Becoming an independent digital marketing consultant is a promising career choice in today’s market. With a high demand for digital marketing services and the ability to work remotely, this profession offers flexibility and potential for high earnings. This comprehensive guide will explore the steps to becoming a successful digital marketing consultant, including the skills required, how to build them, finding clients, and determining your earning potential.

What Does a Digital Marketing Consultant Do?

A digital marketing consultant is an experienced professional responsible for promoting and marketing companies’ products or services using various online marketing channels. Their primary role is to design and oversee the execution of a digital marketing strategy to increase brand awareness, website traffic, and sales.

Understanding Digital Marketing Roles

It’s important to differentiate between a digital marketing consultant, a digital marketing specialist, and a digital marketing manager:

  • A digital marketing consultant is a highly experienced professional in digital marketing who offers expertise to other agencies or companies. They are self-employed and design digital marketing strategies while overseeing other marketing professionals’ work. Consultants are typically paid per hour or project.
  • A digital marketing specialist works as part of a digital marketing team and focuses on a specific area, such as SEO, PPC, or social media marketing.
  • A digital marketing manager leads a team of digital marketers within an agency or organization and oversees the implementation of digital marketing strategies.
  • A self-employed digital marketing freelancer offers marketing services directly to businesses or agencies.

Steps to Becoming a Successful Digital Marketing Consultant

Now, let’s dive into the steps you need to take to become a successful digital marketing consultant:

1. Build the Necessary Skills

To become a digital marketing consultant, you must acquire various skills in various digital marketing channels. Here are the essential skills you should focus on developing:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

A solid understanding of SEO is crucial for a successful digital marketing career. SEO knowledge allows you to improve website visibility on search engines, a critical aspect of any digital marketing campaign. As a consultant, you will manage a team of SEO specialists and design effective SEO campaigns to drive organic traffic and improve search rankings. If your SEO skills need improvement, consider specialized training and hands-on practice.

Paid advertising plays a significant role in online marketing budgets. As a marketing consultant, you will be responsible for maximizing return on investment (ROI) for your client’s ad spend. To achieve this, you need a thorough understanding of various PPC platforms, such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Bing Ads. It’s essential to stay updated on platform updates and trends to manage campaigns with different budgets effectively.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Social media has become an essential sales channel for businesses. As a digital marketing consultant, you should know how to leverage social networks to drive targeted traffic, increase brand awareness, and engage customers. Designing and executing social media campaigns, utilizing community-building features, and staying informed about platform updates are critical skills for a successful SMM.

Content Marketing

Content is a crucial aspect of digital marketing. As a consultant, you will spend significant time managing content, including website content, ad copies, social media posts, and guest posts on other websites. Developing a well-planned content strategy is essential for effective content marketing campaigns. It’s important to understand how content aligns with overall marketing goals and how to create engaging and informative content to attract and convert customers.

Email Marketing

Building a profitable email list is often overlooked by businesses. Offering email marketing services as a consultant can provide value to your clients and generate revenue for both parties. To utilize email marketing as a sales channel, you must understand email sales funnels, automation, and how to create effective email campaigns that drive conversions.

Conversion Optimization

Conversion optimization is a crucial skill for generating revenue without increasing traffic. As a conversion optimization expert, you can immediately benefit businesses by improving conversion rates. By optimizing a company’s conversion rate, you can significantly impact its revenue and establish yourself as a valuable consultant. Understanding conversion rate optimization techniques and implementing data-driven strategies are essential for success in this field.

Analytics and Reporting

Being proficient in analytics and reporting is crucial for measuring the success of digital marketing campaigns. As a consultant, you must analyze campaign data, track key performance indicators (KPIs), and provide insightful reports to clients. Tools like Google Analytics and Google Data Studio are essential for monitoring and reporting campaign performance.

Business Management Skills

As a digital marketing consultant, you will also need business management skills to manage your clients, projects, and team effectively. This includes project management, client communication, budgeting, and time management. Strong business management skills will help you deliver projects on time, within budget, and exceed client expectations.

Additional Skills

Basic development skills (HTML, CSS), website marketing knowledge, eCommerce marketing expertise, and an understanding of marketing analytics will further enhance your capabilities as a digital marketing consultant.

2. Define Your Niche

Defining your niche is critical in establishing yourself as a digital marketing consultant. You can differentiate yourself from competitors and become an expert by specializing in a particular area. Define your primary expertise area based on your experience and success stories. For example, if you have an intense SEO case study, initially focus on offering SEO services and gradually introduce other digital marketing services.

Additionally, define your target market within your niche. Instead of targeting any client from any industry, specialize in one area to standardize your process, build success stories, and establish yourself as the go-to expert for that niche. To establish yourself as an expert, start blogging on topics related to your target market, connect with industry professionals on social media, and attend relevant events. Becoming a trusted resource for your target market will help attract clients and increase your fees.

3. Establish Your Brand

Establishing a solid personal brand is crucial for success as a digital marketing consultant. Your brand will be the face of your business and what attracts new clients. Clients want to know the background and experience of the person handling their marketing strategy, so building a reputable personal brand is essential.

Blogging is a powerful tool for establishing your brand. Start a digital marketing blog and focus on topics related to your niche and target market. Share your expertise, success stories, and insights to attract potential clients. Additionally, aim to get published on high-authority digital marketing websites. This will increase your visibility and provide valuable backlinks to your website, drive traffic, and establish you as an industry expert. Follow guest post guidelines and suggest topics that align with the website’s audience.

4. Build Your Team

To successfully handle client projects, you may need to build a team to support your work. Depending on the scope of the projects, you may be hired solely as a consultant or responsible for end-to-end implementation. In the latter case, having a team is essential to manage the workload effectively. Consider the following roles for your team:

  • SEO Expert: Someone who specializes in SEO to handle the technical aspects and optimization of websites.
  • Developer: A developer is crucial for making website changes, creating landing pages, and implementing technical SEO recommendations.
  • PPC Expert: A digital marketer with expertise in managing PPC campaigns. While you will design the strategy, the implementation can be delegated to a team member.
  • Writers: Having skilled writers on your team is essential for creating high-quality campaign content.
  • Social Media Specialist: This team member can assist with managing social media campaigns and tasks that require repetitive work.

Decide whether to hire full-time or part-time employees based on your project requirements and budget. Long-term relationships with team members are beneficial to save time on training and ensure consistent quality in your work. Consider a hybrid approach with a mix of full-time and part-time employees for flexibility and cost-effectiveness.

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5. Decide on Your Pricing Structure

Determining your pricing structure is essential to running a successful digital marketing consulting business. Clients will inquire about your fees, so it’s crucial to be prepared with a clear and concise answer. There are three common ways to charge for consulting services:

  • Per hour: Establish an hourly rate or range based on your experience and expertise. Depending on the client and project, you can negotiate within this range.
  • By month: Create digital marketing packages with predefined services and a monthly fee. You can also agree on a maximum number of monthly hours for the project and calculate the monthly cost based on your rate.
  • Per project: Carefully assess the project requirements, calculate your costs, add a profit margin, and provide a price for the entire project.

When setting your rates, consider the client’s location, budget, business type, and expected return on investment. Demonstrating the potential monetary benefit for the client can justify higher rates. It’s essential to prove your value through measurable results and success stories.

6. Choose Your Tools

Choosing the right digital marketing tools is essential for efficiently managing your work and delivering client results. It’s recommended to use a limited number of tools and become an expert in those rather than using multiple tools with limited proficiency. Here are some essential tools for digital marketing consultants:

  • Google G-Suite: Use G-Suite for email, documentation collaboration, meetings, presentations, and reporting.
  • Google Data Studio: This free reporting tool integrates seamlessly with Google Analytics and Google Search Console, allowing you to create comprehensive reports for clients.
  • MailChimp: MailChimp is a popular and user-friendly email marketing platform that can help you manage email campaigns for your clients.
  • Optinmonster: Optinmonster is a powerful tool for managing popups, increasing email subscribers, and improving conversion rates for landing pages.
  • SEMRush: SEMRush is an all-in-one digital marketing platform that provides a wide range of features, making it a valuable tool for consultants.

Additionally, utilize tools like Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Google Merchant Center, and other industry-specific tools based on your clients’ needs.

7. Build Your Network

Building a solid professional network is crucial for improving your reputation and generating leads for your consulting business. There are two main ways to build your network:

  • Connect with other consultants in your niche: Use social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to connect with other consultants in your field. By growing your following and engaging with influencers, you can enhance your reputation and establish your brand as an expert in your niche.
  • Connect with clients and their connections: When you onboard a new client, connect with them on LinkedIn and explore their connections. Engaging with their friends, employees, and business partners increases the likelihood of receiving referrals and new leads. People are more likely to trust someone a friend or business partner recommended.

8. Continue Educating Yourself and Your Team

Digital marketing is an ever-evolving field; continuous learning is crucial for staying up-to-date with industry trends and best practices. Encourage ongoing education for yourself and your team, whether through online courses, certifications, or industry events. Staying informed on the latest marketing techniques and tools will enhance the quality of your work and keep you ahead of the competition. Consider the Digital Marketing Full Course by Mass Impact for a comprehensive learning resource.

How to Find Clients Looking for Digital Marketing Consulting Services

Finding the correct type of client is a challenge for many digital marketing consultants. It’s essential to attract clients rather than actively seeking them out. Blogging is a powerful tool for attracting clients searching for expertise and solutions to their marketing challenges. By targeting topics potential clients search for, you can establish yourself as a trusted resource and generate leads. Focus on high-level strategy topics that address the needs of online business owners and provide insights, case studies, and data to support your recommendations.

Word-of-mouth is also a valuable source of leads. Connect with your clients on LinkedIn and reach out to their connections. You can expand your network and attract new clients through referrals and recommendations by leveraging your existing client base.

Earning Potential of Digital Marketing Consultants

The average hourly rate for a digital marketing consultant worldwide is around $140 per hour, with rates in the United States reaching $160 per hour. However, it’s important to note that it may take time for a beginner to build your reputation and command higher rates. Proving your value through measurable results and success stories will increase your earning potential.

On average, an experienced digital marketing specialist can earn around $65,000 annually, while an experienced digital marketing manager can earn around $90,000 annually. As a consultant, a fixed salary does not limit your earning potential, and successful consultants can earn over $100,000 per year by offering their services to agencies or companies in need of expert guidance.


Becoming a successful digital marketing consultant requires skills, expertise, and strategic planning. By building the necessary skills, defining your niche, establishing your brand, and delivering measurable results, you can attract clients and build a thriving consulting business. Continuously educate yourself and your team, stay informed on industry trends, and leverage your network to generate leads. You can succeed as a digital marketing consultant in 2023 and beyond with dedication and perseverance.

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