Becoming a freelance PPC consultant involves a lot of commitment, but it pays off with lucrative results once you start winning clients.
In fact, it’s one of the top work from home jobs you can have.
But freelancing is a lot different from an in-house PPC role. You need a strong focus when working for yourself. You also need sound organisation procedures to keep your projects in order.
But how do you start your career as a freelance PPC consultant? In this article, we’ll show you exactly how to get started and develop your reputation.
You’ll learn everything about networking for clients, pricing, client management, and reporting models.
If you’re ready to turn 2021 into a successful freelancing year, then you’ve found the right article!
Starting out in freelancing is difficult, not least when you begin and have no clients. This can be daunting, but with the right attitude, you can quickly start winning over prospects.
You need to convince potential customers you’ve got the necessary skills to deliver a significant return on investment.
To begin with, it can be difficult as you have no case studies to show off. Instead, you’ll need perseverance to land your first clients.
Highlighting your UVP (unique value proposition) is a good place to start, though.
(Source: How to define your UVP as a freelancer. Source: Tide)
Once you’ve got that down, you can start to sell yourself and look at doing some cold outreach to draw in those clients.
Contacting potential clients out of the blue is a difficult step. But it’s also a tried and tested way to introduce yourself.
A strong tactic is to start emailing local businesses. Check their existing PPC campaigns on Google, and if they don’t have any ads, it’s a good opportunity to swoop in.
If you’re looking for a personal touch and want to contact, for example, a Managing Director with your pitch, consider using hunter.io to find their email.
Failing that, consider using LinkedIn. This way you can directly contact the right people in a company. You can even upgrade to Premium (£50 a month) to use InMails to reach key prospects.
Remember, when you contact a prospect they’ll weigh up the pros and cons of hiring a freelancer. These are some of the things they’ll think about you:
(Source: Pros and cons of freelancers: InFlow)
But what do you need to write? A brief intro followed by your sales pitch. This doesn’t need to be lengthy, but it does need to highlight the ROI you can provide.
Here’s a template you can adapt:
Subject: [Prospect’s name],
Hi [prospect’s name], my name is [name]. I’m a PPC specialist in [area] with X years’ experience. I’ve worked with [briefly list your top in-house/freelancing experience].
I was checking your website and noticed you’re currently not running any search ads for your business. This means you’re missing out on a proven advertising model that can increase your sales dramatically.
In your industry, PPC can significantly help to increase site visitors, increase sales, and provide significant revenue.
I provide a freelancing service that will set up your Google Ads campaigns, ensuring your business is seen on Google by your target audience at the right times. I’ll also be able to save you time and money over hiring PPC executives for your business.
To discuss the full benefits for your business, please get in touch and I’ll be happy to explain the ROI you can expect from PPC.
Yours sincerely, [name]
You can also use video conferencing software to continue the conversation and sell your services.
Reddit is a discussion website and a self-serve platform. It has over 48 million monthly visits.
And it’s good news for PPC consultants, as there are subreddits where you can introduce yourself and network in the marketing world.
A great place to start is with the subreddit /r/PPC, which has over 85,000 members. Other subreddits you can join include:
What do you do? You’ll need to make an account. After that, say hello to the community. It’s a good idea to get to know other contributors, as they may be able to help you out with finding clients in your area.
You can also create discussion points about PPC freelancing.
Make a pitch to the community and you may get tips on who’s looking for your skills, or from people who may need your services.
Work With Agencies
You should target digital agencies that don’t specialise in PPC. Many agencies focus on services such as web development, web design, content, and SEO.
This leaves the door open for you to make your pitch. Reach out to them directly and request a referral to any clients who may be looking to get started in PPC.
It’s beneficial to the agencies as they’ll receive a commission for any contracts you land, leaving them with a percentage of your earnings.
How do you find these digital agencies?
You can build this into your cold outreach approach. While you’re searching online, note down the local agencies that don’t offer PPC services to their clients.
Then drop them a message and try to arrange a 1-1 to discuss potential opportunities.
A big part of your pitch will be your pricing model.
How much should you charge? This is crucial to get right. Charge too much and you’ll drive prospects away. Charge too little and you’ll not earn enough or look amateurish.
Most freelancers use an hourly or fixed rate. There are pros and cons to each approach, which we cover below.
This is where you charge a client for each working hour. What you charge depends on your level of experience, reputation, and education.
The rate you have will also differ from country to country, so keep in mind your location. Take a look at other PPC freelancers in your area and see what they’re charging. You can use this as a solid foundation for your rate benchmarking.
According to Mike Ncube, CEO at NCube digital and a Google Partner:
“UK PPC freelancers charge £30 per hour on average. This means that if they commit to 10 hours per month to managing your PPC account, you can expect to pay at least £300 per month. This is very affordable for most advertisers and is cheaper than hiring a PPC Agency. And is definitely a lot cheaper than hiring a full-time Google AdWords Expert.”
If you’re new to freelancing, you may also want to provide a lower hourly rate to provide an incentive for a client.
If they’re on a tight budget, they may be more willing to try out your services over more expensive alternatives.
This is a good way to get clients into your network. Then, at a later date, you can increase your prices to match your growing reputation.
In summary, here are the advantages and disadvantages to consider:
- Pros: You have more flexibility with your contracts and will receive the correct pay for the amount of work you complete. Additionally, it’s a good approach for those new to freelancing as it can entice clients with a fee that appears more affordable than a fixed rate
- Cons: Many prospects may still think your rates are too high as they undervalue PPC services. You’re also capping your maximum income based on the total number of hours you work, rather than the value you provide
You can also charge a set amount for any given project. A flat fee provides a steady income which is more or less the same for every task you work on.
You can adjust this price in the event a client changes their budget or requirements.
Keep in mind that digital agencies often charge for the percentage of ad spend. In fact, it’s the industry norm for agencies. As a freelancer, you may want to follow suit.
The normal percentage is 5-20% of the total ad spend, depending on the agency.
In summary, here are the advantages and disadvantages to consider:
- Pros: You’ll receive lump-sum payments you can price based on each project. You can also request upfront payments, removing the hassle of delayed income
- Cons: If a client isn’t happy with your work and you need to make adjustments, this can delay receiving your pay. And you’re relying on the client to pay you in good faith, which can lead to delays
Managing various clients at once can be one of the trickiest parts of freelancing. Even more so when you’re juggling lots of PPC tasks.
Once you’re up and running with new clients, you’ll need to improve your timekeeping to successfully manage multiple customers simultaneously.
Here’s how to keep your clients impressed with the progress of your work.
Keeping Clients Happy
At the start of your dealings with a new client, make sure your expectations, goals, and targets are all clear. This will avoid any confusion developing at a later date.
Once you begin your working relationship, follow these steps:
- Work to your highest standards! An obvious point, but great work makes for happy customers ready to sing your praises
- Provide regular updates (there’s more on this topic further below)
- Be approachable! Make sure you’re available via email, mobile, or collaboration platforms
- Respect your client’s wishes. If they want to change the course of a project, it’s up to them
- Respond professionally to client feedback
On the final point, you must value your client’s point of view.
For example, they may come back with negative feedback about something you’ve done. If this happens, you need to remain professional at all times.
Listen carefully to their feedback and react in the best interests of your client.
Need a few more pointers? Here are six quick tips to keeping clients coming back for more.
(Source: 6 tips to keeping clients happy: Freelancermap)
Keeping Clients Up To Date
You should provide regular updates so clients are aware of the progress of their projects. Have your phone on at all times, be approachable online, and send regular email updates.
It’s also good business practice to agree on a reporting schedule.
For example, schedule a weekly or monthly meeting. This is important as there may be new developments from a client you need to consider.
And you’ll receive their ongoing feedback to your work, helping you to adjust PPC ad spend, or your use of keywords, where necessary.
So long as you’re easy to contact and provide progress reports on a set timetable, you’ll be able to satisfy your client’s needs.
Your clients will expect detailed reports on their PPC campaigns. You must present your work in a way that highlights campaign progress and the value you provide.
Of course, there’s a lot going on in any ad campaign, so you must present the right data. Here’s what you need to know.
What Do Clients Expect?
You’ll need to create reports that feature key data from their PPC campaigns. In other words, any details that highlight how your ads are helping to generate more conversions.
Along with your reports, it’s also good business practice to summarise your weekly tasks, indicating what you’re working on and what you’ve completed.
Ultimately, you should present all of your findings to a high standard. Google’s Data Studio is one example of how to do this.
It allows you to easily create impressive looking graphs that will clearly display the full effects of the client’s ad spend.
What Data To Include
PPC reports contain all manner of data your client needs to know. Look to encapsulate key stats such as:
- PPC generated traffic
- Customer behaviour
- Keyword performance
- Campaign performance
- CPA and other key metrics
- Quality Score
- Trend monitoring
It’s important to make this data easily understandable. If the client isn’t used to PPC, you’ll need to explain everything in clear English. So, try to break down complex industry jargon.
And you can also break down essential data into easily digestible graphs and pie charts that showcase the positive historical changes in campaigns.
Along with Google’s Data Studio, you can use PPC report providers to help you with gathering essential data.
Octoboard is an example. Tools such as that save you time and impress your clients.
Once work is going well with a client, you can reach a point where you’re ready to upsell your services.
This can bring in extra income and improve your working relationship with a client. Here’s how you can go about it.
When To Upsell
The key to your success of upselling is waiting for a long period of consistent profitability for your client. If their PPC efforts are going well after several months you can make your pitch.
Important steps to upselling include:
- Keeping your communication consistent
- Knowing a client’s needs before they do
- Proving ROI
- Making sure your client needs additional services
In PPC, a big factor involves seasonality. For example, if Christmas is on the way then you may need to significantly increase ad spend.
If this is the case, you have an excellent opportunity to make your pitch to step up your services.
During your talk, clearly explain the benefits to your client. And make it clear it’s in their best interests, rather than it being your attempt to earn more money.
And don’t forget… you’re not cross-selling. It’s a totally different thing.
(Source: Upselling and cross-selling difference: LinkedIn)
As you can see, upselling is about adding something extra to what you’re currently offering.
What To Upsell
You need to highlight what adds more value to your client’s projects and how you can deliver it.
Here are a few considerations:
- Increase ad spend across winning campaigns. It can help to make your client more profitable
- Think about what your client is missing from your current strategy, such as remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) or ad extensions. This can dramatically improve the appeal of ads for relevant customers, which you can explain to a client
- Think about conversion rate optimisation (CRO). This optimises your search ads to increase conversion rates
- Suggest upgrades to landing pages or websites, to improve the user experience. It can lead to an increase in conversions
Again, make sure you explain the value of your upsells and the ROI it’ll provide your client. If you have case study examples, use these to support your suggestions.
Start Your PPC Side Hustle Today
Freelancing in PPC is a tricky business to get right. Especially in your early days when you’re setting up shop.
But with commitment, you can win clients and build your reputation. So, perseverance is essential to succeed. Over time, you’ll get a following and a steady stream of work.
Here’s a final summary of everything above, so you know how to get started today:
- Be confident in networking and creating friends in the marketing landscape
- Calculate your pricing model
- Always make sure you get a contract (and consider having an upfront deposit to ensure you get paid for your work)
- Keep a consistent schedule so you can communicate with clients and meet deadlines
- Become the expert in your area! The more of a local legend you become, the more your PPC expertise will be in demand
PPC is a huge industry and very competitive. But by knuckling down and working on your freelancing craft, you can soon make a name for yourself. And you can get started today.
Originally published Mar 26, 2021, updated Jan 16, 2023