As your work with a digital agency winds down, you’re most likely feeling exhilarated. You did the thing you set out to do, whether that was going deeper with your Google Analytics setup, revamping your website, building out your email lists, increasing SEO rankings, or any number of other delicious digital delicacies.
But what happens when your contract is officially over can also feel a bit like entering adulthood after graduating from college. What happens next? How do you keep momentum on what’s working? And how do you work it into your organization?
Here’s our breakdown of what to keep in mind as you prepare to offboard your digital agency and continue to build technical capacity within your organization.
Figure Out Who is Going to Take Over
This is one to figure out before your last day. Know who on your team is going to be handling your digital strategy going forward and make sure they have ownership over both the day-to-day and bigger picture tasks. Digital strategy isn’t something that just happens, it takes investment on your team’s part to gather information and data, analyze it, act on it, and review those results. (It’s the circle of digital life.)
Beyond your point person, you should also be able to communicate how digital and data culture fit into your larger organizational culture. The successes of your work with your digital agency will help to shape the narrative of how you integrate a digital capacity into your team (be it 2 people, 20, or 200) and leverage your tech into achieving your collective mission.
Now is also a good time to get a handle on the resources available to you. Whole Whale has an entire website section devoted to resources on everything from the AdWords Grant to Analytics to social media. We also have Whole Whale University, which currently offers courses on Impact, AdWords, and Social Media.
Make Sure You Have Access to Everything
You wouldn’t buy a car without asking for the keys. In the months, weeks, and days leading up to your contract end-date, ask your agency for all of the login credentials for any of the platforms that they built or configured on your behalf.
This may include (but isn’t limited to) domain hosts, website servers, Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google Search Console, any advertising services, social media platforms, and email or newsletter providers. And don’t forget to change your passwords once your agency no longer needs access to your login credentials.
If your agency has set up any dashboards or custom reports with their email on Google Analytics, you won’t be able to edit or change these settings so you will need to set them up on your account. You can also remove your agency from admin access to your Analytics account at this time.
Know What You Need to Renew — and When
When you ask for all of your logins and accounts, make sure you also know when registrations expire. For domains, this can be as soon as one year. For servers, this can be month-to-month. The last thing you want is for your site to go down temporarily because your registration has lapsed.
Most of these can be setup to automatically charge a card on file so you can set and forget — but it’s also good to know how much you’re charged on a monthly basis.
Schedule a Training Day – or Two
Depending on your contract, you may have some predetermined trainings for the platforms you’re integrating into your organization. Either way, your digital agency should be leaving you with the tools to succeed so be sure to take advantage of their expertise while they’re still around.
If you’ve launched a new website, make sure you or the person responsible for updating it is given a full tour of the CMS. The best bet would be to have this walkthrough recorded for future reference and training (some developers will include these videos as part of their scope of work).
Knowing your way around AdWords, Analytics, or any other apps or software set up by your agency will also ensure that your investment in their services will be well spent. Aim for an hour for each major aspect of your new tech toolbox.
Keep Going — and Optimizing
Setting up a digital strategy for your organization is akin to working with a nutritionist and trainer — a lot of hard work and guidance that will benefit you if you keep at it once your appointments have wrapped up. You may be in peak form, but you won’t be able to maintain your health if you stop exercising and eating balanced meals the minute that you hit your goal.
Keep A/B testing your emails, pop-ups, ad copy, and more. Try two sets of AdWords copy against one another, pick a winner, and then try to beat that winner with another ad. Keep your website maintained and its plugins updated. Review your Analytics reports when they’re sent around to ensure that you’re meeting your conversion goals.
To paraphrase the great Bill Watterson, “It’s a magical digital world, ol’ buddy… let’s go exploring.”
Your Google Roadmap
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And check out Whole Whale’s guide on how and when to maintain your website.