Are Solo Ads Right For Your Business?

Editor’s word: This article was initially written in March 2016 and was up to date in July 2021 for accuracy.

Want to construct your e-mail checklist quick, or get the phrase out about subsequent week’s product launch? Some entrepreneurs swear by solo adverts. And whereas solo adverts can work, they’re not for each enterprise, and they could be a dangerous funding. Keep studying to see in the event that they’re best for you.

What’s a solo advert?

Solo adverts are email-based ads you purchase from different e-mail checklist house owners. They’re usually despatched as devoted emails – so the whole message is all about your promotion. While different companies could make use of solo adverts, they’re hottest amongst associates and data entrepreneurs.

Here’s how solo adverts work:

You discover a solo advert checklist or seek for a solo advert vendor you’re focused on.You contact the proprietor or purchase entry to the checklist from their web site.You purchase both by what number of subscribers your e-mail message will probably be despatched to or by what number of clicks your e-mail will get.If all goes nicely, these subscribers will click on, and people clicks will convert nicely. In the top, you’ll find yourself with solo advert conversions that price lower than different varieties of promoting.

In principle, solo adverts look like the proper solution to develop your on-line enterprise and earn a living from different folks’s e-mail lists. But in all honesty, solo adverts have a hazy fame and plenty of companies gained’t contact them. We’ll clarify why in a second.

That mentioned, there’s additionally loads of entrepreneurs who say they owe their enterprise to solo adverts, that solo adverts had been how they bought their begin. So it’s price your time to no less than understand how they work.

Who solo adverts would work greatest for

Marketers who've a little bit of finances. Got a few hundred dollars? That’s sufficient to do some primary testing with solo adverts.If you’re in a distinct segment the place pay-per-click costs are by way of the roof. In this case, your price per click on from solo adverts could also be a lot lower than what you’d get on AdWords or Bing that solo adverts are price a check.If you’re in a distinct segment that’s fully oversaturated with content material (like affiliate marketing online or weight reduction).If you’re in a distinct segment with intense competitors for search engine visitors.If you’re about to launch a product, or should you want visitors despatched to a web page shortly. You’ve bought no time to jot down visitor posts, construct an viewers, or do something that takes quite a lot of days to see outcomes.

An enormous, fats warning

While solo adverts aren’t unlawful, there are a number of issues that make them a dangerous funding.

First, solo adverts are usually supplied by one-guy (or one-gal) sellers. In different phrases, you’re coping with the checklist proprietor immediately. Because of this, there’s some threat concerned.

There’s much more threat concerned as a result of some solo advert lists had been constructed with less-than-ideal strategies. In a best-case state of affairs, the checklist might need been constructed by changing visitors from an internet site that’s in your area of interest. Or perhaps the checklist proprietor purchased promoting and transformed it with a squeeze web page.But it’s additionally doable the e-mail addresses on the checklist you’re about to make use of had been acquired with “scraping” software program. That’s a program that simply goes from web site to web site, gathering any e-mail deal with it comes throughout. As you'll be able to guess, these e-mail addresses are inclined to convert poorly.On high of that, some solo advert lists could also be stuffed with bots that behave like common e-mail subscribers (they open and click on your emails), however don’t find yourself changing. After sending a solo advert marketing campaign to such a bot-filled checklist, chances are you'll find yourself considering that the issue lies along with your squeeze web page or your provide – not the checklist itself.

It’s seemingly the checklist you mail to will probably be someplace between these two poles of excellent and terrible. But contemplate your self warned: There are a number of shady folks on the planet of solo adverts.

Fortunately, there are methods to inform should you’re coping with an excellent checklist proprietor and an excellent checklist:

If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Avoid individuals who make large guarantees.Use boards, pals, and any on-line useful resource you could find to confirm that the checklist proprietor and their checklist are price your cash. Do a few cautious searches for the checklist proprietor’s identify and web site. Check out their social media accounts. Check boards to see if anybody’s complained about them.Start small. DO NOT drop $1,000 on an inventory the primary day trip. Start smaller – ideally as small because the checklist proprietor will allow you to. Expect to check Three-5 lists in a restricted manner earlier than you progress forward with a much bigger funding.Not each testimonial you learn on-line is true. Sad to say, however some websites are nonetheless posting pretend testimonials. Don’t assume every part’s nice simply since you learn 10-20 glowing studies on anyone’s web site.Ask the proprietor how their checklist was constructed. Of course, they might not inform you the reality, however no less than you’ve requested. And hopefully you’ll get a practical reply again, like “I construct this checklist by shopping for Facebook adverts and sending them to a squeeze web page”. If that’s the reply you get, contemplate asking to see the squeeze web page. Try to hit the candy spot between asking sufficient inquiries to be assured, and asking so many questions that it turns into apparent you assume they’re a scammer.Ask them how typically they mail to that checklist. They could say on daily basis. That’s not a complete crimson flag, as some lists as used to being mailed to that always. But if I used to be shopping for a solo advert, I’d need to hear that they mail to that checklist not more than 2-Three occasions per week.Ask them which sort of gives do nicely with their checklist. Is this an inventory that’s nice for capturing e-mail addresses, however not so nice for high-ticket objects? Is this an inventory that likes free trials, or free ebooks? Do they have an inclination to love video tutorials, or textual content autoresponders? If you've time and the desire to do it, contemplate crafting the e-mail message you ship in order that it appeals to what this checklist responds to.Ask them how they course of arduous bounces. Well-managed e-mail lists take away subscribers after one arduous bounce. Some will stretch that to 2 arduous bounces. If you get a solution like “we don’t monitor bounces,” transfer on.Ask them what their spam grievance price is. Any greater than zero.2% and also you’ve bought a crimson flag. An “common” spam grievance price is roughly zero.1%.And lastly – ask them what their checklist’s common response price is. You need to know what the common open price is and what the common click-through price is. If you'll be able to, attempt to discover out what the everyday conversion price is for, say an e-mail opt-in squeeze web page. They could say “Hey – each touchdown web page is completely different. Every e-mail is completely different. I can’t assist it if yours is horrible.” And that’s true.

Some of the friendlier checklist house owners may level you to touchdown pages that latest patrons have used and say “this transformed at eight%”. They may even present you the e-mail artistic that was despatched to their checklist. The extra info you will get the higher… simply don’t go loopy making an attempt the copy the e-mail or the touchdown web page.

Editor’s word: GetResponse not too long ago revealed an e-mail advertising and marketing examine that analyzed over 5 billion emails. There, you'll be able to examine each the common e-mail open and click-through charges in addition to the common touchdown web page conversions for various industries.

Where to seek out solo advert lists

There are various websites that may promote you entry to their lists. I'm not going to particularly suggest any of them to you.


Because what works for one particular person isn't going to work for one more. Even should you’re in the identical area of interest – say weight reduction – the folks you’re concentrating on and who’s really on the checklist might not be a match. In different phrases, it’s completely doable two competent entrepreneurs may each mail to the identical checklist and get wildly completely different outcomes.

While I simply can’t suggest particular solo advert sources, I do suggest you examine a number of the bigger boards in your area of interest. Post a thread and ask if anybody has had success with solo adverts, and who they used. If you’re in affiliate marketing online, the Warrior Forum is a perfect selection. Many members there do promote solo adverts, and a few folks have had good outcomes with them. And as a result of good boards are communities, if somebody is scamming folks with a horrible checklist, you’ll know from the discussion board threads.

Of course, it's also possible to simply Google “your area of interest + solo adverts” and also you’ll get a slew of corporations providing to promote you one. Just a few of them could also be good. Just comply with the options above, and begin small.

As with any enterprise funding – don’t spend cash you'll be able to’t afford to lose. Advertising is at all times a threat. There are not any refunds. Please don’t drop a bunch of money simply since you’re feeling impatient. There are different (slower, sure, however different) methods to get visitors, construct an viewers, and finally begin making gross sales.

If you’d wish to study different efficient methods of driving visitors and rising your on-line enterprise, take a look at our information – 9 Best Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Landing Pages. In this information, we’ve fastidiously reviewed every methodology, supplied examples, and ranked them in opposition to one another primarily based on our personal expertise at operating lead gen campaigns at GetResponse.

How to do the mathematics on whether or not a solo advert will probably be price it to you

This is the crux of the choice about whether or not to make use of a solo advert or not. Here’s how the mathematics may look.

ChannelMinimum purchaseOpen priceCost per click onConversion price on the touchdown web page Cost per conversionPay per click on adverts key phrase #1––$zero.757% conversion price$10.71 per conversionFacebook advert #1 to viewers A––$zero.323.5% conversion price$9.14 per conversionSolo advert A – shopping for 500 clicks – BEST SCENARIO500 clicks for $150 $150/500 = $zero.30 per click on



four% conversion price



$7.50 per conversionSolo advert A – shopping for 500 clicks – WORST SCENARIO500 clicks for $150 $150/500 = $zero.30 per click on



1% conversion price



$30.00 per conversionSolo advert B – mailing to 1,000,000 subscribers – BEST SCENARIO1,000,000 subscribers for $99.95Unknown… they are saying 5% is practical. Would be 50,000 opensIf one in 50 individuals who open the e-mail clicks, that’s 1000 clicks3% conversion price = 30 conversions$Three.30 per conversionSolo advert B – mailing to 1,000,000 subscribers – WORST SCENARIO1,000,000 subscribers for $99.95Unknown… they are saying 5% is practical. Go with Three%. Would be 30,000 opensIf one in 50 individuals who open the e-mail clicks, that’s 600 clicks1.5% conversion price = 9 conversions$11.11 per conversion

I’ve included two eventualities for these solo adverts. That’s since you by no means know what outcomes you’re going to get. The greatest you are able to do is determine a realistically first rate end result, and see how that compares to your present price per conversion. Then run the numbers once more with worst-case state of affairs outcomes. If you'll be able to nonetheless get a value per conversion that doesn’t scare you, this may be a solo advert well worth the check.

Please be warned, although. The high quality of a few of these lists is mind-bendingly unhealthy. I as soon as despatched a solo advert to 100,000 folks. It bought an okay click-through price – 2% – however not one sale. Not one sale from 2,000 clicks.

If you need assist calculating price per conversion, take a look at ClickZ’s CPA calculator. It does the job properly.

An various to solo adverts

If this all sounds actually tempting, however you’re too broke to check it, there's another. Create a pleasant book or some tutorial collection. Make it ok to be price $5-$10. Set up a touchdown web page and write some e-mail copy to promote it. Consider organising a easy affiliate monitoring system, too – you’re going to wish to confirm the gross sales.

Now attain out to a few checklist house owners in your area of interest. Here’s your pitch: You ship my e-mail to your checklist, and I’ll offer you all proceeds from the gross sales. But I get to maintain the e-mail deal with of anybody who orders.

Here’s why this works:

You will probably be exposing your model and your little $5 product to a brand new viewers.You’ll be constructing your checklist – however not with simply on a regular basis subscribers. You’ll be getting subscribers who're prepared to place down cash for what you promote. That’s a way more priceless subscriber than somebody who’s by no means purchased.Your checklist companion stands to make an affordable chunk of change. At least sufficient to make it price their time.

Your checklist companion might want the touchdown web page and procuring cart to be on their web site. You may additionally need to mess around with how a lot your product ought to price. Maybe the checklist proprietor desires it to be $2. Or $10. Run the numbers and make nearly as good a deal as you'll be able to.

After even a few offers like this, you’ll have constructed your self a small however extremely responsive checklist of patrons. That’s one thing a enterprise could possibly be constructed on.


For some companies, solo adverts work nice. They’re an inexpensive solution to construct an inventory quick or to blast publicity for a product launch. But there are some sob tales of individuals getting burned. And there are different sob tales of entrepreneurs merely not doing their homework and thus getting actually unhealthy outcomes.

If you don’t display screen an inventory fastidiously, and also you haven’t picked an inventory that’s suited to your corporation, don’t complain should you lose cash.

And please, begin sluggish. You gained’t actually understand how your e-mail/touchdown web page artistic performs till you’ve tried it throughout Three-5 lists. Just as a result of your artistic tanks on one checklist doesn't imply the proprietor is a scammer. It could imply their checklist doesn’t care to your provide.

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