I'm taking marketing courses and very interested in becoming a consultant someday, helping e-commerce companies with their marketing efforts. However I have little experience in it for now.
I want to offer a service that will be low risk for a company to hire me to help them with.
Perhaps copywriting for Facebook ads, or writing e-commerce email sequences, or writing product descriptions or managing Pinterest campaigns?
Since Im not in the field yet and trying to break in, any suggestions on what I could offer that a client would say "Yes! We need you."
I really don't care. I'll empty trash cans if it means I'll be an e-commerce consultant someday.
Lock yourself in your home this weekend and spend every hour possible on YouTube learning how to use a particular type of software commonly used by ecommerce companies (eg. Kiss Metrics, CrazyEgg, Click Tales, Google Analytics, Google Conversion Optimizer, Google Tag Manager, etc...).
The goal is to consume as many hours of video on a particular tool type as possible. And don't worry about the quality of that information just yet - after about an hour or two, you'll start to build a reference for what's good/bad in terms of content.
Also, take out a new notebook that you can solely dedicate to notes on that topic. It will be your field guide. Carry it everywhere, and study your notes during breakfast and before bed.
Keep in mind that the goal here isn't to become the "expert" - but rather get to a point where you know more than your potential client or the people on their team responsible for managing those tools (so you can offer value). You'll be surprised how 40-50hrs of video can accelerate that for you since most people managing accounts day-to-day rarely get that time.
Next, focus on your offering. Something free.
For example, let's say you start getting really strong with Google Tag Manager and discover a few Chrome plug-ins that will tell you if a tag is broken. You could then use that to check the sites of prospective clients and give them a free troubleshooting report of the issues they have (your service would be either a more extensive report, or your help in fixing those issues).
Also, there are some great tools out there to narrow down the prospect list based on technology. For example, you could use builtwith.com to find sites that already use Google Tag Manager and narrow down your outreach to them.
Holler with questions, and good luck!
I'd suggest breaking down what you want to do even further and specializing in just one area. Get really good at that and offer that service. As an example: I love all social media marketing but decided to niche down to Facebook Marketing. Went even further and offer Facebook Page Makeover and Marketing.
If you don't feel as if you are really good at any of it yet, what excites you the most? Again, I like all social platforms but I live and love Facebook so I went with Facebook. I have a good knowledge of all platforms, but gravitate to Facebook most. I also love learning new strategies to use on Facebook and enjoy sharing it with others.
Hope the example helps you figure out what one area to focus on and offer your services there.
If you have no experience few people are going to even consider paying you money to assist their business - that is a simple reality you will need to overcome.
Look for internships with marketing firms that have ecommerce departments. Read every book you can find on the subject too. If you know any consultants in the field ask them if they they need help with anything or would be willing to mentor you.
If you have any relevant skills (you mentioned copywriting) you could offer lower than market prices to smaller firms to start building a reputation while learning the business from the inside.
Starting out is always hard but you sound enthusiastic which is good. Learn all you can and accept you'll make mistakes and not get a lot of recognition to begin with and you'll be on the right path.
What are you good at?
TBbrutallyH doesn't sound like anything yet.
However, I do believe most ecommerce vendors could use a lot of help with their item description copy.
They could also often use focus on a target market as well. But there you have the problem that the store owner probably hasn't made any money yet, which means paying you is a toughie. A lot of these peeps throw a bunch of crap up on a templated site and there's no connection...jewelry, tech, some clothing but nothing tying it all together. Who's the target market? Why would they come back? Why would they even buy anything here??!
Anyway best to focus on helping someone who can afford to pay you, right? So look for sites with a tight focus on a subject you are interested in helping with...maybe cosmetics, or tech for geeks, or clothing for new mothers for instance. Check that they have made sales. A lot of these plugins making popups appear in the lower left corner, "So-and-So in Poughkeepsie just bought AAA Diapers!" are absolute fakes...the plugin creators even tell them to display fake notifications to make the store appear busy. So don't give those any credence. Look for legit testimonials/reviews instead.
There are two sides to the revenue equation in any business: Traffic and Conversion. You have to decide which you will help your customers with. I'm a conversion guy, for example: I do not know much about traffic generation so don't offer that as a service. Where do you fit into the puzzle?
At this stage, you should not focus on being a marketing consultant. Instead, you should work on getting an entry-level position in marketing, as an employee.
Before your ego protests, tell yourself that you are, for now, only technically an employee. You will act as an internal consultant.
Work smartly for at least 3 years: don't keep doing the same tasks, but stretch by asking for difficult assignments in different areas.
Think both process and content. For example, you might be assigned to create and test a Facebook Ad. That is the content. Pay attention to the process of how you do those tasks within your company. Is there a more efficient way to get it done? That is process.
After 3 years, keep working until you start to feel bored and confined at your company, and don't feel like you can grow anymore—that is the time to leave and become a consultant.
The best way to get noticed is to offer something valuable first.
The most direct way to get some remote consulting/freelance work is to code marketing emails. Every e-commerce company needs it and not all of them have HTML coders in-house.
What I would suggest you is to sign-up to the newsletters of 50-100 e-commerce brands you like and check the newsletter you receive from each of them over the following days. Then, select the worst 20-30 newsletters and re-code them with better layout and visuals, then contact on LinkedIn the Email/CRM Marketing Manager to offer your services and show them what you coded for them for free.
I'd be happy to give you some extra tips and different ideas if needed.
A somewhat different approach, but have you considered finding companies that utilize tools like Co-Schedule (tools whereas team members write posts, but those posts have to be approved to go live)? Such businesses are more typical to use entry-level marketers. This method could help you find a place that will recognize your growth as you build experience, which can open doors down the road.