Solo ads: a great way to grow your business, or not?

Solo ads: the risks and the benefits

Also in 2019 marketers expect email marketing to be the most profitable way of marketing. Therefore, building a mailing list is one of the most important things in an online business. With solo ads, you use the mailing list from another marketer to grow your own business. In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about this specific way of online advertising.

When you start a business, time is the most valuable source so you don’t want to waste time to start making money, do you? The problem is: nobody has ever heard from you, your brand is brand new (yes, pun intended!), and your website is not ranking in Google yet.

The question is: where to begin?

You need traffic

Yes, it’s quite simple. You need visitors. People that can become leads, because you’re so nice, funny, valuable, strange… 😉 Fill in your own unique selling points (USP’s). And don’t forget: you yourself are the most important USP. Still, it all starts with traffic, Some ways to get more traffic:

  • Google: optimize your website for Google (SEO)
  • Social media: promote your blog posts and products for free on social media (on Facebook, start a business page)
  • Pay for traffic and start a Facebook or Instagram campaign: ensure you target the right people
  • Pay for high-quality traffic and start with solo ads

SEO is an important but long-term strategy. Social media like Facebook doesn’t give you much exposure. Due to the algorithm, only 10% of your followers will see your post. For instance, being active in some relevant groups and becoming a popular member there will give you even more exposure.

In addition, promoting a product from JVZoo and Warrior+ for free isn’t possible. Links to these platforms are blocked by Facebook; they consider these posts to be spam…

What makes Facebook advertising more difficult than solo ads?

You can lose lots of money on Facebook, especially when you target the wrong people. Targeting the right people isn’t rocket science, but still, if you target people that aren’t interested in your offer, you might pay $50 for only a few clicks…

I’m from the Netherlands, and I know exactly how to target my Dutch speaking audience. But when it comes to English speaking people, Facebook advertising would be tricky for me, unless I’d hire somebody to outsource my advertising campaigns. At this point, I’m really happy with solo ads.

So let’s dive into solo ads…

What’s a solo ad?

A solo ad vendor writes an email an sends it to (a part of) his mailinglist. The email only promotes your offer; that’s why it’s called a SOLO ad. In the email the mailinglist owner refers to your offer and gives people the link of your page or your offer. Then, his work is done.

NB: You use the list of the vendor, but you don’t see the mail addresses of his subscribers. So, privacy of the subscribers is guaranteed. And this method is 100% GDPR compliant.

OK, from here, it’s up to you. Make sure you get as many email addresses from visitors as you can. Then you can start building a relationship with them. And finally they become – in time – customers.

When it comes to solo ads you need to know it’s all about price per 100 clicks. Suppose, you pay $40 for 100 clicks, and 4 of them opt-in for you mailing list, these leads cost you $10 each. Then solo ads are quite expensive.

So make sure your website is finished, your opt-in forms work properly and so on. It had no point to start with solo ads when the basics aren’t good and the expected conversion is low.

Sometimes online marketers are talking about average customer value. This means: for the time somebody is on your mailing list, what might he spend? If you know your numbers, this will help you to stay calm if a solo ad not immediately pay

Who benefits most from solo ads?

I guess solo ads are great to quickstart your business. Once you built your own mailinglist, maybe you don’t need this way of buying traffic. Because, after some time you’d be better in targeting people on Facebook, for example. Then FB advertising might be cheaper.

Also, if you already has a good reputation, you’d benefit more from partnerships. So I promote your offer, and vice versa. But when you start (from scratch), you have nothing to offer as a partner?! So I guess solo ads are especially interesting for you if:

  • You are a newbie with no mailinglist, yet. You have not much patience and you want to make money, even if it’s just a bit.
  • Your budget is too limited to splittest Facebook ads for a couple of thousand dollars. You already have a solo ad for $20. Of course, such a low priced email won’t be sent to large amounts of people, but it’s a great way to test your own page and offer. And get used to this particular kind of digital marketing!
  • In your niche you’d pay lots and lots of dollar for one single click on an AdWords, Bing or Facebook ad. Then the cost per click from solo ads might be much less.
  • In your niche it’s very hard to rank in Google. So SEO or not, it’s not very likely you get lots of free traffic from Google (maybe in time, but definitely not immediately).

Where to buy solo ads?

Of course, you can use Google. But solo ads have no good reputation. I guess, that’s because there are so many bad solo ads vendors… It’s important the solo ads vendor you’re gonna hire is someone with a legal and engaged mailinglist.

WHAT, are there vendors with illegal email address lists. Too bad… but yesssssss, there are. Many, many companies use software that’s scraping websites all day and collect as many addresses as possible. These people didn’t sign up themselves, so you cannot mail them (officially).

The best email lists are lists that are built with double opt-ins. So everybody needs to confirm they give permission to the mailing list owner – mostly an online marketer – to receive emails with relevant offers.

You can still use Google. But a better way is to use a marketplace like Udimi. This is the most well-known solo ads marketplace. Because all profiles contain the same information, it’s easier to compare solo ads vendors and find one that might be right for you.

Already convinced and wanna try solo ads? Signup here for FREE for Udimi and you’ll receive a $5 discount coupon instantly after registration.

6 questions to figure out whether a solo ads vendor is one of ‘the good guys’

It’s your money you’re gonna spend. So it’s your right to ask a potential vendor a couple of questions. They are used to this questions, so many times they’ll already answer this questions in a FAQ. If not, don’t hesitate to ask!

  1. How was this mailinglist built? If someone tells you he built a list with 100.000 subscribers in a couple of months, that’s not realistic. And if something sounds like ‘too good to be true’, most of the times it is 😉
  2. If people signed up on a squeeze page, visit this page. Sign up yourself and see for a couple of week what kind of offers you get. Also, how frequently you get an email. Then decide whether the tone of voice in these mails seamlessly connect to your own tone. That would be great.
  3. How often does the marketeer send an email to his list? Decide for yourself what you think is best. I hesitate if someone sends daily emails; for me that’s too much. I wouldn’t open those mails… So for the best opening rates (how many % of the subscribers open a mailing) I’d say: max. 3 emails a week.
  4. Which type of offers gives the best results with this particular list. If subscribers once signed up to receive an ebook with paleo recipes, these people probably won’t be interested in a mailing that offers them a new plugin for their WordPress websites…
  5. Of course, you want to know what’s the average open rate and the average click-through rate (CTR). But even great CTR’s don’t guerantee anything. If your landing page and your offer are terrible, the solo ad vendor can’t help if your results stay poor.
  6. Some important numbers. First the spam complaint rate: more than 0.2% is a red flag. Normally a spam complaint rate is about 0.1%. Secondly, how will hard bounces be processed. Hopefully the answer is: we remove subscribers after one hard bounce (okay, maybe two hard bounces). If a mailinglist owner doesn’t track bounces, that’s a sign it’s not a well-managed list.

Tackle most of the ‘solo ads risks’

A serious warning. Don’t use money you cannot afford to lose. Because solo ads might be a great way to build an audience, but every marketer can tell you horrible stories about ‘what went wrong’.

Of course, the questions above will help a lot to separate the bad guys from the good guys. But I want to point out 2 easily made risks.

Risk 1: you start too big

Don’t. Solo ads are great, just because you can start small. Use that benefit. Wait and see, get confidence in the vendor and tweak your own page and offer. Testing, testing, testing…. If a vendor tries to persuade you to invest more money (of course, always for better results!), move on.

Risk 2: the vendor is a scammer

In time you’ll develop a feeling for who to trust, and who not. But when you start, you’re an ‘easy prey’. So be careful. Join a forum like Warrior Forum and talk to vendors AND definitely talk to other solo ads users. Try to verify that the list owner is worth your money. Visit the website of the mailinglist owner, check out his social media. And of course, Google his name and see if anyone is complaining about him.

Don’t fall for to good to be true!

Risk 3: Your follow-up e-mails are poor

Traffic is one thing. The next step is turning visitors into leads. Some people think, by that time the work is done. But NO, it’s just got started. Email marketing is about building a relationship to ‘warm up’ cold leads. To turn lead into real fans. Fans that will buy from you in time, and become ambassadors for you. For instance, when they share a blog post from you on social media, your exposure grows exponentially.

Or you pay for traffic and leads, you don’t want people to unsubscribe because your copy is poor, the value of the emails low. Email marketing is pull marketing, no push marketing. You’d rather like people to ask you ‘when are you going to offer something, I’m ready to buy’ than they get irritated because your emails are all about buying and not about share value with the subscribers.

So make sure, you’re ready before you start. I know, business coaches from all over the world tell you time after time: start before you’re ready. In my opinion, when it comes to solo ads, this is a bad advice!

Udimi: find the best solo ad vendors

As I already pointed out: make sure your vendor is reliable. I guess a vendor who joins a marketplace isn’t most likely a scammer because his ‘cover-up’ will be blown up in no time. So I bought my first solo ads on Udimi, a great marketplace for solo ads.

Signup here for FREE for Udimi and you’ll receive a $5 discount coupon instantly after registration.–QqHjc

Don’t invest money if you’re not OK losing it

I don’t say solo ads are like Russian roulette. But the truth is (and always will be): there is no guarantee. I know, I already told you this a couple of times. So this is the last warning 😉

In a lot of niches, solo ads work great. They’re a valuable way to build your mailinglist really fast. Or let’s say, to get lots of exposure for a product launch. And yes, you’ll find online lots of sob stories of people getting burned. But some sob stories are more likely stories of marketers that simply didn’t do their homework. They have nobody to blame for the bad results than themselves.

Start slow. You only figure out how your landing page and your follow-up emails perform until you’ve tried it across 3-5 lists from different vendors. Sometimes the mailinglist subscribers just don’t care for your offer.

I want to end with one last advice: make a simple Excel document or other spreadsheet to monitor your solo ads results. Put all relevant numbers in it, along with the name of the vendor, a link to his website and other notes. It’s a simple habit but it will make a world of difference.

Of course, I hope you’ll benefit from solo ads. Let me know if this blog post was helpful and if you consider starting with solo ads.

3 gedachtes op “Solo ads: a great way to grow your business, or not?”

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