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An Essential Business Guide to Building Digital Marketing Remote Teams

Face it, work has changed, no longer does your entire workforce comprise of workers droning away at their desks at one central location. Global workforces are becoming the norm, remote work is being called the future, and digital nomads travel the globe working from their laptops frequenting co-working spaces.

In a global survey conducted by PGI, 50% of workers who have worked remote would like to work remote more often; 79% percent of knowledge workers report they work from home already, and 60% of employees that have done remote work declare they would leave their current position if they could locate a remote full-time position with similar pay.

With the rise of key technologies, outsourced remote talent has developed into a popular means of gaining expertise for growing organizations — allowing remote agents to take on hard-to-fill positions from just about anywhere with the internet. This makes the working pool proportionally large, compared to localized talent. Hiring remote provides you with diverse salary range options to choose from.

Helpscout, a provider of tools to oversee remote teams, states the following:

“It is apparent that remote teams are going to become far more commonplace as companies are increasingly beginning to conduct business online… In many ways, remote work is an ongoing experiment in business, as it has only been fully embraced by some companies in the past decade or so, showing healthy growth with an 80% increase in “telecommunicating” employees from 2005 to 2012.”

Where do you find digital marketing remote talent?

As an organization seeking to recruit digital marketing talent, consider the varied assortment of skills needed on your team to achieve specific goals. You must occupy positions for web developers, ad specialists, content writers, social media specialists, graphic designers, and more. There are several platforms and websites available to help you with your acquisition journey.

The following platforms are excellent for short to long-term talent. The expertise on these platforms ranges from beginners to seasoned professionals, so locating accommodations for your particular need is not an issue.

  • Freelancer
  • Upwork
  • Guru
  • Odesk
  • Elance
  • People Per an Hour

Gig platforms are good for logo design, fliers, short videos, voiceovers, repetitive tasks, etc. The succeeding sites are best to identify these “micro” workers. These are specialized for quick micro job/gigs or jobs that require little time to complete.

  • Fiverr
  • Microworkers
  • Gig Bucks
  • DesignCrowd

Looking for permanent or long-term talent? You can use the same methods you would for traditional on-site hires.

  • Indeed
  • Monster
  • Linkedin
  • Job Boards
  • Jobstreet

The above lists don‘t compromise every platform or site that exists, but it presents enough sites to get you started.

Most of these sites are great for finding singular talents, however, if you’re hoping to grow on a larger scale, there are businesses that specialize in business process outsourcing (BPO). BPO companies provide the technology infrastructure, talent acquisition, expertise, and facilities allowing you to focus on expansion. This can be highly beneficial since most agreements are flat rates, which are typically better for your bottom line, eliminating the intangibles that can become costly and time-consuming.

These companies can accommodate whole remote teams quickly, doing all the due diligence of recruiting on your behalf. C9 Digital is an example of a company that specializes in outsourcing managed digital marketing talent at scale.

Challenges of Building Remote Teams

When you recruit at your physical location, it’s easy to gauge an individual’s character and skills when meeting them face-to-face; you know where they will work, the office technology available, who’s managing your team, it‘s easy to communicate directly. But with outsourced workers, this office-to-worker paradigm doesn’t exist. It‘s important that you examine each of these carefully and set guidelines and work performance standards.

Your guidelines should outline key performance metrics (KPI), Quality evaluation procedures, and feedback policies.


The single, most important challenge is finding talent that is credible, qualified, and can prove that what they wrote online is true. If they declared that they are a certified PHP developer, will they be able to provide you with supporting documents to prove their competence? An industry standard for just about any job within the digital marketing realm is a portfolio of work or case studies that show their competencies. You may contact the workers’ past employers or project leads for additional due diligence, along with viewing their professional profiles such as LinkedIn for recommendations or Upwork for tests completed.

Depending on the length of engagement, testing hires on their competencies should happen. This could be a sample project creation catered to their job role, quizzes that test their knowledge, or giving them smaller project first to get a sense of their skill level.

Considerations to make when hiring remote workers

What are the technical specifications a worker will need to perform their job function? Obviously, if they are a graphic designer, they will need a decent computer with design software. If you have a worker who will answer chat queries, they need a reliable internet connection of a certain speed and an environment that allows them to focus.  These are details that are easy to verify by conducting internet speed tests, calling them via a video call at their work vicinity, and having them take screenshots of their computer specs.

Communicating with your worker/workers

To run an effective operation communication is key. This becomes even more important when managing multiple remote workers in different locations around the world. Many communication tools that help streamline communication processes are available. To name a few — Slack, Skype, Facebook, and Google Hangouts; with many platforms offering on-site communication tool like Upwork. For long-term projects, using a project management tool becomes increasingly needed for productivity. Trello is one of the most popular platforms, allowing easy organization of tasks on boards that your whole team can view and it‘s free.

Remember, you are communicating with individuals across the globe. It‘s important to consider hours-of-operation if you hire someone on the other side of the world. It‘s possible that they are working at different hours. Communication should be seamless and easy, don‘t overcomplicate it.

Implement communication rules and guidelines — how often is a phone call or impromptu meeting needed? Most questions are not time-sensitive, so a simple message or email would be sufficient. Is it practical to have an employee contact you through several channels or would it be better to keep it centralized?

According to Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson’s book, Remote: No Office Required, most remote office managers will eventually realize that 80% of all questions are not hyper-time sensitive and can best be answered by email. They’ll discover that the next 15% of slightly-urgent questions are best dealt with in a chat or messaging app, where employees can get straight to the point. Then, they’ll see that the remaining 5% of questions require a phone call or video chat.

Time management and monitoring work

Not everyone can be trustworthy. Even if they proved themselves via tests, how do you know that they are using their time effectively and being honest about it without your direct supervision? Ideal remote workers are self-motivated, hardworking, entrepreneur types but this is not always the case. To have peace of mind, you can use products like Time Doctor. They not only track time but have tools that snap screenshots or short videos to ensure that the work done is billable.

Many of the platforms like Hubstaff, Timesheets, and Hivedesk are like Time doctor and include accounting built in, so it‘s easy to stay up-to-date.

Paying for work done

One word — “PayPal”. PayPal has become the go-to for transferring money online. Pioneering technology, PayPal holds itself as the golden standard. Payoneer and Venmo are other similar platforms. If you’re old-school, or the amount being transferred is large, considering a wire transfer or depositing directly to their bank account is still an option. Avoid using anything where it‘s hard to back-track accounting, like Western Union. Employees may request other modes of payment. Cryptocurrency has become an increasingly popular payment method over the last several years.

Bonding Digitally with your Employees

Bonding is key for a cohesive work relationship. When employees meet you face-to-face and experience the office atmosphere, it is easy to ingrain values into their psyche. This can become harder digitally. We talked about communication tools earlier but is “communicating” really enough?

When you onboard a new hire, it’s common practice to provide them with a company profile, your mission statement, core values, and expectations as an employee. Even though they are remote, each employee is still part of your team; they should act as an extension of your brand and treated like any other employee, allowing them to submerge themselves into your company culture whole-heartedly.

The same rules may not apply to your remote workers as those in the office. Understanding and building upon this will help ease the distance between the remote worker and the company. David Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer of Microsoft UK, says it best:

“We need to take a more flexible approach to both the workplace and the work we do; one that provides us both the physical and cognitive space to harness the incredible power, insight and experience we offer, but focused not on the individual processes but instead on the overall outcomes our organizations are seeking to achieve.” 

Ways to leverage technology to communicate

Workplace by Facebook is highly suggested as it functions similar to Facebook but catered to your company standards. This allows employees to post on the company’s or individual’s timeline and has instant messaging with video chat. You can create company events or individual groups for different needs. This software makes it easy to cascade information, policies, or memos companywide with ease.

To stay in constant contact with remote workers, host regular digital meetings — whether 1-on-1 or with a group — to talk about goals, projects, and just get to know each other by putting faces to the person behind the desk. Make meetings fun and lively by implementing theme days, like “come to our next meeting in your pajamas”. A software to consider is Pukkateam. Throughout the workday, Pukkateam takes photos of other workers and displays them to anyone logged in to give your employees a sense of collaboration.

Keep your employees engaged and informed by creating specialized e-learning programs heavy on interaction. E-learning differs vastly from face-to-face training, so be as creative as possible. Apple does this well, with custom-designed classes meant to engage and excite remote students. Turning a boring webinar experience into something more uplifting.

Provide employee perks programs. A method Zappos uses is providing employees with Spotify for free so they can see what others are listening too. This allows them to bond over similar interests — in this case, music. Along with the perks program, consider gamifying milestones and accomplishments to encourage participation and competition. Recognize the winners with digital prizes like gift cards and provide them with digital certificates along with public shout-outs for a digital “pats on the back”.

If your talent is more localized or you have the budget, it makes sense to personally host events for physical bonding. You can even do this for remote workers within the same region — encourage them to meet in person and allocate a budget for them to enjoy themselves and bond.

Build your remote team today

Equipped with the information from this article, you now have the knowledge to decide if building a remote team is worthwhile. Remote work is not without its pitfalls, but the upside can be highly lucrative and beneficial for your company if done correctly. Remember to embrace the technologies available to build a dynamic digital work environment for your remote employees. Be sensitive to the differences between on-site and remote job roles — the rules should accommodate both parties. Build a digital culture that is as good as your office culture to ensure employee longevity and continual hard work.

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