How I Found the BEST Remote Digital Marketing Job

building an agency
Ashlee Rolkowski
BY
Ashlee Rolkowski
ON
12.05.2019

“Remote” is the new buzz word in the marketing industry. Why pay for a local office when you have video calls? Why restrict your prospective customers to your region when you could expand globally? Digital marketing jobs can be great, but the high volume of competition can make finding one difficult.

I’ve been there — wandering amongst the pages of Google, hoping to see a job posting I haven’t seen before that actually sounds desirable. After some lengthy job hunting and soul-searching, I found Lone Fir Creative, and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in any job. I want to share with you how I discovered what I consider to be the “golden company” and how you can find the same.  

The Hunt Begins!

The beginning of a job search is filled with excitement, hopefulness and motivation. But pretty soon, it gets tedious, discouraging and sad. Not to mention, of course, the endless clicking and digging through what feels like infinite webpages. Fortunately for you, dear job searcher, I have made the trek and came out alive. In the words to come, I will share the "golden nuggets" I discovered along the way.

  1. Search job sites. I expected sites like Indeed and ZipRecruiter to be full of spam but found several reputable agencies posting their open positions on those sites. I would come across the job there first, then go to the company's website to learn more about the position and apply. To help direct your search, several sites aggregate full-time and part-time remote jobs like workingnomads.co and justremote.co.
  2. Figure out what companies are calling the positions you want. For some of you, this might sound like a no brainer, but for jobs like mine, every company seems to have a different title. Digital Marketing Manager, Project Manager, Account Manager, Digital Marketing Specialist...the list goes on. Check out top agencies and notice the titles and descriptions used for the position you want. Then, come up with different ways of typing that into Google. 
  3. Define some key characteristics of the company you want to work for, then search for those terms. For me, I wanted to work for a 100% remote agency. So I started searching “100% remote marketing agency” and “fully remote marketing agency” and “remote marketing agency." Then, I would see if any of the agencies listed had openings. Also, if you have specific software skills, like with Wordpress or Hubspot, then search companies that specialize in that platform. That's an easy way to get a leg up on the competition.
  4. Use partner directories to find agency jobs. If you have experience in a specific software like HubSpot, take advantage of their partner directory. I ended up scrolling through pages of partners to see if they had any openings. One nice thing about HubSpot is that it splits its partners up by tier, which gives you a small indication of how established the company is and what kind of revenue they bring in. 

The Unique Challenges of Searching for Remote Marketing Jobs

Looking for remote marketing jobs at a digital agency comes with a unique set of challenges. On the one hand, they’re great because you get the flexibility that comes with working from home and the fluid scheduling of clients. But on the other hand, you’re competing with other applicants from around the world. And once you realize that, you start wondering if you’ll ever find a job. 

And here’s the other thing, you might get interviewed two or three times by your prospective company, and maybe you meet the same person twice at most. You don’t see their office and get a feel for their atmosphere. You really don’t have much to go on when it comes to figuring out if a company is right for YOU. (BTW, the same is true for any of you prospective clients reading this blog; it’s tough to vet an agency over a couple of video calls alone). 

Finding the Right Agency

Remote positions attract all sorts of people. In a highly collaborative environment like a marketing agency, self-awareness is essential to figuring out if you’ll fit into the agency you’re applying to. I used to think that I could get along with anyone and adapt to any environment. I was wrong. For me — Mrs. Enneagram #1, highly organized (organizing is fun!) self — my non-negotiables for a work environment have now been defined as:

  1. A desire to have organized systems in place from the top down that everyone follows (for efficiency’s sake obviously, nothing to do with my obsessive need for structure). 
  2. A team that tells it how it is, even when it’s not super fun to hear.
  3. A company where I can create meaningful impact and contribute to helping the company grow (not every company or employee wants this). 

Define what you’re looking for in an agency. Go deeper than “I want to create excellent work for clients and have a good work/life balance.” Newsflash, everyone wants that. You have to dig into how you work and the environment you thrive in.

Questions to Ask

If you’re looking for remote marketing jobs, here’s my advice: don’t settle. Ask tough questions. Determine your non-negotiables and then use questions in your interview that help you determine if it would be a good fit. Here are some ideas:

  1. How do you ensure client success while also maintaining work/life balance? 
    • *Note: The key here is “maintaining client success.” Everyone wants work/life balance. But agencies need clients to be successful, and sometimes that success is achieved by forgoing work/life balance. It can become all too easy to fall into that trap.
  2. What’s the “thing” that makes your company successful?
  3. Where do you want the company to go?
    • This one is nice for smaller companies and can help give you a feel for the vision the CEO has and how he plans to get there. 
  4. How does your company handle working in different time zones?
    • This one is all about getting a feel for expectations. Are you required to be on during specific hours of the day? Is that going to work for your schedule?

Pre-Application Research

Competition is high, so you need to be on your game when you submit your application. As a slightly obsessive researcher, here are six things I suggest you do for every application you submit: 

  1. Go to the company's website and read everything. Blogs, about page, team page — all that good stuff. Get a feel for their voice and how they pitch their business. See how long they’ve been around and get a beat on their values as a company. 
  2. Read the website bio and LinkedIn profile of the person/people interviewing you. These can tell you a lot: hobbies, education, where they’re from, etc.
  3. Read the job description and then look at team members that have those positions. Look them up on LinkedIn and read their website bio to see if you are somewhat similar. This will help you get a feel for the kind of people the company hires for the position you’re applying for. 
  4. Make sure you exceed the requirements of the job description. We've already talked about how competition for online marketing agencies is super high. And it's even tougher at remote companies who can draw on global talent. You need to make sure you meet or exceed not just the years of experience required, but the years of marketing experience. Make sure you highlight any of your specialties like social media marketing, PPC or product marketing. And if you have any relevant certifications for the position you're applying to, don't forget to showcase those. 
  5. Do some investigating to figure out what your future salary should be (and the perks that should come with it). At some point, a prospective employer is going to ask you what you are looking to make, and you need to have an answer ready that is reasonable. Glassdoor can be an excellent resource for this. 
  6. Find reviews about the company. My primary sources for company reviews were Glassdoor and the HubSpot partner directory. Reviews not only help you determine whether or not you want to work there, but also tell you something about the company culture and what kind of clients they have. 

What Makes Lone Fir a Unique Remote Marketing Team

There are a lot of things to love about working at Lone Fir. It’s tough to put into words what exactly makes this place unique, but for your sake, I'll do my best.

#lunchculture

Here at Lone Fir, we have developed a pretty strong #lunchculture. It’s subtle, mostly communicated through Slack statuses, but they are funny and create an easy way for people to connect about something that isn’t work. 

  • "Steak salad? How fancy."
  • "Oh, you like sushi? I love sushi."
  • “Jessica, you need to eat more than prosciutto for lunch.”

I mean...these are gold. 

Screen Shot 2019-12-09 at 4.30.10 PM

Teamwork makes the dream work

In a highly collaborative environment like marketing, it’s tough to deliver a quality product by yourself. You need input from your team. But marketing is incredibly fast-paced, and people are busy. You don’t always have a couple of days to pass around a piece of content and get input. People can’t always drop what they’re doing to help you out. At Lone Fir, I’ve been incredibly thankful to have highly responsive teammates. I post something for feedback in Slack, and at least two people answer within a few minutes. It’s awesome. 

Spend your time where your strengths are

Most digital marketers become something of a jack-of-all-trades. Content marketing, email marketing, lead generation — all of us have experience in those tactics, plus several more. So when asked if we “can” do something, the answer is often yes. At Lone Fir, that’s welcomed, but we are hyper-focused on helping each other grow in our strengths. Do you think you’d enjoy working in a different area of the company? Are you good at it? Great. Let’s get you there. 

Enneagrams, life and happy hour 

A lot of people think that remote work is only for people who don’t mind being alone. After working at Lone Fir, I’d say that’s completely false. It’s all about the culture you create. How responsive are you on Slack? I know what you’re thinking…"Slack gets distracting and I lose productivity." That’s fine; you don’t have to be on 100% of the time. But you do have to be available a lot of the time. If that’s not your jam, well...{shrug emoji}.

Here at Lone Fir, we intentionally make time to hang out. We’ve instituted a monthly Happy Hour. We all gather on a video call and someone hosts. We play games, have a few drinks and maybe talk about our Enneagram results. People tell funny stories, we all laugh and our Fridays end with a good time.

Look at how happy everyone was at our first happy hour (not pictured: Some other team members who were doing very important work things and had to miss out). 

Make time to get to know your coworkers

One of the first tasks assigned to me at Lone Fir was to schedule a 30-minute meeting with each team member. The only rule: no work talk allowed. Normally, I would feel like a slacker taking time from other coworkers to talk about something "unproductive," but my boss told me I had to, and I’m a rule follower, so I did. 

It was great! I got to know each person I worked with on a personal level. We talked about shared interests, our backgrounds, etc. One coworker and I just talked about books for 30 minutes (nerds). 

The commitment to having a workplace that isn’t about work all the time comes from the top at Lone Fir, and that’s why it works. None of us have to feel bad about carrying on a personal conversation during the workday. I’d dare to say it makes us a more effective team. And it definitely makes for a more enjoyable workplace. 

If You’re Sifting Through Remote Marketing Jobs, Look at Their Values

You can tell a lot about a company by the values they claim to possess. For some, you might determine that they didn’t put a lot of thought into their values. For others, maybe you just don’t align with their priorities. 

Our values at Lone Fir are: 

  1. Hungry but humble
  2. Go after excellence
  3. Create value for the customers we serve
  4. Own life when possible
  5. Never stop learning

When I read those in the job description, they resonated with all the things I found valuable. I loved that they had precise wording that showed how much thought had gone into them. Maybe these values resonate with you, or perhaps they don’t. The takeaway is: determine what matters to you and find a company that aligns with those priorities. 

Don’t Give Up!

My job search lasted a solid eight months. Months on end of figuring out the kinds of jobs I qualified for, what I could and should be making in them, and stalking various agency websites for openings. I filled that time with a lot of professional development so that my resume would stand out and so that I could speak intelligently in my interviews. I worked on HubSpot certifications and read books and blogs. I listened to a fair amount of marketing and agency podcasts (hit me up if you want a solid list of podcasts). Sometimes I lost motivation, but I kept working on myself and the kind of employee I wanted to be. If you’ve made it to the end of this article, let me offer one last piece of advice: keep improving yourself. Don’t let your job search put your development on hold. And hey, if you think #lunchculture is something you could get on board with and you’re looking for a job, check out our available positions

Also, if you work for a business in need of marketing magic, and you read this article because you are an obsessive researcher like me to get some insight into how our agency works, you should schedule some time to talk with us. We’d love to help grow your business.