Online marketing is one of the more important aspects of a successful business, large and small alike. In fact, it’s the one area you should spend the most time on when you’re developing a freelance marketing plan for your business. For freelance graphic designers, web designers, web developers, or other freelance creatives, a strong online marketing push in the beginning of your freelance career could be THE factor upon which your future rests. Sure, you gotta have skills too, and people skills, and so on and so forth. But if all of these other aspects are in place but no one can find you, well, then, you may as well be stuck in a hole.
Even if you are one of the lucky few graphic designers who gains clients right away from referral after referral until the end of your days, you still need some basics in place just in case your referrals decide to look you up before trying you out. A strong and positive online presence usually gives the impression that you are an expert in your field. But how, exactly, is a strong and positive presence on the web achieved? The answer to this question can be found in the resources below, and the exciting part is that they are all fabulously free.
Whether you are a complete beginner or know a thing or two about advertising yourself on the web, one of the facts about marketing for freelancers is that marketing is needed. And no matter your skill set, you will find that the following free resources for learning online marketing techniques include both introductory and advanced levels. There are also a variety of resources, including more traditional approaches with both reading and video courses and classes or less traditional with blogs and podcasts. Simply choose what appeals to you best, and find out how to market your freelancing business online the right way.
Free Online Classes, Courses, Universities
SEO Moz, one of the leading experts on anything SEO, offers three different Beginner’s Guides for learning online marketing: one for SEO, another for Social Media, and one more for Link Building. The awesome part is that they are all three completely free. This is probably one of the best places to educate yourself on building a foundation for a strong online presence as a freelancer.
As expected, Google offers a free and very thorough online marketing course, complete with a Pre-Course Preparation and Course Packs to go along with each lesson. With Google being arguably the largest search engine out there, this is definitely a must for everyone planning on doing their own online marketing, and it’s a great place to start as a beginner.
A fairly new free guide, the Social Media Quickstarter is a complete course for learning how to market through social media. Graphic designers, web designers, web developers, and other professional creatives often get the biggest marketing results from social media, so this is course is definitely a must. Through this course, you can learn marketing techniques for not only Facebook, but also Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and a little bit about other platforms. Quickstarter also goes over location-based services, QR Codes, email, ratings and reviews, blogging – all in relation to social media.
If you are one who will start a course and then simply forget to finish it because you have too much on your plate (and let’s face it, that’s probably 90% of us), then you may find this email-based course much more convenient. Brought to you for free by the awesome Copyblogger folks, you’ll basically get a complete internet marketing education through weekly email prompts – so you won’t forget to finish the course! This 20-part course goes through Copyblogger’s four pillars of internet marketing that they developed over years of learning all there is to know about marketing on the web. Plus, after signing up, you get free access to 14 e-books that take you further in-depth on different marketing techniques, along with their weekly newsletter filled with advanced marketing tips and resources.
You can actually get a “diploma” by completing an Alison class without having to pay a single dime. And because every course is based on industry standards and is certified, you can actually list your diploma on your resume. The E-Business course is a good place to start for those wanting to learn online marketing because it teaches you how to use and set up all the Google tools, how to choose the right keywords, how to budget for your online marketing, how to write attractive ads, and much more.
The Social Media Marketing class from Alison is an excellent course to take once you complete the E-Business course. This one covers email marketing, affiliate marketing, podcasting, blogging, and specifics about Twitter and Facebook. You may also want to check out other, non-diploma courses offered by Alison. Even without the diploma, you’ll get an incredible education in online marketing simply by going through all of the material on this site.
While many Udemy classes cost anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars, many more are offered completely free. And each search can be narrowed using filters in the left sidebar so that you can select only Free courses to be shown. You can also narrow down your marketing topics by category. All of the classes show how many users have taken the course as well as the review rating so that you know if the class is likely to be a good one or not.
The Quick Sprout University has some incredible courses in online marketing, and all are organized very well. Categories include SEO, Link Building, Content Marketing, Social Media, Paid Advertising, Email Marketing, Reputation Managing, and Conversion Optimization. Within most of these categories, you can also search for courses by three different levels: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. You can also just start with the Latest courses, as new ones are added quite frequently. A good one to start with is How to Build Links Through Relationships or even How to Get More Engagement from Your Facebook Fans.
Online Marketing Articles and Blogs
The Entrepreneur online magazine covers more than just online marketing, of course, but the posts within their online marketing category have some excellent information for beginners to intermediates. You’ll even see some web design based marketing articles, inspirational marketing articles, and branding-type articles. You may want to start with one of the following posts:
- 10 Things Nobody Tells You About Google Adwords
- 5 Tips for Designing Your Website to Serve Every Customer Individually
- 5 Reasons Not to Waste Your Money on Internet Marketing Courses
The Online Marketing section on Inc.com has some excellent advice that you may not otherwise gain from basic or traditional courses. Topics include social media, blogging, email, videos, and much more. Just to give you a preview of their incredible content, here are a few articles you may want to check out:
- 5 Secrets to Creating Videos on a Budget
- The 5 Biggest Content Marketing Lies
- 11 Proven Ways to Improve Your Marketing
Mashable’s main categories of content includes both Social Media and Business amongst others, and each have a mixture of news, inspirational posts, and advice. For keeping up with what’s popular and current in online marketing, Mashable is a great place to visit. Even better, they also have plenty of tech articles relevant to web designers, developers, and other tech-saavy persons. Here are just a few articles that may interest you:
- Rise of Infographics: Marketing in the Social Media Age
- How to Bridge the Gap Between Online and Offline Marketing
- How to Align Search with the Rest of Your Campaigns
Free Online Marketing Podcasts
The SiteVisibility Podcast is the most popular internet marketing podcasts in the UK with over half a million listeners. Each week, the podcast provides information on tools, techniques, and strategies for digital and search engine marketing. The interview list is quite impressive with guest interviews that include Seth Godin, Rory Sutherland, Jakob Nielsen, and many more.
The Podomatic podcast from EWebStyle.com is about everything SEO to help you get your business on the front page of Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Hosted by SEO experts Chris Burres and Charles Lewis, this podcast is both fun and informative for any business needing to improve visibility, and could be especially useful to freelancers struggling with competition.
Hosted by the president of Twist Image, Mitch Joel, Six Pixels of Separation is a podcast with a lot of expert knowledge behind it. Every week, the podcast includes a guest who brings excellent tips and advice on digital marketing and media hacking. Plus, Mitch himself has an impressive background that includes being hired by Google to explain digital marketing to top brands in the world and dubbed “Rock Star of Digital Marketing” by Marketing Magazine.
Are you a successful freelancer and have some awesome online marketing advice to give? Please share with the rest of us in the comments below!