As a marketing strategy consultant, I’m a busy guy. So when a client asks hires me, I have only so much bandwidth to handle all the work each project involves. Because my background and expertise is in marketing systems and copywriting, and not search engine optimization or search engine marketing (like Google Adwords), I have chosen to focus on what I know best… and find experienced partners to fill in where I’m less proficient.
Which is why I work with a white label SEO and PPC agency.
And I’m not the only one. Even marketing agencies that are focused on SEO and PPC as their core services fin that there’s a benefit to outsourcing. Many agencies come to a crossroads after they've onboarded their first 10 campaigns. The sheer number of monthly deliverables weighs down further sales efforts as the team's time is primarily devoted to delivery and customer service.
From there, many agencies start selling again only after losing two or three of their campaigns and stop selling again once they are back to their original 10 campaigns.This is not a problem unique to the digital marketing industry. Every growing business has had to decide if they will simply tread water, hire additional team members so they can begin their next leg of growth, or outsource some or all of their fulfillment work to a white label digital marketing provider.
Having faced this dilemma several times, my opinion is that treading water is the surest way to shrink your company. Companies must continue to grow or face future revenue loss due to churn. Even the best digital marketing agencies face churn rates of 3% per month. That means even the best firms lose roughly a third of their client base each year.
Most firms wait until after a customer leaves to begin finding a new one. You can easily see the problem here. There is a lag of four to six weeks to bring on a new campaign as that is the typical sales cycle for the average digital marketing agency. Because this lag is unaccounted for with traditional churn rate calculations, our adjusted churn rate is much higher.
The second option is to hire additional team members to handle the increased workload. This works well if the incremental revenue produced by additional campaigns is substantial and low churn rates are present. The reality is that data shows that 50% of SMBs spend between $501 and $2,500 per month for digital marketing, while only 36% spend more than $2,500 per month. Assuming a campaign budget of $1,000 per month, with a 3% churn rate, we can count on having the campaign for nine months x $1,000, which produces a $9,000 lifetime value for a new campaign.
If we further assume that a new fully loaded employee (wages, social security taxes, and benefits) will run you $50,000 per year, that means you will need to bring on roughly five new campaigns to barely move into the black. The loss of even one campaign would mean that you have to carry a portion of a salary. The loss of multiple campaigns typically means that you will need to let that employee go, which is traumatic for both your employee and their family. There is a better solution for bringing on new team members, which we will detail below in the outsourcing section.
A third option is to work with a white label SEO provider that meets a rigorous set of requirements and acts as your back office in several capacities. When evaluating a white label SEO provider, we recommend that you evaluate them on the criteria below.
• Product offerings: The two most important services to make sure any white label reseller offers is SEO and paid search. We also recommend asking if they provide social media marketing services and Facebook advertising.
• Quality content: Many white label SEO programs have low-quality content marketing services. We recommend that you take the time to find an agency with a deep commitment to creating high-quality content for your clients.
• Authoritative links: For many digital marketing agencies this is the most difficult and time-consuming portion of any digital marketing campaign. Most agencies simply do not have relationships with a large enough pool of reliable link partners to create sustained results for their clients. Another challenge of link-building can be the cost. Many link providers may charge thousands of dollars per link for authoritative links, making it all but unaffordable to the average small business client. We recommend looking for the best blend of value you can find. That typically means finding authoritative links at low prices. You will typically not get links from websites that are household names, but you also won't break the bank by finding authoritative sites that will help your client move the needle.
• White label SEO software: It's possible to select a vendor who can show how much work is being performed each month and the results of that work. Their software should include a SERP tracker, integration with Google Analytics to show traffic, call tracking, and integrations with major tools like SEMRush.
• Customer service: All the technology and deliverables in the world will not mean much if there's not a competent team behind the scenes at your provider to make it all work. Look for teams who respond to your concerns quickly, help you understand everything going on in the dashboard, and can help you devise a plan of attack for each campaign.
My advice is to choose a reliable white label partner before bringing on full-time employees as many white label providers charge $300 to $700 per campaign on a wholesale basis, which is much less expensive than bringing on a full-time employee and those campaigns could be terminated as needed. Once you have on-boarded 10 to 20 new campaigns with a white label SEO provider, it may be possible to pull back some of that work and hire a full-timer.
When hiring a full-time employee, our advice is to hire an account manager first as customer service issues can often take a lot of time. SEO work can be done more easily by a white label provider, leaving account management your top priority. We hope you found this guide helpful and that it helps you work through the growth process more quickly and efficiently.