What Are Solo Ads: The Ultimate Guide
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What Are Solo Ads: The Ultimate Guide

June 13, 2015 3 Comments

Are you ready to find out what solo ads are?

Great because this is the ultimate guide to solo ads.

Not only will you walk away with a solid understand of what solo ads are, but you’ll also know:

  • 4 Pro Tips To Writing Your Own Solo Ad
  • The Best Places to Buy Solo Ads
  • 3 Negotiation Strategies That Will Save You Money
  • 5 Common Mistakes Solo Ad Newbies Make That Burn Money

Cool, let’s kick off this post by answering the obvious question:

What Are Solo Ads?

A solo ad is an email advertisement where you leverage someone else’s email list and promote your product or service.

It’s called a solo ad because your email is the only, or “solo” promotion that goes out to that email list.

In other words, instead of having to go out and build your own giant email list, you can leverage other people’s email lists that they have been building for years.

Therefore, you are sending out your own message for your products to warm leads, and the list owner is endorsing you to their list.

And the people on that list are already used to opening up emails and reading them, so it’s a high quality traffic source.

There are actually people out there whose entire business model is to sell access to their giant email list to people like you and me.

Here’s how it works: You write an email for the solo ad vendor to send to his list, and then you pay him to send it.

For example, you could pay $1,000 for 500 clicks, and the solo ad vendor would fulfill his part by providing you with 500 clicks.

In some cases, there are solo ad sellers who will write the email for you, but this is a courtesy and not all of them do it.

The reason why they would do that is because writing email copy is a skill, and if you suck at it then the people on his list won’t click, and he will burn out his list trying to deliver those clicks.

The one drawback with solo ads is that it’s not a constant stream of traffic (unless you continuously pay for them).

Unlike search engine traffic, which keeps on coming every single day, solo ad traffic is like a quick hit that dies off after 48 hours.

So a good strategy is to combine solo ads with other traffic strategies like retargeting, Facebook, and search engine traffic to keep a steady flow.

IMPORTANT: I should mention that not all solo ad vendors are the same. Some deliver great quality traffic while others deliver poor quality.

It’s up to you to filter out the bad apples, but we’ll talk about that later.

How to Use Solo Ads

One way you can use solo ads is to drive people to a sale, but the best way to use solo ads is to drive them to an email opt-in page (aka squeeze page) so you can capture them as leads for your own list.


You just need to focus on picking the right list and writing the right emails, so the more valuable the spend is.

Which leads into the next point…

Pro Tips To Write A Solo Ad Email

If the vendor doesn’t write the email for you, then here are some tips to writing a great solo ad email.

#1 Have a Strong Subject Line

Remember, it’s not about getting the MOST people to open the email, it’s about getting the RIGHT people.

So don’t try to trick people by using a stupid email subject line like, “Here’s your payment receipt.”

(I’ve actually seen this before). – That’s a douchey move that will backfire because it will just piss people off once they read the email.

You want to have a subject line that has a mix of curiosity and benefit.

For example, “One weird trick to selling more high ticket products.”

This takes practice, but start off by brainstorming who you want to open the email and then try to sprinkle in some curiosity.

#2 Don’t Give Away Your Big Secret Right Away

Remember, you you want to drive clicks to an email opt-in page so you can capture leads.

If you let the cat out of the bag on your “weird trick to selling more high ticket products” then people will already have the information they want.

I like to start off the email with a “yes” statement to get them in that “yes” state of mind.

Something like:

“Do you want to learn how to sell 10x more high ticket products? Great then you’re going to love this video.” [stick a link here]

#3 Add Credibility

People love credibility, and it will get your more clicks.

Something like:

“High ticket product expert, Tim Alwell from TipsFromTim.com just released a free video on how he was able to sell 10x more high ticket products then the next guy in the most recent high ticket contest.”

#4 Acknowledge the Problems They’ve Already Had

If you know who your hungry buyer is, then you should be able to speak to their heart.

You should know their problems and struggles already.

So you could say something like:

“If you’ve had these XYZ problems then you’re going to love this.” [add a link].

#5 Ask the Solo Ad Vendor If You Can Add a Retargeting Pixel

Some will let you do this, some won’t.

But if you can get them to ad a retargeting pixel, then the people who click the links will have ads show up on their screen later on while surfing the web that can remind them of you and your offer.

Here’s a video explaining retargeting.

The Best Places To Buy Solo Ads?

Here are two highly regarded places with a wide range of different lists:


Here are internet marketing specific places to buy solo ads:

Solo Ad Testimonials

Negotiation Tactics

Here are some useful negotiation tactics to get you the best bang for your buck.

#1 Ask them if they have any samples

You have to be tactful how you ask this, because sometimes vendors can be sensitive about protecting their clients.

Frame it like this: Say that you want to make sure you get the correct formatting so that you write it in a way that imitates what has worked for others in the past.

#2 Ask how their list was built

This is so you can make a better decision whether it’s valuable in general.

Was it built using double opt-ins? Freebies? Buyers?

In general, look for double opt-in lists that were built using sales funnels and make sure they have tried to sell confidently to that list before.

#3 Ask if you can start with just a segment

This way you don’t have to buy the whole entire list.

If the segment performs well, you can buy a bigger segment or the whole thing. If not, they you can scratch it and move on.

Common Solo Ad Mistakes

#1 Not Tracking Links

Sometimes solo ad vendors do this for you, but again, this is a courtesy.

You need to measure how many clicks you get to protect yourself from getting scammed.

Some popular tracking tools are: Improvely, Hyper Tracker, and AdTrakz Gold.

#2 Not Split Testing Your Emails

Ask the solo ad seller if you can split test your emails.

Use two different subject lines in one test.
Use two different emails in another test.

See which one converts better.

#3 Not Buying More Than One List At A Time

Sometimes one list won’t work. You have to find which ones work and convert best for you.

If you buy one at a time, then it could takes weeks to find a profitable list, but if you buy 3-5 at a time then you can scale the winners faster and ditch the losers.

Remember, that’s how advertising works. You have to be willing to lose some money sometimes and not cry about it.

#4 Be Honest With Yourself About Your Sales Funnel

Some people will spend the bare minimum to buy a solo ad (say $100), and when they don’t make money back they blame the seller for scamming them.

That’s pathetic. Rule of thumb is that you should send 1000 clicks before judging that list.

Also, if you are buying 3-5 lists at a time and none are converting…

hmm…then it’s most likely because your sales funnel sucks.

#5 Not Knowing Your Cost Per Lead or Earnings Per Lead

Not knowing your numbers means your blindly spending on advertising without knowing what you need to make to break even, or how much you can spend to acquire a new customer before you suffer losses.

To find these numbers, simply replace the word “per” with a division sign.

Cost divided by lead.

Earnings divided by lead.

Real business owners know their numbers.


That ends the Ultimate Guide to Solo Ads.

Now you know what they are, pro tips to writing them, how to negotiate with the sellers and how to avoid common newbie mistakes.

Are you ready to purchase your first solo ad? Let me know ‘yes or no’ in the comments below.

Comments (3)

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  1. This is a great guide Tim!

    It definitely covers what you need to know. Especially the tips on writing your email copy. Overall it´s a good complement to my latest post, “how to stop wasting time on unreliable solo ad campaigns” that you might like 🙂

    Great work! I will apply the retargeting pixel tip immediately. That was new to me.

    Thanks, Jesper

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