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The novel coronavirus pandemic is revamping the way we do business, affecting everything from where we work to our customers’ purchasing decisions. To continue thriving, the only way forward for businesses is to embrace the already growing trend of remote work.
If you haven’t already, your company is now forced to ride the remote working wave. This abrupt transition to becoming a fully remote company can be challenging in terms of keeping your various work processes intact.
The good news is that, overall, remote working can be extremely beneficial for your company and your employees by providing:
- Huge cost savings on office real estate, fuel, and other business expenses.
- Access to a global pool of top talent.
- Better productivity, job satisfaction, and work-life balance.
- Lower employee turnover and absenteeism.
In fact, a CoSo Cloud Survey shows that 77% of remote workers say they’re more productive when working away from the office, and 52% are less likely to take time off.
Now, marketers are largely a creative bunch who love flexibility at work, so going fully remote is definitely a good thing for your company’s marketing team and processes. However, there are some best practices that will help you further streamline your remote marketing processes and ensure you have a high-performing remote team. Let’s dive in.
Set clear guidelines
There should be no room for ambiguity with every team members’ roles and responsibilities. Everyone must have a crystal-clear understanding of what they need to achieve and what is expected of them so that their work is always done on time.
Laying down the ground rules for remote work also helps the team to work together more cohesively. Sure, showing confidence in your team and their ability to hit deadlines means enabling them to work at their own pace without micromanaging them. Ultimately, what should matter is their output and not the exact number of hours they put in to complete their work.
That being said, allowing team members to have complete freedom to set their own work schedules and communication styles will likely lead to frequent miscommunication and misunderstandings. To avoid that, here are some questions to ask yourself and your team in order to set clear guidelines everyone will follow:
- When should the whole team be available online for real-time collaboration?
- When and how often should team meetings be scheduled?
- What is the acceptable time frame for replying to emails?
- What is the policy for working on weekends?
These are just some sample questions that will help you build a supportive and constructive remote work environment. Cocreating these rules will ensure that they have ownership over the policies and, consequently, are more likely to follow them.
Encourage quick and open communication
Your remote marketing team’s performance mainly depends on your ability to facilitate open and quick communication among all teammates. Put simply, effective collaboration is pivotal to ensuring that your marketing team stays on the same page and on the right track.
You may think that using email for all communication and file sharing is a good idea because it’s a time-tested way of maintaining professionalism. However, it’s anything but a good idea. Not only is email not ideal for quick two-way communication, but, for modern marketing teams, mandating strictly formal communication is a surefire way to kill creative collaboration.
So, you must create a casual remote environment where your team can openly communicate and share feedback without hesitation. Because, in essence, allowing an informal approach to communication, with the use of GIFs and memes, will result in a more transparent marketing process along with better team unity and productivity.
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Provide the right tools
Once you’ve agreed upon your working guidelines and communication style, it’s crucial to make sure your marketing team has the tools they need to work together efficiently. Today, there are countless tools for better communication, project management, productivity, etc.
For communication, consider using professional instant messaging apps like Slack or Skype that have an informal and fun vibe, while also being rich in features and cost effective. You can communicate via voice or video calls, share files, and share instant feedback directly in these apps while also keeping business-critical data secure.
For project management and task collaboration, you can use Asana or Trello so teammates can assign and prioritize tasks virtually, track deadlines, and maintain accountability. For your social media marketing needs, a tool like Planable or Buffer will be useful to collaborate with clients on ideas, schedule posts, and manage various social media handles as a team.
Finally, a central, cloud-based app to store and share files, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, ensures that team members can gain secure access to what they need at any moment and from anywhere. Just make sure not to have too many different tools because it can make you more vulnerable to cybersecurity risks and create a confusing environment for the team. Pick a few and stick with them.
Hold Productive Brainstorming Sessions
Effective marketing is often synonymous with creativity, and to spark creative ideas or kickstart new campaigns, your marketing team needs to be able to brainstorm together. Now, keeping an in-person brainstorming session on track is tricky enough. So, holding a virtual, productive brainstorming session requires you to keep some best practices in mind:
- Communicate the scope and purpose of the session beforehand. Let your team know over a quick email about what’s in scope, what’s out of scope, and what a successful session will result in.
- Before the session, give your team a couple of days or more to come up with their ideas and insights. A conference call can easily stretch on for hours, so define a time limit for the brainstorming session as well. At the end, the team decides on a course of action.
- Use an online whiteboard. Just like a physical whiteboard, all participants can make use of the board to collaborate on ideas in real time. For example, you can use mind mapping. That’s when you set up your central topic at the center of the board or it could even be a shared Google Doc. Then, let your team build the map with their insights. Soon, you’ll have enough related points to create a map of opportunities and issues.
- Allow someone from your team to volunteer to become the moderator. Besides keeping the session on the right track, a good moderator invites participation from everyone involved in the session and ensures that all ideas are heard and taken into account.
- Send out the minutes of the meeting and delegate tasks to team members based on the course of action decided.
After the brainstorming session, everyone must be clear about what was discussed and what needs to be done next. Later on, you can always hold another brainstorming session in case the course of action isn’t working. This time, the session would be much shorter and direct since you’ve already discussed the foundational points and ruled out ideas that aren’t feasible.
Give employees recognition
Just because remote employees are out of sight doesn’t mean their efforts should be out of mind. To keep your marketing team engaged, productive, and motivated at all times, you must give due recognition to each team member. Employee recognition is easy to overlook when working remotely, but it’s an important part of an effective marketing process.
There are many ways to appreciate your employees so they know they’re a valuable part of the company. For instance, did an employee just publish a long-form guide that’s bringing in a ton of traffic for the client? Write them a personalized message to show your gratitude for their efforts.
And when shared publicly, say, on the company Slack group, recognition drives motivation further for everyone on the team. This leads to more of the same positive behavior in the future from other team members, too. Consequently, make frequent employee recognition a part of your marketing process.
Keep a more productive and happier remote team
Building and managing a remote marketing team is both challenging and rewarding. Embracing the remote working trend, which is only being furthered by the COVID-19 crisis, is your best bet to create a high-performing and innovative marketing team that brings in strong results.
Put the four tips I mentioned into practice to streamline your company’s remote marketing process. You’re sure to realize a far better ROI from a more productive and happier remote team that actually wants to work together for the company’s growth.