What Are Solo Ads and How Do They Work?

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Solo ads can be a great tool to use if you need to build an email list fast or maybe spread the word about a new product launch. Many marketers rave about solo ads, swearing that they’re all you need to drive traffic and gain new clientele.

However, the truth is that solo ads can be risky, as they don’t always work. They may not be a good fit for every business out there, and it can be hard to tell whether they’ll be a worthwhile investment or not. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to solo ads, what they are, and how they work. Read on to learn all you need to know about solo ads and how to make money using them.

What Is a Solo Ad?

Email-based advertisements bought form other email list owners, solo ads are typically sent as dedicated emails all about your promotion or whatever it is you’re trying to sell. This type of ad is most popular with information marketers and affiliates.

Let’s examine how exactly solo ads work. Start by looking for a solo ad list or solo ad seller that fits your company, product, or service. Next, you’ll reach out to the owner directly, or simply buy access to the list from their website. The price will either be determined by how many subscribers your ad will be sent to or by the amount of clicks your email gets. Once you send out the solo ad, you’ll wait and see how many of those clicks will turn into conversions. Typically, you can expect to pay less for this type of ad than other types.

Even though this may sound like the perfect way to grow your business’s customer base, many companies tend to steer clear of solo ads. In direct opposition to this stance, many other marketers claim their business has gotten to the point where it is now based purely on the success of these ads. So why are there such differing opinions on the effectiveness of solo ads? Let’s take a closer look.

What Do Solo Ads Do Best?

Before we get to the negatives, let’s first examine the pros of using solo ads. Solo ads can be the perfect marketing tool for those who are working with a tight ad budget, as they’re generally much cheaper than other forms of advertising. Most of these packages will only cost a couple hundred dollars or so.

This type of ad is also preferable for those working in a niche where price-per-click prices are skyrocketing. Again, the cost per click will be much lower than most other forms of advertising. It can be a great tool to help you make money while spending less.

Additionally, solo ads are great for oversaturated markets, like weight loss or affiliate marketing, for example. Instead of going the route most of these niches go (Google Ads, social media marketing, etc.), you can home in on a relatively untapped source of potential clients.

The same goes for markets that are extremely competitive for search engine traffic. It can be hard to get your site to rise above all the others in many of today’s online markets, and if you use solo ads as an alternative, you won’t have to spend as much time and effort on SEO.

Finally, solo ads are great to use if you’re about to do a new product launch, or if you need to get a large amount of traffic to a page in a short time frame. You can skip writing guest posts, building your audience, or doing anything that requires more than a day to get results.

The Issues with Solo Ads

Let’s make one thing clear; solo ads are perfectly legal, even if you’ve heard otherwise. However, they can sometimes come with a few problems that make them a riskier investment than other ad forms.

Because solo ads are usually being sold by a single seller, you’re going to have to interact with the list owner directly to secure a package. There are some inherent risks involved with this. For example, you have no idea where the owner of an email list has gotten their subscribers. The list owner may have sourced them from anywhere, resulting in a subscriber base that may not be quality.

Another possible risk is that the email list was compiled by “scraping” websites for email addresses. Scraping is basically using a program to sift through websites and pull email addresses directly from them. Many of these emails may not even be active anymore, often resulting in poor conversion rates. The subscribers in such a list could also be rife with bots programmed to behave like normal email users, which won’t convert.

If any of these issues arise, it can lead marketers to think their squeeze page or offer is not effective, even though the problem really lies with the solo ads they purchased. Despite all these potential issues, the list you purchase will most likely fall in the middle of good and bad.

How to Purchase a Good Solo Ad List

It can be tricky to tell if you’ve purchased a quality solo ad list or not, but fortunately, there a few handy ways you can tell if you’re dealing with a good list owner. Here are some key tips and tricks to remember when purchasing solo ads from email list owners.

First, if the owner is offering a deal that sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. If they’re making big promises about conversion rates or are offering way lower rates than the norm, you will usually want to steer clear.

Also remember to use your resources to source the best list owners to buy from. Utilize your contacts, forums, or any other online resource you can find to verify the quality of a seller. Make sure to do some quick searches to find reviews or recommendations for the owner of the email list you wish to purchase from.

It’s also a good idea to start by spending small. It will be more difficult to make money if you decide to drop a large chunk of your budget on a solo ad that may not convert well. You should expect to do a few cheaper solo ad tests to see which lists perform well and which ones don’t. Once you’ve found a good list, then you can really go all in on those solo ads.

You can also get a lot of good information by asking questions of the owner directly. First and foremost, ask them how they built their list. They may not always tell the truth, but this can be a good way to gauge the quality of a given list. Also try asking them which types of offers typically do well with their list and see if that matches up with what you’re offering.

An important thing to ask is the spam complaint rate. If the owner reports anything above .2%, that’s considered a red flag. You want lists with an average spam complaint rate, which is around .1%. You may also want to check what the average response rate for their list is. If it has a good open rate and click-through rate, then you’ll know it’s probably a safe investment.

Some list owners may also point you to recent landing pages that previous buyers have used and give you their conversion rate, which can be helpful for you to model yours after. Or to know if yours will do well if it’s similar to theirs.

Where to Find Solo Ad Lists

If you’re wondering where you can find solo ad lists for your particular niche, you can simply do a quick Google search with your niche and the phrase “solo ads.” A list of results for solo ad lists that fit your niche will show up, and you can go about navigating through each of them until you find one suitable for your business.

Also check marketing forums and other resources to find solo ad lists already recommended for you niche.

Final Thoughts

Solo ads can a be a great, cost-effective method to reach a new customer base and source potential conversions. They can sometimes get a bad rap, since some solo ad lists are full of bots, fake email accounts, or inactive email accounts. However, if you follow the tips we’ve outlined above, you should have no issue sourcing quality solo ads for your business.

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