Affiliate marketing is awesome.
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.
– Blogged daily targeting low competition keywords.
– 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.