Tips on Working from Home in Marketing

Inset of steel mill painting by KroyerIn my job at “Acme,” I mostly work remotely from home. It can be difficult at times to focus on the project at hand with so many distractions at one’s disposal (and no one looking over your shoulder). Here I will share some tips that have been working for me to stay on task when I’m sitting in front of my computer screen in my loafers.

  • Get in the work mindset early. In the morning (and even the night before), try to think about what needs to be done for your work. It doesn’t have to be an intense planning session, just let your mind do some light brainstorming to get in the right groove mentally.
  • Take scheduled breaks. There’s no use in burning out by working for long periods of time. Scheduling breaks for yourself ensures you put in the right hours while also getting the rest you need throughout the workday.
  • Think about work during breaks. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it can help prevent a lapse in concentration after the break is over (or can help stop you from extending your break indefinitely by going off on a web-surfing tangent).
  • Try renting a coworking office space. This can be useful if you do almost all of your work from home. I’ve tried this myself but actually found that I can focus better at home. Nevertheless, this may work well for others.
  • Visualize completed projects. Sometimes it’s difficult to stay on point because you’re working on so many things that it seems nothing gets done. Help yourself out by taking a moment (or during a break) to imagine what a project will look like in its completed state (and the feelings of reward you will experience once it is done).
  • Track your workday. A tool like Toggl has helped me stay “on the clock” when I’m at home and has the added benefit of reporting to you on what projects you’ve worked on throughout the day (and week).
  • Set short- and long- term goals. Distractions love it when you’re not sure about what you should be working on (and how that project fits into the bigger marketing picture). Fight them off by having personal goals for the day, week, quarter, and year (whatever works for you).
  • Stay accountable to someone. If you have free reign in your work and are finding it difficult to stay motivated, commit yourself to a regular report that you share with a higher-up about the progress of your work. You’ll also feel a sense of reward when you show someone else all of the work that you have completed.

What strategies do you use to stay motivated when working from home in marketing?

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Overcoming Mental Blocks in Marketing

Everyone experiences this. You’ve planned your day. You move on to the next task on your schedule. You pull up all your supplemental files and programs. And then you’re stuck — an imperceptible but nonetheless powerful force is preventing you from proceeding with the task at hand.

So what can you do about this problem? I want to share a couple of tricks that have helped me recently overcome such mental blocks.

Oftentimes such moments of indecision lead to procrastination, which may be rooted in some “pain points” related to the task. My first trick is to write out the subconscious points of pain that are making me want to avoid whatever it is that I’m supposed to be doing. The simple act of acknowledging these avoidance areas and setting them to paper (or screen) will at least propel them out of the realm of the subconscious mind.

Secondly, I find for me that oftentimes a task seems more difficult than it is because I am lacking some knowledge related to it (or just need a refresher course). Taking a break, reading some blogs, or watching some tutorial videos on a site like Lynda.com can go a long way in dispelling the feelings of avoidance related to a task. Learning also contributes new ideas and sources of inspiration, which always tend to cast a fresh ray of light on even the most seemingly odious task.

Transactional Email Marketing Guide

email-icon-200x200Today, I finished reading through a guide about email marketing that I found via a tweet from one of my sister’s techie friends. It is a very long guide that is especially useful for SaaS-type companies, but I’ve gleaned some useful tips for my B2B marketing work as well. The post is by SendWithUs.com and is called “How to Send Email Like a Startup: A Guide to Making Every Email Count.”

There are several things I learned (or reinforced in my mind) from this resource. First, it’s important to consider every piece of collateral that a customer comes into contact with from your company. Even such seemingly mundane things as a confirmation email for signing up for an email list have immense marketing potential within them.

Second, the guide talks about the Pirate Metrics model: AARRR (Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, Revenue). In the context of the guide, it’s a useful breakdown for helping to understand how different, non-intrusive transactional emails sent to a customer help reinforce every step of that AARRR funnel.

Third, I picked up valuable ideas for my own marketing practice. One of them is the value of including links to surveys in email campaigns. After all, why not use one’s base of customers to generate feedback about the company and find potential brand champions? I never thought of this opportunity, and I’m glad the guide clued me into it.

Overall, email campaigns are a fascinating part of marketing because when they are done well, they can be a beautiful thing (done poorly, they’re as ugly as spam meat is disgusting). The guide from SendWithUs.com puts it well: “email is a place to test and reinforce who your company is in spirit, content, and design.”