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These are the building blocks for launching your freelance digital marketing career.

How to Start Freelancing in Marketing

Hayley EyerHayley Eyer
Hayley Eyer
Hayley Eyer

What is a freelance digital marketer? 

A Digital marketing freelancer is someone who uses their skills in digital marketing in a remote capacity.  Generally, a digital marketing freelancer will be accomplished in a few different types of marketing, as well as the work that it takes for running their own business (invoicing, filing business taxes, generating their leads). Freelancing will require that you be a go-getter and that you take initiative.  As a small-business owner, you can’t sit back and be passive. 

So what type of digital marketing can you do in a freelance role? There are a variety of different types of marketing you could specialize in: search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), social media, paid search, affiliate marketing, content marketing, and email marketing… more often than not, you’d be familiar with more than one type to capture more business, especially as there is often an overlap. 

Here are some of the activities that are for a digital marketer, and give you a better idea of part of their days: 

  • Develop a digital marketing strategy 
  • Set up and track KPIs for optimizing activities 
  • Generate blog content 
  • Develop promotional materials and graphics 
  • Host webinars or develop case studies 
  • Increase the likelihood of action from customers 
  • Maintain a company’s social media 
  • Manage a company’s online shop towards increasing the likelihood of purchase
  • Increase google presence 
  • Manage ad campaigns 
  • Curate and maintain a brand 

Building your skillset 

While having a degree can be helpful, it is not necessary for breaking into digital marketing.  Initiative and hands-on experience are the most important things to succeed. For getting started, you may take on an entry level role with a company. This will provide you the stability and structure to learn the necessary skills.  Seek out certification courses online for learning the newest technologies and tools, this will help you stand out and give the appearance of credibility. A portfolio illustrating your work is invaluable to being taken seriously as a digital marketing freelancer. As you get started, you might consider taking on pro-bono projects to acquire the experience. While it can feel exasperating to apply to entry level roles with a requisite 2 years of experience, taking the initiative to get the experience in creative ways will put you ahead of the pack. It’ll also familiarize you with the process of sourcing your own work and working in a freelance capacity. 

Another great way for building up your portfolio and brand is blogging. As it’s a relevant skill for digital marketing, you can get started quickly without having to source any clients. You can illustrate your writing style, your familiarity with the industry and practices, and your values to prospective clients. 

Building up your skills is a continuous process, and given the recent growth of digital marketing technologies, you’ll want to keep on your toes.  Again, in freelance digital marketing, you’ll need to be hungry for success. 

Find a mentor 

As you learn the ropes of digital marketing, having a mentor can be a valuable resource.  A mentor might be someone who has worked in the field you’re aspiring towards, or an individual who has accomplished the things you’d like.  They can speak from experience and provide you a first-hand account on gaining success. They’re in your court and will help advocate for you, perhaps through networking opportunities.  Bonus points if they’re already familiar with the freelancing space. It’s never too early to start networking and it will set you up for success.  While it may feel uncomfortable seeking out someone for aiding your professional career, it’s a great experience for both parties.  You might be able to find a mentor at your place of employment or on LinkedIn. 

Curate your brand 

Working in digital marketing means knowing how to highlight the best features of a product or service, for increasing the likelihood of action in your target market. In the same vein, you need to know how to sell yourself.  If you don’t know how to hype yourself up and explain why you’re the best candidate, it’s unlikely you’ll progress professionally towards where you’d like. Utilizing social media and Linkedin, or better yet, your own website, will help put you in front of your target market and show your best features.  What sort of work do you do? Why are you qualified for helping them with their project? Do you have any positive feedback to share? These are the types of features that play into your ‘brand.’ Locking it down early will help you prepare your pitches in future consultative meetings, and it may just be what pushes you over the edge into a contract. As you’ll likely be using these channels for marketing your clients, this will also help in familiarizing how best to use these platforms. 

Stay in touch 

Email marketing is key- you’ll meet many new contacts as you move along and you’ll want to maintain those relationships to build upon opportunities in the future, be that repeat business or referrals. Sending regular emails to stay on the client’s mind will serve you well, while also illustrating your capacity to market to them (and ultimately, for them).  Provide an opt-in strategy on your website to add them to your newsletters and communications.  Have each of your emails be strategically purposeful and be sure to give them a catchy headline to increase the likelihood of engagement. You can read more about developing your email marketing strategy.

Hayley Eyer
Hayley Eyer started freelancing in SEO and content development in 2020. She has worked in marketing and content development for upwards of 6 years. She loves the independence of freelancing, as well as the freedom to focus on developing the skills that matter most to you. She is currently based in Denver, Colorado, and focusing on growing her SEO content clientele.

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