Assessing a Solo Ad Offer – Case Study

A few hours ago, my Facebook friend Neil Ashworth has pointed to me some solo ads questions posted by Glenn B. on the wall of the group Internet Marketing Super Friends.

Seth Godin: If you wait until there is another case study in your industry, you will be too late.

I’m not a member of that group and anyway by reading the questions I quickly understood that the length of a proper answer is more appropriate for a blog post than for a Facebook reply.

So I decided to write this article. In this way, even if in the meantime Glenn gets the answers from the members of that Facebook group, more people will be able to benefit from such a public case study.

First of all, here are the original questions…

After busting my ass-off managed to find a really relevant blogger with a list super relevant to mine who I asked for a solo-mailing which he offered for one mail which he ‘predicts’ should get 100-150 clicks for $300

I’ve got three questions, I’d appreciate your help with immensely…

– What questions would you ask of this guy?

– I’ve worked out my numbers and if the ad performs OK-to-good I’ll be in sure fire profit, and for a b2b market is this a lot?

– He’s not willing to guarantee or remail for a minimum number of clicks, is this the standard?

I’m a complete solo newbie… Thanks for your help.

I’ll start with the last question… irrespective of what some marketers believe and claim, there’s no standard in this industry. But we can identify two major types of solo ads offers:

Type 1) The solo ads seller asks you “x” dollars to distribute your solo ad to all “Y” subscribers to his “ABC” newsletter/ezine. In this case there’s no clicks guarantee. This is the original solo ad type, also called ezine solo ad. This is like advertising in a real offline magazine. You know the price of the ad, the name of the magazine, the total number of readers, but no one guarantees you that someone will read or take any action upon seeing your ad.

Type 2) The seller asks you “z” dollars for a defined and guaranteed number of clicks that come from a solo ad (written by you or by the seller) distributed to some of the vendor’s email subscribers. In most of the cases, a very important condition applies: the advertiser cannot promote anything she or he wants. The advertiser must offer a freebie and try to build a mailing list. This second type is a more recent type and is usually specific only to the internet marketing niche. For example, you won’t find a fashion ezine that sells this type of solo ads.

So… Glenn and dear readers, as you can see the original offer doesn’t match any of the types described above.

It might look like a solo ad with guaranteed clicks but it’s not. The seller doesn’t guarantee any click, he only has some predictions. Sorry, but a prediction means nothing. So… we may say that it’s an ezine solo ad but… the seller doesn’t reveal a very important figure for that type of solo ad: the number of subscribers.

1st conclusion: the solo ad offer presented above is not complete. There are two possible reasons for that:

a) Glenn forgot to reveal all details of that offer; or

b) the seller is a newbie.

Regarding Glenn’s second question… I’m not very sure that I understood it correctly. I guess is something like, “Is $300 a fair price for that offer or is too high?”

Since the offer is unclear, it’s not easy to respond to this question.

If that’s an ezine solo ad offer, the price of $300 cannot be assessed as long as the number of subscribers is missing.

If that were a solo ad with guaranteed clicks (but it’s not)… that price is very high. For 100-150 clicks you can find a lot of offers that include much lower prices.

2nd conclusion: the price looks very high but since the offer is not clear, one of the questions Glen could ask the seller is “How many subscribers will get the solo ad?”

Regarding Glenn’s first question… In addition to the question I already mentioned in the previous paragraph, I wouldn’t ask the seller any other question. But I would search for reviews about the seller’s service, other than what’s posted on his website, and then I would subscribe to his mailing list in order to see

1) the type of subscription (single/double opt-in);
2) the quality of the content distributed to the subscribers;
3) where the mailings land (Inbox or spam folder);
4) the average number of solo ads received per week by a regular subscriber.

If I don’t find negative reviews and the type of subscription is double opt-in, the content is fine, the mailings land in the Inbox and the number of solo ads sent per week is 1-2 or maximum 3, then based on the number of subscribers I would conduct a market research and see how’s that $300 price tag in comparison with other similar newsletters.

That’s it!

If you have any questions or suggestions, or if you want to share your own view on this study, don’t hesitate to use the blog’s comment feature.

To your success!
Adrian Jock

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Ultimate Guide to Solo Ads

4 thoughts on “Assessing a Solo Ad Offer – Case Study

  1. Adrian, thanks for another great article. I need a clarification if you don’t mind: why do you want to check the type of subscription (single vs double optin)?

  2. Hi Dave, thanks for stopping by. When the publisher uses the single opt-in he doesn’t know if that email address belongs to the person who submitted it, whether the email address is misspelled or not, or if at least his first message arrived at the destination. He finds SOME of the answers later.

    In case of the ezine solo ads the price of the solo ad is based on the number of subscribers. The more subscribers, the higher the solo ad price… A smart advertiser doesn’t want to pay for fake email addresses, for misspelled email addresses, etc.

    That’s why if you pay for an ezine solo ad look for double opt-in ezines or ask for a discount in case of a single opt-in ezine ;-)

  3. This is a great insight as to what can come up when buying solo ads.

    I usually buy solos from well-established sellers and I’ve gotten pretty solid results from people who sell daily solos, and send up to 3 total emails per day.

    (Not sure how I made any OTO sales from that, but I’m okay with it lol)

    The big difference is that those solos usually cost between $25-$40 per 100 clicks and the list owners have countless stats on what offers works and what doesn’t.

    These are your type 2 vendors.

    That price is still a bit high for that number of estimated clicks. That’s $2+ per click which I can get premium buyer traffic in my niche for. The only problem is that the premium traffic starts at $1000

    If anything, I’d get to know all the people I do business with on a personal level via Skype or G+, especially when spending that amount. That’s almost a whole week’s paycheck of an average retail worker lol

    Thanks for this post,
    -Gabe Johansson

  4. 3 emails per day? Interesting… I know a lot of people, including me, who’ll unsubscribe on day 1 from such list :)

    Thanks for sharing your experience :)

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