How Much Can a Freelance Digital Marketer Make?

by Digital Marketing Institute

Posted on Apr 1, 2019

How Much Can a Freelance Digital Marketer Make?

The demand for digital marketers across countries is growing at such a rate that there are more jobs than people with the skills to fill them. This is making way for a new kind of entrepreneur, the freelance digital marketer.

Many possibilities are emerging in this field for those willing to dive in feet first. It is a fast-paced career in a constantly changing environment giving the advantage to those able to stay on top of changes and keep up with the pace.

As it becomes more difficult for companies to hire in-house digital marketers, and the demand for digital marketing services continues to rise—companies are being forced to outsource. If you can position yourself as an expert in even one area that needs to be outsourced, that can be all you need to begin a rewarding freelance career.

So how do you become a freelance digital marketer? Read on to find out what a digital marketer does and tips to land a position in the industry.

What Does a Freelance Digital Marketer Do?

The role of a freelance digital marketer is to use a variety of digital channels to promote, engage and convert. A key objective is to use digital to communicate with prospects and existing customers.

Keep in mind that as a freelancer you need to offer value to a business as opposed to working in-house. This may require a shift in mindset. Ultimately you need to be more client-focused. Not what can you do, but how can you help?

So, what does a digital marketer do? There are many daily tasks involved which include:

  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • SEO & SEM
  • Content marketing
  • Data analysis
  • PPC
  • Brand marketing

The great thing about a job as a freelance digital marketer is that no two days are the same. You can be analyzing data to drive better ad performance one day and the next day review your content calendar and management systems.

As companies are forced to outsource due to limited supply, this provides a unique opportunity for freelancers to either concentrate on being an all-around digital marketer or specialist. Let’s delve into the different specialisms you can branch into and the skills required for each.

Key Areas of Focus for Freelance Digital Marketers

There are many specialisms in digital marketing, that’s what makes it such an exciting and interesting career. The key for you as a freelancer is to find out what area fits with your skills and interests to ensure you get the most out of your career.

Facebook Ad Management

Some businesses base their entire social media marketing strategy on Facebook Ads because it is a powerful lead generation tool. It can be intimidating to the uninitiated, but a master of this craft has unlimited potential to attract clients.

You can use Facebook Business Manager, Facebook/Instagram Ads and Facebook Insights to get a 360 view of your brand’s performance on the platform. Check out our expert video walkthroughs on Facebook ads and insights if this is something you’re interested in finding out more about.

Google AdWords

A Google Ads specialist is an in-demand job as it requires a lot of knowledge and constant optimization. In this role you would set up, run and maintain Google Ads campaigns for clients to increase revenue. This can be for ads but also landing pages, websites and email campaigns.

Google has an extensive amount of information and tools to get you started and you can watch our video to get expert insights into Google Ads.

Social Media Management

Are you a social media butterfly with a passion for all things social? Can you post relevant, exciting and value-driven content across multiple mediums several times a day? Then there’s a brand out there that needs you!

Managing multiple social media accounts requires you to be a quick thinker and creative writer. You must know different platforms so you understand what content formats and language works best on each one. There is no one-size-fits all when it comes to social media. Above all, you must stay connected throughout the day and respond promptly when your client's prospects or customers have something to say.

Content Marketing

Content marketing involves writing relevant, value-driven content using keywords. It’s an in-demand skill as more companies recognize the importance of providing value through content.

If you have a way with words and can write knowledgeably on a range of topics, this is a lucrative path that can earn you a great freelancing income. Several types of content can be used at different stages in the web funnel such as blogs, ad copy, landing pages, eBooks, and whitepapers. You can set rates based on your experience and skills and either charge per word, project, or per hour (see the graph below from Make a Living Writing to see what bloggers are being paid.

Working for a content mill such as Contently or ClearVoice, is a great way to quickly gain experience in a multitude of areas. This can give you an idea of the clients you want to offer your services to as you build your freelancing business.

Check out our great tools and templates for writing successful blog posts if this is an area that rocks your boat!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Management

Search engine optimization also known as SEO is not going out of style anytime soon. Organic rankings in search engines are one of the most powerful tools in the digital marketing tool belt, and mastering search engine algorithms along with knowing how to conduct an SEO audit will make you an asset to any business with an online presence.

According to DMI’s own research ‘Perpetual Evolution’, SEO is in the top 5 of hardest skill areas to recruit for on a global scale. This offers a huge opportunity for marketers with an eye for SEO as a way to drive traffic and revenue.

Check out exactly what an SEO Manager does to see if the role is a good fit for you and your experience.

Pay-Per-Click Management

Understanding exactly what a PPC specialist does can be a mystery to many! Fundamentally this role involves the strategy, design, implementation and analysis of PPC campaigns across channels. It’s a specialty that requires landing page design know-how, keyword research experience, and trend watching.

If you have mastery of this art, you will have no trouble finding businesses in need of your services. Like SEO, anyone specializing in PPC is in high demand as it’s a great channel to drive conversions and revenue. The benefit to this is that since the client only pays when it works, you will be able to show results and value quickly.

Community Management

Building an active online community is key to driving customer engagement and satisfaction. According to the Global Web Index, 76 percent of internet users took part in an online community of some sort. The same report found that there are many reasons for people joining such a community which includes:

As people become more connected through apps, social networks (think about Reddit) and messaging services (like WhatsApp), brands need to foster communities and so they require community management specialists. There’s a growing demand in this niche area for marketers that have a talent for engagement. If you’re interested in this area, check out 10 quick tips for online community management.  

Virtual Assistant

As many companies move to and embrace remote working, a new opportunity is arising as a Virtual Assistant. But what is a virtual assistant? This type of role is all about providing operational and administrative services to a company or client. Daily tasks include:

  • Scheduling appointments
  • Making and receiving phone calls
  • Managing emails
  • Organizing travel

There’s also some scope for specialist Virtual Assistants that provide expertise in graphic design, content marketing, social media marketing or even bookkeeping. If you have experience in a particular area, see what’s available on sites like Upwork or Fiverr.  

Freelance Digital Marketer Salary Expectations & Job Outlook

Freelancing as a digital marketer has become a popular option as the COVID-19 pandemic forced many employees to work from home. Businesses are also looking to embrace a flexible workforce and bring in professionals to support their core teams.

A Robert Half salary guide found that 38 percent of organizations are increasing their use of contract or freelance talent while 39 percent of workers want to pursue consulting work as the next step in their career. This means that smart, well-organized, and dedicated freelancers can easily position themselves to do as well as, or better than traditional digital marketers in the current workplace.

Freelance digital marketers have a great job outlook in the next ten to twenty years. Since 2014 the number of digital buyers globally has increased from 1.3 billion to 2.14 billion in 2021 according to Statista. With more shoppers going online, now is the time is now to set yourself up as an expert in the freelance digital marketing field.

Let’s take a look at how much Digital Marketing Managers make across the world, because as a freelance digital marketer—you can work in any city as a digital nomad!

Salary range of digital marketers in the United States

The salary band for a freelance digital marketer in the USA can be from $80,000 to $104,000 a year according to our U.S specific salary guide.

Salary range of digital marketers in the United Kingdom

A digital marketing manager with 4 to 6 years of experience working in the UK can expect to earn between £220 to £280 per day according to our 2022 UK salary guide.

Salary range of digital marketers in Australia

According to talent.com, digital marketing managers in Australia can bring in an average of AU$100,000 a year. An experienced freelancer can expect to do the same if they land the right clients and put in the work.

Salary range of digital marketers in Canada

The average salary in Canada is CDN $55,000 which increases to $62,000 if you work in Quebec and drops to $50,000 for people in Saskatchewan.

When you work as a freelancer, you may have to adjust your mindset from expecting an annual salary to a contract, project, or hourly rate.

This could mean that you feel like you’re not getting paid properly for your time if you use an hourly wage calculation which can be disheartening.

Instead, consider first how much you need to earn to live by analyzing your current expenses. If you network and prove the value of your work, it won’t take long until you reach your goals.

Expert hint: A great way to boost your salary is to increase your output, check out our productivity tips for freelance marketers.

Become an In-Demand & Successful Freelance Digital Marketer!

Whether you’re thinking about it or want to dive right in, a globally recognized digital marketing qualification will help you to stand out from the crowd as a freelancer. A Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing will ensure you understand the fundamentals from social media to PPC, content marketing, SEO, display and video advertising. You’ll also gain in-depth knowledge of digital strategy, analytics and website optimization to carve out a successful and profitable freelance career.  

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