Having a portfolio of your previous work is crucial for professionals in any industry. Digital marketing is no different. Freelancers and agencies alike need to keep a detailed history of their past projects as a way to prove their ability to others who may be interested in their services.
In this guide, I will show you how to quickly build an impressive digital marketing portfolio, even if you are early in your digital marketing career. It includes the techniques we have used to build a portfolio full of successful projects for clients across the globe.
What is a Digital Marketing Portfolio?
A digital marketing portfolio is a collection of content that showcases examples of your work involving digital marketing and its associated channels such as search engines, pay-per-click (PPC) ads, and social media networks.
The portfolio contains past projects that you’ve worked on, your qualifications and awards, testimonials and written reviews from past clients, and anything else that highlights your abilities as a digital marketer.
Why Do You Need a Digital Marketing Portfolio?
When searching for a marketer to help them grow their business, most companies will review the marketing portfolios of potential partners.
You can spend as much time as you want telling your prospects how good of a digital marketer you are, but at some point, you will need to provide the details about your competency.
With a portfolio, potential clients can review your past work to get a better understanding of what they can expect to achieve when working with you.
If you can show successful results in previous projects, potential clients reviewing your portfolio will be more confident in paying for your services.
How to Create a Digital Marketing Portfolio
Here are the steps to creating a digital marketing portfolio:
- Set up a website to host your online portfolio
- Ask your clients to feature their work
- Organize the stories for your portfolio
- Use blogging and SEO to reach more clients
- Offer free services or start with low prices
- Build your portfolio with work from your own projects
- Network with potential clients through social media and email
- Get referrals from existing clients
1. Set up a website to host your online portfolio
The first step to creating a digital marketing portfolio is to set up the website you will use to organize and display your work to interested visitors.
If you already have a digital marketing blog or website, you should be ready to create a new web page dedicated to just your portfolio.
If you do not have a site, you will need to get a domain and choose a platform to host your site.
There are a wide variety of cost-effective platforms you can use to start a website for your digital marketing business.
If you want something that offers a high level of customization and the best options for creating content, you should build your site using WordPress.
Once you have the core parts of your site in place, you can begin creating a sample digital marketing portfolio page. You can add some placeholder images and stats to get a sense of what the page will look like as you begin to add your own client stories.
If you do not have any past projects to add, you can leave the page unpublished until you are able to grow your portfolio.
In addition to highlighting your previous work, the portfolio page should include links to other important areas of your site such as your homepage, services page, and the about page.
It is a common practice for the portfolio page to link to individual case studies where visitors can review greater detail for each project.
By listing out the more granular specifics for each project on a separate page, the portfolio stays clean and easy to navigate.
2. Ask your clients to feature their work
If you are building your first digital marketing portfolio, you may be wondering whether it is acceptable for you to display work and projects for other clients on your site.
As a general rule, it is a good practice to ask your clients before displaying details about them in your portfolio.
It’s a small gesture, but simply asking for the okay can help you avoid the client unexpectedly finding unwanted information on your website.
When you reach out to clients, it is also a good time to ask them to provide you with a written testimonial.
In their testimonial, your past customers can explain in their own words how you were able to help their business achieve its goals.
3. Organize the stories for your portfolio
As you start to build a record of successful client projects, you will need to decide how to best present your success through your digital marketing portfolio.
You want your portfolio to reflect the full range of services that you provide as this will give your visitors a clear picture of all that you are capable of doing.
After you have compiled the work that best represents your abilities, you can organize your projects in a way that tells a story.
When you’re describing your services, you should look for the unique selling point that makes you different from the other agencies out there.
I will give more detail into everything your portfolio page should include later in this guide.
4. Use blogging and SEO to reach more clients
Creating a digital marketing blog is an effective way to grow your client list and the number of projects you can add to your marketing portfolio.
With a blog, you can use your website to generate organic traffic from people searching for digital marketing keywords.
When they arrive on your site, you can provide them with useful marketing insights to help establish you and your agency as a digital marketing thought leader.
The benefits of blogging are not limited to your own site. You can reach more potential clients and bolster your image even more by writing guest blogs for other sites.
When guest blogging, you should look for reputable sites that are read by business executives and digital marketing professionals.
5. Offer free services or start with low prices
Until you have an extensive record of proven successes, most companies will not want to risk investing their money to work with you.
One way to overcome this aversion is to offer your services for free. Or, at a very low introductory price.
By offering free or low-cost services, the business can benefit from your marketing expertise without the financial risk.
If the project goes well, you can add the success story to your digital marketing portfolio as an example of your marketing skills.
6. Build your portfolio with work from your own projects
You can still start making a marketing portfolio even when you have limited client experience.
You can use these to showcase your abilities and the potential services you could provide to clients.
In addition to your own sites, you can also create a social media profile to include in your portfolio to show potential clients your creative ability and how you engage with your target audience.
Going beyond digital marketing projects, you can get useful material by creating a passion project in which you run the marketing. For example, maybe you like cooking and would be interested in creating a cooking blog.
You could find related keywords and begin making posts to target those terms. Over time, when your blog begins to rank, you can include it as an example along with the metrics for the traffic you were able to generate.
7. Network with potential clients through social media and email
Social media is an important component of growing your client base as a digital marketer.
You’ll want to create content for the most important social channels to begin growing your online presence.
While many digital marketers create their own social profiles, not all actively engage with their audience by taking the time to comment and share content from others.
Look for companies that match your target customer profile on social media. Once you find some good potential clients, follow their social profiles and start engaging with their content on a regular basis.
It doesn’t take a lot. A few comments per week are enough to make a difference.
Eventually, your engagement will get you in front of the business and you will be better positioned to reach out to them with an offer for your services.
Engaging via email
Another great way to engage with potential clients is to use email.
Start a weekly newsletter where you share useful marketing tips and updates with changes throughout the industry.
Over time, you will build a connection with your email subscribers, who are able to benefit from the guidance you provide.
8. Get referrals from existing clients
Referrals are one of the best ways to get more clients that you can use to build your digital marketing experience (and portfolio).
When a previous client refers you to someone in their network, it serves as a powerful sign of social proof. Referral prospects trust the advice of their network and will be more likely to give your business serious consideration as a result.
If you provide your customers a great experience then some referrals are bound to happen on their own. However, if you want to maximize the number of referrals you get, you will need to make a conscious effort to encourage them from clients.
Simply asking if they know anyone who would be interested in your services is a good start. Most clients will be happy to help introduce you to new prospects and leads.
What to Include in Your Marketing Portfolio?
When creating a digital marketing portfolio, what you should include may be a little less obvious than in other professions.
It isn’t as simple as a writer who can add their articles. Or a photographer that can add a curation of their images.
As a digital marketer, much of your work is strategy-driven, involving extensive planning and multiple creative elements per project.
Because of this, when designing a digital marketing portfolio, it is essential to not only provide a detailed description of the work performed but to also explain the purpose behind it and the results it ultimately experiences
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most important things you should include in your digital marketing portfolio:
- A dedicated portfolio page on your website
- Success stories
- Customer reviews and testimonials
- Client name and website
- Call to action buttons
- Awards and certifications
1. A dedicated portfolio page on your website
To start, your digital marketing portfolio should have its own standalone page on your website. Doing so gives it the attention it deserves and helps prevent visitors from being distracted by other parts of your site.
The page should be visually pleasing and easy to navigate. You don’t want to clutter the page with too many images or other unnecessary elements.
The goal is to concisely highlight the success that you’ve had while seamlessly pointing users to where they can go to get more details.
This means each portfolio item should include a description of the work performed along with clear links to the individual project that visitors can use to learn more
2. Success stories
The main part of your digital marketing portfolio is the stories of previous successes that you have generated for clients.
As your digital marketing business grows, you will get more and more projects to choose from.
It may be tempting to include as many projects as possible, however, it is a better idea to carefully select the projects you choose to show to potential customers.
Visitors have limited time to look through your portfolio so you increase the chances of them leaving your site impressed by curating your best work.
Look through your past projects to find the ones that brought the most success. You can also showcase work where you overcame a more challenging situation.
For example, maybe you had to build a company’s digital marketing strategy from the ground up or had to work with a client in a hyper-competitive industry.
When you display your success stories, measurable data is critical to quantify the value you have provided to your previous clients.
This information is easily relatable to potential clients and it makes the impact of your marketing abilities clear.
3. Customer reviews and testimonials
Your words on your past success are nice but sometimes the words of your customers are more persuasive.
First-hand reviews and testimonials are very effective at conveying the value of your services to prospects.
You should make an effort to collect reviews from all your past clients after the completion of a successful engagement.
In the review, the client can describe the services performed, how they helped their business, and what it was like to work with you as a professional.
4. Client name and website
Each of your past clients has a unique business and set of needs when they hire you to provide digital marketing services.
It is important to include the name of their company along with a link back to their website.
This will allow all of your web visitors to easily visit the company’s site to learn more about the business and the context of your marketing services.
5. Call to action buttons
With all the attention given to proving your value to potential clients, you do not want to overlook the important step of directing your users to the action you want them to take.
You want your visitors to learn more about your business but ultimately want to turn them into a prospect themselves.
These buttons can contain simple and direct text like “Contact Us” or “Sign Up Now”.
Providing your contact information directly on the portfolio page can also be helpful. This way interested prospects can quickly get in touch to learn more about why you’re the best digital marketer for them.
6. Awards and certifications
If you or your business has any awards or certifications, you’ll want to showcase them in your digital marketing portfolio.
For example, you may have received Google Partner Status. Adding this badge to your portfolio page can help you position yourself as a digital marketing authority and boost credibility with your audience.
Digital Marketing Portfolio Examples
Here are a few good digital marketing portfolio examples:
Marketing Portfolio Example for a Digital Marketing Agency
Web FX is a digital marketing agency that provides a range of SEO, PPC, social media, web design, and email marketing services to clients across a variety of industries.
Their digital marketing portfolio features case studies detailing their work for some of their most prominent clients.
Next to each client’s name, there are tags indicating the type of service performed. For instance, content marketing, PPC, local SEO, etc.
There are also stats highlighting the results of the project. For example, next to Maryland Sunrooms we can see that Web FX drove an increase of 670% in paid conversions.
Each case study has a CTA button you can follow to learn more about the project. The subsequent page provides context into the business and the project. There are also more stats and details on the exact nature of the work the agency undertook.
Further down the portfolio page, there are customer testimonials and quotes from past projects. At the bottom of the page, there is a simple contact form where interested prospects can reach out to get in touch with the agency.
Badges for Google Partner, Facebook Marketing Partner, Inc. 5000, and other reputable organizations are displayed on the site multiple times.
Overall, the page is easy to navigate and the case studies are arranged in a way to paint a holistic picture of the agency’s capabilities.
Example of a Portfolio for a Digital Marketing Consultant
On the portfolio page, you can find a list of case studies highlighting Ryan’s previous successful digital marketing projects.
Next to each project, there are stats showing some of the results and clear CTA buttons directing users to review the case study in more detail.
When you click to learn more, you can see the background information for the company, Ryan’s plan for solving their problem, and how the plan was executed.
Further down the portfolio page, there are video testimonials from previous customers. This includes CEOs from various companies detailing how Ryan was able to help their business grow.
The page includes an “As see on” section to display badges from major companies like ahrefs, Forbes, and Inc., among others.
This digital marketing portfolio is another one that is easy to navigate. Everything is broken into clear sections and there are readily accessible links to the blog, homepage, and contact form.
Digital marketing portfolios are key to showing your worth to potential clients. Prospects can review your portfolio to see the work you’ve performed for others and the exact results your efforts yielded.
By effectively showing your past success, you position yourself to win more business in the future.
It won’t happen overnight as building a strong digital marketing portfolio isn’t a one-time thing. But, it will come in time if you continue to consistently provide great service to your clients.