Freelance marketing can be the key to your success online. Freelance means ‘free’, and while this does sometimes translate into poor value, it often reflects a lack of expertise or a business philosophy that is more flexible than ‘offline’. Freelance is the ideal way to make money, flex your entrepreneurial muscles, and create valuable relationships and networks without ever having to leave your home. The icing on the cake: Internet businesses are always in constant demand of good freelance marketing experts.
Online opportunities for freelance marketing vary widely, from being a virtual assistant offering search engine optimisation and domain name registration to becoming an independent consultant offering SEO and digital marketing services for small businesses. What they all have in common, though, is that potential clients will need to fill a questionnaire to determine if they are a suitable fit for the freelance marketer’s services. This can be done via email, telephone or live online interview. It is always best to communicate via one or more of these methods to ensure there are no mishaps later on.
There are several steps involved in finding, picking and evaluating the best candidates for any given opportunity. Potential clients should first be given an overview of their own situation, as well as that of their business, in order to better understand the requirements of their potential clients. This is an important step, as understanding what the client is looking for goes a long way towards making that client happy with the final decision. For example, if there are specific problems the client is facing with their website, then the SEO consultant may offer advice on how to improve this aspect, or offer general SEO strategies to combat the problem. Similarly, a client needing help with digital marketing campaigns should be given information about the products and services they need to promote properly, as well as any particular services they may require.
After a list of potential candidates has been generated, a meeting should be set up with each candidate in order to discuss their skills and experience in relation to the particular niche being catered for. The SEO expert will review their resume for any gaps or weaknesses that may be present and ask questions to help assess their suitability to the job. In many cases, these initial consultations can be done entirely online through an internet-based program such as Skype or Google Hangouts. This reduces the stress associated with an in-person interview and allows both parties to concentrate on the more important aspects of the project. In most cases, the first consultation can last anywhere from one to four hours, and there is usually no charge for this.
Once a list of candidates has been generated, a shortlist of at least three possible candidates should be constructed. These should be reviewed by the freelance marketing specialists in order to eliminate those with too much SEO experience, or too little for the niche being catered for. This is also an ideal time to interview them in order to determine the level of communication and professionalism each of them bring to the table. It can be particularly helpful if you have a sample of some of their work to base your decisions on. For example, if you are a content writer, then you could look at samples of copy written for different niches such as health, real estate, and finance. If you are looking for someone who can manage SEO content, you could peruse a portfolio of their work for that niche.
With a short list in hand, the freelance marketing team will then begin to communicate with each individual candidate to gather specific information about them. An initial email will be sent to them summarising their job description, their expected salary, and any other specific requirements. Candidates may respond to this email with additional questions, or they may simply decline. From this point, it will be relatively easy to gauge whether or not they will be able to fulfil the role you are asking them to fill. At this stage, it can be worthwhile creating a landing page which will serve as your “offline” interview resume, as this will help you to gather further information about the prospective employee.
Once a suitable candidate has been found, an email marketing campaign will be established between you and the person. This email marketing strategy should be tailored to each individual job posting, as it is ineffective (and potentially damaging) to send the same email to the same people multiple times. The content included should be tailored to each role, but there will be generalised elements to the campaign. For example, some campaigns will include a brief description of the role, a company photo and some keywords for search terms associated with the job post. Some freelance marketers even elect to use voice broadcasting or video to relay the message, which can be a useful tactic for highlighting the company’s branding efforts.
Another major part of the campaign will be the personal branding of the person, which relates to creating a positive image for the company. Most freelancers will already have a good body of writing to their name and having that added in will strengthen their credentials in the eyes of potential clients. The personal branding will consist of the logo and web address on the clients are provided with, together with a detailed job description of the duties required and the payment rates. Freelancers may also choose to add a portfolio of past work to their profile, which demonstrates their work-style and provides insight to their professionalism. If a freelance marketer is serious about building a personal brand, then they need to put the time and effort in to ensure that every aspect of their business is well-represented and that they clearly communicate their professionalism to their potential clients.