We've hired countless marketing professionals. And we've even freelanced ourselves. So, we know the freelance digital marketing world inside out.
In this guide, we'll discuss the the world of freelance digital marketing. We'll cover what it is, what a freelance digital marketer does, the services it includes, and tips for both freelancers and businesses looking to hire top talent.
Table of Contents
- What Is Freelance Digital Marketing?
- What Does a Freelance Digital Marketer Do?
- Freelance Digital Marketing Services
- Best Freelance Digital Marketing Sites
- Freelance Digital Marketing Rates
- Tips For Digital Marketing Freelancers
- Tips For Businesses Looking For Digital Marketers
- The Bottom Line — Freelance Digital Marketing Improves Business Operations
What Is Freelance Digital Marketing?
Before we define freelance digital marketing, we must first highlight what digital marketing is. Digital marketing is a form of marketing that occurs via online channels. The main goals of this strategy are to promote products and services, build a company's brand, and create relationships with a target audience to achieve some type of action. This includes generating leads and sales.
Some companies hone their digital marketing strategies internally. But others rely on freelance digital marketing resources, which is the practice of hiring remote workers to build and manage campaigns for the company. These freelancers aren't employees of the company; instead, they work for themselves and offer their services to companies who need them.
What Does a Freelance Digital Marketer Do?
Freelance digital marketers accept assignments from a company, which can include anything from writing a blog post to making off-site SEO adjustments. Some freelancers will oversee a company's entire digital marketing strategy, while others will accept individual assignments.
Freelance Digital Marketing Services
Freelance digital marketing is a large umbrella. Many services fall under this term, including:
General Marketing Consultant/Manager/Specialist
A general marketing consultant will oversee all aspects of your business's digital marketing strategy. They may not have a distinct specialization, but they know how to refine your company's strategy as a whole. They may have a team of specialists to confide in to discuss how to best improve your company's approach and broaden its reach.
You should also consider a marketing intern for more general tasks.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing provides many benefits, including generated leads, increased exposure, and the development of loyal fans. But you can't just upload any content to your social media accounts and expect it to go viral.
You need the assistance of an experienced freelance social media manager. This professional will help refine your social media strategy. They will create unique content for your accounts, including:
- Posts with links to relevant external content
- Videos (85% of marketers rank short-form videos as the most effective)
- Informative blog posts
Your freelancer will optimize these posts, depending on what platform you use. For example, they'll create short text posts for Twitter and video content for TikTok. Whereas a Facebook Marketing Expert will schedule organic posts to build engagement and brand awareness.
Social media posts can advertise your products/services, establish your company as an authoritative brand in your industry, or develop personal relationships with your audience members.
Email marketing is a type of digital marketing where you make your customers aware of new products, services, and promotions. You can also use it to deliver news and remind them to read your blog posts.
A digital freelance email marketing expert will perfect your email delivery frequency and optimize the messages to ensure they reach the intended audience. They can also work with you to build out drip marketing campaigns and automated messages.
Content Marketing & Copywriting
Content marketing and copywriting encompass various types of content. A digital marketing freelancer will create product pages and to promote your company's offerings. They will also write other types of pages to improve your website, including about pages, service pages, and blog articles. A freelancer will incorporate effective calls-to-action throughout the text to encourage the reader to convert to a paying customer.
A freelance digital marketer can also create content meant for external publication. For example, they can create guest blog posts for posting on other websites and include thoughtful links back to your company's website. This is a great example and strategy for effective Digital PR.
If you work with other brands to promote their products, you may be familiar with how difficult it can be to connect with the right audience. A qualified freelance digital marketer will know how to boost your affiliate marketing efforts. They can help you earn commissions for all the products or services you sell on another brand's behalf.
Some freelance affiliate marketers will also have the experience to help you establish an affiliate program. Some freelance affiliate marketers will also have the experience to help you establish an affiliate program. They will help you determine a fair and profitable commission structure. They can also help you identify and implement affiliate tracking software and identify potential brand ambassadors and partners.
SEO, or search engine optimization, consists of the changes you make to your website (and off your website) to improve your visibility on search engines. It involves building authority links, optimizing meta titles, and other strategies that an SEO expert will know how to execute.
Paid Search (Search Engine Marketing)
SEO is essential to any online business, and brick-and-mortar operations can benefit from it as well. But SEO takes time to work — it can take up to six months or even longer for your company to start seeing results.
That's why it's important to have a mixed strategy when it comes to refining your search engine efforts. In addition to organic SEO, there are also paid search options, which is also known as search engine marketing. Search engine marketing is the process of using Google Ads (and other search engine equivalents) to increase a website's visibility.
A freelance Google Ads specialist and PPC specialist will create online search campaigns to drive traffic to specific pages on your website. Your new ads will show up in the “sponsored” section of the search engine results page. Every time a search engine user clicks on your ad, the action will deduct money from your ad spend budget.
A freelance digital marketer works to make your paid ads as effective as possible. They will establish a budget and incorporate proven keywords and compelling headlines. They will also continuously evaluate your campaign's peformance and find ways to optimize it to improve your return on advertising spend.
Paid Social (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok) Ads
Your freelancer can post content to your company's social media accounts for free. But you can have them utilize these platforms' paid advertising services to push your content in front of a higher number of relevant audience members.
While “free” (or “organic”) social media marketing is effective, you'll have to compete with thousands of other free posts. And unless you are a Fortune 1000 company with thousands of organic followers, it will take time to build an audience. Posts that are influenced by advertising dollars are much more likely to reach an audience that's ready and willing to engage with your brand immediately.
To ensure you use your “ad spend” wisely, it's best to hire an experienced freelancer who knows how to optimize your spend. These freelancers are valuable resources at setting up targeting, creating compelling messages that promote action, and setting up an infrastructure for conversion tracking.
Bonus Tip: Be sure to look for freelancers based on platform expertise. A Facebook Ads Specialist can likely figure out how to advertise on LinkedIn and TikTok, but there may be a learning curve.
Best Freelance Digital Marketing Sites
Finding high-quality freelancers can be an arduous task if you don't know where to look. If you don't have any professional connections, the best place to start your search is online.
Many websites allow freelance digital marketers to solicit their services. Some of the best freelance digital marketing websites include MarketerHire, Fiverr, and Upwork. However, not every platform will be right for your company, so determine who your business is looking to hire before you select a platform. For example, Fiverr is ideal if you have small-scale tasks to assign. But if you're looking to hire some of the top experts in digital marketing, MarketerHire will be a better place to start your search.
Freelance Digital Marketing Rates
You may have noticed that freelancers tend to charge more money for projects than they would receive as regular employees. Learn about freelance digital marketing rates below:
How Much Does a Freelance Digital Marketer Make?
Some digital marketing professional choose to work for a salary, while others accept contract jobs. The average pay for a salary-based digital marketer is about $60,000.
For marketers that pursue freelancing, pay will vary widely based on their experience, location, and the skills they possess. For example, a writer makes an average of $30 per hour, while a general marketing professional makes about $23 per hour.
Freelancers typically need to charge their clients more than they would receive if they were traditional employees. Freelancers charge higher rates because they have to pay higher taxes and purchase their own equipment and office space.
Tips For Digital Marketing Freelancers
Curious about becoming a digital marketing freelancer? We'll highlight some of the best tips for kickstarting your career:
How Do I Become a Freelance Digital Marketer?
There isn't a single route you should take to become a freelance digital marketer. Some of these professionals don't have any sort of formal education. Instead, they develop their skills from on-the-job experience.
However, you can pursue an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree in marketing, business, or a related field. You can also earn professional certifications, like certification in Google Ads.
Once you have acquired skills from field experience or formal education, you can start building a client base. Here are some effective tips for finding clients:
- Create a portfolio with some of your best work to show off.
- Try posting your services on some of the best sites for beginners, like Upwork, PeoplePerHour, or Fiverr.
- Go to in-person networking events like tradeshows and expos.
- Start a blog to establish yourself as a trustworthy, authoritative professional.
- Consider doing some light pro-bono work early on to build relationships and increase opportunities for paid work and referrals.
How Much Should I Charge?
Figuring out what to charge your clients can be difficult. A good starting point is to discover what your competitors are charging. You don't want to high-ball your rates at first, or your clients will find someone else who can do the same work for a lower fee.
When you first start, you may need to charge lower rates than what you'd like. While you won't make as much, this strategy will help you pick up clients and achieve positive online ratings. When you start to build a reputation, you can increase your rates and start being more selective with the clients you choose to take on.
Remember, you can find freelance rates easily for specific digital marketing skills on the web. If you can find these rates, so can clients. It's important to price yourself strategically to increase the likelihood of getting a gig.
On top of everything, it's important for freelancers to understand that marketing is all about results. If you charge $30 per hour and are looking to bill out for 30 hours, a client will look at you as a $900 expense. Unless you can effectively demonstrate the return and value that you're providing. If your efforts results in $9,000 in revenue, then the client has gained a 10X gross return on the investment they made in you.
When you provide more value, you can charge more. Simple as that.
Is Freelance Marketing Worth It?
Freelance marketing can be worth it, but you must have a strategy in mind. Some freelancers establish low fees, which makes hiring companies hesitate to pay higher rates. You shouldn't settle for these low rates, especially if your skill set equates to higher pay.
Another factor to consider if you want to make freelancing worth your while is if you're going to complete full- or part-time work. Some professionals take on digital marketing projects in addition to their full-time careers. They work on a contract basis and are happy to take on work to make some extra money on the side. If you enjoy your full-time career, part-time freelancing can be an excellent option.
But some people grow their client bases so large that they make their freelancing work a full-time operation. As long as you have the time to dedicate to this venture, it can be very lucrative and fulfilling.
Tips For Businesses Looking For Digital Marketers
Are you looking to hire freelance digital marketers? You should first learn if the individual you want to hire has experience in your industry. If a candidate's experience is limited to optimizing lifestyle blogs and you're a tech-centered website, they may not be the best fit for your company. And even though the nature of freelancing is remote, you should always conduct a live interview (even if you have to use Zoom or another technology). During the interview, note their personality to see if they're committed and self-driven.
Once you hire a professional, you should make the following considerations:
When you pay your freelancers for the work you do, you can write off the amount you pay them as a business expense. But to avoid legal trouble, you must deliver them the appropriate forms to ensure that they pay the appropriate taxes to the federal government at the self-employment rate.
How Much Should You Pay?
Keep in mind that freelancers pay higher taxes, purchase their own equipment, and don't receive benefits packages. You should expect to pay them higher rates than you would pay a traditional worker employed by your company. The exact amount will depend on the person's experience level, skill set, and the size of your business.
How to Measure Success & Performance
Once you hire a freelancer, you'll likely feel confident in your decision. You have learned about their past work experience, looked over their portfolio, and interviewed them to learn about their personality and work ethic. But just because they made it through your hiring process doesn't mean you should assign them work and let them go on their own.
You need to establish a method for evaluating a freelancer's success and performance. Create a formal contract that outlines what you expect from them, whether it be a weekly audit of your website or a specific number of deliverables. Ensure that the freelancer logs on each week to complete the tasks you've given them, and keep track of the work they turn in.
Don't just ensure that your freelancer delivers the quantity of work you expect. The quality also matters. You don't want to hire a freelancer who will be satisfied with collecting their pay while delivering sub-par work.
While you should have a quality check team in place, be careful not to micromanage your freelancer. This person should be self-motivated to complete a job well-done, so you shouldn't have to stand over their shoulder as they perform their digital marketing services. Instead, check in occasionally to ensure they're completing their work to your company's standards.
You should also evaluate KPIs (key performance indicators) to determine the progress a freelancer is making. The KPIs you should review will vary depending on a freelancer's specific duties. For example, if you assigned them the task of perfecting your site's SEO, you can total page views, compare page load times, bounce rates, and total conversion from organic search traffic. If metrics like these have improved, you can conclude that your freelancer is doing their job well.
The Bottom Line — Freelance Digital Marketing Improves Business Operations
Digital marketing is an ongoing process. As many adjustments as you make, the task of online advertising will never seem complete — and that's exactly how it should be!
That's why you need a dedicated professional on your side. Freelance digital marketers are the backbones of many companies. They allow a brand to get its name in front of its target audience and increase its bottom line.
All companies will benefit from having a freelance digital marketer on their side. And if you're interested in pursuing this career option, you'll experience great profits and a sense of fulfillment in helping a business grow.