What are solo ads? Well, it’s definitely a love-it-or-hate-it thing, to be sure. Take a poll, either via a Google search and/or among any marketer friends or colleagues you have, and you’ll find two strongly rooted camps:
- Solo ads suck. Never use them.
- Solo ads are freaking amazing. Always use them.
Before we explore this growing divide any further, as I never want to be that guy who presumes to know what his readers do and don’t know, let’s quickly define solo ads.
When you pay someone with an existing email list, i.e., an audience, to send your advertisement to that list, you’ve just purchased a solo ad. The list owner is allowing you to “borrow” their audience for a one-time price, and you are repaid in a traffic boost.
Mind you, this boost occurs over a very short period of time, unlike social media, PPC, native ads, etc., because your ad is blasted out to x thousand users in one shot. So, you better be ready for a surge of clicks.
Now that we’ve clarified that, let’s get into the real meat of this piece. Here are the questions I want to address:
-Are solo ads good or bad?
-What makes a successful solo ad purchase versus a failed one?
-What is the purpose of meaning?
Actually, I’ll need to slot a solid decade or two of meditation time on some remote mountaintop to tackle the third one, then I’ll get back to you. Let’s dive into the first question.
Are Solo Ads Good or Bad?
I bet that you’ve already figured out this isn’t a straight yes or no, good or bad scenario. Life rarely deals in absolutions, am I right?
Here’s the deal: Solo ads are an excellent way to jumpstart a brand and shorten your growth trajectory when they’re utilized properly.
On the other hand, I’ll be the first one to admit that solo ads are absolutely worthless when the context isn’t properly managed. Heck, I’ve failed with them twice, but that’s because I didn’t yet understand what I’m about to tell you.
First and foremost, think about the list and your seller.
A big reason for the shade that gets thrown from the anti-solo-ad group is a very real concern over the quality of the list and the seller. There are plenty of seedy people out there who abuse the heck out of their lists with ad after the ad just to make a ton of money.
Thankfully, you can use UDIMI.com, which offers a highly transparent marketplace for solo ad sellers and buyers, to thoroughly check out your ad publishers and set your mind at ease. Even with great content, a low-quality list can still throw a wrench in the gears.
That being said, this isn’t one of those tools that you should only use for brand awareness, SEO ranking, list/traffic growth, and so forth, even though solo ads can boost all of those metrics as well.
I’m saying that, in order to end up in the green and create sustainable growth in the form of sales and all that important stuff above, you need to shape the context.
But Scott, I like, paid for the ad. I should just be able to sit here and do nothing.
Boom. Right there.
We just arrived at the fork in the road that leads to either a successful or failed solo ad.
Think about the logic there. If you believe that all you need is traffic, a solitary ad, or at most, a landing page and a sales page to make a sale, then it’s time to overhaul your thought process.
Just because you’re paying for the traffic, doesn’t mean you don’t need to optimize the back end. Where are you taking these people? What’s their incentive? Are they being messaged with intent-driven content, free guidance, and a well-structured pitch?
It’s still all on you, even if you think it’s not. I know, I know – it seems unfair, but it’s what separates successful people from unsuccessful people.
Let’s dig a little bit more into the specific mechanics here, which brings me to our second question.
What Makes a Successful vs a Failed Solo Ad?
I’ll speak plainly. If your solo ad takes clickers through a crappy, underwhelming funnel, then it will fail. If you send all those people through a solidly-constructed funnel and/or a solidly constructed email list, however, we’re looking at a much greater potential for conversion, return visits and all that good stuff.
What does a bad funnel look like? Well, that’s easy. If it’s just your landing page, or only a landing page and a sales page, it’s not going to be enough to convert. If the content is of low quality, it’s definitely not going to convert.
You need at least a landing page, thank you page, and sales page to convert, AND you need to optimize every pixel of these precious assets with helpful information. Offer a free course. Really, I mean it.
Ebook lead magnets have been a mainstay for a long time, but video is eclipsing them pretty convincingly. Offer a free course so that your people can see you aren’t a spammy imposter. You know what you’re talking about, you can help them, and you’re even willing to help them for free.
Otherwise, you can always build a list. This I simply cannot emphasize enough. Set up that landing page, provide helpful resources as mentioned, and send people to your list. This way, you get to retain all your customers AND still pitch to them!
Speaking of pitching within that list, remember this converting rhythm: pitch – pitch – value – value – pitch-value-value-pitch. Every bit of value you deliver will, first of all, directly help your customers with their problem or need, while also increasing their trust in you.
Also, a list will give you staying power beyond a solo ad. They will still be there for you to send blasts out, and as your organic traffic grows, you can add to that list. Or you can just switch up your traffic generation method to social media or paid ads. It’s a win-win when you accept the fact that traffic costs money and/or time.
It’s All on You
Solo ads or not, this is a perfect opportunity for a little pearl of wisdom that has served me greatly. We all know that constantly reading, learning, and adapting is vital for success in affiliate marketing or any other venture.
Sometimes, though, when it comes to forging your path to success, you need to stop listening to the “love it” and “hate it” camps, whether the decision you are about to make is about solo ads or whatever else.
If you’ve heard of it, then it works. Social media ads work. Solo ads work. Email marketing works. There will always be a thousand people telling you never to try affiliate marketing method x, and a thousand people urging you to do it right now.
The only way to cut through this haze is with your very best effort. The more you experiment, research, and fail (then return), the closer you will come to the truth that every single method works when the effort put into it is massive enough.
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