The Ultimate Guide to Freelance Marketing Consultant Rates

Siobhan needed help promoting her small business but she didn’t know what are the current freelance marketing consultant rates.

This is important for her because she didn’t want to pay too much for digital marketing services.

Yes, leads and sales are important to the survival of any business.

Like many entrepreneurs and small business owners, Siobhan prefers spending time doing what she enjoys.

She just was not interested in learning to become a digital marketer herself.

Let me know if you face these struggles like Siobhan.

  1. You need more leads and sales in your business this year
  2. Setting up a 12-month marketing plan is outside your comfort zone
  3. You like showing up on social media but you don’t have a marketing strategy in place
  4. Terms like ROAS, abandon cart emails, CTR, conversion rate, LTV and MRR are way outside your wheelhouse

If only there was a way to figure out the cost of a marketing consultant so that you can include them in your marketing budget.

In this resource, you’ll discover simple strategies to plan, budget and hire your digital marketing strategist to significantly increase your business revenue.

photo of two people chatting in front of a laptop about freelance marketing consulting rates

What or Who is a Marketing Consultant?

For the purposes of this resource, a marketing consultant is someone who works alongside a business at a strategic level to lead their marketing plan.

In many cases, a business will hire a marketing consultant to fix issues like underperforming campaigns.

Sometimes they are brought in to help an organisation adopt a more cohesive approach to their marketing strategy.

Ideally, there would need to be a budget set aside for marketing spend and your marketing consultant can oversee how to spend it effectively.

Your marketing consultant should help you get a good return on your marketing spend.

A marketing consultant can look at the historical data from your marketing spend vs results over the last 3-12 months and give you wise insights.

It is important to note that even the best marketing consultants are not magicians.

They don’t have control over external forces, economic factors, market trends or making things go viral.🤣

Social Media Manager vs Marketing Assistant vs Marketing Manager vs Marketing Consultant

Before we look at rates it’s important to understand all the different roles that promote a business.

Let’s spend some time understanding who these people are and what they do.

1. Social Media Manager

Depending on the size of your business you may already have someone who looks after your social media accounts.

Their role would be to develop a plan for the social media channels, write the copy, create the graphics and schedule out the content.

They would also look at the performance of the content and suggest ways to improve the results of their social media efforts.

Another vital role would be to keep up with the latest trends and grow the social media community for the business.

2. Marketing Assistant or Marketing Coordinator

So how does the social media manager differ from a marketing assistant or marketing specialist?

Well, a marketing assistant also known as a marketing co-ordinator does just that they assist. They are not responsible for leading a specific strategy.

In most cases, the business owner makes a plan and the marketing assistant would help implement the plan in the business.

They can create graphics from existing templates, transcribe copy based on what the business owner said and pull + compile the reports for someone else to interpret.

photo of two women sitting and having a discussion

3. Marketing Manager

If you decide to hire a marketing manager in your business here are a few things that you can expect.

They expect to be hired on a full-time basis.

The marketing manager would own, plan and develop the marketing strategy for the business across multiple channels.

It is their responsibility to deliver the results that they promised.

The kind of results that you can expect from a marketing manager will be centred around leads, not sales.

If you look at the typical customer journey where you have awareness, interest, consideration and retention.

The marketing manager is responsible for awareness and interest. However, they assist with the consideration phase where the sale takes place.

4. Marketing Consultant

So, what’s the difference between a marketing manager and a marketing consultant?

As a general rule, the marketing manager is treated like a full-time employee. They don’t work with other businesses, so they are an in-house marketer.

However, the marketing consultant would be more like a freelancer or independent advisor who is brought on for a short time, like 3 months.

They are more objective in their approach to marketing solutions.

Their fees tend to be higher when compared to a marketing manager.

7 Signs That You Need a Marketing Consultant

At this point, you are probably feeling a little bit confused because you are not sure if a marketing consultant is who you need.

Here are 7 clear signs that you need a marketing consultant.

  1. You are looking for someone short-term (3-6 months) to come in and set up an overall marketing plan
  2. Your business online presence includes several organic channels including a blog, several social media channels, YouTube and Pinterest.
  3. There are also paid campaigns across Google Ads, Facebook Ads and TikTok Ads.
  4. Right now everything feels disparate so you are looking for a more cohesive approach to digital marketing
  5. You are not really sure which digital channels are the top contributors to sales, awareness and retention
  6. It would be lovely if you had better visibility into the customer journey from awareness to consideration
  7. You need help improving your offers and product suite in order to go from a 6-figure business to a 7-figure business

Current Freelance Marketing Consultant Rates

So, you’ve come this far because you know for sure that what you need is a marketing consultant.

However, you are not quite sure how much you should expect to pay to hire that person.

According to a report by Credo, the average hourly rate for a marketing consultant depending on years of experience is $150/hour.

A screenshot showing the average market rates to hire a marketing consultant by experience

You’re probably thinking that you could only pay them a flat fee of $1,500 a month or maybe even $3,000/month.

However, remember that they will not be as expensive as a regular Marketing Director who has an annual salary of $150,000 a year.

There’s no need to pay a marketing consultant $12,500/month unless you are a multi-million dollar organisation with a team of 100 employees in marketing alone.

The beauty of hiring a marketing consultant on a part-time basis is that you get the impact of their marketing expertise without the ridiculous price tag.

Some, like me, can do project-based fees of $7,500 over a 3-month period.

In fact, other names for these types of marketing consultants include Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) or Fractional Director of Marketing.

How to Budget for Your Marketing Plan

Now that you know the freelance marketing consultant rates, it’s time to figure out how to make a budget so that you can hire them.

It is standard practice to set aside 20% of sales as part of your marketing budget.

I’ve seen other places online where the figure is much lower because they are saying that it depends on the target audience.

In fact, I’ve seen suggestions of between 2% and 10% of sales.

After working with several businesses over the years what I’ve seen work effectively is a budget that is somewhere between 10% and 25% of sales.

Included in the figure is the cost of hiring team members like a social media manager, copywriter, graphic designer, ads manager, SEO specialist and many more.

By the way, copywriters are not cheap and the work they do is very effective. SEO specialists do require a long-term view of 12 months minimum.

Budget Example

If your business is doing $15,000 a month and you decide to set aside 20% of that figure.

Then you’ll have a monthly budget of $3,000 available to spend on marketing, this will work for a short-term marketing campaign.

By the way, you should be doing 3-4 launches a year on top of your evergreen campaigns which will help you to have a bigger budget for marketing.

Need help improving your evergreen and launch campaigns? Check out my portfolio here to see how I’ve helped other businesses like yours to increase their income.

You can start to exponentially improve your business results just by hiring a Fractional CMO for as little as $500 to $1,000 a month on an as-needed basis.

There’s also the option to hire a good consultant on a project-by-project basis for a flat rate.

Freelance Marketing Consultant Rates FAQ

Well, you probably have a number of questions that you need to clear up before taking the next step.

So, let’s look at the most frequently asked questions that many small businesses have before hiring their first Fractional Director of Marketing.

1. How much should I pay a marketing consultant?

The reality is that it depends on a few factors including:

  1. The skills you need in your business right now
  2. What results you are hoping to achieve
  3. Their experience level
  4. How much budget you have available each month
  5. The quality of work needed

While the average rate is $150/hour there’s also wiggle room to do profit share to sweeten the deal.

2. What is an acceptable marketing budget when considering bringing on a marketing consultant?

There are many sources online that suggest a budget of between 2% and 5% of sales. However, based on my experience you are better off setting aside between 10% and 25% of sales.

The reason for this is that you’ll need to hire a small team to help you implement your marketing plan.

photo of two women sitting and having a discussion about freelance digital marketing rates

3. What kind of results can I expect from hiring a marketing consultant?

It really depends on why you want to hire them in the first place. What type of work would you like them to do?

Before rushing out and hiring someone to develop and execute marketing plans for your business, spend time thinking about why you want to hire them.

Are you looking to increase sales or leads by 10%, make your brand more loveable, increase market share, get help with an ad campaign or get more visibility around your customer journey?

When you know what you need then you’ll be better able to choose the perfect match for the job because not all marketing consultants are created equal.

Unlike a regular employee, lunch hours, sick days and vacation time will not be a worry for you.

4. What should be included in your marketing budget?

This is a great question because it is so easy to forget all the small things that you need to promote your business.

Here’s a short list of what you should include.

  1. Tools, software and apps
  2. A percentage of utility bills like heat, light, broadband and phone
  3. Employees and freelancers
  4. Ad spend
  5. Memberships and subscriptions
  6. Training
  7. Coaching
  8. Office space

As you can see it is quite easy to forget all the things that go into promoting your business. I always forget the apps and storage. Lol🤣


As a teenager whenever I heard the name consultant I always thought that the person would charge anywhere between $10,000 and $100,000 for their services.

However, we now live in a society where you can get the help you need to grow personally and professionally for a small fee rather than a king’s ransom.

Yes, the market rate for bigger organisations will be much higher.

While starting a business can be difficult, growing that business exponentially without the proper help can be hard.

I can’t help but giggle at the fact that the number of social media channels to manage is increasing which is quite stressful for entrepreneurs.

Believe it or not, I thought that growing your business from $15,000/month to $100,000/month is difficult.

However, after helping one client achieve this goal my eyes have truly been open.

To put it in a nutshell, it is not as hard as those coaches out there are telling you.

Need help to grow your coaching business? Take a look at my portfolio here and if you like what you see just book a call with me to discuss your requirements.

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