Times have changed. Technology and connectivity now allow teams to work remotely, yet collaboratively. In a tight labor market, it allows you to expand the potential pool of workers by eliminating the geographic restrictions. It can be attractive to knowledge workers to work where they want and can cut down on overhead at businesses.
When it comes to email marketing, a distributed team can be an effective and efficient way to grow your business if you take the steps you need to make it work. This strategy boils down to each member of the email team contributing their specialized role to the whole operation. Without these clearly defined roles contributing their part, the entire operation can’t succeed.
When it comes to remote team members this is even more important since team members aren’t under the “same roof” as the rest of the organization. Creating guidelines and workflows for remote team members will ensure they don’t become disconnected from the company culture and disorganized in their work.
To develop an email team that can drive those types of results it’s important to structure your team to be highly effective. When it comes to a remote team this is even more important.
Use these 4 strategies to build a remote team that is just as effective as your in-house email marketing team.
Hire the Right Positions
When teams work remotely, you aren’t meeting with them face-to-face as often. You need to make sure you hire the right people from the start. They need to be organized, motivated, self-sufficient, and creative problem solvers.
You’ll need to spend enough time to identify the key roles and expertise you’ll need on your email marketing team. Analyze your needs before you start hiring to make sure you identify all the skillsets you need:
Your individual email marketing strategies need to help move your brand towards overall marketing goals. Who is currently managing your overall email marketing strategy? Are they also overseeing other marketing strategies? It may be that they are overwhelmed with tasks and don’t have the clarity to be as effective as they could be.
Hiring for an email marketing strategist can solve this conundrum. When identifying a remote email strategist, you should look for the following skills:
- They can research your target audiences and develop customer personas for each one of your products or services.
- They can develop strategies for each stage of your sales cycle and then create content strategies to move them to the next stage.
- They have the technical skillset to analyze, track and measure the effectiveness of each email campaign.
The Project Manager
The project manager role lives directly under your strategist within a company structure. They focus specifically on tasks associated with the overall strategy and timelines to get those tasks completed. They may also focus on quality assurance goals to ensure what is being sent aligns with brand guidelines and quality standards.
Project managers are also in charge of managing tools like your email automation platform, project management tool and communication tools like Slack.
Creative roles include writers and graphic designers. These are the roles that make or break how your audiences engage with emails you send. Ultimately the creative assets get people to take action… like making a purchase!
These are the skills you should look for in your creative team members:
- Understanding best-practices for formatting emails. This is critical for emails displaying properly in every inbox and device.
- Keeping brand guidelines consistency across all email types. Logos, fonts, brand colors, brand voice, and tone are all part of these guidelines that need to be taken into account for every asset.
- The ability to translate ideas for different team members into text and imagery.
All creative roles need to work together to create the finished product. Here’s an example from Jack Daniel’s showing how these roles can create an email asset that moves the needle.
Be Clear About Goals, Expectations, and Responsibilities
Set clear expectations from the beginning. It will mean being organized and having a well thought out strategy that everyone can understand.
You’re going to have to trust your remote teams to get the job done without direct supervision, but that doesn’t mean they work totally on their own. Document policies, procedures, and processes. Create key metrics to measure your email marketing efforts, individual performance, and team performance.
It’s a good idea to create visual workflow diagrams for each remote team member role.
- Start with each role’s overall goal. What do you want them to accomplish on a daily basis and in the long run? For example, their daily tasks may include analytics reviews, individual email optimization, and campaign planning. Long term goals could be to reach specific revenue KPI’s every quarter for campaigns they are managing.
- Your workflow diagrams need to specify the processes and procedures that need to be followed when conducting their work. The tools they will use, how they need to connect to the internet for securing company data and how they need to communicate with other team members are all critical for creating an efficient remote team.
- Lastly, schedule regular video conference meetings so your remote team members can meet with internal teams face to face. This is incredibly important for team morale and culture. It can also be highly productive in realigning teams on specific tasks and overall campaigns because team members can ask questions and share results in a live face to face setting.
Give Them The Right Tools
When teams have the right tools, collaboration happens seamlessly. Teams are using online tools to stay connected such as:
- Video conferencing and screen sharing tools, such as 8×8, Skype, WebEx, or Zoom.
- Business messaging apps, such as Slack, Flock, or Microsoft Teams.
- Project management tools to track processes. Trello and Wrike are popular options.
- Collaboration software such as Basecamp, Zoho Projects, or Wrike can help with coordination.
Sourced from Wrike
Each of these tools needs to be set up for remote teams to access, get training on and have a clear workflow on how to use within your organization. User roles need to be created for each team member so they aren’t accessing information that is irrelevant to them.
You’ll also need to make sure your email marketing software and marketing automation systems will handle remote work. Most modern systems are cloud-based which means remote workers can access whatever they need wherever they are.
It takes a focused effort to make sure teams work together across distances. Schedule regular training sessions on new features or workflow procedures for each of the tools they will be using.
Read more on Basecamp and the best free project management tools at Alternativoj.
Managing a remote team effectively also means taking proactive steps to manage your security. Teams are sharing data, including proprietary and possibly personal information, constantly.
In today’s business world, employees are mixing personal and company-owned devices. This BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) increases security risks as your data may be exposed by an app outside your control. This risk increases when you use freelancers or contractors that use their own equipment.
One of the best ways to mitigate your risks is by requiring remote teams to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) whenever they interact with your apps or data. A VPN will encrypt all online transactions and entry points into tools and data. Even if the data was intercepted in the middle, it would be undecipherable. It also hides device IP addresses and makes them virtually invisible to others that might try to hijack the data while using public WiFi hotspots.
Building an Effective Remote Email Marketing Team
Hire well. Be clear about expectations. Give them the tools they need. Foster collaboration. Manage security. These are the critical areas when building a remote email marketing team that can work just like your internal staff operates. If anyone of these areas falters it can result in ineffective team members or worse a data breach.
Megan Wright is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. Chamber specializes in helping small businesses grow their business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between businesses and more than 7,000 local Chambers of Commerce worldwide.
As a small business expert, Megan specializes in reporting the latest business news, helpful tips, and reliable resources, as well as providing small business advice. She has significant experience with the topic of small business marketing and has spent several years exploring topics like email marketing, social media, and content marketing.