Digital marketing is ubiquitous with everything we do today. No matter the business or industry, you need digital marketing to promote products or services across the internet, social media, mobile devices and search engines. More importantly, digital marketing is essential in today’s modern business strategies as it enables businesses to target specific demographics and provide measurable campaign results in a cost-effective way.
From Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to Pay-Per-Click (PPC), Social Media Marketing (SMM), Email/SMS Marketing, Content Marketing, Affiliate Marketing and more — the field of digital marketing is vast and provides numerous opportunities to specialise or become a jack of all trades. For those of us who want to make some side income, a digital marketing side job is the perfect side hustle due to the flexible nature of the role.
In this article, we’ll look at the types of digital marketing side hustle opportunities out there, and how you can acquire the skills you need to start a digital marketing side job and earn some side income.
What Makes Digital Marketing a Great Side Hustle?
As the world becomes increasingly digital, the need for businesses to promote themselves online has never been greater. With this need, the demand for digital marketing services has grown tremendously, creating a market that is ideal for people who want to earn a side income without committing to a full-time venture.
The appeal of a digital marketing side job comes down to three primary reasons: flexibility, high demand, and low startup cost.
Many of us want to earn a side income but have other life commitments that prevent us from investing additional time and energy into our side hustle. As a digital marketer, you have the freedom to work remotely, set your own schedule, and work from anywhere with an internet connection.
This flexibility means you can work on your side hustle while simultaneously juggling other life responsibilities, such as a full-time job, school or family. At the same time, you also have the choice to take on as much or as little work as you want.
The rise of e-commerce and online businesses has created a boom in demand for digital marketing services. Small and medium-sized businesses in particular benefit the most from digital marketing as they need to find affordable and effective ways to promote their products and services online. Furthermore, many small and medium-sized businesses find themselves in a precarious position where employees lack digital marketing expertise but the business does not have the budget to hire an agency.
Fortunately for you, this is where side hustlers can come in and fill the demand. By offering digital marketing services to small and medium-sized businesses that need them, a digital marketing side job can be a lucrative way to earn side income that can greatly improve your quality of life.
Low Startup Cost
Unlike other side hustles such as starting a business or trading stocks, taking on a digital marketing side job has minimal startup costs. All you need is a laptop, an internet connection, digital marketing skills and any essential tools you may need such as Google Analytics. If you’re new to the field, you may need to spend some time and money acquiring digital marketing skills, but there are plenty of free or budget-friendly resources available online.
Overall, digital marketing as a side hustle has a low barrier to entry and doesn’t require significant capital to start, greatly reducing any potential financial risks.
Types of Digital Marketing Side Hustles
Digital marketing is a wide and varied field with multiple specialities. No matter your background, interests or existing skill set, chances are there is a digital marketing side job that appeals to you! Take a look at some of the digital marketing side hustles you can pursue.
Simply put, blogging is the process of creating written content that is published on a blog or website. These days, every online business needs a blog to maintain a consistent online presence, demonstrate their knowledge and build authority in their field. Blogs are crucial for any business seeking to attract organic visits from searchers.
As a side hustle, blogging offers several benefits, including the ability to work from anywhere, express your creativity, and make money from your writing. You can even choose to write your own blog or become a writer for company blogs.
If you write your own blog, you can monetise incoming traffic by incorporating affiliate marketing, sponsored posts or even by hosting Google display ads on your site. As a writer for company blogs, you will most likely be paid a fee for each article you contribute.
Blogging requires consistent effort and dedication, but it can be a rewarding side hustle and a stable source of side income for those who enjoy writing and have a niche area of expertise.
Affiliate marketing involves promoting other people’s products or services and earning a commission for any sales made through your unique affiliate link. To get started, you can sign up for affiliate marketing programs offered by e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, or join an affiliate network such as Commission Junction or ShareASale.
As a side hustle, affiliate marketing can be a low-cost and low-risk option, as you don’t need to create your own product or service. Instead, you can focus on promoting products or services that align with your niche or personal interests. Successful affiliate marketers typically have a strong online presence such as a blog or social media following to effectively promote the products or services they’re affiliated with.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of optimising a website to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). Since the majority of people only click on search results on the first page, there is plenty of competition for the top few spots! As a result, SEO is a valuable service to offer to small businesses or entrepreneurs who want to improve their online visibility.
To get started with SEO, you’ll need to have a solid understanding of search engine algorithms, keyword research tools, and website analytics. Your tasks will involve keyword research, on-page optimization, link building, and content creation.
SEO requires ongoing effort and monitoring, but it can be a lucrative side hustle for those who have a passion for digital marketing and a willingness to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices. Furthermore, it can also open a potential pathway to becoming an SEO specialist as a career in the future.
Email marketing involves creating and sending email campaigns to a list of subscribers, while SMS marketing involves sending promotional messages via text message.
As a side hustle, email and SMS marketing can be an effective way to help small businesses or entrepreneurs reach their target audience and promote their products or services. You’ll need to have a solid understanding of email automation tools such as Mailchimp, segmentation and copywriting. Email and SMS marketing requires the ability to create engaging and valuable content that resonates with your audience and drives conversions.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) involves running targeted ads on search engines or social media platforms. However, rather than pay a set fee to display the ad, you instead pay for each click that your ad receives. PPC is a valuable advertising model for small businesses or entrepreneurs who want to increase their online visibility and drive website traffic on a budget.
PPC as a side hustle involves offering your services to these companies and entrepreneurs. You’ll be tasked with keyword research, ad copywriting and bidding strategies. To get started, you’ll need to have a solid understanding of ad platforms like Google Ads or Facebook Ads, as well as the ability to create compelling and effective ads that resonate with your target audience.
A digital marketing side job in social marketing involves managing social media pages for companies. This can include creating and publishing content for their pages, developing and running ad campaigns as well as responding to customer messages or enquiries.
As a side hustle, you’ll be helping businesses build their online presence and engage with their target audience. In order to take on a social media side hustle, you’ll need to have in-depth knowledge of one or multiple popular social media platforms — including but not limited to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn and more. Besides in-depth knowledge of a social media platform and its tools, you’ll also have to be adept at content creation, community management, and advertising.
What You Need to Get Started in Digital Marketing
With such a variety of digital marketing side jobs available, you might be wondering what you need to get started in this side hustle. Getting started in digital marketing comes down to acquiring the essential skills, knowledge of tools and proof of education or training in your chosen specialisation. With the right combination of these factors, you can establish yourself as a successful digital marketer and start earning side income from the comfort of your own home.
To become a successful digital marketer, there are several key skills and knowledge areas that one should focus on. These essential skills are key across all digital marketing side jobs. Even if you only desire to specialise in one or two digital marketing subjects, it’s important to achieve a basic level of understanding across the entire digital marketing spectrum. This will help you better understand how the various digital marketing subjects work together to form one cohesive strategy.
Here are the subsets of digital marketing and their essential skills:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO aims to optimise websites in order to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Essential skills involved: Keyword research, on-page optimisation, link building.
- Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising: PPC advertising involves running targeted ads on search engines or social media platforms and paying for each click that your ad receives.
Essential skills involved: Keyword research, ad copywriting, bid management, ad testing.
- Social Media Marketing: Social media marketing involves creating and publishing content on social media platforms to engage with your audience and build your brand.
Essential skills involved: Content creation, community management, audience segmentation and targeting, platform-specific knowledge, paid social advertising.
- Email Marketing: Email marketing involves creating and sending email campaigns to a list of subscribers to promote your products or services.
Essential skills involved: List building, content creation, email automation, audience segmentation, ad copywriting.
- Data Analytics: Across all roles, digital marketers rely on data to make informed decisions regarding their campaigns. A basic level of data analytic skills is essential.
Essential skills involved: Metrics, A/B testing, analytics tools, data visualisation and presentation.
Tools and Resources
Digital marketers use a wide range of essential tools to get the information they need as well as create original content. You’ll likely have to develop proficiency in some of these popular tools and resources when you make digital marketing your side hustle.
A popular toolset that allows SEO specialists to conduct keyword research, analyse competitor backlinks, track keyword rankings and monitor website performance.
A browser-based graphic design tool that marketers use to create professional-looking artwork for newsletters, brochures, social media and other digital marketing campaigns.
- Facebook Ads
Facebook’s advertising platform that allows businesses to target specific users on Facebook according to demographics, interests, behaviour or location.
- Google Analytics
A free tool that tracks website traffic and provides metrics that give marketers insights into user behaviour.
- Google Ads
Google’s advertising platform that allows businesses to bid on specific keywords in order to display ads on Google SERPs as well as websites or mobile apps with Google Display Network.
Hootsuite is a social media management tool that helps social media marketers manage brand pages across different social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. It helps social media marketers save time by scheduling posts in advance, getting notified of mentions and comments and tracking page performance.
Mailchimp is a popular email automation platform. It is used by businesses and email marketers to create, send and track email campaigns to their subscribers.
Education and Certifications
If you’re new to the industry, it can be difficult to secure a digital marketing side job without certifications. To make your side hustle a success and start earning a side income, there are a few reputable digital marketing certifications you should look to acquire.
- Google Ads Certification
Offered by Google, this certification demonstrates proficiency in creating and managing Google Ads campaigns across various platforms.
- Google Analytics Certification
Offered by Google, this certification demonstrates proficiency in using Google Analytics to track website traffic and user behaviour.
- HubSpot Inbound Certification
Offered by HubSpot, this certification demonstrates proficiency in the fundamentals of inbound marketing including SEO, content marketing, social media and email marketing.
- Meta Blueprint Certification
Offered by Meta, this certification demonstrates proficiency in creating and managing campaigns on Facebook.
- Hootsuite Social Media Marketing Certification
Offered by Hootsuite, this certification demonstrates proficiency in social media marketing fundamentals including strategy, community management, content creation and analytics.
- SEMrush SEO Fundamentals Certification
Offered by SEMrush, this certification demonstrates proficiency in SEO fundamentals such as keyword research, on-page optimization, and link building.
How to Find Digital Marketing Clients
Once you’ve acquired the necessary skills to start your side hustle, it’s time to start finding clients. For those of us with no idea where to begin, here are some ways to start sourcing and platforms to explore.
Networking is a key part of making connections in business, and digital marketing is no different. You can begin by offering your services to your existing network of friends, family or social media connections.
You can also attend industry events or conferences, join online groups or forums and connect with other digital marketing professionals in your field on LinkedIn. Building relationships with other industry professionals expands your network and they might be able to introduce clients to you.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask existing clients for referrals once you’ve had a project or two under your belt! If they’re happy with your work, most clients will be glad to recommend you to others in their network.
Freelance platforms are a great way to find clients and build your portfolio if you’re new. Websites like Upwork, Freelancer and Fiverr allow freelancers to create a profile, showcase your skills and experience as well as bid on projects posted by companies.
Most freelancers on these platforms start by taking up small jobs they are comfortable with, before building their client base and raising their rates.
Build Your Portfolio
Portfolios are the backbone of any freelancer. But building one can be challenging when you’re just starting out with no previous projects to speak of. To fill up your portfolio, try volunteering for non-profits that need digital marketing help but may not have the budget to pay for it. Alternatively, look for pro bono opportunities with small businesses or start-ups.
You can offer your services for free or at a discounted rate in exchange for permission to use their project in your portfolio. You can also explore personal projects — such as ranking your own website for SEO, running a small Google Ads campaign to drive traffic to a landing page, or developing a social media campaign for a fictional company.
Best Practices to Manage Your Digital Marketing Side Hustle
Once you’re up and running, managing your digital marketing side hustle can be challenging, especially if you’re thinking of scaling while juggling multiple clients or projects. Here are some best practices to help you stay organized and manage your workload effectively.
Set Clear Expectations
Be clear with your clients about what you can deliver and when. Set realistic deadlines and communicate any delays or issues as soon as possible. This can help build trust and ensure that your clients are happy with your work.
Use Project Management Tools
When you have multiple projects at different stages running at the same time, it can be hard to keep track of all the different tasks, deadlines and client communications. To help you stay organised and ensure nothing falls through the cracks, consider using project management tools like Trello or Asana that can provide you with an overview at a glance.
Schedule Your Time
Running a side hustle is exactly like running your own business, you need to market yourself, contact clients and handle administrative tasks — all while juggling your personal life and job commitments. It’s easy to burn out, so stay focused and avoid overworking yourself by blocking out specific times for certain tasks like client work, marketing activities and personal time.
Automate Rates, Invoices and Payment Reminders
You started a side hustle to earn some side income, so make sure you get paid! Quoting rates, sending invoices and payment reminders can be part and parcel of the job. Instead of racking your brain trying to figure out how much to bill your clients, use a time tracking tool like Toggl to track your billable hours and expenses. At the same time, something like Freshbooks allows you to create professional-looking invoices and even send automated payment reminders.
Finally, be adaptable! Digital marketing can be unpredictable, and client needs can change quickly. Be prepared to adjust your workload and schedule as needed to ensure your clients are happy. But don’t be afraid to be firm and ensure you’re maintaining a healthy work-life balance as well.
Learn the Digital Marketing Skills You Need to Side Hustle with FirstCom Academy
No matter where you are in life, taking on a side hustle can accelerate you towards your financial goals. Depending on your skills, side hustles can even grow from a supplemental source of income to your main source of income.
A digital marketing side job can help you gain the competency and confidence you need to transition into the rapidly growing digital marketing industry and improve your career prospects.
FirstCom Academy is helping professionals transform and upgrade their careers through courses taught by industry veterans. If you’re interested in pursuing digital marketing as a side hustle with the goal of turning it into a career, explore our range of practical digital marketing courses that focus on in-demand skills taught in a progressive and easy-to-understand manner. Supported by SkillsFuture and WSQ — our learners enjoy up to 70% subsidies on all SkillsFuture courses and receive recognised certificates to help them grow their careers.
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