How To Become A Highly-Paid Digital Marketing Freelancer: 2024 Complete Guide

HomeDigital Marketing FreelancerHow To Become A Highly-Paid Digital Marketing Freelancer: 2024 Complete Guide
digital marketing freelancer

Are you looking to break free from the traditional 9-5 grind and embark on an exciting career as a digital marketing freelancer? If so, you're in the right place. When I first started out in digital marketing, and just like every other person, my aims were to both gain cooperate experience as well as get a good salary at the end of the month.

Again, just like every other professional digital marketer out there, the moment does really come when you start getting dissatisfied with the daily routine of doing the same job, and getting the same paycheck every month. In my case, I began to dig deeper into other alternative sources of revenue like Affiliate marketing, dropshipping, and Freelancing. Fast forward to 3 years after this, I was already earning a really decent amount as a freelancer. In this comprehensive guide, I will walk you through the essential and expert steps to becoming a highly paid digital marketing freelancer in 2023, 2024, and beyond.

But before I dive into the nitty-gritty details, let's take a moment to understand what it means to be a digital marketing freelancer and why it has become such a sought-after profession.

What is a Digital Marketing Freelancer?

Once again, there are several reasons people want to enroll in digital marketing, but definitely, one of such reasons is to make money either as a full-time digital marketing staff in a company earning cash every month or as a freelancer earning per Gig.

You may be wondering, so, what is freelancing, and who is a freelancer?

A digital marketing freelancer is an independent and skilled digital marketing professional who offers his or her expertise in various aspects of digital marketing to clients on a project basis. Unlike traditional employment, freelancers have the liberty to choose who they work for/with, set their own rates, and work on agreed terms.

Freelance digital marketing involves providing services such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, content marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, email marketing, and more. As a freelancer, you can specialize in a specific area or offer a comprehensive range of digital marketing services.

What Does a Freelance Digital Marketer Do?

A freelance digital marketer wears many hats. They are responsible for creating and implementing effective digital marketing strategies to help clients achieve their business goals. This includes conducting market research, developing marketing plans, executing campaigns, analyzing data, and optimizing performance.

Additionally, freelance digital marketers often collaborate with other professionals, such as web designers, content writers, and graphic artists, to create compelling and engaging marketing materials.

Why do Businesses Hire Freelancers?

The gig economy has finally taken its place in the job market, and most employers are taking advantage of the many benefits it possesses in order to stay afloat. Most businesses will hire freelancers obviously because it helps them to get needed tasks done really fast and in a cost-saving manner as opposed to permanent staffing.

Find below a tabular comparison between permanent staffing and hiring freelancers, maybe this will give you a complete insight into some of the reasons business owners want to hire freelancers over outright permanent staffing.

Complete ListFreelance HireFull-Time Hire
1. Cost Implications:It is a known fact, that freelance hires offer cost savings due to their payment structure based on specific projects or hours worked.while Full-time hires usually entail higher costs due to salaries, benefits, and overhead.
2. Skill DiversityFreelancers bring specialized skills and varied experiences from working across multiple projects and industries which is a win for the business.While Full-time staff may possess broader skill sets due to their generalist roles within the company which may not really benefit the business much.
3. Management ComplexityHandling freelancers typically requires less oversight and administrative burden as platforms like Fiver, Upwork, peopleperhour take care of those and even punish defaulting freelancers.On the other hand, Managing full-time employees involves more administrative tasks, training, and HR-related work.
4. Adaptability and ScalabilityHiring freelancers allows for easy scalability and swift adjustments to workload fluctuations in any organization.While Full-time staffing might provide stability but might lack quick adaptability to changing demands.
5. Cultural IntegrationFreelancers are known to work in multiple environments simultaneously. This is healthy for a business because the freelancer is able to adapt to the immediate business environment.This is completely different for a full-time hire who is meant to learn about a single organization's culture for a long time.
6. Resource InvestmentHiring freelancers involves a more focused investment for immediate project needs. This is nice as businesses are able to focus on the deliverables, worrying less about the amount of resources that will be needed to get the result.Full-time staffing requires continuous investment in employee development, benefits, and career growth which may eat into the business's revenues.
7. Legal and Compliance Considerations and cost implications.Freelancers have fewer legal complexities as they are meant to work for a short period. This is healthy for the business as it will not spend unnecessary time on finetuning legal requirements and wasting cash in the process.Hiring a full-time staff will require every known and necessary legal document, especially ones that cross paths with the labour law. This can have some negative impact on businesses as some of the needed documents may require time and money.

What Skills Do You Need to Become a Freelance Digital Marketer?

To succeed as a freelance digital marketer, you need a diverse set of skills. First and foremost, you must have a solid understanding of digital marketing principles and strategies. This includes knowledge of SEO best practices, social media platforms, content creation, and analytics.

In all honesty, you do not want to shortchange yourself as a freelance digital marketer. On Platforms like Fiver and Upwork for instance, there are over 10,000 freelance jobs posted every day. This goes to show you that you have to develop as many relevant skills as possible.

Find below some of the digital marketing skills you will need, areas where you can work/types of jobs you can get as a freelancer.

1. Search Engine Optimization Skill.

As an aspiring digital marketing freelancer. you can never go wrong with Search engine optimization skills. First, it is expected that you must have trained as an SEO Professional and have also mastered the skills necessary to excel in the field.

Search engine optimization involves the organic optimization of content in order to make it search-worthy and to help it appear on the SERP (Search engine result page). There are different areas of SEO that you can focus on as a digital marketing freelancer and still cash out consistently every day. These areas include:

a. On-Page Optimization

This area of SEO allows you to get freelance gigs to help business owners touch or retouch their websites from within and make them search-worthy. Sub-areas to on-page SEO include:

  1. Optimizing the individual pages on the websites, writing good meta titles, helping to restructure the page links, and writing well-optimized meta descriptions.
  2. Writing well-optimized blog posts, repurposing blog posts, and retouching old posts to make them relevant again.
Type Of Freelance Job: On-page SEO Specialist
On-page SEO

With the above sub-skill under SEO (Search engine optimization skill), you can get jobs related to Onpage optimization specialist jobs on Fiver, Upwork, and peopleperhour.

Apart from earning as an on-page SEO specialist in freelancing, the career growth opportunity for on-page SEO is also really wide and still growing. As new tools are introduced into SEO and Google updates its algorithm, there will obviously be a need for your service.

b. Off-page Search Engine Optimization

This area of SEO allows you to help businesses position their brands outside and also help generate plenty of positive signals that tell google the business is trustworthy.

Sub-areas to off-page SEO include:

  1. Quality link building: This is the process of helping the client to build quality (Do-follow backlinks). Backlinks are the new SEO currency, as it is considered one of the top-ranking factors by Google.
  2. Press statements or Interviews. This is another area of off-page SEO that is really beneficial in helping to amplify a business's brand message. If done well, this can positively help to seal the brand perception of the business.
Type Of Freelance Job: SEO Link-building Expert or professional

With the above sub-skill under the SEO Skill (Off-Page SEO), you are very much in a good position to get freelance gigs such as SEO Link Builder and brand communication specialist.

c. Technical Seo

Technical SEO is another area of SEO that is highly sought after on most freelancing platforms. As new changes hit the search industry or as new websites are designed, the need for technical search analysis becomes really important. Sub-areas to Technical SEO include:

  1. Schema Markup code infusion: A good understanding of how the Schema markup code works will set you apart as a digital marketing freelancer.
  2. Website speed optimization which obviously looks into helping to speed up a website load time.
  3. Analysing Google search console and interpreting Google analytics.
Type Of Freelance Job: Technical SEO Expert or professional
digital marketing freelancer

With the above skills, you can land freelance gigs such as Website speed optimizer, Schema markup designer

d. Local SEO

Local SEO is another sub-area of search engine optimization that looks into local intents, keywords, as well local businesses.

Areas you may focus on as far as Local SEO is concerned are:

  1. Setting up and optimizing a local business listing like Clutch local listing, the Google My Business local listing, and a host of others.
  2. Integrating Image geotagging to a client's Images.
  3. Infusing the local/Business schema JSON code on the website.

Type Of Freelance Job: Local SEO Optimizer, Google My Business Optimization Expert, Schema generating expert.

2. Pay Per Click Advertising.

Pay-per-click also shortened sometimes as PPC, Is a must-have skill for every Digital marketing freelancer. Every business/Potential client wants a balance in their marketing strategy. While search engine optimization as rightly explained above takes charge/control of the long-term marketing plan, Pay-per-click advertising takes control of raising clients in the short term.

Some of the areas of pay-per-click campaigns you should focus on as a digital marketing freelancer are:

  1. Facebook and Instagram advertising.
  2. Google and YouTube advertising
  3. Twitter advertising
  4. Linkedin advertising
  5. TikTok advertising.

3. Graphics Designing

In recent times, graphics designing has grown in popularity among digital marketing freelancers. As the demand for professional images grew, the amount freelancers made from this skill also grew.

According to a CNBC Report, Graphics design skill is in ‘giant’ demand—and can pay up to $145 an hour as a side hustle.

Here are some of the real skills you need to become successful and also to earn big with graphics design:

  1. Solid and practical knowledge of Adobe products like Premier Pro.
  2. Adobe Illustrator.
  3. Adobe In-design.
  4. Adobe Creative.
  5. Adobe Photoshop
  6. Corel draw

4. Email Marketing.

Another solid skill you must possess as a digital marketing freelancer is email marketing. Truth be told, the total number of professional email marketers with a focus on email conversion is rare.

Not all email marketers know how to structure emails that rake in conversion.

Every successful email marketer is a result-oriented copywriter.

Some of the skills you will need to earn very high in email marketing include:

  1. How to develop an email marketing calendar.
  2. How to set up an email marketing structure from tool selection to sending out the first email message (Bomb).
  3. How to do a very clean email segmentation.

Digital Marketing Freelancer Salary

The earning potential as a digital marketing freelancer is impressive. According to recent reports, the average annual income for freelance digital marketers ranges from $50,000 to $100,000 or more, depending on experience, expertise, and client base.

It's important to note that as a freelancer, your income is not fixed and can vary based on the number and size of projects you undertake. However, with the right skills and a solid reputation, you can command higher rates and secure well-paying clients.

Pros and Cons of Becoming a Freelance Digital Marketer

Like any career choice, freelancing as a digital marketer has its pros and cons. On the plus side, you have the freedom to work from anywhere, choose your own projects, and set your own rates. You also have the potential to earn a higher income compared to traditional employment.

However, freelancing also comes with challenges. You must constantly seek new clients, manage your own finances, and handle the administrative aspects of running a business as a digital marketer. Additionally, you may experience periods of feast and famine, where you have an abundance of work one month and very little the next.

10 Complete Steps on How to Become a Highly Paid Digital Marketing Freelancer

1. Identify your niche and target market

In the above paragraph, I mentioned some of the skills you will need to earn well as a digital marketing freelancer. But one thing about being a freelancer is the fact that, while general digital marketing knowledge is important, you may actually have to narrow it down to some specific areas in order to nail targeted clients.

Some common ways to select a freelancing niche inside:

  1. Your Passion. Obviously, you need to have passion for the niche you want to settle into.
  2. Earning potential. Very correct. You need to do your personal research regarding the earning potential of the niche you are settling in.
  3. Level of competition. So, while I do not want to believe that digital marketing is saturated, it is a known fact that some areas of digital marketing are currently really saturated, and it is your duty to discover that.
  4. Industry relevance: You may want to find some highly lucrative industries that constantly need the services of a digital marketer, focusing on those industries. A good example is the real estate industry and the health industry.

2. Build a strong online presence through a professional website and social media profiles

A lot of folks think that freelancing starts and ends with Fiverr, Upwork, and the like. From experience, there are several platforms that can help any digital marketer to get freelance gigs outside of those popular ones, and one sure way by which you can position to get those gigs is to build a formidable online presence. Some of the ways by which this is done include but not limited to:

  1. Branding your social media platforms.
  2. Owning and managing an up-to-date website
  3. Run self-promotions on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms.

3. Develop a portfolio showcasing your skills and past projects

The importance of a portfolio can never be over-emphasized. A portfolio literally captures every piece of information a client wants to know about you. A portfolio captures information like:

  1. Your full name
  2. A brief and catchy about You.
  3. A list of past projects
  4. your contact information
  5. Testimonials from previous employers

4. Network with industry professionals and potential clients.

Networking plays a crucial role not just in our circular lives, but also in freelance. To become highly paid in this industry, you will need to reach out to people at events (Offline).

5. Offer value-added services to differentiate yourself from the competition

Sometimes in the freelancing world, it is the way and manner you package your service that actually make the whole difference. One of the ways by which you can package your service or yourself as a digital marketing freelancer is to offer value-added service to your clients at little or no cost.

6. Set competitive rates based on your experience and expertise

Before starting a service price on any platform as a digital marketing freelancer, it is best to take a deep swipe at other freelancers to see how they price their services. No client wants to pay $20 for a service they can get from other freelancers at $10.

The only condition to set a higher price compared with your competitors is the addition of additional values to your service offerings.

7. Create a comprehensive marketing plan to attract clients.

He who fails to plan obviously plans to fail... You are definitely aware of that. You must develop a step-by-step approach by which you want to attack your client acquisition either on organized platforms like Fiver or outside of Fiverr and Upwork.

8. Continuously update your skills and stay up-to-date with industry trends.

The digital marketing industry is ever-evolving. Everyday, new kinds of stuff pop up and displaces the unprepared digital marketers. You must try to stay up-to-date with trends and new ways of getting things done. One of the ways this can happen is by updating your skills with New courses

9. Provide exceptional customer service to build long-term relationships

Staying different from the noise obviously requires exceptional service delivery. From personal experience, clients will definitely get back to you when they want to buy additional service if you provide them with timely service.

Your mantra must revolve around great customer experience.

10. Monitor and analyze your results to optimize your performance and drive success.

Understanding data is key for every digital marketing freelancer. As you make progress with your services, you will need to take periodic breaks to analyze and then get back into business.

Analysis is important because it helps you to decide on what to do next, and to decide on areas to ditch.

Digital Marketing Freelancer Website

Let's explore some of the best and highly-talked about freelance websites where many digital marketers go to hunt jobs.

1. Upwork

As you may have already known, upwork started in 2015 with the merger of Elance and oDesk, and has grown so much into hosting millions of jobs across various categories, including Digital marketing. Upwork's headquarters are in San Francisco, California, United States.

2. Fiverr

Another great Freelance Digital Marketers platform is Fiverr. Fiverr is an Israeli freelance organization with its headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel. The company was established in 2010 and currently hosts Thousands of digital marketing-related gigs.

Most freelancers are not aware that Fiverr has a couple of subsidiaries namely: Stoke Talent Ltd, Working Not Working, clearvoice, Veedme LTD, SLT Consulting LLC, and others.


Jobs: Hundreds of digital marketing jobs.

Year of establishment: 2009

4. Guru

Jobs: Thousands of digital marketing projects.

Year of establishment: 1998

5. PeoplePerHour

Jobs: Hundreds to thousands of digital marketing projects.

Year of establishment: 2007

6. Toptal

Jobs: Varies, including digital marketing roles.

Year of establishment: 2010

7. 99designs

Jobs: Focuses more on design, but sometimes digital marketing projects are available.

Year of establishment: 2008

8. Crowded

Jobs: Different categories including digital marketing tasks.

Year of establishment: 2015

9. Catalant

Jobs: Project-based work, including digital marketing projects.

Year of establishment: 2013

10. Hubstaff Talent

Jobs: Various freelance opportunities including digital marketing.

Year of establishment: 2012

11. Outsourcely

Jobs: Offers different remote jobs including digital marketing roles.

Year of establishment: 2014

By following these steps and staying committed to your professional development, you can position yourself as a highly paid-digital marketing freelancer and enjoy a rewarding and fulfilling career.

I hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights and actionable steps to kickstart your journey as a digital marketing freelancer. If you have any questions or would like to share your experiences, I invite you to start a conversation in the comment section below. Looking forward to hearing from you!

  • career tips
  • digital marketing freelancer
  • freelance digital marketer
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Patrick Ezeji Picture

Patrick Ezeji

Patrick Ezeji is a seasoned digital marketing professional with a wealth of experience spanning over 8 years. With a passion for all things digital, Patrick has left an indelible mark on the industry through his extensive work in various renowned digital marketing organizations.

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Patrick Ezeji Picture

Patrick EZEJI

Patrick Ezeji is a seasoned digital marketing professional with a wealth of experience spanning over 8 years. With a passion for all things digital, Patrick has left an indelible mark on the industry through his extensive work in various renowned digital marketing organizations. Patrick’s journey in the digital realm has been nothing short of remarkable.

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