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Email remains one of the most effective marketing channels: with an average ROI of $38 gained to $1 spent.
Nowadays, businesses big and small use email not just to directly promote their products but also to share exclusive content and offers their audience might enjoy, provide one-to-one customer support (or redirect recipients to helpful self-service guides on their help center knowledge base), convey order confirmation and delivery status, and overall, to build a better connection with their customers.
Since 2020, businesses have made great leaps in managing distributed teams and remote workers. Not that email marketing teams were unaware of what is a digital workplace before the COVID-19 pandemic struck because these roles can be fulfilled remotely. However, the emphasis on remote-first workplaces means that email teams need to realign collaboration digitally to deliver on KPIs and outcomes.
Email marketing campaigns require a concerted effort by several roles: strategy, project management, copywriting, design, testing, and marketing and sales. With the right Martech stack, a robust email design system, and clear roles and responsibilities, teams can achieve a good balance.
Source: Email vendor selection
Let’s explore five categories of tools to manage remote email marketing teams:
Project management software
Project management software is used in traditional offices, but it’s essential for remote email teams to stay on top of multiple ongoing tasks and projects. It enables project managers to track processes and the right email marketing metrics to improve workflows. It also helps them ensure that team deliverables align with quality standards and brand guidelines.
Project managers manage email automation platforms and business communication tools that we’ll discuss further ahead. Also, since they’re not physically present to sign off on completed tasks, worksheets, contracts, and invoices, they can use digital signature apps like GetAccept.
Email marketing projects involve collaborating with members of the marketing department and other functions. Hence, a central location for project management activities is required.
Popular project management tools for remote teams are Trello, Basecamp, Zoho Remotely, Wrike, Asana, and Kissflow.
Asana is a cloud-based mobile and web application that enables teams to organize, track, and manage tasks. Each team member is aware of their workload through their assigned tasks. For email marketing campaigns, the software enables managers to create separate briefs for each role in the team such as graphic designers and copywriters. They can also set deadlines and add comments.
Trello is hailed by remote team managers as a flexible and user-friendly tool. You can keep tabs on content production from concept to publishing. You can monitor daily tasks and long-term goals, too. You can also create separate boards for individual projects and add relevant team members to them who can provide updates about their work.
Video conferencing and screen sharing software
Remote teams need high-quality video conferencing and screen-sharing software to carry out day-to-day communications. Zoom, Skype, WebEx, and 8×8 are excellent choices.
Regular video meetings where team members see each other face-to-face are necessary to boost remote team morale and strengthen culture. Such meetups are also helpful in bringing teams on the same page on email campaigns or specific tasks because they can share insights and ask questions in a live environment.
The Zoom marketplace offers a host of options for email teams to select add-ons and third-party integrations to enhance their communications. Zoom is superior to Google Hangouts because it allows large remote teams to host and attend video meetings, record those meetings to access later, and share screens simultaneously during meetings.
Its webinar solutions — Q&A and chat options and private conversation rooms — allow you to hold engaging and interactive workshops and webinars.
Remote workers who work from home or at cafes also use noise-canceling apps like Krisp, NoiseGator, or SoliCall to filter out background noises.
Business messaging apps
Remote email teams are distributed around the world but they must find a way to connect, have direct conversations, and work together on email campaigns as if they were in the same room. To run email marketing campaigns successfully, team members need to be able to connect instantly, send updates, or brainstorm ideas and solutions together.
Slack is undoubtedly among the most popular all-in-one business messaging systems for distributed teams. Its features include private groups, channel rooms, direct messages, and even audio calls. It integrates with remote collaboration tools like Zoom, G-Suite, and Evernote and supports file-sharing apps like Dropbox and Google Drive. The Slack apps directory also offers other integration options like Trello and Salesforce to make communication seamless and efficient.
Slack has strong competitors in Microsoft Teams, Flock, and Google Chat so you can pick what suits you best, especially if your team already uses Microsoft products or G-suite.
Collaborative design software
Great emails need a combination of attractive images, eloquent copy, and robust code. Remote email teams use collaborative design software to build successful email campaigns based on the direction given by the email marketing strategist.
Figma, Canva Pro, Adobe XD, Visme, and InVision are some useful design and prototyping tools. They connect the entire design workflow to a central platform to which different team members can contribute from their respective locations.
Canva Pro has democratized graphic design by enabling even non-professionals to provide design inputs. It allows team members to collaboratively edit layouts, customize templates, save color palettes and logos, and resize photos.
Figma is popular among remote email teams because it allows developers and graphic designers to connect and work together on tasks like creating interactive email designs.
Creative and technical teams find InVision useful for design projects wherein team members provide inputs to a single screen design tool.
Email marketing automation software
Email marketing automation platforms like Benchmark Email allow you to send marketing emails automatically to subscribers based on what actions they take.Maintaining email list hygiene is also a very crucial aspect of email marketing. Clearout an email validation tool can help automate the email validation process at the point of capture of your leads. The intent is to send the right emails to relevant people at the right time without manual intervention.
These tools personalize each subscriber’s experience with segmented email lists and increase the relevance of email campaigns, thus improving retention rates.
For example, ActiveCampaign helps teams create drip emails based on subscribers’ interests, behavior, history, engagement, or location. It improves the customer experience by automating the full life cycle of subscribers. It also has an in-built CRM with useful multi-channel features. It’s an advanced tool that employs machine learning and predictive tools to generate greater ROI.
Benchmark Email is popular among smaller remote teams for its user-friendliness and high-quality design. The platform is not just visually attractive but also offers a great user experience. This makes it easy for users to understand data and provides a good experience for clients. Its key features include a visual email builder, 1500+ integrations, reporting, signup forms, surveys and polls, landing pages, and A/B testing.
Mailchimp is not exactly user-friendly because it’s stuffed with features, not all of which are useful for all teams, but it supports integration with nearly all the major platforms. It’s also great for drip emails because it enables personalized emails to be sent based on actions like cart abandonment or website visits.
Apart from clarity on goals, responsibilities, and processes, remote email teams need the right tools for seamless collaboration. 72% of organizations surveyed by Buffer are planning to permanently operate remotely in the future because of the largely positive experiences around remote work. Thus, with robust tools and technology, remote team managers can extract more performance and productivity from their teams in addition to looking after team morale and well-being.