So, you want to break into the world of online advertising eh? Whether you want to build experience, generate side income or even start your own business, here are the steps I took to go from “hey, this could be fun” to landing my first client.
1 – Know your Goal
Before you do anything you need to nail down your goal. I started freelancing to build experience because I’m interested in changing my career path to PPC and digital marketing. Since most ad agencies and companies want experience I had to start somewhere and freelancing was just the place!
Basically, nailing down your goal will help drive how you structure your workload, approach your clients, and how you bill and charge clients. Freelancing can quickly become a burden if you overload yourself, and knowing how to balance your time is important.
2 – Get Certified
This should be the very first thing you do if you want to do freelance PPC advertising. Head over to the Google Partners site and sign up as an agency. Don’t worry about not being an official agency, Google won’t yell at you.
Once you’re in, you’ll see an entire section devoted to all things AdWords. Click into the exams and begin sifting through the preparation guides. Study-up using whatever method works for you and pass the test. By doing this you gain three very important things:
- First, you will figure out if doing PPC is something you actually want to do. If you are bored or fall asleep while reading the guides and learning about PPC, then chances are you won’t have the drive it’s going to take to actually land clients and do the work.
- Second, you will have a solid understanding of how to setup and run an AdWords account (hint – this is kind of important if you want to do PPC).
- Finally, and most importantly, this serves as MAJOR credibility when you’re trying to sell that first client on your services.
3 – Continue your Education
So now that you have an AdWords certificate and know what’s what, it’s time to go above and beyond your initial training. Shockingly, the world of PPC takes place exclusively online, so naturally there are tons of great resources online. Your goal here should be to find at least five blogs (hint – PPCHero is awesome) and start reading. Sign up for newsletters and start absorbing as much information as you can. Since you most likely don’t have anyone mentoring you this is a crucial and ongoing step to keep learning. You will learn new things, get new ideas, and ultimately bring more success to both you and your clients.
4 – Landing your First Client
At this point you know what your goals are, you are certified in AdWords and you got your brain juices flowing from reading blogs and other resources. Now is the time you need to start reaching out to friends, family and co-workers to find people that might want to run PPC ads. However, you need to be looking for small to medium sized businesses because any large business won’t want someone who has little to no experience running ads.
BUT WAIT! There’s a catch. You either don’t know how to build a website or you do and this knowledge, or lack of, will determine your next steps. Which one are you?
I might as well just mash the keyboard because I don’t know how to build a site.
Thankfully there are great tools and sites that you can use to build websites (I personally suggest WordPress), but you certainly dont HAVE to build a site. This just means your target audience (sound familiar from your training?) needs to be clients who already have a website. Just keep in mind most small to medium size business most likely don’t have sites or if they do, they are old and clunky (the site, not the person)! Also, since a big part of doing PPC ads is landing pages you will probably need to pay (or convince your client to pay) for some sort of landing page tool.
Pssh I can build a site with my eyes closed.
This gives you a leg-up and means that your target audience can include people who have sites or don’t have sites. Good news for you because this means you can offer someone two services: a site redesign AND ad campaign!
So with that said, find those prospects and start emailing and calling! If you run into too much trouble I recommend offering your service for free to the first client – most people find that hard to pass up (this is what I did).
If you got this far then congrats, you are officially a freelance PPCer! Give your first client extra love and attention and who knows – maybe they’ll give you a referral. Use the successes from your first client as proof, and extra selling power, when talking with new clients. Oh! and always keep networking to keep growing your client base.