Traffic is the lifeblood of any online business, traffic = people, they are the footfall of the cyber high street and you want as much as you can to visit your website and join your email lists.
But you don’t just want any traffic you want plenty of good traffic, you want what we called highly targeted traffic, this is people who are looking for the exact same stuff you have on your website and selling.
It makes sense really, you wouldn’t want to build a website and email list about cooking meat and butchery and have your site visited by vegetarians, you know they will not sign up for your newsletters or buy your products.
There are plenty of different ways to generate traffic to your site, from SEO to paid advertising. The one I want to discuss with you should in theory be a great one and that is the method called solo ads.
A solo ad is where you pay someone who has an established list to send out an email with your details in it. It could be an advert or a written email recommending your site, product or newsletter. Prices vary from person to person and normally you pay with a guaranteed click rate. The bigger list owners can charge more especially if their list is a good quality list.
You would buy a solo ad from someone who is in the same market as you so for the example above with the butchery website you would look for someone who was also in the meat industry, but someone who was in a slightly different yet complimentary sub niche like BBQ lovers and specialists. Sometimes list owners will not offer solo ads to someone in the exact same niche to prevent losing subscribers.
Again it makes sense, a person can subscribe to a newsletter for BBQ techniques and equipment as well as list about how to cook and prepare meat but if they subscribed to two newsletters about BBQ techniques and equipment the day may come when they decide that they do not need both and chose one over the other. Email list owners do not want to risk that so they may not sell you a solo ad if you are in direct competition.
A list swap is like a solo ad but you do it for free because you also send an email to your list recommending the other persons site, product or newsletter. You would do a list swap of same numbers, for example, if you already had a list of 200 people you would do a swap with a list owner who also had 200 people. Sometimes bigger list owners will do a swap and send an email to only 200 people on their list but usually it is like for like.
List swaps and solo ads can be arranged by joining sites like ListSwapper.com, WarriorForum.com & MyPrivateSwap.com
Now this sounds really good but you do have to be very careful, like all industries there can be some very unscrupulous people about. Some people will knowingly sell you a solo ad or do a list swap with you using a really rubbish list. In the past some people have built up huge lists very fast by using companies like AdFly which, in all honesty, dupes people into signing up.
AdFly places ads between a link and its destination, when someone clicks the link and expects to see a video but a big ‘Click Here’ button or ‘sign up’ form appears they often do what they are told thinking it is part of getting to the video or page. It usually isn’t.
These lists are often full of people from the Asian continent who are not interested in your offers, the reason many come from certain parts of the world over others is that it is a lot cheaper to advertise there so building a big list very fast is also very cheap.
It is also very fair to say that some nationalities are less cynical than the Western world and may not understand the art of Copywriting and also have far worse living conditions then the rest of us so when they are sent an email offering them life changing riches or products they are more willing to click the links and sign up. When they see your offers, they are very unlikely to buy, some countries do not use PayPal or issue credit/ debit cards like ours, many cannot even afford the product so the decision is made for them whether they wanted to buy or not. In truth, these lists are useless.
So I think you know where I am going with this, dodgy marketers will sell you a solo ad for say $60 to a list of people who may click and sign up for your newsletter or promotion but will hardly buy. In the long run this will cost you more than your initial purchase price as you will increase your monthly costs with Aweber or whichever autoresponder company you use.
There is also ‘List abuse’, it sounds harsh but that is what it is called and it is seriously frowned upon in the industry but it still happens, normally in the make money niche but there could be others in different niches who do it. List abuse is where someone who wants to build a good quality list fast and cheaply will create a list using the same method as mentioned above, they will then go to the list swapping sites and offer to do a list swap.
They know that their list is crap, this is often referred to as the extreme list, but they offer it up anyway and when they do a list swap with someone who has spent a lot of time and money cultivating a list they then take people away from that list to join their ‘new list’ that they are building via a different opt-in form.
While they are now building a new clean list the other list owner is now having his list polluted with people who really are not interested in his products or are not likely to ever buy. The practice is really disliked but it can happen so you should be very careful who you do your swaps with.
The problem is how do you tell? Some list swap sites will have feedback and reviews but these can be unreliable, after a swap, a list owner may get 200 new sign ups, write a positive review but not realise for a few weeks or months that all of his new leads are rubbish.
The reason they build a big list cheaply is that it gives them the edge, if you are just starting out and have only a list of 50 you are restricted to who you can swap with and what you can charge for sending out a solo ad, it can take time to get up to big list using normal list building methods. If you build a dodgy extreme list quickly you can be in and out with a new clean list or a few extra dollars fairly quickly.
The other thing to be aware of is how many solo ads and swaps has a list owner done, a list owner might have a few thousand subscribers on his list but if he send out a recommendation to other peoples products, newsletters or offers every day or week and nothing else useful they can soon destroy their list. People will get fed up of the adverts and simply stop clicking through and many will just not open the emails. Doing a list swap or paying for a solo ad is a very daunting thing, it is recommended that you do your research and go in with your eyes open!
3 thoughts on “The Dangers Of Using Solo Ads & List Swaps”
100% agree with this. I gave up solo’s a long time ago….
I’ve never really got involved in any of this, and having read this article definitely think i’m right for not getting involved! I guess it’s each to their own, and there is no doubt it works for some people, but I would say for the types of people who we are reaching out too, a post like this is important for them to read.
i think solo ads as a business is unethical… those who do this are just exhausting their list and they are putting their reputation in jeopardy… they could get banned from doing so — aka by the autoresponders they use.