With the average small business set to spend around $75,000 this year on digital marketing, there’s never been a more perfect time to be a freelancer. If you’re working on building your portfolio as a freelance digital marketer, working for companies on small projects here and there might be your style. In order to see your income soar, you should look into what this career could offer.
If you’re trying to figure out how the work gets done, check out these tips to see how to the pros succeed.
1. Decide on Your Niche
When you’re trying to figure out who you are as a marketer, you need to figure out what you want to focus your skills on. While you might have a little bit of experience in copywriting, content writing, SEO or social media management, you need to pick one and stick to it.
Everyone prefers to work with someone who is the best at something rather than someone who has no specialty.
If you choose to focus on copywriting, you’ll need to show ways that you’ve written text for sales pages, email campaigns, or landing pages. When you’ve marketed products and services to an audience, you should have some text left behind to show for it.
If you’d prefer to be a content writer, you’re probably used to writing more in-depth things for blogs, articles, videos, or podcasts. When you write content that can inform and teach people rather than straight up selling it, you can earn a customer’s trust and build their dedication to a brand.
When you’re working in SEO, you’ll know all about how to get clients to the top of search results. This is a complex set of conditions that take into account social media, quality of content, or even the way images are arranged on a page.
For social media managers, you’ll know the kind of posts that excite people and get them hooked. Don’t be afraid to show off your talents.
2. Seek Out Clients
While you might not love the idea of cold calling, reaching out, asking for help, or straightforwardly offering your services, it’s part of being a freelancer. When you’re a freelance digital marketer, you need to be the first one to tell people what you do. They might never ask and they might never understand how much they need your services until you tell them.
While you can’t walk into Nabisco or Disney and start trying to pitch why they need you, you could easily do that to a local architecture firm. Since most businesses are overlooking the ways they could be drumming up customers online, you could show them what they’re missing. Marketing yourself needs to be your first step to success.
When you think you want to work for a local client, go to their website and start looking at what they do. Make a short list of things you would change to improve their presence online. When you do your research, you can walk into their office informed.
Come up with a pitch that shows off what you do, how you want to help that client, and what you think you could all gain from working together.
3. Have Flexible Rates
When people are first starting out, they need to choose their rates wisely. While it could be as simple as asking for enough to pay your rent and basic needs. However, since there are no real rules when it comes to what you should charge, you can have whatever rates make sense for you.
Don’t be obsessed with industry standards and what other people are charging. They could be charging too much or charging too little. While you may bristle at doing work for less than you deserve, take on interesting projects and be open to what might happen.
You should always value your work and charge what you think is fair. The idea that you should ever work for free in nonsense unless you’re deeply passionate about a project or a non-profit. Otherwise, free work won’t pay your bills and you need to keep that in perspective.
Come up with some general guidelines for what you need for an hourly rate, a project rate depending on scale, and whether you’d be on a retainer. While some places might just need you to write a tweet every day for a year, they might not offer much money. However, if you can get the work done in a few minutes, it might not be that disruptive to your day.
4. Be Reliable
It’s important for a freelancer to meet their deadlines. One of the biggest reasons that people stay away from freelancers is because they don’t know if they’re going to get what they paid for. The majority of freelance digital marketers will blow their deadlines by weeks, months, or in some cases longer.
Building a reputation is important, but building a reputation as being constantly behind your deadlines is bad.
Staying focused is difficult but that’s not for your clients to worry about. You need to organize your time so that you show up for meetings when you say you will, early even, and deliver on your promises consistently.
While your clients want good quality over everything, some would rather have bad quality than to be left empty-handed.
This website can give you some clues as to what your clients could expect from your hen you say you’re going to have deliverables.
5. Build Referrals
The best way to get known in the freelance world is to have people spreading the word about you and what you do.
Make sure you’re on every business directory, every social media channel, and every site where people in your industry congregate. Be sure you’ve got a profile where people can rate you. Even send a few emails out to court ratings from your best customers.
Being a Freelance Digital Marketer is Fun
If you’re considering a career or just a side gig as a freelance digital marketer, you’re making a great decision for your financial and professional future. Digital marketing is changing by the minute and there will be no shortage of digital marketers needed as things change in every industry.
If you’re thinking of going back to school for your career pivot, check out our guide on what to expect.