Digital business assets are valuable resources or items owned by a company. The business has many assets that are worth protecting. Items such as cash, accounts receivable, inventory, equipment, and buildings are examples of business assets. The owner of an offline business will never think about handing over the keys to his store to suppliers without proper verification and protection.
But what about your digital marketing assets? How valuable are they to your business?
Your online presence is largely a digital business and a marketing asset. In many cases, if you try to sell your business, a potential buyer will want to purchase the digital assets of the business as part of the sale.
What are Digital Marketing assets?
In the online world, your digital marketing assets are everything that creates visibility on the internet and helps people find and do business with you. They include:
- Email Accounts
- Social media profiles and online advertising accounts
Below are the risks that entrepreneurs take with their digital marketing assets, and what can happen if you entrust these valuable resources to the wrong service provider.
The most important digital marketing asset for your business is your domain name. This is your business address on the Internet. You spend hours searching for the perfect domain name that matches your business, but then someone else registers the domain on your behalf. When this happens, most likely the person associated with the domain is them, not you.
If someone else owns this name, it will be a disaster waiting in the wings. What happens if your relationship with this person changes? What if you don’t want to work with this person anymore and want to move on?
If they control your domain, they can hold you hostage. Or even worse, they may let your domain expire without notice, which will result in you having to deal with attempts to restore the domain. Domain registrars usually send a notification to those who are listed in the registration before the domain expires. If you are not included in the list specified during domain registration, you will not be warned.
If your domain expires and your site is unavailable, it won’t take long for Google to notice and remove your site from search results.
Choose your favorite domain registrar, create an account and buy a domain yourself. This ensures that it is registered to you.
Make sure the domain is set to auto-renew and keep a valid credit card on file.
When you receive these notifications that the domain is about to be renewed, make sure that this is indeed the case. Sometimes auto-renewal didn’t happen and luckily I was able to log in and renew the domain before the grace period expired.
If your domain is registered through someone other than you, create an account with the domain registrar and initiate the transfer to your account.
Remember that your domain is the key to your online lock, and you must own and protect it.
Although it’s not as important as your domain, you should be careful about who creates your site and where it is hosted.
There are two parts: website hosting and the website itself.
Hosting your website is a rented property in which your website is hosted. Many web developers resell hosting services as part of their business model. But it’s your choice whether you want to host with them or get an end-user hosting account.
If you think that you will have a long-term relationship with the developer, then by all means host them. Just make sure that you have access to both the hosting account and the WordPress site as an administrator. If something happens to your relationship with the hosting provider, you will want to move your site, and for that, you will need access as an administrator.
Many times, a web development firm will not give you access to the site until you pay for the work in full. It’s great when everything is fine.
But if you have a dispute with a firm because they are not delivering what they promised, or their work is not what you expected, it will be difficult for you to access the website to move it or fix it.
When it comes to the content of your website, you also need to have a backup in case something happens. The content of the website includes your design, the content management system, and the content that you create.
Your website is the foundation of your web presence. If you lose access to it tomorrow, will you be able to restore the site on another hosting?
If you have a backup copy of your content and you find yourself without access to your website hosting or WordPress account, you can always create a new website on another hosting account. When the site is ready to work, you can point the domain to the new site (so the domain is a critical part).
Purchase your hosting account on a reputable hosting such as Siteground. There are others, but do your homework and choose the one that has the performance you need at the price you want to pay.
When you decide to hire someone to build your website, make sure it works perfectly with the hosting account you control.
Keep a backup of all your content in case you need to rebuild the site with someone else. Your content is an important part of your overall marketing plan, as it attracts people to your business. Trying to recreate content from scratch will be a major project.
Digital Email Accounts
As a business, you should always use a branded email address. A branded email address is the one that comes from your domain. Most hosting companies offer webmail that will give you this opportunity, but using webmail is not ideal.
There are problems with using free email addresses:
Webmail clients are browser-based and not very modern.
If you want to move your website, moving email is a process.
You have entered a single point of failure. If your website crashes, it will most likely happen to your email as well.
Invest in G Suite or Office 365 for email. For $5 per user per month, it’s worth separating your email from the hosting environment for any solution. Putting your email elsewhere means that you can still get your email even if something happens to your site.
If email payment is not within your budget, set up your branded email on your hosting account, and then use your personal Gmail account as a client. Setting up Gmail as a client allows you to extract all emails from the server so that they are available on all your devices. Gmail can also send emails using your branded email address if it is configured to be sent via a host server.
Social networks and Online advertising
Technology companies understand the importance of security. When you create your profiles, you should not provide anyone with personal login information.
When it comes to your Facebook business page, VKontakte company page, or other social media platforms that provide accounts for a particular company, most of them allow you to add people as administrators without changing your email password.
The same applies to your advertising accounts. Regardless of the platform, all of these digital marketing assets have (or should have) the ability to add customer service managers to your profiles.
Keep your social networks and advertising accounts safe with a strong password.
Give access to those with whom you are currently working.
Remove access to those who no longer work with you.
When you set up a Gmail account, you get access to a variety of tools from a single login. Access to your Google My Business, Google Ads, Google Search Console, Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager, each of these tools can add users at various levels to access information.
Do not allow others to sign up for these accounts on your behalf using their Google accounts. You may have seen how many agencies insist that your Google ads and Google Analytics accounts are under their agency account.
If you let them take control of your Google accounts, you may have to start over if you decide you don’t want to work with them anymore. As a rule, they will not be able to change the owner of the accounts.
Subscribe to any Google service you need using your Google account.
Declare and optimize your Google My Business page under your Google account.
Grant access to these accounts to those who need them.
Never give people access to your Google account information. Just don’t do it.
It’s better to be safe than sorry later
When you want to hire an external resource to help you with your online marketing, just remember to think about what will happen if you decide to stop working with them.
Do you still have digital access to your accounts?
Can you take over the management of advertising campaigns?
Will the remnants of their efforts to control your online presence remain long after your relationship with these agencies ends? One such example is phone numbers that you don’t own appearing in search results related to your business.
Will your online presence remain visible on the internet or will you need to start all over again?
Companies should take precautions when providing access to their digital marketing assets. Take an inventory of all your online assets and determine who owns them. One disgruntled vendor is enough to sabotage your online presence. Starting from scratch is not what you want to do.
Therefore, choose wisely when you want or need to work with someone to create your visibility on the Internet. Work with someone who understands marketing and business to help you through this process. And never take the risk that someone else will control your digital marketing assets.
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