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digital marketing agreement

4 Things Every Business Owner Should Know About Digital Marketing Agreements

By Business Contracts, Business Lawyer

digital marketing agreementsDigital 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:

  1. what digital marketing entails;
  2. what digital marketing risks you should avoid;
  3. what a digital marketing contract should include; and
  4. 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.

Related Article: SEM Contract – 10 Search Engine Marketing Agreement Essentials

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.

Related Article: 5 Things To Avoid In An SEO Services Contract

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.

Content Marketing Agreement: What You Need To Know Before Signing One

By Business Contracts, Business Lawyer

content marketing agreement - what you need to knowThe term content marketing agreement is a generic reference to different types of contracts where a marketing services provider agrees to create and/or distribute some type of content to market a business. The content can be text, video, or audio.

For many, the contract means a digital marketing agreement, i.e. an agreement to generate content that’s used online at a company’s website, in social media, distributed through press releases, etc. to promote the client’s business.

Different Levels Of Service

It’s important to note that the scope of services provided can vary greatly by contract and the level provided is typically reflected in the price charged by the marketer.

One of the biggest factors is who supplies the content for the marketing. Entrepreneurs on a tight budget will frequently attempt to limit their expenses by producing their own content (e.g. writing articles) and then handing them over to the marketing services provider to handle content distribution online and/or offline with the goal of generating new customers for the entrepreneur’s business.

Related Article: SEM Contract – 10 Search Engine Marketing Agreement Essentials

However, this type of budget content marketing frequently leads to disputes for two reasons: (1) the entrepreneur fails to timely produce content; and (2) the entrepreneur does not know how to write search engine friendly content that will convert to sales.

To avoid these types of disputes – and related lawsuits – experienced content marketers will often insist they produce the content instead of relying upon the business to do so. However, it’s common to have the client sign off on the content before it’s used to ensure the client is satisfied with it before the prospective customers see it.

Define The Scope Of Service

It’s essential for both the content marketer and the business client to have a clear and concise written scope of services in the content marketing agreement. The scope should both explicitly include what’s to be delivered and specifically exclude services beyond the scope. This minimizes the risk of disagreement between the parties while ensureing they are satisfied  the price paid to the marketing professional fairly reflects the value delivered.

Related Article: 10 Things To Cover In A Digital Marketing Agreement

For example, if there are to be 3 pieces of marketing content written and distributed online weekly, the scope of services should make clear (among other things) who writes the content, content length (e.g. 900 words), whether it must be pre-approved before use, whether subcontractors can produce and/or distribute the content, where the content will be distributed (e.g. blog post), and which social media platforms will be used to promote the content (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

Measuring Results

Business owners who lack marketing experience may mistakenly believe content marketing’s primary goal is to build an international name brand like Google, Apple, or Microsoft. However, for most privately held companies, the primary purpose of  marketing is the identification and conversion of prospects into sales.

This means the content marketing agreement should focus on metrics related to the return on investment (ROI) of the marketing instead of vague things like brand-building, social media awareness, and marketing creativity.

Where To Get A Content Marketing Agreement

Business Contracts Lawyer Mike Young prepares digital marketing agreements and other types of content marketing contracts for clients.

If the client is a marketing services provider, the terms and conditions of the agreement will favor the provider. On the flip side, if the contract is for a business client who will be retaining the services of a content marketer, the agreement will favor the business.

To learn more, you’ll want to check out the Business Contract Legal Protection Package now.

10 Things To Cover In A Digital Marketing Agreement

By Business Contracts, Business Lawyer

10 Things To Cover In A Digital Marketing AgreementWhether you’re a digital marketer or a business owner who outsources, you’ll want a written digital marketing agreement that will protect your legal rights while making sure both parties understand their respective responsibilities.

The Contract Essentials

When putting together your digital marketing contract template that you’ll use repeatedly, here are 10 important issues to address in the agreement.

1. Term. How long will the digital marketing take place?

2. Renewal. At the end of the initial contract term, can the marketing agreement be renewed? If so, how?

3. Cancellation. Can the agreement be canceled early by the digital marketing provider and/or the client? If so, how? Will there be a penalty for early termination?

4. Services. What digital marketing services will be provided per the contract? Be specific as possible.

5. Compensation. When and how will the digital marketer get paid? For example, do specific milestones achieved trigger payment? Or are there monthly or other periodic payments?

6. Warranties. What types of warranties is the digital marketing service provider giving the company for services rendered? Are there specific warranties being disclaimed (e.g. fitness for a particular purpose)? If so, which ones?

7. Intellectual Property. Who owns the intellectual property for the marketing content created? The client or the marketer? If the marketer retains ownership, what type of license is being given to the company for using the content? Will the license terminate when performance ends under the agreement?

8. Governing Law. What state’s laws control if there’s a dispute over the contract? The laws where the marketer is based or the state where the client’s headquarters is located?

9. Dispute Resolution. If there’s a breach of contract dispute that can’t be informally resolved by the parties communicating with each other, how will it be handled? Head to court? Mediation? Arbitration? If there’s alternative dispute resolution, what rules apply? How is the mediator and/or arbitrator(s) selected?

10. Indemnification and Defense. To what extent, if any, is the marketer responsible for indemnifying and defending the client if a third party sues because of services rendered by the marketer (e.g. a copyright infringement lawsuit)?

Where Do You Get A Digital Marketing Agreement?

Don’t borrow someone else’s digital marketing agreement for three reasons.

First, the agreement may be written to favor the other side. If you’re a marketer, you don’t want to be using a contract designed to favor your clients.

Second, if you don’t have consent, “borrowing” the contract can be considered intellectual property theft and lead to a claim of copyright infringement against you.

Third, even if you do get consent, it may not be enough. For example, if a friend gives you a copy of a digital marketing contract for use by you, that friend may not have the legal right to do so. Contracts are frequently owned by attorneys and publishing companies who license their use in exchange for a fee.

If you need a digital marketing agreement, the best place to go is an experienced business contracts lawyer who understands online marketing. If you want Attorney Young to prepare one for you, be sure to check out our firm’s flat fee Business Contract Legal Protection Package.