Effectively Managing Digital Marketing Assets for Law Firms and Small Businesses
In today’s digital age, most law firms and small businesses rely heavily on various online assets to establish their brand presence, engage with clients, and drive growth. From websites and social media accounts to analytics tools and domain registrations, these digital assets play a crucial role in shaping a business’s online identity and marketing strategies. Organizations often overlook the need to effectively manage these assets, which can lead to lost control over key platforms, security risks, and time-consuming retrieval efforts. In this blog post, we explore ways to securely and effectively manage digital marketing assets, and what to do if you have lost access to key accounts.
Identify Your Assets: Take Inventory
A digital marketing asset is any online tool or platform that your company relies on to market its services, share its news and information, and manage its brand presence. The first step in effectively managing access to these assets is to take a full inventory. To get you started, here are some of the most important and most common assets:
Your website host is the service that stores the files that comprise your website. These service providers such as Bluehost, GoDaddy and Host Gator, maintain banks of servers designed to deliver your website to end users quickly and securely. You will have a username and password to access your hosting account for the purposes of renewals, as well as certain website programming that must take place at the server level.
Domain Name Registrar
The Domain Name Registrar is the service that registers your website domain name, often referred to as your DNS Registrar. Sometimes this will be the same company that hosts your website, but not always. Your domain name is one of your most important digital assets, and losing access to it can mean starting from scratch when building your ranking in search results. No matter who develops your website, or where you have it hosted, make sure that the domain name is registered under your company’s name and the account is associated with an email address to which your company will always have access. Many organizations set up an email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org so that access is not tied to an individual. Popular and reliable domain name registrars are GoDaddy and Network Solutions.
If you do not know where your domain name is registered, there are online research tools available. ICANN Lookup is a database of all domain names, their registrars, and their owners. Here are some examples of the results we were able to obtain for www.Law.com:
We can see that the domain name is registered with CSC Corporate Domains. Lookup services also can tell you who the owner is:
They also provide information on when the domain will expire if not renewed by the existing owner:
Be careful of services that offer turn-key website solutions for a specific industry like law or real estate. Often these services maintain ownership of the domain. Leaving their service entails losing the brand equity and SEO value you have built around your domain name. Always ask if you own the domain name and if you can take it with you should you leave the service.
Content Management Systems (CMS)
Content Management Systems (CMS) are platforms like WordPress that allow you to edit the content of your website. Several CMS providers also provide website hosting, and some even provide domain name registration. If you have lost information about, or access to your CMS, there are online “technology lookup tools” to help you retrieve this information. One such tool is BuiltWith. By simply entering a domain name you will be provided with a list of every system connected to that website including the CMS, plugins, data and reporting tools, and more. If you’re unsure of which content management system your site is using, or what other systems in your organization may be connected to your website, this is a good place to start.
Social Media Accounts
As an agency, we have seen far too many instances of organizations that have lost access to social media accounts. Setting up and managing these interfaces is often assigned to younger team members or to interns. Unfortunately, these are the people most likely to move on to other positions, leaving organizations unclear about access once these team members depart. This is another reason to establish a standard marketing email address that the entire marketing team can access and to require anyone setting up accounts to use this email. Gmail is a suitable option for this purpose, and a Gmail address will be required for access to Google products such as analytics and Google Business accounts.
Platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram where businesses engage with their audience are no longer tangential to business development efforts. Used effectively, they are key to identifying and nurturing potential clients and to recruiting talent. Managing these platforms, and access to them should be taken seriously. We should also note that this post is not meant to guide your law firm or small business on which social media platforms work best to reach your target audience. While we mentioned the three most used platforms, there are others to consider in your strategic social media marketing plan.
Email Marketing Services
External and independent platforms used to manage and send marketing emails to subscribers such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact or Hubspot contain valuable client information. Make sure logins to these accounts are documented.
Online Advertising Accounts
Retain access to platforms such as Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads and Facebook Ad Manager, where businesses run paid advertising campaigns. If your department is also responsible for advertising open jobs on recruiting platforms, include those in your digital marketing assets inventory as well.
Tracking, Research and Reporting Platforms
Google Analytics and other tracking, research and reporting tools such as HotJar help monitor website traffic, user behavior, and marketing campaign performance. Understanding the performance of your digital assets is crucial to making informed decisions about where to focus your marketing efforts. Losing access to reporting platforms can mean a loss of historical data pertaining to your website’s performance, and the performance of other digital tools.
Business Directories and Listings
Services like Google Business and Yelp (for all companies), and industry-specific directories such as Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell, Chambers and FindLaw for law firms, are important to monitor and engage with. If you are a small business and are unfortunate enough to receive a negative online review, most of the time, a prompt response is critical to mitigating the impact of that review. Lost access to these accounts will make a timely response difficult.
Client Relationship Management (CRM) Tools
Systems for managing client data and interactions, or CRMs, are vital to sales and marketing teams. In addition to tracking client and prospect interactions, many of these systems also provide integrated data on the performance of social platforms and email correspondence.
The Cost of Losing Access and Productivity
Losing access to digital marketing assets can have far-reaching consequences for small businesses.
Recreating Accounts and Rebuilding
When locked out of essential digital marketing assets, businesses may need to go through the cumbersome process of recreating accounts from scratch. This involves setting up new profiles, configuring settings, and re-establishing integrations with other tools or platforms. This consumes valuable time and effort and impacts your online credibility.
Lost Productivity and Time
In the absence of a streamlined asset management system, tracking down login credentials from previous vendors, employees, or interns is a time-consuming and unproductive task. Employees may spend hours searching through old emails, contacting former staff members, or resorting to trial-and-error methods to regain access.
Missed Opportunities and Delayed Responses
In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, staying agile and responsive is crucial. When law firms and small businesses lose access to their digital marketing assets, they may struggle to act quickly in response to breaking news or industry developments. The inability to access social media accounts promptly, update websites, or modify marketing campaigns can result in missed opportunities to capitalize on trending topics, engage with clients, manage your company’s reputation, or address critical issues in a timely manner.
Damaged Client Relationships
Clients expect businesses to be readily available and responsive across various digital channels. When businesses lose access to client support platforms, email marketing services, or social media accounts, they risk damaging client relationships. Delayed responses to comments can erode trust. Should a small business receive a negative comment or review, a prompt response is critical to mitigating the damage.
Loss of Data and Insights
Digital assets, such as Google Analytics accounts or CRM systems, contain valuable data and insights that inform business strategies. Losing access to these assets means losing access to historical data, analytics reports, client behavior trends, and marketing campaign performance metrics. This lack of data can hinder decision-making processes, impair marketing optimization efforts, and limit the ability to track progress and measure success accurately.
From Overwhelmed to Confident Control: Tools for Organizing and Securing Digital Assets
Thankfully, implementing certain practices and using online tools can help organizations effectively manage their digital assets.
Utilize password management tools like LastPass, Bitwarden, or Dashlane to securely store and generate strong passwords for all accounts.
Maintain a centralized document or spreadsheet that records all digital assets, renewal dates, vendor or service provider, contact info, and who has access to, or manages that asset.
Two-Factor or Multi-Factor Authentication (2FA/MFA)
Enable 2FA or MFA wherever possible to add an extra layer of security to your accounts. Require employees to enable multifactor authentication on applications that offer it.
Review and Update Access Procedures:
Conduct regular audits to assess who has access to your digital marketing assets.
Employee Onboarding and Offboarding
Implement standardized procedures for providing and revoking access to digital assets when employees join or leave the organization. Password managers such as Last Pass make this much easier by allowing you to simply change access to the password manager which eliminates the need to change passwords for all assets.
Document Vendor Relationships
Maintain a record of third-party vendors and service providers, including contact information and contractual agreements. Ensure that access to digital marketing assets and associated tools is included in service agreements, and request that vendors provide login credentials at the time-of-service delivery.
Train and Educate Your Team:
Educate your team about the importance of digital marketing asset management, including the significance of strong passwords, 2FA, and the responsible handling of login credentials. Encourage them to report any changes or issues promptly to mitigate risks.
Effectively managing digital assets is a critical aspect of operations in today’s digital landscape. For organizations that don’t have dedicated marketing team members, managing this can be overwhelming and can lead to security vulnerabilities, productivity losses, and missed opportunities. However, with a few tools and clear procedures, the management of digital assets can be streamlined and secured.