Fiverr: Hiring a Remote Assistant FAILED

Context

One of my online businesses to generate “passive income” did not perform as expected. I’m extremely confident with my skills on the technical side of websites and eCommerce, however, marketing (the right way) has been more difficult.

For the past few months our team has been trying different approaches to traffic and sales for our site, all of which having little to no positive effect. But, more specifically, we were looking at how we were positioning ourselves within the realm of Google AdWords.

As expected, our first (stubborn) idea was: “Okay, I’ll learn everything there is to know about AdWords from YouTube and blogs, and become an expert myself in X number of days. It’ll be faster and cheaper.”

After giving one of our guys a chance to educate on the topic, and not succeeding, we wanted to try something else. We agreed upon hiring a remote assistant from a site that has hundreds of freelancers all claiming they are experts, just to experiment a little bit.

1. Platforms

There are probably hundred of platforms that offer this type of services. After doing some basic research I narrowed the list down to two:

Fiverr.com was more of different companies for hire, while upwork.com was more for individual freelancers. After reading about all the different candidates and their reviews, we decided to go with a company from fiverr.com who gave an all-in-all service approach.

2. Service

The goal, from my point of view, was clear: have an expert to look into (our already existing AdWords configuration) and provide feedback, improvements, best practices and work some magic to increase our number of visitors and hopefully, sales.

What the company offered:

  • Full control of your AdWords campaigns for 14 days
  • SEM Report
  • 2 Weeks of SEM Management
  • 2 Competitors Analyzed
  • Campaign Optimization
  • Campaign Development

3. Cost

The cost listed for the services was 100 USD for the services described in the previous point.

We were fine with the cost of 100 USD, but, it ended up costing us a lot more than we anticipated.

4. Let’s get to work

At last they were hired and I was ready to start our first introductory conversation to explain my business along which what I needed and get a feeling for how they will be able to achieve that.

Unfortunately that NEVER happened! They told me, the only way to communicate is using a basic mail/chat window on Fiverr’s website but that we are actually forced to only communicate in that way (so no phone call or Skype). My initial thought was, “this is not a pleasant way to start, worst case scenario though; I’ll lose $100.”

Without any introduction, the company requested admin access to my Google accounts. Obviously, this was a little concerning to me, logically though, I knew without out that access it couldn’t get done.

Within a short period of time, the company started “working” right away. Again, I had NO IDEA what they were doing, but after all they were the experts, that’s why I hired them, so just let them do their thing.

5. First week

First week goes by, the communication is close to a minimum, but there an increase on the traffic from Google Analytics, and I get the following message from them:

We’ve been getting more traffic since i started managing the account, however the conversion is not high as i would want.

At this point I am very optimistic, this company was not only looking into the traffic, they were also looking into conversion rates.

My biggest worry was that they would only drive traffic and worry about getting paid and not about how the business was preforming. But no, they understood what they’re doing AND care about how the business does!

6. Job Done — Results

Once the job was done, I finally had some time to review the results and understand if this little experiment was successful or not.

Our business saw a few more orders, but nothing substantial and a lot more traffic. So, to say the least, I was pretty pleased.

Traffic

Nice! There is a clear increase in traffic since they started working on it, went from 100 visits per day up to almost 200. We can se that this portion was a success.

Orders

Hmm, nothing great. Only 8 orders, most of which were for very small items. True, we are sending more traffic to the site now, but how qualified is that traffic? And are we or they filtering the negative keywords properly?

Up to this point, expectations were not exceeded nor did I get any horrible surprises; I was impartial to the whole experiment.

Reports

One part of their provided services was to provide a clear report at the end of the process. I got two Excel files, and put nicely, they were basic and contained no useful data for me.

Competitor analysis:

Literally, this is the image I got for competitor analysis. That is a screen shot from Google Analytics, definitely not what I expected and far from an analysis. This is the bare minimum they can do to call it an analysis.

And two data files: File 1 and File 2

The last row really got my attention; basically, this means that our acquisition customer cost was $265.96. If our standard profit margin in each 3D Printer is about $200 this will means that we are actually loosing money for every transaction.

Budget

At the beginning of this process we had agreed that they will keep working within the budget that was already being used in AdWords. Unfortunately, this was not the case.

As listed in the previous graph our cost per day went from $10 per day up to almost $110. I couldn’t believe it, this was a 1000% growth in our cost for almost 0% increase in our sales. I have a very small website/company, so spending that amount of money per day is not an option, especially if is not driving up sales.

Real Cost

At this point the $100 cost are nothing compared with the almost $1500 that we were spending in (not very effective) campaigns.

Conclusion

Even after this very negative experience, I am not saying “this was a scam,” or “hiring remote assistants doesn’t work.” I don’t have enough data to make that bold of a conclusion.

I think I got what I paid for (and what I expected somehow), a company, that in a very short time, made some changes in my AdWords campaigns without actually looking at the entire flow or with a clear goal of helping me as a customer. I think that was a more transnational operation where they offered their services for X number of hours to do Y and nothing else, leaving you to fear afterwards.

My main take aways are:

  • I should have invested more time to actually have a plan in place vs expecting a magic solution
  • Without clear communication there is no way to get the expected results
  • If I have to do it again I will probably go for a freelancer (person) vs a company because I assume they care less about the quality of their job.