I’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.
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.