This is a guest blog by Swapnil Patel, Head of Marketing at InstaTaskers.
The freelance culture is booming across the world. India has the second highest number of freelancers in the world after the USA. According to a survey conducted in 2016, there are over 15 million freelancers in India and this number is set to quadruple by 2020. This is on the supply side. On the demand side, more and more people are now looking to hire people on ‘project basis’. This means, there is an increasing demand among start-ups and small-scale businesses for skilled professionals who can work as a freelancer. At InstaTaskers, we have seen a constant increase in the demand for professional freelancers from businesses and start-ups alike.
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It makes sense too, though, doesn’t it? As an entrepreneur who is short on cash, who would you hire to create a website – a highly-skilled freelance web developer or a decent-skilled developer on a full-time basis? That is one of the reasons why hiring freelancers make better business sense. New skills are flooding the market every day and not everyone is equipped with the knowledge and experience to execute these new skills efficiently. For example, if you want to create an explainer video for your start-up, it would be better to hire an expert at videography. Or if you want to grow on social media, it is better to hire a digital marketing expert.
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Is there a demand for digital marketing freelancers?
Thanks to Facebook and Whatsapp, everyone knows the power and effectiveness of social media marketing. People who paid no attention to marketing are now learning about Inbound and Outbound marketing. Digital Marketing is now an integral part of every business, almost as important as the product. This is all thanks to the digital transformation which makes it impossible for a business to ignore digital marketing as a tool. And these are not just random statements. Everyone can say this from their own experience in daily lives.
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Since digital marketing is the most cost-efficient as well as a targeted way to reach customers, there is an increased demand for digital marketing specialists. As part of our marketing and sales effort at InstaTaskers, we come across a lot of business people who are looking for these new-age skills and techniques. Almost 30%-40% of the projects we received have been in the digital marketing category including email marketing, SEM, content writing, social media marketing, and more. This once again proves that the demand for these skills is high.
But if you have ever looked for digital marketing experts, you’ll know that professional and verified digital marketing people are not easy to find. We know this because we are constantly looking for freelance digital marketers to join our platforms.
But why should you become a digital marketing freelancer, you would ask! Well, let us give you some solid reasons!
Reasons to start freelancing your digital marketing skills
If you are a newly turned digital marketer, freelancing can be a huge help to both your confidence and credibility while expanding your skills. Consider you are a newly trained painter, you have a typical 9 to 5 IT job but you also love painting sketches and you have now started posting pictures online. Suddenly, one day you get a call from a distant friend who wants you to create a sketch for them. And what’s more, they are even willing to pay you a decent amount for the same. Now, wouldn’t that be a great start to your career as a freelance painter? You can, maybe, also ditch your IT job and become a full-time painter once you start building a credibility of yours.
Similarly, for those of you who have recently acquired new digital marketing skills, freelancing can be a great platform to test the waters. It can help you kick-start your career as a full-time digital marketer.
We’ve listed down 4 reasons newly-turned digital marketers should freelance their skills:
Freelancing will help you gain a first-hand experience in digital marketing
The online courses these days help you achieve a practical, hands-on experience of the subject matter through live-projects. This helps you learn and experience how things work in the real life. But using Google AdWords is not the same as running a campaign on Google AdWords for an actual brand. Real-industry experience where you work for a brand on a specific campaign has its own significance.
It’s the chicken and egg problem! No one will hire you if you don’t have an experience in digital marketing. At the same time, you won’t have the necessary experience in digital marketing if no one hires you. Freelancing breaks all the eggs and helps to solve this problem. When you work as a freelancer, you can start outsourcing your skills on a project basis and gain the relevant experience. You can start small, gain experience and then move on to bigger projects.
For example, you can start working as a blog writer or social media copywriter. Once you have enough experience with that, you can move on to manage the social media or even the entire digital marketing activities of a brand.
With freelancing, you can showcase your skills
You have recently acquired new digital marketing skills. You know how to get more leads through Facebook marketing and how to rank in top searches of Google, thanks to SEO. You can now create a social media campaign for a brand and you can use email marketing to increase conversions. But how do you let the world know that you now have these skills? Yes, your certificate will be a proof that you learnt the theory but it won’t reflect how good you are at it. Freelancing can help you showcase your amazing skills to the world.
Showcasing your skills will help you create a portfolio or resume, too.
It will help you understand your worth
Once you complete an online digital marketing course, you will have added an important feather to your cap. But the question that arises is, how much value has the course added to your professional life? Combining this course with your previous experience, what is your worth now? Should you take up a fresher job in digital marketing? Should you apply for a social media manager job or a client facing job? Freelancing will help you understand your strengths and weaknesses and consequently, help you understand your worth. And who knows, maybe you have become an expert who is wanted by every digital marketing agency in the city!
It is easier to secure a freelance job as compared to a full-time job
When it comes to finding a project/job based on your newly learned skills, freelance projects are easier to secure as compared to a full-time job. This is thanks to multiple platforms that connect clients with freelancers.
If not that, there is always some friends’ friend looking for a digital marketer, although we don’t recommend this as mixing business and personal relations is not a good idea!
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How to start freelancing?
If you know nothing about how the freelance business operates, let me explain it to you the process in 4 easy steps:
Step 1: Find a client
The first step is to find someone who is looking to hire a freelancer with your skills. Make sure the client is willing to pay a fair amount for your work. You will find a lot of people who want a blog written ‘for free’ or for a dismissal pay. Avoid such clients as it will add no value to your portfolio or resume.
Step 2: Share your portfolio
Once you acquire a client/project, you will have to showcase your past work to them. You can do this by creating a portfolio (which can be in the form of a presentation or a Google Drive folder or a website). Make sure your portfolio contains samples of your authentic and verifiable work. For example, if you are a writer, share links to your blog or the website where your content is published. If you are a social media marketer, share a PDF/PPT that contains snapshots of the marketing calendar and social media posts to showcase your work.
Step 3: Discuss the scope of work and price
Once you do agree to work on a project, discuss the detailed scope of what the project will involve and your fees for the same. Don’t quote too high lest the client rejects you but don’t quote too low or you won’t be able to afford your rent soon. Quoting the right fees is an art not everyone can master.
A bonus tip: Before you start a project, either secure your payment with a 3rd party platform (*cough* us *cough*) or get at least 40% payment in advance. Clients are known to cancel the project midway and delaying fees for weeks/months.
Step 4: Submit the work and process the payment
Once you complete the project, submit it and claim your balance payment. It is also a good idea to ask for feedback from the client so that you can share the same with your future clients.
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In this economy, the growing demand for freelancers is a blessing for people with specific skills. Being a freelancer allows you to learn new things and gain new experience without committing yourself to a full-time job. You can choose the projects you want to work on and you can discuss and negotiate the kind of fees you want to charge. Finding clients and getting them to pay on time is usually an issue when you work as a freelancer but there are many platforms that ease the freelancing process.
If you are curious to get into the world of digital marketing, check out MICA & upGrad’s Advanced Certificate in Digital Marketing & Communication. Become an expert in email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, branding, marketing analysis, and PR.
What is inbound marketing?
Many modern consumers begin their shopping journey online. They search for content, services, and products that solve a problem or fulfill a need. Brands use inbound marketing using their products and services to attract customers.
In inbound marketing, companies position their content to explain how their offerings will satisfy the needs of their target consumers, answer critical questions about their products and services and resolve issues.
Organizations leverage inbound marketing to promote their products by way of guidebooks, video content, blogs, etc. It also provides companies with the opportunity to showcase how their value proposition is superior to that of the competition.
To achieve this objective, they embed outstanding reviews, competitive pricing, amazing testimonials, and product comparisons into their reports, social media posts, and podcasts.
What is SEM?
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is one form of digital marketing strategy. Companies use SEM to improve the visibility of their websites on search engine result pages (SERPs).
During the early years of digital marketing, both search engine optimization (SEO) and paid advertising were clubbed under SEM. Nowadays, it is almost exclusively used to denote paid advertising. It is also commonly referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) or paid search.
Today, more customers research and shop for goods and services online. As such, SEM has become an indispensable part of any online marketing strategy.
Almost all websites on the internet today are discovered from search engine queries.
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing (SMM) refers to the use of social networks to market the goods and services of a company. It offers companies the opportunity to reach their target demographics and engage existing customers.
SMM also allows organizations to promote their desired tone, mission, and culture. It helps marketers track the responses to their efforts with the help of data analytics tools that are customized to suit the business objectives.