Growing a digital marketing agency can be extremely stressful.
It’s exhilarating for a while…
You get more clients, hire more staff, the revenue is flowing, and everyone’s happy.
But what happens when your once full book of happy clients isn’t so full anymore, and you still have full-time staff to pay?
This scenario is all too common, and it creates a financial strain on the business and emotional stress on you.
What most agencies do to avoid this scenario is over-work their staff. They hire fewer people and load them up with way more clients than they can deliver genuine value for. This practice spreads these employees thin and forces them to work long hours – becoming inevitably resentful towards you and your business. Resentment turns into high turnover (a whopping 30% in the US), and a diminishing culture of overworked staff desperate to find greener pastures.
It’s not your fault though; it’s the business model. Whoever dreamt up the agency model didn’t foresee these challenges, because on the outside it’s a logical approach to business. Get more clients, hire more staff.
So what can you do to break this trend? How can you reduce your emotional and financial stress, deliver a quality service to your clients, retain a happy working culture and still grow your agency?
The answer is “white label” services and in particular white label PPC (pay-per-click).
What is White Label PPC?
White label is a term that can be applied to just about anything. It’s the process of buying a product or service from a third-party, applying your brand to it and selling it on as if it were your own.
For a digital agency, you are combining a third-party service (PPC management), which you either don’t supply yourself or would prefer not to supply yourself, along with your current array of services.
To outsource your PPC management services you would hire a specialist white label PPC agency, such as InvisiblePPC, to manage your client’s Pay-Per-Click campaigns. They do the work, but you retain the client. The relationship stays in-house. Thus, significantly reducing overhead costs while still giving the client high-quality outcomes. Meanwhile, they are none the wiser that a third-party has done the grunt work.
White Label PPC Vs Hiring A Contractor
Outsourcing PPC management to a white label provider leaves you with a choice:
“Do I choose a contractor or freelancer, or do I choose an organization that specializes in providing white label services?”
There’s no right answer to this question because there’s a lot of grey area. Certainly, the options are not equal, and they will deliver different outcomes for your business since both are relevant depending on your situation.
It’s crucial, however, that you make the right choice given your unique situation. So let’s take a look at the key differences between each approach.
A contractor or freelancer is usually an individual, someone who works for themselves. That means that when they are busy, they are completely unavailable to you. You may or may not be able to add clients to them as their capacity gets used up, and they are likely working with multiple partners.
On top of this, most contractors have their clients to serve as well. There is a bit of a push and pull tension between the work you need to scale, and the work they need to keep themselves afloat and busy.
A white label agency, by comparison, is built to scale. It means you are unlikely to have a similar challenge. Under most circumstances, a white label PPC agency will have the capacity and resources to take on your extra clients as you increase your workload.
The reliability of a contractor can be inconsistent – and that’s not necessarily a reflection of their personality. Individuals need to take holidays, they may be out sick one day, they may have a family emergency to tend to, or their internet connection might drop out. With this option for white label PPC, you are dependent on a single point of failure with that person.
An adept white label agency will have resilience built in. They will have holiday and sickness cover. There will not be a single person or single piece of technology on which your business is dependent. From a reliability perspective, you won’t see a difference in the service level you receive from a white label agency, even if some people are on holidays or away from work.
A contractor will likely work with a small portfolio of clients because that is what they can handle. Let’s say they have 20, 50, or even 70 clients – it’s still a small portfolio compared to a white label PPC agency. In any given industry an individual contractor may only have a handful of clients in that area. Their expertise and knowledge in that market are subsequently limited.
Comparatively, a white label agency could have a dozen or even hundreds of clients in the same sector. So they know how to get excellent client outcomes and can start nearer to the place of success than a contractor.
Perspective and Insight
In pay-per-click management, the processes you use to build and manage a campaign determine its success. These processes make a huge difference to the speed of outcomes you and your clients can see from their investment.
A contractor usually only has one perspective, a single view of what an exceptional campaign looks like. Of course, if a contractor is smart then they’ll be networking. They’ll be liaising with other people in the digital space to trade stories and improve their processes. But it’s still limited.
The point is, it is really hard if you are one person and you’ve exhausted all of your normal tricks and tactics. Coming up with new ways to approach something is near-on impossible – you need external input.
An established white label agency will have quality control processes in place and extra eyes to provide perspective and insight on the campaign they are running for you. So if there is a hitch – two, three, or four more people within the organization, and bound by the same contractual agreement, can take a look at the campaign to get it back on track.
What we’ve said so far might sound a little one-sided, especially seeing we are a white label agency ourselves – so let’s balance out the discussion.
If the price is critical, then a contractor is almost surely going to be a cheaper resource when compared to a white label agency. There are places in the world where you can hire contractors very inexpensively to do Google Ads outsourcing work for you.
Despite what appears to be an attractive low-cost alternative, this approach to outsourcing definitely comes with its challenges. To start with, you will likely be dealing with a language barrier and time zone complications. Not to mention that a lone contractor, with a relatively low hourly rate, won’t be able to invest in top-of-the-line tools and reporting technology that is essential to your client deliverables. It means that you will either burden this additional cost yourself or deliver a below-par PPC management service.
On the other side of the equation, a white label agency has an infrastructure. They’ll have staff costs and other overheads which an individual contractor won’t. So if the price is the most important factor to you, hiring a contractor might save you some money. Just be aware that lower costs are only helpful if you can also retain the client in the long-term. There’s no point saving money if you lose the client because of it.
White label agencies tend to have pretty well-defined service levels because they have to. These agencies need to be able to plan and prioritize their resources because they have a lot more clients than your average contractor. If you send them an email, they may only get back to you the next day – depending on the agreement.
A contractor, on the other hand, won’t typically have these limitations when it comes to service. When they’re not busy, you’ll get a response pretty quickly. When they are busy, you might not. So service is something to consider when you are making your decision about which white label option to choose.
White Label PPC Tools
We could cook this answer a dozen different ways and get a dozen different outcomes. Some contractors may expect you to provide the tools, and some may bring them along to the party. But it’s important to consider who is providing the tools of the trade, and how that will influence your costs.
Who is picking up the cost of call tracking software, the analytics reporting platform, and the PPC management suite?
You might find that your costs quickly start to increase if you have to provide all the tools for your contractor. Whereas a capable white label agency will have that handled, and you won’t need to put your hand in your pocket for any additional costs or tools over and above the service fee you are already being charged.
The final thing to consider is your ability to scale. The way you scale with a white label agency relationship or with a contractor is going to be different.
Let’s look at a contractor first. Say that you fill them up to capacity. Now you must hire another contractor to continue expanding your business. This new contractor may have different ways of working to the first one. For example, their turnaround time may be slower, they may have different standards of performance, and their PPC management processes may be misaligned with what you are used to. This approach to scaling adds variability to your service offering.
It’s like what they say about kissing a frog. You may have to kiss several frogs to find the prince.
If you’re working with a reputable white label PPC agency, you’ll be able to keep adding clients as you need to. The process, the relationship, the turnaround times, will all remain consistent. This approach to scaling is much easier and presents less variability with your service.
In the end, there is no right or wrong answer when choosing a contractor or white label agency for your Google Ads outsourcing. However, there are some major differences between the two, and the right choice is dependent on what is a fit for your agency and your stage of growth. Your needs may change over time.
White Label PPC Vs. Managing PPC In-House
Instead of outsourcing your PPC management to a white label service, you may choose to take it in-house by hiring someone permanently. Much like the decision you face when choosing between a contractor and a white label agency, there are several things to consider before you go down this path.
Again, there’s no clear right or wrong answer. It depends on your management style, the stage of your business, the growth forecasts, and your experience and aspirations. But let’s take a look at some of the key differences between the two.
In-House PPC Management
If you decide to keep these services in-house, here are the things you will need to consider:
Recruitment and Training
Training an internal team member to up-skill and start offering new services, such as PPC management, comes with a training cost. For example, research by the Association for Talent Development found that on average it costs organizations $1,252 to train an employee.
There is also a certain amount of time that needs to pass for you to be confident that this individual is at a level where they can deliver this service at a standard you’d be happy to let in front of clients. That might be immediate, or it might be several months down the road. Consider that timeline and the opportunity cost of ramping up your PPC service more quickly with a white label partner.
There will obviously be a recruitment cost as well. This will likely be a financial cost, in terms of recruitment ads or staffing agencies, as well as the cost of lost time based on the effort required to interview, hire and onboard new staff members.
Recruitment can be a difficult thing to do because if you’re not a PPC expert yourself then conducting a thorough interview and identifying who is going to excel in the role can be very hard. You won’t truly understand whether the responses you are getting are good or bad. In this scenario, you may need to call on external third parties to vet the candidates and analyze the answers they are providing.
When you go in-house, one thing you’ll often find, particularly on day one, is that you may not have enough work for that one person to stay busy on a full-time arrangement. You end up having someone who does multiple roles in the business to justify paying them a full-time wage. As your client base grows, it can be very hard to scale with generalists. Especially when there are competing priorities that can pull them in multiple directions, and directly affect the performance of your client’s campaigns.
Keeping your PPC management in-house at your agency also means you are going to need to buy a set of tools, such as; call tracking software, PPC management tools, as well as pre-sales and onboarding tools. All of those come with a cost, and you may want to evaluate several. By hiring, you internalize all of those costs.
If you are not a PPC expert and don’t have a lot of experience managing campaigns, how do you know what tools to pick? Are you going to trial and test all of them yourself?
That is a HUGE task in itself, given the overwhelming state of the digital marketing software space. Many of the below tools serve multiple purposes and could provide relevant value to your clients:
Hiring internally means that you only get one point of view on things, at least initially. There will only be a small pool of people to contribute a viewpoint about building and running campaigns, and where things could be improved. Compared to an agency these people will have limited experience in running PPC campaigns. This diminishes the possibility of creative insights especially if a campaign isn’t going well.
Whenever you’ve only got one mindset, and a limited amount of experience, it’s very hard as a manager or business owner to know if that perspective is competent or not because you haven’t got a comparison.
Holidays and Sick Leave
What do you do when one of your team is out sick, or they’re on vacation? Or maybe they’ve got a family emergency or just don’t feel like coming into work one day. How will you cover their workload and keep your clients happy?
The Upside of Hiring In-House
The big upside of having your PPC management in-house is that you have total control. That person is at a desk, potentially in an office, and you control their priorities every day. You get to say what they work on, and how it fits into your greater business vision.
White Label PPC
If you compare the above breakdown of hiring someone in-house to white label PPC management, there are a number of key differences. To start with, you obviously don’t have the same level of control with the outsourced agencies day-to-day priorities. However, you do know what to expect and when to expect it from this partner because it’s written into an agreement.
Their response time might not be immediate, in comparison to an in-house employee, so if immediacy is important to you then hiring someone in-house may be a better direction to go in. While not immediate the white label response time will be consistent and reliable. And they won’t take any sick days or holiday leave.
Seeing a white label agency most likely has a multitude of clients at any one time, they can administer a level of perspective and expertise that you are unlikely to find from an internal hire – unless of course, you spend big money on hiring an experienced PPC manager in your industry.
The white label team will be scalable, and also equipped with the toolset you need to fulfill your clients PPC requirements, with no additional cost for you.
The big kicker for an argument that favors white label over an in-house hire is the variable costs. With a full-time employee, you will have salary costs, potentially health insurance, retirement benefits, Workers’ Compensation, unemployment insurance, and other fixed monthly expenses regardless of how many clients you have on your books. With a white label service provider, the costs can rise and fall based on your requirements. When your client base goes up, your costs go up. If you lose clients, your cost goes down accordingly. So your margin is always protected.
At the end of the day, it’s a question of “Which is the best route for me as a business?”
Are you willing to take on the risk of financial overheads, salary costs, and training and onboarding headaches, in exchange for day-to-day control of priorities? Or do you want the flexibility and scalability of a white label agency, without the ability to micromanage their work and focus at every moment?
What’s in Scope and What’s out of Scope?
Expectations are something that is really important to me. The clearer expectations are in any aspect of your business relationships the better outcomes you are likely to have, and the less likely either party is going to be disappointed. It’s no different with a white label PPC service.
When vetting a white label provider for your PPC management the most important thing to understand from day one is the expectations you set for them. What exactly do you expect them to do for you? What shouldn’t you assume they’ll do? What’s your responsibility in the relationship, and what’s theirs?
If everybody has clarity around their responsibilities from the very start, then the relationship is much easier to manage because there are no grey areas. When your white label operator knows exactly what they are accountable for, they can focus on delivering the results you want. This clarity will result in brilliant client outcomes.
Unfortunately, it’s all too common for either party to make assumptions when it comes to defining the scope of a white label agreement. Assumptions result in grey areas, which turn into tension down the road. Tension or resentment end up diminishing the outcomes for your clients and significantly affecting all of these valuable relationships.
Let’s run through some examples of things that are typically in and out of scope within a white label PPC relationship. Every agency will be slightly different, but these are some common rules that you can expect to see.
Out of Scope
- Marketing Strategy. Your white label partner isn’t the marketing department for your client and is not responsible for coming up with the offers your client is going to make or making sure that precise follow-up processes are in place. These items are something either you or the client are responsible for.
- The Sale. The agency you work with is usually responsible for lead generation and qualified traffic, but they are not ultimately responsible for the sale. The sale is bound to the quality of the deal your client has, their follow up processes, their sales processes, and everything that happens from the point at which the traffic hits their website right through to the moment they become a customer.
- Business Development. They aren’t your salesperson either. Your white label agency will help you and may offer pre-sale support material, case studies, results, and an idea around expectations, but in the end, you are responsible for closing the client.
- Client Management and Retention. Once you’ve made the sale, it’s also your responsibility as the agency owner or account manager to onboard the client and keep them happy. The key during onboarding is to remove any doubt in your new customer’s mind about the decision they just made and it is a critical part of client retention. But it’s not something you should rely on your white label partner for.
- Website Changes. It’s worth mentioning that website design, and improvements are not usually part of a white label PPC service. There is too much risk associated with tinkering with a client’s website, especially seeing your white label provider is a third-party. They will, instead, most likely use standalone landing pages for the PPC campaigns which do not directly change the client’s website.
The in-scope components of a white label PPC agreement are fairly obvious, but here is a brief overview of the main areas:
- Building the original campaign – including keyword research, ad setup, bidding, etc.
- Managing the campaign and optimizing the variable components for improved performance.
- Providing reports and analysis based on the results of the campaign.
- Advice, feedback, and guidance for improvements that could be made to the campaign, the offer, or the website (landing page) for better conversions.
- Liaising directly with you as the agency owner so that you are in a position to brief the client about the campaign.
What are White Label Costs and Margins?
For your agency to be successful, you obviously want to make money. Right?
We’re often asked; “Can I be profitable if I use a white label service provider for my PPC management?”
It’s a really important question to ask because if you don’t get it right, then what’s the point of everything else? You are ultimately in business to make some money and create an enjoyable lifestyle for you and your family.
Let’s break this down. First things first, your pricing to your client needs to be realistic. If you are heavily discounting your prices for your services, then you’re doing both yourself and your client a disservice. Because if you aren’t charging enough for the results that you deliver, then the only way you can service them is to under-service them. Giving them a poor man’s version of the service they are expecting to get.
So, to be profitable with white label services you need to be charging the right price to your clients. A price that is fair and allows you to deliver a high-quality service to them. Assuming that this is the case and you are charging sensibly, you should always be able to achieve a 50% or more margin on the service that you charge your clients for. For example, let’s say you are charging $1,000 per month for PPC management, your white label partner would be charging $500 or less.
Every white label agency has a slightly different approach to how they price their services. We’ve field tested our prices time and time again, and we know that we leave enough margin for the agency to make good money – as long as their pricing is reasonable.
We have some agencies we partner with who are making an 80% margin. That’s huge… a massive profit! It’s the exception, but it is achievable if you package and position correctly.
Being Profitable with White Label
To be profitable with a white label service, you need to give yourself enough margin.
For example, small clients and tiny budgets are usually hard work. They’re hard for us as a white label service, and they are often difficult for the agency too. There is a certain quantity of work, a certain investment in tools, process, and communication, that has to take place regardless of whether you are charging $500, $5,000 or $50,000. That base level cost doesn’t go away.
So when you get down to a client with say, less than $1,000 a month for ad spend and perhaps less than $500 of fees for you, that’s when margins get squeezed. That is where both the white label provider and the agency will start to see problems with margins and profitability. Not to mention that small clients with a limited budget usually turnover more frequently because they go out of business or decide that they can’t afford the ad spend any more. There’s a lot more risk there.
Work with a white label agency who can give you that margin and understand their pricing model before you start sending quotes to prospective clients.
The short and long of it is – you should be profitable when using white label PPC servicesespecially when you compare it to the headaches of in-house hires and training costs.
White Label PPC Pricing Models
There are various ways a white label provider can price for PPC management services, and this section of the article will cover a few of the main ones. It won’t be exhaustive because there are dozens of different ways to approach it, but it will give you an adequate overview. Remember, the way your white label agency prices will directly influence the way you will price too – so this is important information to be aware of.
Some white label agencies charge a fixed fee, usually up to a cap in advertising spend. For example, it may be something like “we charge $1,000 a month for ad spends up to $5,000”.
Fixed fee services are a really common way to price white label PPC because it’s simple, easy for the client to understand and it also means there is no conflict of interest between the spend and the agency.
Percentage of Ad Spend
This approach to pricing and cost for you is determined by the amount of ad spend. For example, the white label agency might charge you 20% of the ad spend the client is investing.
The advantages of this approach are that it scales as the client grows the spend, so you earn more as the client spends more. Typically clients are only going to grow their ad spend if you have been successful for them, so it aligns quite nicely with an outcome-based relationship. It also avoids the need for renegotiation that you get with a fixed fee.
With this pricing model, we would recommend going with the budgeted ad spend, not the actual ad spend as this allows you to bill your clients in advance and get paid in advance. Billing your clients in advance enables the PPC managers to optimize the campaign based on the metrics in front of them, rather than being held to a specific number. It could actually save the client money on ad spend if the opportunity presents itself.
Hybrid Pricing Models
Some agencies go for a hybrid pricing model that combines both fixed fee and a percentage of the ad spend. As the fixed fee grows, the ad percentage grows as well.
Another version of a hybrid model is to bundle pay-per-click management in with other services. For example, you may bundle SEO services that are valued at $1,000 a month, with PPC services that are valued at $1,500 a month, for a bundle deal of $2,000 for both. This can seem like considerable value to the client.
Ultimately there is no perfect pricing model. It depends on your business model and what you are comfortable with. Something you feel confident about selling, and that fits your client needs.
The Pricing Model to Avoid
One pricing model that I haven’t mentioned is the “pay-per-lead” model. I always find this approach to pricing brings conflict. Because if you send the client 50 leads in a month, but they don’t convert any of them, they will probably argue with you about the quality of those leads and whether or not you had met your end of the bargain. It just sets up the relationship for confrontation, mistrust, and inevitably challenges.
Effective White Label Onboarding
Onboarding a new client is in some ways the best part of a client relationship. In other ways, it’s the worst!
You’ve just won a new client which is a moment of celebration. A win. But now you need to get their PPC campaign up and running as quickly as possible so you can start delivering value.
The way you manage the time between a client signing up for your service and when they start to see results is critical to the success of your relationship. It can make or break it.
Think about it. They have just chosen to give you a substantial (hopefully) sum of money in return for you managing the growth and prosperity of their business. But they don’t know you very well yet. It’s a new relationship, and they are going out on a limb.
At this stage of the relationship trust levels are fairly low, so it’s important that you build trust as fast as possible.
How to Build Trust With a New PPC Client
First of all, be confident, be authoritative and be clear throughout the onboarding process.
Make sure you set expectations for your client at every step of the way, so they know what is coming next. Be realistic and honest. If you are going to need 7 days to get them set up and onboarded tell them 10. Over deliver and under promise.
Make sure you have effective communication throughout the onboarding period because your client is going to be waiting for something. They’ve just handed over their money to you, when can they see something? They are going to want to see something as quickly as possible.
Don’t fall into the trap of going into radio silence during the onboarding period. Things might be going according to plan that you know of, but your client is in the dark. You need to educate them on how your internal processes work.
Also, be aware that your white label PPC partner will have an onboarding process too. Understand how this process works in as much detail as possible so you can build a buffer into the timeline you discuss with your client.
Create an Onboarding Checklist
There are a lot of questions you are going to need to ask a new client and a lot of information you will need to pass onto your white label PPC partner. For example, things like their Google Ads ID, ads budget, the product or service they are selling, the geographies they are capable of selling to, the times of day they want to run ads when they are available to answer phones, and so on.
All of these things are critical to the onboarding process and the successful launch of a PPC campaign, so make sure you have an onboarding checklist to help you capture the information you need to get started. Work through the checklist with your client so that everyone is on the same page and they are confident that you will deliver on your agreed outcomes.
Don’t forget to build in any questions or points of importance that your white label partner may have during this process. You don’t want to ask your client one set of questions and then have to go back to them again with a secondary set that your white label team puts forward. The process needs to be cohesive and remove any unnecessary stress on the client.
Start in sync from day one. Ask quality questions, set clear expectations, be cautious and always under promise on what you will deliver. The more you can communicate with authority and confidence about future progression and steps, the more trust you will build with your clientin that early stage of the relationship.
How to Choose a White Label Partner
When it comes to deciding on the right white label PPC partner for your business, here are the most important considerations:
- They have experience getting results in the industry that your clients sell. For example, if their experience is predominantly with e-commerce clients who have $50,000 monthly budgets and your client sells coaching services with a $2,000 a month budget, it’s a bad fit. Look for a white label service provider who has experience with the type and size of clients that you work with.
- Look at their credentials. With Google, there are two types of partner badges to look out for. There is the Google partner badge that has a blue band on the left-hand side, and is a regular lower level Google Partner:
There is also a Google Premier Partner badge that has a red stripe and indicates a higher level of competency in the eyes of Google:
If you are looking for a white label agency to run your client’s PPC campaigns, it’s usually best to find a partner with the Premier Google badge. If they have neither, then rule them out.
- Think about communication. Will your white label provider be able to meet your communication style and expectations with the client? For example, if you communicate with your client daily then make sure your white label team is able to communicate with you daily too.
- Set criteria for responsiveness. Consider things such as turnaround time for emails, implementation time for a campaign change request, or a budget update. Make sure your partner can meet your expectations and targets that you will inevitably set with the client – but also make sure your targets are realistic. Nobody can be on the hook 24 hours a day, after all, it is an outsourced partnership, not a full-time staffing placement.
- Think about working hours and location. It makes sense to have a white label business who works in a similar time zone and has similar office hours to your agency. It’s also preferable to work with a provider who speaks the same language as you because things can easily get lost in translation.
- Be aware of their pricing model. Do their pricing model and billing cycle fit with yours? Will they seamlessly slot into your current client set up? Will you be able to be profitable and give your client the level of service you want to at the same time?
- Assess the tools you would like them to provide. Some white label solutions will provide all the relevant tools you need to deliver outcomes for your clients. For example, things such as a reporting platform, call tracking software, and PPC management software are important ones. If they don’t have these tools in place already how is it going to affect your costs and their ability to deliver on the outcomes you have agreed?
- Find a cultural fit. Do you like the people you talk to at the white label agency? Does it feel like they care? Do they appear responsive? Think about what it is going to be like working with this outsourced partner in the long term. If they don’t value your relationship now, will they value it in 6,12 or 18 months time?
Speaking to Your Clients with Authority
As a digital agency one of the most important roles that you have to fulfill is client communication. In some instances, you can share this role with your white label PPC colleagues, but most of the time it’s something that you have to own.
Regardless of how you approach communication with your clients, it’s important you do so with authority and clarity. Being confident about the PPC strategy you are using and clearly articulating that to your client builds trust in the relationship. It builds trust in your business and makes sure they listen to what you have to say.
Here are some things you can do to ensure you speak with authority when communicating with your clients:
- Understand the language of pay-per-click. Know what a click is, what an impression is, and what “cost-per-conversion” means. If you don’t understand the language, you won’t be able to effectively communicate with your client. That doesn’t mean you need to be a technical expert, that’s why you have hired a white label service, but you do need to be able to communicate the basics and do it authoritatively.
- Understand the business goals of the client. Be able to translate the technical things that are happening with the PPC campaigns into tangible outcomes for your client that align with their business goals. If you truly understand what it is your client wants to achieve – be it leads, sales, phone calls, or something else – you’ve got a better chance of working with your white label team to achieve those things. Not to mention that your client will fundamentally value the relationship more if they believe you care about their goals and are working towards achieving them.
- Set clear boundaries and expectations. Make sure the client understands what you are responsible for and subsequently what they are responsible for too. The worst thing that can happen is a client expecting one thing and getting something totally different. That creates a breakdown in trust and puts your relationship at risk. Boundaries could be something as simple as the turnaround time for email requests, or something more substantial such as the scope of the agreement. You will also want to establish expectations and a timeline for the delivery of agreed outcomes.
- Keep your finger on the pulse. Stay up to date, at least on some level, with what’s going on in both the PPC industry and your client’s industry. Subscribe to blogs, podcasts, or newsletters that will update you on changes in the marketplace. Be aware of things that could affect your clients and proactively communicate these things to them.
- Never fluff an answer to a question you don’t know. This is one that many agency owners struggle with, but it is really important. You don’t have to be the expert on everything and have an answer to every single question a client has. It is perfectly legitimate to say, “You know what, I’m not the technical person who implements this campaign. I’m the relationship manager. Let me speak with the team, who I’m confident will be able to answer that question for you and I will get back to you.” If you respond honestly in this situation, rather than trying to fluff your way through a low quality and vague answer, you will sound far more professional and authoritative.
If you get these communication principles right, you will have a tremendous client relationship built on trust and credibility.
White Label Tools and Processes
When you are managing PPC services for a client, there are certain software products and documented processes that you are going to need in your toolkit. Your white label agency will provide at least some of these tools, if not all of them so that you don’t incur separate licensing costs yourself.
Let’s take a look at some of the tools and processes that should be in play:
- Onboarding process. Your white label partner will have a well built out onboarding process for your clients. Rely on their experience to document an aligned, and battle-tested onboarding process that works for both of you.
- Client reporting. Your clients will expect to receive a regular report that updates them on the progress of the campaign; be that daily, weekly, or monthly. One thing I can almost guarantee is that clients do not want to see a spreadsheet. No matter how well thought out a spreadsheet just doesn’t come across as professional. They like to see charts, graphs, and a visually beautiful depiction of their results. To deliver on that expectation, you are going to need a reporting suite software. The best tools are expensive – such as Swydo, NinjaCat, and Report Garden – so it’s in your best interest if your white label provider can bring those things to the relationship. For example, below you can see how Report Garden visually represent their PPC reports:
- Call tracking. One thing that most industries are going to need is a way to track inbound phone calls and inquiries. If you are delivering leads for a client, they expect to know how many they’ve acquired. The only way to keep track of this is to use call tracking software. Two examples of tools that you can use for this are Call Tracking Metrics and CallRail. Again, a well established white label agency will provide a call tracking platform that can integrate with your reporting suite. Below is an example of what a report from Call Tracking Metrics looks like:
- Account management. The world of PPC is very competitive, and in most industries campaigns require regular maintenance and management. Humans alone can’t present the analysis and drilled down detail to maintain a high-performing campaign anymore. That’s why an account management tool is essential. These tools aren’t at the stage where they can replace humans, but they can deliver the volume of consistent data that a human needs to provide insights and make impactful campaign changes. Something like WordStream is a well-established example of PPC management for Google Ads and AdEspresso is a great tool for Facebook ads management.
- Research. Another type of tool that you may want to consider is a research tool. Whether that be for conducting keyword research, competitor analysis, or client prospecting, tools like SpyFu, WhatRunsWhere, or SEMrush could be valuable assets in your armory.
White label PPC isn’t for everyone, but without a doubt, it presents agency owners an alternative to consider.
The digital marketing services space is extremely crowded – it’s got a low barrier to entry and just about anyone can start their own agency.
But the agencies that flourish are those that find a way to overcome the most common challenges that this business model presents. High overheads, high turnover, overworked staff, and an overwhelming amount of stress on the owner.
Working with a white label PPC provider comes with countless upsides including:
- Your overheads and headcount are reduced.
- Your costs are relative to your revenue.
- You don’t need to deal with the headache of resource allocation due to holiday or sick leave.
- Your ability to scale is essentially unrestricted.
- If you don’t offer PPC services already, you open up a new revenue stream altogether without needing to hire anyone.
- You can deliver better results for your clients because you are working with industry specialists that have done it all countless times before, and you are left to focus solely on the client relationship.
Of course, going white label does reduce your capacity to be hands-on with your clients, and your margins will take a slight hit. So it depends on where you are at with your agency and what path forward is right in your unique situation.