Demand for digital marketing shows no signs of slowing, even when other industries falter in the turbulent global economy. In advertising, for example, analysts predict the growth of around 7% annually between now and 2028.
Perhaps you love marketing. Or maybe you are currently thinking about a career change. Either way, the digital marketing industry offers many opportunities for ambitious professionals.
Read on to learn how to be a digital marketer and grow a successful freelance business from scratch.
Learn the Trade
You’ll learn plenty of marketing strategies on the job. However, you must still grasp the fundamentals to become a digital marketer.
It means you can start marketing your business and confidently talking when pitching to clients.
There are many online video tutorials but before you begin, narrow your focus. Choose a niche within digital marketing and become a specialist in that topic. That might be:
- Content marketing
- PPC ads
- Social media
- Sales funnels
- Marketing copy
- Marketing graphics design
- Website design
- Website development
These are all good niches, so choose the one that seems most interesting to you and suits your skill set. If you love data analysis, you might thrive in advertising or SEO.
But if you are more of a creative person, you may prefer copywriting or website design. You could also narrow your specialization to one industry, which will help you win customers.
Invest in Tools
Having cutting-edge digital marketing tools at your disposal has two benefits. First, it will make it quicker for you to promote your digital marketing skills to customers.
Second, you can upsell your services depending on the tools you use. For example, if you pay for a market-leading keyword research tool, you can sell your clientele a suite of keyword research services.
Build a Case Study
Getting that first customer as a digital marketer is the biggest challenge, as most paying clients will want someone with lots of glowing testimonials from past clients.
The best way around this is to create a case study client.
That client can be someone you know – perhaps a business connection – or a customer you offer your services to for free in exchange for featuring their project as a case study on your website.
When writing the case study, make sure you include any metrics.
If you increased the customer’s website traffic by 10%, mention that in your write-up. Include details of any methods and tools you used. And add a detailed quote from your customer that will act as your first website testimonial.
Launch Your Website
Once you have a case study, it’s time to advertise your digital marketing expertise to the world. That means creating a simple website outlining who you are and your services.
You’ll also want content on your site in the form of blog posts or something more substantial, like a downloadable digital marketer guide.
Plan a list of topics you want to cover and turn these topics into titles for around ten to twenty blog posts. You should also consider researching keywords to help with your SEO efforts.
Having a website is essential, and using SEO to build traffic is helpful. But you won’t see a significant upswing in traffic numbers immediately, and you won’t get dozens of customer inquiries the moment you launch your site.
So you must try a different approach until your brand and website become more recognizable. And one of the best ways to get customers in those early days is via networking.
Search online for forums and Facebook groups related to your niche. Don’t oversell in these spaces; start forming relationships and connections with people.
Create a Social Media Presence
Another way to start networking with your target customer is to create a presence on social media. Don’t choose every significant platform. Instead, choose strategically based on which platform you’re most likely to find your customer.
Social media is easy to use, as most of us use it for personal reasons. Nevertheless, mastering it for your business is to be consistent with your branding and to post regularly.
Try Partnering With Another Small Business
Suppose you build a business offering SEO services.
You could partner with a similar-sized business offering copywriting and produce a joint service offering. This strategy will benefit the customer and allow you to market to each other’s audiences.
Partnerships are an excellent method for growing your business fast. If you choose the partnership route, make sure you have a lawyer involved to write the contract to protect you from future problems.
Arrange an Interview
Connect with popular blogs and podcasts and pitch an interview to these more prominent influencers. You could offer to talk about a niche digital marketing topic that you think is valuable to their audience.
This strategy will help you reach out to a bigger audience and will also help you become an authority on your subject. The more people see you as an authority, the more likely they want to sign up for your services.
Join a Professional Body
A logo from a professional body prominently displayed on your site will show potential customers trust and authority. Depending on your specialism, you might have organizations in your country that you can join.
Do some preliminary research and choice the most appropriate one to join. These bodies will also offer you an extra networking opportunity.
Another way you can build your authority is to work towards a formal marketing qualification, such as a marketing diploma.
Qualifying as a digital marketing expert will help you develop a robust service and delivery framework when helping customers.
How to Be a Digital Marketer
If you love marketing, it’s an exciting time to launch a new career in this ever-changing digital world. Use our tips on how to be a digital marketer to help make a success of this business from day one.
For more advice on getting ahead with your new startup, visit our business section for many helpful tips.