I hope I don’t need to sell you on the importance of solo ads tracking for your funnel.
Even the thickest marketers know they can’t improve what they don’t measure.
Ironically, when it comes to tracking – just like working out – everyone knows how important it is yet few actually do it.
Knowing how important physical exercise is for your health doesn’t mean you’ll hit the gym 3 times a week.
Why don’t marketers track? Why do they refuse to do it in spite of knowing how much more money they’ll make?
My guess is they’re overwhelmed.
Mostsolo ads tracking solutions are unnecessarily complex.
Take Google Analytics for example. It offers an incredible array of metrics. It’s one of the best solo ads tracking solutions there is. And its free! There’s no reason not to use it. Other than, perhaps, that it’s so darn complicated you need to hire a developer to set it up!
In addition, you won’t need to know your bounce rate, average time spent on page and 1st time visitor count unless you’re sucking up to Google.
Solo ads tracking is different than SEO. It’s much simpler.
There’s only three metrics you need to track:
– Total visits (unique and raw)
– Opt-in rate
– Sales (front and back end)
If you can’t fathom dealing with code, FTP and tracking pixels – use ClickFunnels. As long as you host your funnel on CF, you can track your entire funnel by ticking a box.
Otherwise, you’ll need a third party software to track your solo ad conversions.
3rd party trackers are pixel-based.
This means you must place an image the size of 1 square pixel on your conversion page (the page visitor lands on after taking action that qualifies as conversion such opt in or purchase).
When the visitor lands on the conversion page, it loads the pixel and registers one conversion.
Each conversion point in your sales funnel requires a pixel to be accurately tracked.
Best solo ads tracking software
When it comes tosolo ads tracking software, I don’t look for the best one. I look for the one that gives me what I need.
And what I need is to be able to accurately track clicks, opt ins and sales while I got traffic coming in from several solo ad sources at the same time.
I need to be able to create a solo ads tracking link fast when I need one.
It’s a specialty tracking solution for solo ad marketers. Unlike most trackers that are developed by egg heads who never so much as spent a penny on paid traffic, Quality Click Control has been developed by a marketer who used to buy and sell solo ads for a living. It is the most accurate solo ad tracker on the market.
You don’t need a degree in computer science to benefit from its full potential. It’s very simple to use.
Here’s how to create your optin conversion pixel with Quality Click Control:
Once you’ve created the pixel, place it within the code of your thank you page – the page your prospect sees immediately after giving you their email address.
How to track visitor behavior
A tracking software such as Quality Click Control presents you with cold numbers.
But it doesn’t tell you what you need to do if your sales page isn’t converting.
That’s why you need a different sort of tracking software – heatmap and user experience intelligence analytics.
To put it bluntly, if you could watch over your visitors’ shoulder as they interact with your sales funnel, you would be able to know exactly what they love and what they hate about each page of your sales funnel.
And knowing that is money!
There’s several heatmap solutions out there, but I like HotJar the most.
It not only provides you with heatmap and scrolling analytics, but it also records visitor sessions. So it’s kind of like looking over the customer’s shoulder. At less than $30 per month, it’s great value for your money.
Here’s the core elements you should test for fastest conversion improvements:
– Headline – on average, 8 out of 10 people will read the headline, but only 2 will read the rest. This is the secret to bringing bad offers to life.
– Price – three management professors at Yale split-tested gum prices. The study gave subjects $1 with which they could either buy one of two packs of gum or keep their money and buy neither. When the researchers priced both packs of gum equally at 63 cents, only 46 percent of subjects made a purchase. By contrast, when they priced the packs of gum at 62 cents and 64 cents respectively, 77 percent of subjects made a purchase.
Price split tests extend beyond social science. Earlier this year we discovered that our ideal customer perceives prices in $100 increments. In other words, a $47 product sells just as well the same product priced at $97. But if the price climbs over $100 ($117, $147, $177…) conversion rates drop.
Split test your prices. You could be leaving a ton of money on the table.
– Bonus – most people are lazy about their bonuses. They’re even lazier about split testing them. Split-testing your bonuses doesn’t mean stacking up more of ‘em on your offer. It could be something as simple as offering a different media (checklist instead of video) or a completely different offer altogether (free ticket to a seminar instead of interview with an expert).
– Illustration –your product illustration creates the idea of tangible value for an intangible product. This gives you the creative freedom (in fact, there are no limits) to illustrate anything. I’ve seen eCover split-tests resulting in a 2% conversion boost. On another surprising occasion, we got a 0.5% bump by switching illustration color scheme from exciting green to expensive black.
– Unique Selling Proposition – one product can be sold in several ways. A course on freelancing could be positioned as a great way to make a part-time income to fund your next trip. Or it could be introduced as an alternative to a job you hate. It could also be the remedy to a job crisis.
Use Optimizely to set up quick and easy split tests. You can split test entire pages or specific elements. It allows you to split test any part of your website without sinking waste deep in code.
Watch this tutorial to see how easy it is:
Most important solo ads tracking metrics to watch
A common mistake in solo ads tracking is to get tied up in your opt in rate and sales conversion.
They want to be better than average as far as their numbers go, although we already know that there is no such thing as an average solo ad conversion rate.
Those are important metrics, but hardly the most important ones if you’d like to get rich with solo ads.
Without this data, you may be losing money without knowing.
Imagine you ran a 1000 click solo ad that generated 30% optin rate (300 opt ins) and 10 $17 sales. The solo ad cost you $500 and you made $170.
Doesn’t seem like a good turnaround, right?
But what if you knew your average customer value is $50? What if you managed to build the perfect solo ads funnel?
It changes everything. The solo is now a success, not a fiasco. And it’s a matter of figuring out a way to make an extra $10 per customer to be making money. But even if you can’t, and you’re just breaking even, that’s great too, because you’re getting customers for free!
This also works the other way around.
Imagine you ran a 1000 click solo ad that generated 30% optin rate (300 opt ins) and 20 $17 sales. The solo ad cost you $500 and you made $340.
Not bad. More than half your money back.
But what if these customers have a lifetime value of just $25?
That means it’s not profitable to scale with this source, unless you find a way to double your LCV.
When it comes to building a solo ads funnel, the big question on everyone’s mind is usually the same…
How do you build a funnel that converts like gangbusters?
And the second question that closely follows…
Which product should you offer?
Should it be an eBook? Or perhaps a set of video tutorials? A software?
Or maybe a little bit of everything?
Truth is, it doesn’t matter.
That’s because your system’s perceived value is determined in large by the problem it helps solve and not by the content of your program.
Whether you offer an eBook containing solid advice on making money from home or a set of video recordings from the last seminar you conducted, the customer’s only concern is – does this help solve my problem fast and without pain?
Starting I didn’t know that.
So my first couple of products were eBooks.
I felt more comfortable putting my thoughts on paper rather than speaking them into a camera lens.
Besides, I didn’t have the right equipment to shoot professional videos.
Writing eBooks cost next to nothing, so it didn’t require expensive production software or extensive knowledge in video and audio editing.
I got off to a rocky start.
First, I wrote an 80-page book about mindset. I compiled a bunch of scientific studies and mixed a little bit of self-help advice I picked up from Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar, Les Brown and The Secret.
It failed. I sold 3 copies at $47.
Next, I tried selling a Twitter Marketing eBook on the WarriorForum. It was a Private Label Rights book I purchased and repackaged as my own. The content wasn’t great. So was my sales letter, apparently, because I sold just 1 copy at $27.
3rd time’s a charm! My third product was a 13-page eBook about list building. I wrote it in one day, at my job, selling lottery tickets. I priced it at $7 at first. But after selling 10 copies, I grew a pair and bumped the price to a whopping $9.97.
This eBook put me on the map. It got me recognition and respect from my peers. I felt great about myself and I could finally shout from the top of my lungs that I was making money online.
To my amazement, I started making 3-5 sales per day. I even opened up my own affiliate program through Payspree. It was an eBook that [sorta] changed my life.
Today, however, my personal preference is video when it comes to content creation.
• I can talk out a video faster than I can write an eBook
• High production quality makes me look professional in the eyes of my customers. This is good for branding. Something I pay more attention to now than I did back when the game was about making enough money to cover rent.
• Video is easy to transcribe and turn into a text product. For another $10-$20, I can have someone type out all the words said on video into a word document and have myself another product I could sell, give away or offer as a bonus.
If you’re camera shy, you don’t have to do “face video.”
Use a screen capture software like Camtasia for Windows or ScreenFlow for Mac to record your screen in high resolution and great sound quality.
There’s two types of screen capture videos that work best.
– Keynote – walk the viewer through a series of slides. This is an incredible shortcut for you if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like memorising scripts. The slides can serve as the cheat sheet that keeps you on track.
– Tutorial – if your “system” requires the client to set things up on their computer (almost all make money systems do), I highly recommend this type of video. This is an easy way to create high perceived value content. It also requires you to talk less, because you can show things instead.
Video is great, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
If you don’t want to shoot videos and you don’t want to write your own eBook (or hire a professional eBook ghostwriter to do it for you for a reasonable fee), you could also conduct interviews with experts.
It’s an obscenely profitable way to create information products. It’s a shortcut I’ve used time and time again when I had to create content in micro-niches I had no business creating content in.
Besides the money you’re going to make selling your product, it comes with an added benefit of increasing your status.
When you interview an expert, their status and credibility rubs on you. You become guilty by association. Soon you’re perceived as an expert simply because you rub shoulders with A-list players.
How to conduct a successful expert interview
Here’s what you’ll need to successfully conduct an expert interview and package it into a valuable product:
– Skype account
– Skype recording software. Before I switched to Mac, I used Pamela for Skype. Today I use Ecamm call recorder.
– Questionnaire. Some experts prefer to have the questions in advance.
This stifles a lot of people, so here’s how I recommend you think about it.
The ideal outcome of the interview is to create a product that answers all your customer’s questions about the topic. The questions you’re going to ask should be focused around what the prospect would want to know were they sitting in your chair during the interview.
Let’s say we decided to put together a product that helps people transition from a manual labor job to a freelance job working from home.
What would our customer like to know? Which questions would she’d ask the expert were she able to pick their brain for 30 minutes? What are the most nagging concerns on her mind that won’t let her sleep at night she desperately needs addressed?
Here’s some possible questions she may be wondering:
1. What kind of freelance jobs exist? 2. Freelancing is riskier than having a job. I could have 10 clients this month and only 2 the next. How can I protect myself against dry spells? 3. What are the best places to get freelance jobs for a newbie? 4. What are the 3 most common mistakes beginner freelancers make? 5. How much time per day should I work as a freelancer? 6. What’s the most money I can expect to make as a freelancer in my first month? 7. What’s the #1 shortcut to successful freelancing?
These are just 7 out of dozens of questions you can ask that would make a great product.
Keep your question count around 7. 5 isn’t enough. 10 is too much.
If you’d like to grill this expert for longer than 30-45 minutes, consider a follow up interview request. They’ll be more likely to agree if they already done an interview with you and liked it.
Keep in mind, the expert you’re interviewing will judge you by the quality of the questions you’re asking. If you ask boring surface-level questions, you’ll be perceived as someone who isn’t worth their time.
Experts have huge egos.
They appreciate people who appeal to it. The best way to get on their good side is to study their work before reaching out to them with an interview request. Then you’ll be able to come up with specific questions around their work. This sends a message to your guest that you took the time to study their work.
– Interview request script. I’ve conducted hundreds of interviews over the years. But I’ve done thousands of approaches. Getting the expert to say “YES” to an interview request is the trickiest part of the process. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so I prepared this email script for you.
My opinion of <insert expert’s product title here>
<Expert first name>, my name is <your full name>.
I just finished going through <expert’s product title>.
<Write what you loved about their product. Be specific. Refer to a particular chapter, example, technique. Share how it helped you solve a problem you’ve had. Don’t lie. Be honest. If you don’t have anything good to say about their product – consider hooking up with another expert>
I’m going to be releasing a product on <insert expert’s area of expertise here> soon and I was wondering if you’d like to be featured as an expert guest. I was thinking of conducting a 30-minute interview where you’d answer the following questions: <insert questionnaire here>
We’d conduct the interview on Skype. You get full rights.
Let me know if you’re interested. If not, that’s cool, no hard feelings!
Sincerely, Your name
– Specific time and date. If someone is an expert in their field, chances are they’re busy. They won’t jump out of their chair just to talk to you. That’s why, before fully committing, they’d like to know when you would like to conduct the interview.
When you’re asked to name the date and time, provide two options for them to choose from. This communicates you’re busy too and that you’re making a window in your schedule to conduct the call. It also allows the expert to look for a specific window in their schedule.
Should your solo ads funnel offer a money back guarantee?
Always offer a money back guarantee.
30 days… 60… 90… The longer the better.
Nobody likes risk. Remove it.
Make it easy for the prospect to say “Yes!”
The mistake most marketers makes is they either don’t offer a money back guarantee because they’re afraid they’ll be taken advantage of or they offer a boring money back guarantee.
Both mistakes are equally bad. The first one tells the customer you’re not confident in the quality of the product you’re selling. The second one just isn’t exciting enough to shake them out of their boredom.
Get creative. Offer to buy the product back at double the price. Offer to buy your competitor’s product for them. Challenge the customer go through the program and offer $100 if they can prove they implemented it. Reward the customer with $1,000 if they successfully complete the program and can prove it.
Don’t just offer their money back. Don’t just promise satisfaction. And don’t be boring and predictable.
If you’re worried about the risk an unconditional guarantee poses for you, read this article from Copyblogger. It explains why it’s a common mistake to fear to offer the customer to carry all the risk on your own shoulders.
The added sales you’ll generate from offering an iron-clad guarantee will encompass the few a-holes that will try to take advantage of your generosity. I believe in this so strongly that I became the first solo ad provider to ever offer a money back guarantee on my services.
Package your bonus separately from your core offer. Offer it for free, if the clients meet a buying criteria (buy before deadline, available until stock lasts, first time customers only, etc).
Furthermore, by packaging your bonus (or bonuses) separately you jack up the perceived value of your offer. You also appeal to greed, which should never be underestimated.
There’s no downside to bribing your customers with a sweet bonus. It can only increase your sales. It can’t hurt.
Sometimes I make the bonus more valuable than the product I’m selling. Other times, but not as often, I break my product into parts and offer one of them as a bonus. I do it because it pulls the prospect to buy.
For example, in my Ultimate Guide To Bridge Pages For Business Opportunities, I offer a video tutorial bonus where I walk my customers through creating a bridge page using ClickFunnels. It’s something my customer needs, but not something I’m obligated to include in the core content of the program that teaches what goes into the perfect bridge page. By adding this tutorial, I’m creating a feeling of wholeness and give the offer a premium feel at the same time.
My favorite technique, however, is to create a unique product, not available on sale anywhere else and offer it for free to anyone who buys my program before the deadline.
This way, I increase the perceived value of the bonus product through exclusivity and I’m incentivizing clients to procrastinate less and buy fast.
I also use bonuses to neutralize objections.
If I’m selling a list building course, I assume my client doesn’t know how to build squeeze pages. A great bonus can be my highest-converting squeeze page template with fill in the blanks fields.
Such bonus helps my customer save money and time. It’s an exclusive bonus, because my squeeze page template isn’t on sale anywhere else. There’s no price anchor that might lead them to believe it’s low value.
What is a bonus?
An eBook, software, video tutorials, checklist, quick start guide, a book, your friend’s program, expert interview, a service, coaching session, etc.
Ask yourself what, if offered for free, would make your customer go “OMG! I can’t believe he gives it away for free! I’ve been looking for something like this for ages! Even if the program he sells is crap, this bonus alone is worth it for me!”
How to double your sales with ethical scarcity
A group of participants were asked to rate two jars of cookies. Jar #1 presented an abundant supply of cookies – 10 or more. Jar #2 presented some cookies, but not a lot – no more than 2.
Study participants voted jar #2 to be more desirable. They voted the same way about cookies who’s supply constantly changed from abundant to scarce.
Scarcity sells. Real scarcity. Not the fake scarcity you’re used to seeing online.
So if you threaten to pull your offer down in 48 hours, do it. The prospect will respect you for it, so you’ll immediately stand out from a crowd of bullshit artists who simulate shortage.
Here’s several ways to use scarcity with digital products:
– Price scarcity – offer a discount for a limited time
– Bonus scarcity – offer an exclusive bonus for fast-action takers
– Supply scarcity – shut down the offer or double the price when you hit full capacity (works well with coaching groups, webinars, live classes, etc. don’t use with information products)
Besides deciding what kind of scarcity you’d like to present, make sure the prospect understands the clock is ticking by showing an actual clock.
It’s common sense, I know. But common sense is not so common.
I see marketers threaten scarcity without any visual aids all the time. Often, their scarcity just flies over the reader’s head because there’s nothing there for the eye to catch.
Use Deadline Funnel to create visual timers. It’s easy to use, making installing the timer on your sales page a breeze. Plus, Deadline Funnel also allows you to install timers in your email sequence and pretty much on any part of your solo ads funnel in full sync.
How to increase the perceived value of your product without changing its content
The only graphic element your sales page can’t live without is a product illustration. Sales pages with product images outperform sales pages without a product demo.
Although the product image may not have anything to do with the actual program on sale, your customer needs to see it before she buys it.
Here’s several ways to get a high-quality product illustration:
– Do it yourself – if you have a sense of style, use My eCover Maker to create your first free eCover. It’s drag and drop interface makes it simple and saves a lot of time. The downside of using this method is your eCover might look cheap.
If you got Photoshop skills or have friends that have them, I recommend Cover Action Pro.
– Hire a Freelancer – for $20-$50 you can have professional designer create a unique illustration for your product. This is a wise investment, because it will pay for itself many times over.
UpWork gives you access to hundreds of freelance artists. Response and turnaround times are fast. UpWork protects you by forcing the service provider work and get paid on milestones. In addition, the money is put in escrow until you are happy with the end product.
Here’s how to hire a designer on UpWork:
Go to home page and type in what you’re looking for:
You instantly get a list of freelancer that fit the description. Let’s narrow down our search using these filters:
We’re looking for a designer with a 90% and up job success rate and who isn’t low balling his pricing (that shows they’re no good):
Pick several candidates. Don’t jump on the first one you liked. Contact each one and request samples of their work. That’s the best (and perhaps only) way to judge a designer
Each designer has their own style.
Choose the one you like most. There’s no right answer here. This is about your vision and them being able to translate your vision into an ecover.
Once you chose a designer, you’ll need to start a contract with them. Get an estimate of hours they’ll require to complete the project and ask about how many revisions do you get. Try to get at least 2 free revisions as the first mock up is never perfect.
Great thing about UpWork is freelancer doesn’t get paid until the job is complete and until you’re happy with it. The money’s being put in an escrow and is held by UpWork until the project is complete.
So there’s zero chances of you getting scammed.
Once you’re happy with your product illustration, use the same designer to get a cover for your bonus too. By creating a separate cover for your bonus, you instantly increase the perceived value of the entire offer. If you have several bonuses, get a cover done for each, even if the only difference between them is module titles.
Exit Pop & Exit Intent
Your solo ads funnel is a bucket and its leaking profits.
Exit pops help seal some of the holes through which you’re losing customers.
For example, when the prospect first lands on your squeeze page, there’s only two things that can happen. Either he a) stays and opts in or b) leaves.
If he opts in – great.
But if he leaves – you lose him forever. That’s a potential sale you’ll never make.
So you install an exit pop and as soon as the prospect tries to leave offer him a free report in exchange for their email. Experience shows you’ll get at least 8% (1 in 12) of visitors to download the report.
If you ran 1,000 visitors to your squeeze page, and it generated 30% optin rate, it means you’ve generated an extra 56 subscribers on your list. These are 56 potential sales you otherwise would have left on the table.
You didn’t spend more money on traffic.
You didn’t work harder.
And to sweeten things up even more, you got all these extra leads for free and without lifting a finger.
Not using a move out pop (appears when customer tries to leave the page)..
…and an exit pop (appears when customer clicks on “X” to close the browser tab) is saying “No” to free money.
Exit pops stretch beyond your squeeze page, so they can also be used to offer 2nd chance offers.
Offer a downsell for each product in your solo ads funnel, and you will see a 10%-20% profit boost without any additional expenses, working harder or buying more traffic.
Here’s how you can use exit pops and exit intent pops to downsell your information products:
– If you’re selling a $17 video course about freelancing – downsell to a $9 eBook about freelancing. Same content, different media.
– If you’re selling a $37 blogging blueprint – downsell to $17 core program without bonuses
– If you’re selling a $97 backlink software – downsell to a single-user license at $47
– And if you’re selling a $27 membership – downsell to a $1 trial for 7 days
How to create an exit pop fast without coding
This is another reason why I recommend to build your solo ads funnel with ClickFunnels.
It allows you to maximize your revenue without having to buy a ton of extra software to piece it all together.
Here’s how to create an exit pop in ClickFunnels:
Non-ClickFunnels Exit Pop Solutions
– Convertables – drag and drop exit intent software with a wide range of triggers such as show an exit pop on 1st visit, show after X seconds on site, etc.
– Popup Domination – great intuitive solution for building crisp stylish exit pops on the fly.
– Optin Monster – more than just an exit intent software. Optin Monster offers an advanced optin form suite which includes split testing, page level targeting, analytics and more.
How to upsell for good karma and high profits
The more solo ads funnels I’ve built, the more I learned this to be true:
A buyer is a buyer is a buyer.
When you launch your solo ads funnel you’ll be tempted to tinker with your front end sales page. You’ll never feel you’re generating enough buyers. But the truth is, your front end is fine. It’s your upsell that needs urgent attention.
An aggressive upsell path is the cornerstone of a profitable solo ad funnel.
Upsell money is how you recoup most of your advertising dollars on a solo buy.
Create at least 2 upsells. More, if you can. Price them higher than your front end.
How to price your upsells
Follow the rule of 3.
The rule of 3 states you should have at least 3 offers in your solo ads funnel. A front end offer, an upsell #1 and an upsell #2.
Upsell #1 should be priced at 3X the cost of your front end offer.
Upsell #2 should be priced at 3X the upsell #1.
You’re selling a $9 eBook titled “How To Quit Your Job As A Full-Time Freelancer In 30 Days.” You offer an upsell video series titled “Dirty Little Secrets Of A Six Figure Freelancer” priced at $27. In addition, you offer a “Freelancer’s Black Book” priced at $77 where you give contacts of people and companies who are always looking for freelancers and who are willing to pay $10-$20 an hour for simple jobs such as commenting on blogs, uploading videos and transcribing audio files.
$9 x 3 = $27 x 3 = $81 (round it down to $77)
The beauty about upsells is that even poorly-positioned upsells convert. You can expect at least 10% of people who buy your front end offer to buy the first upsell. And another 30% of those who bought the first upsell to buy the 2nd one.
A single-offer solo ads funnel limits you to just $9 per customer.
Multi-offer solo ads funnel stretches average customer value to high double digits.
You recoup your ad spend faster. You make more money. And above everything, you scale faster by reinvesting your profits back into solo ads.
But that’s not all.
Your solo ads funnel goes beyond the sales pages.
Your thank you pages, follow up sequence and product delivery pages are profit centers too.
Promote additional products through these pages to maximize revenue and offset solo ad costs.
You could easily make an extra 30% in revenue each month with this technique at no extra cost or work.
How to profit from your ‘Thank You’ page
The most common thank you page mistake I see is not having one.
The next most common mistake is the thank you page that offers no upsells.
Dilettantes don’t dim thank you pages important. But they are. To you and the prospect.
They’re important to you, because – just like any other web real estate within the boundaries of your solo ads funnel – they offer an opportunity to upsell your customer while generating tons of good will.
They’re important to your customer because it’s the first page they see that’s not a sales page. The way it’s presented determines how they feel about their purchase.
Most marketers don’t understand how important their thank you pages are.
They channel all their attention to their squeeze pages and sales pages instead. But that’s like building a car and working only on the engine and gear box, ignoring the interior, the seats, the steering wheel and the windshield.
My first successful info product was a 13-page list building eBook. At $9.97 it could only make so much money. The first version of my thank you page included a big thank you headline, a download link for the book and a signed photo of me at the bottom of the page wishing success.
At the time I didn’t know that each transaction is a bridge to the next one. I was satisfied with making one sale because that’s what I thought a solo ads funnel was for.
But soon I started looking for ways to increase my revenue. In addition, I needed to double my profits and I knew I couldn’t double my front end conversions.
How do you make more money without selling more front end units but without creating upsells?
Observing other marketers, I decided to upsell my customers through my thank you page, so I added a P.S. at the bottom of the page recommending the customer buys a traffic product. I linked to an $9.95 affiliate offer called “Instant Traffic Shortcuts” by Richard Legg.
This feeble tweak doubled my profits.
8 out of 10 people who bought my eBook bought Richard’s program. I started making an extra $9.95 per sale eight times out of ten from the same affiliate marketing traffic.
The reason it worked was relevancy.
I upsold my clients with a product that matched well with their original purchase.
It was an accidental choice, I admit, yet a life changing one, because these extra $9.95 per sale allowed me to quit my day job at the computer store several weeks later.
The perfect solo ads funnel squeeze page
Squeeze page is the front door of your solo ads funnel.
It consists of a headline, an opt in form and a product illustration. The opt in form hooks up to your autoresponder. When someone “opts in” (e.g. types their email address into the form and hits enter), they’re added to your mailing list, so they’re now officially a subscriber and you can email them stuff.
Squeeze page has only one agenda – to squeeze (hence the name) your visitor’s email address. That’s how you build a list.
Most marketers incentivize visitors to share their email by offering an ethical bribe – a valuable free information piece tightly related to what they’re selling.
Some give away a part of their paid product and others try to over deliver by giving away their entire product line.
It’s called moving the free line. And it’s supposed to make your potential clients adore you for being a generous god.
I used to do it too. I used to give away my best content for free. But I don’t it anymore.
The idea of holding my customer’s email address hostage for a carrot is as alien to me as not putting butter on my toast.
All it helps achieve is lure freebie seekers onto your list. That’s counterproductive to making money.
An optin bribe, by design, gets in the way of selling. It invites prospects into my world with the wrong intention.
The ideal outcome I strive for with my squeeze pages is to screen my traffic based on interest.
The opt in form serves as a hoop the prospect has to jump through to unlock more information about the solution I sell.
And to do that, I use something that’s far more effective than an opt in bribe – a big idea.
Because it appeals to the one psychological trigger that’s more powerful than greed or a free lunch – curiosity.
Surprisingly, big idea squeeze pages pull higher opt in rates than bribe pages.
It’s not uncommon to see 40%, 50% and even 60% opt in rate with the right big idea. These numbers are hard to believe, but they’re real.
Stick to the following rules to generate high double digit opt in rate:
– Headline – introduces the big idea to peak curiosity and desire to unlock the next page by opting in.
– No video – it’s a common misconception to believe video gets better customers, so avoid using video on your squeeze page. It lowers opt in rates and slows the prospect down.
– No heavy graphics – stylish looks slow down load times. That’s bad for your opt in rate, so keep it clean and simple.
– Opt in form above the fold – above the fold is anything your visitors see the moment they land on your page, without having to scroll down. Obviously, there are different fold sizes for different devices (mobile and desktop). You shouldn’t let that concern you. What you should concern yourself about is making the opt in form visible and easily accessible. Don’t hide it.
– Ask for email without name or phone number – it’s a cardinal sin to collect too much information on your squeeze page because it repels prospects. It projects neediness. And most importantly, it ignores one of the most sensitive issues your prospect’s concerned with – privacy. People are touchy about their privacy. As a result, they’d much rather share their email address than their real name or phone number. Remove the name and phone field and watch your opt in rate soar by 5%-15%
How to build a high-converting squeeze page with ClickFunnels
Common marketing wisdom instructs us – Keep It Simple, Stupid. This wisdom also holds true when it comes to building a solo ad squeeze page.
If you want to make maximum money in minimum time, you should never complicate things for your potential customer.
There’s always the risk your prospect may get confused, bored or discouraged and take their money elsewhere.
You should make it easy to order.
You should be crystal clear about what you’re selling.
And you should never waste your buyers’ time.
It’s an age old advice that tracks back to the days when the forefathers of marketing, sales and copywriting (salesmanship in print) were making money in mail order.
There was no internet. There even weren’t any phones yet.
But even then – they knew – the more barriers you had between the prospect and your product, the less money you were going to make.
This wisdom transferred over to the internet as soon as marketers figured out how to put a sales letter on the web.
When Mark Joyner created and sold the first eBook, he already knew this rule. And he never violated it. He drove traffic to his sales letter, converted cold prospects into sales and built a buyer list.
Unfortunately, a lot has changed since.
And while, for the most part, this rule remains true – you really shouldn’t overcomplicate your marketing – sometimes you have to break this rule to make more money.
How To Make Money With Solo Ads
When you’re buying solo ads, you should deliberately make your potential customers jump through hoops.
You should build barriers that force them to work harder to get to your core offer.
Because you’ll make more money.
Thing is, over the course of the last 10 years, the proverbial prospect had matured.
She’s less emotional.
She’s no longer receptive to claims.
Sometimes she’s just skeptical.
And other times, she’s trying to act rationally when making buying decisions.
She’s not as daring as she was when marketers first started using the internet.
It takes longer to convert her from a cold visitor to a buyer. It requires over thirty additional exposures to your offer after she first visits your website. If you don’t feel this is true, just take a quick look at your Facebook feed, your email inbox and your YouTube channel.
Pick up on how you’re being pixeled and retargeted. How you’re being slammed with follow up emails. How you’re being offered a first-time-client-discount coupons.
There’s now more money invested in remarketing and follow up marketing than in driving cold traffic.
Great marketing has shifted from being all about making the loudest claims (backed up by evidence) to being all about making a modest claim consistently.
Thanks for the history lesson, Igor, but what does any of this has to do with Squeeze Pages and Solo ads?
Common mistake I see solo ad beginners make is buy clicks directly to their sales pages and VSLs.
They’ve got great intentions. In fact, this move makes a lot of sense, if you’re trying to keep things simple.
No matter how great your sales page, how irresistible the offer, how credible the expert… Most people won’t buy the first time they land on your page.
They may be skeptical about the claims you’re making. They may have been burned in the past and deliberately delay their decision even if they desperately need what you’re selling. And they may believe the claims, but not sure if it’s right for them. In addition, they may want it bad, but out of money because they just paid the electric bill. Or… They may have clicked the order button, but get distracted by their dog humping their leg or their child needing a ride to the soccer practice.
No matter the reason – expect most of your time customers skirting the order form for a while before playing ball.
How Barriers Help Convert Better With Solo Ads
If you’re sending traffic directly to your sales page or VSL, best case scenario, you’ll make 1-3 sales for every 100 [high-quality] solo ad clicks. You’ve gained several customers and you lost 97 potential clients.
If you’re sending traffic to a solo ad squeeze page that redirects to your VSL upon successful optin, it may seem, at first, that you’re shooting yourself in the foot, because only about 40-50 prospects out of the 100 will share their name and email address with you. Maybe even less.
But here’s where it gets interesting.
50 prospects opted in to your solo ad squeeze page. That’s 50 names on your email list. Out of those 50, because they’re more committed, you’ll get same 1-3 sales on your VSL. Only this time, you also have 47 people on your list that you’re now able to follow up with and make additional sales.
Now before you scoff and tell me if they don’t buy right away – they don’t buy, allow me to assure you – if you know what you’re doing with your email follow up sequence, you will close at least another 30%-50% of these prospects over time. They may not commit tomorrow. But they’ll commit.
But wait there’s more.
If you install an exit pop or exit intent on your squeeze page, you’ll collect another 5%-15% opt ins from the “dead” traffic that’s leaving your landing page without opting in. That’s more people on your list and more sales.
Anyway you spin it – driving solo ads traffic to a squeeze page first generates higher ROI.
The Perfect Solo Ad Squeeze Page
Squeeze page (also known as capture page) is the first page in your solo ad sales funnel that’s designed with one goal in mind – to get the prospects to identify herself by entering her email address into an opt in form.
It’s not supposed to sell your product. State your guarantee. Outline your unique selling proposition. Or tell people you’re real person and how much you enjoy helping them.
A good solo ad squeeze page ‘squeezes’ the prospect’s email and sends her off to the next page in the funnel.
This is where, typically, opinions clash. There’s two schools of marketing when it comes to squeeze pages.
#1 – The Optin Bribe
First school of thought says you have to offer an opt in bribe in exchange for the prospect’s email. Not only that, but you’re also supposed to give away your best secrets. All free.
Because supposedly the prospect is going to be so blown away by the quality of your content, she’s going to drop everything and give you money without you even asking.
A squeeze page offering a bribe in exchange for your email
This strategy was first introduced by a well-known info marketing and dating guru Eben Pagan (also known as David De Angelo in the dating niche) 12 years ago.
Back then – it worked. But not today. The prospect has become a sophisticated brat, who gladly takes anything she can get for free and leaves.
You shouldn’t offer free bribes on your squeeze pages for the same reason you shouldn’t buy drinks for hot chicks sitting on a bar stool. All you’re trying to do is to impress her and make her like you. But she’s got her own agenda. She just wants to have expensive drinks served to her for free.
The reason you’re building a list is to make money. So why invite the prospect to sign up on your list without a buying intention? Why lure her in with a carrot with no strings? It kinda sorta beats the purpose, don’t it?
Don’t use opt in bribes. Instead use something that works way way way better.
A Big Idea.
How To Increase Your Opt In Rates And Make More Sales With Solo Ads Without An Optin Bribe
Remember I told you about barriers being a good thing?
An optin bribe is a barrier that distracts the prospect from the ideal outcome – exchanging money for product.
Professionally crafted squeeze page presenting a big idea
That’s why, instead of trading emails for free reports which appeals to greed, you should appeal to the prospect’s sense of curiosity.
When you do, not only will you pull a much higher opt in rate than any optin bribe solo ad squeeze page ever will. But you’ll also get prospects in the right state of mind before seeing your VSL.
Curiosity squeeze page without an opt in bribe creates an itch the prospect has to scratch. Often, it’s enough to drive the sale home.
Opt-in results from Lance Sumner’s campaigns with Igor Solo Ads, September 2017
4 Elements Of The Perfect Solo Ad Squeeze Page
Follow these rules to easily generate high double digit opt in rates when running solo ads:
• One Big Idea Headline – this is 80% of the success of your solo ad squeeze. Focus your headline on one big idea and deliver it in a way that piques the prospect’s curiosity. Don’t reveal anything. Keep it blind.
• Avoid Using Video – there’s a common belief that video squeeze pages generate better opt in rates and higher engagement on the follow up. Not my experience. Video turns what’s supposed to be a short and focused action of opting in into a sales presentation. It’s distracting.
• Lightweight Design – simplistic design works best because it loads fastest. Nothing’s more annoying than a landing page that takes forever to load. Avoid fancy graphics, video backgrounds and slow-loading images.
• Above The Fold – above the fold is anything your visitors see the moment they land on your page, without having to scroll down. Obviously, there are different fold sizes for different devices (mobile and desktop). You shouldn’t let that concern you. What you should concern yourself about is making the opt in form visible and easily accessible. Don’t hide it.
• Ask for email without name or phone number – it’s a cardinal sin to collect too much information on your solo ad squeeze page. It repels prospects. It projects neediness. And it ignores one of the most sensitive issues your prospect’s concerned with – privacy. People are touchy about their privacy. They’d much rather share their email address than their real name or phone number. Remove the name and phone field and watch your opt in rate soar by 5%-15%
Build A Solo Ad Squeeze Page Yourself
One of the easiest ways to build a high converting solo ad squeeze page is with ClickFunnels.
Here’s an easy to follow video tutorial I recorded that’ll show you exactly how it’s done..
When I first got into affiliate marketing in 2009, I had no clue about how to get traffic online, let alone affiliate marketing traffic. All I wanted was to become a super affiliate.
It’s a term used to describe affiliate marketers who make $10,000 per month.
$10,000 per month is a magic number. It’s like the smell of mama’s pie cooling on the window sill. You can smell it from miles away. It reminds you how hungry you are. It consumes your attention until nothing matters more than getting a piece of the pie. But you can’t have it. It needs to cool. And besides, you haven’t had dinner yet.
I envied marketers whose names glittered on the product launch leaderboards. They were making more money, had more freedom and lived life with gusto.
Incidentally, the leaderboard didn’t change from launch to launch. It seemed like there were couple dozen super affiliates who always outsold the rest of us.
What was their secret?
They had lots of affiliate marketing traffic.
And they could pipeline it to any affiliate link they wanted. Anytime.
I became obsessed with finding out how they were doing it.
Apparently, they knew something the rest of us didn’t. A traffic secret that separates super affiliates from loser affiliates.
I was willing to bet all the tea in china that if I worked hard enough to find out what their secret traffic strategy was, it’d be just a matter of time before I too will become a super affiliate.
Sadly, I haven’t found what I was looking for. What I have discovered felt more like a step back than success.
I have discovered there was no affiliate marketing traffic source these super affiliates committed to religiously.
Each seemed to subscribe to his or her own unique traffic strategy. There was one super affiliate who specialized in search engine optimization. Another one swore he owed his fortunes to AdWords. A duo of super affiliate brothers put their faith in banner ads. Some were dabbling in all of the above.
It made me certain of one thing – the traffic source they were using wasn’t what shaped their income.
What was it then?
How did they make hundreds of affiliate sales on launch day? And then again the next launch which sometimes happened as soon as the day after next?
If traffic wasn’t their secret weapon – what was?
When I excluded traffic (or more precisely, targeted affiliate marketing traffic) as the common denominator, I began observing how they market.
I finally spotted the pattern I was looking for.
The process went something like this:
They drove affiliate marketing traffic to a landing page that collected the visitor’s email address in exchange for an ethical bribe.
Eben Pagan, one of the most respected super affiliates, would refer to this strategy later as “Moving The Free Line” in one of his most famous talks.
Why hunt email addresses?
Why not sell straight away?
What’s the point of building an email list?
It’s simple, really. The difference between a super affiliate and a loser affiliate is their attitude. The super affiliate plays a long term game. She builds an audience (email list). Come launch day, the super affiliate sets of a sequence of strategic emails selling the product. The emails create social proof, desire and scarcity.
That’s how she gets hundreds of affiliate sales with a push of a button.
Email traffic is highly responsive. According to a recent study by mail munch, email is one of the top 3 most responsive forms of advertising. It’s more profitable than social media, display and referrals.
Perry Marshall, the author of 80/20 Sales And Marketing and The Ultimate Guide To Google Adwords, calls email the “center of marketing universe:”
An email list, not some gimmick, fad or software, is the secret to making $10,000 per with affiliate marketing.
For that, you don’t need a huge list. But a responsive one.
Experts like to generalize by saying each subscriber on your list is worth a dollar. But that’s not true. Most lists never pull a dollar per subscriber. They’re lucky if they squeeze ten cents per email.
The first 1,000-person email list I built with blogging, SEO and social media was worthless. I pulled 3 clicks per mailing. It hasn’t produced a single sale in months. The mistake I made was to build my list with the wrong traffic source. I later discovered it to be far more effective to market to people who were already subscribing and buying from other email lists than to convince a “virgin optin” to buy through my affiliate link.
It’s been almost a decade since I made that discovery but not much has changed. Affiliate marketing community is still driven primarily by email endorsements. Reciprocal mailings are expected.
No one treats you seriously unless you can show a decent list.
Which begs the question:
What’s the fastest and easiest way to build a responsive list?
Imagine you could rent another person’s email list, which just so happens to be full of people who fit your ideal customer description, for a one-time fee. No strings attached. No dotted lines to sign. A handshake advertising deal, of sorts. One that could easily add 100-1,000 new potential customers to your email list.
That’s what a solo ad is. It’s been my go-to traffic strategy for the last 7 years. With it, I’ve made millions of dollars. And I hope to make more millions, because email is my #1 affiliate marketing traffic strategy for the next 10 years.
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon says:
“I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one. I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two — because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time.”
I don’t know everything, but I know email isn’t going to disappear in the next 10 years.
Email is used for anything personal and important.
We email documents to each other, we don’t post them on Facebook.
We email receipts, we don’t tweet them.
And we even email contracts for signature, we don’t publish them on Instagram.
As much as Mark Zuckerberg wants email gone, it’s a lost cause to fight it. Email’s most profitable way to build your business.
A customer list is the foundation to any healthy business that generates its own customers and pays its own bills. It creates a frenzy with a button push. It combines the two most desirable marketing attributes – speed and buyer power.
But list building is a s-l-o-w process. Especially if you’re building a list with the kind of affiliate marketing traffic that’s not receptive to email marketing.
The only way to speed it up is to advertise to prospects who are already conditioned to open and read marketing emails. You’ll make more money this way too, because these prospects are more likely to buy faster.
That’s why I am advocating solo ads for anyone who wants to become a super affiliate in volatile niches. Especially the markets with lots of hungry buyers and lots of money-making opportunities.
I’ve decided to put this guide together because solo ads are still a subject of much confusion.
In spite of being the McDonalds Burger of online advertising – fast, cheap and widely-accessible – most marketers, even veterans, are still unlucky with solo ads.
Why? largely, the reason for this is crushing amounts of misleading advice about solo ads as an affiliate marketing traffic source.
If you Google solo ads, you’ll struggle to find anything other than 500-700 word articles giving a brief overview of the method. And when you dig deeper, all hell breaks loose. You’re suddenly flooded with contradicting advice that leaves you more confused than when you started your search.
If you’re a solo ads beginner, you’re going to have a hard time answering the following questions:
• What are solo ads and are they profitable?
• Who should use solo ads?
• How solo ads are different from Facebook ads, Google AdWords and SEO?
• What you need to know to successfully run solo ads?
• What’s the best way to promote affiliate offers with solo ads?
• How and where to buy solo ads?
• What’s the difference between a solo ad broker and solo ad seller and who should you trust?
• How to write the perfect solo ad swipe?
• What if your solo ads aren’t converting?
• What’s the ways you can get scammed buying solo ads? And how to prevent being scammed by solo ads vendors?
• How to scale solo ads to $10,000 per month?
Since there’s no clear answer to any of these questions, I decided to take the time to create this Ultimate Guide To Buying Solo Ads.
The goal of this guide is to help you see and understand how you can profitably build your list with solo ads no matter what you’re marketing.
It’ll help you avoid common (read: expensive) mistakes solo ad beginners make.
The advice I share within the pages of this guide are based on my 10-year experience in Internet marketing and 7-year experience with solo ads.
This is the most comprehensive and accurate solo ads guide to date guaranteed. Dig in!
What is a “Solo Ad”?
Solo ad is a one-time email drop to another person’s email list for a fee.
Why would anyone email their list with your affiliate link?
For the same reason bloggers offer advertisers spots on their websites and YouTube channels. Email list is just another form of an engaged audience. A list to internet marketer is what TV audience is to Oprah and Dr Phil.
If you’re familiar with email drops, an affiliate marketing traffic strategy that’s been popular in the early 2000s, you’ll have an easy time grasping what solo ads are.
Unlike traditional email drops (aka email ezine ads), however, where you rent a spot on top, in the middle or at the bottom of an email, a solo ad is an entire email that’s an ad.
The reason solo ads are so profitable is because they’re an endorsement.
It’s referral traffic with a price tag.
Instead of begging a JV partner to mail or slowly build your own list through organic methods, you quickly leverage other people’s lists. Whatever you supposedly lose on ad costs, you quickly gain with speed.
The best part about solo ad leads is that they’re already subscribing to email lists. They’re already opening and clicking. It’s the perfect prospect for anyone who’s looking to make money promoting products to their list.
There are thousands of list owners out there who are happy to pimp their list to you in any niche.
In fact, there’s some people whose entire business is to offer solo mailings to people like you and me.
What’s the best way to profit with solo ads?
Solo ads are great for building your own email list.
You can send solo ad traffic directly to a VSL or a webinar, but I advise against it.
You’ll make more money directing it to a squeeze page first, collecting the prospect’s email address and then redirecting them to your VSL or optin bribe.
Solo ads are fast. It’s not unrealistic to get 300, 500, 1000 or even 2,000 subscribers on your list within 48 hours of running an ad. It is one of the reasons why I prefer solo ads to other affiliate marketing traffic strategies such as Facebook where scaling is difficult and unpredictable.
Here’s what I’m talking about.
Facebook spreads traffic evenly across the entire span of a campaign. You can go as low as $10 a day and get a steady exposure over time. To scale, you increase your daily budget. But when you do, Facebook just spends your money faster without maintaining efficiency.
Solo ads are so much easier to scale. You can start as low as $50-$100 to test a list. And if you like the results, just buy a larger solo. No algorithms to worry about. It’s like turning on the tap.
The downside to solo ads is fraud.
Solo ad directories are scam-galore. Same is true about the so-called “secret solo ad Facebook groups.” Those are even worse!
The fact no agency or entity regulates the solo ad community is a double edged sword.
On one hand, not having third party regulators means you won’t have to deal with red tape or regulations like you have to deal with on Facebook or Gogole AdWords.
This guide shows you how to make solo ads profitable. It’s not an exact science, but over the years I discovered a set of specific rules you need to stick by to profitably run solo ads.
What offers work best with solo ads?
Anytime I create a new funnel for solo ads, this is where I spend most of time. I don’t dwell on my squeeze page, upsells or even my thank you pages as much as I do on The Offer.
This is the only part of the entire funnel I must get absolutely right. Otherwise each solo ad I run is a lost cause.
In order to show you how to get your sales funnel dialed in, I am going to get specific.
Since online business opportunity niche is my specialty, that’s where most of my examples and case studies will be from.
But don’t let this fool you – there’s solo ads for almost any market from survival to personal development to real estate. You just have to know where to look. And I’ll tell you exactly where to go and what to do.
First, let’s talk about the perfect solo ad sales funnel.
Affiliate offer vs. Your own product
If you’re still trying to make sense of internet marketing, you should promote other people’s products (e.g. become an affiliate marketer).
Because you won’t have to learn how to create sales funnels, put products together and write sales copy.
Affiliate marketing is a great business model. Some people make a comfortable multiple six figure income promoting affiliate products. They stay out of the spotlight, quietly raking it in.
There’s also people like John Chow and Jeremy Shoemaker who made a name for being super-affiliates. So whether you’re the kind of person who craves the spotlight or runs away from it – affiliate marketing can be a great fit for you.
There is one major downside to affiliate marketing though.
As an affiliate you control nothing.
You don’t control the buyer.
You don’t control the offer.
And you don’t control the upsell process.
Hey, you may be making money today, but it may be gone tomorrow.
I’ve seen super affiliates lose their entire income overnight because the company froze six figures in earnings for policy violation.
Another client of mine waited 6 months to get $4,000 in affiliate commissions due to the affiliate program owner having issues with his merchant account.
My point: affiliate marketing is great money, but you can lose it as quickly as you make it.
Which is why as you grow, consider expanding into a product line of your own, because you’ll make 3X-10X more money while still being able to promote affiliate offers to your list.
This way you get best of both worlds.
The security of being in control of your income and the profit-boost from promoting other people’s products to your audience.
Your own product also helps you make a higher ROI on your solo ads.
In fact, the only clients who breakeven the same day they run solo ads with me are clients who run their own offers.
Additional benefit of running your own offers is that you won’t have to deal with a middle man between you and your money. You’ll often get paid the same day and be able to reinvest the earnings into advertising or just buy nice things for your family.
Plus, you’ll have full control of the offer. It allows you to tweak it if it doesn’t convert. Something you can’t do with an affiliate offer you don’t control.
Another reason to eventually develop your own product is expert positioning and higher status. Nothing screams “I’m an expert” to the prospect as your name on a product cover.
Last but not least – you’ll own a buyer list.
The old marketing adage says a buyer is a buyer is a buyer. What this means is that it’s easier to sell to someone who bought from you before than someone who never done business with you.
10X easier to be exact.
When I launched my first successful info product, my affiliate commissions doubled the same month. Next month they quadrupled. I went from making 1-2 affiliates sales a week to closing 2-4 sales per day.
My buyer list made all the difference in the world. It will make a difference for you too.
The next section is all about how to create the perfect offer for solo ads traffic with your own info product. If you decided to stick to affiliate marketing for now, skip to the “How To Promote Affiliate Offers With Solo Ads” section.
The perfect solo ad sales funnel
I’ve tested dozens of sales funnel structures over the years with solo ads. Here’s a blueprint of my most profitable solo ad sales funnel to date.
How to position your offer
If you’re buying solo ads in the Internet Marketing/Make Money Online/Online Business Opportunity/Multi-Level Marketing niche – you’re going after people who would like to save time, avoid mistakes and spend as little money as possible on their way to financial freedom.
They hate guesswork.
They hate having to figure things out on their own. They’re looking for the shortest path to success.
Don’t make them work.
Make it easy for them to say “YES.”
Your offer should be positioned in a form of a system. It’s an overused term, I know. But it’s still the best way to position your product.
“System” is an A-Z walkthrough that leaves no room for error.
It must to seem to them as if you went to hell and back, fought off the cyber tooth tigers and now you’re handing over everything you learned in a form of a detailed map with all the Xs marked for a great price.
How to price your offer
The fact you must offer a great offer, doesn’t mean you must price it cheap.
You must offer great value for their money.
My rule is to offer 10X the value over the price the prospect’s paying.
You’re in business to get rich.
There’s no exception to this rule.
If you’re buying solo ads for any other reason than to make a great living (whatever this means to you in terms of actual dollar amount) – stop immediately.
That’s why I recommend against any sort of trials. Free or paid.
$1 trials generate lots of sign ups. But these sign-ups are of no real use to you as a marketer. They’re not potent buyers. They’re not committed customers.
Free trials are even worse.
Trial buyers don’t stick. They don’t buy upsells. They’re dead weight in your CRM.
The only time I’ll ever offer a trial is when I exhausted all the other options.
We’ve always had better results with an upfront commitment under $30 on the front end. $9-$17 is the sweet spot that got us the most front end sales with the highest upsell conversions.
Payment plans work well too. It may seem ridiculous, but by offering a 2-pay option on a $27 product we were able to increase the average front end transaction size by 70%.
Consider split testing one-time $17 vs 2 payments of $17 two weeks apart. You may discover, just like we did, that people are more likely to buy things they’re allowed to pay off over time.
When using payment plans, the challenge you’ll run into is collecting the money. Credit card payments tend to get declined often. PayPal subscriptions skip and fail.
When that happens – and it will happen – just accept it and move on.
Don’t attempt to chase customers. Encouraging your customers to settle their debt on a product they already own is a waste of time. You may get some people to follow through, but it won’t be worth the time and energy you invest.
Instead, focus on making the most from the first installment. Make it big enough to cover your costs regardless whether the 2nd payment goes through. If they it does, it’s just a nice bonus to an already profitable transaction.
Of course you may wonder – why not give them only a part of the product that gets unlocked when they pay the 2nd installment?
We tried that. We made less money this way. It had a lot to do with the initial excitement wearing off for the buyer. Strike the iron while its hot.
Don’t attempt the subscription model with a personal or a business PayPal account. PayPal allows the customer to cancel the recurring billing without having to go through you.
This keeps you from knowing the customers’ concerns and reasons for cancelling which proves useful in improving your product, improving your copy and increasing retention.
Use a merchant account that offers recurring billing. Get Stripe if it’s available in your country. PayPal Payments Pro – PayPal’s spin on a merchant account – is my 2nd favorite.
Video sales letter (VSL) vs Text sales letter
In the recent years, the make money online niche has been awash with lifestyle video sales letters. This may give you an idea that you need a lifestyle video of your own to convert solo ad traffic.
Good news – no, you do not.
I’m not saying video sales letters don’t convert. They do, of course. But there’s no rule that says you should use a VSL over a text sales letter.
Some of our most successful offers include some videos (mostly to support the claims using testimonials from happy customers), but they’re long form text copy.
We’re not the only ones subscribing to this school of thought.
Digital Marketer is using text sales letters for all their $995 programs. That’s a $20,000,000.00 a year publishing company who was the first to use video sales letters staring their CEO, Ryan Deiss.
My point – video sales letter production is a huge expense, it takes an awfully long time and it limits your ability to split test (we’ll talk about this in a bit).
Avoid it if you’re just starting out with solo ads.
Perfect solo ad sales letter formula
Writing copy is an art form.
It takes years of daily writing to master the skill many refer to as salesmanship in print. It also pays to have some sales experience.
But you probably want fast results, right? That’s cool.
You’re not looking to win an award, I hope. You just need your offer to convert decently.
I didn’t kill it straight out of the gate or anything. In fact, at first, my copy failed miserably. But this framework got me off to a great start and became the backbone of my first successful sales letter that eventually started bringing in consistent money every day.
This formula helped me structure my pitch, get prospects’ attention, convey the right benefits and push their emotional buttons. It’s a simple formula, yet an effective one.
Remember, Don Draper, you’re not trying to ink out Madison Avenue level copy.
You’re offering a low priced information product that solves a nagging pain your prospect suffers from.
As long as you clearly state your case showing how your product helps make their problem go away, they’ll listen and buy.
Plus, I’m sharing few other tricks to push them off the fence below.
Don’t try to be witty or creative. Just follow the formula.
And when it comes to your upsells, keep things super straight forward.
At this point, after picking up the front end offer, the prospect you’re going to be in front of is like a hedgehog in heat. He’ll buy it if you offer it. So just pitch it straight up, explain what’s in it for them and let their lizard brain do the rest.
Fastest way to build your solo ad funnel
I envy you.
When I started, I had to build my funnels from scratch in HTML or PHP.
It took me 6 months to build my first squeeze page.
It took me 2 years to put together my first decent-looking sales page.
Eventually, I got tired of the technical learning curve and partnered up with a developer. I struggled with tech so bad, I was willing to give up a percentage of my profits just so I never had to deal with code ever again.
Today, you don’t have to sacrifice your profits to build a professional sales funnel.
It doesn’t take years to build a squeeze page. It takes seconds. Minutes at most.
You don’t have to learn how to code HTML or PHP. You don’t have to outsource anything to freelancers.
Because ClickFunnels allows you to build a complete sales funnel using drag-and-drop interface. There’s several similar funnel builders I’ve tested, but ClickFunnels takes the cake.
CF offers the best user experience. And besides being an easy to use funnel builder, ClickFunnels also offers tutorials on how to build high-converting funnels, for both product owners and affiliates.
It’s been created by Russell Brunson, a world-class internet marketer. Russell’s one of us. He understands our needs. He’s done an incredible job with ClickFunnels. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Plus, it’s really hard to not be a ClickFunnels fanboy, because Russell offers a free 14-day trial for new members.
It’s a turd in a candy wrapper you’re being fed since day one in internet marketing.
It’s the sole cause of misery for tens of thousands of marketers who put in 40-60 hours a week into their online businesses without a return.
Eventually you find out there’s no such thing as “free” in this business.
No such thing as free help.
No such thing as free education.
And yes.. No such thing as free targeted traffic.
The free tools you’re using for productivity are restricted and buggy. The coach that promises to help you for free is misinforming you so bad it slums another 2 years on your learning curve. Worst part – he doesn’t even know he’s misinforming you because it’s blind leading the blind kinda thang. And the free targeted traffic technique you learned in a YouTube tutorial? Its taking so much time to set up and manage it’s not worth it even if you make less than min wage. Plus, by the time you’re done, there’s 14,563 other people trying to do the same thing so it doesn’t work.
Of course, yours unruly had to learn all this the hard way.
My first business opportunity was Global Domains International. The $10 per month GDI membership and a $9 per month GetResponse account was all a broke teenager could afford at the time.
Since I sunk all the money I had in getting positioned, I didn’t even bother with paid targeted traffic techniques.
Frankly, even if I had the money, I’d try free targeted traffic methods first anyway. When you get started online you don’t feel you’re qualified to use paid advertising. As if you have to be initiated into an inner circle of worthy marketers who are allowed to do this sort of voodoo magic. Of course, there’s no initiation rituals or board of council. No one can give you permission to use paid traffic. It isn’t given or taken by anyone but you. But more about that later.
The first free targeted traffic technique I tried was MySpace. Don’t scoff. We’re talking 2008-2009 here. MySpace is all the rage. Facebook is still in its infancy. Twitter’s only starting to make noise.
For the next 2 months I did nothing but create fake MySpace profiles that told my “fake it ‘till I make it” story. I had no idea what I was doing. I was just copying off my idols Budd and Dillard.
MySpace was a waste of time in terms of getting any actual traffic to my GDI affiliate link. But I learned a lot.
Next, I got bit by the Web 2.0 bug. I created Squidoo lenses (whatever happened to that site?), I posted my articles on EzineArticles dot com, I put up Google diary pages (what a fiasco that was) and even posted on Hubpages. I then turned my articles into YouTube videos by talking out what I wrote to a camera. Then I’d tweet all these links fingers crossed someone finds my rambling useful and shares it. That was my plan for getting rich quick.
Without even realizing I became a content-generation machine.
I was producing more content weekly than most Pro Bloggers bothered to write in a month. Yet, I wasn’t making progress. Besides an occasional pat on the back from my upline Jodie Thompson, all I got was getting myself banned from 3 internet marketing forums for spamming.
Free targeted traffic was already costing me tens of thousands of dollars in missed opportunities, time investment and misery. But I’m a determined SOB when I really want something, so I pushed on.
Right about that time auto-tweets became a new fad. I bought a software that automatically followed people (so they would follow me back). I could also schedule my tweets which meant I could tweet when I’m at work, pooping or playing FIFA.
Reflecting on this time, I can’t help but see the irony in buying a software to get free targeted traffic. But such is internet marketing. It’s ironic and it’s never free. It wasn’t long before I did the same thing on Facebook. I’ve had 5 profiles maxed out with 5,000 friends each. 3 of those profiles got banned for auto posting. I dropped the automation idea altogether.
At this point I’m thinking something’s wrong with me. I couldn’t possibly be wrong about free targeted traffic, can I? I mean, so many people enjoy free automated traffic doing the same thing. Why can’t I?
Something must be missing. But what? Oh, I know! It’s blogging.
At this point I can write an article about my neighbor’s kidney transplant or pretty much anything in 30-45 minutes. It wouldn’t be a very good article. But it’d be good enough to pose as valuable content on a web 2.0 site. So if I’m that proficient at producing content why not build an authority site doing it?
That day I set off an 8-months journey into the blogging world. I publish new unique content every day. I buy a domain, hosting and an actual WordPress theme. Hell, I even buy a search engine optimization course for $997 and go through it in a day. I pull no punches. Within just 4 months my blog starts ranking on the SERPs.
I’m getting visitors. Lots of ‘em. But the problem is nobody’s buying anything. I check Google Analytics and discover I’m not ranking for any of the keywords I’ve optimized for. Instead, I rank for a bunch of weird keywords. Keyword that could never result in buyer traffic. Turns out, the keywords I was targeting were too competitive.
Nothing a bunch of organic backlinks can’t fix, right?
Off I go guest posting on Daily Blogger and a bunch of other B-grade internet marketing blogs. And the weirdest thing happens.
I’m still getting visitors that don’t convert. I’m still broke and I’m still overworked trying to juggle a real job and my blog. But now I’m being perceived as somewhat of a gooroo by my readers. I get fan mail. I get coaching requests and I get JV proposals.
My excitement was short-lived, because as much as I’ve tried I couldn’t deposit my newly-found fame into my checking account. After having tried every free targeted traffic method there was, I finally gave in and turned to the dark side of paid traffic generation.
The hardest part was to break away from the belief I wasn’t qualified to run paid traffic for my business. That it wasn’t my birthright to play at the big boys’ poker table, so to speak. It kept me from even looking into paid traffic for years.
I decided to take it slow. I must’ve bought half a dozen paid traffic courses before pulling the plunge on my first paid campaign. Within just 3 weeks I knew everything there was to know about Google AdWords, Yahoo PPC (it’s called Bing Ads now), Pay Per View marketing and even CPA (cost per acquisition) marketing.
AdWords was the first thing I tried. Everyone was doing it at the time. AdWords was the Facebook ads of the 2000s. These days everyone has abandoned Google for the greener Facebook pastures. They’re wrong, of course. Facebook is way too competitive, ineffective and time consuming of a marketing strategy to be ranked even in the same category as AdWords. I’ll leave this argument for another time.
It took Google 27 hours to ban me.
I violated some kind of close in the user agreement (that I frankly never read – who does?). They didn’t bother explaining or warning me. They just kicked me out. So I tried Pay Per View marketing. Those were the fastest $200 I ever lost. Not because it was bad traffic. Probably, because I didn’t know what I was doing.
But it was a start. My first bump on the long road. I mastered paid traffic (solo ads primarily) over the next year. First, I relied heavily on PPV. But when solo ads came around, although they were pricier and it took me a while to figure out how solo ads work, I moved all my marketing dollars there. The rest is history.
The pursuit of free targeted traffic cost me three and a half years.
I lost money too. But it’s the time I can never get back. It was the most expensive lesson I’ll never forget. And neither should you.
Do solo ads really work? If not, why is everyone talking about them? If they do, how do you know if they’ll work for you without dropping thousands of dollars on traffic tests?
Solo ads are sort of like the hot girl in the office. She’s funny, intelligent and has a great body, but you’re not sure if you should hit on her. If you do, it may make things awkward if she doesn’t feel the same way about you.
This idea won’t let you sleep at night. On one hand, you don’t want to look stupid and push her away. On the other hand, she may be the girl you’ve been waiting for your whole life. Decisions decisions.
That’s the tug of war almost every marketer deals with when they consider to use Solo ads as a source of new customers for their online business.
And it gets even more confusing after they run a couple of cheap solo ads that don’t convert.
Is it my offer? Is it this specific solo ad seller? Perhaps solo ads just don’t work and I’m wasting my time? Does anyone even make money with solo ads besides the people selling them?
I’d like to tackle this question once and for all to eliminate any confusion you may have about whether or not solo ads work and whether or not they can work for you.
But keep in mind that I’m biased. After all, I run world’s most trusted solo ad agency.
Yes, solo ads work. But they’re not for everyone. Solo ads have the potential to become a fast and easy source of new buyers for marketers who promote products in wide-appeal markets.
The markets where you should at least consider testing solo ads are business opportunity/work from home, personal development, weight loss, forex, binary options, dating and survival.
If you’re selling clothes, souvenirs or chicken coops (don’t laugh, it’s a pretty big niche) – solo ads are definitely not for you. If you’re a consultant looking for clients for your marketing agency or you’re a web design freelancer – solo ads are not for you. And if you’re promoting a local business – solo ads are also not for you.
The more niche targeting your offer requires – the less likely solo ads are to work for you.
It seems like the demand for solo ad traffic in any specific niche is directly proportionate to how hard it is to run PPC ads in that market. For example: you can’t run PPC ads on Facebook for a weight loss offer or a dating info product. You just can’t. You’ll get banned. Zuckerberg geeks don’t like marketers who make claims. And you can’t sell either one without making some pretty outrageous claims.
Forex and Binary is even worse. Nobody will let you come anywhere near PPC networks if you’re promoting that stuff.
Note: I’m not here to judge whether or not what you’re marketing is good, bad or ethical. This article observes whether you should or shouldn’t attempt to use solo ads as a primary source of traffic for your online business. That’s it. You can sell candy to diabetics for all I care.
You may also be considering free traffic. If you are – read this article about free vs paid biz opp traffic. My solo ad agency specializes in business opportunity/internet marketing/make money from home traffic. Incidentally, this niche is also taboo on PPC. The moment you make an income claim or make a vague promise (even if your website is sowed with disclaimers) – you’re either kicked off the network or your cost per click soars.
In which case, you should definitely consider Solo ads.
Why? Several reasons.
Cost of solo ads
Compared to the kind of CPC you’re paying on FB ads and Google Adwords for competitive keywords and targeting – solo ads are much more affordable. You could optimize your solo ad campaigns to get you email subscribers at under $2.00. These numbers aren’t realistic in Adwords and FB ads in these niches.
The Facebook Slap
Several years ago I was selling a high ticket list building coaching program. I was driving traffic primarily through Facebook ads. I was spending $2,000.00 per day averaging $8.00 for every $1.00 I invested. Until one day I woke up and saw that my Facebook Ads account was gone. The famous Facebook slap. What happened? Facebook didn’t like my ad copy.
In spite of me being a highly profitable customer for them, they kicked me out without warning or a 2nd chance.
Why would they do that? Because while they make all their money from selling ads, Facebook’s customer is not the marketer. It’s the user. Ask any advertiser in the niches above who makes more than $10,000 per month and they’ll tell you their own version of the Facebook slap story. We all had it happen to us. And if it still hasn’t happened to you – it will.
And that will never happen to you with solo ads. There’s no rep chasing you with a torch and a pitchfork because you’re a marketer. In fact, the solo seller is interested in you scaling, because they’ll make more money.
This creates a different problem to watch out for, of course. The one where they’ll tell you anything you want to hear just to get you to buy some clicks. Here’s a great example of what can happen to you if you’re not careful.
This is by far the most important reason why you should try solo ads if you’re marketing wide-appeal products, courses and programs. You can’t get banned no matter the ad copy you use, no matter your landing pages, no matter your offer.
How to scale solo ads
Ever tried scaling a PPC ad that’s performing well? I did. It should be as simple as increasing your daily budget. But it’s not. Weird things happen when you increase your daily budget by more than 10% on Facebook ads. The ad you spent weeks dialing in suddenly doesn’t work anymore.
With solo ads it’s a totally different story. Just buy more clicks.
So far I make it sound like solo ads are the best thing since picture-in-picture TV. But they’ve got their own downsides. Here’s a couple things you need to have in place to have a reason to expect for solo ads to work for you.
What Do You Need To Make Solo Ads Work For You
High Ticket Offer
You can’t get rich selling $10 reports. It’s fine to offer a low ticket front end but a high ticket back end offer has to follow. It’s the slack-adjuster you need to make your solo ad buys profitable. I see marketers get stuck all the time because they run out of money. But they don’t have a money problem. They’ve got an offer problem.
In addition to a high ticket offer in your funnel, you should also offer upsells and cross sells to increase your lifetime customer value.
I can’t emphasize this enough. Avoid buying traffic on a solo ad marketplace. Buy only from a trusted, reputable vendor.
Aggressive Email Follow Up
Most people approach solo ads with an instant-conversion mindset. They expect to see sales the same day they run the solo ad or at least within 48 hours. That’s a huge misconception. While some prospects will act right away, because they’re irrational junkies, most people require more wining and dining. They’ll need at least 30 exposures to your offer before they’ll say yes. It means you have to follow up with them every single day. We use email to do that.
Just like any other form of traffic, you have to test, track and optimize your marketing when you run solo ads. Good news is that you will save a lot of time and money by using a reliable solo ad provider who knows what they’re doing. They’ll be able to tell you upfront whether or not you’re wasting time and what to change if you don’t get the results you’re looking for.
When I started buying solo ads, there was no solo ad marketplace.
When you Googled “solo ads” nothing came up.
There were just a bunch of safelists and traffic exchanges selling fake email drops.
The only way to get clicks was to be invited into a secret Skype room where a handful of solo ad sellers hung out and sold clicks to each other.
There was no Fiverr, no Udimi, no solo ad directories.
Just the secret Skype rooms with less than 100 members. It was an elite society of highly advanced email marketers who exploited every loophole ISPs still haven’t sealed to squeeze thousands of clicks out of lists as small as 3,000 prospects.
I’m not joking.
Back then you could make $10,000-$30,000 per month promoting affiliate offers to a list of 5,000 free optins (not customers!). The subscribers were much more responsive because they checked their email on their computers and not on their smartphones on their way to the urinal.
Major autoresponder companies still haven’t begun their war on marketers.
Aweber and GetResponse welcomed affiliate marketers. It was the golden era of email marketing where Inboxing was simple. It didn’t require marketers to get creative.
I could load an email swipe less than 150 words long full of spam-triggering words and inbox twice a day.
I consider myself lucky to have somehow come across these secret Skype rooms.
The marketers who hung out there knew how to get a lot of clicks for you. They allowed you to promote to their lists for pennies compared to what marketers were paying on Adwords.
Because the word would spread faster than California wildfire and who ever sold you bad clicks would get expelled from the tribe.
They’d never be able to sell solo ads ever again.
And many were expelled, matter of fact, because they got greedy and tried selling crap traffic to people.
Being barred from this group for an email marketer was like being kicked out of Harvard if you’re a lawyer.
It came with a cost.
And some even tried sneaking back in under a pen name with little luck.
The reason they wanted to get in so bad is because nobody knew what solo ads were. If you were competing for a spot on the leaderboards in a program like MOBE or Empower Network, you possessed an unfair advantage that shot you up the rankings overnight.
But that wasn’t going to last. Nothing does.
Eventually, Solo ads went mainstream.
I saw it coming early on and that’s why I decided to become one of the major contributors to making that happen.
In fact, alongside guys like John Cornetta, who was considered the King of Solo Ads at the time, I became the leading authority on solo ads within a couple of months.
John since got bored with solo ads. He moved on to eCommerce. That was way before eCommerce became a thing. He always had a knack for spotting marketing trends before they occur. But I digress…
I took a huge part in spreading the word about Solo Ads. I created several information products and I even ran a Solo Ad coaching program where I taught people how to sell solo ads.
Of course, first I had to teach how to build a list using solo ads, which has become harder over the years compared to what it has been when I started. The click prices started rising. There were new solo ad sellers popping up every single day. The solo ad industry was booming.
Around this time another part of the industry boomed – the solo ad scams.
Conmen and women who noticed this giant wave of people looking for traffic to promote their online business started creating low-class one-page websites and fake Facebook profiles. They offered clicks at dirt-cheap prices luring newbies with bargain clicks. Soon the market was flooded with scam artists selling fake traffic.
Anyway, I was busy coaching people how to buy and sell solo ads, so I didn’t pay much attention to where the solo ad marketplace was going.
Eventually, however, I got tired of coaching and invested my time and resources into building Igor Solo Ads into world’s most trusted Solo Ad Agency it is today.
Once solo ads gone mainstream a whole bunch of Solo Ad Marketplaces sprouted online. They all offered the same thing:
They encouraged people not to buy solo ads from independent traffic vendors and use the solo ad marketplace rating system to quickly pin point the best solo ad sources and buy only from the best.
I’m talking about sites like Udimi (ex safe swaps), solochecker and others.
But this promise is flawed.
Because other than price, there’s no real way to tell who’s sending you good clicks.
The rating systems are inherently biased.
They could be easily manipulated by sophisticated scam artists and mediocre traffic pushers who offer great customer support and are willing to send couple hundred extra clicks to keep customers from complaining or worse – from posting their real results.
There’s no real way to differentiate between sellers on these marketplaces. Not even their pricing.
Let me explain:
The sellers who charge an extra 15%-20% per click have been caught re-selling traffic through the solo ad marketplace to cheaper sources and pocket the difference.
And some sellers start several profiles with different pricing creating false sense of choice.
Does it mean you should never buy through a solo ad marketplace?
There’s some good traffic on those marketplaces.
It’s just you’re going to have to plow through dozens of bad sellers in disguise to find one decent source.
When you shop for clicks, you should keep in mind that you’re gambling and they got the house advantage.
You got no control besides posting a bad review that’s only valid in the solo ad marketplace and is not visible to the general public. This review could also be easily removed if the solo ad seller is in good standing with the network owner who wants the seller to sell more clicks because he’s getting a cut of every transaction.
Yes, that’s another big reason not to trust the solo ad marketplace websites.
The owners are always “in” on the transactions.
That’s how they make money.
The more orders occur on the network, the more the network owner makes.
Which naturally tips the scales of solo ad justice, so to speak.
In short, you’re putting your hard-earned money at risk when you rely on the internal tracking and rating systems.
A way to minimize your risk to a bare min is to get traffic from an established time-tested and top-earner-approved source. Someone your team leader or team mate recommends. A source that’s listed in more than one rolodex. A source that’s open to having a conversation with you before you order.
And best of all – someone who offers a guarantee on their traffic.
The worst thing you can do is chase cheap clicks. That’s a recipe for getting scammed and building a dead list. With solo ads you always get what you pay for. Wherever you get your clicks from, keep that in mind, because the scammers will always try to bribe you with a sweet deal!
Its probably one of the best businesses you can build online.
You don’t have to create products, do customer support or even think about tracking. Office space? Employees? Forget about it! It’s the best way to live the laptop lifestyle.
Just send lots of targeted biz opp traffic to your affiliate links and you’re good to go!
And this is where the only challenge with affiliate marketing lies – how do you get good traffic?
Fast, targeted and scalable traffic to boot.
When I first stumbled into this challenge I had no idea where to start.
After initial research I learned there’s traffic you can buy by running a Pay Per Click ad on Google, Facebook or a 3rd party website. And there’s traffic you can get for free by optimizing your website to rank on Google.
Like every marketing rookie faced with the same dilemma I chose free biz opp traffic.
Why would I spend money on getting clicks to my affiliate links if I could get them free, right?
Turned out there was a hidden price no one told me about.
For the next 3 years I jumped from one failing free traffic strategy to another
– Flooded MySpace with fake profiles I created using an automated software.
– Shot 5 videos a week and uploaded them on YouTube. I shared these videos on my social media profiles to get views.
– Started several twitter accounts and followed hundreds of people a day in hopes they’ll follow me back thanks to the priciple of reciprocity.
– Built link-wheels and link-sharing networks with other affiliate marketers to boost my sites up the SERPs. It was all a big waste of my time.
All these strategies were time consuming. They were slow to yield any results and they were making me lose precious time I didn’t have. I had to wake up early before work to write an article for my blog and stay up until 2 am in the morning after work to do social media marketing.
I wasn’t stuck in the rat race. It was way worse
Ironically, after realizing how time consuming free traffic become, I started spending money on tools and services to increase my productivity.
One of the first tools I invested in was a social site bookmark creator. It would grab an article on my blog and automatically submit it to social bookmark sites such as digg.com and stumbleupon.com.
The idea was to create as many social bookmarks as possible to get indexed faster.
Another tool I got was an automatic posting software for my social media accounts.
It allowed me to submit a message and have it posted across all my social media accounts and platforms. I could also schedule my updates which allowed me to pre-submit them a month ahead and not worry about having to post manually.
But you know what was the worst part with all this leg work I was doing?
Free biz opp traffic didn’t yield any results.
The trickles of visitors I got from Social Media sites were either bored, not targeted or window shopping. It took me a long time before I realized why social media traffic didn’t work.
People get on Facebook and Twitter when they’re bored.
They don’t scroll through their feed to buy products.
Okay, Igor, it means your search engine optimization efforts paid off!
My search engine optimization efforts were non existent.
In spite of investing a lot of time and a ton of money in educating myself in up to date SEO strategies I was only able to get my site to 100-150 visitors per day.
And be those targeted buyers, I’d do well. I’d be hitting those leaderboards in no time!
But these weren’t buyers. These were lurkers and trolls. They consumed the content I was putting out, but they weren’t buying anything.
I used to wake up in the morning, go to the living room and fire up my laptop. I’d be sitting on my couch in my underwear checking my Google Analytics stats. Excited seeing visitors, I checked my affiliate earnings on ClickBank and with several other affiliate marketing programs I worked at the time.
Nothing. Zilch. Not a single frigging sale!
I sacrificed all the free time I had left before and after work to build up a free traffic network that supplied me with deadbeat clicks.
In fact, I’ve built a thousand person optin list using my blog and I had to trash it. The first and last time I emailed it I got 13 opens and 3 clicks. It took me 34 week to build this “dead” list.
It was the last straw that broke the camel’s back for me.
I was finally convinced that free biz opp traffic is a waste of time for affiliate marketers. But I couldn’t jump into paid traffic. There were two challenges.
First, no paid biz opp traffic network like Adwords or Facebook Ads likes marketers. It’s catch 22. They make money by selling advertising, but their focus is on the end user. They work hard to create an experience for the consumer, because they want consumers on their sites as much as possible. And they believe certain types of ads and marketing lingo prevents that.
In other words, if you wanted to run Adwords, you couldn’t use a squeeze page or sales page. You had to run the traffic to your blog full of high quality content and hope the customer sticks around.
This goes against direct response marketing.
But these are the rules you had to play by if you wanted to be in the game.
Oh, and this was before they invented retargeting. You couldn’t place a pixel or do anything sneaky to your visitors. There was no way of capturing your clicks and recycling them.
But that’s just one side of it.
The other challenge was way-way worse – insane click cost.
If you’re an affiliate marketer (and they haven’t “slapped” you yet) in a cash-rich market such as internet marketing, make money online, biz opp, weight loss or dating – you’re punished with an obscenely high cost per click on your ads.
While you could get clicks as low as $0.05-$0.20 cents in other niches, internet marketers paid $5.00-$15.00 per click on Adwords.
Facebook was cheaper, but only for a short while. They followed Google quickly raising their prices, changes terms of service and slapping marketers left, right and center.
In short – you needed deep pockets to play the paid advertising game with the networks. So I lost before I could start.
I ran out of doors to knock on and I was beat.
Right around this time a new biz opp traffic source started emerging. This traffic source was mainly talked about in Skype chatrooms and internet marketing forums. It was cheaper than PPC. Faster than free traffic. Offered better targeting and faster results.
What was this mysterious biz opp traffic source?
Solo ads is a pay per click traffic source. It allows you to rent someone else’s email list.
Imagine if you could run an email ad to a list of people who fit your target audience (e.g. people who want to make money online, women who can’t get a date, males over 40 who want to get rid of the beer belly, etc) and that these targeted clicks would cost you less than Adwords or FB ads.
That’s exactly what solo ads are.
And that’s exactly what I needed to find my big break as an affiliate marketer.
Don’t get me wrong, Solo ads got downsides too! They’re not perfect.
When it comes to solo ads you’re basically on your own. There’s no three letter acronym agency to protect you. Not even the FTC. The market is awash with solo ad scam artists who take advantage of people. They sell biz opp traffic and never deliver the clicks. Some sell fake clicks that look like they’re real visitors, but instead it’s parked domain traffic or fraudulent clicks.
You have to be careful with choosing the right solo ad providers for you. And you have to have to test dozens until you find one that’s any good.
But let me tell you… When you find the one that works – you’ll be able to scale quickly, affordably and without a hitch. Best part – you won’t get slapped! The solo ad seller won’t jack up his prices because of some ToS or refuse to run your offer because you’re making far fetched claims.
You’re free to market to their audience as you see fit
It’s not uncommon to witness marketing beginners build 1000, 3000 and even 10000 optin lists in their first months using solo ads. It’s a fast and simple process, because there’s no learning curve.
You don’t need to be a skilled marketing veteran to track your solo ads and scale them. You can quickly determine the winning sources with tests under $100-$300. Sometimes even less than that.
Important caveat. The age-old wisdom of “you get what you pay for” applies. As a rule of thumb expect poor performance from cheap solo ads.
The reason they’re cheap, with a few exceptions, is because the list owner knows it’s a dead list and they can’t make money mailing it with offers. So they sell clicks instead. They know there’s people out there who are going to pay them to mail. They build dead lists with no buyer potential to sell solo ads.
You’ll find tons of these solo sellers on various solo ad marketplaces and by running a simple Google search.
Some will even make outrageous claims promoting sales… But when you dig deeper will hide behind fine print disclaimers asking to run at least 10,000 clicks and test 15 landing pages and only if your offer is a $1 trial and a bunch of other nonsense like that.
In short – solo ads are definitely NOT a silver bullet
But they blow SEO, PPC and Social Media marketing out of the water. They’re faster, they’re cheaper, they produce higher ROI (when done right, of course) and they’re automated. All in all, you could say that they’re the best biz opp traffic source around right now.
They’re also dangerous, because it’s like the wild-wild west and you’re not protected by any authorities against things like a solo ad scam. You can easily be duped into buying fake clicks or your solo ad could be resold to another list owner without you even knowing it.
This is why you have to test each source with a small click package of anywhere between 200 and 500 clicks.
Even grizzled marketing vet like me walks into traffic trap every now and again.
It happens because the Solo Ad marketplace is like the wild-wild west. It’s not regulated. There’s no agency or big brother to watch over everyone’s shoulder. There’s no rules of conduct.
But most importantly – there’s no Justice.
A newbie can walk into the scene, get scammed for $2,000 and there’s no one she can talk to about punishing the wrongdoers.
Almost everyone who gets started with solo ads gets sold bogus clicks at least once.
I’m no exception.
One time when I bought over $10,000 worth of clicks from a solo ad seller I met at the Orlando Solo Ad Summit back in August 2014.
At the time I was no spring chicken.
I was already making more with Solo ads per month than most people make per year on their jobs. My lists were in the hundreds of thousands. I’ve had several programs on the market and my agency was becoming the go-to traffic source for top earners and newbies alike.
Like a smart traffic consumer would do, I started with a small buy of 1,000 clicks.
It seemed to have went well at first.
So I scaled.
Over the course of the next 3 months I bought over $10,000 worth of traffic from this fella.
I trusted him so much I didn’t even check my stats for some time.
But one day I noticed sales plummeted.
The first thing I did was to check my traffic sources.
There were some that were doing 50%-70% breakeven.
Some were producing a 20%-40% profit within a week.
And there was one traffic source that was plain awful. I was losing $170-$250 every day I let this source run.
It was him. This is when I discovered that this con man hasn’t produced a single sale in weeks. I’m not sure why I didn’t track his stats closer. I guess I got comfortable. But fact is – something was off with this guy’s traffic and I had to find out exactly what was wrong.
Before confronting him head on, I first checked the Hotjar recordings.
Hotjar is a screen capture software which records your visitors’ activity so you can see how your site works and how to improve it.
And you know what this guy’s traffic showed on Hotjar?
There were thousands of visitors who behaved exactly the same way when they hit my squeeze page.
They opted in, moved to the sales page and then scrolled all the way down within 1.5 seconds and closed the page.
I’ve never seen prospects behave this way in my life.
Even the most skeptical and untargeted visitors invest more effort into reading my sales pages!
But that’s not the weirdest part…
In Hotjar I was also able to see the screen dimensions of my visitors.
A normal computer screen is about 1280×800 and a mobile resolution is 750×1334. It varies. But almost all of them are in that range.
Now get this…
The traffic the scam artist solo ad seller was sending me had screen resolution of 2×100.
He was sending me Robocop screen dimension traffic
This is when I knew immediately he was sending fake clicks.
There’s no web browsing device with such dimensions.
And even if there was, it would only be >2% of traffic. The rest should have been normal.
But I wanted to run another check before rubbing his face in these fake clicks.
I logged into my Aweber account, exported my list and ran it through a list cleaner.
85% FAKE EMAILS!
This douche bag traffic seller has been sending FAKE LEADS for weeks. He established trust first, sent some real traffic and then switched his source to a bunch of fake bots and revved up the engine to the max.
The story ended when I confronted this a-hole and demanded a full refund on all the clicks he ever bought from him or I’d release video proof to the whole wide world to see.
As you’d expect, he pretended not to know what’s going on.
He apologized profusely and said it couldn’t be true.
He said he must have received a bad batch from his supplied and promised to investigate.
I wasn’t listening.
I’ve heard these excuses a million times before.
I got my money back eventually.
And I learned an important lesson in BOT TRAFFIC.
Since then I haven’t ran a single solo ad without Hotjar. And I even warned solo ad providers I was using a screen capture software to record evidence of the traffic they were sending me, just in case they planned to run some garbage through my funnel.
This scammer doesn’t sell traffic anymore.
But there’s a ton of scammers still out there… lurking in the shadows looking for their next victim.
Luckily for there’s tools you can use to protect yourself.
Hotjar being one.
Another tool I recommend is VerifyShark. It verifies the emails you’re getting in real time, blocking fake emails and spam traps from getting on your list.
This way you’re paying only for real emails, not fakes ones.
In spite of everyone being aware of the traffic scamming that’s been going on lately with solo ads, 99.99% of marketers buy solo ads without protection.
Hell… most aren’t even aware of the real danger of buying FAKE LEADS.
Which is why we have developed a real-time email verification script for our landing pages. It doesn’t guarantee we won’t be scammed, but at least they won’t be able to stuff our email list with fake optins.
If solo ads are that risky, why bother?
Can you really break even with solo ads or even profit? Why not drop solo ads and move to better and safer traffic sources like Facebook ads?
First, Facebook ads don’t allow certain types of offers such as: make money online, business opportunity, forex, dating, weight loss or anything that makes claims of any kind. Facebook is not marketer’s friend. Facebook’s customer is the end user and they’ll do anything to protect them against the evil of advertising, in spite of advertising being their #1 income stream.
Facebook is now primarily an e-commerce and education advertising platform. It’s off limits for hardcore marketers who want to penetrate profit-rich markets I mention above.
Solo ads is the only unregulated (e.g. you can’t get banned) and highly scalable traffic source for internet marketers and business opportunity marketers. It’s also cheaper than Facebook ads. It’s also much more targeted and effective!
This painful learning experience has taught me how to protect myself against solo ad scams. It allowed me to scale my monthly lead generation to tens of thousands of new leads while FB ad and Instagram marketers are trailing behind generating a fraction of that paying 5x-12x per optin.
One of the most annoying questions that I get as a traffic provider is “What’s the average conversion rate for <insert offer here>?”
People think I’m supposed to know this stuff.
But worse, they believe there is such a thing as an average conversion rate.
Here’s why you’re dooming yourself to failure by asking such question:
Anyone who clings to the idea of an average conversion rate is looking for reassurance. They need to know their offer converts before they put money on traffic. Otherwise they may lose a lot of money (which many of them don’t even have!).
They’re looking for safety in numbers.
It’s a habit that’s rooted deep in our childhood. The system that grooms us for adult life teaches us to be average, to seek average and to avoid risk. I’d argue it’s exactly why so many people fail to run a successful marketing business. They sign up for a business opportunity based on how many people make money with it. They take themselves out of the equation. They think it’s a numbers game that has nothing to do with who they are and how they market and position themselves.
The average marketer, according to a recent survey conducted by Vick Strizheus from the 4Percent group says: “An average marketer makes less than $500 per month. Most less than $100 per month.”
On the other end of that spectrum you got the 4% of people who make $1,000 or more. Majority in the $1,000-$10,000 range. And about a handful who are multi millionaires. The “average” marketers that make next to nothing outnumber those who do well by a significant margin. So significant, in fact, they bring down the average to a measly $700 per month.
Does that mean you should expect to make at least that much when starting an online business?
Of course not.
The same is true with conversions for business opportunities. There is always going to be a handful of people who convert like crazy and most people who will not convert at all. Not because of the traffic (although that’s important too), but mostly due to their weak marketing, follow up and positioning.
Why do marketers cling to averages?
Almost every business opportunity sells its own system. They’ll give you average optin rates, average sales conversions and they’ll even tell you how many clicks should produce your first sign up.
Of course, they won’t ever tell you they’re giving you the numbers from their best affiliate. They’ll hide the fact these numbers are far fetched for 90% of the company’s affiliates. And that they begong to a blue-blooded veteran with a giant list they nurtured for years.
Why would they do that?
Because they’re giving people what they want – reassurance they can do it.
They’re attempting to create the illusion of safety in the unpredictable entrepreneurial journey. But they’re doing their members a disservice by presenting these numbers because entrepreneur’s journey is slippery by default.
The only one place that you can expect an average is the average min wage you get when you work for someone else. That’s the only way to predict your income. But this safety comes at a steep price. It cements you into a low wage job and a boring life.
You won’t have to guess how much you’ll make or risk your neck. But you also won’t get to enjoy your life or write your own checks.
You have to accept that employee thinking (looking for averages) doesn’t work online. It only works in the Matrix. By making a decision to get out of the Matrix, you leave the comfort of averages.
You can’t be thinking like an employee and expect to run a profitable business. One cannot expect to convert like a top earner if they think like an employee. You have to let go of what makes you an employee and you have to adapt a whole new set of life rules.
Otherwise you’re inviting struggle.
How To Find A Winning Business Opportunity
Often, after an unsuccessful promotion, marketers jump opportunities.
They trade their old opportunity they failed with for a new and exciting one that may convert better.
They believe the opportunity is what is going to make the difference for them.
This is not an exception. This is the norm.
There are always going to be people who jump opportunities. That’s why they call them biz opp junkies. Because they jump from one program to another sometimes within the same week.
They look for the winning program that’s going to make them rich.
But it won’t.
Most top earners I’ve observed never jumped opportunities to make sales. They do well with any program they join. Often with several programs at once. They only reason they jump opportunities is to create an influx of sales from their list.
Here’s the thing though – none of them talk about average conversion rates.
Sure. If you ask them what their average conversion rate, they will tell you. But their averages mean nothing to you.
The averages don’t matter.
Calculating an average conversion rate for your opportunity is a waste of time.
Instead, you should seek out the people who convert your opportunity (you’ll see their names on your company’s leaderboards) and reverse engineer how they do it.
What does their personal sales funnel look like?
What’s their unique selling proposition?
How are they executing their positioning?
What is their value stack strategy?
Are they closing on the phone, via chat or email?
That’s what you ought to be doing to make sales.
That’s what I’ve done for years to bring myself up from my knees in the internet marketing industry. While my peers jumped on the latest fads, I watched the gurus. I watched them. I didn’t listen to a word they were saying. I observed their actions. I studied their sales pages. I funnel hacked their sales funnels and email follow up. The last thing I’ve done was to change my traffic source. Early on that made no sense. After all, I was using the same traffic sources they used.
The greatest advantage over your competitors is to never assume infallibility.
So if you’re not converting, before switching your traffic source or your opportunity…
Question your positioning. Question your email follow up. Question your closing skills. Question your sales page. Question your leadership skills. Question everything within your locus of control.
Because that’s what top earners do.
So next time you’re facing a conversion challenge don’t seek safety in numbers.
Doing that is an attempt to justify failure upfront. What you’re doing is you’re saying, “Okay this is what I’m supposed to get and if I don’t get this then the system is broken and it is not my fault.”
Instead take extreme ownership for your own numbers. Ask yourself what am I not doing that can improve my conversions by 10% in the next 30 days? This will lead you to answers unavailable to infallable marketers.