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How to Write a Freelance Digital Marketing Business Plan

Updated: Aug 16, 2021



Launching a successful business does not happen overnight, it takes time, dedication, flexibility, and planning. That is why it is incredibly important to have a well written business plan as a foundation, and something you can continually go back to not only as a reminder of where you started, but also how to continue to grow.


The purpose of this article is to act as a guide to help you take the first steps to starting your own freelance business. In this guide, you will find the top nine things that should be included in a freelancer business plan, including best practices, tips for consideration, and how to start writing your business plan today.

*To follow along using the template I have created especially for you, click HERE!



The Essentials

1) Business Summary & Purpose (Executive Summary)


Every business has a story; this is your opportunity to tell it. Your company summary should be a short introduction of your brand that answers your "why," your "purpose," and the niche (if you have one) your business will focus on.

Your summary should also provide a brief outline or paragraph of what will be included in your business plan.


*Tip for consideration


If you plan to use your business plan as a way to get clients, make sure to hook them right from the beginning! Do this in the very beginning of your business plan, highlight what makes it unique and valuable so that they keep reading for more information on why they should do business with you.


2) Target Audience


In this portion of your business plan, your primary focus is on knowing and understanding your clientele. By the end of this section, you should have answered the following questions:

  • Who is your target audience? (age, gender, interests, purchasing habits, where do they spend time online)

  • What will you offer to your customers?

  • Why do your customers need these products/services?

  • How will you provide services?

*Tip for consideration

Remember, your customer/clients are coming to you with a problem. What is that problem and how will you fix it? Be clear and specific so that what you provide is easily understood and desired.


3) Services


The first step to becoming a freelancer is figuring out what skills you have and how they can be turned into services. Perhaps you started down this freelance path with the "learn as you go mentality," and that is totally okay! There are plenty of online courses that you can take in order to learn how to provide specific services such as web design, SEO, online advertising, and more!


Once you have determined which services you want to provide based on the skills you have, soak up all of the knowledge you can!


One more thing... Don't confuse your "skills" with services. You already have a number of marketable skills (creativity (graphic design), photography, video, communication, organization, ability to understand and analyze data, social media).


The most important aspect when turning any skill into a freelance business endeavor is understanding both sides—you must understand yourself enough to know which marketable qualities are showcased best through particular approaches, while at the same time getting an idea about who might need those services.


As a freelancer, it’s your job not just to solve problems for people but also find ways that will make them want more from you by adding value beyond the scope of their original request. In business this is called "upselling" and it is an important way to provide high quality services and keep customers coming back for more!


This section should address the following questions:

  • What services will I provide? (you can add or remove later)

  • How will I provide these services? (is there software that you will need)

  • What are my foundational services?

  • What services can I upsell?

  • How much do my services cost and/or am I going to charge per service or hourly?

*Tip for consideration


If you are the "learn as you go" type of freelancer take your skill level into consideration when pricing your services. You may even want to consider doing low cost or free services that are less time consuming in order to obtain positive reviews.


4) Competitor Differentiation Plan Based on Your Niche


Freelancing is a competitive industry. This section of your freelance business plan will help you understand which companies are in the same market as yours and how to effectively compete against them. You should start by asking yourself:

  • How will my business stand out?

  • How will my business be different?

  • Who are my competitors and what do they do well?

  • How does my competition stand out?

  • How can I provide greater value than my competitors do?

  • What can I learn from my competitors?

*Tips for consideration


Remember, this is a healthy dose of competition, not a divisive one. By using your business and skills as a way to support others in your industry, you will create connections that will be there to support you later down the road. It is also wise to keep in mind that freelancers are just a small portion of your competition, look to and learn from agencies that offer similar services. Also, don't be afraid to ask questions or even collaborate with others who have been in the industry longer than you! Your greatest teachers are those who have been crushing it long before you!


5) Client Acquisition & Management


Building a strong relationship with clients is the key to success. In this section of your business plan you will explain how you will create trusting relationships with your audience in order to gain a steady stream of new clients, while maintaining the ones you already have.


Getting New Clients/Customers


How will you build trust amongst your target audience?

  • Brand awareness strategy

  • Proof that you understand prospective client needs and provide them with a solution

  • Provide case studies to represent your success

  • Have reviews and testimonials accessible (on your website, Google, etc.)

Maintaining Clients/Customers


How will you continue to support your client list?

  • How will you show evidence of how you supported your client(s) growth?

  • What upsells will provide your clients with the most satisfaction and growth?

  • Now that you have worked with your client, what do you know about them that you can use to help support their business?

  • How can you reward your loyal customers?

*Tip for consideration


You will forever find the greatest value in your returning customers/clients, this is called customer lifetime value (CLV), and it is priceless. With this in mind, do what you can to make your loyal customers happy.


6) Marketing & Sales Strategies


Having a marketing and sales strategy is a critical component to having a successful business of any kind and there is no one-size-fits-all method. No matter which strategies you choose, you need to give them enough time to collect valuable data in order to determine if they were successful. Typically a marketing strategy should be between 3 months to a year (depending on which you choose).

Here is a list of possible strategies:

  • Consistent social media presence

  • Organic advertising on social media

  • Website & SEO

  • Email marketing

  • Social media advertising

  • Search engine advertising (PPC)

*Tips for consideration


Start with free marketing strategies before jumping into paid advertising. If you are consistent enough and create quality and engaging posts, organic social media marketing will help you create an email list. Having a robust email list is priceless, therefore, this may be all the marketing you need to do.


Also, it is a great idea to create a high quality profile on freelance websites such as Upwork and Freelancer in order for you to easily pick out individuals or businesses who are hiring for your services. One thing that is so great about these platforms is that if you have a well constructed profile, oftentimes businesses will reach out to you!

7) Goals, Milestones, & Timelines


Setting goals and milestones is the first step to achieving them and a great way to stay motivated! To start, define an initial revenue goal for the short term (e.g., $10K in 6 months). Then, define a long term revenue goal. It may seem intimidating at first; however, if you know how much your services and time is worth, this will not seem as difficult to reach and you will have a better understanding of how much time you need to invest.


Once you have created you goal(s), here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • How much are each of my services, or what do I charge hourly?

  • What are the minimum number of clients I would need to come onboard each month in order to reach this goal?

Example


Six month goal:

  • By creating consistent, engaging, and informational content on social media in order to connect and collect emails from my audience, prospecting daily, and submitting daily proposals; in the next six month I will increase my number of social media followers to 2,000 with an email list of 500, obtained an average of 3 clients per month, and have earned up to 10K.

Milestones to achieve goal:

  • I will obtain "x" number of social media followers per week.

  • I will prospect to "x" number of people per week.

  • I will send out "x" number of proposals on Upwork and Freelancer per week

  • I will earn "x" amount per month

*Tip for consideration


Use the SMART goals framework to ensure you have the most success! Create Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely (short & long term) goals.


8) Financial Plan


Working on a tight budget can be stressful, but having one is imperative. While it may seem like the best way to go would just be to spend as little money as possible, that’s not always realistic or even beneficial in the long run. The key for any business owner when creating their budgets is prioritizing what their goals are and determining how much time they can set aside each day. Once you know your goals, then create a detailed list of all expenses (e.g. monthly software costs, website development and maintenance, equipment, marketing expenses, etc.).


Basic questions you should know the answer to:

  • What are your expenses?

  • What can you cut out?

  • How much is your time worth?

*Tip for consideration


Keep track of all of your expenses using free tools like Google Sheets, or paid tools such as Quickbooks (well worth it).


9) Testimonials & Reviews


Having quality testimonials and reviews are an area that is often overlooked, but provides a crucial advantage for your business's growth. While this is not typically an area that is included in a business plan, I find it imperative to include right up front in order to determine how you will not only collect positive reviews, but also how to support dissatisfied customers.


A good testimonial can be the difference between a mediocre and flourishing business and is not something that just magically appears online, you have to put in some work! Here are some ways that you can go about collecting reviews/testimonials:

  • Word of mouth

  • Ask for them through email, over the phone, or in person

  • Run a review campaign that provides an easy way for clients to leave reviews and will post right to the platform(s) of your choice.

*Tip for consideration


Always take the time to reply to online reviews. Also, don't forget to highlight positive reviews/testimonials on your website and social media! Lastly, this section is just for the business to see, do not include this if you plan to show your business plan to potential clients.


In conclusion, writing a freelance digital marketing business plan can be intimidating, but the piece of mind that it provides is well beyond worth it. While you might feel like you need to know everything about the industry before you start working on your strategy, having a business plan in place will help you feel more confident about the direction you are going. By taking small steps and focusing on what will work for your individual goals, it’s easier to get started even if you don't have all of the answers yet!


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Check out my YouTube channel where I go over "How to Write a Freelance Digital Marketing Business Plan" in detail.

Contact Finn Local Marketing to learn how I can develop, support, and monitor your business's online reputation today!


OR


Book a FREE brand strategy with Finn HERE.


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"There are three types of people, those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who are wondering what just happened."

-Neil Patel


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