“Freelance + Digital Marketing” are you sure you want to do this?
I mean, it’s great to have this thought of doing and being a freelance digital marketer, but
Have you thought/researched a few things?
=> What is digital marketing?
=> Why do you want to do freelancing?
=> Why don’t you want to work in a company?
=> What is the difference between traditional marketing and digital marketing?
=> Why any product/Brand/Individual/Company/Event/NGO needs digital marketing?
=> What are the different kinds of jobs available in digital marketing?
=> As per your present skill set which digital marketing job suits you?
=> Why do you want to do freelance in digital marketing?
=> What would be good for you “Doing a job” or “Being a freelancer”?
=> List of top digital marketing experts?
Yes or No?
If yes, then it’s great but if your answer is no.
Then you need to stop here and do detailed research about it and get clarity over it.
Not now, you can do it anytime after reading this blog.
It will just add value to your knowledge,
and will make your decision of doing freelance digital marketing more concrete.
Anyways, I have got a good news “most of the above asked question will be answered in this blog”, so just keep reading.
While we were working on this blog we knew one thing for sure, we have chosen a topic which is very much vast and there is a very high probability that we may go overboard in writing it, so we decide to focus on following points to make it more relevant;
=> Who all will be reading this blog?
=> What will be the education qualification of the readers?
=> How much do (Will) they know about Digital marketing?
=> What if they will be one among those enthusiasts who easily get influenced?
Keeping all of these points in mind we are writing this blog, and are committed to creating and adding value in every reader’s life.
In this blog there are 2 very important keywords;
“Freelancing + Digital Marketing”
We are going to give equal importance to both the things “Freelancing” + “Digital Marketing”.
In the most simple terms, a “FREELANCER” is someone who works for themselves. A freelancer typically does it all for himself, right from sales, production/creation/execution, to client servicing to closing the project.
=> Do you think you can work for yourself and can support your finances?
=> Do you think you can handle a project all on yourself?
=> Are you motivated enough to do for the living?
Remember one thing, at times it gets difficult to get out of it. So,
For you it is very much important to understand;
=> What livelihood plan you are getting into?
=> Is it a well-thought decision or you just got inspired by seeing or reading someone else’s success story?
=> Whether it is just a thought or you have all the resources to be one?
=> What are the chances of your success?
=> What if you fail in this?
=> What would be the trial period?
These things will give you clarity over the end goal that you want to achieve out of being a “Freelancer”, in fact even about as to why you are thinking about being a freelancer.
By the way,
If you are reading this blog then you have either already decided or thinking about 2 things;
1. You want to be a freelancer.
2. You want to take on digital marketing.
In either case, the good news for you is that
There is no “Minimum” education qualification required for being a Freelancer.
=> You can just be a 10th pass (Or not even that).
=> You can just be a 12th pass.
=> You can be a Bcom, BA, BSc.
=> You can be an engineer.
=> You can be someone who holds a PG degree.
=> You can be someone pursuing it or a drop – out
Academically you can be any one of them and still you can be a freelancer in digital marketing.
In this industry your credibility has very much less to do with the certificate you hold and more about;
=> Your offering.
=> Value that you bring to them.
=> Your go-getter attitude.
=> The knowledge you have.
=> How much you know about the industry trend.
Either your zeal to achieve a result or your past achievements.
Recently we surveyed a few of the very prominent freelancers and asked them one question.
Question: According to you “What are the 2 things that make a Freelancer successful”.
Almost 90% of the freelancers said.
Answer: The 2 most common points are. Personality Type/Traits knowing what he/she is selling (Digital marketing)
Successful freelancers have one thing in common, and that the personality trait.
They are someone who can be found upon feet all the time.
Their personality is kind of a magnet, it attracts others.
Now, let’s see what are key personality traits that are expected from a freelancer or something that makes a freelancer successful.
- Urge to self start: You got to be someone who can make both short – term and long – term goals and can chase it on day to day basis, someone who can push themselves and start doing the tasks as planned.
- Self-motivator: Being a freelancer means you are (Mostly) working alone, and are doing too many things at the same time. These things in a company set up are being done by the different trained individuals. You as an individual, here are going to face situations where you will feel like either you can’t handle it or it’s not all worth it. Most of the individuals give up under such a scenario if you want to be a successful freelancer you got to back yourself under such a scenario and be a self-motivator. Talk to yourself and remind yourself as to why you want to do this.
- Being flexible and adaptable: As a freelancer, you should never be rigid in deciding until unless it is not going to cause losses to you. Be flexible enough in creating the possibilities to get the work done. You got to understand one thing “Your, priority should be to create a win-win situation for yourself and your prospect”, this is only possible when you are flexible and adaptable to the situation. Remember you are here to make money and that will happen only with the closure of deals and not by losing it.
- Knowing to say “No”: This is one of the most important personality traits, it not only helps you save a lot of time and makes you more productive in terms of earning money and managing projects. You got to say “NO” to Prospects whose only focus point is the price. (This comes out of the experience of many freelancers and companies that, it is highly difficult to satisfy such prospects and in most of the cases even the payment does not come on time.)
- Deadly timelines: As a freelancer, you might be talking to more than 1 prospect at a time and would be in a situation to close more than 1 deal at the same time. Under such a scenario focus on the high pocket client and smooth deadlines. Something that you can easily deliver. If you focus on too many clients in a tough deadline it can be deadly and you might end up goofing up on the deliverables and end up satisfying none. So better, focus on high pocket clients and easily achievable targets. Over promising: Never promise what you cannot deliver in the budget and in time. Rather, be someone who underpromises and over-delivers.
- Unethical tasks: Remember one thing you are in the industry to make money and stay for long. So don’t indulge in something that is unethical and doesn’t go the long way. Such an act will give you negative publicity in the industry and you will not be able to come out of that easily.
- Reliable: Always try to be someone on whom people can rely on. Being reliable is something that comes and goes a long way. People like to work with people on whom they can rely on the project and the work they are being entrusted upon.
- Decisiveness: This is one the very important factor in any individual’s success, your ability to make quick decisions with clarity takes you miles in your life. So, whenever it comes to making a decision be quick yet try and measure all possible risks involved in the process.
- Collaboration (With influencers): You being a freelancer will need to collaborate with people who will either get you a deal or may help you complete a project. So, be wise in collaborating with the right set people of people. Be someone who can either add value in someone’s journey or can take benefit from others without compromising on your business goals.
- Persistence: You got to believe in yourself, remember one thing as a freelancer it’s you who matters, it’s you got to show up every time, it’s you who got to forget about all the rejection mail and send a new mail again, it’s you who need to forget about a very bad cold sales call and make a new call with more energy. Remember most of the freelancers fail because they are unable to stay persistent.
If you are planning to become a freelancer then you got to primarily work on your individuality first. Be a person with whom people would love to work, and can trust money and project.
Along with these personality traits, there are a few skill sets that would add a lot of value to your freelance journey.
NOTE: These are all my opinions don’t get disheartened if you feel you lack any one of them, you can still be a successful freelancer.
- Communication skill: This is going to be the lifeline of your freelance journey, your strength here will shape up the entire flow of your earning and success. You got to be someone who can change their tone and the way they talk to people according to the situation. You need to know how to communicate your point to others with ease and without getting misunderstood.
- Managing money: You need to understand the value of money and prioritize your expenses (be it personal or for business purposes). Money that you earn should be used very much to care for your living and growing your business smartly. Overspending can burn your pockets very badly and if you don’t have sufficient funds it may get you into personal distress.
- Ability to network: There is a saying “Big things can’t be done alone”, you might be very much good in your art/craft/work but there’s always a time when you need help/support from different individuals experts to make you more strong. You got to be someone who can network with people easily to get your work done and increase the prospect of your personal growth.
- Ability to hire: At times you may have to hire people to do the task for your projects, here you got to be very smart while hiring people. Focus on following things before finalizing individuals; => Asses their recent work. => Find someone who is career-oriented. => Find someone who believes in fulfilling deadlines. => Find someone who can fit in your work culture. => Someone trustworthy.
- Written skill: Be very selective while making any written communication with your prospect and/client. Never over-promise things in your mail/written communication, as these can be used as a proof against you in case of any dispute. Learn to write things precisely and with clarity.
- Sales communication skills: As a freelancer, you are all in all for your business. So, every word that you speak can either make or break sales. If sales communication comes naturally for you it’s great, but if not than learning this art helps you in closing more sales. Here are a few of the tips to have a good sales communication pitch; => Know your product (Inside out) => Do a thorough competitive analysis => See your competitor’s service/product packaging. => See what promotional activities they are offering. => Evaluate their sales communication. => Evaluate their pricing strategy. => Check competitors review (Online – It helps you understand the reason behind their success and failure). => Know your prospects.
- Client service communication skill: Once you have closed a deal there are a few things that you need to do smoothly; Complete the project on time. Stay in communication with your client. In case of any dispute keep him posted about the redressal process. In most cases, the client will be supportive so stay in communication, don’t ignore your client. A good service communication can help you retain the client and a positive word of mouth from him/her can help you get another deal as well.
- Dealing with failure: Remember one thing, every day and every client is not going to go smooth and lead to profit. Some Days will go average when you will not be feeling energetic and charged up, all the clients you deal with may not end up being profitable or you may even lose money on it. You got to motivate yourself and stay focused on your short term and long term goals. Deal with the failure as a learning and move on. But, don’t have a chain of failure as it may be difficult to come out of it. Stay in communication with someone who you think can help you come out of it.
Now comes the big and real deal.
Why digital marketing?
I mean, Why
Do you think that you do freelance digital marketing will make you successful?
If you don’t have a clear cut answer for this question then I would say, rather hold.
Wait, do some introspection.
Try and find the answer to it, here is how you can do it;
Talk to people you know.
You should talk to as many people possible, try and reach out to every single individual in your life who you think can add value in your pursuit of becoming a successful freelance.
Here is how you can reach them, => Go and met them personally. => You can call them. => You can drop them an mail and take their opinion.
Now if you are thinking that why is it important let me tell you this. This very important task can help you understand yourself very easily and you will get to know if this new thing will work for you or not.
The only important thing that you need to focus on would be, the kind of people you choose. Select people who you think will be a value addition in your thought process, someone who can give you both positive and negative feedback. Please do not go to people who will give food for your self-ego trip and would say yes to everything that you ask them.
Today if I have to redo this task this is what will possibly be a part of my communication with them;
- I will tell them, “Hey, So in next …. days/months I am planning to do Freelance digital marketing”
- I will tell them “Hey, I believe I am good enough in the digital marketing skill sets (Be clear about the skillset that you pose if possible show them a few of your previous jobs/tasks that you feel proves your mettle in the skill that you are talking about) and that I can add value in the projects.
- Show them what you are going to offer to your clients.
- I will ask them “ Do you think, my offering and deliverables are going to excite the clients?”.
- I will take their advice “Is, there anything else that you think I should add in my offering to make it more exciting?”.
- I will ask them “Will you be able to refer/promote me and my offerings in your networks?”.
Talk to people, like-minded people help they know things about the industry and can be a very vital point in shaping up your journey.
Do a competitive analysis.
In layman’s term “Competitive Analysis” is all about finding and knowing what other existing people in your category are offering. Their strengths and weaknesses. This step will help you understand/compare your offerings with others.
While doing competitive analysis, you can focus on a few things;
- Find successful people in your category.
- Find their key skills.
- Find the sales proposal.
- Find what they are offerings, their promotions, their sales communication.
- Find a market pricing strategy (Try and find it with at least 5+ existing players).
- Find their USPs (Unique sales/selling points – It can be one and more).
- Try and understand their advertising/marketing style.
These points will help you create cutting edge service packaging for yourself, something that will be in line with what the people in the industry is offering.
You got to be doing this task on every on and off basis, if you want to be unique in your offering than you need to find out what is being offered in your target market and how different/unique you are from these existing people.
Evaluate your existing personal network. When you are planning to be a freelancer, it is very much important to know your network, by the network I mean;
- How many people do you know in the digital marketing community?
- Do you know any influencer who can help you create a cutting edge product line?
- Do you know someone who can help you create a sales strategy?
- Do you know people who can help you get your first client?
You got to check your network, talk to them and create possibilities for yourself. If you feel that your present network is not being much of use than either create such a network or rethink about being a freelancer.
Do a self SWOT analysis.
So, for those who don’t know what SWOT analysis is. Let me try to put it in the easiest way here.
SWOT analysis is all about knowing yourself, knowing your STRENGTHs (In this context it means knowing about your skill sets which will help you create an offering and have an edge over the competition.) Knowing about your WEAKNESS ( Here you got to be smart in finding/addressing it. If you ask me every individual has 2 types of weaknesses, 1. Something that an individual can find in him/herself 2. Something that others can see. As an individual who is willing to be a successful freelance digital marketer, you got to be true to yourself while finding a weakness.) Knowing about your OPPORTUNITY (It is about knowing all the possible things/events/circumstances/possibilities that can create an opportunity for you. Create a smart list of such things and keep a track of them.) Knowing about your Threat (It can be anything internal or external that can cause you a loss of job or project).
Here is an example of self SWOT analysis (Keeping in mind the freelance digital marketing)
=> I create a “To – do” list and follow it to make sure my goals are met.
=> I know how to communicate with the client and create a win-win situation for both the parties, I do it by keeping customer/solution-centric approach in my communication.
=> I can understand clients’ brand stories and ask relevant questions to help them win the game.
=> I am a very good storyteller, it helps me to create a very good business communication strategy and most of the content that I create for the clients is very much in line with the brand story.
=> I am committed to personal and client success.
While creating a business proposal I at times over-promise things, this happens to be in the good books of the clients and to also make sure that I get the deal at any cost. At times I overlook minute things in a task, this happens because of my commitment to complete the “to-do” list. This at times compromises on the quality of the work delivered.
Many freelancers are overlooking a small budget (Low paying) clients, and many freelancers are not able to satisfy them completely.
=> I am a part of all major digital marketing forums and in the coming days a few conferences/meetups/AMAs are lined up, these events will help me network with the right set of people and I am planning to close a few deals as well.
=> I am planning to learn a few new skill sets, this will help me to package my offering attractively and will help me to get more deals.
=> Planning to join web portals that provide work to the freelancers.
=> Due to my limited knowledge I am unable to crack high ticket clients.
=> Competitors are being more creative in presenting the business proposal.
=> Automation tools are taking up a few SEO jobs and other repeatable tasks.
This is just a sample SWOT analysis to make you understand how it works, be true to yourself while creating your SWOT analysis. Keep things simple and make sure that you are not doing it to boost your ego.
With this small exercise in place, you must have got a better view/clarity on your goals.
So tell me one thing,
Do you still want to be a Freelance digital marketer?
Are you saying yes?
Did you sense the possibility of a successful career that you can create for yourself? Is it Yes!!!
Are you excited to start this journey?
Let’s do it then.
From here on in this article/blog we are going to help you shape your freelance career as a digital marketer. As a freelance digital marketer, you got to have certain things in place, If you already have these then it’s great or else works on it. Create it for yourself. Let’s see what are these;
Write your business plan.
This thing is very much important, you need to have a well planned and crisp business plan and it should include;
- Services offering
- Competitive analysis
- SWOT analysis
- Sales Plan
- Retention Plan
- Spend some time and write it carefully, it helps you stay on track and stay focused.
=> Do you have a mentor?
=> Have you considered having a mentor?
Having a mentor is of great help, they keep you on the ground. Mentors can help you stay relevant within the game by keeping you updated about all of the things happening in the industry. One of the very important things that a mentor can do is he can keep you accountable and can keep you on track towards your goal. You need to have a mentor, try to find a mentor who has achieved something in life, someone whose success and achievement inspire you, someone who is still chasing better results for himself. Find such people, get mentored, and stay aligned.
Create a workable short term deadline.
Now, when it comes to Digital Marketing you can focus on a few things and can make a successful freelance career out of it.
There are 2 very important aspects of FREELANCE;
=> Backing your skillset.
=> Finding freelancing jobs.
Now we come to the most important part of the article/blog, something that will get you paid, something that is going to be a mainstream source of income for you.
=> Digital Marketing <=
We have decided to make things very much simple.
We believe that an article or a blog has a life till web survives or does a digital marketing stage survives, so we are going to write this 2nd part of a piece by keeping in mind every single possible target group.
=> A college student who has a nick of digital marketing and wants to explore the area,
=> Someone who is out of college and wants to do freelancing,
=> Someone who has got introduced to the world of digital marketing and finds a possibility to do so,
Or, someone who has been a part of the digital marketing industry and now wants to explore the industry as a freelancer.
Do you know as of February 2019 the world population has reached to 7.71(1) Billion, and India is the 2nd most populous country with 1.355 Billion people?
Globally there are around 4.4 Billion active internet users and around 3.5 Billion people are active social media users.
As a digital marketer, these are your possible target market.
Digital marketing will stay in relevance till this population of internet users keeps increasing and the recent growth in the user base is just very much encouraging for the people/agency/companies who are planning to explore possibilities for themselves.
As you are planning to be a freelancer in digital marketing you need to understand the nuances of Digital Marketing very carefully.
NOTE: While you are reading this piece I would like you to keep referring to the different blogs and keep learning more, you can use this peace as a reference point;
Components of Digital marketing
There is a famous phrase “JACK OF ALL TRADE”, and there is a regional add on to it “GOOD IN NOTHING”. I hope you are not one of them, out of all the components that we will be listing here you got to be master/expert in one of them at least. The more skill set you have the more will be your reach. Remember one thing, as of January 2019 there are around 1,518,207,412 (2) websites in the World and out of these hardly 10 % to 15% of the total websites are active right now.
Believe me, all of these active websites need some of the digital marketing services to grow and you can find that and create a service line for yourself.
A few of the digital marketing components are;
- Planning/Designing online presence.
- Developing an online presence.
- Local Optimization (Google | Bing | Yahoo)
- Pay Per Click.
- Conversion rate optimization.
- Social Media. (Setups and marketing)
- Content marketing.
- Email marketing.
- Lead management and nurturing.
- Online reputation management.
- Corporate training (Training corporates in the space of digital marketing)
As a freelancer in Digital marketing, you can choose to offer any one of these digital marketing components or create a bundle of it and start promoting your services.
The choice depends on you, but be sure of choice. Start with the components that you feel you can cater to and have a competitive edge against your competitors or agencies.
Now, we will try to explain all of these components one by one to give you an idea of what you can do.
Planning/Designing online presence.
If you ever meet someone who is planning to start a company or sell a product online from scratch, be very much cautious as you can either make or break his/her entire sales journey.
This is one of the very important things in digital marketing it is the stepping stone towards having a rewarding digital marketing strategy for a product.
So, while planning or designing an online presence for a product do focus on the following points;
1.1: Understand the product first: Most of the time I have seen freelancers do not put enough time to understand the product that they are being been asked to work upon. What they do is they just open their deliverables checklist and start working on the product. As a freelancer, you should try and understand the product inside out. If you know what your prospects/client product is, it will be really helpful to you in delivering the best possible result for your client.
1.2: Understand the target market: You got to understand one thing very clearly, there are 4.4 billion internet users and all of them are not the target market for the product that you are being approached to work upon. You got to be very much smart in having a checklist to find the near-perfect target market while doing it you need to listen to your prospect/client very carefully. Your client might have already done his/her research about this and you may just have to understand it and add a few points as required.
You can focus on the following point to finalize it:
- Understand the present customer base.
- Connect product personality/usage with different prospective users.
- Understand the Geography/location where clients can be reached out.
- Understand the buying behavior/pattern of users.
- Be very specific about your prospect’s demography.
- Try and understand the decision-making pattern of your target market.
You win half of the brand war if you can target the right set of customers for the product.
1.3: Understand the competition: In today’s world 99% of the time you will find someone or else working on some product in the same category. It is because these days we hardly have an entirely new product (Something which was never introduced in the market before), so it will be very much easy for you to find out companies selling or promoting the same (Lookalike) product/services on the internet. Create a list of such companies and keep an eye on them, look for everything that they are doing and how they are doing. It will help you prepare better planning.
1.4: Do a thorough competitive analysis: Once you found out the list of all possible competitors, focus on the following key points;
- List all the products that they are offering, with the price.
- Write down their USPs if any.
- Understand sales communication.
- Understand the social media presence.
- Understand their product/brand personality.
- Try and do a brief SWOT analysis.
1.5: Plan what is best for the product: While you will work on a project, you may be flooded with the ideas that you possibly want to execute for a product. But, hold all that you know and want to do may not be needed for the product. So plan your deliverables by keeping in mind only and only what’s important for the product.
Developing an online presence
One-size-fits-all solution when it comes to Digital Marketing. For an online trading company, Affiliate Marketing + Social Media + PPC can be the solution, whereas for a retail store the mix of SEO + Social Media can deliver the desired results. It all depends on the client’s goals and the returns he is expecting from the digital marketing efforts. You as a freelancer can be someone who develops any one or more of it for your client;
Website: There are many types of websites that you can create based on your client’s requirement, here I am mentioning a few of them:
Business/Company Website: This type of websites are created by the companies for its internal purpose, hereby they just showcase their journey/achievements till now. These types of websites are meant for business owners /stakeholders /employees and, or clients.
=> Personal/Professional/Portfolio website: These websites are created for the skillful individuals who cater to their clients in the are of their expertise, for example, a photographer, an event planner, a CA, CS, A trainer, a motivator, a designer or anyone else.
=> E-commerce Website: These are the websites that allow the sale of products directly from them.
=> Entertainment Websites: These are the websites where stories of TV/Movies/Stars/Celebrities are being provided.
=> Sports websites: These days sports websites are getting immensely popular, countries across the globe have websites attached to the famous sports of that country.
=> Information Media Websites.
=> NGO Websites.
=> Online Learning Websites.
Mobile App: As far as mobile apps are concerned, it’s still a way to explore in 2 terms; Whether a company/product needs to go for only a Mobile app strategy. Or, it should go for both i.e a mobile app and a website.
If you know, Myntra (A clothing website) had a website and mobile app as a sales point but all of a sudden it went for an only mobile app as a sale point and it did hurt their sales number.
I gave this example just to understand how even a bad strategy can hurt an already existing brand.
So, when you are planning it for your client to be very much aware of the buyer behavior. Or, else it will burn your customers/clients’ money.
Social Media Pages/Profiles: Social media is a great boon if you use it in the best possible way, thanks to Millenials there are so many social media platforms, be it; Facebook Twitter Tiktok
Be it anything that you choose, it can help you with the following things;
Product introduction: If you are handling a start-up be it in B2B or B2C segment, most of the time it will be for product introduction and if that is the case trust me you have got a hell lot of tasks to do as you can again make and break a product. So be smart enough in choosing the right blend of social media presence.
Product awareness: Ok, tell me one thing what does the word AWARENESS mean to you. I am asking this because there are different levels of product awareness. At times you would like to create awareness for;
New packaging: Social media portals spread like a wildfire, so if you have got a product that connects with you to spread awareness about the new packaging that they are introducing for their product take it smartly. It can give you an added advantage and you can reap a lot of benefits out of it.
New Price: Does not matter what your client’s product line is, social media has presence and market available for all
NOTE: This is just a part of the blog, we are working on it and will be completing it soon. The present version will also get updated.