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What is freelance marketing?

a men using a LCD computer for freelance marketing on a brown wooden table with several notes and calculator
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What next?

Living in this digital and dynamic, this is the question that is always on our minds. ‘What next’- in my career, job, and my life. Careers are not the way they were until a few years ago. With the opportunities available today, switching over to a job you love is not that hard. If you have been looking for opportunities to take your career the next level- then freelance marketing is something that must have caught your eye more than once.

Marketing is all the rage right now- everything around us, especially what we see on the internet- is driven by it.

This opens an exciting career opportunity as a marketer.

The best part about this is that you do not need any formal education or experience to start your career as a marketer.

If you are looking to know what is a freelance marketing and how you can build a career in it, then you are in the right place.

Let’s dive into this and learn more about being a freelance marketer.

What is freelance marketing?

In simple words, being a marketer is all about helping a company/business promote its product and brand.

Thus, as a freelance marketer, you do not work with just one business or brand- but you get to work with a variety of them.

As a marketer, your job is to help build a brand’s image online through a variety of activities and tools.

As you try to understand what is freelance marketing, looking at some of the real-life examples will help you gain a better picture.

Every successful brand and business around you is where it is because of the strong marketing campaigns that are powering it.

No business or brand can gain visibility without a strong strategy, and this is where you as a marketer come in.

Understanding what freelance marketing is and what it enables brands to do will help you get an idea of what your job as a marketer will consist of.

Before we jump into more detail of what it is and how you can build a career out of it, there are a few more things that you should now.

Who can be a freelance marketer?

Anyone can learn what freelance marketing is at any stage in their lives.

The digital age has made learning and getting real work experience within everyone’s reach.

You could be working in a corporate job, just starting college, a stay-at-home parent or just someone looking for a change.

No matter what your experience, education or location might be- understanding what is a freelance marketing and making a career out of it is possible for you!

To sum this all up, if you want to do something exciting in your career, help a new business/company achieve its goals and work with some of the most challenging problems that all types of businesses face- then you should know what freelance marketing is.

Do not go for freelance marketing if

If you do not want a job where each day has new challenges, where you are constantly pushed to innovate and do something new, then it is not for you.

This is not something that you can do or learn within a few days.

Learning what freelance marketing is and how to do it is a continuous process.

Even after years of experience, marketers are still learning something or the other.

If you are not ready for a career where you will learn something new each day, then this may not be the right path for you.

In this field, the learning and earning opportunities are endless- and both go hand in hand!

You can never say ‘I know all about what is freelance marketing now’- there will be something new to learn.

If you want to do something exciting in your career, help a new business achieve its goals and work on some of the most challenging problems of today’s age, then this is for you!

Freelance v/s In-House

On the path towards uncovering what freelance marketing is about, you may be wondering about what ‘freelance’ is and how would your work be different than a regular marketing person.

Or you may be thinking why companies would opt for a freelance marketer instead of a dedicated in-house team.

Let’s go deeper into both these points and see what’s what.

As a marketer, your job will not be focused on just one brand or business. You will be free to choose the work that you want to take up.

A freelancer is also not bound by everyday office worries.

Your only job will be to deliver consistent results- and that is the only thing you need to be worried about.

No fixed working hours, no pointless meetings and none of the other hassles that come with a regular job.

If your client is getting what it wants, you can be sure you are doing a great job.

For any small business, both time and capital are precious resources.

Business owners who have understood what is freelance marketing knows that this is the way to go.

By having a freelance marketer working for them, leaders can be sure of paying only for what they want.

This frees up both time and capital for other areas of the business.

A marketer will be a highly motivated and result-oriented professional.

This gives owners one less thing to worry about and saves significant time.

Hiring and management of the resources can thus be minimized in such cases.

The need for effective marketers

Businesses are operating in a landscape of ever-increasing competition.

When it comes to marketing, there are a lot of activities that any business must handle.

Some of the most common activities include:

  • Lead generation
  • Conversion of generated leads to sales
  • The building of a brand image
  • Maintaining an online presence of the brand on different social media

There is so much to do, with every aspect carrying equal importance, that an in-house team cannot do it all.

Also, as we just discussed, hiring an in-house team comes with a lot of costs.

In situations like these, companies need marketers who come with experience in each of these areas and can provide quantified results.

All the above has led to increasing demand for result-oriented professionals.

For those working to build their careers as a marketer, there has never been a more exciting time.

Let’s see more about what a typical day as a marketer is like as we uncover what is freelance marketing.

What is a typical day in the life of a freelance digital marketer like?

There is no straightforward answer to this question.

A ‘typical day’ for a freelance marketer can consist of anything.

As a digital marketer, you could be creating content one day, reviewing social media posts the next day.

The next few days could be spent on working on an automation tool, and so on!

Since a marketer’s job profile is so diverse every day has its challenges and problems to be solved.

This is often one of the most asked questions by those learning what is freelance marketing.

However, there is no direct answer to it!

The only constant in the world of marketing is learning.

You can never know enough about being a marketer.

There will be something new and exciting to learn more about each day.

Some of the tasks that you can expect to come your way include, but are not limited to:

  • Creating graphics for your client’s social media page
  • Writing blog posts, articles, and social media captions
  • Crunching numbers to analyze what social media campaign worked the best
  • Optimizing a website to improve its SEO rank
  • Managing your client’s Instagram handle and Facebook page
  • Creating Facebook and YouTube ads
  • Running Google AdWords campaigns

Skills that you should learn

As you begin to work in marketing, there will be multiple tasks that will come your way.

Every client will come with a unique set of challenges and push your marketing skills with those.

As you set on the mission to become a great marketer, there are some skills that you must know about.

Read on to read about a few of the most important skills that you should have experience with as you learn what is freelance marketing.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is a term that you may have heard before, and chances are you already know what it is.

Search Engine Optimization is the process by which the quality and quantity of the traffic being routed to a website are increased.

This is done by driving routing traffic through search engines.

This is easier said than done.

Search engines such as Google and Bing change their page ranking algorithm quite frequently.

SEO is a mix designing the website, content, blog posts, increasing user engagement on the website, etc.

As you read the skills talked about further, you will realize that all these activities are connected and dependent on each other.

SEO experience is a must-have for anyone aspiring to become a successful marketer

Social Media Advertising

Social Media Advertising includes ads on social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

It is one of the most powerful advertising tools right now.

Social media has its reach all over the globe, and brands invest millions in advertising on various social media platforms.

Having knowledge and experience in how ads work on these platforms will make your marketing initiatives help achieve their goals.

Most social media tools also come with a host of analytical features to help you gain insights about what’s working and provide ROI details down to each dollar.

Thus, effectively using these platforms for advertising calls for social media management and analytical skills as well, both of which will be discussed ahead.

Other Paid Advertising Media (Google Adwords, Bing Ads)

Ads on Search Engines are an equally powerful way to get your clients’ product/service noticed.

Google AdWords is one of the best ways to get users to your product/services.

There are marketers whose entire role is around managing Google AdWords campaigns, also known as PPC or Pay Per Click.

As a PPC Campaign manager, you need to know what keywords work, how to bid for them, analyze the results and do a lot more.

Google AdWords campaign manager is a very intuitive and user-friendly tool, and you can start learning about it from Google’s guides and tutorials.

Social Media Management

No major brand can afford to succeed without an online presence.

What you may see as a funny tweet or a witty reaction from your favourite fast-food brand on Twitter is the results of some very clever social media marketing strategies.

A lot of money and effort goes into building a sizeable online presence for a brand.

These are a cost-effective and highly effective way to reach out to customers and increase engagement.

Graphic Designing

Just like well-written content, graphics are used almost everywhere.

Graphic designing skills will help you in multiple areas as a marketer.

Graphics are used in websites, social media handles, blogs, emails, etc.

Being handy with a tool like Photoshop gives you one less thing that you must depend on someone for.

Email Marketing

A lot of us hate getting promotional emails and newsletters.

However, skilled email marketing professionals have the knowledge used to create the perfect outreach emails to existing and potential users.

It is important to have end-user consent for sending emails.

There are multiple tools to automate email newsletters and finding the one that fits your client needs is another skill.

It is important to have a flair for writing (more on that ahead) for you need a headline for your subject that makes the reader opens the email, creating engaging content, having a powerful Call TO Action (CTA) and following up- all these are important parts of an email marketing process, and something that you should be familiar with.

Sales

As a marketer, the majority of your job will be about sales- first selling yourself and then your clients’ offerings.

Having sales skills, or even sales experience, will help you gain insights into your customers’ mindsets.

Your career as a marketer will begin by selling your skills to your clients, convincing them how you are the best choice.

As you successfully sell yourself, your job as a marketer will start.

On the journey to being a freelancer, being a successful salesman is something you will have to accomplish at every step.

Creativity

Creativity is a marketer’s most powerful tool- every task that you do as a marketer will demand a lot of creativity and out of the box thinking.

Right from Tweets that gain mass popularity to advertising campaigns that become the talk of the town (or the entire world at times) are the result of the creative powers of a very capable marketing team.

Take, for instance, what Burger King did to promote a product from 2010 that it was bringing back in its menus- they ‘liked’ the Tweets made in 2010 on a bunch of Twitter users.

This instantly gained worldwide attention, and Burger King got the attention of the world. The cost of doing this? Just an idea!

Analytical Skills

Analytical skills help marketers every step of the way.

SEO, SEM, Advertising, and so on- each part of the marketing process requires constant analysis and tweaking to keep it working.

One of the most important terms in marketing is ROI (Return on Investment).

You should be able to define the ROI of every step you take.

This will help you to find out what works, and how to keep improving upon what does not.

You don’t have to be great with numbers- but some knowledge of what to do with the different relevant statistics in the area will go a long way.

Content Writing/Storytelling

‘Content is king’- this is one of the most common sayings in digital marketing.

Every brand, business, and the company will require great content to build its presence online and offline.

Content writers create everything that a brand says or advertise- right from its tweets to posts Facebook, Instagram, blogs, etc.

If you have a flair for writing or storytelling, then you already have one of the most powerful marketing skills with you.

Listening skills

Digital marketing is a continuous process- you are always improving and making your approach reach more people.

Customer feedback is what enables that.

Understanding the needs of the client and their customers is key to creating a successful marketing strategy.

Good listening skills will help you get into the depth of the company and its customers.

This will help you get on the road to creating an amazing marketing strategy.

These are also your most important asset in learning what is freelance marketing.

CRM skills

Customer feedback for any brand or business is of utmost importance.

Negative feedback should not be ignored, and positive feedback is invaluable in gaining new customers.

CRM tools help you to track the most important things about users/customers, such as what marketing channels have worked for them, their review of the services so far, interaction with the company and upselling opportunities among other things.

This is a skill that you will mostly learn on the job, so having the experience to back up CRM skills on your resume is a bonus.

Learn from the professions – top tips for becoming successful as a marketer

By now, you will have an idea of what freelancing marketing is and the work that comes with being a freelancer marketer.

Some of the best marketers in the industry have quite the tips on how you can get started on the road to becoming one, and we have summed it all up for you ahead.

#1 Discover your skillset

The complete marketing process involves several roles, and which one of those you take up will depend on your skills.

You cannot go with the ‘Jack of all trades’ approach here, and you have to be the master of one.

As you just read some of the skills that a marketing professional must have, you will understand what we are talking about here.

Read ahead for a few examples of what role you could take on based on what you are good at.

While learning what is freelance marketing, try to uncover what part you think you will be best at.

  • Copywriter/Content Writer: If you are good in creative writing or have a flair for the language, then content writing can be your niche. Writing blogs, white papers, articles, podcasts, videos, etc.- the list of where good content can be used in marketing goes on.
  • Social Media: Social media Management includes covering a company’s online presence, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.
  • Search Engine Optimization: If you are good with SEO and understand the finer points of how this domain works, then you can take over SEO for the brand.
  • Graphic Designer:  If you are good with a tool like Adobe Photoshop, then you can work as a graphic designer for email campaigns, websites, and blogs. Graphic designers are one of the highest-paid professionals in marketing.

These are just a few of the roles- what you can do as a marketer depends on your skillsets and preferences.

While it is beneficial (and recommended) to have as much knowledge as you can about different aspects of it, it is important to be highly skilled in one of them as your primary role.

#2: Finding your customers

Finding your customers can be quite daunting for a beginner (we will cover this in detail later).

There are multiple channels these days to find your client- you can start from freelancing portals like Odesk.

Social media itself is a good place to start.

Build a network on Linkedln, browse opportunities on job portals and leverage your network to find your clients as a freelance marketer.

#3: Know your rates

One of the most important things while earning your first few clients is to quote the right rate.

There are no fixed rules regarding how much a freelance marketer can (or should) charge.

Especially if you are starting – you should be flexible enough to work for free, since this will help you gain good feedback (which is invaluable) and get a referral for your next gig.

For a freelancer, an impressive portfolio and connections are of utmost importance, for you will constantly be hunting for new gigs for a while.

With all these things in mind, you should know how much your first client is worth to you before you quote your rate.

#4: Stick to your deadlines

The difference between a freelancer and a great freelancer is that the latter commits to his deadlines and sticks to them.

Any business would always prefer an okay professional who sticks to his deadlines over an amazing one who has the nature of missing them.

Doing the work on time puts you far ahead of most of the people in the market.

It tells your customer that you are professional in your dealings and respect their and your own time.

This also helps you to gain #5, which will help you a lot on this path

#5: Earn referrals

A referral is when an existing client gets you another client.

You can think of referrals as the lifeline for any freelancer.

Let’s list down the benefits of referrals to give you a better idea:

  • You can charge more: When a client is recommending you, he has already added value to your skill and work. This allows you to ask a higher rate from the next client.
  • Better quality of clients: In continuation of the above, a higher rate means higher-quality clients who can afford your expertise. Getting more money also means they will not waste your time, which makes this an all-round win.
  • You save time: When an existing client recommends you, you save the time that would otherwise have gone in searching for one. Also, it means the ‘hiring process will be shorter since you have a glowing recommendation. Time=money- need we say more? 

#6: You are your own business

Do not think of yourself as just a freelancer- you will end up getting stuck in finding work and clients, which is where many people give up.

Think of your freelance marketing career as a business, and this will push you to find ways to stay sustainable.

Building your presence, forming a network, leveraging networks, upholding a professional reputation- these are some of the things that you must incorporate in your business.

You should not always be thinking of customers buying your services- instead, you should be focused on making them require your expertise.

Being a freelance marketer is all about having the right mindset.

How do freelance marketers find work?

This is a question that we have talked about a bit and something that almost all those who are new to learning what freelance marketing must-have is.

Finding work when you are just starting can be quite a challenge.

However- there are a lot of channels to do that now. Let’s dig into the different ways you can find and build your customer base.

Online Marketplaces

The first and the most common source for finding freelance marketing gigs is to use these online marketplaces.

Upwork, oDesk and Freelancer are among the most popular ones, but there are many others as well.

Most such marketplaces operate similarly- clients post their requirements and expected rates and people willing to take up the gig bid on it.

Finding your first few gigs for building a reputation can be challenging.

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Competition is fierce on most such portals, and clients generally prefer experienced professionals who have good testimonials.

If you are starting with your profile on such a marketplace, pick one and stick to it.

You may have to take lower-paying gigs (or even work for free) to get gigs and testimonials.

Do not expect to sign-up and get clients right away.

Creating a profile and your network here demands consistency and some hard work.

Social Media

Considering how social media is such a big part of any marketing strategy, it is obvious that it is where you can find new clients too.

As a marketer, you must have an online presence that would make clients come to you.

Build a network, create your profile to reflect your skills as a marketer and post good content on it.

Engaging with other marketers over social media helps you learn and get some mentorship as well.

Also, your social media presence will be one of the first things that any potential client sees.

Make sure it’s impressive and reflects the type of professional you are!

LinkedIn

While some may argue that LinkedIn falls under Social Media, it is not so.

As a professional social network, the whole point of LinkedIn is to create and leverage your network for opportunities.

Connect with relevant people and try to increase engagement around your profile with relevant posts.

Think of your LinkedIn profile as your professional blog.

You can view profiles of other successful marketing professionals on LinkedIn to get an idea of how to curate your own.

Networking

Your network should be one of the first places you look for while hunting for gigs.

You could have a relative opening of a new restaurant, or a friend starting a new business who wants a website created.

All of these are opportunities for you to help them out and gain some experience while at it.

Talk to your friends, family, and neighbours to find out if any of them have a business or brand that could benefit from marketing.

Pro Bono Work

If there is an NGO or non-profit organization in your area, then you can volunteer for them as a marketer.

Create their website, run their social media to boost user engagement or curate a marketing campaign for them for free.

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Through all this, you will gain valuable experience and make quite the addition to your portfolio.

Having a successful marketing campaign to showcase will help a new client get some more confidence in what you can do.

Again, what next?

Your journey in one of the most exciting fields right now has just started.

This is not all there is to learn what is freelance marketing.

Being a marketer gives you the freedom to explore and solve challenging problems with great rewards.

So what are you waiting for- go on and begin your journey to becoming a successful marketer!