because you can get referrals from your network.
How to become a freelance digital marketer?
- Decide on a career track - There are many roles to choose from within digital marketing. The first step in starting as a freelancer is to choose a specialty. Even if you want to become a full stack digital marketing freelancer at some point, you’ll need to start by achieving a high enough level of expertise in at least one skill so that a client is willing to pay you for your services.
- Obtain the right training - Once you have an idea of what digital marketing skill you want to specialize in, you need to learn that skill. You can do this by taking a relevant digital marketing course. For example, if you want to learn PPC advertising with Google Ads, you can take the free Google Ads course through Google Skillshop. Some digital marketing courses even come with a digital marketing certificate that you can show clients as proof of your understanding.
- Gain experience - Education alone doesn’t make you qualified to be a freelance digital marketer, you also need experience. Many freelance digital marketers get experience in the beginning by working for free or working on their own projects to showcase their abilities. For example, an aspiring content marketing freelancer could create their own blog to showcase their writing ability.
- Build out a portfolio - As you start to take on clients and perform work, it’s important to build out a portfolio to showcase your work. This should include client testimonials. Over time, this portfolio will act as social proof and make it easier to get clients and raise your rates.
For those that want to become a freelance marketing consultant specifically, here is how to become a freelance marketing consultant as opposed to the general steps for becoming a digital marketer.
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Conclusion: Is freelance digital marketing the best way to earn money with online marketing?
Freelance digital marketing is not the best way to earn money with online marketing because your earnings are capped by the amount of hours you can physically work. Furthermore, freelancing requires that you be actively working in order to earn an income. There’s no ability to earn money without your presence and contribution on freelancing projects. Local lead generation may be a superior way to earn money with online marketing for those who want more scalability and time flexibility. Local lead generation has essentially unlimited profit potential because you can scale the business as much as you like. You can also earn passive income because you don't actively perform work for your clients in order to earn money from the business.
Local lead generation entails using SEO to rank websites on Google to attract customers for local services businesses, and then selling those leads to actual service businesses for a fee each month. Typically, a single location lead generation website can generate between $500 to $3,000/month, depending on the business niche and location. Furthermore, once you get a website to rank on Google for local search and partner with a local business to take the leads, you can earn passive income from the website. This is because you can mostly automate the maintenance of the website and the client will typically stick with you long-term because you are providing them with a more efficient marketing channel than they might otherwise have available to them, as your website generates traffic through organic search as opposed to paid advertising. Since you can make passive income, you can use the extra time you have to scale your business with more local lead generation websites or just enjoy other aspects of your life. If you want to learn more, check out this local lead gen training program of over 7,000 digital marketers who are earning passive income online by ranking websites for small businesses.