Dollar for dollar, email traffic beats social traffic any day of the week. This episode is all about email traffic. Igor interviews Michael Bashi who specializes at profitably converting paid traffic into leads and sales. Igor zeroes in on what it takes to run a profitable solo ad.
How To Make Money With Solo Ads Traffic
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Welcome back to another episode of the List Building Lifestyle with your host Igor Kheifets. List Building Lifestyle show is all about traffic and list building. Over the years we've hosted guests from all walks of marketing, including best selling authors, conversion experts, email marketing authorities, list building gurus, copywriting legends and even financial literacy activists like Robert Kiyosaki. Recently I realized I haven't hosted many traffic experts on the show. I decided to seal this leak, so to speak, by inviting some of the most sought after traffic experts to make a guest appearance and share what works for them right now. This week my focus has been all about solo ads and the one name that kept popping up was Michael Bashi. Michael is one of the most knowledgeable people in the world when it comes to paper click traffic and paid online media in general. They say those who teach aren't good enough to do it themselves and I find it to be true most of the time, because most traffic experts almost never walk the talk. Michael actually does. Michael's lead generation is entirely PPC based, but we're not gonna talk about Google AdWords or Facebook ads. Today I want to pick his brain about solo ads, because I thought it would be fun to talk about solo ads with someone other than me. Michael is one of those unicorns who have a knack to driving traffic profitably pretty much with any traffic source he chooses to master. Now he's about to spill the beans on how he's doing it with solo ads. Michael, thank you so much for being on the show.
Michael Bashi: Thank you so much for having me and thank you for a wonderful intro.
Igor Kheifets: My pleasure. That's actually what I excel at, believe it or not. I excel at crafting exquisite intros for my guests.
Michael Bashi: Appreciate it. Thank you.
Igor Kheifets: Before we launch into some of the advanced solo ad conversion tactics that you're about to share with us, can you give us the short version of how you got into solo ads, how you got involved which this tracking source?
Michael Bashi: Actually I'm very happy that you said short version, because it's actually a long story of how I got into solo ads. I was kind of forced into it. It wasn't something I really wanted to do. What happened was I started my online journey, as most of my audience knows, back in 1999. Wasn't successful until about late 2005, early 2006. That's when I started making money and then into a full-time income and then on. Not until about 2010 I launched my first program on ClickBank, which was titled thetrafficmaverick.com, which was all about traffic. It was a 15 module course teaching different methods of traffic generation and so on. That course is no longer out there. I transformed it into what I sell today, which is another PPC training and so on. Anyway, because this program was on ClickBank and because I was driving traffic to that program using paid ads, it was during the time in 2010 where some of the biggest advertising networks decided that all affiliate marketers or anybody that teaches affiliate marketing is a scammer, ban them. The funniest thing is I wasn't promoting affiliate marketing. I'm sure you know about that, when they were banning so many different people. I wasn't even selling affiliate marketing, but because the fact that this program I was hosting it on ClickBank, I guess ClickBank and it just doesn't work well with paid PPC ads, especially on places like Google and Facebook. I was basically not able to advertise on Google, Facebook, Twitter. I've never really shared that story to such a large audience, only people on my list know about this. This is my first time sharing it publicly. I was banned from ... suspended, not banned. I still have access to everything else, I just couldn't pay them to send me traffic off of Google, Facebook, and Twitter. I could do all the free stuff, I just can't do paid. I was like okay, this sucks. Then I'm like okay, I need to generate leads, I need traffic. This is how I got into solo ads. However, it was a very, very bumpy road. It wasn't profitable for the longest time. I was generating, as most people who are starting with the solo ads or are buying solo ads, most of the leads were deadly. This is a totally different animal than pay per click advertising. I had to figure out how to make solo ads work and I was forced to, because it's the only traffic source that I could work with at a scale. This was it for like.... since then and since I got good at it, I'm like okay, this an awesome traffic source. I'm never gonna stop running that, but now that I got that going let me shift my focus back on getting back on the top networks, like Google, Facebook, whatever. I did what I had to do, contacted who I had to contact, explained the story and thank goodness, I've been back on those networks for a long while now. That's why with PPC I'm very ... I know the rules inside out more than I'm suppose to. Just to make sure I'm not accidentally violating something they do not like. That's the short version of it.
Igor Kheifets: Interesting. I can totally relate to that, because as somebody who got their start in MLM and then in affiliate marketing I encountered pretty much the same problem. I think the first time I tried to get traffic off of ad words, I think I got banned within three hours. I remember trying to start over and using the same domain and they automatically suspended my account again. Eventually I contacted some people who were able to call them up and unblock us as well, but yeah 100% they didn't like affiliate marketers. I still don't think you're allowed to just--
Michael Bashi: [crosstalk 00:06:58].
Igor Kheifets: Yeah.
Michael Bashi: They're a little bit more lenient and easier when you advertise on, like, YouTube. It's a totally different policy. It's just that they don't like it on search, but they are ways around it. Again, at the end of the day you don't want to run a business that is ... where every single day you wake up and you don't know what's gonna happen. You don't wanna do it the sleazy way. You wanna run a professional business, you know you're not doing anything wrong. Every single day you're generating leads and you're generating sales and just enjoy the entire process, instead of worrying about what's gonna go wrong? What's gonna happen? What am I gonna do? Am I gonna get banned? It's a stressful way to run a business, I believe.
Igor Kheifets: Yeah, absolutely. At one point I've had a coaching practice where I was teaching people how to build lists and inventory sales solo ads. I remember spending about $2,000 per day on Facebook at one point and making about eight back. I woke up one day, got shutdown. Tried to get back up again, got shutdown. It just kept on repeating itself and I said you know what? Fuck that. I'm walking a way. I'm walking away from this stuff. I want to build a business where I'm in control. I want to build a business where I'm not, like you said, where I'm not gonna wake up to a banned account were my entire business pretty much tanks because of it. For that reason running solo ads is definitely a much easier going way, especially for beginners. Now I want to shift your focus towards getting solo ads to work. In other words, lets just our average listener is brand new. They are either an affiliate marketer or they are content creator in the affiliate marketing space, perhaps, or something like that. What would be the first thing they need to do to set themselves up for success with solo ads?
Michael Bashi: If I was to literally tell 'em ... If I was to simplify things, the pattern I've seen which is a lot of that pattern is when I started out earlier I was doing it too, because I was still learning this traffic medium. The top common things I see happening, the number one that I see mostly happening, is that people treat traffic in general. This ties perfectly into the solo ads, but in general newbies and sometimes even experts, it's both sides and it's very easy to think of it that way, but if you try to shift your focus and not you'll get ahead a lot faster. Most people look at online traffic as just numbers. They look at them as it's just how many people came in? That didn't convert. This didn't happen. They focus too much on numbers instead of the human interaction. They need to shift their focus into thinking more those numbers ... At the end of the day as an entrepreneur you have to look at your numbers and make sure your numbers are up to par with your goals and what you want to do. That's a given. At the same time we have to look at the numbers as actual human beings, they're real people, that are coming and seeing what we are presenting to them.I see a lot of people, they don't look at traffic and in general in that sense. With that said, another thing I see people do, especially with solo ads, is that they go in, they're like okay ... Solo ads is the cheapest form of traffic, everybody knows that. It's very good. You can scale it. It's a good traffic source if you what you are doing. The people that advertise on pay per click, they're like oh my God, I'm paying two, three dollars a click to get 10 clicks. It's gonna cost me 50 bucks. Then they go to solo ads and they say okay, if I spend 50 bucks I can get 100 clicks. They're just thinking about the volume. So they're like okay, 100 visitors, if I can convert that much, if I can do that much, I should get a sale. Because they're looking at it as just numbers, when they go and they buy, let's say, 100 clicks for whatever amount and then what they end up doing is they drive that traffic directly to an offer. This is called visitors and they're driving it directly to a sales page where they're asking somebody to make a purchase on the spot. The biggest mistake I see is that people are not using solo ads to generate leads and they're using solo ads just to try to get sales, because it's cheaper to get that traffic. They try to handle it so they just look at numbers, numbers, numbers. Then they see that they're not generating results and then they say solo ads doesn't work. But if they focused on generating leads they would see that they're getting much better results. That's issue number one. I hope I am making sense.
Igor Kheifets: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely you are.
Michael Bashi: Perfect. For me quickly touch on issue number two, which is these are the top two I see happening. Issue number two is that with solo ads, especially if you're doing it at a scale and you're driving hundreds, even thousands, of leads into your funnels ... For the newbies out there that don't know what a funnel is, it's basically a step-by-step selling sequence that helps take your prospects cold visitor from a cold visitor to a interested visitor to a lead to a potential prospect to a customer. It's how we lay out your strategy over a period of time or however that people do it. The second issue that I see is when you're doing solo ads at a scale and you're driving so many leads in you need to have some ... I see that people drive that traffic and those are the ones that are, let's say, generating leads. They drive traffic and then right away they send that traffic to an offer and they're cold and still doesn't convert that well. What I like to do in between is engage with them and ask them to do something, because the solo ad audience, most people that are opting in to your list from a solo ad, are basically people that are ... they could be opting in to 10 different things a day. Almost everything they opt-in to is basically an opt-in form and then a sales video, an opt-in form or a sales pitch, or an opt-in form and a webinar. The market is used to that. I made it a habit in all my businesses ... majority, not all. Some, depending on the traffic source, but mainly across-the-board what I try to do is I include this thing in between them opting in before they see the main feature presentation. I get them engaged. When somebody opt-ins, I'm sure if you opted in to one of my lists, Igor, you'd see that after somebody opt-ins I send them to a thank you page with a video. I engage with them and I tell them what I want them to do next. I make them go check their email. I tell them exactly the from name. I tell them what the subject line is. I tell them what link to expect. I basically make my email that they're going to receive after opting in, I make it known. I make it a present in their eyes. When they check their email and when they get 50 new emails, they can spot out which one is my email, 'cause I already told them about it. I told them what it's gonna look like. It's gonna be embedded in their head for them to know what they're looking for, even though they are opting in as a single opt-in. I'm not doing double opt-in, so they're already on my list anyway. But I ask them to do that step and I found that by doing that most people, if you know with double opt-ins, they're working with about at 50% open rate. 50% of the people who opt-in are people that are gonna actually double opt-in. I'm sure you're familiar with that.
Igor Kheifets: Less.
Michael Bashi: Sometimes less, but on a single opt-in you're getting a poorer list where your open rates are really maybe 10 to 12, 13 percent. However, by adding that little thing in the middle before taking them to the main feature, which I do via email, by adding that I have noticed that my open rates on the single opt-in are 40%. Sometimes higher and they maintain that open rate even on the fourth and fifth email, followup emails, until I get down to the sixth, seventh, eighth or maybe sometimes more. Then it goes down to 18, 20, 22, 23, sometimes depending on the subject line it spikes up back to 30%, but overall I have noticed a very much higher open rates when I do it that way. At the end of the day it's not about how big your list is, it's about how many people are gonna open up your email when you send that email. I've noticed that mistake that, to me, has become a mistake that a lot of people do. By applying and implementing that little thing I just mentioned, helps increase the engagement and the open rate of your email, which of course as you know always results in higher conversions, better ROS.
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Igor Kheifets: Yeah, absolutely. Especially today when email delivery got stricter and it's hard to deliver. A lot of people are complaining about lower email open rates, even though email is to this day by far the most profitable media anyone can use in their marketing. To this day I attribute more dollars to emails than to anything else and I see the same pattern everywhere. For example, ClickFunnels I think they would work from ClickFunnels. Was having interview an interview Mike Dillard on the Self-Made Man podcast and Mike Dillard was like, okay so ClickFunnels made 30 million last year. I see you guys are on social media. I see this and this. So where's the majority of your money coming from? They're like, email. You know? Most of the money is coming from email, but we do a lot of social media as well. Absolutely and if we can use this technique to increase your email open rates that's something definitely should consider. That's one part of it, right? One part of it is to recoup as much money as possible in the backend once you start following up with those email subscribers. We do that by instructing them and giving them more information about what to expect as soon as they opted in, which is great. How about then what do we do to ... Actually, before I ask the question I want to point out what you mentioned about time. The passage of time is really important in the conversion process. A lot of people, they want to break even immediately. They want to make money immediately. Anytime you see any sort of traffic guru advertising they say oh look, we put in a dollar and we're getting $6 back. We're awesome. Right?
Michael Bashi: Yeah, I see that all the time.
Igor Kheifets: Yeah, but the thing is that the passage of time is really important and you have to be able to track your dollars 30, 60, 90 days from the moment they opt-in, which is one of the ways to run a proper business. You don't get a customer to make a sale, you get a sale to make a customer. Then, of course, you enjoy longer term profits. What about the funnel? What have you found to be the most effective sales funnel structure for solo ads traffic?
Michael Bashi: The most effective one I've seen for solo ads is that being relevant. It's not necessarily about how short or how long your funnel is and when I ... Personally I know there are solo ads that traffic medium in different categories. It's in the health and fitness, personal development, finance, and our world, which is online marketing, affiliate marketing, MLM internet marketing, whatever. I'm speaking directly to that audience. That audience is constantly bombarded with a million different opportunities, programs, everybody claiming they're going to make you rich and so on. Assuming the market is already familiar with that. Depending on what you're selling and how much education is required to gain a customer that will determine how long of a funnel you should have. Long or short, I haven't noticed that much difference. It just depends on your offer and what you are selling. However, what I noticed is that the messaging is very, very important in terms of not how to say or not how to present your offer better. That's always good. Obviously you need to do that really, really well. What I mean by messaging is that how relevant can you be? When I say relevant I'm not also talking about how relevant is your offer. I'm saying is how relevant are you? Basically, they are used to the run-of-the-m ... Solo ad audience are used to the run-of-the-mill same buddy, same people pitching the same process, the same offers, the same way. Everybody's telling you they're going to make you rich. However why should they listen to you and not the other 50 that are doing the same thing? How can you stand out and how can you make yourself relevant? By basically the way you show your sincerity to them by how you're gonna help them. I noticed that that, and even for affiliate marketers, actually it's a lot simpler for affiliate marketers 'cause all they gotta do is choose the product or service that they want to push as an affiliate that is most relevant to them. To them when they go through that vendor's selling process they see the relevancy in that person more than the other people. Then you can just push that person's offer. It's like if you noticed some of my videos, especially we were talking today before this podcast you told me you watched the video with me wearing a red shirt, right? On that video, if you watched it to the end, you would notice that on that video I basically brought up what every marketer is doing on the internet now. I told them this is not what you're gonna expect from me. That video I just published it yesterday. I put up an ad campaign today. It's in review. I'm still waiting for it to be approved, so we'll see how that goes. My messaging in that video ad was listen, I'm gonna show you how to become a successful solo ad vendor, but ... which is the offer which we talked about. Anyway, when you opt-in and when you get my training here is what I want you to understand. I am not asking you to opt-in through a two hour webinar. I'm not going to pitch you something when I'm really trying to train you and I'm going to have a training that's a sales pitch in disguise. No, I'm going to actually teach you and show you. I showed my relevancy on that video, so they're like okay, this is not another two hour webinar. This is not another sales pitch. He actually wants to teach me and of course you got to be targeting the right people. I really want to learn how to do this, so he has a 20-minute video presentation. Let me just go sign up and go watch it. On that video I also indoctrinated the thing I was talking about earlier, which is basically the ... when I told you when somebody opts-in I take them to that thank you page to see what they expect in the email. On that video I also show them the opt-in page that when they click off of Facebook what they're going to see.The page that is going to show up. I show them that in the video and I show it to them where they're comfortable, which is on the Facebook platform. Once they click over they're no longer on Facebook. I show my honesty, my authenticity, and my relevancy upfront, before I even ask 'em to do anything. I've noticed across the board, not just with solo ads, but especially with solo ad's 'cause that audience is so bombarded. I've noticed that the more relevant you can be by showing how sincere you are, the better results you will get.
Igor Kheifets: What you're basically saying is try to predict the objection and then tackle the objection before it shows up.
Michael Bashi: Yes, that's one of the ways. Absolutely.
Igor Kheifets: This is a really good tactic. I actually found out when I was optimizing my webinar to the same practice to be taking play. It's really important to foresee the concerns, the fears, the anxieties, the objections that may come up and address them head-on, address them head-on, but do it before the customer she has to ask those questions.
Michael Bashi: Is it okay if I just add one little thing really, really fast?
Igor Kheifets: Sure.
Michael Bashi: I don't want people to think I'm saying that webinars are bad or webinars do not work. What I'm saying is look at what everybody else who is inviting you to register to a webinar. Look at what they are doing. When you register for those people's webinars what is the thing that bothers you? Maybe it could be the fact that it's a pre-recorded webinar, but they're trying so hard to make it sound live. What you could do to be, for example, relevant is say listen, I am inviting you to a webinar. I'm not gonna pretend that it's live. I recorded this a couple of weeks ago. We got great results. It taught a lot of people and I'm just re-running it again, because I know you're gonna benefit from that webinar. Show that side, that relevancy, so people say okay, this guy is being honest about it. Make them put their guards down, if that makes sense.
Igor Kheifets: Yeah, so in other words treat other people the way you'd like to be treated.
Michael Bashi: Exactly.
Igor Kheifets: Don't insult their intelligence and think they don't recognize that it's an automated webinar. Okay, cool. Absolutely. One of the most common questions I get, and this is probably going to be the last question I'm going to be covering this episode. Maybe we'll do a follow-up episode, because it seems like we need to give you a stage for a much bigger episode.
Michael Bashi: Thank you, I appreciate that.
Igor Kheifets: One of the most common questions is Igor, can you just tell me which traffic sources I should run? What's the traffic source where all the good buyers are hiding? Of course, my answer is not Facebook.
Michael Bashi: Yeah.
Igor Kheifets: As somebody who's running a ton of solo ads and you've been doing it for years, what are some of your criteria, and perhaps if you could give us the 60 second version, what is some of your criteria to identify the sources you choose to scale with?
Michael Bashi: Definitely, definitely, definitely, I am not ... If you know me I'm not a big fan of free traffic sources, because they're not scalable and they don't work. My main thing I always go to, the first source, is pay per click advertising. Let me be clear about something though. It's not where all the buyers are. The buyers and your customers and how much sales you make is proportionately congruent to how targeted your offer is to the right audience and once you target the right people how much value are you giving them up front before you ask them to do business with you? Those are the things that will determine. And how patient you are, because I see a lot of people, they spend let's say 100 bucks. Let's make the math easy. They spend 100 bucks, they get 100 visitors, they get 50 leads and they get one sale. It sounds good, right? Speaking statistically, these are amazing numbers. To a person they look at those numbers and they're like this dump doesn't work. I lost $100 and I only made $40 back. What they don't realize is that no, you didn't lose. You invested now $60 instead of $100. You got 50 leads and if you got the right funnel and the right process and the right follow-ups in place you're gonna close more of those people. If not with this product, with someone else down the road. That's determined by how much customers and how much buyers you're gonna get. Let's go back to the traffic thing. Traffic is basically I personally start always, always, always with ... That's with me and with clients that I work with, private ones. We always start with pay per click advertising. The reason for that is because pay per click advertising is quick, predictable, scalable, and you could literally see what's going on and the patterns with putting a couple hundred dollars in. You can see exactly what's going on and you could start tweaking little things here and there, because I have minimum averages that I have to reach before I stop tweaking a campaign and I just let it run. Once you get it working in a pay per click format and you got the right messaging, the right ad, and you got the traffic coming in and whatnot, you can easily scale that just by raising your budget. The other thing is for some clients that I work with that are local that like SEO, which search engine optimization meaning they want the free traffic. They want to get ranked. I see many SEO companies charging people so much money and they're like we're gonna get you ranked on the first page. Okay, awesome. If you're gonna get me ranked for a keyword that's producing zero sales for me what benefit is that gonna do for me? It's not just about getting ranked. When you do pay per click advertising and you see before your eyes in real time which keywords are actually getting you results, then if you want to do SEO you can go to that agency and say listen, I want you to search engine optimize by site. The pop up on the first page of Bing, Google, Yahoo, whatever, for those keywords because you know those are the keywords that are getting you results. That's one of the reasons why I do pay per click first. When you do pay per click also you're getting traffic really, really fast of interested people, which means you are getting the results that you need. Then I take those results and then I upload those results on Facebook to re-target the people who didn't convert or didn't opt-in. Now I got that going to bring the same people back and some of our audiences to that back. Then once I figure all of that out and see what's working, the right message, the right emails, I see things are going. Now I can go to solo ads and I can hit it hard to get that extra scale, that extra something. You don't even have to do solo ads last. You could do it the opposite way. You could do solo ads first. Let's say you don't want to do pay per click, you just want to do, for example, social media and you want to do solo ads. You could literally run solo ads first, see how your funnel itself is working. So you could do the reverse, which is solo adds. You know it's real people coming to your site. See how your funnel is operating. If it's converting well. Now you know that your funnel is working, keep running solo ads, 'cause it's getting you results. Now you can take those results you got from the solo ads and, for example, you could go into Facebook and re target similar audiences to those people that just opted in and attract more people on social media. You could do the same thing with Google, Bing, or whatnot. That's how I play it out. I hope that answered your question clearly.
Igor Kheifets: I only have more questions now, but okay. This is where we have to wrap up and guys, as you can see Michael has a lot to offer when it comes to traffic. I think he's one of the deeper thinkers when it comes to PPC traffic, when it comes to just analyzing media, analyzing everything you're getting as far as web hits and you definitely want to look into his stuff when it comes to becoming a better marketer or becoming a better traffic generator. Again, unlike most people out there what Mike has going on for him is that he truly walks the talk. Everything is backed-up by campaigns, by numbers and it's truly a person you should be following if you want to scale your paid lead generation. Mike, where can we go to find out more about you and your work?
Michael Bashi: I have several sites. My main website is my blog at mikebashi.com. People can go there to learn more about me, check me out, the different products and services. If your audience is interested in more learning about pay per click advertising they can go to ownppc.com, O-W-N P-P-C .com. Or if they're interested in more solo ads and want to learn about solo ads or how to sell solo ads or whatnot they can go to the other website which is yourwebtrafficagency.com. I do have another one, but I don't know if it's relevant to this so there's no need to mention it. Not a big deal.
Igor Kheifets: Alright, sounds good. So guys, if you want learn more about how to run better PPC traffic, you want to head over to ownppc.com and if you want to learn how to sell solo ads, which is not a thing that Michael is actually teaching. Not just how to buy them, but how to sell them then you want to head out to yourwebtrafficagency.com or if any of these links are hard to remember just get on Google and type in Michael Bashi and you'll probably find at least a couple of links.
Michael Bashi: You'll find everything there.
Igor Kheifets: Yeah, to check out. Mike, thank you so much for dropping some knowledge bombs today. I feel 30 minutes is just not enough for you. I will need to do a follow-up episode, but in the meanwhile-
Michael Bashi: Sure.
Igor Kheifets: Thank you for being here. Thank you for sharing openly. Thank you for bringing us into some of the things you'd never shared before. I really appreciate that. Guys, thanks for checking out this episode. This is Igor and Michael, until next time we chat. [crosstalk 00:34:11].
Michael Bashi: Thank you so much.
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