A friend of mine posted on Facebook that he had listed himself on Fiverr, which is a marketplace of people willing to do all sorts of things for $5.
Well, I know Kevin, and I know that he’s a high value .NET freelancer. So admittedly, I was a little confused at first… why would a seasoned consultant ever agree to sell a service of his (in this case, proposal review and auditing) for the price of a hamburger?
Now, I’m just going to state the obvious: I’m not a fan of Fiverr at all.
I think delivering a one-off service, like an audit, for $5 sends the wrong signal, especially if you plan on using Fiverr as a platform for lead generation. (Just a guess, but the quality of client you find might find through Fiverr probably won’t be that great.)
But regardless of my feelings toward Fiverr as a marketplace, today I want to focus on my thoughts around selling an “Expendable Offering”, and also how you can leverage marketplaces for lead generation.
What is an Expendable Offering?
Recently I highlighted a few consultants who had successfully made products of their time. One of them is my friend Joanna Wiebe, who offers a “No-Fluff Website Review” for a few hundred dollars.
Joanna probably won’t ever agree to a full blown contract-and-all consulting engagement for less than five figures, but you can buy her time with the virtual swipe of your corporate AMEX. Getting one of her website reviews won’t involve a proposal, a Master Services Agreement, or a Statement of Work. There’s no negotiation or haggling. You pay her $777, and a few days later get a video report.
Imagine you’re thinking of hiring Joanna to rewrite all of your marketing copy. Well, before becoming an actual client of hers and going through the hoops between going from a lead and a client, it would make a lot of sense to buy her website review product. It’s quick and a marginal cost for most businesses, but most importantly lets you judge whether Joanna is a cash machine for your business — if you give her money, will she spit out more value than you put in?
So in general, I like the idea of creating an Expendable Offering. But I don’t like doing it for $5.
Borrowing an audience through things that scale
The appeal of marketplaces like Fiverr has little to do with pricing, but instead the fact that Fiverr 1) has traffic and 2) this traffic knows that Fiverr’s an eCommerce website.
The downside, however, is that the product you deliver on Fiverr usually can’t be delivered at scale. If you’re creating video website reviews for $5 and it takes you 20 minutes to fulfill the order, 100 sales is going to require a week of your time and the payoff is practically minimum wage.
Marketplaces can be effective, both from a revenue perspective and also for lead generation if you can deliver something at scale. Take for example my hour and a half video course that I have on Skillshare. It requires no ongoing commitment from me, but serves as a way to deliver value to people in a way that’s truly “set it and forget it.”
But my goal with going on Skillshare wasn’t to make a few hundred a month in revenue. I wanted to gain new subscribers by siphoning off part of the audience that Skillshare worked hard to acquire. And I can tell you with certainty that the financial impact of that course on Skillshare has gone far and beyond what they’ve paid me.
This is why people write guest posts on other blogs or share their designs on Dribble. Getting exposure is hard, and Google is a fickle beast. Creating a guide on how to assess project proposals and selling that on something like Fiverr — that’s a way to put your name and expertise in front of people and possibly gain some leads. But selling your time at $5 a pop isn’t a sustainable marketing strategy.
A few ideas for leveraging marketplaces
- A video course on Udemy or Skillshare. Teach people something useful for free or for a low price. Include a strong call-to-action that encourages people to visit a squeeze page (here’s an example of one of mine) where they can exchange their email address for something of additional value.
- Group website teardowns sold for $5 a seat on Fiverr. Instead of directly selling your time for $5 on Fiverr, sell access to you for $5. You could host a roundtable webinar for a few dozen people, allowing attendees can post their website and you’ll provide recommendations and improvements on the fly.
- Alternatively, sell a workbook, cheatsheet or checklist on Fiverr. Make sure there’s a strong call-to-action that gets people onto an email course of yours (or have some other “lead magnet” that can help them move into your ecosystem.)
- Posting designs on Dribble. You’re using their traffic to showcase your expertise.
- List yourself on Clarity or other expert marketplaces. Your per-minute rate should be at or above your equivalent hourly rate.