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Have you wondered how solo ads work? You know, those little direct mail ads that say something like: “Buy 1,000 text links for 99 cents!” They’re all over the internet, right? And you see them in your inbox or even in your Twitter stream. You may have even purchased one yourself.
Solo ads are a way to build relationships with other businesses and get your offers into the hands of highly targeted leads. Just like any marketing channel, it’s important to understand how solo ads work if you want to spend your money wisely.
But how do solo ads work? Here’s a quick rundown on what solo ads are, how they work, and why they’re so effective.
A solo ad is an email message that you send out to someone else’s email list. Solo ads have a direct response, similar to your own email list, with higher engagement and conversion rates (for the right business) than social and paid search ads. But, you are sending a message with a list you didn’t create – so you need to tread a bit more carefully.
The idea behind solo ads is simple: If you have something valuable to offer, you should be able to sell it to people who want it, even if they don’t know you yet.
That’s what makes solo ads so effective. They’re essentially an introduction service, where you pay someone else to introduce you to their audience and get them interested in what you have to say.
When you buy solo ads, you pay an affiliate marketer or a network of affiliate marketers to promote your product or service to their email list. You generally pay a flat fee for a set number of clicks, and you will work with the advertiser on the email copy (or, they may be able to create their own without your input – hey, who knows there audience better?), and you will watch the traffic come in.
Once your solo advertising campaign is complete, you should expect enough leads or sales to justify the investment. A good campaign is one where you get a bunch of low cost leads to justify the campaign (some sales to offset the cost); a great campaign is one where you get enough sales to pay for the whole campaign with some breathing room. If you have an email list yourself, check out our guide on how to sell your own solo ads.
Here’s a quick rundown of how it works:
- You (the sender) typically pays for the ad up front, which can be anywhere from $50 or more depending on the type of business being advertised and the scope of the campaign.
- With the payment, you will send the solo advertiser the link with email copy (if desired). This is typically a pretty seamless process that is pretty streamlined by most solo ads services.
- That’s it! The advertiser sends the offer to their list, and you cross your fingers.
The benefits of solo ads
1. Targeted lists
Solo ads can highly targeted because you (should) only sending the ad to people who have signed up for an email list who are interested in products of a specific category.
If you’ve read our article on the best solo ads vendors to try, you will learn the targeting available varies by vendor. However, in general, you can target people who have similar interests, hobbies, and lifestyles to your own. In some cases, you can also target them based on their occupation, location, age, and gender.
This makes it easier for you to reach out to people who will be interested in what you have to offer. You won’t waste time marketing your products or services to someone who has no interest in what you’re offering them.
This means you can get much better results and see a higher return on investment (ROI) from less money spent on advertising.
2. Grow your community quickly.
This is one of the biggest benefits of solo ads: They allow you to grow your audience quickly. This can be helpful if you’re just starting out and don’t have much of an audience yet, or if you’ve been around for a while but want to increase your reach and engagement rate.
If you have 1,000 followers but only 10% of them are active on social media, that means only 100 of them will be able to see your content. Solo ads give you the ability to reach thousands of people in a short amount of time — all while building relationships with influencers in the industry. This is a key benefit of email marketing, as compared to social or paid search advertising.
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3. A money-saving option
The main reason why solo ads are becoming popular again is that they can be very cost-effective compared to other methods of advertising such as PPC. If you were to pay someone to write an article on their blog or send out an email newsletter, it could cost you thousands of dollars per month over time (these tactics do take time!).
With solo ads, however, all you need is someone who has a large enough audience for your target market and then pays them a fee per click which will usually only cost between 0.30 cents to 0.90 cents per click (cheaper doesn’t always mean better!).
Since you only pay for the clicks, it’s easy to calculate exactly how much money you’ll spend on each ad campaign. To make the best use of your investment, test multiple solo advertisers with smaller sends. Once you determine the quality of the traffic, then scale.
4. Brand exposure
Social media users engage with an average of 6.6 various social media platforms in a given month – so maximizing the inventory is key to efficient reach. Solo ads give advertisers another place to speak to their target audience that isn’t readily available on traditional PPC platforms, and is affordable for the associated results.
5. Build your list faster
The reason why solo ads help you build your list faster is that they allow you to target the people who have already expressed interest in your product or service.
You can reach out to these people and tell them about your offer or product. They will already be interested in what you have to offer and they might even purchase from you right away as well!
And once you have your first few subscribers and learn which solo advertisers work for you, it’s easier to scale up using more solo ads. Solo ads give you access to millions of potential customers who have never heard about you before.
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6. Larger reach
You can reach a lot more people with a solo advertising than you can with other methods like Facebook ads or Google AdWords alone. This is because you’re paying for clicks from buyers, while Facebook and Google are charging you per click or impression from colder traffic.
7. Quick setup
PPC digital advertising is a skill that takes time and training.
While there is definitely trial and error (likely, some lost money) with solo ads, solo ads can be purchased within a few minutes, and the results can be explosive.
We would encourage anyone working doing a solo ads campaign to reach out to the sender to solicit some advice, and understand how they build their list. You can get a sense of their quality from their effort in helping you. this is a bit of work, but much quicker than the keyword research, audience research, and competition research we would typically do for a PPC campaign.
Related reading: How to write a solo ad
Solo ads marketing can be an effective way to generate sales leads because they allow you to target your ideal customers, but they are not always the best choice for every business. Here are some questions to ask yourself before launching a solo ad campaign:
- Do I have the right budget? Solo ads can be less expensive compared to other advertising methods, but they do require you to shell out about $100-$500 to figure out what you are doing. So, make sure that you have the budget for it before going in. If you are bootstrapping it (like me), it’s very easy to spread out your “testing budget” over the course of time. Once you find your wolf-pack of quality senders, you’ll be set.
- Do I have time? While solo ads are a simpler and more direct method for marketing compared to other formats, they still do time and effort – both on your part and on the part of your network members – so make sure that you have enough time available before launching one. Finding solo senders is pretty easy. The trick is nailing the right flow (email capture and nurturing campaign seems to be the best bet), and the the right product (I like affiliate programs that I have used).
- Do I understand my funnel? When you know your funnel, solo ads can be like gasoline to the flame. It’s OK to burn some cash to test-and-learn, but you may want to take a breather first if you don’t quite understand your audience. That said, if you have consistent sales, go for it! Measure the results, and try to account for the total conversion lift (not just the last-click conversions).
- Is my product right for this solo ads? Some products simply work better than others for solo ads. Business opportunity and weight loss niches seemed to have the most attention from solo advertisers, but reach out to the solo advertiser for their opinion (again, they know their list!). FYI – If you promoting a offer from an affiliate marketplace that’s a bit scammish, I’ll save you some time and say it probably won’t work. My belief is if they are scamming their consumers, they are likely scamming their affiliates. I’d love to hear comments below on this subject 🤣.
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Get started with solo ads today!
Hopefully, we have cleared up some of the confusion surrounding solo ad campaigns. If anything, they should provide one more effective growth strategy for your business. And the best part is that, since the success of an ad campaign depends on your own audience and your ability to create compelling offers, you know these efforts will be working for you.
It’s also easy to set up and manage, and the benefits that it brings can be very valuable.
In an age when online marketing is all the rage, the power of solo ads is undeniable.
If you need quality solo ads traffic to boost your leads and sales, Udimi is the place to shop. It’s free to sign up, they guarantee an honest deal, and provide bullet-proof protection against fraud, spam and timewasters.