Virtual marketing teams can be a powerful, efficient, cost-effective way to leverage support for you and your business. But many business owners have questions about how best to integrate a virtual marketing assistant or team into their business. Here is some guidance to help you ensure your team is equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to operate effectively and deliver meaningful results.
What is the main advantage of working with a virtual marketing team?
Working with a virtual team allows for a great deal of flexibility as well as access to individuals and skill sets you don’t have in house. Rather than tasking an on-site employee who does not have a marketing background and who is already shouldering other projects, marketing strategizing and execution can be assigned to experienced professionals who can work on demand. As a result, you can reap the benefits of having strategic and tactical marketing support while conserving in-house resources. Having access to dedicated, expert help means more insightful analysis, more efficient implementation, and faster results.
What makes an ideal virtual marketing team?
Marketing teams should be kept small as too many chefs in the kitchen has the potential to lead to miscommunication, collaboration difficulties, and misunderstandings. Smaller teams allow for more personalized, streamlined interactions between team members and yourself and they have the potential to generate better overall results than large teams.
An ideal marketing team often consists of an individual marketing assistant who works with you on a one-on-one basis and a higher-level marketing professional who works in tandem with you and the assistant. Your ideal team will act as a cohesive force amongst themselves and with you, complimenting each other’s efforts and varying skill strengths while pursuing your company’s vision. With a virtual Marketing Manager and a virtual marketing assistant in place, you can have a marketing team that runs like a well-oiled machine; strategizing and implementing customized marketing plans, email marketing, SEO, social media campaigns, and everything in between.
How can you best work with a virtual marketing team?
Build a relationship. Building and maintaining a work relationship with employees that work remotely is critical to successful communication and collaboration as well as the positive outcome of projects. A marketing professional will already have a relationship with their team members, however, you must also establish a professional relationship between yourself and your marketing assistant. Maintain a rapport with your marketing support by allowing them to express themselves, providing feedback, and regularly scheduling time for ongoing communication.
Set rules. Whether working with a marketing individual or team, everyone must follow the same rules, have the same deadlines, and comply with the same standards as if they were working in a traditional office setting. Be clear about your marketing needs, goals, and deadlines. This will ensure the work your virtual marketing team performs on your behalf will be up to your standards.
Select the tools of the trade. There are a wide variety of tools and technologies a virtual marketing team can use.2 Ensure your marketing team knows which tools you prefer and has access to them. If they will be working directly on your website, grand all team members access to set up individual logins for them. If you would like your team to log the hours they work, take note on project details, or record what they are working on, utilize shared spreadsheets, customized time management software, or apps like Slack or Trello, which help integrate teams and allow for a great deal of oversight if desired. Make sure important documents are in one place and can be access by everyone by utilizing OneDrive, DropBox, or Google Drive.
Create a marketing plan. It is critical that you and your virtual marketing team be on the same page regarding your goals. A marketing plan serves as a pole star, a reference point for you and your virtual team to consider in assessing progress, determining analytics to collect, or when considering a change in tactics. Schedule a series of meetings with your marketing team to go over your business, marketing needs, current marketing efforts, and any existing data.
Make changes as needed. Your virtual team will need feedback from you to determine if the work they are producing is moving in the right direction. Set up weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly calls where you can check in with your marketing team to discuss work. Encourage your team to send you ideas, drafts, or examples to evaluate. Provide feedback—both positive and negative—so your remote marketing professionals can get a better idea of what you want, make necessary adjustments, and successfully implement your suggestions. Once your marketing campaigns launch, evaluate performance on marketing goals based on analytics you specified in the marketing plan.
A virtual marketing team often represents the most effective means for a small business or startup to leverage its resources to develop and execute a marketing strategy. Establishing a collaborative environment, assembling the right tools, communicating to ensure a shared strategy, and adjusting execution as necessary are the keys to maximizing your team’s results and achieving your marketing goals.