The Internet marketing industry has grown rapidly over the past few years, both in terms of services available and the number of agencies offering them. If the agency your company works with stays current with new marketing trends, they’ve likely incorporated those trends into your marketing strategy to improve your overall success. But if they don’t – or if you’re dissatisfied with your results – it may be time to make a switch.
Many companies are unwilling to switch because they don’t want to deal with the stress and complication of ending their current contract and losing their online marketing strategy. Fortunately, this process is much easier than it seems. So if you’re considering switching to a new agency, here’s what you need to do:
1. Go over your current contract
Before you begin searching for a new agency, you should go over the details of your current contract. Even if you signed a contract for a specific length of time, you can contact your agency and discuss your options. You may be able to end it early, and in some cases, all you’ll need to provide is a cancellation notice 15-30 days in advance.
If you’re serious about switching to a new Internet marketing provider, you should contact your current agency as soon as possible. As long as your current agency is professional, your call shouldn’t be an issue. Once you’re clear on the terms of your existing contract, you can begin researching your options for other agencies without worrying whether or not you’ll be able to use them.
2. Make sure you have control of all online accounts
Before you officially end your contract with your current agency, you’ll need to make sure that you have access to all of the accounts associated with your company. This is especially important if your agency set up your accounts in the first place. Unless you specifically asked for the login information when they made the accounts, you may have relied on monthly reports instead of logging in yourself to check on the status of your campaigns.
Depending on the scope of their work, this could involve many different accounts and platforms. You can start with a few of the most common and important accounts in your name.
As the most important part of your online presence, it’s absolutely essential that you have both ownership of and access to your site. If your situation is like most, you owned your site before working with your agency and simply gave them the login information.
In this case, you’ll just need to make sure that the usernames and passwords you have on file (whether to your FTP or to a CMS like WordPress) are still up to date. Once you do, it’s also a good idea to change them before making the switch. If your current agency designed and launched your site from the start, you just need to get the rights and login information for your site from the agency.
That being said, there are agencies that claim ownership of the sites they create for their clients. This is rare, but it makes the process more difficult. In some cases, you may have to buy your own site.
Details regarding ownership should be specified in your contract, so it’s look them over before contacting your agency.
In addition to your site, you should also have access to all of the platforms that receive tracking information related to your marketing strategy. Google Analytics should be the highest priority, and you should have full access to manage users and edit settings. Unfortunately, some agencies set up individual clients as properties on the same Google Analytics account.
In this case, it is impossible to gain full ownership, and the only option is to create a new analytics account and start fresh.
If your company has ever run paid advertisements online, you should gain access to these accounts as well. The most common is AdWords, and much like your Analytics account, you should make sure that you have full ownership it. The same goes for other advertising platforms like Bing and Adroll.
Once you have access to these accounts, be sure to remove your current agency’s access so that they can no longer make changes to your campaigns.
Email marketing platform account information
Another important account is email marketing. If you send newsletters or coupons or have any sort of automated campaigns in place, you need access to the platform your agency used. Although some agencies use proprietary software for this, many use platforms like MailChimp or CampaignMonitor.
If this is the case, you’ll be able to access all of your existing campaigns and analytics. Then, you can decide with your new agency whether to continue with that platform or switch to another provider.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) is important for identifying and resolving issues with your site. If your current agency set up this account for your company, you need to make sure you have access to it.
The same goes for Bing Webmaster Tools, an SEO monitoring tool, if you use their platform.
Social media accounts
If your agency managed or worked on your company’s social media accounts, you’ll want to double check that you have access to all of them. This is especially important if you ran paid advertisements on any of them. Most of the time, these accounts include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other common social networks.
Much like all of your other accounts, it’s a good idea to change these passwords before switching to your new agency.
3. Be prepared to pause some of your campaigns
One of the most common questions we’re asked by new clients who switch from their old agency is whether they’ll have to pause their current marketing campaigns. In most cases, the answer is yes. We typically expect about two weeks of adjustment time for new clients.
That being said, you’re unlikely to see much of a change during this time period. From an SEO standpoint, a few weeks is not enough time to have an impact on your site’s rankings. They will not change, unless you happen to switch during a major algorithm update — and that’s highly unlikely to ever happen.
If you’re running PPC campaigns, however, you may need to switch off them off temporarily if they aren’t profitable. This may cause a slight drop in site traffic initially, but it will ultimately benefit you. If the campaigns are profitable, however, your new account manager may choose to make changes while they’re still running.
In this case, your site won’t experience any changes in traffic at all during the switch.
Have you successfully switched Internet marketing agencies in the past?
Switching Internet marketing agencies is a serious decision, but one that can ultimately have a huge positive impact on your company. If you’ve done so successfully, I’d love to hear any tips or recommendations you have in the comments below!
Trevin serves as the VP of Marketing at WebFX. He has worked on over 450 marketing campaigns and has been building websites for over 25 years. His work has been featured by Search Engine Land, USA Today, Fast Company and Inc.
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