June 13, 2018 8 Tips For Protecting Your Digital Marketing Assets
As a business owner or marketer, you will inevitably work with outside contractors/vendors (web developers, designers, marketing agencies, etc.) or even other employees on your company’s digital marketing and/or social media efforts. They will need to set up/use various online services/tools on your behalf as they are doing work for you.
Some examples could include:
- Registering a domain name (i.e. acmecompany.com) for your website or blog through a domain registrar like GoDaddy or Network Solutions.
- Setting up website hosting at companies like SiteGround, Amazon Web Services, Bluehost, etc.
- Managing your social media accounts (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) and/or using social media management tools (Hootsuite, SproutSocial, etc.).
- Accessing Google services such as Adwords, Analytics, Search Console, Gmail, Tag Manager, Docs, etc.
- Managing your local business listings/reviews at Google My Business or Bing Places for Business or using a reviews aggregator like ReviewPush.
- Managing and/or updating your website/blog through a content management system like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal.
- Accessing your digital assets through a file-sharing platform such as Dropbox or Google Drive).
- Using other online services such as stock photography, link shortening, Constant Contact, etc.
So what’s the problem you might ask?
Hopefully, there’s not one but there could be without some proper planning and management. Your vendors/contractors could go out of business, get hit by a bus or flat out refuse to give you access to something he/she set up for you. Employees can become disgruntled and leave unexpectedly. No matter how good of a relationship you have now, things can go south for any variety of reasons and you could be left in a bad situation. I’ve seen it all (except the one about getting hit by a bus).
If you’ve ever tried to gain access to a GoDaddy account or domain names set up by someone else without the appropriate login credentials, you know that it takes an act of Congress to get access. It’s not a quick and easy thing. I’ve also seen situations where a vendor refused to give up Google Analytics and Google Adwords accounts.
You could certainly go create new accounts but you would lose all of that historical data and work.
8 Tips for Protecting Your Digital Marketing & Social Media Assets
- Set expectations upfront. Understand what you’re getting into and make sure that you own everything (including assets and accounts) set up on your company’s behalf. Some companies that manage Adwords (PPC) campaigns will want ownership of the Google Adwords accounts and campaigns that they set up on your behalf. This is usually because they don’t charge for set up and they’ve used their expertise to optimize your campaigns. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this. It’s just important that you understand upfront how things are going to work.
- Never assume that anyone else has your best interests at heart. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t trust the people you work with. You just need to do what you can to protect your company and interests.
- Register domain names yourself in your own account. In most cases, you can grant others access to your account if you want them to be able to make changes (i.e. changing nameservers). If you’re overwhelmed with the process, I wrote a post here with step-by-step instructions about registering a domain name at GoDaddy.
- Set up your own website hosting. Again, you can set up the hosting yourself and give others access. Once the hosting is set up, you can add accounts for other users.
- Make sure you have top-level administrative access on all of your accounts. You should always have the ability to add and remove other users from your accounts. Others shouldn’t be able to remove you or change your level of access.
- For all Google accounts, I recommend setting up a Gmail account and rolling all services up under that. Make sure you use a strong password. In recent years, Google has made it much easier to add and remove users from accounts and assign various permissions levels.
- All services and accounts should be set up using your contact information. For any services that require regular payments, I would suggest using your company credit card so you can easily reconcile all charges. This makes it easier later on if there are any disputes.
- Use a password manager like LastPass Teams to manage account credentials for your team and any external vendors/contractors. This is a great way to manage passwords for all accounts. You can remove someone’s access if you want or change the passwords for accounts.
With a little upfront communication and planning, nothing above should be a big deal. Hopefully, you won’t run into any issues but if you do, you’ll be prepared.