Solo ads are email advertisements revolving around a single promotion.
The solo ad seller, such as a blogger or influencer, will have an email list in a specific niche. A car blogger will have a list of people who are interested in a specific type of car. Or a fashion blogger will have a list of people who are into a specific type of fashion.
When they sell a “solo ad” they send a dedicated email that talks specifically about the product for sale. The car blogger might feature a company that makes aftermarket parts. The fashion blogger might feature the new spring line from a popular manufacturer.
The ad spot is more than a promotional blurb at the start or end of an email. It’s typically the entire email.
The solo ad buyer gets a chance to really sell the email subscribers on their product.
And, the results?
Imagine if a solo ad seller had an email list of 50,000 subscribers and they get an average click thru rate of 1%. That would mean that 1% of 50,000 email subscribers, or 500 people would click the product link.
If 10% of them buy a $30 item, then he/she just earned 50 sales or $15,000. Plus they just put 50 people onto their own email list as well.
This isn’t the case every single time as some solo ads may not be a success, which can boil down to a number of factors, like:
- Poor audience match
- Poorly written email
- Bad product match
To be fully transparent, you win some and you lose some with solo ads. This can be true with any marketing method though, from Facebook ads to influencer marketing.
How to sell solo ads
If you want to start selling solo ads, you’ll need an email list of highly targeted people. Advertisers want to get their stuff in front of very specific people, including people of a certain age, gender, income level, family status, interests, and more.
Step 1: Pick a niche and get web hosting
First, pick a niche. Your niche is your category or topic. You’ll be setting up a website and it should revolve around a specific topic so your email list can be targeted.
For example, you could run a health and wellness website where your email list would consist of people interested in the health/wellness industry. Then, when you sell your solo ads to buyers in that field.
Here are some examples of niches:
Once you’ve selected your niche, next it’s time to get web hosting.
We recommend Bluehost, for only $2.95 per month. Having a reliable hosting provider is critical, as you’ll be doing some testing with your website and landing pages.
Bluehost also offers a bunch of perks with your hosting plan like free domain, free SSL certificate, and a lot more.
Step 2: Get email marketing software
You’ll need email marketing software, more specifically, an autoresponder, in order to collect email addresses for your solo ad business.
We recommend ConvertKit and once you sign up, your plan will include all this:
- Email sign-up forms
- Landing pages
- Built-in ecommerce-selling tools
- And, a lot more!
Step 3: Join Marketplaces
Marketplaces are where you’re going to sell solo ads.
There are many advantages to selling on marketplaces. You get to join a website where buyers hang out, helping you make your first sales faster and giving you an opportunity to build your reputation and brand.
The main drawback is the price, though many websites will take a commission off your sale, rather than have you pay a flat fee to join or a monthly subscription.
When you participate in a marketplace, you pay them a fee in exchange for selling your services on their website. This helps you get your foot in the door and potentially helps you start making money faster than if you tried selling on your own.
One popular solo ad marketplace you might check out is Udimi.
They are well-organized and have tons of solo ad buyers and sellers that use their marketplace daily. As a solo ad seller on Udimi, you’ll be able to have your stats speak for themself. Udimi has a rating system and each seller automatically has their ratings displayed on their profile:
- Number of thumbs ups (positive rating)
- Percentage of ratings where buyers report sales
- Price per visitor
- Percent of repeat orders from customers
- Average time it takes for a seller to accept an order
Udimi also has sophisticated, buyer-friendly tools that help prospects figure out what kind of email audience they want to target, what niche to work in, and more.
Then, there are places on social media to sell solo ads as well, like Facebook groups, subreddits, and more. So, don’t forget about these places to find solo ad buyers without the fees that come along with marketplace selling.
Step 4: Fill Orders By Sending Email Broadcasts
At this final step, you have your entire system set up, you have sales and it’s time to fill orders. Your emails can be sent up to twice a day. The first broadcast emailed and then a follow up broadcast to those who didn’t open the first email.
Make sure not to over-send emails during the course of the day and just limit it to twice. Avoid language which may be considered spammy and keep messages short.
Some solo ad vendors choose to write the email themselves, while others will have the buyer provide them with a script. You can choose the route you want to take or do both!
Then, rinse and repeat.
Step 5: Buy Traffic if Needed
Yes, solo ad sellers do buy traffic, including buying solo ads!
Let’s say you’ve sold a solo ad with a guarantee of sending 300 visitors to the buyer’s website but only 250 people actually clicked through.
You can buy a solo ad from another seller and send the ad to their list to fulfill the shortfall of those 50 visitors.
Don’t be afraid to invest in your business here and buy paid ads, at least in the beginning.
How to Grow and Maintain Your Email List
While running your solo ad business, it’s very important to continue providing value and cultivating your email list for growth. This is how you can do that:
- Send valuable educational material to your email list
- Limit the number of ads your share to avoid ad fatigue
- Use growth strategies to increase your email subscribers
Sending educational content
You want to avoid appearing spammy to your email list so, while you’re sending solo ads, you also should be sending valuable educational content that will help your email subscribers.
For example, if you have an email list in the weight loss niche, you may want to share helpful best practices for dieting, a free ebook on weight loss maintenance, sharing articles you write on the topic of weight loss, etc.
Keep your email subscribers in mind and don’t abuse your list or you’ll see your numbers decline rapidly and you will start having people send your emails to their spam folder or avoid opening your emails.
Avoid Ad Fatigue
Ad fatigue exists when your email list is overexposed to ads. Nobody likes seeing a lot of ads that are not of interest to them. If you start sending ads in your emails too often, you will most definitely have your subscribers get ad fatigue.
This can result in declining email open rates and possibly being reported as spam. You can avoid this happening by limiting how many ads you send to your list.
Try creating a schedule for yourself where you send X number of ads to your email list X times a week or X times a month.
Record your results.
See how many emails your subscribers open, note if you get any complaints about the solo ad emails, make changes as needed and continue monitoring in the future.
Use Growth Strategies to Increase Your Email Subscribers
With email lists, some degree of shedding happens naturally. That means, regardless of the kind of content you are sharing, people will unsubscribe. And, because you’ll be sending ads along with your regular educational material, your list may shrink at a faster pace than if you were ad-free.
How do you counter this?
You grow your list at a faster rate than it sheds. Use growth strategies for this, like creating lead magnets, investing in paid ads and solo ads to grow your list, and other ideas.
Can you get free solo ads?
As mentioned above, a tactic many new sellers use to get testimonials is to give away solo ads. You can be a recipient of this give away and get free solo ads in exchange for your feedback to that vendor.
You can also do solo ad swaps with other seasoned sellers. This is common practice, where you and the other solo ad sellers essentially swap lists. You send a solo ad to your list for them and they send a solo ad to their list for you! So this exchange will just cost you an email to your list for that solo ad seller.
Should you buy solo ads?
Yes! If you’re a solo ad seller then you believe in this marketing tactic. Why not use it to your own advantage to test your landing pages, grow your email list or make money?
This will help you further develop your reputation in the solo ad industry too.
Final word on how to start a solo ad business
Who knew solo ads could be a real business model? The truth is, many solo ad vendors sell solo ads for a living. This is a bustling industry that can get real results for business.
You can follow the steps shared above to launch your own successful solo ad business.
Have you tried solo ads before as a seller or buyer? Share your experience down below.