Selecting the right white label SEO partner is a big decision for any agency. As with any outsourcing decision, it is important to do due-diligence and weigh the pros and cons to ensure a good outcome for your business. In this article, I wish to outline a guide for agencies that are looking to outsource search engine optimization to a white label SEO team.
First a little background about myself. Before co-founding Hubshout, I worked in the technology field with Fortune 100 companies such as General Electric, AT&T, Chevrontexaco, and Ford. Many of these companies were interested in outsourcing critical business functions because they believed they could get economies of scale by using vendors rather than hiring resources themselves. I worked in that business for 11 years as the Chief Operating Officer, and I visited nearly half of the Fortune 100 in that time. I was able to gain an understanding of why outsourcing is such a popular business model. There are many advantages and many agencies have realized that these approaches apply to search engine optimization equally as well as any other business process.
Some of the major questions that small agencies often have as they start their Journey towards Outsourcing search engine optimization.
1) How will the outsourcing arrangement really work?
2) How will I handle special customer requests?
3) Do I lose control of the deliverables when I Outsource the work to an SEO reseller?
4) What kind of reporting can I expect from a white label SEO firm?
5) Can I grow my business using a white label SEO firm?
6) Is this really the right decision for my agency?
How will the outsourcing arrangement really work?
Particularly for agencies that have not outsourced before, they have a hard time envisioning how work can be well-coordinated between firms that are not co-located in the same place. The reality is that in today's business environment, even when work is not outsourced to another business entity the work may not be performed in the same physical location. Work-from-home arrangements and offshoring are very typical in today's business landscape. You have probably noticed this when you call large companies and the phone is answered in India or the Philippines.
One of the keys to success for outsourcing, in my opinion, is having a highly coordinated team and streamlined processes. If all members of the team know when work will be done, when it is due, and what the deliverables are, the outsourcing arrangement can really work well for an agency. It is when deliverables are poorly defined or workflow is loose and sloppy that agencies feel like the outsourced team has dropped the ball.
Do I have enough revenue to outsource SEO?
As you shop for agencies to take on your deliverable work evaluate how organized they are around workflow. There should be a centralized system that tracks all activities and has clear due dates and accountable parties. The deliverables should be extremely clear and have very consistent pricing that you can understand. Ask them how they track work that has gone overdue. Through this discussion, you should get a very strong feel for how much discipline they bring to accomplishing their work. You can also consult reviews (see HubShout reviews here) from other customers for more data.
How will I handle special customer requests?
Many agencies that are outsourcing for the first time feel like they will not be nimble enough to be responsive to customer requests. If you select the right agency partner, this should not be a problem. Customers are unique in their needs and desires and special requests are commonplace. Being responsive to customers and providing them what they need will get you strong customer reviews and repeat business.
Ask your agency partner how they handle special customer requests. If communication is strong there should be a streamlined way for requests to flow from the customer through to the outsourced agency partner in a timely fashion. Ask the vendor what their typical turnaround time is for a customer request. If they don't have that data, you should be concerned. Responsive customer service teams always know their average response time because they bring high levels of discipline to tracking agency requests as well as the responses. They should also be able to tell you the average satisfaction with the resolution of every request. Use these questions to evaluate what white label SEO platform you want to work with.
Here are HubShout's recent customer survey scores for responsiveness:
Do I lose control of the deliverables when I Outsource the work to an SEO reseller?
It is a common misconception that outsourcing a business workflow means losing control. Just because the resources may work for another company does not mean that you should have any less input or influence on what happens. As agencies look outsource search engine optimization they should find a team that is extremely responsive and is interested in their feedback. Teams with this orientation do not make you feel out of control, but the opposite. A good working relationship with a white label SEO firm will mean that you are in very frequent communication and you feel able to make decisions about customer deliverables and anytime.
What kind of reporting can I expect from a white label SEO firm?
Reporting is a very important topic for any agency considering Outsourcing. One important way to feel in control of the workflow is to have high-quality reports and statistics showing you that the work is being delivered on time and that the results are being achieved for the small business client. Each firm has a different approach to reporting and it is important that an agency understands this before making a decision to outsource. Ask for sample reports and engage in discussion about how you will use these reports with clients. If you have a custom request, talk about them up front and see how flexible the white label SEO firm is in meeting your needs.
At Hubshout, we have invested in an API connection with Zapier. Zapier allows us to communicate with many of the leading systems on the market today. Additionally, the platform is geared towards inexperienced users so that integration can be done easily and inexpensively. We also include our agency partners in our report design sessions. It is common to have 10 or 15 agency partners guide us as we redesign portions of the system or a specific report. We believe that customer feedback is an essential process involving any technology.
Can I grow my business using a white label SEO firm?
Many small agencies have a strong desire to grow their revenues. The search engine optimization industry continues to grow and offer a unique opportunity to build a business in an exciting new space. At Hubshout we are proud to have helped so many agencies grow revenues while providing a high-quality and honest search engine optimization service. We have seen small agencies grow from zero revenue to over $1 million dollars in the span of two years. We have helped mid-sized agencies grow from $600,000 to over $3,000,000 dollars in the span of 24 months.
Demand for search engine marketing remains high and most forecasts are for it to continue to grow. This is a growth industry. Agencies can accelerate their growth by focusing on sales and marketing and outsourcing the back office delivery work to a white label SEO firm. Using this guide to find the right partner for you is a great first step.
When selecting an agency to partner with it is important to discuss how they will help you grow. The right white label SEO partner will be interested in your marketing plan and will want to assist your digital footprint and help you gain customers. They will proactively bring you ideas, case studies and suggestions to guide your growth.
Is this really the right decision for my agency?
Only you will know if outsourcing is really the right decision for your agency. However, there are many benefits to utilizing a firm that has already achieved an economy of scale, and strong technological capabilities so that you can focus on growing your business. As many agencies have discovered, using a white label SEO firm is a fast path to growth if done the right way. Due diligence in the selection process is absolutely essential on this journey. I hope that this guide was of some use on your journey.