When starting your own digital marketing business and want to be a freelancer, one of the hurdles you will have to go through is finding clients. Ones that will pay you what you’re worth. Many of us have been there. We start out on freelancing boards and price ourselves extremely low, especially if we don’t have that much experience to start. At that point, it’s more about getting that social proof than anything else and developing the right track record to prove to someone that you can do the job. That’s also a major part of what sales and marketing focus on: perception.
What if I told you that there’s a better way to get clients? A way where you’re not spending weeks and weeks pricing yourself out too low. Where you can develop social proof a lot faster and be able to present yourself as an expert in whatever niche in digital marketing you want to focus on. In this guide, I’ll show you some tips that I learned firsthand from venturing into digital marketing freelancing. Hopefully, you’ll learn a thing or two about how it’s done and what you can do to take action and start getting the money you deserve in 2018, 2019, and beyond!
Biggest Protip: Have Samples of Your Work Already There as a Digital Marketing Freelancer
It’s going to be much harder to convince people who aren’t familiar with what you do to give you a chance if you haven’t produced much of your own stuff yet. It’s the classic case of the chicken and the egg. A catch-22 as some might say. You’re in a situation where you’re starting out and don’t have many clients, yet the clients you want to work with are going to want to see some samples of what you can do. What should you do in situations like these?
To make up for such a deficit, you’re going to have do a bit more than just take a bunch of digital marketing courses online. They are a great starting point, and there are several that I’d recommend, but I’ll be reviewing some of those in a later post. A huge mistake people make when they take online courses on digital marketing and literally any other subject is that they treat the courses like Netflix. They plow through the whole thing but fail to apply a lot of the information presented in the course.
To get yourself some real clients and better-paying digital marketing jobs, you have to do what very few people actually do when they take these courses. It’s straightforward, but trust me. So many people fail to understand these simple steps, and even if they do, there are so many excuses that I’ve heard. “I don’t have the time!” “I’m busy with school and work.” “I have to go take care of my dog.” You probably get the picture by now, but I digress.
Whenever you go through any digital marketing course, instead of jumping right in, take note of what each unit will talk about. Jot down some notes before you get started and get an overall feel of what you’ll be learning. Start thinking of ways you can apply the lessons to a side project you will be creating as you go along, or after you’re done with the course. Whatever works best for you. People are different, so it’s up to you to find which application style fits. Go through the course, and figure out what niche you want to focus on. If you’re going to be an SEO Specialist, then build a website, come up with some content, and get some good practice using tools such as Yoast SEO and SEMRush to track changes in keyword growth, traffic, and more.
If your focus is more on PPC, start playing around with some of your own campaigns and experiment with some of your money to get a feel of how it all works. Even starting with a $25 budget and creating a niche-related site isn’t a bad start for anyone beginning to get into pay-per-click advertising, whether it’s through Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or on Amazon. Once you feel comfortable enough with what you’re working with, then, you can go find some nonprofit companies and offer your services. You’ll be working for free, but the experience is going to be worth your time because now you’ll have something to put on your portfolio. You’ll have both personal projects and some real-world stuff you can show to anyone and impress them.
Now I Have An Alright Portfolio, What Do I Do to Get Some Paying Clients?
Okay, so you’ve taken the right digital marketing courses. You applied the information that you learned and found some people you can volunteer for who could use your help. I’m assuming that you did a good job for them and are looking for the next steps to really start making some money.
Easy there, a lot of this stuff will take a bit of time and patience on your part. BUT, all of these steps are necessary if you want to earn money in digital marketing faster and get into freelancing.
1. Build Your Own Digital Marketing Freelancer Business Website
For starters, make sure that you bought a domain with your name on it, and make a website for that too. This website will be a starting point to build your brand. I recommend using WordPress and look into the many great themes and content builders out there. My personal favorite happens to be Divi Theme because there’s so much customization available and it’s reasonably easy to design something unique once you know your way around all the documentation and watch a lot good YouTube and Udemy tutorials.
Get a good business hosting company too, because depending on what your direction you’re heading here, you might have to build some websites for your clients. I’m currently using Hostgator’s Business Hosting plan for my sites, and it’s been working quite well, although I’ve heard that Flywheel and Siteground are also decent, but a bit more on the pricey side. Go through the process of creating your site and all the content, and make sure that you also get HTTPs too.
I’m not going to get into all the steps required for building sites in WordPress, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to have your own website and platform where you have 100% control over the branding, the content, and everything else. You don’t even have to use WordPress if you don’t want to. I have friends of mine who have gotten good results with how more advanced Wix is becoming, although I haven’t tried out that platform yet.
2. Set Up a Google My Business Account
Once you have your website all set up and ready to go, immediately make a Google My Business account. Don’t worry about if you already have a business address or not. For now, use your home address, but also know that you can use a radius, so you essentially keep it private for safety concerns. That’s what I did recently when I set up my GMB account. I also made sure that I filled in as much information as I could, and made a first post too, like here:
It will take 5 days for a verification code to get to your address from Google. Until then, your GMB listing will be unverified and won’t show up in search results. Once you have the verification code, go back into your account, enter it, and there, your listing will be active. Any edits that you made during this time will be reviewed, but fairly quickly. For me, it took about an hour for all the edits I made to be approved. I would recommend filling out as much of the listing as you can to keep it in good standing. There are times where Google will get suspicious and take your listing down for low quality or violating their community guidelines, so be really careful there.
3. Ask Your Friends and Other Acquaintances for Reviews
This is something you also want to be doing, but very gradually. Many of these reviews should be posted on your GMB, but I recommend spacing them out. Don’t have a bunch of people write reviews on your GMB or any other page you want them to go to. Start out small and have one or two people give you some reviews and testimonials. Get in touch with any clients you already did work for and see if they’d be kind enough to help you too. It never hurts to ask anyone you did work in the past and had a great rapport with.
Be nice and thank each person for helping you out. This is a great chance to develop better social skills and communication, a must if you ever want to become a successful digital marketing entrepreneur.
4. Become More Active on Facebook
Here’s where all the magic starts happening. I recommend this option even if you’re someone who’s skeptical about Facebook. I know I was one of those people too. For many years, I refused to go back on Facebook, thinking that there wasn’t going to be much value on the website. Well, Facebook has changed and evolved so much in the last several years. It’s a place where you can meet many business owners who need help with their websites and marketing campaigns. It’s not the wisest idea to overlook Facebook just because you might have an aversion to the site or Mark Zuckerberg himself, which doesn’t really matter.
You’re here to make money and use whatever platform is most popular to reach the most people, regardless of what you might think of it. I love LinkedIn, but even I have to admit that there are a lot of disadvantages with it, and plenty of spam to go around on that site. Plus, compared to Facebook, you’re not going to find as many genuine people who are willing to pay top dollar for what you do.
When you go on Facebook, start finding some groups related to the things you like in digital marketing. I frequently post in some very prominent ones myself. From being active on those groups and helping others, I was eventually able to get some pretty sweet leads, and it’s only just gotten started! Don’t listen to anyone who says that businesses aren’t posting on Facebook or whatever. You’ll be pleasantly surprised once you start implementing this super important step for yourself. Come in with an open mind and test every single step I’ve outlined here for you!
I Taught You How to Fish, Now Test It Out and Go For It!
Don’t just blindly take my word for it. Try these steps yourself and see what happens. Leave a comment in the comment section with your story and how following these tips helped you. There’s so much more I want to talk about with regards to digital marketing, but I think I said a mouthful for this post already.
On a completely unrelated note, I wrote this post entirely with my new electrostatic capacitive keyboard. I’m a huge mechanical keyboard fanatic and wanted to try something cool and unique, so I’ve had a blast typing on this keyboard from Niz. I swear it feels like I’m typing on a bunch of cushions right now. I took a picture of my setup below.
For any serious typist, especially anyone in digital marketing or programming, I highly recommend something like this or the more expensive Topre switches if you’re willing to heavily invest in your computer peripherals. It’s a steep price, but worth it if you want to keep yourself from developing all sorts of RSI and joint problems and have a fulfilling career in digital marketing for the long haul. I also really like mechanical keyboards too, and sometimes still like to try various switches out.
Some More Updates on How to Get Into Digital Marketing Freelancing for 2023 and Beyond
I wrote this article years ago, but most of the advice still applies to even now in 2023. The main difference I would say now is that way more digital marketing jobs and freelance gigs are remote, so I would recommend you learn how to manage your time wisely at home if you are to get one of these opportunities. Another huge thing that has changed since this post is the rise of generative AI and its role in digital marketing. If you land a digital marketing freelancing job where you are required to use such tools, here are some of my top picks:
Get the premium version if you can. Trust me! Chat GPT 4 is a game changer and data analysis juggernaut. You can literally copy Google Search Console data in here and it will instantly provide a very useful analysis on all the data you gave it. Same with Google Analytics and more. It’s also a nice tool to have for generating quick content ideas when you’re stuck and don’t know what to write about! You can even use ChatGPT to proofread your content and make it even better. That’s how I use it anyway.
Claude is another great AI program that’s popular these days. I’ve been using the Pro version and it does a pretty good job for the most part with generating new content as well. Just be sure to edit it so it makes perfect sense for your website and digital marketing efforts. It’s a bit slower to use than ChatGPT, but it’s still a solid AI tool to have in your arsenal if you’re going to break into digital marketing in 2023.
3. Other New Digital Marketing Tools I’d Recommend
You might also wanna play around with Bard from Google and Google Trends in particular. You can get a better idea of how Google “thinks” when it comes to ranking content for search engine optimization and digital marketing as a whole. I myself have not used Bard that much but it’s something that’s going to likely change if I see a good use case for it in the future. I just want you to start thinking ahead of the competition and incorporating these AI tools into your workflow, while still understanding the very basics of copywriting and content writing too.
Anyway, if you want more great content like this, visit my website robertoseverino.com! Thank you for staying with me, and I hope you have a wonderful day.