FTC Disclosure: The website owner may earn revenue with purchases from clicked links displayed on this post.
If you’re an internet marketer like myself, you’ll come to the conclusion that you need traffic to survive. You can have the best product in the world, but without eyeballs on that offer you won’t make it very far. One of the simple ways marketers use to generate traffic is turning to solo ads.
Especially beginners turn to this option – when they’re new to internet marketing and don’t really know how to generate targeted traffic.
However, I don’t like solo ads. And I don’t recommend using them to promote your online business. And I’ll explain why and leave it up to you before you decide to buy your next solo ad, or your first one. But I have enough marketing experience where I’ve seen first hand what solo ads are and its not good.
What Is A Solo Ad?
A solo ad is where a marketer borrows a vendors email list. Where the marketer either provides them with an email swipe themselves, or the vendors uses their own. They email their list your product/capture page (usually how its done) to their subscribers.
You’re not paying for actual leads, nor email opens. You’re paying strictly for clicks on the link in your email.
This can be a little risky. There’s no guarantee of sales or leads even. Only clicks. So if you buy one, and say get 4 leads, or none. Or zero sales. You’re shit out of luck basically.
My Experience With Solo Ads
I’ve bought a lot of solo ads. Especially when I was new to internet marketing. Any program I’ve been in seems to sing the same song and dance. Oh just go buy solo ads and you’ll make money with our program.
Not that easy. In all the solo ads I’ve ever purchased. And I’ve spent thousands of dollars on them. So I got enough data to back this up. I’ve NEVER, ever, received ROI on any program I was promoting from a solo ad.
You might have read reviews where others have. I’m not doubting that. Maybe every now and then, you get lucky. And you catch a vendor having the right list at the right time, and maybe you do. And it turns out you make a profit. Or, maybe you’ve found one of the few vendors that truly has a great list and treats it right.
Hey, if solo ads have been consistently working for you. Then great, I’m not going to talk you out of something that’s working and you’re happy with.
Some may completely disagree with my take, and think solo ads are great. And say “This guy must not know about how to use them correctly, blah, blah, blah..” Hey, whatever, if someone has found a way to make it work, then great.
But most of the time, in my experience, and others as well (I’m not alone) – you just won’t see great results when you buy solo ads.
Yes, I have received a few sales here and there.
But I always paid more than what I earned back. Now, some solo ad vendors or even the product promoters will say “well you didn’t buy enough clicks to really test your offer! You need to buy at least 250-300 clicks to test”.. Or the real money is in the follow up from the emails. The last part is true (but we will talk more why it doesn’t work well with solo ads later).
Who wants to regularly spend $100-$150 dollars just to “test” a traffic source, anyways. And its hogwash. I’ll explain more why almost every case the traffic is just simply junk.
Yes, I would be very happy to pay that money if the quality was extremely high and targeted. But in almost all cases, its not.
The last solo ad I bought. I paid just 150 clicks, and netted just 4 leads. By far my lowest output ever.
Normally, you will get leads when buying a solo ad. I’ll say that much. That’s why at first people fall into that trap thinking “hey, I’m getting leads at least – not bad”.
I’d usually average around 40-50 per 100 clicks. So this struck me very odd, when I got just 4! Like, what?
I had to ask myself two questions. Do I just suddenly suck at making capture pages, or are the clicks just fake in general?
Well, I went into my Get Response. I remembered I DOUBLE opted for any subscriber to be on my list. Meaning, they can’t just put their email and name in. They get emailed to confirm their subscription to be on my list.
I check there were actually 38 single optin subscribers. So those numbers were about normal to what I’d get from a solo ad. But only 4 double confirmed. That’s the bad part. What does this mean?
It could mean these were fake emails. It could mean the list the solo vendor has is basically dead.
The bottom line, it really means the leads suck.
Why would almost all of them sign up for more information they want, and then not double confirm the email in their inbox to receive it? It’s not complicated and it doesn’t take more than 2 seconds to do this.
Sure, a few will. Some people just change their mind. Or forget. Or it gets placed in the spam folder. But nearly all of them did. That’s not good, at all.
Cheap Solo Ad Vendors Are The Worst
There’s no such thing as ‘cheap and high quality’ solo ads. They just don’t exist. See, a quality vendor can’t afford to sell clicks that cheap – if their list is real, quality, and they replenish it on a regular basis. If they don’t, then yeah, they can sell cheap clicks to a washed out list.. Just the expenses for paying their auto responder and spending money on click per cost lead themselves.
A lot of them use Facebook, media buys, PPC. And its not cheap. So they can’t afford to sell cheap clicks, if its quality clicks at all.
So anyone that’s selling a cheap solo ad, that alone is a red flag. Any vendor worth its weight at all will charge about 50-80 cents a click. Yeah, that’s not cheap. 50 dollars will net you just a 100 clicks.
Why I Don’t Like Solo Ads
Now, I won’t sit here and say every single solo ad is equal. Because they are not. Far from it. Is there any solo ad vendors out there that are any good? Of course there is. I’ve actually bought a few myself from some that I found not bad.. Not great, but definitely not bad.
And its true when buying a solo ad. It’s not always about making money off it, but getting quality leads. Which you can do with solo ads. But its very few and far between in my experience.
If you’re a solo ad vendor yourself, and feel insulted by this article. My apologies.
I’m not here to rip or insult anyone that sells solo ads. I’m not even suggesting solo ads can’t ever be good traffic. I think its just one of my least favorite ways to generate traffic – and yes, a lot of them out there are bad traffic. Most solo vendors would probably agree, and know that.
I’m not trying to put a bad name on the business. I’m just keeping it real. I don’t prefer this method to generating leads and traffic at all. And now lets get into why I don’t.
First Reason I Don’t Like Solo Ads
They tell you they’re selling buyers only. This is almost always a lie. They’re not promoting your email to their buyers list. In fact, I guarantee you they have a completely separate list where none of the leads have ever bought off them in the first place.
You might be asking, well why would they do that? It’s simple, they don’t want to lose money! If you have a buyers list of leads, you treat those leads like gold!
It’d make absolutely no sense to include a list of buyers leads with selling solo ads.
And you really don’t want to share those leads. Those are customers! And every solo ad vendor emails their list every single day, where it becomes nauseating and tiresome receiving emails from them.
There are some people that WILL sell buyer leads, but they’re not actual solo vendors. They’ll do it every now and then on special occasions – sell clicks from their list, that are actual buyers. Now, buying from some of them, I wouldn’t think would be bad at all. In fact, it’d be great.
They don’t sell clicks often, they do it very sparingly. This is smart, because they know if they did it regularly they’d wear out their list.
Those people are hard to find. And usually you’d have to vet them out on facebook. Again, they’re not easy to find. And they won’t sell clicks regularly. Because it’d be foolish.
But if they’re a regular solo vendor, and claiming its buyers only. Bullshit. What do you think is going to eventually happen? They’re going to unsubscribe. And they don’t want to risk losing those leads.
And the average click rate they get on their solo list is extremely low. The unsubscribe rate on a solo list is very high. Because they’re spamming the hell out of them every single day, multiple times a day with numerous offers. Their list gets sick of them.
Second Reason I Don’t Like Solo Ads
They’re very saturated leads. Lead saturation is just part of the business, and I understand that. If you have an internet marketer on your list. Odds are they’re not just on your list. They’re on others too. And eventually they’ll get on more lists after time. That’s fine. That will happen. Nothing wrong with that.
But with solo ad vendors, these leads could be on hundreds of lists. Hell, they might have a separate email account for it and barely check it anymore. They sell clicks to others daily. Unless you get lucky and get a fresh batch of leads that have just recently subscribed to the vendor.
Chances are they’re going to be on lots of email subscribers lists already, and more eventually.
Which means? Your open rates on emails will plummet. A lot… A reason why I said earlier the follow up emails on solo ad leads are almost useless.
I’ve seen the data myself. My open rates are always by far the lowest with solo ads. Not even close. I’ve tried numerous traffic methods. Some good, some not so much. And solo ads are always the worse. Always.
The first email will usually be pretty good. But after that, it just drops into the bucket. It’s like they just no longer exist.
See, this is one thing beginner marketers don’t always understand. The leads itself don’t matter. It’s the quality of the lead that MATTERS. So getting 40 to 50 leads off 100 clicks mean NOTHING. The only thing that matters is the quality of the lead. The quality of a lead is measured by open and click rate on emails.
What good is a lead that never opens your email? Its a waste!
Why are these leads so inactive? Because they came from a solo ad subscriber. They are on tons of lists. They’re not just selling clicks to you. They’re selling them to other people that buy from them.
They get bombarded with tons of email offers every day from numerous marketers. They’re probably sick of seeing these offers. And there’s so many every single day in their email inbox.
Its like picking a needle out of the haystack, choosing your email. It doesn’t matter if you’re the greatest email writer ever, odds are your open rates won’t be great with these leads.
That’s often the complaint I read the most even on places like Udimi. You’ll see people say hey, I got 50 leads, but they’re not opening my emails. Well, duh….
Third Reason I Don’t Like Solo Ads
These are pissed off leads. I’ll tell you another interesting tibit. I’ve dealt with a lot of different types of leads. I’ve experiment with cold leads, warm leads, you name it. If you’re not sure what cold leads are.
These are leads that never opted into you. Some people don’t find those type of leads worth it (I actually do)…
I’ve sent emails to thousands and thousands of these types of leads. And yes, they’re not always going to be the happiest leads in the world. I’ve only been hit with two spam complaints. That kinda surprised me.
With solo ad leads. I’ve been hit surprisingly with more spam complaints with a lot less data. That to me is mind boggling, because the solo ad leads – are still optin leads. I was blown away by that.
Obviously the unsubscribe rate with solo ads are extremely high too.
I got a theory why this is. First off, like I already mention before. These leads often are on lots of lists. So they’re emailed lots of offers daily. And that makes people a little more pissed, you know?
Let’s be real, no one likes seeing their email bombarded with 20 to 30, to even 100s of email offers daily. When a lot of the times they’re just going to their inbox to receive an email from a friend, girlfriend or boyfriend maybe. Mom or dad, or a co-worker.
They’re not going to their inbox waiting for emails from people like us.
They’re just not. So seeing lots of those emails is going to get people a little ticked off.
Another theory I have. Majority of these leads are freebee seekers. That’s one reason why they’ve remained on the vendors list for a long time. Because a lot of times a capture page comes with an enticing free offer to get that person to subscribe. “Hey if its free, why not right?”.. This is known as a lead magnet. To entice subscribers.
Obviously, with solo ads, they’re going to be emailing lots of these to their list regularly. So when that lead subscribes to you, and finds out they got to pay a little money to be in your program. Really, to make it work. Free is never really free, right?
Some of them just get pissed and hit spam complaint.
That’s just a theory. Either way, they’re very low quality leads in my experience.
Another thing is the unsubscribe rate is high. In Get Response, when someone unsubscribes they must give a reason. And 90% of the reason when the leads comes from solo ads is “on too many mailing lists”.
They get sick of getting so many emails a day from possibly hundreds of marketers. That’s no good.
Fourth Reason I Don’t Like Solo Ads
I’m subscribed to one! hahaha… No, but seriously I purposely subscribed to one of the bigger vendors on Udimi well over a year ago. But I wanted to see first hand how they treat their list. And boy, was I surprised. I figured it wouldn’t be good, but I didn’t realize how bad it was.
First off, I didn’t buy off him to be subscribed. So this line they sell you about buyers leads is just that. I did buy a solo ad from him once, and as you might guess, it wasn’t good.
I must receive on average at least 3-5 emails DAILY from this guy. Only solo ads. That’s it. He never promotes to the list himself. Never. So what does it mean? The list is bad. It’s dead. He uses it only to sell solo ads. .
I took away a lot from being subscribed to him, and the first thing that pops out are the emails he uses.
They’re all generic. I don’t really know if he allows anyone to use their own or not. Well, I know for sure if he says he does, he’s not using them. But I’m telling you, these emails are just terrible.
They’re very click bait written emails. Always very short, and reveals literally nothing. Just basically, “Hey, want to make some money click here” kind of crap. Except he just spins the swipes so they always come across as unique – and fresh.
There’s a HUGE rule to internet marketing when generating traffic. And that’s known as the pre-click sell.
And this is the most important part. Your visitor has to have a very good idea what your offer is before clicking on it. This is important, because it generates targeted clicks. This doesn’t matter as much if you’re emailing to your own list. But means everything if you’re purchasing an advertisement.
Maybe your offer is about traffic, or Facebook, youtube, etc… You want them to be fully aware of that before they actually click. Because maybe they have no interest in what you’re promoting.
I was amazed by this. So basically all these clicks are junk. Yeah, sure people might still sign up just for kicks. But who the hell knows how much of an interest they actually have.
This is done for a reason. You got to understand the mindset of most vendors. They’re selling you clicks. That’s it. That’s their goal, then they move on to the next order. So, they want to fulfill these orders as fast as possible.
They’re not trying to create a super targeted ad for you to generate the highest quality traffic necessarily. Now, some actually can and do, if they have a good enough list. But most vendors lists are just trash, and they can’t.
I want an ad that explains exactly what it is before someone clicks on it. Otherwise its a waste of a click.
I hear some people say, well buying clicks from Udimi is safe. This person is on Udimi, guys. I don’t really think a lot of people know what they’re buying when they purchase a solo ad – even on a place supposedly safe like Udimi.
After all, we can’t really know what they send to their list. Guys, its not good. Now, this is just one vendor. I can’t sit here and tell you all vendors treat their list this shitty.
And I’m not going to say the name and single this person out. I’m not here to tarnish anyone. I’m just giving you the honest truth. And leave it up for you to decide for yourself. So you don’t waste your money on this.
Another big solo ad vendor, who I respect and think is a fine marketer personally. I’ve actually learned some neat tricks from this person. He admit himself, solo ads are not quality traffic. This guy sells solo ads – admit it himself. I respect the honesty there.
What To Do If You Buy Solo Ads
I don’t think every vendor out there is bad. It really comes down to the ones that actually replenish their list frequently. The best ones do, which will mean the quality of traffic will be night and day better, compared to the ones that never do.
Again, those solo ad vendors will cost more. It costs money to replenish a solo list.
Always show your capture page to a vendor before buying. Ask how responsive your offer is for their list. And always ask if the vendor has ever sold a solo in the program you’re promoting. And if so, ask them if they’d share the results.
Another thing always ask if you can provide your own email swipe. If they refuse, then ask to see their swipe before approving an order. If they refuse, then move on.
You still have to take their word, and the only way to really know is to test from buying a solo ad. So there’s no guarantee. It’s always a risk.
I don’t recommend buying solo ads, but if you do and follow these guides it may help. Because 80% of them is just dead traffic.
Where To Get Quality Traffic
I sadly see a lot of new marketers start out, spend money on solo ads. Lose money and then just quit. I don’t blame them and that’s sad.. There are plenty of ways to generate quality traffic. Real traffic that’s quality and converts much better.
Not everyone knows how, and that’s okay. I can give you a helping hand if you need one.
I’ve put together an article on numerous ways to generate quality traffic for very cheap. I’ve been using a lead generation program for this traffic. It works so well with this product, but you can use it for anything you like.
Here’s the best part. You don’t have to waste money on solo ads. You can start with a very small budget even just to test.
Best yet this traffic is quality. A few them comes from buyers only. Meaning only people who’ve spent actual money will see your ad. Now that I LIKE.
One traffic method I’ve personally tested converted in just 4 cents per click. Again, this was super targeted clicks. The only people that clicked to my landing page, were those who were very interested in the offer I had.
Then tell me which method sounds better. Spending countless hundreds of dollars on dead traffic like solo ads. Or getting targeted clicks from people that will truly be interested in what you’re promoting.