The first time I bought solo ads, I ended up losing $750 in a single day. Unless your money grows on a tree and you don’t care about it, you should pay attention to what I have written on the article because this is going to save you thousands of dollars in the next 6 months…
So let’s get down to the basics…
What is a Solo Ad?
A “Solo Ad” is a type of an email ad where you buy a single sponsored message sent by the list owner to a list of prospects. In this type of advertising, you don’t buy the list, all you get is a sponsored message with your link.
The short video below should give you a complete introduction to the solo ad business:
Solo ads are best to be used for generating leads and should almost never be used for direct traffic. Moving forward in this article, you’ll learn why generating leads is a much more effective strategy for your business.
Do Solo Ads Work in 2019? A Solo Ad Review
It’s time to answer the hard question: Do solo ads still work and generate sales this year? The answer is yes, solo ads will be alive as long as the email marketing is alive!
One of the biggest concerns when it comes to buying solo ads is its business model. Over the years, the number of solo ad sellers (or providers) has gone up and it has become harder and harder to find good and legit sellers.
How to Spot Bad Solo Ads?
In general, there are two things you should measure and be monitor closely when buying solo ads: Bad, fake or bot traffic AND low engagement rate of the traffic and the leads.
Luckily for us, there are dozens of different ways to measure these and find out if a provider (or a seller) is giving you bad traffic. Here’s how to do it:
- Start with a low amount: to test a seller’s traffic, you should start with small orders at first. Start with small amounts such as $50 or $100 (don’t go above $100)
- Track user behavior: use tools like Hotjar.com to track user’s activity on your website and see how people are responding to your landing page. Hotjar makes it very easy to detect bad or fake traffic.
- Use a link tracking system: You should always use your own tracking links. I recommend Clickmeter.com. ClickMeter filters will tell you how many of your clicks were BOT or useless traffic.
I’m going to dive into the details of these 3 down below, but while you wait for that, watch the video below to learn more about bad solo ads:
How or (Where) to Buy Solo Ads?
When it comes down to buying solo ads, you can buy them from 4 different places: Solo Ads Marketplaces, Solo Ads Agencies, Solo Ads Directories, and Marketing Forums. I’m going to share the pros and cons of each one with you, as well as some live examples of these different markets to buy solo ads.
Solo Ads Marketplaces
An automated marketplace is the best place to start buying solo ads. It’s easy and will make the entire experience a breeze. Solo ad marketplaces are automated, meaning that most of the things will be done for you, all you need is to add your email copy and select a buyer.
The best place marketplace to buy solo ads is currently Udimi. Currently I’m spending over $1,000 a week and generate some amazing results with them.
Here’s a quick video tutorial on Udimi and how to use it:
Don’t forget the basic rules: start slow and A/B test your landing page, then buy more as you get results…
You can also use my affiliate link to get a $5 discount when you buy a solo ad on Udimi.
Solo Ads Agencies
Honestly, I’m not a big fan of solo ad agencies. In my opinion, why would you want to pay an “agency” (or what I’d like to call them is middle man) when I can just do it myself, this is like being a marketer and paying someone else to your ads!
With that being said, here is a solo ad agency that we’ve tried and had success with.
Solo Ads Directories
Solo Ads Directories are the wild west of solo ad world. They’re hard to navigate since they’re chaotic and full of empty promises, so you’ll have to be very careful.
These directories are usually showing their “top” clicked sellers and since they don’t have a way to track their seller’s success (unlike solo ad marketplaces like Udimi), it’s hard to know who’s right and who’s wrong.
Your best chance is to choose a seller and start slow and see how it goes. Unlike a solo ad marketplace, you can negotiate prices so don’t forget about that. Also, ask your seller about their list, how big is it and how do they generate it.
Do your best to sniff out the “resellers” and people with bad traffic. SoloAdsX.com is the most famous solo ad directory online and this is where we find our independent solo ad sellers (when I’m not buying on Udimi).
Marketing forums like Aversity or WarriorForum are two places where you can find independent solo ad sellers. In my experience, forums are a great place to buy solo ads and sellers are usually much more trustable than agencies or directories.
Forums also allow buyers like you to connect with other buyers and ask about their experience (like a solo ad marketplace), so the results are usually more likely to be legit.
Networking is Everything!
Let’s take a moment and talk about relationships and your network. In the business of buying solo ads, building trust with a good seller will put you on fast track to success.
Here’s how to do it:
Start a conversation the moment you buy a solo ad from them. This way, they won’t see you as another buyer. They know that you’re serious and they will respect your time and money.
Be good to them and don’t negotiate too hard in the beginning, in other words, don’t be cheap.
Start from small amounts and buy more (if you get some decent results with your first order after monitoring the traffic) and open the way for more questions such as how do they generate their leads.
As a buyer, it’s critical to know where are these leads coming from and why did they join the seller’s list in the first place.
As you build a business relationship with these trusted sellers, you can negotiate their price and they will happily give you discounts because of your repeating business.
How to Write a High Converting Solo Ad!
It’s time to talk about the most important aspect of your solo ad, the copy.
This is the text or message people will see when your sponsored message is sent to them and it’s the most important aspect of your ad.
Before I talk about your email subject and body, there’s something important you should know and that’s “message consistency”.
What Does Message Consistency Mean?
The idea here is simple: You want your email (subject and body) to have the same message and theme as your landing page (I’ll talk about landing pages in this article)
For example, if your landing page says “the training will help you lose 20 pounds in 30 days”, your email copy should say the EXACT SAME thing.
Same numbers, same wording, and same format.
How to Write a Great Solo Ad Email Subject?
These days with smartphones and videos everywhere, people are paying less and less attention to emails so your subject line is the most important part of your campaign.
In my experience, the best email subjects are short and catchy ones. You don’t have to explain more than that.
Sometimes too much information will simply result in bad or no results.
First, go through your own inbox and find an email or emails of your industry leaders and check out their subject lines. Simply, learn from them and get some ideas!
If you’re in the business of something, surely you’re getting a ton of emails related to it, so don’t forget to save the good ones that caught your eye.
I personally have a section of saved emails from different marketers so I can get back to and get ideas from my own emails (solo ads and non-solo ads related)
Second, use the most underutilized headline research source of all time: Google Search!!!
Google search results are the result of high CTR (or Click Through Rate) articles and this factor has a MAJOR effect on page ranking in Google search results.
This means that top-ranking pages for a specific keyword are the best ones with the greatest headline.
A couple of searches with different keywords will yield some amazing ideas. Try to the best headlines up and come up with something new and better!
Third, The affiliate section of the product you’re promoting OR affiliate section of a product related to the one you’re going to sell with your funnel.
Product vendors are constantly testing their pages, content, headlines, and emails. The affiliate resources section of a product is a great place to look for email copies and subject line ideas.
How to Write a Great Solo Ad Copy (body)?
After finding the perfect subject, it’s time to write your solo ad’s body. Here is a list of rules to follow when writing your email copy:
- Don’t make it longer than 300 words
- Use the numbers and selling points of your landing page in the content
- Make the first 20 words as interesting and catchy as possible
- Don’t tell stories and try to get them to click your link as fast as possible
Let’s talk about each one of these points in more details…
Don’t Exceed The 300 Words Limit
Solo ads are usually sent to a cold audience, meaning that the reader won’t spend the time to read a long email. A long email copy will turn away most of the people and usually results in low engagements and very low open to click ratios.
Use The Same Numbers And Selling Points As Your Lead Page
Like subject line, it’s important to follow a theme within the content of your email copy. Try using the same selling points of your opt-in page in the body. This way the reader will know what to expect after clicking your link.
This will result in higher CTRs and conversion rates.
In my experience, this strategy alone caused a 15% increase in conversion rates.
The example below is our test with the 4-day Inner Circle Masterclass training series.
This 4 step funnel will sell a $497 program at the end (after 4 days, so engagement is important in this funnel)
In the first test, we bought $1,000 worth of solo ads using the copy below:
How This Once Broke, Humiliated And Overwhelmed 23 Yr Old Punk Kid Went From 0$ a day to four-figures a day using a Done For You System used by super affiliates and gurus.
Without Prior Experience in Marketing and Sales
Without a List of Subscribers and Social Media Fans
And Without Ads and Videos
Click here to learn more
This campaign resulted in 495 leads, 5 sales and a profit of $1,485 (5 x $497 = $2,485 – $1,000)
In the second test, we bought another $1,000 worth of solo ads from the same provider, but this time, we changed something minor in the copy:
How This Once Broke, Humiliated And Overwhelmed 23 Yr Old Punk Kid Went From 0$ a day to $3,000 a day using a Done For You System used by super affiliates and gurus.
Without Prior Experience in Marketing and Sales
Without a List of Subscribers and Social Media Fans
And Without Ads and Videos
Click here to learn more
The second campaign resulted in 588 leads, 8 sales and a profit of $2,976 (8 x $497 = $3,976 – $1,000)
As you can see, your copy consistency is a major game changer and will make a massive difference in your results.
Make Your First 20 Words Catchy And Interesting
This tactic started with a simple idea but became much more important and effective as the inbox template of Gmail and Yahoo changed.
In the new Gmail and Yahoo inbox formats, you can see a part of the email’s body, depending on how long the subject line is.
This means that if your subject is not too long and you have a catchy start in your email, you’ll have a much higher chance to get people to open your email because you simply display more information.
Get Them To Click As Fast As Possible
With your solo ad copy, your only goal is to get people to Click on your link. One of the biggest mistakes you can ever make is to try something else, such as relationship building OR storytelling.
The truth is, these people don’t care about what you have to say because they don’t know you, so there’s no point in trying.
It’s like trying to sell something with an ad before even someone clicks on your ad. The goal is to get the click and nothing else.
Creating a High Converting Solo Ad Opt-in Page
Without an opt-in page to collect leads, you won’t make a dime from your solo ads, so having a high converting page is crucial to your success. Here’s what I learned from hundreds of A/B tests and spending over $350,000 on solo ads.
Your Page Headline is Everything
Your landing page headline is the first element users will see. It’s important to make sure it’s as good as possible. Here’s a couple of tips for writing the best opt-in page headline:
- Keep it short: No one likes to read a long headline, make sure it’s not longer than 20 words!
- Above the fold: Make sure visitors can read the entire headline on any device the moment they open the page. Visitors shouldn’t have to scroll down to see your headline.
- Use a simple format: Don’t use too many different color schemes. Use a simple and clean format to keep the user focused on the objective of the page, which is to generate a lead.
- Be consistent: Make sure the message behind your page headline matches your solo ad’s copy. Try to use the same claims and numbers you used in your copy on your landing page.
The Double vs Single Opt-in Decision
About 90% of my solo ad landing pages are set on the double opt-in system, meaning that the user needs to verify their email address by checking their email.
This brings down the number of leads you get per solo ad run by 7% but it allows you to get more effective leads.
The money you earn from solo ads is directly related to how well the user will interact with your emails and content after joining your list, so there’s no point in filling up your autoresponder with useless leads.
After all, why would you want someone to be in your list if they’re not willing to engage with your content?
1 Step vs 2 Steps Call to Action
The next decision you need to make for your opt-in page is going to be about your call to action button.
A single step call to action means that the visitor will see the name and email fields immediately:
A double step call to action is more common these days and this is a pop-up call to action type where visitors won’t see what they need to enter before clicking on the call to action button.
So which one is better?
In our experience, the double step performs slightly better in conversions, but the difference isn’t huge. Usually, a double step opt-in improves the conversions by 3% which can be only a considerable amount when you’re buying solo ads in bulk or big amounts.
The Video vs Image Argument
The final element on your landing page beside the headline is the additional material that will help improve the conversion, which can be an image or video.
An image or video can help with conversions by providing proof or more information about the end product of the funnel.
In our experience, switching between an image or video on a landing page won’t make a difference in the opt-in rate BUT it’ll make a major difference in the back-end conversion rate of the funnel.
The biggest and most important element in your page’s conversion rate is your headline, not the image or video.
But having a video to explain about the funnel and what they’re going to get after joining your list will help you get MORE SALES at the end of the funnel.
In general, I only recommend videos on opt-in pages that are selling products over $200 in tbe backend.
Final Tips & a Recap
I’m sure there are a dozen other things I’d like to talk about that I currently don’t remember, so I’m going to leave this article open-ended.
To give you some final tips, I want to remind you to not forget about tracking and testing your ads, your landing page, and your sellers.
But don’t make the most common mistake of all time: don’t test too many variables at the same time. If you’re getting started, here’s how I recommend you to start testing everything:
First, create a couple of different variations of your opt-in page and run your first test in there with the upcoming traffic. You need to make sure that the most important piece of the puzzle (your page) is the best version of itself.
Run at least 3 different variants and find the one that converts the highest and make sure you don’t make the same mistake on a lower level when testing your pages: don’t test too many different versions when running A/B tests for your pages.
I usually test the headline first, then different color combos and finally different call to action styles to find the best version of my opt-in page.
Second, start tracking clicks, conversions and user behavior with Clickmeter and Hotjar to analyze the traffic from different sellers.
Start small and see how does the traffic perform. Don’t expect to get a $1,000 sale from $50 worth of solo ads, but see how active and engaged the traffic from that seller is. That is your key to saving money and profiting with solo ads.
To close this article, I want to remind you to start slow with solo ads, don’t get too excited and buy into the hype of sellers. Get your own data and only pay attention to your own results, not how many testimonials or “successful” case studies they’ve got.
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