What Are Solo Ads?
I got an email a little while back from someone who was in the process of researching the different paid advertising options and they asked me “What are solo ads?”.
Ok, I’m going to assume you have no idea what solo ads are. So before I answer what solo ads are. Let me explain where solo ads are used then I’ll go really deep into the whole solo advertising arena.
Where Are Solo Ads Used?
Solo ads are used in Ezines. And that’s short for Electronic Magazine. People subscribe to a newsletter and within that newsletter the publisher offers advertising. And one of the advertising offers are solo ads.
Here let me explain the 4 different advertising offers within any ezines and then you’ll really understand what a solo ad is. Most ezines offer:
Top Sponsor Ad – This is a great spot because it at the beginning of the ezine and can be seen by everyone.
Middle Sponsor Ad – an ad like this is placed in the middle of the ezine (newsletter) and is used to break up the ezine.
Bottom Sponsor Ad – these ads are placed at the end of the ezine. These are not the best ad placement simply because the chance of people seeing your ad is pretty low.
These are the best of the best when it comes to advertising with any ezine.
Why you ask?
Because unlike the other ad offers which are placed within the ezine. A solo ad is sent out to that ezines mailing list as a solo advertisement. In fact it’s like a mini sales letter.
Nothing else is sent – just your ad – it’s totally exclusive. No distractions – all people see is your ad.
Now of course being a solo ad it’s more expensive to run than the other ezine advertising options. But you can see why since it’s being sent out all on its own
But with that said depending on the size of the ezines readership, and ezines can range in size from a few thousand to a few million readers. I’ve spent as little as $50 for a solo ad that went out to just over 25,000 people.
Compare that to other forms of paid advertising and that’s a pretty great deal. Of course it depends on your ROI. But advertise in the right ezine and you can have some pretty high conversion rates.
Why Are Solo Ads So Effective?
The effectiveness of any advertising is getting your offer in front of the right audience. If you’re selling cat products it not going to do you any good placing your offer in a dog magazine is it?
The great thing about advertising in ezines is you already know exactly where your targeted audience is by the ezine itself. Have a dog product, advertise in a dog ezine.
Maybe you’re into self-improvement. Find a self-improvemnt ezine and advertise in it. I could go on and on but you get the idea. Keep reading I’m going to show you how to find the perfect ezine for your offer.
Just know there are thousands and thousands of ezines out there covering just as many topics. So no matter what offer you have there is an ezine that you can advertise in.
Finding The Right Ezine For Your Solo Ad
Like any advertising you need to do some work before you drop any money on ANY paid advertising. Now I’ve done a lot of solo ad advertising over the years and here’s what I do before I spend any money for a solo ad.
Well before I get into that I should mention how to find ezines to advertise in. First, you can simply do a search in Google. So if you’re looking for a dog ezine, just do a simple search like “dog ezine”.
Here’s a few other resources for ezines:
Ok let’s say you have found your ezine(s) that you want to advertise in. Before you spend one dime for advertising you want to subscribe to the ezine. And you want to do this for several reasons.
What’s the layout of the ezine? This may sound trivial but if the layout is confusing it makes the ezine hard to read and your advertising may get lost.
And I say this because you may not start out with solo ads, you may start with the other ad options and if you are going to start with those options the layout is very important.
How’s the quality of the content in the ezine? Is it providing valuable information to its readers?
You sure as hell don’t want to advertise in an ezine where the quality of the ezine sucks. Remember the ezine you advertise in is a reflection on you and your product and/or service your promoting.
Other Things To Do Before Advertising
Look for testimonials from other advertisers. A good ezine usually has testimonials from advertisers. And why not? Advertising is for ezines is a big revenue stream and if they have happy advertisers believe me they want you to know about it.
Now with that said there are ezines that don’t have testimonials. This does not mean they are a good ezine to advertise in. You can contact the publisher and ask if they have any references.
You’ll find most publishers are more than happy to provide you with references. Just keep in mind you’ll probably be sent the best of the best – but they are still worth seeing. Make sure to ask for the references contact info. I always contact references.
Ask Additional Questions
Once you’ve found an ezine(s) to advertise in, it’s time to ask the publisher some additional questions.
Most if not all ezines post their rate sheet and if they don’t just contact the publisher to get it.
Once you have the rate sheet – these are the questions you want answered. Now some of these questions may already be provided on the rate sheet. And others are not.
Here’s the questions you want answered:
- Do you get a discount if you advertise more than once?
- What are the ad guidelines? Ad size etc.
- What is the publishing schedule? Is it weekly, bi-weekly or monthly
- What payments do they accept? Is it credit cards and/or PayPal
- What is the active subscriber size of the ezine?
- What is the ad deadline? How far in advance to you have to place your ad?
- How long has the ezine been active?
- What’s the ezines reader demographic?
Here’s a tip. As an affiliate marketer you’re also a content marketer. Make sure to ask the publisher if they accept articles. I’ve found after advertising with a publisher that accepts articles, sometimes my articles get priority because I’ve spent money with the publisher. Published articles mean more exposure for you and your offers.
With any paid advertising you need to start out small. So look for ezines with less than 25,000 readers. You’ll find the ad costs are lower. And depending on your budget it can allow you to advertise in more than one ezine at a time.
The other reason you want to start out small is the chances of you hitting it out of the park with your first ad copy is rare, especially if you’re not a seasoned advertiser.
Hey I hope you do hit it out of the park the first time. But let’s say you don’t. You’re going to have to keep tweaking and testing your ad until you get it just right. And this takes time. And it all starts with what’s called a “Control Ad“.
Your control ad is the first draft of your ad that you’ve placed in an ezine. Now you track the results of this ad over a period of time. More often than not it’s over your advertising period.
Now after your control ad has run. You place it again but this time you make one change. It could be the headline for example. Now you track the success of that new ad. If the success drops you know that the other headline is better.
So now change back to the old headline and then change a different element of the ad and try that. Again tracking the results. What you’re doing is creating the highest converting solo ad that you can.
Note: One of the tests can be advertising in a different ezine all together and not change anything in the ad.
Once you feel you have the ad at the best possible conversion rate you can get it at. You now have your super ad.
And this is the ad that you can use to scale up your advertising by advertising in as many ezines as your budget allows.
But always remember: Only change one element at a time in your control ad. Because if you change more than one thing you won’t know what change made things better or worse.
Creating Your Solo Ad
A solo ad is totally different from the other ad options. With the top, middle and bottom ad options you’re very limited with the ad. You probably only have a total of 5 or 6 lines plus the headline.
Whereas with a solo ad you can write up to 750 words with some ezines. Like I mentioned earlier it’s a mini sales letter. Typically I keep mine to fewer than 350 words.
If you’re new to solo ads a good trick is to head to google or bing and type in the search phrase of the product or service you’re to promote and look at the ads that pop up in the search. You’ll see them at the top and side of the search results.
These are paid ads, and these ads that are at the top of the search results because they are successful ads. Use these for ideas.
But DO NOT copy any ads, that’s a no, no. Those ads are used to give you inspiration and ideas for you own ad.
What’s The Purpose Of Your Ad?
When you’re creating your ad remember this. Your ad is not there to sell people. Your ads ONLY purpose is to get people to click on it and get them to your sales page.
And with that purpose in mind you now craft your ad so that people will click on it and end up on your sales page (website). And now you let that sales page do its job and do the selling.
As with all advertising make sure you are tracking all your ads. This way you can divert your advertising dollars to the ads that are working and kill the ones that aren’t.
And make sure to always be testing and changing your ads. Ads do have a lifespan and get old. So keep saying this to yourself: Test, Test and oh yeah test some more.
Ok that’s it. Happy advertising!!
Oh before I forget there’s this resource for solo advertising I just came across. I’m going to give it a go. I’ll update this post after I’ve tried it and let you know how it turned out. In the mean time if you want to check it out here’s the link.
I hope you found this helpful – feel free to share this post with your audience, and if you have any questions or comments please leave them below.