We had a student write in to ask for help with our Gold Club affiliate program. The student was using solo ads to promote his affiliate link, and he received over 500 clicks through his affiliate link, but no one had opted into the program.
What went wrong? Let’s take a look:
A solo ad is basically an email or series of emails you pay to have sent into someone else’s contact list. They may either charge you a flat rate to send the email, or they may allow you to pay based on your results. For example, a certain dollar amount or percentage for each opt-in or order.
Different companies will charge different amounts based on the quality of their lists. Here at our office, we have paid as much as $3,500 for a single email blast into a list of 150,000 people. That was a very high quality list of people who were interested in business opportunities, and it was worth it for us to pay that much to send the e-mail to that list. That should put into perspective the quality of list you might be paying for if you pay only $79 to email a list of 500,000, for example.
If you’re getting a lot of traffic, but not getting any conversions (people who take you up on your offer), you should question the source and quality of the traffic. You may also need to change your message for certain audiences.
Also, I’ve found that some of the solo ad companies actually pay the subscribers on their list to click on the links. So it would seem that type of traffic would be lower quality because they’re not actually interested in your message. On the other hand, if you knew that was the case, and you changed your message to speak to those people (who are clearly interested in a way to make money online), you may be able to craft a message that would appeal to them such as, “Stop clicking on links to make a measly $4/hour…Instead, learn how to wholesale houses…”
When it comes to marketing, it all comes down to testing…test your list, test your message, test your offer.
There are indicators you can look for to help you determine if a solo ad will be of low or high quality.
- Price is a big indicator. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You can’t expect to pay less than $100 and receive thousands of clicks and those clicks to be quality.
- Click guarantees. If they guarantee you a certain number of clicks, buyer beware. Think about it. How can they guarantee you a certain number of clicks without knowing anything about your offer or copy? They must be paying people to click, so your copy and offer are irrelevant.
- Ability to send your message immediately. If the company can send your e-mail to their list the same day or next, that tells me they will send as many offers to their list that they can. If, the company, however, has to schedule you maybe a few weeks or even months out, that means that they value their list and they don’t want to inundate them with offers. Thereby, making the list more responsive and higher quality for your offer.
- Approval process. If someone must review your offer before they release it to their list, you can bet they, again, care about their list and won’t send junk offers to them.
These are the main items I look at when choosing whether or not to do a solo ad. I also ask them how they acquired the names on their list. If it was from a sweepstakes to win a Wal-Mart gift card, it’s not my kind of list. If it is, however, people who opted in to get a free report on how make money in real estate, it’s my bread and butter.
I’ll research the company on Google to see if there are many complaints from people who have purchased lists from them. I like to think I’m smarter than the other marketers out there, so I’ll read their negative reviews objectively. Even if someone has a hyper-responsive list and the marketer has lousy copy or a lousy offer, the results will be negative. So, I take the reviews for what they’re worth, but put some stock into them when I determine how much I’m willing to spend on a test.
The bottom line is you need to know your numbers, you need to test frequently and you need to accept that you’re not going to like the results of many of your tests. Remember, a marketing test never fails. It will always successfully tell you whether or not something worked.