7 In-Demand Marketing Skills for Freelancers―Some Can Pay $250 Per Hour

Source: Envato Elements

For many buyers, shopping online versus in-person is increasingly the way to go. In the third quarter of 2022, e-commerce retail sales totaled more than $265 million, according to the Census Bureau, a 10.8% increase from the third quarter of 2021.

Businesses are working to keep up. "We're not going back to a paper society," says Margaret Lilani, vice president of talent solutions at freelancer platform Upwork. "Businesses want to meet customers where they are, and that's often online."

As such, they'll be looking for experts who can help them find these shoppers. "Marketing skills, and in particular digital marketing skills, which includes SEO, are going to be highly sought-after as the world remains so digitally focused," she says.

Upwork looked at a series of data points including typical earnings and year-over-year growth to project which marketing skills would be most in-demand for freelancers in 2023. Here are seven, including what they entail and how much freelancers are charging for them.  


SEO, or search engine optimization, helps to increase a website's visibility online by including keywords relevant to its audience, credible links and so on. SEO specialists help their organizations identify best practices to ensure potential clients are finding them.

SEO specialists on Upwork charge as much as $250 per hour.

Social media marketing

Social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and Twitter are becoming more complex, and users are finding some of their favorite brands on them. Experts in social media know how to leverage the power of these platforms to get attention for their company.

Experts make as much as $250 per hour on Upwork.

Lead generation

Experts in lead generation help their companies reel in potential clients. They find ways to engage with an audience and identify people who may become paying customers down the line through content like blog posts, live events and coupons.

Experts charge as much as $150 per hour.

Sales and business development

Sales and business development experts take on an array of tasks, including identifying customer needs and suggesting relevant products, seeking out new business opportunities and gathering information about competitors.

They charge as much as $265 per hour on Upwork.


Telemarketers speak with potential customers directly on the phone or online to let them know about their companies' products.

They charge as much as $85 per hour.

Email marketing

Experts with this skill leverage email to market directly to consumers in hopes of enticing them to buy their companies' products. They might email about sales, new products, marketing events the company is holding and so on.

Email marketing experts charge as much as $200 per hour on Upwork.

Marketing automation

Marketers use various software to automate tasks like social media posting, email marketing and even texting current or potential customers. Experts in this type of tech help set up these processes to ensure efficiency in their companies' work flow.

They charge as much as $250 per hour on Upwork.

Whether or not you have these skillsets, remember, it's important to keep upskilling.

"There are a lot of people who will get into tunnel vision about their function and lose sight of where that sits in the way that their company works, what's valuable in their company's overall strategy and what's valuable in their industry," says Phoebe Gavin, career and leadership coach.

But if their knowledge base becomes obsolete, it could leave them vulnerable to loss of work.

As it pertains to this list, many of these skills are proxies for each other. Consider learning a few more to build on what you already know.

Check out:

The 10 fastest-growing jobs in the U.S. right now—many pay over $100,000 a year

10 remote jobs that pay more than $100,000 per year—and where to find them

21 in-demand remote jobs that pay more than $100,000 per year—and where to find them

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