The Solo Ad Industry – Scam Central or a Smart Way to Make a Buck?
When I started marketing online in 2006, I had never heard of solo ads. Maybe they did exist but they were not mentioned to me as a way of generating leads.
Fast forward to 4 years ago and I learned something about them from Daegan Smith. He was raving about them – he thought they were the best things since sliced bread.
Solo advertising can be an easy way to get visitors to your site, which in turn should produce plenty of leads. I have made sales from them and will continue to run solo ad campaigns depending on the quality of the list and the reputation of the list owner.
The advantages of solo advertising is that it is quick and simple – no techie skills required. The downside is that some list owners are less than reputable, so avoid them like the plague.
You should also avoid lists comprised of people who live in third world countries such as India and Bangladesh.
What is a Solo Ad?
Essentially you are renting a list from the owner of the list. The list owner will charge you on a cost per click basis which will typically run from 30 cents to $1.50 a click. You simply purchase the required number of clicks and the owner will send your ad in email form to his list.
There are thousands of lists but you can narrow it down to lists that are niche specific, such as in the affiliate marketing, make money space.
BTW, I have a list of recommended list owners which I supply to anyone who joins my team.
1. A solo ad happens when a list owner sends a promotional email to their list about your offer
2. You purchase clicks (visitors) from the list owner – he will send your offer to his list until your click order has been satisfied
3. Your initial objective is to have as many of the clicks convert to an opt in (lead)
Anatomy of a Successful Solo Ad Campaign
Normally I don’t spend a lot on a single campaign at least until I get a good result. But in 2013 I was recommended to use a particular solo ad provider, so I spent $2,000 for 2,000 clicks – $1 a click. After 2 weeks I checked the commissions and they were $220! Depressing to say the least. However, I kept sending my leads my regular emails – drip, drip, drip.
And after 6 weeks the figure was $1,220. Better, but still not at break even, let alone showing a profit. However just a month later the commissions had jumped to $4,220. All of a sudden I had more than doubled my money!
What can u learn from this mini case history?
- Be patient – sometimes it takes time for prospects to buy
- Keep nurturing your leads with daily emails
- Focus on ROI (return on investment) always
- To make these campaigns work you must have big ticket products in your sales funnel – otherwise you’ll probably NEVER make money from a paid ad campaign.
But, Most Solo Ad Campaigns DON’T Have a Happy Ending
Despite the good news story illustrated above, the reality is that most campaigns fail dismally. There are good reasons for this including poor quality traffic (or clicks) being sold by the vendor, as well as the incompetence of most marketers.
Put those two negative elements together and you have a recipe for disaster. Is at any wonder that the vast majority of marketers lose money with solo ad traffic?
The Wrong Way to Use Solos
If you plan to buy solo ad traffic/clicks here are the traps to avoid:
- Sending Traffic to Undifferentiated (or Replicated) Capture Pages. If your capture page looks likes everyone else’s, the chances of success are slim to none.
- Sending Traffic to Saturated Offers and Sales Pages. Once people have opted in they’ll be taken to your companies’ offer sales page. If it’s a good page with a great offer, and has not been excessively exposed to the list owner’s subscribers, then it will probably work fine. But if prospects have seen the offer before, your conversions will be poor, even if you have a unique capture page.
- Using Dodgy Solo Ad Vendors. ‘Nest of vipers’ is the phrase that comes to mind when thinking of the solo ad ‘industry’. There are various reasons for this including low barrier to entry, the belief that it’s a good money spinner to sell traffic (it’s not), and the ease by which vendors can defraud customers by selling fake clicks. ‘Not to be trusted’ should be your default position until proven otherwise. That said, there are some reputable people out there who can be trusted. Your job is to find out who they are.
Right Way to Use Solos
So, can you really make money by purchasing solo ad traffic? Yes, you can. Here is how:
- Select a Good Vendor. See below for tips including key questions you need to ask.
- Supply Your Own Swipe Copy. Some vendors insist that they write the swipe (email) copy. It could be because they know their list and know how to communicate with it, or perhaps they don’t trust your copy writing skills. On the other hand it could be because they use spammy techniques (which may not suit your purposes) to get subscribers to click on the link in the email. That is why in most instances it is better to create your own congruent copy and insist that the vendor uses it. Tip: If the vendor refuses to accept your swipe copy, ask them for an example of theirs, or ask them to put you on their list.
- Send Traffic to a Cheap Offer or Valuable Content. If you market a high priced product, it’s best not to promote it via solo ads. Instead look for a cheap or free entry level product that is congruent with your main offer. Promote with your own unique capture page which you can easily create with this software. Once people have purchased the cheap product you can then back end them into your higher priced product. The second way to do it – which I prefer – is to create some unique and valuable content, place it on your blog and/or social media sites such as Facebook and Google+, then direct people to your capture page, your sales page, or even to an ‘application style’ page.
Killer Strategy Number 1: Send Traffic to Your Cheap (or Free) Product Offer
There are plenty of products you can sell as an affiliate. Locate offers on platforms such as JV Zoo and Commission Junction then use solo ad traffic to promote them. Send buyers a personal follow up email with a more valuable offer for them to consider.
Killer Strategy Number 2: Send Traffic to Valuable Content
I use both strategies but this one is my favorite. Why? Your content powerfully brands you and will tend to produce better quality leads from prospects who have already been educated about you and what you do. This strategy is obviously a higher level strategy than the cheap product offer strategy, but should at least be an aspiration for all marketers.
A variation of this approach is to offer a free pdf report or cheat sheet then use it to guide people to a small ticket product offer, which in turn can lead to your big ticket program.
The Role Of Big Ticket Offers
Don’t waste your time by promoting small offers only. It’s a one way trip to financial mediocrity. You need something that pays a minimum of $1,000 a sale and preferably much more. One of the programs I promote pays up to $15,000 a sale which means that I don’t need a lot of clients at the top level over a 12 month period to make the whole exercise worthwhile. So to maximise your earnings you must have a big ticket offer like this one.
Don’t Lead With Your Big Ticket Program
I don’t lead with my Big Ticket Offer. The reason is that a higher financial commitment is not something that people will agree to on a whim. Rather, they need more information and time to consider the pros and the cons. They also need to form a relationship with you which in turn will give them more confidence to move forward on a big ticket program.
The Power of An Application Page
At the moment I am having a great deal of success with an Application Page Strategy. It works on the basis that instead of trying to sell people a product (including a low priced product), you give away a unit of your time in the form of a Free Consultation. Put a value on it and make the offer time sensitive – you reserve the right to withdraw the free offer at any time. Maybe you’ll have a timer countdown on your page to give people a greater sense of urgency. Your email follow up messages can re-enforce the point by sending a daily countdown email to subscribers.
Like this strategy? Here’s how you can use it when purchasing solo ad traffic………
After people opt in to your capture page you can immediately direct them to the sales type page which sells people on why they should reach out and request a consultation. At the bottom of the page will be a link to your application page. Completed applications can be reviewed and only the best quality applicants will be booked for your free consultation offer.
- Buy a small number of clicks initially (100)
- If you are offering them a bonus in exchange for their email address, do not give it to them via the thank you page. Instead tell them they will get it via their email. This will encourage them to give you their PRIMARY email address.
- It is best to buy what is known as Tier 1 traffic. Tier 1 traffic is traffic from USA, Canada, UK, NZ and Australia
- When evaluating a click vendor you must ask the right questions (See below)
Don’t Buy BS From Solo Ad Sellers
‘All care and no responsibility’ is the modus operandi of the solo ad industry. All they do is guarantee that they will deliver the number of clicks you ordered from them, so let’s be clear on that.
According to the vendor their responsibility ends when someone clicks on the link in the email they send their list about your offer. But they also have another responsibility:
– To supply quality traffic
The Big Solo Ad Conversion Lie
And don’t be swayed by their claims of great conversions. Maybe they do have great conversions from their clicks, but when they talk about conversion they’re talking about opt ins, NOT sales. BIG, BIG difference.
Some solo ad people say it’s ok not to make immediate sales – as long as you keep following up with your emails. But what if the solo add vendor sent you junk traffic? I’ve had that situation where I got lots of opt ins (better than 50 per cent). I then sent them my high impact follow up emails FOR MONTHS, and still nothing happened. They didn’t open my emails, and they didn’t buy my product because they were poor quality people with little or no interest in what I was promoting.
The reality is that you may get good opt ins from the traffic they send you and still not make sales because you have a non converting offer, but it could also be due to junk traffic – they’ll opt in but will never buy anything from you no matter how good your offer and how good your email follow up is.
Many marketers fall for their false promises of high opt in rates and get sucked in, then wonder why they lose money.
Recently I saw a comment from a well known solo ad vendor in response to a complaint that solo ad traffic didn’t convert. His response amazed me:
“….it means you didn’t do any work to convert those leads into sales. That’s YOUR responsibility.”
Get the point? No matter how crap their traffic is this is the position they’ll take. True, it is our job to send people on our list effective auto responder messages to build relationships and further promote our offer. But here’s the thing:
We’re only as good as the raw material we have to work with. In other words, you can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. You need reasonable quality traffic to have any chance of making money with solo ads.
So in summary, don’t buy solo ad vendor BS!
The Best Traffic
Notwithstanding the above comments you CAN make money from solo ad traffic providing you follow a few of the simple rules of the game. And that starts with the solo ad vendor. You want someone with a good reputation in terms of honesty and integrity. But you also want someone with a responsive, converting list.
The best traffic is from people who have been previous buyers of similar products to yours. Make sure when you question a vendor that you ask them about the percentage of previous buyers on their list.
Questions to Ask Solo Ad Sellers
1. Where does your traffic come from?
2. Is it mail traffic or funnel traffic?
3. What percentage of your traffic is Tier 1?
4. Do you accept copy or do you only use your own copy?
5. Do you broker clicks or only mail your own?
6. Where can I signup to your mailing list?
7. How big is your list?
8. How many clicks can you send me?
9. Where are the clicks coming from (their list or funnel traffic)?
10. Where did subscribers opt in?
11. How fresh is your list?
12. How many clicks can you send me?
13. Where are the clicks coming from (their list or funnel traffic)?
14. Where did subscribers opt in?
15. How fresh is your list?
Good News About Solo Ad Campaigns –
I Can Help You
If we do business together and you join my team, I will supply you with a special list of reputable solo ad vendors who DO deliver on their promises. I know this to be true because I have spent my own money to buy their traffic.
More importantly, I will help you use solo ads the right way. I will teach you how to completely differentiate yourself from all the other marketing deadbeats who use solo ads in the wrong way.
Joining my team starts HERE where you will learn how to drive traffic, generate hot leads and convert them without chasing people to do business with you. Joining My Team Starts HERE