As technology becomes more and more integrated with the average consumer’s daily life, effective digital marketing is becoming increasingly crucial for all types of businesses.
The digital marketing techniques utilized by marketers are ever-evolving and many would argue that the internet offers invaluable and limitless marketing opportunities. One of the most underused forms of digital marketing is the use of solo ads.
Solo ads provide businesses with a chance to send targeted offers directly to email lists full of customers interested in their niche and ready to buy. That’s right; for a fixed fee you can access a pre-vetted pool of targeted traffic specific to your niche. From a marketing perspective, it doesn’t get much better than that, right?
Unfortunately, though, it’s not quite that simple. In theory, solo ads offer a simple and cost-effective marketing solution, but in reality, the solo ads marketplace can be extremely difficult to navigate. As solo ads remain underused by digital marketers, there is a distinct lack of any reliable authority or sources of information on them.
In the absence of any reliable solo ads authority, hundreds of scams have popped up. For every reputable solo ad provider, there are many more illegitimate, disreputable sellers out to make a quick buck at your expense. These disreputable sellers make their money by using badly maintained email lists, overcharging for their services, or simply scamming unsuspecting entrepreneurs out of their hard-earned cash.
So how can you find a reputable seller in such a saturated market? It’s a great question, but not a simple one to answer. In this article, we’ll guide you through all you need to know to find a reputable seller. We’ll talk about identifying solo ads scams, how to avoid them, and what you should be looking for in your solo ads provider.
Common Solo Ad Scams
When done correctly, solo ad marketing can be one of the most effective marketing tools available, but unfortunately, some online sellers choose to take advantage of flaws in the system and charge people for ads that won’t provide high-quality traffic.
To separate the reputable sellers from the scammers, it’s important to be aware of what the most common scams are so that you can better recognize them when looking for sellers. Here are three scams you should be looking out for:
1. Use of Bots
One of the most common scams associated with solo ads is bot scams. When purchasing solo ads, most providers will charge on a pay-per-click basis, meaning that each time your ad is clicked, you pay a certain amount to the provider.
This is a good system when you are working with a reputable provider as it means that you’re guaranteed traffic. Without this, you’re at risk of spending money sending out emails to hundreds of people that never open the email or click your link.
However, the flip side of this is that paying for clicks provides an opportunity for disreputable vendors to scam you by faking these clicks. This means that you can end up paying a whole lot of money for clicks that are being generated by bots, in which case your ad is not being seen by actual humans and won’t ever convert or provide value to your business.
2. Disguised Brokers
Whilst this is not specifically a ‘scam’, it is one way that solo ad providers are taking more money than they should from their customer.
There are hundreds upon thousands of ‘solo ad providers’ online that are not maintaining their own lists, they are simply taking money from people and purchasing lists from other providers at a cheaper rate. They’re essentially acting as a kind of middleman – a broker.
This means that the customer pays a marked up price for lists that they could have got cheaper elsewhere by speaking to the list owner directly.
Some brokers are upfront about this – and these are reputable, for the most part. They feel that they’re worth the marked up price as they can access lists that you wouldn’t be able to find on your own. However, many brokers aren’t honest about this and pretend that their list is their own – these are the ones you’ll want to steer clear of. Instead, you should try to work directly with the list owners as they’ll provide a fairer rate.
3. Lead Injection
Lead injection is one of the most difficult scams to identify and can cost business serious money if they get caught out by a black hat lead injection provider.
It works like this: some ‘solo ad providers’ will have intelligent software that can make fake clicks seem more authentic. They do this by creating activity on your sales page and generating fake leads that, on the surface. seem like genuine, authentic traffic.
In reality, the emails you receive are 100% fake and offer you no real traffic at all. There are a lot of companies out there running this sort of scam, so it’s definitely one to look out for.
Pricing is one of the easiest ways to get caught out when purchasing solo ads. Some people, by default, will opt for the cheapest sellers – those who offer rates of between $0.10 and $0.20 CPC.
On the surface, this seems like a great deal, but nine times out of ten, cheap solo ads like these are driving low-quality clicks your way that will generate low opt-in rates. This means that you will really end up paying around ten times the original rate to get your ad to convert to opt-ins and sales.
How to Avoid The Scams
Now that we’ve covered what the scams are, let’s look at how you can identify them before you waste your money. Here are some tips for avoiding the common scams listed above:
– Test Your Seller First
The goal is to find a reputable solo ads seller that offers high-quality traffic. The first seller you try might not quite fit the bill, but it’s okay as long as you walk away before you make any large purchases. Therefore, make start off with small purchases whilst you measure your results to see if the traffic they’re sending is genuine.
– Use Tracking Software
There’s lots of tracking software out there that can help you to measure activity generated by your solo ads. You can then look for unusual patterns that indicate scams.
– Ask Questions
When choosing a seller, ask them some key questions and make sure you’re satisfied by their answers. For example, ask what sales funnel they used when creating their list, what kind of results they’ve had from recent affiliate promotions, what offers their list responds to and what they don’t respond to.
A genuine, reputable seller will offer detailed responses as they have nothing to hide. If your provider skirts around the questions or doesn’t offer any response, it’s an indication that they’re shady and that their list probably isn’t worth your time.
– Look For Red Flags
There are certain red flags that indicate that you’re dealing with a scammer or disreputable seller. Track the results of your initial solo ads campaign and look out for these red flags:
- A bounce rate of 8% or more
- A very low opt-in to sale ratio
- Lots of clicks from one non-top tier source.
- Clicks from unusual referral URLs
- Super-fast clicks that come in over a very short period of a few hours or days.
What a Reputable Solo Ad Provider Looks Like
Now that we’ve covered what a bad solo ad provider looks like, let’s look at how to find a good one. When you’re searching online for a solo ads seller, in addition to looking out for red flags, you’ll want to look for positive indications that the seller is good – let’s call them blue flags (opposite of red, get it?).
Here are some things that reputable solo ad providers will all have in common:
– A Large Sales History
Popular solo ads sellers that get lots of sales won’t stay popular for long if they’re disreputable and don’t provide results. Therefore, if a solo ads seller has a long history of sales and has been operating for a number of years, they must be doing something right. If you’re buying solo ads from a forum, look at how much activity is on the thread and when it started. The chances are, if it’s got lots of activity and is very old, the seller is actively updating their lists and is providing real, human traffic that converts.
– Good Testimonials
It goes without saying that good testimonials indicate a good seller, and reputable sellers should have a ton of positive testimonials. However, remember that faking testimonials isn’t all that difficult, so make sure you look far and wide to make sure there aren’t many negative ones. Even if their website lists positive testimonials, check their Facebook page and reviews listed on Google to make sure they’re not just cherry-picking!
– 80%+ Top Tier Clicks
Reputable solo ads providers will provide the majority of their clicks from tier 1 sources like the USA, UK, Austalia, and Canada. It’s unlikely that you’ll find a reputable solo ads provider that can guarantee 100%, as no list is perfect, but anything over 80% is ideal. Results Inspired, for example, guarantee 80% – 90% top tier clicks, which is right in the sweet spot of what you should be looking for.
– A Healthy Bounce Rate
We already mentioned how a bounce rate of 8% or more is a serious warning sign – but what does a healthy bounce rate look like? Well, the best reputable solo ads sellers will produce a bounce rate of 3% or less – so that’s the figure to look out for!
– A Healthy Sale Rate
For every 100 or so opt-ins, you should ideally be getting around 1-2 sales. If your solo ads are generating these kinds of results, it’s a good indication that the seller is reputable.
– They’ve Sent Affiliate Promotions Out Recently
Reputable sellers build their lists by selling informational products and fostering a genuine relationship built on trust with their subscribers. That way, the subscribers are more likely to be interested in the emails being sent. A good way to determine if this is the case is to find out if your seller has sent out affiliate promotions within the last month or so. If so, they’re probably reputable. If not, their list has probably been built solely to sell traffic – and that’s not good
And that concludes this guide on how to find reputable solo ads providers. Stick to the advice above and you should be able to avoid the minefield of scammers and start getting great results on your solo ads campaign.