Essential marketing informationIn my previous post, I talked about the challenge of maintaining control of and access to your company’s most critical marketing systems. I noted that the two most important things you can do to protect your business include creating a central repository for your company’s critical information (preferably using a password tool) and assigning appropriate access for each system.

Having these two pieces in place can go a long way in avoiding problems of control and access. But alone, they’re not enough. You also have to make sure you’re capturing and maintaining the right critical information in your secure system.

Below, I’ve outlined eleven marketing-related systems for which you need logins, passwords and other critical information. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it’s a good start:

1. Website

You should know how to log into your website. You should also know how to assign (and revoke!) user access.

In your password tool, make a note of the login URL, your login name and your password.

2. Website Host

In order for your website to be viewed on the Internet, it has to be hosted by a web hosting service provider.

You should know who your website host is (i.e. the company name) as well as their contact information – and how to login to your account.

Generally, you should go with the best website host service you can reasonably afford. This is not the place to cut corners. Choose a reputable company, one that offers 24/7 phone and chat support. I wrote a great article in 2013, Why Cheap Web Hosting is Bad News – and it’s still relevant. Read it!

You can expect to pay about $20 a month for shared hosting.

Again, you need to know who your website host is, your login and your password. Some web hosts may also require a PIN number before giving you information over the phone.

3. Domain Name Registrar

As part of setting up your website, your domain name (e.g. mycompanyname.com) would have been registered so that only you can use it.

Hundreds of companies can register domain names, so you need to know which one you used. (Some web hosting services will register your domain name for you as part of their service package. Two of the most popular are Network Solutions and Go Daddy.)

Again, you need to know the domain registrar’s name, your login, password and (possibly) PIN.

4. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a tool that allows you to track and report on website traffic.

For some reason, it usual to see Google Analytics accounts that have been set up in the name of web developers or consultants rather than the business owner. This is never a good idea.

Case in point: A consultant set up a company’s Google Analytics account in his own name and monitored traffic through his own account. When the consultant left, the client company couldn’t get access to all the data that had accumulated in the consultant’s account. So essentially, they had to start over from scratch.

Make sure Google Analytics is set up in your name. And make sure you know the login and password.

Generally, your Google login is what’s used for all Google properties, including the few I mention next.

Be sure to store this information in your password tool. I also highly recommend you add 2FA – or 2FactorAuthentication – to your Google account. This means that if someone tries to hack your Google login, an alert + verification code is sent to your mobile device – and the hacker needs the verification code to continue the login process.

5. Google Search Console

Google Search Console is the new name for Google Webmaster Tools. It allows you to monitor and maintain site health and other crucial information.

During set up, you needed to verify that the website is yours through various methods that Google provides (e.g. you’re also the owner of your Google Analytics account or providing access to your domain registrar.

Again, if you don’t have this information, or you’re not the registered owner (because someone else is), you can’t complete the verification process.

6. Google My Business

Google My Business is another Google tool. It allows you to manage your presence across Google, including Search and Maps. You can give consultants access to your My Business page — make sure you give them “user” access vs. Admin access. You can revoke access at anytime.

7. Google AdWords

Does your company do any online advertising? If so, you most likely have a Google AdWords account. Make note of your AdWords login and password, and make sure the account has your contact information.

As with other Google properties, you can give access — for example, to the agency or consultant managing your account. Generally, the agency will request a link to your AdWords account through their own Adwords MCC (My Client Center). You can remove this access at anytime.

8. Logo Files

While logo files aren’t part of an online marketing system, I regularly come across businesses that are stymied by not having the right logo format. They worked with a designer to develop their logo, or other marketing materials, but when they need these files months or years later, they find they don’t have them – and they can’t locate the designer.

Whenever you invest money in your branding, make sure that you get a complete set of relevant files. These could include EPS (vector based), TIF (for high raster type graphics, PNG (for the web), and JPEG (photographic images).

You should also ask for files in both high and low resolution. Store them in an easily identifiable file on your hard drive or server – such as, “company logo files.”

(As an aside, if you don’t have one or your files are scattered everywhere, I recommend you create a file directory called “Marketing Assets” and then house all your marketing information here in easily identified folders.)

9. E-Commerce

If you offer e-commerce services on your website, you’ll have even more logins to keep track of. These could include logins and passwords for:

  • Credit card accounts
  • Merchant account
  • PayPal
  • Shopify

If one or more of these accounts require security questions or pins, be sure to record the questions AND the answers in your password tool. (Trust me on this one, ha!). And, if the platform offers 2FA, implement it and use it. Yes, the extra step is a PITA if you log in frequently, but the peace of mind is worth it.

10. Social Media

Your social media platforms could include LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook – to name a few.

For each, you should have the login and password. Ideally, you should set these up yourself (rather than leaving it to an outside consultant). Again, it should be your contact information that’s on the account, not your consultant’s.

It’s especially important to have access to these platforms locked down. We’ve all seen examples in the news where employees have gone rogue and cause their company great embarrassment (or worse!). And, it’s a good idea to include your mobile phone number as a verification device, should anything go amiss.

One thing I should add: If you have “dead” profiles on any platform (meaning, you haven’t posted anything in over a year), either create a strategy to begin using the platform in your marketing, or delete the profile.

You can also perform an audit to see just how many profiles you have spread across the Internet. I did this a few years ago and was rather shocked. I ended up spending a few hours deleting all unnecessary and not used profiles — and am very careful about what I open now.

11. Newsletter

Regardless of whether you use MailChimp or some other email newsletter application, be sure that you have the login and password. As with your social media accounts, it’s important to control access.

In addition to these eleven items, it’s also important to keep current contact information for any external consultants you’ve brought in, such as your web designer, web developer and marketing consultant. It’s not a bad practice to touch base with them periodically to keep them on your radar.

This is One Challenge You Can Avoid

Running an industrial manufacturing business is hard. Losing control of, or access to, any of these marketing systems only makes it harder.

Fortunately, by creating a central, secure repository of critical information, and by assigning only the necessary level of access to each system, this is one potential problem you can avoid altogether.