Jul 19, 2022

Your Handy Guide to Wage Negotiation (& free checklist)

Clodagh O'Brien photo

by Clodagh O'Brien

Posted on Jul 19, 2022

As the demand for marketers with digital skills keeps rising, employers will pay for professionals with the skills they need to drive online success in a competitive market. 

That means marketers are in a great position to negotiate a competitive salary or pay rise. However, wage negotiation can be a challenge as it can be daunting to know what to say and how to approach it in a way that boosts your career and pocket

In this handy list, we look at key things you need to do to see a wage negotiation from the preparation stage to sealing the deal (whether it’s for a new job or an existing one). 


It's important to prepare for any negotiation in advance so you know what you want and can articulate that in a negotiation. 

1) Know Your Value

Before negotiating a salary with an employer or recruiter, you need to understand your value. So think about:

  • Your skills - What skills do you have that will add value to the role? Do you know SEO, content marketing, PPC and to what level?
  • Your hands-on experience - How many years have you worked in marketing? What has been your career progression and experience along the way?
  • Your knowledge - Think back on your campaigns and marketing activities, what have you achieved and learned? It’s always good to use stats to back up your knowledge and skills such as - “I increased website traffic by X percent as a result of X campaign.” 
  • Your performance - Think about your current and previous roles, how have you performed? Have you exceeded expectations or taken on new responsibilities? Are there any testimonials from management or customers you can bring to the table to show your value?

2) Understand Salary Expectations & Trends

Market value is important when it comes to wage negotiation. Look at salary surveys that can give you insight into different roles and skill sets. The 2022 salary guide by Aspire recruitment is made available every year on our DMI Hub. Additionally, Marketing Week, Glassdoor, Payscale, and Salary.com are good resources for finding out median wages across countries (including employer reviews).  

3) What does the organization need?

Think about what the organization needs so you can tailor your knowledge and skills to match it as part of the negotiation. 

For example, is the company looking to optimize its digital channels and can you add value to drive revenue? Is SEO an option or would a landing page redesign help drive traffic? Is organic or paid social media underused to drive leads? Focus on what you can bring to an employer so they can see your value. 

4) Review your skills

If you’re looking for a pay increase then you may need some new skills or a skill refresh to get top dollar. Look at the skills required in the role or those of peers in higher positions to see what areas you may need to work on or update. 

Use a digital diagnostic to analyze your digital skills so you know where your strengths are and work on areas that need improvement. 

Download Free Checklist

Wage Negotiation Checklist

5) Practice your pitch

You can choose a friend, a spouse or even a mirror but practice what you are going to say before going in. That will help you to focus and retrieve information if you get pressurized or stressed. Practice makes perfect, after all! However, make sure that your personality still shines through and doesn’t sound robotic. 

In the negotiation

This is where all your preparation will come into play as you know what you want and how to put across the value you will add to the company. The key is to stay calm, listen and remain professional and positive at all times. 

6) Express your interest in the company and role

Any employer wants to know your motivations for applying for the job or a promotion. Express why you are interested in the job and show what you can offer as a candidate.  

7) Have a number in mind and aim high

There’s no point trying to negotiate a salary if you have no figure in mind. Armed with research, you should know exactly how much you want and be able to state the reasons for this wage based on the steps above. 

Always give a higher number than you are expecting as it gives you a cushion in the negotiation process. So, if an employer comes back with a lower number it may be what you were looking for in the first place. 

You should also consider a ‘walk away’ number which is your desired salary that you will not go below. This can be a risky strategy so make sure you’re willing to leave the job behind if your demand is not met. 

8) Let them make the first move

It can be tempting to lay your cards on the table and say what you want, but don’t. It’s best to see what the employer is offering you as a salary and then once you have a starting point it’s easier to negotiate. 

9) Stay focused and calm

If you’ve done your prep, you will know what you’re asking for, what the organization needs, and how you can fill that need with your knowledge and skills. Speak clearly and listen so you know what’s been said. Take notes if it helps you and stay calm so you remain professional. 

10) Have self-belief

The best negotiators are assertive and have self-belief. If you don’t believe in your skills, then nobody will. This is especially true for women and minority groups that experience what's known as the ‘ask gap’ where white men are offered higher salaries across industries. 

Approach a negotiation the same way you would an interview. Be positive and persuasive with a clear understanding of your value and the needs of the company.  

11) Leave on a high note

The best way to end a negotiation is on a positive. Put across your case and say everything you need to. Ask questions if there’s something you’re unclear about, but ultimately leave with a smile and a good vibe in the room.  

After the negotiation

You've done the hard work, now it's time to be patient and see what happens. That doesn't mean you should take no action though. Make sure you follow up after the negotiation so you are front of mind and are showing interest. 

12) Follow-up

After the meeting, make contact (email is probably best) to show thanks for the meeting and give a point of contact if any further details are required. You can reiterate your interest in the role and suitability for the position if desired. 

13) Be prepared to counter an offer

Remember it is a negotiation so it’s likely that an employer (current or potential) will come back and state their case for a particular salary level. If they can save money for their company, they will! Don’t be afraid to go back and reiterate your skills, knowledge and suitability for the role and stand firm on your salary or benefit demands. 

For example, you could say: “I understand your position, and just want to reiterate my passion for the position and working with you and the team. I think my skills are a perfect fit for this position and are worth $55,000”

14) Consider perks & benefits

If an employer or hiring agency won’t budge consider other benefits. It’s not just about a wage increase, perks or extras can be very valuable as part of your negotiation. Depending on where you live, health insurance, dental cover, reduced childcare, a bonus scheme, or extra vacation days can add value to your personal and professional life so consider them as an alternative on top of a modest increase.

15) Have an endpoint

There’s no set timeframe for negotiation but if you feel the process is dragging on with no communication or resolution, consider moving on. It may not be the employer or job for you or you need more experience and skills to move up to the level you want. 

Alternatively, your endpoint will be a nice wage packet or a pay rise! Well done on your negotiating skills.      


Remember every company and employer is different so take the time to understand what makes them tick so you can leverage your skills and knowledge for a bigger salary. Ultimately, have belief in your skills and abilities and make sure to keep building on your knowledge so you’re the best candidate when it comes to negotiation. 

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Clodagh O'Brien

Clodagh O'Brien is a content creator and strategist. Over the last 12 years, she has created and managed content for many SMEs and global brands. She's passionate about digital marketing and the impact of technology on culture and society. You can find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.