what does white labeling mean in marketing

The Best and Worst of White Labeling Social Media Management

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Let’s talk white labeling!

As a marketer, there is a pretty good chance you will hear this term “white labeling” used. In what context would you hear this term?

You might be looking for someone to collaborate with and then someone might mention “white labeling” services. Or, you have a friend who works for an agency and they are looking to outsource to a service provider and want to white label their services.

In this article, you will get an overview of the term “white labeling” and what it means for marketers. 

Let’s look at the best, the worst and everything in between! 

What Does “White Labeling” Mean?

According to this Forbes article, white labeling is

“White label” refers to a fully supported product or service that's made by one company but sold by another. White label products and services are purchased by the latter company without branding. … Grocery stores sell cereal and other (generic) products with their own (generic) brand name at a discount to other brands.”

In other words, white labeling is selling a product or service as if it’s your own. 

White Labeling in Marketing

In marketing, this often translates to services such as social media management, SEO and blog writing, or products such a videos, photography and logos, offered to clients as if they were your own, while in reality, someone else provides this service or creates the products for you behind the scenes. You might resell the product or services, adding your own private label, branding it as your company or store brand. 

Agencies hire ghost writers, social media managers, designers and resell these services to their clients as if they were their own handy work and branded products. They put their own branding and logo on work someone outside of their company has produced. 

Those who white label their services and products include graphic designers, bloggers, video marketers, social media managers and other content creators who sell templates, services, images, SEO and website services and video packages to marketing agencies. 

White labeling in marketing is common practice and can be a good way for inexperienced marketers to get their “feet wet” in the marketing industry. Speaking about feet, whitelabeling is a good way to get a “foot in the door” with a marketing agency to eventually get hired, or a contract for a more permanent contractor position. 

The drawback to white labeling is that you can’t claim your designs as your own, which prevents you from using this content in your portfolio to draw attention from potential clients. 

To White Label or Not to Whitelabel: It is a Valid Question

Why would an agency hire someone and whitelabel their services?

This is the answer to this question. 

“Many marketing agencies are using white label services to help overcome skills shortage issues within their businesses. The principal reason agencies utilize the power of white labeling services is because it allows them to offer a whole range of services they may not have previously been able to provide their clients.”

In other words, white labeling can and will save time and money, and allows an agency to scale their agency without investing a lot of money.

When is it not a good fit to hire someone to whitelabel their services?

When working with someone to white label services, there is a larger margin for error in delivering the requested service or product. In addition, handing off a large project to be white labeled might not be the best move, especially to a new-to-you service provider you’ve never worked with before. It takes time to build up trust! 

In other words, white labeling can go wrong if the project is not managed closely, potentially raising issues with quality of the product! 

White Label Solutions for Social Media Managers

If you are a freelancer looking for additional income or new clients, white labeling can help bridge that gap of trying to find new clients

As a social media manager, there are several places to start exploring your options. These options include reaching out to a:

  • White label company
  • Local marketing agency
  • Colleague who works for an agency

Most of these relationships start out with an interview, followed by a short training process and (usually) a small project to see how you work together. 

How To Charge When White labeling Your Services

While rates vary from city to city, state to state and country to country, here is something to keep in mind. Large marketing agencies have larger teams, offer more services and have more overhead, thus they will charge their clients more money.

This means that you can potentially earn more by white labeling than if you’d take a (local) client on your own! 

In short, don't be afraid to raise the rates you'd charge your own clients when working with an agency, or you will uncut your own pricing.

By being part of a larger team and providing this one service or product your excel at, your potential earnings go up. 

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