What Are Solo Ads? (+ 32 Tips To Drive Unlimited Traffic From Them)

Want to get ALL the tips that Harris shared with us on the go? Check out the entire podcast episode to learn more about how to use solo ads effectively.



We recently had an amazing sit down with Harris Fellman of TrafficForMe - a 20 year veteran in the field of email marketing - and we were able to learn some really amazing stuff about solo ads and dedicated emails.

Before the conversation started, we had a couple of questions…

Are solo ads good for your business?

Can they drive great traffic?

Harris answered both of these questions and more! Below are 32 amazing tips that Harris Fellman gave us.

So, What Is A Solo Ad?

Before we dive into the 32 tips that Harris Fellman went over with us, you need to know what a solo ad is.

Solo ads are advertisements on other people’s email lists in which you're the only thing being advertised in that email. 

These ads have links to drive traffic to your website or funnel.


Show how a solo ad works - a person with 35 subscribers handing their opt-in page to a person with 100,000 subscribers


Let's take a look at a brief scenario to get a better idea of what they look like and how they're used.

Let's say that Brian just started an affiliate marketing business in the health niche.

He has a free report about protein intake that he gives away to people in exchange for their email address on an opt-in page. 

So far, he's picked up 35 email subscribers from posting regularly in a health-related Facebook group. 

However, he wants to accelerate growth.

After researching health influencers online, he finds Sarah, a health coach who's been in the industry for 10 years. 

After reaching out to Sarah, Brian finds out that she's willing to send an email to her list encouraging her subscribers to check out his opt-in page because she thinks it's a good fit for her list. 

In exchange, Brian pays her a fee to get 500 clicks to his opt-in page.  

This is a solo ad.

Solo ads have been an email marketing tool for many years now, and people still use them to this day because of how effective they are.

Now, let's get into the tips to help you get the most out of your solo ads.

Tip #1: Figure Out Who Is Writing The Subject Line And Ad

Depending on the market, you may be able to write the subject line and the overall ad, but in other markets, it's standard practice for the email list owner to write the subject line and ad.

If the owner of the list wants to write their own ads, this can save you time and money on copywriting - but keep in mind that their copy is what's going to make or break your solo ad.

Discuss the ad copy with the owner of the list before you run the ad.

Tip #2: Communicate With The Person You're Buying Ads From

You aren’t buying ad space from a robot - you're buying it from a person. Because of this, make sure the person is trustworthy before you purchase your ad:

  • Do they stand behind their traffic?
  • Are they responsive?
  • Do they seem easy to work with?
  • Do you trust them?
  • Do you feel good about working with the list owner?

If you answer no to any of these questions, find another list owner.

No need to waste your money.

Tip#3: Test The List

It’s important to test a list before you run a full ad campaign.

With that being said, DON’T test the maximum! Test the smallest amount that the list owner will let you test to see what kind of results you get.

This way, you keep the risk low and avoid blowing money on a campaign that gets you nowhere.

Tip #4: Look At Email Lists You Follow

Before you start running ads, check that there are actual email lists in your market.


Showing how to do a google search to find email lists in the health and fitness niche


If there are email lists in your market that you follow, that confirms that email marketing exists in your market.

Tip #5: Contact People You're Following

If you're already following list owners, you may already have some list owners that you can contact to run solo ads with.

While not everyone is open to solo ads, many people are.

Contact people in your market and see if you can spend $250 or so to market to their list.

Tip#6: Check The Markets Below (They're Definitely Serviced By Solo Ads)

Not every market is right for solo ads.

With that said, here are a few markets that solo ads are effective in:

  • Health
  • Survival
  • Internet marketing
  • Financial
  • Crypto
  • Personal development

If your market isn’t on that list, look more into it. You still may be able to run solo ads.

Tip#7: Consider Your Niche For Click Goals

Some niches are going to get more clicks than others.

Keep in mind that more advanced niches may get fewer clicks.

The bigger your overall market is, the more likely you'll be to get clicks. If you have a specialty niche, though, you likely won’t see the same results as a more general niche.  

Tip#8: Consider Your Click Prices (In Relation To Your Niche)

Not all niches have identical click prices.

For example, for health, you may get 1,000 visitors for $1,500, while for personal development you may get 1,000 visitors for $1,200.

Consider your specific niche when figuring out click prices.

Tip#9: Consider How The List Owner Charges (CPM Vs. CPC)

Service provides often charge in one of two ways:

  • CPM (cost per thousand impressions)
  • CPC (cost-per-click) 

An impression is how many times a unique person sees an ad, while a click is a physical click.




Before you purchase from the list owner, see which they charge and whether that’s in line with the goals of your specific campaign.

Some markets will only deal in CPC, others only in CPM.

It’s important to keep in mind that CPM won’t guarantee a specific click-through rate.

Tip #10: A 200-500 Click Campaign Is A Good Start

When you're first starting out, you don’t want to blow all your money at once.

If the campaign fails, this can leave you with lackluster results and no money left to run another (more successful) campaign.

If you're new and don’t have a good budget, start with 200-500 clicks. This will provide you with metrics without costing you too much money.

Tip#11: Less Than 200 Clicks Won’t Give You Enough Data

With that being said, less than 200 clicks won't be enough to collect the data you need to determine whether your ad was successful.

Your campaign needs to get you at least 200 clicks, but you really should aim to be closer to 500. 

Tip #12: Look For 35-40% Opt-In Rate For Free Download Funnels

When you're considering the opt-in rate for your free download funnels, keep in mind that 35-40% is optimal. 

That means that roughly 35-40 of every 100 vistitors (350-400 out of 1,000) should opt-in for your free download.

If you're getting less than that, consider what changes you can make to boost the opt-in rate.

Tip #13: Sell Customers Something With A Tripwire

Tripwires are a great way to gauge success while also making some extra money along the way.

The definition of tripwire - "An irresistible, low-priced offer designed for the sole purpose of turning an audience into customers.

Test in the $9.99 to $29.99 range and see how much you make back.

If you find that your tripwire is successful, you’re more likely to make money on the backend as well.

Tip#14: Don’t Use Webinars For Email Campaigns

Webinars are one of the most powerful sales tools out there.

However, they don't work for every scenario, and email campaigns are one of those scenarios.

While they work well for Facebook, they generally don’t work for email.

Don’t even bother trying to convert customers to webinars through your email campaigns. It's a waste of a solo ad and, in turn, a waste of your marketing budget.

Tip #15: Good Quality Video Sales Letters (VSLs) Convert!

No matter how good your solo ads are, you still need to sell your customers once they click on your link.

That’s where VSLs can really help. 

Even longer VSLs (20 minutes or so) can work with great copywriting. If you want to profit from your campaign, consider using a VSL.  

Tip #16: Keep In Mind That Email Traffic Is Cold Traffic

If you're running a solo ad on someone else’s list, it's still cold traffic.

Even if the list owner gives you a stellar review, you're still an unknown to the customer. 

cold vs. warm vs. hot traffic

So, write your copy to reflect this type of traffic.

While you can definitely still convert, don’t expect your conversions to be the same as the list owner’s conversion rate. Remember, it’s YOUR job to make cold traffic warmer, not the list owner's (unless they wrote the ad).

Tip #17: Consider What You're Willing To Pay For What Conversion Rate

The metrics and ad spend that you're comfortable with are up to you.

Still, pick an objective conversion rate that you're shooting for to avoid wasting your money.

The way you calculate your conversion rate is by taking the number of people that sign up to your list or buy your product and divide it by the number of visitors.

20 sales/200 visitors=10% conversion rate

Make sure you're at a conversion rate that you're comfortable with.

Tip #18: Funnels Help You Break Even 

A lot of internet marketers expect to profit from the upfront sales in their funnel, but that’s a mistake. Often, funnels only allow you to break even.

In fact, you may even operate at a loss!

Small offers and affiliate offers get people in the door, but they aren’t enough to scale.

Tip #19: The BACKEND Makes You Money

So, if the funnels aren’t making you money, how do you make money?

You make money on the BACKEND. 

What we mean by the backend is the set of products that people buy after they've made an initial purchase with you.

So, you need to have a great backend to profit from your marketing efforts.

Tip #20: Copywriting Is The MOST IMPORTANT THING

Your solo ad won’t get you any results without good copywriting!

If you aren’t a great copywriter, you either need to learn the art of copywriting or hire a great copywriter.

Don’t run ads with lackluster copy or you'll get lackluster results.

Tip #21: Avoid Using Bots

Everyone wants the easy solution to growing their list and making money, so people often turn to bots to help them get results.

But there aren't shortcuts in this game.

Bots are useless and don’t help you to grow in any way. In fact, they may even hurt you.

As your list grows, make sure it's filled with customers and not BOTS.

Tip #22: Block Bots

Purge your list on a regular basis and keep it clean of bots.

This may take a little extra effort, but it’s worth making sure you don’t have “people” on your list that aren’t ever going to purchase.

Tip #23: Google Top Sites In Your Space To Find Potential Lists For Solo Ads

Finding companies in your space that allow you to run solo ads is pretty easy.


Google search 'fitness solo ads'


A quick Google search can help you to find some excellent lists to run ads on.

Tip #24: Check Alexa (The Website) For Top Websites In Your Niche

Alexa is an amazing resource you should be using!


Alexa rank categories


Through Alexa, you can find some excellent websites in your niche to run solo ads on.

Tip #25: Check Top Blogs In Your Space

Most of the top blogs in your space have lists - even if they haven’t sold any solo ads for them yet.

Google search 'top blogs in fitness'


Look for top bloggers in your space, and approach them about running solo ads. Even if they haven’t done it before, they may at least be open to the idea.

Tip #26: Use Udimi

Udimi is a marketplace for solo ads. Buyer beware, though - not all the lists are good. When using Udimi, run smaller campaigns first to test out the list that you're purchasing ad space from.

Tip #27: Use DedicatedEmails

DedicatedEmails is an excellent tool for finding email lists to work with.

Consider checking out DedicatedEmails and see if the lists you find there are the right lists for your needs.

Tip #28: Send Emails Around Once A Month

While twice a month sometimes works, sending emails around once a month generally works well.

How often is best will likely need to be tested, and the frequency will need to be adjusted after the results from the testing are in.

Also, communicate with the list owner to see what works best for them.

Tip #29: Send Emails To HALF Of The Email List-Holder's Users

Sometimes list owners don’t know their exact metrics.

If they say they have 10,000 users, consider sending your emails to 5,000.

This will save you money and help you ensure that you're actually reaching the number of people you're paying for.

Tip #30: Keep Solo Ads Short And To The Point

While longer ads sometimes work, shorter is often better.

Consider checking out some solo ads in your niche to see how long they are and shoot to replicate that word count.

Tip #31: Get Them To CLICK

You don’t need to sell - you just get them to click and let the sales letter or VSL do its job.

The goal of your solo ad is to drive traffic.

Don’t focus on anything else.

Tip #32: Use ClickMagick And Clicky For Tracking

ClickMagick and Clicky are two of the most effective tracking tools available to marketers right now. Check them out to better analyze and optimize your campaigns.

These tools will help to track your ad campaigns.

Get Out & Use These Solo Ad Tips

These tips don't do you much good if you don't get out and use them.

To get the most out of these tips, you need the real life experience of running solo ads yourself.

Once you get started, you can start optimizing your campaigns with these tips.

These 32 tips will help you to create the best solo ad campaign possible and get unlimited traffic for your business.

(Note: Want to get ALL the tips that Harris shared with us on the go? Check out the entire podcast episode to learn more about how to use solo ads effectively.