Can You Build Your List with Solo Ads? Everything You Need to Know About Online Traffic Sources

May 10, 2016 , 14 Comments

This post is based on a question that was sent in by a reader and on the surface, it's about whether solo ads are a viable traffic source or not.

However, in answering this question, we inevitably dig deeper and end up uncovering something you need to know about how online businesses survive and thrive. Without this, you'll never know how to answer the question: "where can I get more traffic?"​


What You Need to Know About Traffic Sources

So, to summarize: there is no such thing as traffic, you shouldn't listen to anyone promising some magical traffic source of eager buyers because that doesn't exist (except it actually does) and solo ads in particular aren't something I recommend.

You'll have to watch the complete video for that to make sense.

Then, let me know what your thoughts on the topic are, by leaving a comment below.​

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About ​Shane Melaugh

I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better entrepreneur and product creator. Read more about my story here.

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  • Tim Lester says:

    I have just started banner ads so this video is a great help. My ROI isn’t that good but learning a heap.

  • Hi Shane

    I have a couple experience experimenting using solo ads to build my list, but on a small scale. I’ve bought solo ads with high cost per click because what I thought before this about solo ads is when the cost per click is higher, conversion and sales will be much higher also. But my expectation does not exactly happen. After that I tried to buy solo ads with low cost per click. I was surprised when the result is almost same with the first one. I’ve got almost same opt in and sale, but I found that all the list is not responsive at all to my email autoresponder and i believed it is a cold traffic. From this observation, i think this few important thing to be consider when to buy solo ads which is quality/quantity, seller credibility and it is related to luck as well to find person with (RIGHT time, place, moment)


    • Thanks for your comment, Imer. I’d add that to evaluate a solo ad, I would want to know as much as possible about the people on that list.

  • Great post, Shane!

    I guess now you’ll need to change the title of this post to:

    “Everything You Need To Know About Online People Sources” :D

    That’s a good way to readjust your mindset. Don’t call them traffic sources. Call them people sources.

  • I love your blog posts, Shane.

    I think you very lucidly described the behavior of warm traffic… I mean PEOPLE who are passionate and easily persuaded to buy. :)

    But as a hard core direct response marketer myself, I believe that the greatest opportunity is in creating marketing that starts completely COLD traffic on a journey to conversion. There are simply just more of them. A lot more.

    So from that standpoint, if you crafted marketing such that it focused on the completely cold prospect, a solo ad could be very effective.

    • Thanks for your comment, Michael. Yes, you make a good point. Personally, I tend to do this “warming up” of traffic over the longer term, mainly with email marketing.

  • Hi Shane,

    Perfect post. Thanks. I’ve never like the term “traffic” for our website visitors, and today I just realized why. I had thought I was just anti marketing but now I see it was the mental picture that went with the term “traffic”. Change the word to “people” and everything is a lot friendlier. I looked into solo ads a year or two ago and decided that it wasn’t the way for me to do business.Might suit other people perfectly though.

  • Content doesn’t exist either. There are only provocative words that spark curiosity — helping qualified buyers build a desire to know more. Without an authentic attention-grabber + a spark of curiosity you are left with “content.” A vessel. Nothingness. Brilliant Shane.

    • Thanks for your comment, Jeff.

      Yes, that’s an interesting point. Perhaps when we conceptualize things too much in general (“traffic”, “content”, “conversions” etc.) we lose sight of what’s really going on and what really matters the most.

  • Great post. I am getting great tips for my campaign and I am using Udimi. Looking forward to great results.

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