How to Launch an SEO Reseller Program
Even agencies need to outsource work sometimes. And a quick way to build your own client business is to capitalize on this by partnering with other agencies as their SEO reseller.
There are lots of different strategies involved in digital marketing – web design, SEO, content, paid ads – and some agencies don’t have the experience or the staff to handle all of them in-house.
SEO is an especially complex (and important) part of digital marketing, so there’s a lot of demand for white-label SEO agencies, or SEO resellers. As the field becomes more specialized in the future, this demand will continue to grow. If you have a solid grasp of SEO, there’s no better time than now to start working with agencies that need your skills. Here are some pointers for getting your SEO reseller program off the ground.
Clearly Define Your Focus and the Services You Provide
Know what you’re good at, and offer that as your service. Don’t overextend yourself or your team by trying to offer services you aren’t confident about.
It might feel like offering a wider variety of options will help you get more clients, but in reality, it will just make it harder for you to do your job well. You don’t want to have to hire a different white label agency yourself, so stick to your areas of experience and expertise.
Before you take on a new client, make sure they understand what you do (and what you don’t do). You don’t want things to go sour with a client because of a misunderstanding. Agency partners will be more satisfied with your work later if they know what to expect from you up front.
Know How You’ll Demonstrate Your Expertise and Value
Running an SEO reseller program puts you in a bit of a tricky position. To get work, you’ll need to show potential partners what kind of results you can achieve. But you’ll also have to keep your past work confidential, since your partners are presenting it as their own. Unlike traditional agencies, you can’t name your clients or publish case studies on your website. So what can you do?
Once you’ve been working for a while, you can ask a few of your past or current partners if they’d be willing to be references for you. Right now, though, you don’t have that option, so your best bet is to leverage your past work for references. If you’re starting a reseller program, chances are good that you and your team have done other SEO-related work in some capacity. Show that work off to bolster your authority in the field.
Another great way to demonstrate your expertise is to do a little bit of work up front for a potential partner. Don’t take on a big project without pay – just give them a sample of the kind of work they can expect from you if they hire you. For instance, do a site auditSEO for a client the agency works with, and put together a sample plan for how you would optimize it.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Communication can get tricky as an SEO reseller, especially if your partner’s clients don’t know you’re in the picture. You’ll need lots of information about the end clients in order to get good results for them, but you can’t talk directly to those clients yourself. You’ll also need to understand your partner’s needs. If you aren’t organized and careful, this situation can turn into a logistical mess and hinder your progress.
To keep things moving forward smoothly, communicate early and often with your partner.
Set up a workflow that works for both of you, and schedule regular meetings to make sure you stay on the same page about important issues. When you need information from your partner’s client, it’s a good idea to write down a list of everything you need to know. This helps your partner, too, since they might not know which questions to ask without your help.
Even give partners access to their own marketing dashboard so they are always kept up-to-speed on current progress.
Create a Plan for Demonstrating Progress
When you work with clients, they’re trusting you to make their own agencies look good. After all, if you don’t do your job well, they’re going to get blamed for it. Thus, you should be prepared to explain your progress to your clients regularly.
This might not be as simple as it sounds. Some of your clients will be eager to see results, especially if their own clients are impatient. But it takes time to build backlinks, optimize content, and do everything else that contributes to SEO. You might be making great progress, but if the end client’s rankings haven’t budged much yet, you’ll need to figure out some alternate ways to show your client that you’re moving forward.
A study by Ahrefs found that pages ranking in Google’s top 10 results are, on average, at least two years old. Showing your client statistics like this can help them understand that SEO takes time. Source
A timeline is one good way to measure progress for your client. Create a six-month or twelve-month plan for what you’re going to do to improve the end client’s rankings. Build plenty of measurable, achievable goals and milestones into your plan, and set up a transparent reporting system where your client can check up on your progress. That way, they’ll be able to see what you’re doing, even if there are no visible changes yet.
Remember: You’re Building Long-Term Relationships
The agencies you work with are likely to need your services long-term, and this gives you the potential to build some enduring, mutually beneficial partnerships.
Because each of your working relationships could have the potential to last for years, take them seriously. Focus on delivering great results and hitting your deadlines. Put your soft skills to work, too – you’ll form better relationships and get more repeat work if you’re friendly and likable. If you go above and beyond for the agencies you work with, they’ll probably have lots of ongoing work for you, and they may be willing to provide references for you in the future.
Educate Your Clients
Your partners might not know much about SEO when they hire you. However, they’re eventually going to need to explain SEO to their own clients. As their designated SEO expert, it’s part of your job to educate your partners on what you need to do to improve their clients’ rankings. Explain the specific steps you’re going to take, why these steps are necessary, and how they fit into your overall plan. In addition, let your partners know you’re happy to answer any questions they might have about your process or SEO in general.
Be Transparent with Reports and Data
Transparency is a major issue in the world of white-label work. Unfortunately, all too many unscrupulous agencies are willing to do shoddy work because they think their clients won’t notice or be able to tell the difference. Of course, you aren’t going to take advantage of anyone, but a brand-new client might not know that, especially if they’ve been burned by a reseller before. So take extra care to be transparent and accountable in everything you do.
The best way to accomplish this is to give your clients access to reports and frequent updates.
Letting clients log in and check your data for themselves goes a long way towards building trust. Besides that, communicate with clients often to keep yourself and your team accountable. Go over your progress every week or month, including anything that didn’t go well – if you fell behind schedule or if something didn’t turn out as planned, don’t try to cover it up. Honesty and trust are crucial elements of any healthy working relationship.
AgencyAnalytics is just one of the tools out there to help you keep your data and reports transparent and allows you to keep things organized if you manage multiple clients.
If you know SEO inside and out, running an SEO reseller program might be the perfect opportunity for you to apply your skills. You’ll have the opportunity to work with all kinds of agencies and grow your expertise in various fields. Starting and maintaining a SEO reseller program isn’t too different from running any other kind of agency. If you focus on providing reliable, transparent service and delivering great results, your reseller program will thrive.
Written by Joe Kindness
Joe is the CEO of AgencyAnalytics, but often spends his day programming, designing or executing marketing tasks. And like most Canadians, he can be found playing or watching hockey!