Working from home can be a challenging task for many, but more especially digital marketing managers in these trying times. Marketing often falls to the wayside in times of change and uncertainty, when companies tend to focus on the “core” operations. But in this day and age, when your company and brand have a face on many platforms, marketing is more important than ever.
As the marketing manager, it’s up to you to manage your team effectively and keep the spirits high while people possibly manage kids and a completely new working environment; their home.
It’s also worth noting that the usual marketing strategies you’ve been adopting up until now should be put to the side. Focus your marketing efforts on how you can help your customers through these troubled times; by building your community and showing up for your customers and members, rather than selling your products or services.
Instead of marketing your services on social, through the blog or via email newsletter, instead get your team (virtually) together to plan for future marketing strategies rather than the now.
Your customers are most likely going through stressful times too. Rather than pushing sales at them when they might not be able to pay next month’s rent, offer them advice, tips and free subscriptions instead.
In this blog post I’ve outlined the benefits of working from home, tools you can use to encourage and drive your marketing team forward and as a bonus I’ve given a few self-care tips for when times get overwhelming or boring!
Benefits of Working From Home (WFH)
Are you struggling with the idea of setting up a workspace in your home? Think again!
1. That morning commute
Sweaty arm pits, no seats, claustrophobia anyone?
Eh, no thank you!
That mad stress and panic (if you’re like me!) when getting up in the morning need not stress you anymore, because work is approximately 8 metres away. (Or if you’re like me, a mere 1.23m..)
2. Customised schedule & environment
Depending on the type of team you’re working in, you’ll probably be able to make your own schedule. Meeting at 4pm? Sleep in until 12!
Of course this isn’t for everyone either, and as the manager you should encourage your team to find a routine and schedule they’re most productive in.
But for those night owls on your team, then this customisation can be of major benefit to them! (Although might be weird for you when you log in at 9 and see they were active 4 hours ago….)
Choring is boring, but you know what’s worse?
Having to do those chores in your free time on the weekend!
If you’re feeling a little creatively stuck and are looking for an excuse to stretch the legs, then why not put on a wash or give those shirts a quick iron. Set a timer to see how long it takes you!
Better again, if both you and your significant other are at home, why not split the household tasks at the beginning of the week and see who gets them finished first!
4. Quality time
Having more time with loved ones or wanting to cook that yummy breakfast, well now you can combine the two from the comfort of your own home.
These are the tools I’ve used, and I’m sure there are many more competing pieces of software that will be a better fit for your team, so it is worth exploring them. But when times such as these call for quick set ups, then these would be my go to.
I promise to keep the explanation for all of the following tools and techniques to two sentences, short n sweet for you.
Marketing Manager’s Work From Home Tools & Techniques
1. Google Apps Accounts
I’m sure you’ve all heard of Google Docs, Drive, Photos, Slides, Hangouts, Sheets and Gmail. These applications allow you to edit and save files, as well as leave comments and collaborate on different projects, and of course email each other on the Gmail App.
Are you the type of person who likes to quickly type notes into your phone and access them from wherever later? With the Evernote app, you can password protect your private scribbles and access them on the laptop later (they can even read text from images you’ve taken).
Asana is a mobile and web app that allows teams to organise, manage and track their work. You can create different projects and break them down into tasks with due dates, descriptions and share them with other members.
Need to share vital passwords with your team but don’t want to send them through a messenger app? Passpack allows you to save all those passwords and share them securely with team members, a must when you’re working remotely!
If you don’t already have email marketing software, then the coming weeks are the perfect opportunity to start growing your email community through customisable and easy to use templates. See this article here for differences between Mailchimp and Convertkit to figure out what suits your business best.
Looking to launch a new website or plan ahead for social media? If you need high quality, royalty free images then Pexels is your website.
Need a messaging platform where you can chat with the content creators, videographers and content strategists? Slack is an all in one safe and secure place to talk through different chat rooms, organised by topic, private groups and direct messaging.
Stress-free video and conference calls have never been easier. You can host a video call by sending a link to your video chat group, access meeting analytics, share screens and recordings as well as hook it up to Slack for even quicker access.
Confused yet?! This is similar to Zoom in that it lets you record your screen and a video of you at the same time, so if there’s something confusing going on in your current project you can record a quick video on your screen and send it to your teammates. Heeyyyy presto!
Feel like you have a million things to do, and then someone comes along requesting a call but you don’t even know what’s on the schedule one hour from now?! Enter Calendly; block out time on your calendar every week and send those who want to schedule calls your Calendly link to fill in their availability too.
Yes, we’re at 10 tools already! How can one work with such a variety….
Worry not, these will only aid your work from home environment and are not all necessary at the same time. But now is a great opportunity for you to assess how your current systems are working, and perhaps integrating new technologies into them to make your life easier.
Do you need to send mahoosive files across the Interweb to your team? WeTransfer allows you to upload and send these files via your email, you can send files of up to 2GB for free.
DocuSign allows you to gather esignatures on contracts and even provides AI tools to ensure your documents are law-abiding. Here’s to signing important contracts from the comfort of your own home.
13. Technique Tip…
Are you feeling a little scattered? Why not pull out a trusty Google Doc and make a mind dump of all the tasks that need to be performed, both by you and your team over the coming weeks.
Order these into categories and then make projects in Asana to schedule out each and every task.
Not only will you feel a lot better, but your team will also feel like they have dates and deadlines to meet rather than trundling aimlessly along.
Thank you Courtney Chaal for this wonderful tip recently. It certainly saved me from a few sleepless nights overthinking!
Now might also be the time to develop marketing templates so each process has the right steps in place. This ensures that every time you reach out to a new client, it’s not confusing or haphazard due to tool mismanagement.
Similar to other social media management tools for scheduling, AgoraPulse also allows you to keep track of engagements on all your posts. So instead of crawling through your Instagram or LinkedIn posts individually, you can access them as a team and reply instantly.
Buffer enables social media planning and scheduling on all major platforms so if you’re struggling to keep up with your own content calendar, it’s time to upgrade your management.
“Let me just check my email, promotions tab, social, Twitter, oh and Facebook, hmmm maybe also Reddit while I’m at it….”
Feedly let’s you organise your favourite news into categories so you can scroll through your own perfectly curated feed.
17. Express VPN
Is it a must to keep your information private and inaccessible? Then a Virtual Private Network is the way to go.
18. Focus To Do
If your team are struggling to stay motivated, then the Pomodoro technique timer might be just the tool to get you all to knuckle down for 25 minutes to get you ticking off that to-do.
Now that we’ve gone through all the tools and techniques to kick off your newfound work-from-home marketing-maven-madness, it’s also important to focus on looking after you.
Self-care is oft neglected, but it’s even more important when living at home to detach yourself from your work.
It’s easier to stay well, than to get well.
Here are a few easy self care tips to have you feeling stress-free and relaxed as you take on work in your new environment.
1. Chat to friends and family
Reach out to friends and family throughout your day. Most people are in the exact same position as you in that they’re cooped up at home, so now’s the perfect time to catch up! Via Zoom no less 😉
2. Help your teammates
It can be difficult to set up the ideal workspace at home, so why not do a live video with each of your teammates to help each other find ways to optimise desk space. Are you the type to bounce around on the Swiss ball or stand at your desk?! Showing each other your spaces can open up new ways of thinking and collaborating.
3. Team checkins
Arrange checkins with the whole team throughout the day – this ensures peak productivity, socialising (miss the water cooler yet?!), and keeps people up to speed on what needs to be done.
Encourage your team to write down a list of things they’re grateful for and even do meditation in the evening at the end of your work period together. Why not use the Pomodoro timer over your zoom call (one of you can share screens for the timer!).
5. Encourage routine
Even though WFH usually conjures up images of people wearing their PJs and drinking loads of tea, this isn’t for everyone! If you notice your team are feeling discouraged, perhaps suggest they find a routine that suits them such as getting up at the same time every morning, getting dressed – even in work clothes if needs be to help boost their productivity.
Although these are strange and peculiar times right now, it’s also a time to refocus and unwind.
Reach out to your teammates, get their opinions on different tools and techniques to broaden the spectrum of your work. You don’t know what these new environments could open up for your team’s creativity and thinking.
I’d love to hear what you think of the above tools, whether you’ve used them or used different tools. Is there a piece of marketing software I should add to the list?
Comment and let me know below! Stay safe and be well everyone.