Internet Marketing From Home

8 Lead Sources Better Than Solo Ads

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Are There Better Traffic and Lead Sources Than Solo Ads?

Have you ever purchased solo ads for traffic and leads?  Yeah?  Me too.  Lots of them.  In the vast majority of cases, the money I spent was wasted.  Down the drain.
Mind you I remember one campaign that worked quite well.  But I had to pay $2k up front for the privilege.  I made about $5,000 commission on that campaign, so my profit was $3,000.  Not bad.  But the profit was swamped by the losses I made on all the others.
By the way, if you’re unsure about solo ads, here is a brief description.
When you buy a solo ad, you are essentially ‘renting’ someone’s list, or at least part of it. So you pay money upfront based on a cost per click basis.  For instance, if you bought 200 clicks at 50 cents each you would pay the vendor $100.  After he has received the payment, he will then do an email blast to part of his list until he has delivered the clicks.   (A click refers to the action a subscriber takes – they click on your link in the email sent by the solo ad vendor.)
To be sure, you are buying clicks, not leads.  When the subscriber clicks on the link, they’ll be directed to your lead capture page.  At that point, the subscriber will decide to opt-in to your email list, or not.

How Many Optins (leads) Can You Expect From Solo Ads?  

Anything above 20 percent is ok, and anything above 40 percent is excellent.  If you have a well-sorted capture page, you should get a 30 percent opt-in rate or more.
Of course, a good optin rate is only part of the story.  Ultimately you want sales, right?  This is hard because most solo ad traffic converts very poorly.  This is due to the following reasons:

  • Freebie Seekers.  Most solo ad lists are full of broke people.  If you’ve got offers priced in the upper range, forget about it. It’s not going to happen.  Please note that there are a handful of vendors with high-quality lists.  But they represent the exception, not the rule.
  • Jaded and Cynical.  When you’ve been hit many times in a day or a week with offers, you’d be cynical too.  That’s how it is with most solo traffic.  The vendor has already emailed these subscribers multiple times with other offers before he sends yours. The fact that they opted into your list is neither here nor there.  They’re probably still not going to buy.
  • Fraud.  Sad to say that some solo ad traffic is fraudulent.  Horror stories abound.  Indeed there are link farms in third world countries that are paid to click on your link.  So, make sure check the IP address of your subscribers.
  • Stale Offer.  If your offer has been around for more than 5 minutes chances are the solo ad crowd has seen it before. So, if you have a potent capture page, you will likely get people to opt in to your list.  But when they see your stale offer, they’ll turn off faster than a horny gal with a drunken boyfriend.
  • Wrong Offer.  Even if you have a brand new offer if it doesn’t fit with the solo ad audience, it won’t convert into a lead.

If you look at the above list, you’ll see that the top three reasons for failure are out of your control.  The remaining two are in your control so only promote hot offers to the solo ad audience.
Enough of that.  Let’s look at some better strategies:

1. Facebook

Facebook is a fabulous potential source of leads.  But avoid spamming people and generally acting like an idiot – it will bite you in the ass.  The strategy revolves around using your personal profile (not your fan page) to influence your friends.  Posting good content is part of it, and engaging with your interested friends is the other.  If you currently don’t have many friends add people who are right for your niche every day. - banner final

2. Twitter

Although the mechanics are a bit different to Facebook you can still win friends and influence people on Twitter.  You do it by growing your followers, posting good content and then engaging with people who are leaning forward.  Also, consider moving your best followers from Twitter to Facebook.  In my experience, Facebook offers more potential to build relationships.

3. Facebook PPC

If you want quality traffic and leads, running some Facebook ads is one of the best ways to get them (other than using the free social strategy as discussed above).  And if you play your cards right you won’t pay an arm and a leg to get them either.  The downside is that you will need to invest time and money to learn it, and if you’re in the home business/affiliate marketing space, you need to be very careful.  If you cross the line, the FB  police will shut you down.

4. Bing PPC

Bing PPC is like Facebook PPC (pay per click) because you pay when someone clicks on your ad.  But there are significant differences between running ads on a search platform compared to running them on a social platform.  As you probably know Bing is a search engine.  So, when someone clicks on your ad it’s because they’ve been searching for the keywords you’ve been bidding for.  I say this because search marketing offers access to people who are actively looking for a solution to their problem.   This is quite different to running PPC ads on platforms like Facebook, which is more about interruption marketing than anything else.
Although Bing doesn’t have Google’s traffic volume, they are easier to work with.  An important consideration if you’re a home biz marketer.

5. Video Marketing

Video marketing is an organic strategy – no paid ads.  Essentially you create keyword specific video content then load it onto YouTube.  YouTube is a search engine in its own right.  Thus, you can snaffle up some good quality traffic and leads from people who are looking for your kind of offer.  Visit my YouTube channel here.

6. Blogging

Blogging is my favorite strategy.  Get some of your content ranked on the search engines, and they’ll send you free traffic.  How cool is that?You can also promote your content on social media platforms.  The other reason blogging is important is because it is one of the few online assets that you own and control.

7. Blog Commenting

A simple way to get traffic and build influence is to comment on other people’s blogs.  I do it all the time, and it has produced traffic, leads, and sales.  But more than this.  If you do it long enough you’ll also build influence with a network of bloggers who can help you i nthe future. Very powerful.  Here are some good people I’ve met from blog commenting:
Peter Beckenham
Donna Merrill
Enstine Muki
Joy Healey

8. JV’s

Do you know anyone with a list of people who might be interested in your offer?  Great.  Get on the phone and say you’ve got something you’d like them to look at.  Then sit down with them and make an offer they can’t refuse.  The offer could revolve around the idea that you will do all the work and then split the commissions from any sales made.

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Time to Comment!

What was your favorite takeout from this post about better alternatives to solo ads?
Have you used solo ads before and if so what were your results?
Make a comment below!

17 thoughts on “8 Lead Sources Better Than Solo Ads”

  1. Hi Kim,
    I can still recall those days, not all that long ago either, when I would excitedly wait for the results of a solo ad purchase.
    And yes sometimes I actually got optins of greater than 50%.
    But what’s the point of congratulating some vendor on their solo ad traffic solely based on optins that you see people doing every single day.
    As you so rightly pointed out, its the sales that count – nothing else really matter.
    We’re in business for busness not just to feel good.
    So many times I found great optin rates resulted in very poor open rates.
    Sometimes that may have been because of my email ESP provider who has not aways been all that successful in inboxing my email messages.
    But the vaste majority of the times I experienced low open rates, even lower click through rates and of course very few if any sales – was because of the very poor quality of these subscribers.
    I still keep 2 solo ad providers close to me as they have proven to provide me with way above average results BUT for me the major focus for my traffic comes from my blogging and blog commenting.
    Sure it may only be 30 to 35 new subscribers per week but they are just so engaged and supportive.
    Kim thanks for the shout out on this post by the way – truly appreciate that mate.
    Best wishes from the remote Thai vilage blogger

    • Good points, as usual Peter
      I have made money from a small number of solo campaigns, but as I said in the post that was outwieghed by thelarge number of abysmal campaigns. Essentially it’s possibly the worst form of cold traffic.
      Nowadays I avoid cold marketing. Warm is much better, more fun too
      My blog and my YT channel produces leads every week. In fact, I got a great new client yesterday from YouTube
      The other area that is working well – finally – is social media. I’ve finally perfected a formula whereby I interplay both Twitter and FB. I’ve been trying to make money with Facebook for years and have only had marginal results. But after a concerted and focused effort in the last few months I am now getting terrifc leads, and yes, sales.
      I haven’t run an ad for a year. I get better results from warm market activities, so why bother with ads?
      Thanks Peter

  2. Hey Kim,
    Nice list of options to get traffic besides using solo ads. I have used solo ads in the past. I have built my list fast with them, but as you said, the sales wasn’t so great. I would get about 2 or 3 sales a month.
    Facebook PPC and Twitter PPC are great options. I haven’t dove too much with Twitter PPC, but I had a lot of success with Facebook PPC. I would get between 2 or 3 leads a day. I would get 1 out of 5 campaigns that would work with Facebook PPC.
    Blogging is another great free option. I’ve cut down to blogging once a month and I’m getting the same amount of traffic as before. Only difference is that I’m getting more leads as opposed to before because I’ve added content upgrades on a couple of posts.
    Thanks for sharing this list of options. Have a great rest of the week!

    • Hi Sherman
      Great to get your ideas, as usual. Interesting tthat you’ve cut back on blogging. I’ve done that for my other blog. About once a month is the best I can do at present. Yet I still get traffic. This blog has a different focus and a different audnience so will continue to produce short posts, two to three times a week.
      You mentioned Facebook. I don’t currently use FB PPC (they shut down my account), but I’ve been getting some great results recently on the social side. Previously FB social was a dead loss. Amazing how you can make a few changes and tweaks, then all of a sudden it starts working great.
      Thanks Sherman

  3. Hi Kim,
    Solo ads can suck you dry if you don’t know someone with a great list. The only time I’ve spent money on them was because I knew the person and knew their list was going to be responsive. And it was! I couldn’t keep up with the opt-ins and then as they went down the rabbit hole of my sales funnel, some actually went straight to the highest priced service offered. Whoopie!
    But I am very selective about it and don’t do it that often. I rather use FB ads and hit a specific niche. Kind of fun doing that part lol.
    It really does come down to your sales page. Its all about tweaking. If in the first 10 minutes no one is biting,, somethings wrong. On case I had a one minute video on and swiped it off and the clicks were clicking as soon as I did that.
    Marketing is a heck of a lot of fun, but even if we have all the knowledge in the world, we always have to be open to tweak and look at numbers. Try try again is my motto, otherwise we wouldn’t be here online.

    • Hi Donna
      Yes you are right, Marketing is or at least it can be – a lot of fun. But as you know the devil is in the detail. Small changes to a campaign often make a huge difference (eg your story about the non-performing video)
      In reference to solo ads, a quality list makes a huge difference. But the problem is that newbies can’t tell good from bad. In my experience solo ad promoters who pitch on FB etc are selling junk traffic. To be avoided at all costs

  4. Hi Kim,
    All are neat alternatives to Solo Ads. In truth, my SA experience has been poor although I’ve not used this method in eons. Or, 5 years 😉
    Blogging is my fave lead and traffic building source too. You can express yourself creatively, and blogs are 1 stop shopping for eager, prying eyes, meaning you can load eBooks, paperbacks, courses, articles, podcasts, videos, pictures and hell, virtually anything to a blog, quickly, to give readers something to nosh on.
    Moving forward I’ll be devoting more energy to Facebook marketing in terms of regular engagement, and ditto on Twitter. I’ve seen inspired returns already after a few days of dedication on the chatting front.
    Excellent post Kim.

    • Hi Ryan
      Interesting to see that you’ll be giving more focus to FB and Twitter.
      I had an epiphany earlier this year about that. After much trial and error, I’ve come up with a winning formula that gets me regular leads and importantly, customers. It’s amazing to me how close I was to quitting social media altogether. Yet, by making a few changes here and there (one of which was to stop promoting my blog posts on my wall), all of a sudden I score a major turnaround. Who would have thunk it?
      Thanks for dropping by
      few months ago

  5. Thanks for sharing another terrific post Kim!
    And you really have made the case quite well, as to
    the different, extremely viable marketing options to
    solo ads.
    And while I can definitely relate to each alternative, for some reason,
    #’s 6-8 really hit home most for me!
    And also like a two very important, yet subtle critically important points you shared!
    1.) First, all your paid “solo ad” has accomplished is, put you in the position, to possibly generate that all important click and nothing more!
    Because the visitor still may decide not to join your list!
    2.) And secondly, don’t get so caught up in your site’s metrics, like how many opt in’s this o that lead capture page produced, if none of you activities, ultimately produces very few or no sales at all!
    Thanks for the much needed reality check!Excellent post, and extremely informative and practical!Thanks!

    • Hi Mark,
      Thanks for visiting again
      Yes, blogging and blog commenting are always good strategies – as long as we do it right.
      JV’s? Well, you’re the go-to man for that strategy!

  6. Hi Kim,
    Thanks for the mention – rather belatedly. Have had a couple of manic months offline 🙁
    Well – you already know that my favorite strategy is blogging and my total phobia is video marketing.
    However attending your recent Mastermind opened my eyes to the possibilities of Facebook and Twitter and I’m “working on them”.
    I was reflecting on my reply to your comment on my blog and I guess part of it is that I have worked purely by email with clients for so long that it’s quite a change for me to interact any other way than by email.
    My biggest offline client I probably haven’t actually seen in TEN years. We just email, and maybe speak once every 3 months. It works VERY well – but I guess that’s because we already built up that “know, like, trust”. They’ve been a client for about 35 years now.
    OK I AM going to have to do more with Facebook, but it’s the time it takes that I find such a challenge when I’m juggling the offline businesses too.
    Not quite got the hang of Facebook ads yet – work in progress. Bing ads I have yet to try. Thanks for the tip.
    You asked about the results of my last solo ad. I got about 40% opt-ins. But you taught me well and I already know your next question…. and the answer is “no conversions”. However, it was only a couple of days ago and they’re being followed up over the next few days.
    Joy – Blogging After Dark

    • Hi Joy
      Thanks for sharing and thanks for your candour.
      Some people don’t know it, but I am quite late to the social media party. Sure, I’ve had a FB account for years, but until this year I was always holding back from fully embracing it. That’s why my results were so bad.
      I am quite shy so it was uncomfortable for me to be ‘social’ on social media platforms. But bit by bit I’ve changed my attitude. It’s been a long grind but I am so pleased that I persevered. A few months I had some major breakthroughs, and since then it’s been plain sailing.
      Hang in there, Joy

  7. Hello Kim
    Great post! Really insightful and very informative. It has really inspired me to make a few changes on my marketing strategies. I think a lot of people would benefit from reading this article. It’s my second time here and each time some real food for thought.

  8. Hi Kim,
    Just popping over to say how much I agree about solo-ads (in MY experience) having been a waste of money.
    Then what a surprise to see I got a mention! Thanks very much.
    Yes, we did meet through blogging, and I’ve learned a lot from you, and from the other bloggers you mentioned, and from other bloggers too. So, yes, blogging – for me – has been a better traffic source than solo-ads.
    Joy – Blogging After Dark

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