Finding the right insurance for your search marketing business is an important step in protecting your business and achieving long-term success.
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Digital marketing services are increasingly crucial parts of modern business strategies. In particular, agencies that specialize in Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are gaining more business as companies continue to increase investment in online marketing channels. As a professional in the online marketing space, it’s wise to keep in mind the specific risks your agency may be liable for. Unhappy clients may sue your firm if they feel you failed to provide adequate services in any way. Even if your company did nothing wrong, defending a lawsuit can be expensive. Beyond professional risks, there are a variety of common risks that could affect any company, such as property damage, cyberattacks, or an injury that occurs at your offices.
Dealing with incidents such as a lawsuit or injury can have a major impact on many companies, so it’s important to make sure that your company is prepared for any situations that may occur. This is why it’s a good idea to consider purchasing business insurance policies that will cover a variety of risks, whether it’s from a physical disaster like a fire, a lawsuit filed by a dissatisfied client, or a cyberattack that puts your computer network out of commission.
What insurance coverage do I need for my search marketing agency?
While there are many types of coverage for companies to consider, these insurance policies are particularly important for SEO and SEM agencies to consider:
SEO and SEM are the cornerstones of many modern marketing strategies. When you work with clients to create or manage their search marketing campaigns, they trust your recommendations. If you make a mistake, it could have a major effect on your clients’ revenue, not to mention putting at risk their advertising budgets. Unhappy clients could sue your agency if they feel any error or negligence on your part has led them to suffer financial damages. To protect your company from these risks, media liability insurance covers lawsuits brought on by dissatisfied clients alleging failures in services, advice, or professional work. Media liability insurance also provides coverage for personal and advertising injury, in the case that your agency is sued for libel, slander, or copyright infringement.
- A client hires you to manage their SEM campaigns on Google AdWords. After a few weeks of declining performance, their marketing team notices that you have failed to advertise on their key brand terms, which typically bring in a significant portion of their business. Competitors have started to bid on your clients’ brand terms, making the terms even more expensive to advertise on. The client is furious and sues your agency for damages.
- Your agency launches a new search marketing campaign for a local termite control company. You’ve created new display advertisements with imagery of a man with a top hat crushing a termite with a large mallet. Unfortunately, this imagery is extremely similar to a national pest control company’s logo. Your firm is sued for copyright infringement.
As a search marketing agency, your business likely depends on digital systems and networks that may be vulnerable to cyberattacks. Even if your company is experienced in managing cybersecurity, cybercriminals constantly develop new methods of breaking into digital systems, so there’s always a risk that you may be hacked or your data may be held for ransom. If hackers are able to access private data through your systems, your company could be held liable. The costs of recovering from a cyberattack are high, and news of hacks can have a disastrous effect on your reputation as well. Cyber liability insurance can provide financial assistance to help your company stay in business in the event of cyberattacks.
- A hacker breaches your company’s computer network, gaining access to logins and passwords for your clients’ accounts on Google AdWords. The hackers are able to access your clients’ accounts and divert ad spend to other malicious websites. Your clients sue your agency for failing to protect their information. Your insurer will pay for the legal costs and any settlements or judgements that result from the lawsuits.
A common coverage that most businesses purchase, general liability insurance can protect your business financially from lawsuits and damages that arise from bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury that is unintentionally caused by your business. General liability insurance is third-party insurance, meaning it covers you against claims by third parties, which don’t include your business or your employees. If your employees consult with clients at their locations, host clients at your own offices, or receive deliveries at your location, it’s a good idea to consider general liability insurance. Although general liability policies can also include personal and advertising injury coverage, marketing and advertising businesses are commonly excluded from this coverage.
- Property damage: While visiting a client’s offices, one of your employees trips on an uneven carpet and falls against a valuable piece of art, damaging it. Your general liability insurance would pay for damages.
- Bodily injury: A client comes to your offices to discuss your search marketing services. She slips on a wet floor in your restroom and falls, injuring her head. Your general liability insurance would pay for medical costs and legal costs if the client sues.
Commercial property insurance protects your agency’s physical assets in the case of unforeseen accidents or natural disasters. In such events, having commercial property insurance makes it easier to recover by reimbursing you for the cost of replacing damaged property. This type of insurance is important if you own or rent your building or office space, or if you have valuable property in your offices such as computer equipment, furniture, or artwork. Commonly covered perils include windstorms, hail, fire, vandalism, and water damage.
- Someone breaks into your offices over the weekend and steals laptops, cell phones, and other valuable electronic equipment. Your insurance would pay for the stolen items to be replaced.
- A business owner’s policy bundles general liability, property, business income, and extra expense coverage into one package. For small or midsize companies, this type of policy could help you obtain a wide range of coverage while paying less in premiums than you would if you bought each policy individually.
- Business income coverage will reimburse you for lost income and operating expenses if your business is unable to operate due to a covered reason, such as fire, storm damage, or other property damage.
- Workers’ compensation insurance is legally required for companies with employees in most states. It covers employees’ medical expenses and lost income if they are injured while working.
- Employment practices liability insurance protects against lawsuits filed by employees against your company. Specifically, EPL insurance protects against suits involving claims of wrongful treatment, such as discrimination or harassment, and covers any judgments or legal fees associated with these claims.
- Special event insurance can protect your company in the case of bodily injury or property damage to third-parties during a special event hosted by the business.
Your search marketing agency could be held liable for a variety of common risks, from unforeseen disasters that destroy your property to unhappy clients making accusations of professional errors. It’s important to consider your business’s individual needs as you choose insurance policies. Ensuring that your company has a wide range of insurance coverage can give you, your employees, and your clients peace of mind, knowing that your company will be able to survive an unexpected catastrophe.