Everything That Goes Into Hiring A Conversion Copywriter

The Ultimate Guide to Mastering the Copywriting Process (1).jpg

There’s a massive difference between a copywriter and a conversion copywriter. You’ve likely hired the former, meaning you’ve worked with a blogger, or ebook writer, or newsletter writer. They’ve come in, knocked out a few projects, and maybe stayed on as an ongoing freelancer to meet all of your content needs.

If they’re especially good, then you’re likely barely writing any of your own content, if at all. If they’re good, they’re handling everything from your blog to your lead magnets, and everything in between. They’ll research topics, identify gaps in your content, edit pieces prior to publication, work in tandem with designers on your branding (unless they do that themselves), shape language, etc.

You get the idea…

...but a conversion copywriter works with one goal in mind: to get you conversions. They increase click through rates, analyze data, perform A/B tests, link build, and effectively translate your ideas to your target audience using the aid of language specialists. It’s all performance-based.

This means one thing: if you’re looking to build up your B2B or B2C content and branding, your Google Ads, or your SEO, you should be hiring a copywriter. But if you want to increase your sales, or other conversions, you should work with a conversion copywriter. Ideally, in the best case scenario, you’d want to work with both, so the conversion copywriter can lead the charge and inform your copywriting team what’s needed, why, and how to go about it.

But first thing’s first, before you go contacting a conversion copywriter on a whim, let’s dive deep into this role, and see why it’s so important to business success. Here’s everything you need to know.

 

The Mark of A Conversion Writer

Hiring Conversion Copywriter

Suffice it to say that all professional writers, in every niche, are exceptional at what they do. They have to be, or else they don’t really get anywhere. That means authors, bloggers, copywriters, content strategists, journalists, etc. are all hard at work at honing their skills, because if they don’t, they’re not going to amount to much.

Of course, there are many variables there. For instance, you could have an exceptional copywriter who simply doesn’t handle the business side of things well, and therefore, lacks quality, ongoing work. All because they don’t market themselves well, and they dislike the idea of pitching themselves to brands.

So, again: don’t discard regular copywriters based on newfound information from this post. Everyone serves a purpose.

But then, what’s the real purpose of hiring a conversion copywriter?

For one thing, they’re a mesh of many hats. On one hand, they’re skilled writers with experience in crafting client copy. On the other hand, they’re all about the numbers. They’ll monitor web traffic and conversion rates, and they’ll create and oversee content reports on either a weekly or monthly basis.

Your press releases will be more focused, as a result, and things like your landing pages, and lead generation, and influencer marketing will make more sense within the scope of what you’re trying to accomplish. Your SEO will make more sense, your community will be redefined, if need be, and your press coverage will paint you in the light that your brand reflects. Things like networking and personal brands, or even CTAs and funnels will make more sense. Things will be relevant, rather than confusing.

Hiring them on leads to a direct change in your sales, sign-ups and lead quality, maybe even a streamlined branding approach. They’ll work with other copywriters to edit and fact-check work, and ensure everyone is delivering top-notch content that meets audience needs. They’ll even work on visual aids to pair along with copy, usually with the aid of designers.

But the most important aspect of their role is that conversion copywriters know how to work with language specialists to determine the right tone and style for your audience. It essentially takes the spotlight off you, and your branding wants and needs, and asks “What about them?”

By meeting audience needs, and using tactics that are metric-proven to work, they guarantee that you’ll see a boost in numbers, or they’re out of a job.

Which brings us to the last point: cost.

To put it simply, you get what you pay for. You get quoted based on who they are and what they’re known for (established vs starting out), how experienced they are, the project scope, and of course, how much they want to work with you.

If you’re an established brand, they might see it beneficial to forgo a couple hundred dollars in exchange for your name on their portfolio. If you’re not, then they might charge their usual going rate, which means if you try to haggle the fees down, they’ll likely say no.

And trust me, they will say no if they’re good, because they have several prospects in the pipeline. They can afford to pass on you, because they know someone out there is willing to pay them their value’s worth.

 

What Conversion Copywriters Do

Hiring Conversion Copywriter

Now, we have a very broad view of what it is conversion copywriters do. So, it’s time to dig even deeper and run down the stages of their work.

You can expect these three stages to be how they operate. If you hire them, they’ll likely inform you of this, but it’s always better to be prepared in advance, so you know what you’re getting into. You might find that you dislike their process, or that their process is just very different than what you’re used to.

 

Stage 1: Analysis & Planning

This is the stage where the conversion copywriter researches your brand, your audience, your products and services, etc. all with the singular goal of writing persuasive copy.

After all, you can’t sell an item you know nothing about. And you certainly can’t sell to an audience you don’t understand.

They’ll look over your video sales letters, landing pages, sales, growth hacking techniques, marketing campaigns, emails, everything. It’s a bit invasive if you’re not prepared for a full 360 view. But the whole idea is to make sure you are being as strategic as you can in all your business endeavors. Do you actually convert your leads, or are you simply writing for the sake of writing? Are you paying attention to your other hired help, like the digital marketing consultant, or are you pretty much paying people to give you advice you don’t use?

This is a tough pill to swallow for many entrepreneurs with no prior experience working with a conversion copywriter because they’re used to telling copywriters what it is they need. They’re used to doing the research themselves―the buyer personas, the demographic research―so they think they know what’s needed, and they pass that along to the copywriters…

...but that only works if you, the entrepreneur, has what it takes to truly know what’s needed.

If you have an idea, or a gut feeling, or you misinterpret data, and then ask for content you don’t even need, you’ve lost valuable resources.

That’s a waste of money, since you need to pay your writers for something you requested. It’s a waste of time they could have spent writing something you genuinely would benefit from.

This means you might as well not pull up your buyer personas. Don’t showcase any notes about your audience, unless they specifically ask for them. Don’t even assume the brief will be enough information to go on.

Instead, approach the process with an open mind. This copywriter is coming in to analyze your numbers, not your notes. They’re there to look through your products and your audience for themselves, unbiasedly. The more you try to influence their deductions, the less value for your money you’re eventually going to get.

Here are some of the things the copywriter will be reviewing in this stage:

  1. Competitors

  2. Customer surveys and interviews

  3. Chat logs

  4. Testimonials and reviews

  5. Metrics of all kinds

  6. CRO and split-testing data

  7. Product/service demos

  8. Internal interviews with the team

And then, they will provide you with:

  1. Video teardowns

  2. Lengthy reports of findings

  3. Raw data from surveys

  4. A guide for exactly what content needs to be written, how to write it, and why

Notice the last one there: a content guide detailing what needs to be written, how, and why. This is a major bonus for a company, because it provides the key that unlocks all doors. If they decide to part ways with the conversion copywriter then and there, at least they got their money’s worth in this single stage―Well, more or less.

From there on out, they can use that guide to lead their copywriting team, and know they’re outputting something their audience is sure to like more than what’s been published up until that point.

But, as with most things, don’t make the mistake of assuming this is the best course of action. Although it’s suitable for those with smaller budgets, it’s also not the full scope of the situation, so if anything it’s a puzzle piece.

And no one is saying that puzzle piece even belongs to the puzzle you think it does.

In other words, a guide is just one elaborate educated guess. It has a high chance of making a difference, but it may still not be the best course of action for your business, especially when compared to the other possible guesses out there.

The only way to truly know is to continue on with the conversion copywriter and get through stages 2 and 3.

Keeping the conversion copywriter on at this point is recommended anyway, since the team will benefit from further assistance from the person who wrote the guide. They can answer questions, pinpoint weak spots, and essentially help train the team.

 

Stage 2: Writing

At this point, things start to get a little more interesting. During stage 2, the conversion copywriter drafts several variations of the guide from stage 1.

Consider it a strategy and hypothesis for your marketing that will work better for your business than whatever it is you’ve developed. If that sounds like it’s undermining your work, it’s not, but there is a difference between an entrepreneur who strives to do everything, including the things he/she may have no prior experience in, versus someone who went through grueling specialized training for this exact thing.

Now, why is there a need for several variations?

Because one guide is just one guess. More versions mean more guesses, with one of them being the copywriter’s best possible guess, or control point.

Assuming you keep the copywriter on through stage 3, the final guide selected will tell you exactly what you need out of your copy, how to write it, and why. But that’s just the basis of information that goes into it. It’s only surface level.

The guide is actually going to include a wireframe, assuming they’re good.

Here’s what you can expect in a wireframe:

  • It tells you how the page is going to flow, and whether it was made in HTML, Webflow, Adobe, or something else.

  • It compliments the UX designer’s work.

  • It focuses on what the copy will entail, and highlights important aspects of its presentation on a visual level.

This touches on a few things.

For starters, it tells you how to approach flow in the present and future. But more importantly, it touches on the overall look and feel of the copy, and the visual elements its being paired with. In essence, it’s designing your message loud and clear, from the ground up, with the aid of your UX designer.

Together, they basically take your brand and elevate it to shine through each and every message you publish online.

And this is super important.

It lays the groundwork so that even after the conversion copywriter is gone, your team can carry on producing high-quality, targeted content. It will read well, convert, meet your goals, and look good while doing it. Instead of feeding a lazy, or misused brand presence, it streamlines it and presents it in a way that’s celebratory.

And nothing says “Industry leader deserving of recognition” like a well-designed, well-spoken brand image.

By the end of this stage, the designer and the conversion copywriter will have worked back and forth, creating a look for your content that meets your brand requirements, and your audience needs.

And your team will be happier for it.

 

Stage 3: Testing, Testing, Testing

Up until this point, we’ve been discussing the several variations of the guide that will surely change your marketing campaigns for the better.

To recap, the conversion copywriter will formulate a control point, best guess guide in stage 1, then draft several versions in stage 2.

Well, stage 2 is all about testing those variations in an attempt at finding the perfect fit for your business. Each variant will be tested and measured by performance (metrics), and then tweaked until the right combination of elements makes a substantial impact on your conversion rates.

Of course, the scope of this largely depends on the client. If the client is established and has a sizeable budget, the testing can be done in a large scale, assuming the traffic is there to support it.

It often looks like periodic re-engagements and follow-ups.

But let’s face it, most clients aren’t going to have the traffic, nor the budget, for something that elaborate, so many times the testing isn’t even done.

That means it would be up to you to select the best variant that you want to go with, knowing full-well that you also get to file the rest of the variants for future reference. If at any point you want to test another approach, you can pull up a variant, study up on the notes, and inform your team.

But, of course, you miss out on a lot of insight. And that’s only assuming you have the budget to support the writing of those other variations to begin with.

You won’t have a specialist pouring over data with you if you opt for this approach. You won’t know what works and what doesn’t, because no testing has been done.

And sure, not everyone can afford that level of intense research and testing. Rates for conversion copywriters range based on project scope and involvement, so the less they do, the easier it is on your wallet.

That being said, it’s worth the investment if you have the funding, as it can shed light on many variables in marketing that you didn’t even consider from the start.

That’s why it’s highly recommended that you account for at least a small testing scope. Some testing is better than none. Even if the copywriter only makes it through 1-2 variants, it’s still going to provide more insight than you would have had otherwise.

 

Once In A Lifetime…

Hiring Conversion Copywriter

Consider this a special note about conversion copywriters, and the guide they provide. As previously mentioned, entrepreneurs looking for a relatively cheap solution can end the process in stage 1. The copywriter can provide a guide, and then pack up and leave.

And the company will have a valuable key that helps in all marketing endeavors, especially in terms of content.

However, it is absolutely dangerous to assume that this is a once-in-a-lifetime endeavor.

Many entrepreneurs hire conversion copywriters for a guide, and maybe some variants, and then part ways, assuming that they’re “set for life,” but that’s just not the case.

Sure, the guide helps you out in the short-term, and yes, it can effectively set you up for success well into the future, but…

  1. It doesn’t cover any testing, so there’s still an element of guesswork involved.

  2. It doesn’t account for any changes within your buyer personas, as a result of societal changes (economy, age changes, the effects of new tech, etc.) For instance, what if something comes along and dethrones Facebook Ads?

  3. And, perhaps the most important point of all, the guide will just be a possible skeleton key.

Here’s what that means:

If the guide is a key that opens many marketing doors, what happens when the key isn’t the right fit? Unless you have other variants, unless you did some level of testing, you’re not going to have any other alternatives.

So, you wind up back where you started...

…and that doesn’t make for a very good story, does it? You want your CRO to improve, you want to tell freelancers and stable team members what you need and know you really do need that content.

You’d still be wondering what went wrong. You’d still be second-guessing your marketing steps. You’d have to take the guide and create variants of it yourself, in order to conduct your own testing, all of which, is much too time-consuming and labor intensive for the average entrepreneur.

Not to mention, you’re likely not specialized in many areas required to write such a guide, so when you sit down with your UX designer, it will be less of a collaboration, and more of a request for help outside of their field of knowledge.

Approaching this from another angle, suppose the guide is the perfect solution. Despite limiting the scope and working with a limited budget, hiring a conversion copywriter ends up being the best marketing investment you ever made.

Congratulations, you avoided any mishaps, and you’re in the clear, right?

Not exactly.

Whatever strategy you implement won’t work forever.

Think of it like social media. When you first encounter a platform that works, you make use of it. You schedule posts, and your team creates stellar content. Everything goes well for a while, and your traffic and engagement skyrocket.

But then as time goes on, more people join the platform, and competition gets a little tougher. Suddenly, you need to change hashtags, or elevate content quality, just to keep up with your competitors.

Fast-forward a few years, and you might find that the platform is beyond saturated. Instead, another platform has risen above the fold, and is now vastly surpassing any level of success you’ve ever had.

These are the things that a guide simply can’t prepare you for.

The guide cannot be evergreen, giving you an approach that never ages. It is not the marketing equivalent of the elusive fountain of youth. It will not keep you relevant forever and ever.

At some point, new platforms will emerge. At some point your outlets will become oversaturated and you’ll be forced out, along with many others. Soon enough, your product lines will grow far beyond what you thought was imaginable, requiring a completely new approach.

So, if there’s one lesson to take away here, it’s that hiring a conversion copywriter is something you can do for relatively cheap, or not. They can provide you a “best guess,” or several guesses.

But at the end of the day, whatever the success of the outcome may be, you’ll have to revisit this conversion copywriter when your strategy stops working, because it will crumble.

It’s only a matter of time.

 

Some Hacks They’re Known For

Hiring Conversion Copywriter

Mapping Audience Personas

Of course, although the guide is predominantly what conversion copywriters are known for, that’s not all they do. During stage 1, the research entails extensive review of all facets of your business. That includes mapping out your audience personas.

And this is done through an extensive look at your data. It’s much more in-depth than most people go with this step. Consider it to be a hyper detailed, truly fleshed-out examination of who exactly is buying from you.

Because you already know what buyer personas are, and what they entail, we’re not going into extravagant detail here. Just suffice it to say that it is heavily based on numbers, surveys, polls, interviews, and fact-checking.

 

Leveraging Persuasive Hacks

Once conversion copywriters know your audience inside and out, they focus on the best persuasive hacks for that type of audience.

Unlike growth hacking, which is when you take advantage of the proven marketing strategies to grow your business, online persuasion is more about who the audience is.

And this is when things get a little psychological.

There are seven factors that influence people:

  1. Liking - If you find the person offering you a product or service pleasant, you’ll likely pay attention.

  2. Authority - The Halo effect, better known as “you are the company you keep,” states that the more your brand is associated with positive leaders or influencers, or even memories, the more established you seem.

  3. Scarcity - People don’t like missing out, and the more your product is advertised as limited edition, or small batch, the higher the urgency is to buy it before it’s gone.

  4. Unity - Think of this as a cut above target audiences, where you not only appeal to people who share your interests, you also serve as a beacon that stands for something they hold dear. For instance, if you create looter shooter video games, you’re appealing toward players who love the genre. But if you stand for female equality, and design games with that mentality, you’re also going to be attracting people who stand for the same thing. And you can use that to market yourself, say on YouTube. Create content that gets shared under that umbrella.

  5. Commitment & Consistency - Once a consumer converts in one way, say by signing up to a newsletter, they’re much more likely to purchase from you.

  6. Reciprocity - Whenever someone gives us something, we feel compelled to give something in return.

  7. Social Proof - As unique as we’d like to think we are, we tend to be bias towards things people already like. This, of course, varies from person to person, but is true even on some small level.

 

Crafting Instant-Clarity Headlines

No, this isn’t just the act of writing a pretty direct headline and calling it a day. This isn’t the catchy headline you write in 30 seconds, with the right keywords, and immediately forget all about.

Conversion copywriters are trained to be clear. They strive for clarity within the headline so that people know exactly what it’s about. That means being very careful with their word selection, and ensuring the first and last three words are easy to understand. Everything between those words tends to be glossed over.

 

Implementing AIDA

The AIDA model is an essential marketing staple that stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action.

It’s best illustrated by your average consumer:

They become aware of a product, say through an ad, and they become interested in its benefits, technicalities and quality. What are people saying about this product? How has it helped others?

Then that consumer begins to desire that product, because they find that the reviews are stellar, and they can imagine themselves with that product. They feel that one or more of their immediate issues will be resolved through this purchase.

So they take action and buy it.

Of course, this only works if you attract attention, trigger interest, create a strong desire, and formulate a call to action.

Unless you lay the groundwork for the buyer’s journey flow, it won’t work. That’s where conversion copywriters come in. They worry about every last shred of detail, making sure their copy meets the criteria and gets the job done.

 

Conclusion

Hiring Conversion Copywriter

Clearly, if you’re reading this, then you’ve already been thinking about hiring a conversion copywriter, whether it be for the short-term, or the full process.

But before you take the leap, it may be beneficial to ask yourself why.

Better understanding what it is they do, what they specialize in, and how they can help your business is certainly crucial…

...but it ultimately doesn’t matter unless you have a clear cut and dry answer as to why you want to hire them in the first place.

For many entrepreneurs, it’s a matter of frustration. They’ve been working on their marketing strategy for a long time, and they’ve gotten some level of traction and sales, but they’re nowhere near the profit margins they were hoping for.

For others, it’s a matter of efficiency. They’ve always had a team for their marketing, they’ve grown and met many substantial goals, and now they’re ready for an in-depth look at what they have and what they could be doing to better market the business.

In both scenarios, the company’s been established for a respectable amount of time, enough to fund the costly endeavor in the first place.

Which brings us to the point: although you eventually want to work with both regular copywriters and a conversion copywriter, it’s smart not to rush the process.

Not only is it expensive to hire a conversion copywriter, you also get so much more value out of going through all three stages with them, as supposed to just the first.

And since you’ll likely be repeating this process every several years, you want to be in a secure financial standing before diving into it.

Although cutting corners may provide some level of insight and aid, it’s certainly nothing to get excited about. At best, you’re left with one, albeit solid, educated guess for what will work with your marketing strategy.

And that’s just not enough to make much of a difference unless you’re the rare exception to the rule. If you want what’s best for your business, you’ll wait until the time is right, the funding is available, and you’re in a stable place to make the move.

Only then will it truly be worth your while.

Until then, consider working with a marketing consultant. Not only can they help set your business planning up to standard, they can help you get to a stable place where hiring a conversion copywriter is finally possible.

So, what aspect of a conversion copywriter’s job took you by surprise, and why?

Let me know in the comments below, I love hearing from you all!

The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Digital Marketing Freelancer

The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Digital Marketing Freelancer.jpg

When you think of marketers, you likely think of staff at an agency. A space full of busy keyboards; the soft murmur of client consultations overheard in swanky meeting rooms nearby.

But what if I told you that there freelance digital marketers?

Becoming a marketing freelancer means you choose to work alone, or with a small team of fellow marketers. And you would do everything you would expect, from setting up Facebook or Google Ads, to scrutinizing a company’s branding.

The main difference is that instead of being employed by one company who manages all the client contracts, freelancers do the managing themselves. It’s a B2B relationship, without the middleman.

And for this same reason, freelancers have to bring their A-game. They have to continuously prove their worth, improve on what they already know, and showcase why people select them to do their marketing.

If you’ve been toying around with the idea of becoming a digital marketer yourself, then this guide is for you. We’ll be discussing everything it means and takes to be a freelancer.

Let’s get started.

 

Types of Freelancing

First thing is first: digital marketing isn’t just one thing. It involves an array of talents, like copywriting for blogs and landing pages, designing graphics for advertising and knowing how to improve your SEO, to name a few things.

When one person, one freelancer, can do all of them, it’s a relic. Consider that an exception to the rule. That’s why so many entrepreneurs who hire freelancers often work with a few digital marketers at a time.

That is unless they choose to work with a small team of marketers who can deliver on all fronts. But that may or may not get sticky, as one or two of those freelancers would get the bulk of the consistent work, rendering the rest moderately useful on a sporadic basis at best.

Still, many ways to approach this. For now, let’s touch base on the most basic step in becoming a marketing freelancer―figuring out which type you want to be.

  • Media Buyer - this revolves paid acquisition, as most new companies have absolutely no traffic, no content, and maybe even a complete lack of audience definitions.

  • Content Writer - those who work creating everything from basic website copy, to ebooks. They write blog posts, landing pages, newsletters, even video scripts for YouTube. Anything that involves writing for a brand, they can do it. In essence, they develop the style for everything moving forward.

  • Marketing Consultant - comes in to assess everything the business already has established, defines company goals, and then develops a plan for how to get there. This person needs to know the ins and outs of most areas of marketing, even if they don’t do it all themselves for their clients. They should be able to point at something and tell whether it’s going to work and why.

  • Social Media Marketer - this freelancer handles all of your social media accounts, including Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. They can post for you, schedule posts, and create original, on-brand content. They develop the public persona for you and your brand, either based on your target audience, or on your specifications, which is great for any type of business, but especially eCommerce.

  • Backlink Specialist - backlinking involves establishing relationships with other entrepreneurs, and leveraging content. That means they will reach out to many people in an attempt at getting client content linked to within their blog posts, their websites, social media, etc.

  • SEO Specialist - people can only make it so far without SEO, and as it turns out, it’s about as far as creating an empty website with no traction, and a low ranking on search results. A specialist will ensure it’s all set up, that keyword research is complete, and that your writers know exactly what to do moving forward, so your search ranking skyrockets.

  • Affiliate Marketer - revolves around managing affiliates, to ensure that products are marketed in the best possible way. They will provide links, images, and even content tips and ideas, so that affiliates can promote business products and services in a way that is reflective of both quality and the brand itself.

  • Community Marketer - these freelancers know how to bring people together through client forums, conferences, events, you name it. One of the most popular ways is to build a Facebook Group that revolves around a product or service, perhaps even a niche.

  • PR Coordinator - reaches out to journalists and publications that are industry, maybe even niche specific, and focuses on drafting press releases. Then figures out a way to get their client more news coverage, hence more exposure. Visibility is everything for a business, so this is critical.

  • B2B Demand Specialist - B2B lead generation takes time. It requires messaging, the right timing, the right blend of automation and hands-on approaches, all carefully thought out and conducted through a client’s sales funnel. It’s certainly the highest paid role here, but that’s because you’re typically working with some pretty high-paying leads.

  • Marketing Automation Specialist - this marketer comes in, assesses everything that can be automated, and then sets it up so it saves business overhead. They may even set up a chatbot, if you want someone to still answer basic questions, like store hours, long after EOD.

  • Engineering Marketing Specialist - not the most creative of people, they are called in when businesses need a techy freelancer to create software additions and the like. The goal is to increase demand generation.

 

The Day to Day

becoming a marketing freelancer

The beauty about being a freelancer is that no one’s day looks the same. When you work for someone else, say in an office, everyone generally has the same day outline. Everyone commutes, shows up to work, gets in front of their computer, and starts typing away on something.

But a freelancer? They may choose to work from a coffee shop, or their living room couch. They may decide to work a 4-day week, and tack on extra hours one day or two to clear up their Friday.

So, when we discuss the freelancer’s day-to-day, keep that in mind. No two freelancers have the same daily routine, this is just a general overview of what it could be like. Should you go about building a freelancing career, it may be entirely different than what’s outlined here.

One day may look like this:

  1. Wake up, get ready for the day: this may include everything from hitting the gym first, or showering, or just enjoying a cup of coffee.

  2. Check email, any phone calls or pending Skype messages. Slack conversations, social media, etc.

  3. Ideally, network with people in your industry, since it’s never a bad idea to get advice, leads, or even just insider knowledge that may help.

  4. Create a digital marketing strategy, either for your clients, or even for your own brand.

  5. Send monthly reports to clients, so they know what’s going on. These reports should include the work you’ve done, the timeframe it’s taken you, and any numerical results you can measure.

  6. Take a lunch break somewhere in here, unless you decide to eat while working. This is why so many freelancers tuck themselves into a comfy coffee shop or deli corner―easy access to food, gets you out of the house, and ensures no one disturbs you for hours.

  7. Tweak your landing pages.

  8. Create things like eBooks, PDFs, graphics, newsletters, infographics, Google and Facebook Ads, etc. Even website copy.

  9. Pack things up and head home, unless you already are.

Another day may look entirely different:

  1. Wake up, have coffee.

  2. Check email, text messages, missed calls, Slack messages, etc.

  3. Design case studies.

  4. Work on some A/B testing.

  5. Market yourself on YouTube.

  6. Have a lunch break. Maybe take a shower during this time, since you didn’t before.

  7. Build a marketing funnel, which takes time, so this pretty much takes up the rest of the work day.

  8. Tweak anything quick that you can, anything like CTAs which can be easily rephrased in a matter of seconds on a landing page, or website. These changes should be reflective of your marketing funnel, obviously.

  9. Close up shop for the day, and head home, which may or may not involve walking out of your home office and diving right into home life.

Later on in the week, the freelancer may focus on other projects, like planning out social media content, planning product launches, or pitching themselves to new clients. But really, anything related to business, content creation, or measuring tactics, is on the to-do list. It’s consistently on rotation, so literally, there’s something they could be doing at any minute of the day. This is why time management and careful planning are so important.

 

Ongoing Education

A side note here, whatever the freelancer decides to do on any given week, it’s absolutely critical that they tack on at least one educational task regularly. It could be reading a marketing book over the weekend, listening to a marketing podcast every night, taking an online photography course over the span of several weeks, or even tinkering around in Photoshop.

This is important because it keeps you sharp, allows you to learn new things all the time, and therefore, sets you apart from your competition. The more skilled you are, the higher your going rate can be!

Becoming a marketing freelancer doesn’t mean your days are filled with nothing more than pj’s and lounging on the couch. It’s a lot of work, especially if you’re going about it solo. But by prioritizing your education, only second to deadlines of course, then you’re going to have a much easier time in the long run. It will keep your competition a step behind, and please clients from the start.

 

The Logistics

There are many aspects to freelancing. Once you figure out what you want to do, and plan out your daily routine, or a weekly one, then you need to get realistic about everything you need to do to get clients.

And that involves proposal writing, setting up a proper portfolio, signing up for freelancer platforms, and pitching to people. Even tapping into established connections can help.

Let’s dig deep with this one to see how to get from point A, the origin, to point B, the freelancer’s dream.

 

Getting Hired

When entrepreneurs hire freelancers, they can go about it in multiple ways. They can either research and find the top talent within their industry, or respond to any cold emails (proposals) that freelancers may have sent prior, or they can work with vetting platforms, like UpWork.

These platforms serve as middle men, essentially collecting a freelancer’s past experience, reviews, testimonials, and work all in one easy-to-read format. They’re rated, so you can filter by not only skill type, but by the quality of their work. The higher the freelancer’s review is, the higher the rate they can command.

But as we all know, you really do get what you pay for. Hiring someone who charges a low rate won’t exactly result in top-notch work, let alone timely project submissions.

A freelancer can also use the platform to apply to projects they’re interested in, and can attach a nice message, a cover letter and resume, or even a link to their portfolio.

 

About Proposals

Setting up a portfolio or your account on a platform is only the beginning. As a freelancer, one of the most important things you’ll do is write proposals.

Consider them to be the formal greeting that tells potential clients who you are, what you offer and for how much, and what they would benefit from working with you vs. the competition. They are a pain to write, but fortunately, once you have a good base, it’s easy to change up the minor details, and tailor it to different client needs, much like people do with their resumes when job hunting.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Try not to elaborate too much on who you are what what you do. Keep this part brief, and instead focus on the numbers. This is what business is all about, after all―the bottom dollar.

  • Define the scope of the work carefully, so they know that you read their list of needs, and show them that you can deliver. If you’ve done similar work in the past, link to it. If you have a portfolio they can look through, show them.

  • Keep the legal stuff short. It may sound terrible, and it kind of is, but when a big wig company decides not to pay a freelancer, well, that’s kind of it. It means the freelancer should recover costs somewhere, somehow, but taking clients to court isn’t always a bright idea. Not only does it give freelancers a bad rep, it also is one of those cases where the big companies can probably afford way better lawyers. The good news in all of this is that this isn’t a typical case. If you work with established companies, trustworthy ones, you should never have to deal with issues like not getting paid.

  • Clearly detail out costs. This means time logged, work completed, the going rates for each, and a total per day. This means payday easier, and gives the client a complete view of how much they’re being charged, and why. There’s no room to dispute when it’s all clearly laid out, and it shows you have nothing to hide, which in turn builds trust.

  • Be super transparent. If you’re a one-man or woman machine, being hired by several clients at one time, there may or may not come a time when you have to outsource work. If this happens, let clients know upfront, and let them decide whether they are okay with that, or whether you should keep on track with them yourself. If they opt to stick with you and only you, new clients could benefit from getting work that’s created by your outsourced talent.

  • In the spirit of full transparency, feel free to highlight costs of things like software that you’re using to complete projects, that way clients know why you’re charging what you’re charging.

  • Go over ROI details with your clients. What can they expect to see in terms of results? This should be hard numerical values, if at all possible. Now, depending on your line of work, you may be able to provide these details, but for certain things, like copywriting, it may be a little less concrete. Do what you can, and if you’re not sure, figure out where traffic is for your clients. If it goes up after a solid 3 months of regular blog posting, for instance, then you’re doing your job. And if you’re flexible and have no problem providing the content that you’re being asked for, even better. Especially if you can provide genuine advice, evaluations, and idea suggestions.

 

Setting Up for the Long Term

Many freelancers are content with working on several one-time projects, but the vast majority will balance those with ongoing projects. This ensures there’s a steady revenue stream, something they can more or less count on, rather than simply banking on the hope of finding enough single, one-off projects month after month.

The more the freelancer knows about things like business development, customer service, and design, the more valuable their skills are to entrepreneurs. Tack on a nice personality, and the ability to be easily reached through things like email, text, calls, and social media, and you have yourself a goldmine of a potential freelancing career.

This will help businesses save time and effort on things they can’t fathom tacking onto their to-do list, essentially scaling their time. Work for them long enough, and deliver quality work, and you’ll establish trust, which is absolutely critical. Without trust, there is no such thing as a valuable relationship, especially in business.

But how does this all fit into a day-to-day routine? Simple: freelancers can use platforms like UpWork for new client leads every morning, or afternoon. They can tweak their LinkedIn, their UpWork profiles, and curate their best work to showcase on a digital portfolio. If they dedicate even 10-20 minutes per day on this, five days a week, they can wind up with excellent resources that are sure to land them better, higher-paying clients.

 

Client Retention

Much like building a house, starting off with the right foundation is key to client retention, interactions, everything. And your foundation is composed of two things:

  1. Never making promises you can’t keep…

  2. And detailing exactly what they’re going to get from you, for how much.

If you can do these two things, and deliver quality work that meets your client specifications, chances are your client will want to continue your project.

It far easier to find unsuitable freelancers than it is to find one that’s friendly, flexible, and skilled enough to handle your business content, automation, community management, PR, SEO, etc. So once they find someone they know they can count on, you’re kind of in it for the long haul, unless their budget hits a serious snag.

 

What to Charge

The thing about being a freelancer is that many people who aren’t familiar with the career path, let alone your industry, will assume you’re earning next to nothing for your work. They’ll see you working from home, having “all this time” on your hands to do laundry while you get projects done, and automatically deduce that you are selling yourself short.

So, if you’re okay with always being overlooked by, say family members or friends who simply don’t understand, then read right along.

The truth is that while starting out can be rough for a while, it eventually hits a nice sweet spot where you actually earn a respectable living. And you can continue to grow from there.

Which makes sense―a freelancing career is a business. You do your own branding, write your own marketing content, and ensure everything is put together. It’s how you attract clients and earn a sustainable living.

And no one starts off a business making thousands, upon thousands of dollars right out the gate. It takes time to build up something profitable, but as long as your business model is good, and your skills match, you’re set up for success.

On average, a digital marketing specialist makes $72k per year, but the range is roughly between $45k and $102k here in the United States. Some may earn less, than that, starting out, while others who are long established may find themselves earning far more than $102k.

And again, as your own business, you decide your hours, and your rate. If you want to earn $55k a year, you can rate your projects accordingly, take on more hours, more clients, more projects, or just scale down to solely focus on the high-paid projects. The choice is yours. Just keep an eye on everything going in and out, every conversion, sales funnel mishap, etc. The more detail you have, the better you’ll be at finding indiscrepancies and opportunity for financial growth.

 

Retainers

Now, in this line of work, retainers are common. This is when a client pays in advance in exchange for your services. It’s essentially the act of retaining you for an extended period of time, keeping you from giving that time slot to any other client, hence the name.

And the client can make recurring monthly payments that way, or pay the sum upfront for 1-3 months at a time.

And while this is pretty much a norm for big client projects, big household names and the like, you’ll find that your lesser known clients don’t have the budget to pay a retainer. They will likely opt for a results-based work arrangement, where they pay for the work you complete, either at the end of the week, every two weeks, or even at the end of the month.

Two things here: 1) ensure that trust is established either through prior work together, or by researching the client and ensuring that their word is their bond, and 2) don’t assume that the lesser known clients won’t pay you a perfectly respectable amount. Just because they don’t want to pay upfront for work, it doesn’t mean they won’t pay you for all the hard work and effort you put in. Again, you decide on your rates. And when you do that, and stick to clients who can pay that rate, you’re going to do just fine.

 

Tools of the Trade

becoming a marketing freelancer

One of the main things that freelance digital marketers do is obviously creating marketing campaigns for their clients. That is, unless the clients already have campaigns underway, or want to tackle the campaign planning themselves. If that’s the case, the freelancers come in and get the tasks done, according to client specifications.

For the sake of argument, however, let’s take a look at some of the tools that freelancers love to use to both plan and execute a digital marketing campaign.

 

Planning

Consider this the stage prior to the good stuff. It’s what you have to do in order to make your actual campaign execution go off as smoothly as possible. Skip it, and you’ll have more work on your hands later, making the whole process much more complicated than it needs to be.

And frankly, when you’re doing this repeatedly for a multitude of clients, and even for yourself, you’re going to want to keep things as easy as you can.

 

Slack

The absolute best way to run a virtual office, of sorts. Different channels of communication act like everyone’s own personal office. Click on someone’s name, direct message them in a personal conversation, and it begins to feel like you just walked into their office. You can even set a channel for the whole team, so it acts like a water cooler or break room.

More than a means to an end, Slack allows you to build a sense of community with your team, keep in touch with people in a super easy way, and share things like files, project prototypes, images, links, etc.

 

Airtable

Consider this like Google Docs, if the tool was more versatile than it already is. Oh, and also paid. You get 2GB for free, but that goes quickly. If you need more than that, you’re looking at 5GB for $10 a month, or 20GB for $20 per month. There’s also a 1000GB for business, but there’s no public pricing details on that―you’d have to contact sales.

Granted, it lets you organize everything in what’s essentially a spreadsheet of the future. You can also make calendars, checkboxes, dropdowns, links to other tables, drag and drop file attachments, create galleries, and share forms.

Consider this the go-to tool for organizing all of those influencer marketing leads, any list of pending changes you have to make to your sales funnels, or even community and growth hacking ideas.

 

Google Calendar

Google Analytics isn’t the only helpful Google tool available. Everyone has this for free, so long as they have a Gmail account, which makes it super easy to set up. It’s also easy to sync it with other calendars, like Outlook or Apple Calendar. And once you’re good to go, you can begin adding events like personal appointments, client meetings, coworker meetups, deadline details, upcoming events, flight details, etc.

The good thing about this handy tool is that it basically eliminates any need to use a physical planner or agenda book. And when paired with something like Trello, the next tool we’re detailing, you can basically organize your entire life digitally, which means you have access to anything you need right from a touch of your iPad, phone, computer, etc.

 

Trello

This tool is ideal for project management. If you want to handle it as a way to organize your day, or keep track of deadlines, you can. But otherwise, you can organize and detail every step of a project as well. And by adding people to your boards, each board being its own topic/project, you can then delegate tasks, check on someone’s progress, and more.

It’s a free tool, which makes it even better, but you can also opt for Trello Gold, between $3.75 and $5 a month if you want to add attachments larger than 10 megabytes, get elevated color customization, or use additional features and integrations.

To be honest, this isn’t necessary, considering there are so many free tools that are easily integratable on the platform, even for free users.

 

Executing

Once you’re ready to move beyond the organization stage, it’s time to get to the actual campaign. If your planning stage went well, and you covered everything, this should be a good experience.

And these tools tend to help:

 

Canva

Infographics, social media images, blog graphics, website headers and such. Any graphic design needs can be met through Canva, even creating your own templates for your team.

 

Phantombuster

This tool is great for growth hacking. It’s an entire platform of APIs prime for collecting data, making it a great project resource.

 

Zapier

One of the most popular automation tools available out there, Zapier is well-known amongst entrepreneurs for its ease of use. It makes life simpler by automating just about anything, which means freelancers who do a lot of admin work for clients really benefit from using the tool.

 

Lemlist

Speaking of automation, Lemist sends out automated sales emails. The difference between this and any other email tool is that this one also uses images and videos within the email, which captivates audiences more. This is a great way to improve click-through rates.

Marketing consultants love Lemlist for obvious reasons. They are actively looking for new clients, business to help, and the more personality an email has, the more it stands out. Furthermore, they can easily transition to educational emails with the tool, allowing them to really make things like courses and other lead magnets shine.

 

Conclusion

becoming a marketing freelancer

Freelancing is one of those things that everyone, to some degree, wants to do, but is often scared of. It seems like a distant dream, really. One where you can work from anywhere, make your own hours, determine how much you want to earn, even work from the comfort of your pajamas if you want…

But it takes hard work, dedication, and plenty of planning. Without that, you can’t scale your business, nor make a sustainable living.

You’ll have to be prepared to work overtime in order to clear up vacation days, save up enough to pay taxes and health insurance, and most of all, talk yourself out of the hole when things get tough.

Because it will get tough, it always does. You never know when you’ll lose a client, it could even happen overnight.

That being said, it’s an adventure, one that’s purely determined by how much effort you put into it. Make it a serious focus, and you can get anywhere and accomplish more than you dreamed of.

So, did you learn anything from this guide? What shocked you the most?

Let me know in the comments below, I love getting feedback!