My First Solo Ad Campaign

Advertising bullhornI’ve heard and read quite a bit about solo ads, but I haven’t taken the plunge and done a solo ad campaign until now. The main reason I haven’t done it in the past is that solo ads cost money, and you need something to advertise that is likely to cover the cost of the ads and hopefully make a profit.

I have considered using solo ads to send people to a web page where they can leave their email address in order to receive a free gift (what I now know is a “squeeze” or “opt-in” page). This would help me to build my list, and as everyone always says, “the money is in the list”.

The problem is that I might spend a fortune to build this list, then not know how to make money with it. However, I now have a way to offer more value to people coming through solo ads, so the cost of the advertising should hopefully be covered.

What are solo ads?

If you’re like me you will have heard all sorts of people using terms like “solo ads”, “autoresponders” and “squeeze pages”, and not really been sure what they meant. I’ve been involved in the internet business since the late 1990s, and a lot of it still confuses me. It’s industry-specific jargon that people use in a particular way, and I’m finding that you need to be involved in their discussions to really understand what is going on.

Having said that, we’ll assume that everyone would know that the “ad” part refers to “advertisement”. The “solo” part of the term has been explained to me a couple of different ways.

The first explanation was that solo ads are only sent out once, similar to an old-fashioned mail-shot. The second explanation was that the email ad copy only contains a link to my promotion. A cheaper alternative is email ad placement, where your ad (and link) appears with others in the email. This second explanation seems more convincing.

Solo ad vendors

You obtain solo ads from a solo ad seller, or vendor. You provide the vendor with an advertisement and they send the advertisement to a number of people on their email subscriber list. The list should be targeting people who are interested in whatever you are promoting. The vendor will have collected the subscribers’ email addresses in return for something in the same niche (there’s another one of those terms) as you are targeting.

Another of the things that stopped me doing a solo ad campaign in the past was that I would have to buy the adverts from someone I had never met, and I had no idea what I was looking for.

For this campaign a vendor was someone recommended to me by a program I belong to, and who understood the products I was promoting. They provided an easier way for me to produce the information for the advert and had ready made ad copy for my campaign. Without this I don’t think I would have got my campaign under way yet.

Paying for clicks

Something I really like about solo ads is that you normally pay for a number of “clicks”. This means that your ad is sent to a number of people, but you only pay for the ones who click on the link and go to your landing page (yet more internet marketing jargon).

This means that if you are confident your landing page will encourage the visitor to take action you assured that a specific number of people will see it. This is much better than paying for people to see your ad, where you have no idea what they do as a result.

You can then track what the people coming to your landing page from the solo ad link do next. For example, you can count how many opt-in by leaving their email address, or make a purchase. So you can calculate the value you receive from your solo ad campaign.

In my case I was using solo ads to send people to a simple opt-in page where they could leave their email address in exchange for access to a video on internet marketing. If the information was of interest to them there was also an internet marketing program that they could buy. You can see the opt-in page linked to from the ad to here.

Click-through rate

In my first campaign I paid for 300 clicks. I was told in advance that solo ad vendors often over-deliver because they continue to send email ads until the agreed number of clicks is reached, and they often overshoot.

The total number of clicks I actually received was 339, and the number of people opting-in by leaving their email address was 145. This is an opt-in rate of just over 42%, which I am informed is pretty good.

Prior to my first solo ad campaign I was worried that it might not work for me. This kind of doubt can haunt you and stop you from taking any action. In a post I wrote recently I looked at Frank Kern’s two commandments for internet marketing success, but I still nearly let his two no-nos stop me. His two commandments add up to “just get on with it”, or what Mario Brown calls “massive imperfect action”.

I nearly spent even more time trying to find out the best way to do solo ads, and not actually take the plunge and pay someone to send them out for me. Without taking that action I would still be wondering if it might be “different for me”, and that it wouldn’t work. Whether this campaign had worked out or not, and there may be more benefits to follow, at least I am now someone who has actually done it rather than just read about it.

15 thoughts on “My First Solo Ad Campaign”

  1. Great posting Keiran! You have clearly explained about solo ads. I like how you give us your results…very encouraging! I am not quite ready to do one yet but I have flagged this page as reference for the future!

    Reply
    • Hi Barbara, thanks, I really had to take a deep breath before taking the plunge with paid advertising myself.

      I’ve developed some understanding of the process and I’m ready to go forward now.

      Reply
    • Hello, Barbara

      When you are ready to do solo ads….. check my valid suggestions to Keiran and to Cory here.

      I’m not sure whether typing it all out again here, will occupy too much space on Keiran’s site!

      To your success,

      Sue

      Reply
  2. Hello Keiran,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with solo ads. I’m already familiar with it, but it’s quite costly. Just like what Barb said I’m also not ready to take that route yet. Maybe in the future if money is not that tight anymore.

    Reply
    • Hi Cory, you’re right, it is quite costly. This was what was making me very apprehensive about doing a solo ad campaign, and I’m not sure I was really ready myself.

      However, the experience was quite positive and I’m planning another one shortly.

      Reply
    • Hello, Cory

      Yes, Solo Ads can be quite costly.

      However, if you do your research well, i.e. (1) communicate to your Solo Ad seller about the offer you’re promoting, (2) check whether he has previously promoted this offer to his list and how many times, (3) ask how often he refreshes is list, (4) ask does he have buyers on his list, (5) check his testimonials in various FB groups especially whether sales have resulted….

      Then you have increased your chances tremendously – in fact you have not left much to chance!

      So for your “maybe in the future”, keep the above points in mind!

      To your success,

      Sue

      Reply
  3. Hi Keiran
    Congratulations on taking the plunge into the world of PAID Traffic. I attempt Adwords PPC a few years ago and it sucked me shy of $250 with no return what so ever. This failed attempt stopped me from doing SOLO Ads.

    That being said; I am about to venture out into the World of PAID Traffic once again, but this time using Facebook Ads, under the guidance of a mentor, so… Hopefully I’ll have some success this time round.

    I hope your SOLO AD Campaign reaped some benefit…

    Reply
    • Hi Duane
      I have been trying to get going with Facebook Ads myself recently, but every ad I have submitted for approval has been declined. They seem to be really strict!

      The latest one declined was today. I was afraid it might be turned down because the image had too much text, but it turns out the image had a currency symbol in it, which could imply “get rich quick and other inaccurate money-making opportunities that offer compensation for little or no investment “.

      I think I would benefit from a mentor in this area myself.

      Reply
    • Hello Duane,

      You are an amazing action-taker, for attempting Adwords PPC a few years ago – you have learnt lessons of tremendous value.

      All the best in your venture of using Facebook Ads – with a mentor, you can’t go wrong!

      To your success,

      Sue

      Reply
  4. Hi Keiran,

    congrats on your first solo ad and the 42% opt-in rate in your first shot.

    However, the solo ad industry changed a lot in the last few years and I would suggest to not buy 300 clicks the first time from a seller you don’t know. Unfortunately there are too many black sheep in the herd nowadays.

    It’s better to test a seller with a small amount of clicks first and then work your way up if you are satisfied with the quality.

    I personally don’t use solo ads that much anymore and have set up my own pay per lead program (another such a term 😉 ), as it has a lot of advantages compared to solo ads.

    If you are interested to know more about it, just get in touch.

    Cheers,
    Torsten

    Reply
    • Torsten, you are right. A smaller click package (possibly 100-clicks) is better to start off than a 300-click package, as an initial test.

      But Keiran has taken bold, massive action …. and that’s a way of moving ahead (and learning!). I believe he will benefit, even if maybe months down the line.

      I’m gald you have successfuly set up your own pay-per-lead program.

      To your success,

      Sue

      Reply
  5. Hi Torsten
    Thanks, I really don’t understand the solo ad market yet, and I was intending to go with far fewer than a 300 click package first-time out.

    A vendor was recommended to me and their smallest package was 300 clicks. I decided to go with the recommendation and thankfully it all turned out well.

    I feel a little more confident about it now.

    Reply
  6. Hello, Kieran
    Congratulations on taking a bold step… purchasing a solo ad package. If you’ve done your research well, i.e. (1) communicated to your Solo Ad seller about the offer you’re promoting, (2) checked whether he has previously promoted this offer to his list and how many times, (3) how often he refreshes is list, (4) does he have buyers on his list, (5) checked his testimonials in various FB groups especially whether sales have resulted….

    Then – be at peace! You will surely get sales, if not immediately, then even months further down the line.

    I do agree with Torsten Mueller above, that its better to test with smaller click packages, maybe 100 clicks with several vendors, and then compare results.

    Yes, some of them do have a minimum click package of 300 clicks on their site, but sometimes you can negotiate with them for a smaller package, saying that it is an initial test package.

    So, all the very best!

    Sue

    Reply
    • Hi Sue

      That’s a useful solo ad seller checklist. Thanks for sharing.

      I contacted supposedly reputable solo ad vendors with these questions and some of them didn’t even respond, so you do have to be careful.

      Reply
  7. Great post, Keiran. Solid information, and yes, your click-thru rate of over 40% isn’t good, it’s excellent! Perhaps you could share your ad copy as that’s what truly generates the clicks.
    As far as the cost is concerned, one of my marketing friends said that his solo ads always work out to break even or even making a little money because he always includes an offer on the thank you page. He told me that the customer has already taken the step to join your list, so the barrier to entry has already been passed. So he puts an offer on the thank you page and makes enough sales to cover the cost of the ads and often a little more. You might try that the next time you do a solo ad.
    Thanks for the great information!

    Reply

Leave a Comment