Digital Marketing Poachers

Let us go back to a time when I was a freelancer web designer, circa 2016, working with a company called “ER Auto Care.”

(Actually a pretty cool name for an auto repair shop, I know)

I had just designed a slick new website that was a $4,000 range project.

A few months after launch, I logged into ManageWP to do a scan and some general maintenance to update plugins when I noticed their site wasn’t connected…

“Uh Oh..” I said, as all web designers alike fear a hack was afoot.

But it wasn’t a hack. It was actually worse.

When I went to look at the live URL, it was a completely different site.

Well, it looked similar to mine, used all the same branding elements, design, layout, flow and graphics but was built on a different them in WordPress.

When I emailed the client to see what was up, he nonchalantly said…

“Oh the guy who does our digital marketing said he could do the website too in his marketing package so we just took it over to him.”

I wasn’t sure what to say other than why the heck didn’t you consult with me first?!?

I didn’t say that but what I did say, I’ll relay to you. And that is:

The issue with a digital marketing company taking over a website is when the business wants to pause or cancel their marketing, the website often goes with it.

Or if they want to move to a different company, a new digital marketing agency needs to recreate a whole new site.

(This happened to a home inspector I worked with who moved his site, then a year later had to redesign his site with a new agency.)

Moral of the story

As web designers, we need to warn our clients that digital marketing agencies will poach them and offer to “throw their website design in with marketing” but when they want to cancel, they’re site is often cancelled with it. Not in all cases, but most in my experience.

That doesn’t mean that we as web designers can’t work with digital marketing agencies who work with our clients, in fact, I recommend it if you’re not doing marketing services.

But make it OH SO CLEAR that you’re willing to work with marketing folks and why clients should keep their website separate from marketing services.

That way they can move through as many marketing agencies as they want without their core digital presence being taken down or changed every year.

Hope this little painful lesson from my past helps!

If you haven’t experienced this yet…you will.

But now you know what to do!

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