There is a prevalent myth about freelancing that gets repeated time and again: “to be a freelancer, you must be a developer or a graphic designer”. This is false, and too many potential freelancers and digital nomads don’t pursue their passions remotely and independently due the prevalence of this belief. In this article, we will dispel this stereotype and share the best freelance digital marketing jobs and occupations you can work in as a remote and self-employed professional.
Ambroise Debret is a coach for anyone who would like to become a freelancer. He has worked as a digital nomad and freelancing coach for years, and advises his community on finding clients, working remotely, and using the internet to its full potential to build a digital freelancing career. Referring to the big freelancing myth at the beginning of this article, Ambroise has seen how, out of hundreds of professionals that he has coached to become freelancers, only 10%-15% fell under graphic designers and developers. There are dozens of freelance digital marketing jobs and careers in which you can find work, for which there is demand, and which pay well, too!
Table of Contents
The Principles of Freelancing
Let us start with a reminder of what freelancing means before we dive into the jobs and careers you can pursue. Freelancing is a very simple concept: you offer one or more of your competences to clients who need them. The client is usually a company, and you usually work as a contractor instead of being a full-time employee. Your clients will often have a specific mission for you to accomplish based on a need they have.
It is possible that the company has specific short- to medium-term needs. Alternatively, the company may have decided to outsource a longer-term role to a specialist rather than hiring a full-time employee. This is why they could be on the look for freelancers – who can likely complete these jobs remotely!
Companies have several marketing needs. Yes, they need graphic designers and developers, but also email marketers, social media managers, copywriters, video editors, data science experts, photo retouchers, and even customer service agents. Oftentimes, these missions have combined roles: they may need someone with knowledge in graphic design but who also has experience in project management so they can collaborate with other company stakeholders like the UX designer and the webmaster towards completing a task.
Going back to the point about you being an outsourced specialist, charging and getting paid as a freelancer is an important aspect, but also a whole separate topic. We cannot go in full detail here, but you can start by thinking about the different billing methods. Billing by the hour is self-explanatory: you charge for the hours it took you to complete your task. Fixed price billing means that you charge for the task, regardless of the hours it takes you. Finally, Project-based billing entails a price estimation for the project, but with possibilities of the final cost increasing given extra work or revisions that may be needed.
The 6 Main Freelance Digital Marketing Sectors
Now that the basics of freelancing have been covered, we can move on to the main digital marketing sectors where you can find a job as a freelancer. They are grouped in six main categories, and we mention examples of jobs that fall under each of them. This will make it abundantly clear that virtually most jobs can be completed by a remote freelancer.
1. Web Marketing
This first category includes (but is not limited to):
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
- Email Marketing
- Social Media Management
- Affiliate Marketing Management
For example, a business can have a general need for growth, but this will be split across marketing channels. An SEO expert will come handy for them to improve their presence on search engines. An SEM manager will help them pay for ads that appear above organic results on search engines like Google. They may want to reach their user base via a newsletter, for which the Email marketing expert will come in handy. Finally, they could also want a solid social media presence – they may already have someone who creates the images to share on social media platforms, but need someone who knows how to reach the target audiences on them.
As mentioned before, these tasks may be punctual, but you may also get an ongoing freelance digital marketing contract to manage them on a mid to long-term bases. You may have expertise in more than one of these fields, which definitely adds value to your profile, but it is understandable that with domains as intensive as SEO, the person in charge will focus solely on that.
2. Software and Web Development
This second category does include the usual suspects like web developers (frontend, backend, and full-stack), but also includes:
- Mobile App Developer
- AI/Machine Learning Developer
- Game Developer
- Operating Systems Developer
- DevOps Engineer
- Big Data Developer
This last one, “Big Data Developer”, touches on data science, which is the setup and implementations for data tracking and collection, data analysis, data visualization, among others.
As you can imagine, each of these examples mentioned is a job up on itself, and many are interconnected. For example, an e-commerce company will need help to create product catalogs and identify what data needs to be collected. Following that, they will need someone who puts all their data in a collectable format and installs tracking software, such as Google Analytics. A website may collect data from many sources, so an expert who knows how to centralize data into a data visualization tool like Looker, Tableau, Zoho Anyltics, or Klipfolio may be needed, too!
3. Written Content and Translations
This point includes all that has to do with written content – in the company’s native tongue, and in multilingual versions if applicable. A copywriter is needed to write efficient commercial copy. An editor is needed to write and edit content such as articles for a company’s blog or commercial newsletters. Proofreaders and fact-checkers add an extra layer of reputability for a company that relies considerably on content…
And if you are multilingual, you will find luck with roles such as translation and localization. A website may need a fully or partial Spanish version. A British company may need someone to adapt the language and context for a North American expansion… There are so many roles in this section, and being a bilingual in freelance digital marketing specialist pays off! Once more, these skills can be combined with others mentioned here. If you are a copywriter or text editor, and know SEO, you are set for an amazing freelance digital marketing role!
4. Project Management
In the points above, we mentioned how each of these domains under the global “digital marketing” category entail themselves several sub-specialisations that often collaborate towards the final goal based on a company’s needs. These projects take many steps across several stakeholders, so naturally there is always a need for project managers as well.
An agile way of doing things is preferred to maximize budgets and resources. This is why past experience as a product or project manager, or as a Scrum master (either as an in-house employee or as part of a freelance digital marketing project) will be an absolute asset for you. Once more, this is a role that may be limited to a particular project, or which will be more long term in assisting many teams work together across several projects.
5. Design and Media
Yes, this category includes graphic designers, but so much more as well, including:
- UX designers
- Photographers and Retouchers
- Videographers and Video Editors
- Sound engineers and editors
- Desktop publishing specialists (who know the difference between RGB and CMYK!)
Many of these creative and design roles are interconnected with the ones mentioned in previous categories above. Remember the role of social media manager? If you know graphic design or video recording and editing, as well as how to use social media for advertising, you have a natural competitive advantage over any other candidate for such roles. After all, think that you will be saving the client time and money by hiring you at a reasonably higher rate than hiring two different in-house or freelance digital marketing specialists who will each focus on one single aspect of this hypothetical mission.
6. Other Freelance Digital Marketing roles
This is a category that groups roles in which digital marketing freelancers can get roles, but that do not really fall under the ones described above. This includes virtual customer service assistants and direction assistants, as well as digital marketing coaches.
Consultants fall under this category too. These are professionals who have experience in coaching businesses and guiding them in the right direction according to their goals, without necessarily having a deep expertise in any of the above-mentioned fields.
Now that you have an idea of the plethora of freelance digital marketing jobs where you can work that fall under “digital marketing”, you can now see how your experience and skills can help you find a job for you to get started. You will find it incredibly satisfying to find a job that you enjoy, for which there is demand, and that pays fairly.
This article is second in a series of articles that have generously been shared with RGBLatte by our friend Ambroise Debret. In our previous article, we shared his list of common mistakes that freelancers make, which we encourage you to read as well!
If you have already leaped into the world of freelancing, you may want to improve your LinkedIn profile to grow your network and find a job. At RGBLatte we cover all sorts of creative careers – if by any chance you are interested in the music industry, we have a list of 40+ useful websites to find jobs in the music industry (hint: they are not limited to producers and musicians!).
We covered a few of the basics of freelancing in this article, but here are a few extra FAQ’s if you still want to learn more about it before fully diving into it!
FAQ’s about Freelance Marketing
What is a freelance marketing?
When it comes to digital marketing, a freelance digital marketing specialist is a self-employed professional who specializes in one or more of the marketing sectors mentioned in this article. They will work for clients in short- medium- or long-term projects based on the client’s marketing needs, and they can usually work remotely.
How much does a freelance marketer make?
There is not a single good answer for this. It depends on many factors. Salary.com estimates that the salary range for a Freelance Marketing is from USD $84,169 to $111,166 per year in the United States (and the similar equivalence in Euros depending in which European country their clients are based). However, this depends on the amount of clients they are taking in, the nature of their contracts, as well as where their clients are based and what budgets they have for outsourced missions.
How do I become an independent marketer?
First of all, you need to sit down and list the skills you have and how it can translate as value to a company. Secondly, you will want to put yourself out there and offer your services to your network, but also look for marketing missions aimed at freelancers. You can always consult with a Freelancing coach to get on the right track and thrive as an independent freelance digital marketing expert.
Is freelance marketing a good career?
Yes, if you know how to optimize your talent, network, clients, and time. Instead of a fixed-salary, you can make as much money as you want based on the hours of a day you are willing to work for the number of clients you can accept. Freelancing gigs can also be an extra income additional to your full-time job. To boot, most gigs are remote! We recommend not idealizing freelancing, though – if not done correctly, it can lead to issues with clients and earning less money than you would with a regular fixed-salary full-time job.