Digital marketing is essential for reaching potential customers in today’s market because more than 80% of shoppers do their research online before deciding which business to work with. The good news is that digital marketing tends to be less expensive than traditional advertising and is more effective: providing your business with a high return on investment. The not-so-great news is that digital marketing is complex and you will need to work with a professional to see any real results. And that’s where digital marketing agreements become relevant.
However, before you jump into a relationship with a digital marketing consultant, there are a few things you should know:
- what digital marketing entails;
- what digital marketing risks you should avoid;
- what a digital marketing contract should include; and
- how to maintain a symbiotic relationship with your digital marketer.
1. What is Digital Marketing, exactly?
Digital marketing is an umbrella term that actually covers a multitude of different online marketing strategies. Your website is the foundation of your digital marketing strategy because it is your online storefront and will most likely be the first thing your potential customers see. This means the design of your website is a key component of your digital marketing strategy. Once you establish a website that’s optimized to attract and convert clients, you can dive into other forms of digital marketing. Content marketing and search engine marketing are two forms of digital marketing that will help your website rank high on search results. Social media and email marketing are ways to interact with and engage your ideal clients. Beyond that, marketing automation, inbound marketing, and affiliate marketing are more advanced (and more technologically-involved) ways of streamlining and enhancing your digital marketing efforts.
2. What are the Risks of Digital Marketing?
Like virtually everything in business, digital marketing comes with its own unique set of risks. Fortunately, you can avoid these risks with a little proactive planning. When you start working with digital marketing professionals you want to be careful not to use someone else’s marketing agreement. If you simply use the agreement provided by the digital marketing agency, you could be setting your business up for disaster, because their contract will be drafted to favor the marketing agency, not the interests of your business.
Even worse, using a digital marketing contract you haven’t paid an attorney to create specifically for you might mean you’re stealing someone else’s intellectual property. Yes, contracts are considered intellectual property, so copying a contract you haven’t paid for could land you in hot water legally and financially.
3. What Business Owners Should Include in a Digital Marketing Contract
Unless you choose to work with a digital marketing agency that handles every type of digital marketing, you will probably end up using multiple business contracts with different digital marketing professionals. It’s not uncommon to have a separate website design agreement, a content marketing agreement, a search engine marketing agreement, and a social media marketing agreement with different, unrelated professionals. In this case, you’ll want to have a sound template to use for all your digital marketing needs. While the scope of services, deadlines, and payment structure will vary from contract to contract, you’ll want to ensure each of these topics are clearly detailed in your agreement.
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You also want to include the term of your contract (how long will they perform the work, for a month? A year?). And how renewals will occur (will your agreement automatically renew each month unless you cancel, or will you need to personally renew your contract at the end of the term?).
Do not forget to discuss how you will resolve disputes (will you mediate or arbitrate disputes to avoid court? Which state’s laws will govern your agreement?) and how to cancel the contract if you are dissatisfied or choose to switch to another provider.
Clarify ownership of intellectual property that is created as a result of your contract (make sure you retain ownership of the design elements in your website; any blogs created for your business; and any marketing language used). Have a plan in place for how you can retain intellectual property even if you cancel your contract and switch to a different marketing professional. And last but not least, detail any warranties, defenses, and indemnification. Make sure you are protected in the event you get sued over copyrighted content used by your marketing professional!
4. How to Maintain a Symbiotic Relationship with Digital Marketing Professionals
The first step toward creating a mutually beneficial relationship with a digital marketing professional is to clarify expectations with a solid agreement. Most disputes can be avoided with proper planning and up-front discussion about what you are looking for in the relationship. Beyond that, a good business relationship needs to be built on quality results.
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The good news is that it is relatively easy to track and measure the results of digital marketing efforts. This means you’ll want to speak with your consultant about how they will share their work product and metrics with you (and how often). By keeping an eye on your digital marketing metrics, you will be able to maximize the return on your investment: and a high ROI is good for the growth of your business.
Do You Need Digital Marketing Agreements for Your Business?
If you need a digital marketing agreement, you’ll want to speak with an experienced business contracts lawyer who understands online marketing. We help business owners craft agreements that protect their legal interests for flat fees so there are never any unexpected costs. To learn more, check out our Business Contract Legal Protection Package.