I hope this article will calm all your fears about hiring a remote marketing team to help with your company’s growth. I’ve put together a list of the top three common fears and why these fears are no longer realistic fears and shouldn’t stand in your way when considering hiring a remote, outsourced, or virtual marketing team.
Many companies still seem to believe that working with a remote marketing company is similar to dealing with an automated IT support ticketing system that is poorly managed. You need help now! You don’t want to be told to go to the FAQ page for your answer!
The common fear is that no one is going to get back to them in a timely manner. Or that they have to take a number and wait for days perhaps, to hear back, if ever. The truth is that remote marketing companies, like ours, understand that clients are the reason that we are in business and we have to take care of them.
It’s also important to understand that just because a company is remotely-based doesn’t mean they can’t meet you. If you are both located in the same city then it’s easy to meet up. Even if you are in a different country it’s always possible to get on a flight. Just because your marketing team is remote doesn’t mean that they never want to meet their clients in person, or that they don’t value in-person relationships.
It’s important to also understand that even if you were to hire a local marketing company that was just down the road, you probably wouldn’t drive over just to ask a question. Chances are you would pick up the phone, send an email or fire off a quick message. This is exactly what it’s like working with a remote marketing company.
To ensure the lines of communication are open, it’s important to set response and communications expectations early. Depending on the level of your contractual agreement, some remote marketing companies will be in touch once a day, once a week, once a month or somewhere in-between. Whatever the agreement is, a remote marketing company worth working with will always respond to your emails and return your phone calls.
This outdated fear comes up frequently because companies often feel better when they see a team with their heads down or busy in a meeting. This myth stems from a misguided belief that if they can’t see people working they must not be very productive.
To put this myth to rest, here are a few things to think about. For starters, remote marketing teams often have access to a lot of different experts from around the region, country and world. This means that they aren’t limited to hiring people that live in their local area, which allows them to hire the best-of-the-best. This often means that their contractors are very productive and use their time efficiently. They are professionals wanting to improve their work and keep a stream of clients happy.
Another way to put this myth to rest is to provide consistent updates. If you are worried about how much work is actually getting done, a remote marketing firm can provide you with weekly, monthly, quarterly or even daily updates depending on the project, the contract agreed to and your requirements. It really just depends on what works best for you and how much information you want.
To help ease our clients’ concerns, we often bring them into our internal work procedures and processes so they can see what we’re working on for them. To do this we add them to our project management software so they can quickly sign in to see how well a project is progressing. This also helps to get approvals faster and ensures their project is on schedule.
Joining our project management software also allows our clients to leave comments, ask questions and see who is working on what. This bird’s eye view can provide a lot of peace of mind and ease concerns about productivity.
When it comes to this myth it’s important to first differentiate why you believe remote marketing agencies are inexperienced. In some cases, an agency might be inexperienced in marketing. In other cases, it could be that they are inexperienced at running a business or maybe they are inexperienced at managing a remote team. Whatever the case may be, their lack of experience in one area doesn’t necessarily mean they are inexperienced at the rest.
On that note, it’s important to understand that marketing as a discipline is quite different from other professions such as that of a doctor or lawyer.
In marketing, there is no governing body that sets rules and regulations about whether you have the right skills to practice marketing or not. This is quite different from doctors and lawyers who have to pass exams and meet certain qualifications in order to do their job.
In marketing, anyone can produce a website and claim that they are a marketing expert or that they are a company that specializes in marketing. While some people succeed at doing this, not all marketing experts or agencies are created equal.
In most cases, marketing professionals find their way into opening their own business as a new chapter in their career path. Some have spent time on the client-side of marketing (in-house) before switching to the agency side and others have always been on the agency side and may choose to go solo as a consultant or to open their own marketing agency.
Having said that, there is a range of marketing professionals out there that are all trying to win your business. In order to properly evaluate which remote marketing team you should hire here are a few questions to ask:
What I typically tell our clients is that the people who are working on their projects are independent professionals. What I mean by this is that we often hire remote contractors who have specialized skills to complete the project. We do this because in my experience these professionals have experience, drive, the motivation to keep updating their skills, understand client deliverables, understand timelines, are good at what they do.
For example, if a client wants to publish a white paper, I will often hire a professional writer who specializes in this type of writing. The reason I choose someone like this is that they usually have a strong track record of delivering high-quality projects on time and on budget, they have several of these projects under their belt and the come to the project as a professional with guidance and recommendations to make the project better, not as an order taker.
The same thing goes when we hire graphic designers. I often hire professional graphic designers that are focused on producing work that sells. They understand the point of beautiful visuals is to communicate an idea, service or product and capture attention. They also understand deadlines, client service, and how to keep up-to-date with their skills and the changing technology.
I hope that by discussing these outdated myths, fears and hesitations I have helped to alleviate some of your concerns and you feel more confident about hiring a remote marketing agency or a virtual marketing team.
A productive way to take the next step would be to hire a remote marketing team for a small project. This way you can test them out with real timelines and deliverables with low risk.
Jen Kelly runs New Initiatives Marketing (NIM), the marketing team for companies who don’t have a marketing team. With marketing implementation and execution as NIM’s focus, we’ve been working worldwide remotely since 2009. NIM has supported marketing strategy execution in companies as large as the Fortune 50 and those as small (but growing) as $2M in annual revenue. *case study courtesy of Duct Tape Marketing Consultants Network