Jun 25

Can you make a passive income from digital marketing?

Reading Time: 6 mins

It’s 2018 and our lives are pretty much run by our smartphones. That’s a fact. So, if you’ve been looking for an alternate income stream that requires minimal effort, digital marketing could be your answer.

Not sure where to start?

We’ve put together a quick guide, covering all the basics you might want to know before you start.


What is digital marketing?

Digital Marketing concept image

Chances are, you’ve heard the term ‘digital marketing’ thrown around liberally lately. However, you might not be entirely sure of what it is exactly.

Don’t worry! You’re certainly not alone.

In the simplest terms possible, digital marketing is the promotion of brands/products/ideas on online/digital platforms. It most commonly refers to marketing done on social media, blogs and websites. However, it may also include text messaging, mobile apps, podcasts and digital television.

  • Traditional vs digital

Traditional marketing works greatly on a ‘hit-or-miss’ principle – placing an advertisement in a magazine and hoping it catches the eye or broadcasting a snippet on the radio and praying it becomes an earworm. Of course, in most cases, some market research goes into a campaign before launching, but there is really only so much you can do to ensure your message reaches your intended audience.

With digital marketing, on the other hand, you can run pretty targeted campaigns fairly easily. By simply monitoring things like web traffic and social media engagement, you can put together a solid marketing framework.


How to educate yourself about digital marketing

Someone using laptop

So, if the bit above seems Greek to you, but you’re still interested in learning more, there are loads of courses out there.

Here are a few you could check out:

– Digital Marketing Institute

Course name: Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing

Level: Beginner

Cost: USD $2,150

Course length: 30 Hours online

What to expect: This cornerstone certification will provide you with an introduction to key digital marketing specialisms, from mobile marketing and social media marketing to Email marketing, PPC marketing and SEO.

More info: Visit the Digital Marketing Institute website

– MK College

Course name: Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing

Level: Beginner

Cost: £1,560

Course length: 1 year, online

What to expect: The practical, easy-to-engage with modules will teach all you need to know to get started with key digital specialisms including mobile and social media marketing, email, Pay Per Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). No previous experience in marketing is required to begin the course as it has been designed to benefit beginners, traditional marketing professionals and business owners alike.

More info: Visit the MK College website


Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College

Course name: L3 Diploma in Digital Marketing

Level: Beginner

Cost: Available on enquiry

Course length: 29 weeks at the college (thus more suited to younger students with fewer responsibilities)

What to expect: Your Study Programme will include the main course, a weekly tutorial, work experience placement, employability skills development and English and Maths as required.

More info: Visit the Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College website


Tips for finding a course:

Because Digital Marketing has become such a sought-after skill over the past few years, there are a myriad courses out there.

Unsurprisingly, many turn out to be fly-by-night schemes. Therefore, it’s really important that you do a good amount of research before settling on one. We suggest opting for those that have recognisable accreditation.

If you’re unsure, make an effort to contact the college/institute/school directly and try having a short interview with someone (preferably in person) before applying.


Digital Marketing for others

Group looking at computer screen together

Now that you’ve educated yourself and received a qualification, you can start marketing your skills.

A good way to gain experience in the field is to approach small businesses – maybe those of friends or family – and offer to handle their digital marketing at a small fee.

This approach is especially advisable for those who already have a job but are looking to make some money on the side.

Since most of your work would involve boosting posts on Instagram and Facebook, creating Google AdWords and possibly sending out the odd newsletter, the work isn’t too time-consuming and could easily be done in an hour or two during a lunch break or at night.

The most time-consuming part of the job will be to create an initial digital marketing strategy to present to your clients. This will be based on their social media engagement history and website traffic statistics.

Of course, doing digital marketing part-time is also a great way to work towards eventually starting a business of your own.

What you can earn:

While you would probably start off by charging a discounted fee for your work, you could eventually charge between £200 – £300 per day.

If you’d like to take up a permanent digital marketing position, you could expect to earn up to £30,000 a year, depending on where you’re based.


Digital marketing for yourself

Social media concept image

If you have a blog or already run much of your own business through online channels, you can make good use of your newly-acquired digital marketing skills.

Social media post boosting

If you’re wondering why your Facebook and Instagram business profiles are showing no growth and engagement, the sad truth is that you’re going to have to pay for that.

Both social platforms have introduced algorithms that prioritise personal updates instead of business posts in people’s feeds.

So, while you definitely shouldn’t boost every single post, it’s absolutely worth paying to extend the reach of your most important updates. These would include sales, new stock, popular blog posts etc.

On Instagram, you are able to tailor your boosted post to what action you’d like the user to take. For example, if you’d like people to click through to your website, the advertisement will prompt them to do just that. If, however, you want to grow your following, it will prompt them to visit your profile.

Facebook, on the other hand, allows you to narrow down your target market quite significantly, according to age, gender, location and even interests. This really helps to reach only those who really matter.

What you can earn:

There’s really no way of knowing exactly what your ROI (return on investment) will be when it comes to boosting posts. However, once you have a few months of data to look back on, you will be able to track movement and sales more accurately.

Affiliate advertising

If you run a blog of your own and its fairly successful, you may want to consider making some extra money by running advertisements on your site.

This is known as affiliate advertising and can also be tailored to your needs and specifications.

If you’re quite particular about the topic you blog about, you can approach companies that align with this. If you’re less particular, you could opt by signing up for well-known affiliate programmes.

These include:

Amazon Associates – you can earn up to 10% in advertising fees

eBay Partner Network – you can earn between 50% and 70% on eBay revenue

Shopify Affiliate Programme – you can earn up to $2,000 for a new merchant referral

Alternatively, you can browse through to find a programme that suits you.


Is this digital marketing a good way to earn a passive income?

Woman stacking gold coins

Well, the answer to this question depends on just HOW much you’d like to earn.

If you’re looking to make big bucks in a short amount of time, digital marketing is definitely not for you.

If, however, you’re happy with earning small amounts of money every month and learning new skills as you go, digital marketing may bring you lots of fun and joy.

Also, remember this: the digital realm is continually evolving, so you will need to stay up to date with trends, algorithms and the like.

It’s an exciting field with much to learn!

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Some great advice for digital marketing.

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