10 Most Frequent Solo Advertising Mistakes

Are you an internet marketer trying to make money with solo ads? If you’re reading this post, you most likely are. The operative word in our opening question is “trying” because well, the bottom line is, you’re either making money with solo ads or you’re not. It’s really that simple, and trying to make money generally means that you’re making little to no money or possibly losing money in the process.

If any of this sounds like you, then you’re in the right place. I’m going to share some of the most frequent solo ads mistakes made by internet marketers that no one is really talking about these days. Just a quick Google search about solo ads will reveal a boatload of posts all about what solo ads are and how to create good ones.

Warning: This is not a guide about what solo ads are and if they they will make you money. (We’ve already covered some of this in previous posts anyway.)

I’m pulling back the veil a little further here and revealing the mistakes you’re most likely making and don’t even realize it, and how to turn your solo ads around. It’s time to get real and face the truth here: You cannot go halfway with solo ads (or anything in life really) and expect amazing results.

Alright, let’s get down to the nitty gritty and go from “trying to make money” to “making money”.

  1. No Tracking Links.

As much of a no-brainer this may seem, too many solo buyers do not take advantage of this highly beneficial tool and often make the mistake of assuming that the advertiser is going to do it for them. Some may do it as a courtesy, but they usually don’t.

Why it matters: If you don’t have a tracking link, how will you know how many clicks you had? If the advertiser isn’t tracking this for you, then you’ll be at a complete loss as to what is working and what is not.

The Solution: Use a tracking link tool like ClickMagick or Improvely or a similar tool because you want to learn as much as you can about what is working and what is not working. More specifically though, you want to track and test and scale from there. If one traffic source is killing it and the other one is draining your wallet, how will you know?

The key to making this work is by generating a separate tracking link for each email campaign. This way, you will know which campaign is performing well and to continue running and which campaigns to scrap altogether.

When I hear an internet marketer cry that the advertiser is a scam or provided a bad list, I always ask whether or not they are tracking their own results. Naturally, there are some bad eggs out there, but in general, the advertisers selling these clicks are in the business of making money and providing “bogus” lists will not help line their pockets.

In short, the onus is on you to know your own business by tracking, testing, and scaling.

  1. Not Split Testing.

Much like generating tracking links for each of your campaigns, split testing is just as important. All too often, I see marketers skip split testing or they don’t closely monitor the results.

Why it matters: Split testing allows you to see exactly which email and/or landing page is converting and which one isn’t. When you buy your solo ads using just one email and/or landing page and it doesn’t convert, then you’ve lost all of your money and cannot get it back. Plus, you will really have no idea why you did not have any conversions.

The Solution: Some advertisers have a “Make Good” email policy. If you ask for this, you will find that many of them offer this. What this allows you to do is have more than one email campaign running on the same campaign. If email “A” isn’t preforming well but email “B” is, then you have a winner and you haven’t lost your money. Additionally, you now know that email “A” just doesn’t work with that particular list. The same goes for landing pages. This is primarily where the issue lies and where most of the focus should be. Solo vendors tend to know what emails work best with their lists and prefer to use their own copy, but some simple tweaks on a landing page can yield massive improvements in terms of conversions.

Not very many internet marketers know this little secret, but now you do! Split testing is essential for scaling and keeping your money where it belongs: in your pocket. I hear too many marketers complain about bogus lists when their email or landing page did not convert.

  1. Only Buying From One List.

Buying from just one list/vendor for one campaign is another major mistake I see. No matter how many times an advertiser tells you that their list is a good fit for your campaign or even how good you feel about it, the list will not necessarily open the floodgates to endless conversions no matter how perfect it may seem. This is just how advertising works.

Why it matters: With any type of advertising, not all campaigns will convert. Some days and weeks you win more than you do on others. If you only have one vendor that appeared to be golden right from the start, but ended up being a complete dud then you will think solos is a scam and waste of money. This is not the case. There is a lot of terrific vendors out there that put passion and due diligence into building their list. Experiment with a bunch of vendors, find a few who know what they are talking about, ask questions, get to know them and when you have found a select few, stick with them. Solo vendors replenish their lists regularly and unless your buying serious volume, they should be able to accommodate your needs.

The Solution:

  • Instead of buying from only one list/vendor, try to buy from 5 vendors if not more. Many marketers buy three to five.
  • Ensure your tracking links and split testing are both set up on all of your emails and campaigns so you can see what is working, what is not, and why. 


  • Create at least two to three landing pages for your vendors and ask the advertiser if they will use your email swipe. Many will not, some will but amend and some will use it with no questions asked. However, a point to note, vendors know what works with their lists and it is usually a better idea to focus on the landing page.


All too often, marketers find what doesn’t work and they focus on that, but instead, the key to any successful marketing campaign is to find out what actually is working and focus on scaling up from that point on and duplicating that winning formula.

  1. Blaming Advertisers Before Knowing if a Funnel Works

We all know that the internet marketing world is full of people who do not care about your success and just want your money, but there are a lot good advertisers out there as well.

A common mistake we see is marketers launching a funnel that has never been tested on paid ads before and when it doesn’t perform well, they just blame the advertiser.

Why it matters:  This again goes back to testing, tracking, and using more than one email to see if a funnel actually converts. Why continue using a funnel that doesn’t work? And what I want to know is, who is buying mass clicks for funnels that have not yet proven their worth?

The Solution: Test your funnel. Don’t just find a product to sell, slap together a funnel, buy a list, and expect the money to come rolling in. When it comes to any marketing venture, we all have to invest some money (and time) to know what works so we can find out what is duplicable. Once we refine it, we now have something we can use that will make us money.

  1. Being Biased about an Email Funnel

One of the biggest road blocks with funnels and campaigns is the marketer themselves. What I mean is that they often think their funnel is the best and that there is no reason why it shouldn’t convert. This sort of ties in with my last point but is often a major part of the problem and should be separately highlighted.

Why it matters: It is important to always have a mindset that is open to learning and improving. It really does not matter if you paid a hundred bucks for a really awesome funnel formula or if you’ve read thousands of posts and listicles on how to create the perfect solo ads campaigns because it will always come down to what actually works on which email list.

The Solution: If you’ve tested your funnel and you know that it doesn’t work, then stop, don’t pass go, and get back to the drawing board. However, this could be completely avoided if you set up your campaigns following the previous steps.

When we learn something and apply it, we tend to form an emotional bond to our final result and become biased about it. This often gets marketers into trouble because they become attached to their campaign, causing them to believe that there is nothing wrong with it.

Be willing and open to the idea that maybe the problem isn’t with the list or advertiser, but possibly with your funnel. You can never do too much testing but most don’t do enough, if any testing at all.

Try This:

Create your funnels, buy clicks from 3-5 vendors, and test out your funnel. If you have little to no conversions, then your funnel is broken and needs some reworking.

  1. Not Knowing Benchmarks.

It is absolutely essential that you understand what your benchmarks are because this will tell you what you can reasonably expect from a well-performing funnel.

Average Benchmark: 10% open rate and 1% buy rate.

To clarify, 10% of the people that open your email should buy, if it is a good campaign of course. If your campaign is above average, then your numbers will be higher than the 10% benchmark and vice versa for a campaign that is not performing well.

Spend: You should also know what your commission is and what your cost per lead is. Set a maximum amount you are willing to pay for each conversion and stick within that. You may want to consider opting for a cheaper solution when testing as well.

Having a marketing budget you can readily invest and comfortably lose in the testing period is important because again, you want to make money but you need to know what works first before going all out on your campaign.

Remember: The goal not to find out what is not working but to find out what is working so you can duplicate that formula over and over again until it no longer works.

Why it matters: If you don’t set a benchmark and aim for it, then all of your work will have gone to waste. Testing, applying, testing, tracking, rinse and repeat until you get it right is the best way to create successful funnels.

  1. Lack of Quality Content.

Ever see those emails with vague subject lines show up in your inbox? If you’re like most people, you will most likely click the “trash” button and move on before even opening them.

How about those emails with a catchy subject line but with content that is overly exaggerated or is self-centered? Those will be gone too and will most likely get blocked.

Why it Matters: Content is important essential. People receive so many emails from marketers and companies that are also trying to catch their attention and they will give their attention to the emails that speak to them or reach out and grab them more while the rest end up in their “trash” bin.

The Solution:

  1. Go to your inbox and look at your emails. Even look at the emails in your spam folder.
  2. Look at the subject lines and open the ones that appeal or speak to you the most.
  3. Read the content and ask yourself: Am I bored? Does this product interest me? Do I want to know more?
  4. Make note of the emails that seem to have something going for them and that personally pique your interest.
  5. Apply what you learned and once you’re ready to launch, test it out as we outlined in great detail earlier.
  1. Not Targeting the Right Niche Audience.


Have you ever received a marketing email that has nothing to do with your interests or goals? How about those vague ones? Those ones often look like scams and don’t build trust with readers. A common mistake a lot of advertisers make is writing one type of ad copy for all audiences.

Why It Matters: If your ads are targeted to the right niche audience, more people will be enticed to open your emails which in turn means more money in your pocket. You may have an amazing funnel, but that won’t necessarily entice everyone to buy your product, especially if you’re sending your funnel to the wrong niche audience. Your campaign must speak to them and their current needs.

Tips to Remember:

  • Target a specific niche audience that matches your product
  • Be Transparent and build trust—overly exaggerated or vague copy is a huge turn-off for most readers
  • Write engaging copy to entice your target audience to read more
  • Develop an emotion from your readers—solve a common problem
  • Include an effective call to action—funnel your reader into the buying phase.

10.Not Putting Much Thought into Your Subject Line

I’ve briefly touched on this in previous points, but it still deserves to be a point all on its own. Subjects lines should give the reader a hint of what to expect in the email or should make them feel like you’ve got the answer to their burning question or problem.

Why It Matters: Simply put, if your subject lines are dry and don’t match the content of your offer, it doesn’t even have a chance of being opened. Not all subject lines are created equal and different words and phrases match different offers and different audiences. This is where researching and testing more than one campaign will come in handy because you should quickly learn which subject line causes your emails to get opened first and which ones are often ignored.

Example of a Good Subject Line that Prompts Readers to Open Their Email:

Asking a simple question will pique the interest of your reader and will cause them to think, “No, I haven’t. Let’s see what I’ve missed.” Maybe not those exact words, but it will have that kind of effect on the reader. Naturally if they are already in your targeted niche audience and you’ve emailed them once or twice already, they already have a sense of who you are and if they haven’t opted out by now, then they’re most likely here for the long haul and will probably open up emails with questions in their subject lines from you.

The second email subject line is kind of dry but could work on the right target audience and will most likely appeal to those who want to eat healthier and need help with putting together a grocery list. However, the subject line is not strong or “catchy” enough which is precisely why I deleted it and opted out! Don’t let that happen to your solo ads funnels.

Crash Course: How to Write an Effective Solo Ad Title

Most copywriters have what they call a “swipe file” to work from. What this essentially means is when they come across a strong title or text, they screenshot it or save it for inspiration later on. If you don’t have a swipe file, not to worry, we’ll show you how to find/create one in no time.

  • Find and make short headlines—5 to 7 words generally works quite well.
  • As mentioned above, use questions in your headline—this will cause more people to consider opening your email.
  • If you ask a question, make sure you can answer it with your product.
  • Use a question mark or exclamation mark—it conveys excitement for what you’re about to share with them.
  • Tell your reader how your product answers their questions or helps them solve a problem.
  • Use the number of steps if you have a step by step formula. E.g. Have you heard of this 5-step weight loss system?
  • Add the “in under.” Or “less than” approach in your formula, if applicable. “How to succeed with solo ads for less than pennies a day!”
  • Talk directly to your targeted audience—if your product is for women, be upfront about it right from the start. “For women who want …”
  • Force your reader to qualify—make them want it by telling them that you are not sure if they qualify for your offer.

Find headlines that meet the above criteria and save them for inspiration further down the line. Don’t copy them word for word and don’t try and reinvent the wheel either. The format and structure is what generally works so just use that as your guide and just swap out the words to match your solo ads campaign and to reach your niche audience.


Mistakes are an important part of success so don’t be afraid to make them and as you can see, creating Solo Ads that convert  requires planning, testing, tracking, and accountability. More importantly, your campaign absolutely must speak to your reader and solve their problems, and a successful funnel will guide them from open to purchase without having to convince them. Once a reader opens your email, you now have a chance to shine. Make it count and make them want more right from the very first headline all the way to the checkout page. They trusted you enough to open your email, now continue building that trust by avoiding the common mistakes we’ve covered in this post.