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Tools You Need To Create and Manage a Solid Remote Work Team

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Tools You Need To Create and Manage a Solid Remote Work Team

Enligt Bloomberg, in about ten years, ‘remote work’ will just be ‘work.’ Even if you aren’t completely convinced, there has undoubtedly been a massive increase in the size of the remote workforce after the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, thousands of organizations now have to deal with managing remote employees and sometimes entire remote teams.

While this may sound daunting at first, the truth is it doesn’t have to be. Many companies have adapted incredibly well to the remote culture.

With the right attitude and remote work management tools, managing remote team teams is something you can pick up in no time. By the end of this article, you’ll know just how to move forward with project management in this new, post-pandemic, remote environment.

Remote team management challenges

Managing remote workers comes with its own set of challenges that can pose a hassle to the team’s productivity. Let’s take a look at some of the main challenges remote teams face.

  • Communication breakdowns. This is one of the most common issues faced by remote workers. Since all communication now relies on video calls, emails, and other communication tools, it often becomes more challenging to communicate effectively. Despite the wide range of collaboration technologies and video conferencing tools, many seasoned employees are still used to in-person communication and find it harder to communicate with team members.
  • Data transfer. Since everyone is working from home with their own computer systems, there are bound to be compatibility issues. This is especially true for file sharing and when employees have different versions of software.
  • Lack of transparency. This is another major problem that managers face. When it comes to remote employees, it’s harder to gauge how much work is actually getting done. Often, managers feel the need to micromanage everyone. This can often include using time tracking or other kinds of employee monitoring software. The problem is not using these remote tools but a lack of transparency.
  • Work-life balance. For some employees, it may become harder to define exactly where the boundary between work and personal time is. Many remote employees feel the need to prove they’re working extra hard to ensure management doesn’t think they’re slacking off. Long hours and working late into the night slowly become the norm, and it can often feel like there’s no boundary between work and everything else.
  • Distractions. Many remote workers feel like it’s harder to get any work done from home due to the countless distractions most people face when working from home. In fact, statistics show that distractions are one of the top three challenges remote workers face while working from home. Apart from being able to use social media on their mobile devices freely, there are also family expectations, domestic chores, neighbors, and countless other distractions one faces while working at home.
  • Learning. Workplace training sessions look different when you work remotely, as most companies use video calls or training videos. These resources are fantastic for some but hard for others to adjust to.

Tools your remote team needs

Picking the right tools for remote work can often be a little complicated.

The perfect tool for you depends on your business and your team’s requirements. Pay attention to the nuances and unique requirements your business demands. Then, select the appropriate tool for the job to help you prepare for remote work long-term.

Let’s take a look at a few of the various types of tools you could require and some of the popular choices in each category.

Instant messenger tools

There are several little issues that pop up in the day-to-day functioning of any business that would take too long to fix if you relied solely on email. For these smaller issues (which you would normally fix by walking over to a coworker’s desk or office), instant messaging is a must-have tool if you want to work remotely.

Let’s take a look at some messaging apps in the space.

Slack

Slack is undoubtedly the leader among the instant messaging apps for organizations. What makes Slack a favorite as an internal chat app is that it allows you to create channels for each team, project, or topic of interest.

Slack keeps discussions super organized. It also allows you to directly message people if you need to chat privately with them and to tag anyone in a conversation you think they should see. It also integrates well with several other apps, which helps drive collaboration.

Pros:

  • Easy to organize
  • Intuitive
  • Integrates well with other tools

Brosix

Brosix is another messaging app you can use while working remotely to streamline communication across multiple applications. Brosix allows you to create a safe, encrypted, private team network.

You can also communicate with other team networks while maintaining full control over all communication outside your team network. Additionally, it comes with several features for collaboration, such as instant video chat, file transfer, and screen sharing. It also allows you to record your user activity to review later.

Pros:

  • Feature-rich
  • Tracks user activity

Team meeting tools

Team meetings still need to happen, and while emails and chat apps may fix smaller issues, there still exists a need to have longer discussions with the entire team to make sure that everyone is on the same page. When virtual teams meet through video chat, the need for business tools that allow virtual meetings along with features to share notes, presentations, and resources arises.

Let’s take a look at some of the apps that facilitate this.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams incorporates elements from Microsoft Office Suite, which simplifies things for companies that are already using other Microsoft products like PowerPoint and Word. Microsoft is a competitor of Slack and offers similar services.

Pros:

  • Works well with other Office products
  • Easy to use

Google Hangouts

If you need a cross-platform messaging service, Google Hangouts is a good choice. You can start a Hangout on your computer and continue it from your home, which makes it useful for remote working, especially if you’re occupied around the house and can’t always be at the computer. Every bit of your data, information, and chats is encrypted by Hangouts and stays safe.

Pros:

  • Cross-platform messaging service
  • Can be used across devices

Project management tools

If you’re looking for remote work tools to manage projects, your choices will vary according to the type of projects your organization usually handles. However, any good software tool should allow you to manage your workflow, resources, and keep track of projects and progress. Let’s look at two.

Clickup

Clickup allows you to customize according to team size and type. Clickup brings everything to one place and allows you to handle it easily. It supports modularity through the use of an add-on called ‘ClickApps,’ making it customizable for any team. It also supports various views which can be saved and shared by anyone.

Pros:

  • Customizable
  • Supports modularity

Trello

Trello is a collaboration tool that is simple and easy to use. It comes with powerful automation, various integration, and powerful collaboration features like comments, document sharing, notifications, etc. It also has a mobile app.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Powerful collaboration features

Team management software

Managing workflow across teams and coordinating tasks can become quite challenging without the right software tools. However, the task of managing everyone on the team and coordinating work so that everyone is in sync doesn’t have to be difficult just because it’s no longer in person.

Good software smoothens the entire workflow and iron out any creases in the process. It also boosts productivity and work quality.

Let’s look at two software options.

FactoHR

factoHR simplifies the day-to-day tasks of managing teams and their workflows. Monitoring remote workforce can be done efficiently using the performance analysis to maintain work quality and productivity.

The work process gets smoothen and reduces the confusion, as the managers can set the goals, review, and rate the employees’ inputs. It also has several other features like employee onboarding, performance tracking, handling payments, and expense management. The user interface is intuitive and straightforward.

Pros:

  • OKR based performance management
  • On-time reviews and feedbacks
  • Informative dashboard and easy analysis

TimeDoctor

TimeDoctor is a tool for time management and employee monitoring. It is a Software as a Service (SaaS) tool that provides functions like keystroke logging, internet usage tracking, screenshots, and a multi-functional employee monitoring application with CRM and white label capabilities.

Along with powerful reports, TimeDoctor also tracks breaks, reminds employees to stay off time-wasting websites, tracks time for billing, and benchmarks individuals and departments across key metrics.

Pros:

  • Keeps employees productive
  • Comes with CRM
  • Tracks time effectively

Cloud storage tools

A cloud storage tool is something you need irrespective of whether you’re working in person in an office or engaged in remote work. Traditionally, all your files were stored in a cabinet or a room in an office, and this is inconvenient and difficult to navigate when trying to find a file.

With a tool for cloud storage, you can store everything from Google docs to other important files, retrieve them in a few seconds, and make them available to everyone with access in your entire organization.

Let’s look at two popular choices.

Google Drive

Google Drive allows you to store files in the cloud, synchronize them across devices, and share files with others. Your files are also encrypted, scanned for malware, and kept safe.

Drive integrates with several tools your team may already be using, and the powerful AI helps make it very easy to search for files quickly.

Pros:

  • Powerful AI
  • 15 GB free space
  • Security

Dropbox

Dropbox is quite similar to Google Drive in terms of the services it offers. However, it does have a few small differences. For example, it offers only 2GB of free space as opposed to Google Drive’s 15GB (though it does offer free extra storage based on how many friends you refer to Dropbox).

With Dropbox, you can share files through the Desktop app, unlike drive, which only allows sharing from the web app.

Pros:

  • File sharing from the desktop app
  • Security

Tips for optimizing remote work tools

Getting everyone in your remote workforce onto the same page can be challenging at times.  

It always helps to optimize tools so they’re more intuitive and easy to use. Optimization makes a huge difference to the coordination and synchronization between a distributed team.

So, let’s take a look at some of the steps that can make a difference in employee engagement and productivity.

1. Provide training for employees

Since this is an unprecedented time in most people’s lives, it makes sense if your company culture can accept that these changes are hard to adjust to and that training staff can help them adjust better.

The training should be specific to the workflow that employees need to get familiar with and should cover any and all doubts that might arise so that work can carry on smoothly (even in the absence of traditional support).

2. Encourage positive communication

Your organization must encourage communication both among employees as well as with management. Clear communication can foster team spirit and encourage team building.

Keep in mind that team members may vary in age and background, affecting their ability to adapt to working remotely and the technological tools required to do so. Encouraging communication can help flatten out any speed bumps in the process of adjusting and helps foster a healthy hybrid workplace culture.

3. Make learning a priority

Making sure that your organization prioritizes an attitude of constant learning and education can play a huge role in how quickly you adjust to the new work environment. Working remotely requires that you adjust quickly to new methods and rapidly learn to use new software. Having a culture of constant learning makes adjusting easier.

Making Remote Work Work For You

While it might take a while initially to adjust to managing a remote team, it’s usually a question of how quickly you can identify the challenges and find solutions to combat them.

Fortunately, there are a plethora of tools that support managing a remote team. At the end of the day, managing a team across time zones and borders is just another challenge that organizations everywhere must rise to. Not only will this help you quickly adapt, but you can even begin to thrive in this new and emerging post-pandemic world of work.


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Amazon Announces Auction System for FBA Storage Space [What Sellers Need to Know]

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Amazon Announces Auction System for FBA Storage Space [What Sellers Need to Know]

Amazon’s FBA program is a tremendous asset for brands who sell products on the platform. With FBA, retailers can outsource the heavy lifting of logistics such as warehousing, fulfillment, and distribution for a fee. In the last few years, sellers have expressed the need for more capacity, predictability, and control over their inventory. Amazon’s recent update helps sellers tackle those challenges and so much more.

Amazon just announced a new streamlined FBA capacity management system that will go into effect on March 1, 2023. With this new system in place, Amazon FBA will be turned into an auction where sellers can bid for additional storage space.

The system will now incorporate a single, month-long FBA capacity limit rather than weekly restock limits that can make inventory planning challenging for sellers. Now, capacity limits for the upcoming month will be announced in the third full week of each month via the Capacity Monitor in Seller Central and email notification. According to Amazon, the majority of sellers will now have access to greater capacity volumes than before.

With this new update, Amazon also announced they will provide estimated limits for the following two months to help sellers plan over a longer period. In a recent blog post highlighting the announcement, Dharmesh Mehta, Vice President of Amazon Worldwide Selling Partner Services stated, “We will forecast how much space and labor we expect to have to provide these estimates, but these estimates may vary up or down based on how efficiently sellers are using their capacity, as measured by the Inventory Performance Index (IPI) score.”

With the new Capacity Manager in place, sellers will also be able to request additional capacity based on a reservation fee that they specify. Mehta noted…

“Requests are granted objectively, starting with the highest reservation fee per cubic foot until all capacity available under this program has been allocated. When additional capacity is granted, sellers’ reservation fees are offset by earning performance credits from the sales they generate using the extra capacity. Performance credits are designed to offset up to 100% of the reservation fee, so sellers don’t pay for the additional capacity as long as their products sell through.

 

Our goal is to provide sellers with more control over how much space they can have while limiting unproductive use. We’ve piloted this feature with certain US sellers, and we’re excited that with this launch, we will expand it so all sellers can request higher FBA capacity limits.”

 

The recent announcement also highlighted how Amazon will set capacity limits and measure sellers’ inventory usage in cubic feet (vs. number of units), which better represents the capacity sellers’ products use in our fulfillment centers and transportation vehicles. As many sellers prefer to plan in units, Amazon will continue to show inventory usage in units but will also provide an estimate of how many units specific cubic volume capacity limits are likely to permit.

 

Tinuiti’s Take on the New FBA Capacity System

 

Change is certainly on the horizon. Let’s hear from Tinuiti’s own Bjorn Johnson on tips for how you can prepare for the FBA change coming March 1st.

“These changes are likely to be impactful, especially to sellers with larger products. Amazon reverting to cubic foot-based storage limits is likely to reintroduce previous issues for these clients in maintaining healthy inventory levels. Their difficulties look to be exacerbated by the addition of the bidding system. In order to keep their already high-fulfillment-fee products in stock, they’ll need to bid on large amounts of space. On the other hand, sellers with smaller products are likely to be able to store more units than before, and have the flexibility to bid on smaller amounts of space. The decision from Amazon looks like a clear effort to encourage small, light, easy-to-ship and fulfill products.”

– Bjorn Johnson, Operations Manager at Tinuiti

 

Want to Learn More About the New Auction System for FBA Storage Space?

 

We will continue to keep you informed as we learn more about the new FBA capacity system. If you’re interested in learning more about our Amazon offerings or if you have any questions concerning FBA, contact us today.

 

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How to optimize your online forms and checkouts

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How to optimize your online forms and checkouts



Forms are probably the most important part of your customer journey. They are the final step where the user entrusts you with their precious personal information in exchange for the goods or services you’ve promised.

And yet, too many companies spend minimal time on making sure their form experience is a good one for their users. They don’t use data to establish where the UX problems are on their forms, and they don’t run form-specific experiments to determine how to improve their conversion rate. As a result, too many forms are unnecessarily driving potential customers away, burning potential revenue and leads that could have been converted if they had only spent a little time and effort on optimization. Two-thirds of people who start a form don’t go on to complete it, meaning that a lot of money is being left on the table.

This article contains some of our top tips to help optimize your forms + checkouts with the goal of improving their conversion rate and delivering more customers and leads.

Use data to identify your problem fields

While user testing and session replay tools are useful in identifying possible form issues, you should also be using a specialist form analytics tool, as this will allow you to quantify the scale of the problem – where are most people dropping out – and prioritize improvements accordingly. A good form analytics tool will have advanced insights that will help work out what the problem is as well, giving you a head start on creating hypotheses for testing.

A/B test your forms

We’ve already mentioned how important it is to nurture your forms like any other part of your website. This also applies to experimentation. Your A/B testing tool such as Optimizely should allow you to easily put together a test to see if your hypothesis will improve your conversion rate. If there is also an integration with your form analytics tool you should then be able to push the test variants into it for further analysis.

Your analytics data and user testing should guide your test hypothesis, but some aspects you may want to look at are:

  • Changing the error validation timing (to trigger upon input rather than submission)
  • Breaking the form into multiple steps rather than a single page
  • Removing or simplifying problem fields
  • Manage user expectations by adding a progress bar and telling them how long the form will take upfront
  • Removing links to external sites so they are not distracted
  • Re-wording your error messages to make them more helpful

Focus on user behavior after a failed submission

Potential customers who work their way through their form, inputting their personal information, before clicking on the final ‘Submit’ button are your most valuable. They’ve committed time and effort to your form; they want what you are offering. If they click that button but can’t successfully complete the form, something has gone wrong, and you will be losing conversions that you could have made.

Fortunately, there are ways to use your form data to determine what has gone wrong so you can improve the issue.

Firstly, you should look at your error message data for this particular audience. Which messages are shown when they click ‘Submit? What do they do then? Do they immediately abandon, or do they try to fix the issue?

If you don’t have error message tracking (or even if you do), it is worth looking at a Sankey behavior flow for your user’s path after a failed submission. This audience will click the button then generally jump back to the field they are having a problem with. They’ll try to fix it, unsuccessfully, then perhaps bounce back and forth between the problem field a couple of times before abandoning in frustration. By looking at the flow data, you can determine the most problematic fields and focus your attention there.

Microcopy can make the checkout experience less stressful

If a user is confused, it makes their form/checkout experience much less smooth than it otherwise could be. Using microcopy – small pieces of explanatory information – can help reduce anxiety and make it more likely that they will complete the form.

Some good uses of microcopy on your forms could be:

  • Managing user expectations. Explain what information they need to enter in the form so they can have it on hand. For example, if they are going to need their driver’s licence, then tell them so.
  • Explain fields. Checkouts often ask for multiple addresses. Think “Current Address”, “Home Address” and “Delivery Address”. It’s always useful to make it clear exactly what you mean by these so there is no confusion.
  • Field conditions. If you have strict stipulations on password creation, make sure you tell the user. Don’t wait until they have submitted to tell them you need special characters, capital letters, etc.
  • You can often nudge the user in a certain direction with a well-placed line of copy.
  • Users are reluctant to give you personal information, so explaining why you need it and what you are going to do with it is a good idea.

A good example of reassuring microcopy

Be careful with discount codes

What is the first thing a customer does if they are presented with a discount code box on an ecommerce checkout? That’s right, they open a new browser tab and go searching for vouchers. Some of them never come back. If you are using discount codes, you could be driving customers away instead of converting them. Some studies show that users without a code are put off purchasing when they see the discount code box.

Fortunately, there are ways that you can continue to offer discount codes while mitigating the FOMO that users without one feel:

  • Use pre-discounted links. If you are offering a user a specific discount, email a link rather than giving them a code, which will only end up on a discount aggregator site.
  • Hide the coupon field. Make the user actively open the coupon box rather than presenting them with it smack in the middle of the flow.
  • Host your own offers. Let every user see all the offers that are live so they can be sure that they are not missing out.
  • Change the language. Follow Amazon’s lead and combine the Gift Card & Promotional Codes together to make it less obvious.

An example from Amazon on how to make the discount code field less prominent

Get error messages right

Error messages don’t have to be bad UX. If done right, they can help guide users through your form and get them to commit.

How do you make your error messages useful?

  • Be clear that they are errors. Make the messages standout from the form – there is a reason they are always in red.
  • Be helpful. Explain exactly what the issue is and tell the user how to fix it. Don’t be ambiguous.

Don’t do this!

  • Display the error next to the offending field. Don’t make the user have to jump back to the top of the form to find out what is wrong.
  • Use microcopy. As noted before, if you explain what they need to do early, they users are less likely to make mistakes.

Segment your data by user groups

Once you’ve identified an issue, you’ll want to check whether it affects all your users or just a specific group. Use your analytics tools to break down the audience and analyze this. Some of the segmentations you might want to look at are:

  • Device type. Do desktop and mobile users behave differently?
  • Operating system. Is there a problem with how a particular OS renders your form?
  • New vs. returning. Are returning users more or less likely to convert than first timers?
  • Do different product buyers have contrasting expectations of the checkout?
  • Traffic source. Do organic sources deliver users with higher intent than paid ones?

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Om författaren

Alun Lucas is the Managing Director of Zuko Analytics. Zuko is an Optimizely partner that provides form optimization software that can identify when, where and why users are abandoning webforms and help get more customers successfully completing your forms.


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3 Smart Bidding Strategies To Help You Get the Most Out of Your Google Ads

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3 Smart Bidding Strategies To Help You Get the Most Out of Your Google Ads

Now that we’ve officially settled into the new year, it’s important to reiterate that among the most effective ways to promote your business are Google Ads. Not only do Google Ads increase your brand visibility, but they also make it easier for you to sell your services and products while generating more traffic to your website.

The thing about Google Ads, though, is that setting up (and running) a Google Ads campaign isn’t easy – in fact, it’s pretty beginner-unfriendly and time-consuming. And yet, statistically speaking, no platform does what Google Ads can do when it comes to audience engagement and outreach. Therefore, it will be beneficial to learn about and adopt some smart bidding strategies that can help you get the most out of your Google Ads.

To that end, let’s check out a few different bidding strategies you can put behind your Google Ads campaigns, how these strategies can maximize the results of your Google Ads, and the biggest benefits of each strategy.

Smart bidding in Google Ads: what does it mean, anyway?

Before we cover the bidding strategies that can get the most out of your Google Ads, let’s define what smart bidding means. Basically, it lets Google Ads optimize your bids for you. That doesn’t mean that Google replaces you when you leverage smart bidding, but it does let you free up time otherwise spent on keeping track of the when, how, and how much when bidding on keywords.

The bidding market is simply too big – and changing too rapidly – for any one person to keep constant tabs on it. There are more than 5.5 billion searches that Google handles every day, and most of those searches are subject to behind-the-scenes auctions that determine which ads display based on certain searches, all in a particular order.

That’s where smart bidding strategies come in: they’re a type of automated bidding strategy to generate more conversions and bring in more money, increasing your profits and cash flow. Smart bidding is your way of letting Google Ads know what your goals are (a greater number of conversions, a goal cost per conversion, more revenue, or a better ROAS), after which Google checks what it’s got on file for your current conversion data and then applies that data to the signals it gets from its auctions.

Types of smart bidding strategies

Now that you know what smart bidding in Google Ads is and why it’s important, let’s cover the best smart bidding strategies you can use to your advantage.

Maximize your conversions

The goal of this strategy is pretty straightforward: maximize your conversions and get the most out of your budget’s allocation toward said conversions. Your conversions, be they a form submission, a customer transaction, or a simple phone call, are something valuable that you want to track and, of course, maximize.

The bottom line here is simply generating the greatest possible number of conversions for your budget. This strategy can potentially become costly, so remember to keep an eye on your cost-per-click and how well your spending is staying inside your budget.

If you want to be extra vigilant about keeping conversion costs in a comfy range, you can define a CPA goal for your maximize conversions strategy (assuming you’ve got this feature available).

Target cost per acquisition

The purpose behind this strategy is to meet or surpass your cost-per-acquisition objective that’s tied to your daily budget. When it comes to this strategy, it’s important to determine what your cost-per-acquisition goal is for the strategy you’re pursuing.

In most cases, your target cost per acquisition goal will be similar to the 30-day average you’ve set for your Google Ads campaign. Even if this isn’t going to be your end-all-be-all CPA goal, you’ll want to use this as a starting point.

You’ll have lots of success by simply leveraging target cost per acquisition on a campaign-by-campaign basis, but you can take this one step further by creating a single tCPA bid strategy that you share between every single one of your campaigns. This makes the most sense when running campaigns with identical CPA objectives. That’s because you’ll be engaging with a bidding strategy that’s fortified with a lot of aggregate data from which Google’s algorithm can draw, subsequently endowing all of your campaigns with some much-needed experience.

Maximize clicks

As its name implies, this strategy centers around ad optimization to gain as many clicks as possible based on your budget. We recommend using the maximize clicks strategy if you’re trying to drive more traffic to your website. The best part? Getting this strategy off the ground is about as easy as it gets.

All you need to do to get started with maximizing clicks is settle on a maximum cost-per-click that you then earmark. Once that’s done, you can decide how much money you want to shell out every time you pay for a bid. You don’t actually even need to specify an amount per bid since Google will modify your bids for you to maximize your clicks automatically.

Picture this: you’ve got a website you’re running and want to drive more traffic to it. You decide to set your maximum bid per click at $2.5. Google looks at your ad, adjusts it to $3, and automatically starts driving more clicks per ad (and more traffic to your site), all without ever going over the budget you set for your Google Ads campaign.

Slutsats

If you’ve been using manual bidding until now, you probably can’t help but admit that you spend way too much time wrangling with it. There are plenty of other things you’d rather be – and should be – spending your time on. Plus, bids change so quickly that trying to keep up with them manually isn’t even worth it anymore.

Thankfully, you’ve now got a better grasp on automated and smart bidding after having read through this article, and you’re aware of some important options you have when it comes to strategies for automated bidding. Now’s a good time to explore even more Google Ads bidding strategies and see which ones make the most sense when it comes to your unique and long-term business objectives. Settle on a strategy and then give it a whirl – you’ll only know whether a strategy is right for you after you’ve tested it time and time again. Good luck!

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