Episode 106: How to start a solo ad selling business - with Anthony Tilley
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Episode 106: How to start a solo ad selling business – with Anthony Tilley

Selling solo ads can be a super lucrative business…if you’ve got a super-big list. That’s a pretty big if. A lot of us would love to have the ability of creating instant cash whenever we want simply by mailing out to our lists, but we just don’t know where to start.

Anthony Tilley is on the show today to talk about how he built a solo ad business, sold it for big bucks, and is now building another one from scratch. If anyone knows how to build a solo ad business, he does…and you can learn all about it on today’s show and from Anthony’s Operation Solo.

Watch the show below: Duration: 54:01

Stuff mentioned in the show

Operation Solo (affiliate) – Anthony’s solo ad selling business plan

Anthony’s squeeze page

Raw transcript

Episode 106: How to Start A Solo Ad Selling Business – with Anthony Tilley

Mike: Hi there everyone! Welcome to Episode 106 of The Mike from Maine Show, the place where do daily interviews with successful online entrepreneurs. This is your host, Mike Thomas. And today I want to start off by saying that my Youtube account was cancelled. It was suspended, terminated and it’s gone. So, what happened, I got a message today from a recent interviewee who was — who let me know that my account wasn’t working, so I went and I clicked like you can see here and I got an API error from this and this said: “This video is no longer available because the Youtube account associated with this video has been terminated”. So, what does that mean for me? Well, what I need to do now is figure out why it was terminated. I really have no clue — didn’t give me any kind of a message or whatnot. The only inkling I have is me recently did an interview with a guy who makes little videos on Youtube and — Cliff Carrigan, and maybe because of that because we’re talking about making videos and putting them on Youtube and making affiliate commissions from that and I also, I uploaded another video explaining how I do that and showing me moving around inside of Youtube. So, maybe that’s why as well — that’s my best guess. If there’s anything, it’s probably because of that but they didn’t even give me a warning or anything. So anyways, I’m obviously not gonna upload that video but I’ve – – I’m starting to go ahead and upload all the old episodes. There’s 105 of them to go after. So, that’s gonna take me a few days to get all of those up again. Worst case scenario, if Google has some kind of problem with this kind of a — like an internet marketing show being on, I can always use Vimeo or there’s a paid service called Wistia. So, it’s not the end of the world, it’s just really annoying and I wanted to let you all know in case you try to watch one of my videos and it doesn’t work, what’s going on. Now, moving on, today on the show we have Anthony Tilley on to talk about how to start a solo ad selling business. Now, we’ve talked about solo ads before and I plan on having even more guest on to talk about it because it’s a really — it’s a very wide subject and there’s lot for all of us to learn just about general advertising and marketing along with that. But um, he’s gonna talk specifically about how to go ahead and set one up because what he’s done is, he’s set up his own business, he built it up to I think it was 75,000 people on his list and then he sold it. And now after he’s sold it, he’s starting up again and gonna create another solo ads business. So, he’s someone who’s in there with a lot of the big guys. He’s got people like Igor — how do I pronounce his last name, I always — here we go, it’s Igor Kheifets. I’m probably saying that completely wrong but sorry Igor, I apologize to you for that. But yeah, he’s in there with some of the bigger guys who know what they’re doing and he’s gonna talk about how you can make — you can see here, from complete utter marketing failure to a $300 per day heavy-hitter. So, there’s lots of money being made in solo ads. I’ll be quiet now. I’ve been babbling on for long enough. And we’ll get right into the interview with Anthony.

Mike: We are here today with Anthony Tilley. Anthony, welcome to the show.
Anthony: Thanks a lot, Mike. Really good to be here. Thank you very much.
Mike: Let’s start right off by having you tell us a little bit of who you are and what you do.

Anthony: Ok, yeah. I’m — well, I guess I’m probably the person on the internet that has taken the longest to get anywhere whatsoever. Um, believe it or not, actually 14 years it took me to get anywhere. The amount of stuff that, that I tried is just — you name it, Mike. I’ve pretty much tried it. Whether the ebay, whether it be drop shipping different items not good enough to compete with the some of the big boys there. House’s old good, I did the affiliates, soccer sites, betting sites. You name it, I’ve tried it, in sort of some way shape or form. And it wasn’t then until, I remember it was sort of 2009 that I discovered the Warrior Forum and Private Label Rights Products. And I went to a seminar and they told me about PLR products and the kinds of things you can do with them. And basically, I put up PLR product together about blogging and video blogging, that kind of thing. And in a space of 6 weeks, I’ve gone from having no list and made virtually no money ever on the internet, to having a list of a thousand people from giving away this free WSO and then I’ve let sort of, I’ll upsell behind it for $10 and sold a hundred of them. So, I made myself $1000. So, I —

Mike: That was your first taste of success.

Anthony: Of any — yes. To be honest with you, I’m — you know, I’ve just spent so — I just didn’t get it. You know, I wasn’t building a list and that’s the key thing. And um, you know, once I’ve sort of learn that and I find out ads swapping and then eventually, literally stumbled into the solo ads industry. You know, I knew nothing about it. Um, a friend of mine and I, we have very similar sort of size lists and we were just talking about the some of the kind of money we were earning. And basically, he was earning almost like twice the amount each month than I was. I was like, what are you doing? How do you do this? He said, “Well, you need to sell solo ads like I do”. And I was like, you know, that’s great. I will do but what’s a solo ad.

Mike: I mean, you know a lot people — I’ve been doing internet marketing for I think more than 8 years now or something like that. And I didn’t really know what solo ads were until the last, maybe, year. And I think, it’s almost like people overcomplicate what a solo ad is. It’s just sending an email out for someone else and having them pay you for it.

Anthony: Yeah.

Mike: You know?

Anthony: Absolutely, absolutely. It’s funny, not just they’ll sort of overcomplicate solo ads. I think people tend to overcomplicate marketing in general and sort of business on the internet in general. But yeah, it’s basically that. It’s basically, if I got a list and you’ve got a product that you want to send to that list, you pay me, you pay for a certain amount of traffic, a certain number of clicks, a certain amount of visitors and I’ll sent that email and they’ll visit your page and they either sign up or they don’t sign up. And that’s pretty much it.

Mike: I guess the difference — I mean, the only difference would be between like me mailing out for a product of yours would be that normally if I’m gonna email that out to make like an affiliate sale from one of your products. It’s gonna — the email’s gonna go straight to the sales page. But, in the solo ad case, the email’s — I’m not gonna get an affiliate commission, it’s gonna go usually to a squeeze page where you’re actually looking your first aim and goal is gonna be getting that email address and if you do get some kind of a one-time offer sale, that’s just gonna be gravy. Is that correct?

Anthony: Yeah. Well, basically what would happen is that you have a free offer. Let’s say, you’ve got a free offer about Facebook for argument’s sake, and you’ve got a one-time-only offer behind it for $27, something like that. You obviously get that as a marketer, it’s your product. You basically paid me to send a traffic out for you. So, you’ll pay me sort of $0.50 a click, $0.60 a click, something like that. And then, basically, I’ll send the email, I’ve got paid upfront as a solo ad provider as basically the advertiser, if you like. I’ve got paid upfront, I’ve sent the traffic and then basically you’re the guy, as you say you’re the guy that gets the gravy. You know, you’ve paid out for the advert. It’s very similar, it’s not dissimilar model really of anything like banners or any sort of Facebook ads, anything like that. You’re paying per click as the marketer and then you get the — you get the money in the back end.

Mike: I think why there’s not — why people are a little confused about it and why it’s not as popular as maybe SEO or AdWords, Pay Per Click, is because in order to really get into it a lot of times, you need to: a) if you’re gonna be buying solo ads, it’s not cheap and b) if you’re gonna be doing the cheaper version which would be swaps, it’s — you need to at least have a decent sized list in order to make it worthwhile. So, it’s not like everyone — there’s some, there’s some entry levels there that are gonna make it a little more difficult for the average joe to get involved.

Anthony: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. I mean, it’s not something — you know, there’s so many things you see out there. You know, you can get started for a dollar or for free and all this kind of stuff which you know, normally they don’t tend to be quite as good and as shiny as they’re made out. So yeah, you know it does take a little bit of investment to buy a solo ad, to get those subscribers on to your list. And that’s why it really it’s key Mike that if somebody is looking to go out and buy solo ads, they make sure, you know, that they’re gonna click a funnel that converts. Now, initially you know, if you put out a squeeze page and an offer behind it and then sort of downsell and upsell, that kind of thing and you know, your emails sort of sequence behind, you gotta test it. So, you’ve gotta be prepared in some way to shape a form to potentially lose some money. And you know, that’s what all the sort of big marketers do, you know, they don’t get out of the park the first time. They’ll test this, the pages, they’ll test the copy, they’ll tweak it, they’ll change it until it converts. And then obviously, you run public traffic from this. So, it is something that yeah, you’re gonna build a list and you’re gonna grow this group and yeah, you’re gonna need a few hundred dollars to start. But one — the beauty of this is once you’ve got the funnel that converts, then you know — you know, you know your metrics, you know how much it’s gonna cost you per click, what will work out as opt-in and then, construe behind what your sales page is converting at, so then obviously you can ramp the traffic up from there.

Mike: Let’s, before we — I wanted to get into, to how to really set up and start up a solo ad selling business in a minute. But before we transition into that, let’s — I wanna hear about your story to the end here. So in 2009, you put up that PLR product to get a thousand people on your list, then what happens?

Anthony: As I say, I discovered ad swapping. So, that’s pretty much how I built my list. You know, I built a list of about 17,000 people, purely ad swapping. That was, you know, I was sort of pretty aggressive in it and I’ve built out a list. It was making out okay money. Um, but then I discovered solo ads. So, I then put a sort of a sales page together, a few people added me into Skype rooms, that kind of thing. And I went out there, selling the solo ads. But two — two sort of interesting things happened where we — probably about the time we’re talking now, it were about July 2001. It was running about just before my 40th birthday and two things that happened was I went to a seminar in London with a man with the name of Alex Jeffreys who’s ah —

Mike: I just had Alex on the show the other day.

Anthony: Yeah? There we are. So, where Alex lived is about 20 minutes down the road from me. And ironically I have to go all the way to London which is about 2 1/2 hour drive to meet him. But I guess yeah, because Alex, you know — I bought his program. I bought Marketing with Alex. Um, but you know, I wasn’t in his circle of students right at that point. So, you know, we’d share a couple of emails back and forth, that kind of thing but didn’t really sort of know each other. But as soon as that email came through, I was like, alright I’m gonna go down. I’m gonna meet this guy. So, I did build a solo ad business and said, I’ve done the Marketing with You program which was very good and it taught me a lot about marketing and history internet marketing in general and I said to him it was alright. And I met him and in his words, I cornered him and basically I got him to agree to an interview. Now, he’s obviously been interviewed lots of times. But, so I thought I wanna do something a little bit different here. So, I went out on the lim and I said to him, “Look, how about I interview you at the place of your choice and I will bring a proper film record – I mean I’ll bring a professional cameraman with me. Not having a clue how the hell I was gonna get a professional cameraman with me. This is winging it, you know, extraordinarily. So um, he basically said, “Yeah. Come to my house and you can interview me”. So right, great. So, not really thinking it was gonna happen but two weeks later, I’m in my house with a professional documentary maker and Alex and we spent the day together, I interviewed him. If any of the guys watching, if they go on Youtube and google Alex Jeffreys and Anthony Tilley, um they’ll find sort of the start of it, where we and Alex spends the first part of the interview in a pair of pink pajamas. So, I always get a — get a laugh. So —

Mike: Yeah. That’s really — I mean, was that — there’s one video that I saw that he had on his sales page of him kinda sitting on a couch. Is that the one that you did or — is that —

Anthony: That wouldn’t be — wouldn’t be on a sales page. But that’s his couch, black couch, white background. Yes, that is Alex’s front — you know, his lounge. Um, but this — yes, so we did it in his house and you know, we just sort of say, we sort of spent about 5 or 6 hours together. I launched it, it’s a WSO, did okay, did well. And I was like — I built a listing of people that were fans of Alex Jeffreys. And then later on in a year, similar time that this was happening as well, I was still selling the solo ads. And I sold a solo ad to a gentleman with the name of Daegan Smith. Now, I’m using that name — I was thinking, you know, why do I know that name? How do I know this guy, etcetera. So, kinda long story short with Daegan’s kind of thing, I sold him a solo ad, did very well out of it — he did very well, I wasn’t aware of it. He then recommended me on a webinar and I woke up, you know, it was sort of the next morning after his webinar with month’s worth of money in my Paypal account overnight.

Mike: That’s insane.

Anthony: So, you know. Immediately, being sort of a pessimistic, skeptical breakdown, I’m sort of thinking, this can’t be my money. I would have to give it back, you know. And um, and he was basically — he’d recommended me but it was, it was quite amusing, it was like I bloody have a stone from his um, from his students, to actually tell me where they got the recommendation from. So um, that was cool. So that’s why, you know, the business started growing from there and all these recommendations. But at the same time, I’m saying this is what um sort of leadin up to two things going along together. I’ll explain it in a minute. This — then in the October time, I actually won a product launch that Alex had run. He has supported marketing product launch. And I beat guys like Jeff Dedrick, Mike Filsaime, Dean Holland, John Thornhill and they’re sort of the big marketers and there was a little old me that was at the top of it. And basically, because I have a list of Alex Jeffreys’ fans. And I did some cool bonuses and bits and pieces for them as well. And Alex who was actually just living down the road, he said, “I’m just stuck up here in the office, come down and have a chat. As part of your price, come down and have a chat”. So, we did. And I was sort of sharing some of the stuff that I was doing. He thought it was pretty cool and basically in about 48 hours, he offered me a job.

Mike: Really?

Anthony: So, yes. So, he asked me um to be — he was doing something at that time with with Dean, with Dean Holland. And they asked me to be their WSO launch manager and it was one of those things where I’m like, what do I do now? Coz I’m making good money with the solo ads and I’ve got a seven-figure marketer who lives 20 minutes down the road offer me the chance to go and work in his office. So, it’s not like — he was on the other side of the country or anything like that. I would be with him pretty much in most days. So, I — I just really — it was too good of an opportunity to turn down. It was just — it was just too good. But obviously then I had the dilemma with the solo ads business of what do I do. Now, I could outsource it but Alex wants me to start straight away, I knew it was gonna be a pretty for-long job and you know, if I do something, I do it 100%. So, I just sort of well, you know, I can out source it but the problem you’ve got there is it’s gonna take me a while to find someone, gonna take me a while to train somebody. You knew at some point, they’d drop the ball. It was bound to happen. You know, we all do it and we’re all yeah, we’re all only humans. At some point, they were gonna drop the ball and that potentially could cost somebody else’s business, a problem, an issue and I didn’t want to do that. So, I could have done that. I could have tried re-nick myself as well at the same time. But I just, I just sort of didn’t think that that was gonna work. So basically, um, I sold the business and you know, instead of just– just somebody else that I’ve designed to run it, they took over the business and I then went to work for Alex for six months.

Mike: So, are you public with your — with the amount that you sold that for?

Anthony: No. We did sign an NDA so um. But it was cool you know, I had that many to live for my family and the money that Alex was paying as well so, you know, for doing this stuff that I do for him. So, it was — it was good and I knew that I wanted to do what I’m doing in the minute which is the coaching that kind of thing. I knew that was gonna come and you know, Alex and I sort of sat down and chatted about it. And, you know, we sort of came to conclusion and ending. I know how to build a list. I know how to grow a list. So, if I wanted to go back to what I have done, I can do. So, it was — it was sort of just a natural progression but it was difficult. It was a difficult decision to come to.

Mike: I’m sure it was. How big was the list when you sold it? Anthony: 93,000.
Mike: And when was that? What did you say?
Anthony: February 2011 — 2012.

Mike: 2012.
Anthony: Yeah.
Mike: And you’ve recently started building a list again from the beginning.
Anthony: Yeah.
Mike: When did you start building it again?
Anthony: Um, I’ve started building that just before Christmas.
Mike: And how big is it today?
Anthony: The minute, it’s just over 6,000.
Mike: 6,000. And how much have you spent out of your pocket to get it to that size as of today?

Anthony: At that point, I’ve spent sort of a few thousand dollars on it. I’d say, I’ve probably spent about sort of three and a half thousand dollars, something like that. But um, I’ve been – I’ve been aggressive. You know, I’ve been aggressive with it and the other thing now is well, the — well, I’m in the position where obviously, even though I’m saying I’ve spent that money, a lot of that money is reinvesting rather than having a key put in my hand in the cookie jar. It was reinvesting because I’ve got a funnel that works and so I’m taking the money from that and obviously as well, I’m selling solo ads as well. So 100-, 200-click solo ads. So, I reinvested that money back in as well. So, you know, money — money out of my own pocket that I’ve actually sort of invested and such. Probably, sort of that thousand, 1200 dollars, something like that.

Mike: When you say you buy a hundred clicks for a solo ad and you have that mailed out, what results are gonna make you happy? Are you gonna be happy if you get 30% of it back, if you get 50 — 100 –, if you make money? I mean, what’s — what’s your — what’s a great funnel for you gonna look like? What’s a realistic funnel will look like?

Anthony: I mean, I’m always — I’m always very happy if I make all of the money back. And a lot of that is dependent on what price your product is behind the squeeze page. Obviously, the higher the price, the lower your conversion needs to be. So basically, the product that I’ve actually been sending to, I’ve been sort of vying back and forth between Operation Solo which sort of my current carrier one but also as well, a product that I did called Affiliate Underdog which was about how I won Alex’s contest. What I did. And then, there’s a membership site behind it as well. So basically, the one-time offer is $27 and then the membership behind is $27 a month after that as well. So, the good thing is um, I must ah — I tend sort of buy more than a hundred clicks um because it’s difficult to know how well and you know, it doesn’t really give you a lot of ideas in terms of conversions so I tend to sort of try and buy 3- to 500 but certainly, when people is starting out on a funnel, 100 to 200 is good. But if we took — if we took a hundred clicks to make it easy for maths because I’m not the world’s greatest mathematician.

Mike: Neither am I.

Anthony: You’ll be looking in a hundred clicks. I’d be happy if we get sort of 40% conversion. So, 40 people joined and if I make two sales from that on the front end, that’s not too bad. You know, sort of a 4% conversion um so you get the two sales from there, so 5% conversion, should I say.

Mike: And I mean, that’s just — that’s just for like instant gratification there. You — I think, with this kind of thing, you have to think about it in the long run, You’re gonna have those 40 people on your list. Of course, you’re gonna lose — you’re not gonna keep them forever on your list most likely. You’re gonna lose some to unsubscribes and and maybe, they’re no gonna open all the time and who knows, but it’s — it’s something where I think people really need to think in a long term with this kind of an investment.

Anthony: Yeah, you know, you absolutely spot it. In the same way, you know, I was thinking there’s a lot of business models out there and in the same way, you know, there are big marketers those who sort of give away 100% commission on their product, you know, sort of 40-, 50-dollar product. If they got a funnel behind it where they’re making several thousand dollars in their back end, they know it’s worth them giving that away. And in some case, there’s a lot of guys out there, they’re not just giving a 100% commission, they’re giving out like 200- or 300% commissions because their funnel converts. So, you’re absolutely right. With this particular business model, what — the way you got to think of it is my back end is those solo ads. So, yet you know you have those people coming through. You’re building your list. You do want that instant gratification as much as possible because in that way you can reinvest. You’re not having to sort of continually deep it into your own pocket but as you say, you always gonna have in mind all these people on my list and they’re gonna be eyeing balls effectively for offers that I’m gonna send them going forward. And um, of course the other thing is why I don’t forget for other people to remember with this, they don’t just have to send solo ads. You know, they can — they can send affiliate offers if they want to. They can send their own offers if they want to. They can just send hey how are you videos if they want to, you know, to build a relationship, that kind of thing. Solo ads is just part of, you know, part of the whole sort of chain, really. That’s the way I tend to look at it.

Mike: That’s another way of monetizing your list and if — I think that, I think from the research that I’ve done with solo ads is you have to be really careful about how you treat your list because I — if you just are just mailing your list with solo ads or any kind of advertisements, if you’re sending them affiliate ads all the time and you’re not providing any value to them, they’re — they’re gonna realize it. They are real person. They’re gonna say ok, enough. This is just — I’m not getting any good stuff from this guy. I’m out of here.

Anthony: Yeah. Yeah, you know, you’ve absolutely spot on it with what you’re saying. It’s interesting because solo ads with some marketers, you’re okay with having a bit of a bad name. You know that thing, oh yeah, it’s just churning and burning. It’s just hammer, hammer, hammer. But as you say, it’s basically — it’s not different from affiliate marketing. You just got and paid upfront, that’s it. So, still be — again, I think it’s not only the perception from outside the industry but sometimes from inside. You know, people who do start selling solo ads, they — they think they gotta send everything. If there’s something or whatever sort of somebody comes to them and says, “I want you to send this”. They think, oh I have to send it. You know, don’t wanna upset them and don’t say — you know, they want the money, etcetera, etcetera. But there in, you know, lies a problem as you say coz you’re building a list. So, be discerning in what you send. Um, you know, there’s a several of them, sort of mention sort of networks or MLM, things like that. There’s a lot that came along about sort of 18 months ago that when they first came along, it was great. Everybody was sending to them and we were getting great results. I made a lot of money selling solo ads to these products and all of these ah great success stories you hear but there soon came a point where I actually sent one to somebody. After about a month or six weeks of sending, this guy came to me said, “Your list, it’s just crap. Um, it’s not converting.” Now, he’s bought etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. So I’m like, “Right, okay. Here’s a refund”. I straightened out my sales page. I no longer send to this particular network because —

Mike: I know exactly which network you’re talking about to.

Anthony: So, you know. I just — if I couldn’t get great service then, you know, I’d rather sort of turned the money down. Um, you know, that — it’s just the right thing to do.

Mike: Let’s — let’s get into what we were initially gonna get into. We got a little sidetracked here but because — good information out of you there. Um, you’ve just started your solo ad business again. Tell me how you set up the business so that people listening if they want to kinda follow along they could also do it as well.

Anthony: Okay. I think the key thing that I say for people — for people is you’ve gotta have your squeeze page obviously to capture those leads and you’re giving away sort of a gift, etcetera, whatever it is that you want to give. Could be a video or a, you know, an audio or a book or whatever. And it’s absolutely essential. This is whether you’re looking to build a solo ads business or not. You just built it — build a relationship. You’ve got to have a one-time offer or some sort of offer behind that. You know, the number of times

that people would come to me and actually say, “Can you send this offer for me?”. And I would always — I would never just accept without me looking — I would always look at it. I’ll sign up and I’ll go through the funnel. And the number of times that people would send me something and it just have the generic, you know, welcome to this you know, any web — you know, thank you for subscribing. Go and click some sort of the mail. This is the only page in your whole business that everybody’s gonna see. It’s the only time that every single person who have joined your list — they will be there. They will all see that page and that’s real prime, you know, virtual, real estate. So you have to got something there and have a good offer there and you know, then if people say no, have a downsell. You know, if you you’ve got your product with a bonus, then you wanna downsell and probably remove the bonus for me. So, you sort of, you’re not just saying, “Hey, I tell you what it was $17. Have it for $7 instead”. Because that’s not right. But if you say, “Well, I can see the $17 wasn’t right for you. You couldn’t sort of afford to pay that, etcetera. I tell you what then, I removed the bonuses and you know, have it at this price”.

Mike: Do you ever just redirect them to your — you mentioned before that you were using the Operation Solo0 — or some of your past WSOs. Do you ever just redirect them directly to the WSO or do you have a natural page up where they can like, actually have to click on it again?

Anthony: So, you said – Sorry, I’m —

Mike: So when someone, after someone has gone on your squeeze page and opted-in.

Anthony: Yeah.

Mike: That — after they opted in, do you always bring them to a page where they have the opportunity to — to buy or, I mean, to do send them to the Warrior Forum to look at the WSO. How do you that?

Anthony: No. Basically, I mean you know, there’s reason why you couldn’t send them to WSO but no, basically Operation Solo for argument’s sake is a WSO but I’ve also taken it off of the Warrior Forum as well and it’s on its own domain. So, that’s where they would — that is sort of the page that you would see. So, I wouldn’t sort of send them to a WSO, no.

Mike: Cool. Would you — would you be comfortable letting us — letting the viewers see kind of what your — or your ah sales funnel, or what your squeeze page looks like? Is that something you might wanna share with?

Anthony: Yeah, yeah. No problem at all.

Mike: And I’m sure they’d — you’ll love it too coz you’re gonna get those emails coming to you as well. But we’ll put up a — if people wanna see what Anthony’s squeeze page looks like, ah feel free to opt-in there and see where he takes you on to. Cool.

Anthony: Yeah.

Mike: Okay, so you got that squeeze page, you’ve got the one-time offer.

Anthony: Yeah. And then, if somebody then buys, it’s always worth having an upsell. So you know, let’s say for argument’s sake, you — your front-end product was about product relation. Your front-end product was about how to create an ebook. Then, your upsell – – the idea of your upsell would be something like you know, how to drive traffic to that product. So, it’s something that compliments it and you upsell. So, that’s sort of the idea behind it basically and you know, if they don’t buy, then you have a series of emails that are trying to get them to buy. And — and then, that’s pretty much it. That isn’t sort of as complicated and uneasy that a lot of people, you know, they think they gotta have 30, 40, 50 days worth of autoresponders in there, etcetera. You can do but you know, I personally don’t. You know, Operation Solo for argument’s sake you know, if somebody sort of joins that, I’ve only got a couple of days with a follow-up. Same with the Affiliate Underdog, I only have a couple of days with the follow-ups and if they haven’t bought by then, then okay, fair enough. And I let them — I let them move on.

Mike: Cool, okay. So, if you’re — when you’re first setting it up, you’ve got your — you’ve got your squeeze page set up. If you don’t — there’s a lot of people out there though that aren’t gonna have necessarily a product. So, would you just recommend maybe using an affiliate affiliate offer or something? How — what would you recommend for that?

Anthony: You can do. I mean, you can sort of just — I mean, you — there’s no reason why you can’t just put up a squeeze page and say you discovered the secrets of x, y and z. And you just — you’re not promising a free gift. You know, they just signed up and you send them to a sales page. You’re not being, being dishonest from that point-of-view. Um, you know, it just depends how you want to — want to sort of do it. If they check — you know, don’t say there’s something for free if there’s nothing obviously. But there’s no

reason, I mean I started and a lot of marketers start with — I would say with PLR products, Private Label Rights Products. And they do get a little bit of bad press. The — the sales letters tend not to be great. That’s sort of the thing that tends to sort of to let them down. But you know, if you go to some of the better PLR sites, whether you get to the Warrior Forum or something like that, then you’re gonna – you’re gonna see sort of a better quality of PLR to use and rebrand. And make your own. That’s the key thing is you know, you make sure you’ve got your own picture, your own story and you know, that you’re branding yourself, you’re positiong yourself as somebody as a figure of authority.

Mike: So, ok. So you start — you start building your list. You wanna — you got your everything else set up. Do you start buying solo ads. I mean, do you — how do you get that initial start?

Anthony: That’s gonna be the quickest way to be quite frank. Um, I think the thing is these two sort of — these two ends of the scale here might — you’ve either got, you’ve either gotta have money or you’ve gotta have time. Um you know and if you haven’t got the money, you gotta be prepared to put in the time and by that I mean, going onto forums and comment and make sure that your signature is at the bottom there. Go into forums and give in sort of good feedbacks to people and go on into blogs and put in positive good comments and not just, hey that’s great and we like what you’re saying type thing but actually giving properly. And you know, people will then start to click on your link and come to your squeeze page. But you know, that takes time. So —

Mike: A lot of time.

Anthony: A lot of time. So, I’ll just say you know, that’s the — that’s the balance here. That’s the carry to weigh if you like, if you haven’t gotten the money, then you basically got to put in the effort. And if you got the money —

Mike: I think, I think you need to have the money.

Anthony: Absolutely, yeah. I mean, that is the best way to go is to have some you know, some small cash injection to put in there to test it, to try it, to start to build — to start to build that list. Um, yeah.

Mike: What do you think of — about a thousand bucks is enough to start of or –?

Anthony: Oh yeah, yeah. Definitely, yeah. I mean, I would say you know, go and out — if you’re gonna go initially and test your funnel, then enough for me 2-, 300 dollars, something like that. Don’t buy them all from one place at once. Sort of buy them from a few different places and test out, test out the funnel. See how it converts. You know, if perhaps your squeeze page converts really, really well but your sales page doesn’t, then you can go ahead and okay, the sales page is gonna need some tweak and you know, some testing and some sort of changes. Or maybe vice versa. Maybe, you know, your squeeze page converts only 10% but like 10% of those people that have come through or like 15% that have come through will all buy. You think, great. I’ve got a brilliant sales letter. I just need to work on getting more people to see it. So, that’s the sort of the difference there.

Mike: And at what point should you — I mean, we’re talking about starting a solo ads selling business. So, when are you in the position where you can start approaching people or making advertisements or going into different Skype rooms and saying, “Hey, I’ve got a list that’s x amount. I can offer x amount of clicks”. When is — how big is the list have to be? How many clicks you need to be able to offer? And how much can you charge?

Anthony: It’s — it is more down to the clicks rather than the list size. Um coz obviously, everybody’s list is sort of responsive in different ways. I mean, you can start at 50 clicks. Now, that’s how some small – you know, there are some people doing 50 clicks. Personally, I would look to go you know, when you’ve sort of hitting a 150 – 200 clicks. The basic reason for that is if you start selling solo ads at only 50 clicks, you’ll soon be underlisted because it’s still quite a precarious point at 50 clicks, you know. You know, you can — there’s gonna be soon a lot of sort of fluctuation there, you know. For all of a sudden you dropped 20%, you know, you’re really gonna struggle to hit those 50 that somebody has paid you for. I would say you know, you look in more into say up to sort of a bit over the hundred mark but don’t get greedy. Um and I mean, a lot of guys that have done this. Now hold my hands if I have done this, you know, but you will just accept the orders, accept the orders. When you see all this money coming in, you’ll think this is great. I’ve never made much money before in the internet and now we have people that are checking about me. But the problem you got then is what we’ve already talked about, is you burn the list. Because you’re sending them hammer every single day with all these different types of offers. So, you know, when you are only using 100 and 150 clicks, then you know, you’d only really need to send in those types of things a couple of times a week, really. And —

Mike: Okay, so okay. If you got a hundred — if you’re usually getting about a 100, 150 clicks every time you mail out, you shouldn’t — you should only be doing these kinds of things maybe once or twice a week? Is that what you would recommend doing?

Anthony: That’s — yeah. I mean coz you can easily fall into the trap when you’re mailing every single day and you maybe, perhaps you’re gonna start to struggle to hit those clicks because people do leave. This is the way I look, it’s very much like a bucket. It’s like a bucket with a whole on the bottom of it. So you know, you gotta make sure you fill in that topping quicker than they leave. Now, to the more clicks you can generate, if a certain number do leave, then it doesn’t affect your business so much. When you’re looking at those lower clicks, then yes, that’s gonna happen. So, you know, you look into the sort of sell those kinds of things and sell, you know, sort of sell the offers because the thing is, it’s not problem to mail everyday and doing some of ad swaps and that kind of thing. You’re getting free traffic in, so you’re not you know — you’re generating the income in your funnel. So, you’re making some money. And then, you can go back out and buy the solo ads. But what I’m just — when you’re selling the solo ads, you are actually putting yourself under pressure because there’s money involved. If an ad swap here — if you — if there’s 10 or 15% difference between you and your partner, that doesn’t tend to be sort of too much of a problem. But if somebody buys the solo ad from you, they expect you to hit bang on the mark and above, you know, they expect over delivery as well. So, you put in a bit of pressure on yourself there. So, you know, if it’s something you’re starting out and starting to do, then, don’t put yourself under that pressure. Do the ad swapping, you make the money in the funnel — that’s to say, that’s the key thing is to make sure that your funnel is converting. And then, you can put the money back in to buy solo ads, build it, build it from there.

Mike: What kind of open rates and click-through rates should you be expecting from a list that you’re sending solo ads to?

Anthony: It’s — it’s lower than I guess, you know, sort of people tend to hear and think that they should be getting within — in sort of the email marketing industry. And you know, you hear sort of marketers getting sort of 30, 40, 50% click-through rates, that kind of thing. And usually that’s because they’ve actually — somebody’s bought a product from them. You know, it’s like, it’s like what I do with WSO and I’ll get those kind of click-through rates from people. But what you tend to find is the people who have joined your list particularly if they haven’t bought from you. You find that the buyer’s click-through rate you know, is a lot higher. You’d be looking sort of 20-, 30% plus. But when you look in at people who haven’t bought something from you, they’re on your list for free, then you know, you’re probably looking somewhere in sort of 3-5% click-through rate. And you know, if you’re not replenishing that list, that can soon burn. So, you know, you need to make sure you filling it up.

Mike: Now, I’d worried, like with my list, I’ve got about right now, I think I have around 2000 people on my list. And most of them have opted-in through my mikefrommaine side bar or a pop-up or whatnot. And they expect right now is what they’re gonna be getting is a daily emails with the interviews. I published five interviews a week and I send out an email every time there’s a new interview available. And of course, since I’m emailing every day, some people — they prefer not to get an email every day. And they’ll opt-out and I expect that but there’s people that open all the time and they’re always expecting to get the email which is what they signed up for. My concern would be is if I, for example, if you approached me and you were like, “Mike, can you send out this solo ad to your list?”. I wouldn’t want my people to be — to feel betrayed or to feel like I’m selling them out. I — is there a way to do it so that you can — you can make it a living? You can make some money from what you’re doing but at the same time, you’re not gonna make your subscribers look at — get an offer and go, “What the hell is Mike doing?”

Anthony: Yeah, yeah. What I would say is Mike, don’t use that list for solo ads.

Mike: Right. I don’t.

Anthony: Okay? Because that’s — it’s been built for different purpose. That’s the thing, you know. When you –they come in on a different understanding. If they come in via squeeze page and sales letter and that’s how it sort of started and you sort of send emails, that kind of thing — if that’s what they have come in. If they don’t like that, then they opt-out the same way as you say with sort of your people. So, I personally would say for the list that you’ve got, of the people that joined the blog, seen the interviews, expect the interviews, then I wouldn’t — if it was mine, I wouldn’t use that list for solo ads.

Mike: And I wouldn’t either, like I was — I think you need think about exactly what you said, why — what was the list built for, what was the intention of the people that got on that list. You’re not gonna send for — you’re not gonna send people that got on to a weight loss list, internet marketing offers.

Anthony: No, absolutely. Absolutely. So yeah, you know, you stick to the kind of the thing the way they signed up and how they came in, etcetera. So yeah, I say with what you’ve got there, that’s what people signed up for. That’s what they’ve been conditioned for. That’s what they know will like entrust you for. So, I would sort of stick with what you’re doing it for sure.

Mike: Once you get a list that’s — that’s bigger and you’re commanding, let’s say you’re commanding 200 clicks a day. And you’ve got someone that’s maybe you’re — you’ve sold 2 100 clicks — 2 100-click solo ads. How are you able to do it? So, how are you able to kinda of segment it or divide it so that you’re like okay, I’m gonna send you a hundred clicks and you a hundred clicks. Is there a way to do that?

Anthony: Yeah, I mean. When you’re first starting out — basically, this is what I intended to do is we all sort of hear about the list. Um, you know, I had that 93,000 list. I had about 14 or 15 different lists. And I knew roughly what each one could generate, the number of clicks. So you know, I’d probably send — if somebody bought a solo ad that you know — I don’t know, let’s say somebody bought a 500-click solo ad, for argument’s sake. You know, I know that if I send to the list No. 1, 7, 9 and 12, I’d hit those 500. So, I didn’t need to send to everybody. So, you can send — that’s the beauty. If you’ve got all those segments, you got all these different lists. And you know roughly how many clicks they generate, you can sell 3 or 4 solo ads a day and send them to different segments of the list and you’re not hammering your list because, you know, they’re not getting in all of those offers. So, that’s sort of is a good one. Again, you’re not hammering people, you’re not sending again and again and again. You’re just sort of sending one email to them but you could sell 3 or 4 solo ads a day.

Mike: Yeah. I was also thinking like okay, you could — the way that you build a list, you could definitely segment out the list, like maybe you have one that are people that are interested in Youtube — making money on Youtube. We’ve got one where people are interested in making on Facebok and one on Twitter. And if you could kind of — the way that you build it, segment it out a little bit there, then you’re gonna have much more of a general — much more of an idea that okay, this person wants to buy solo ad about making money on Youtube. So, I’m pretty sure that this list right here is gonna be pretty responsive to it. I’ll send it to this list first. If it doesn’t get enough clicks then, okay, then I’d send it out to the this other list and see how many clicks that gets. Is that something that you might do?

Anthony: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, when I — when I first had this solo ads business, the first time around, I had products about creating PLR products — you know how to absolutely create your own product from PLR. I had about making money from Twitter, about Facebook ads, about how to just in general set up online. So, there was sort of a lot of different things. There is also actually, there’s a piece of software that somebody showed me yesterday. It’s on the FSO, Forum Special Offers. Um, I haven’t gone to look — I haven’t bought it but I’m seriously considering buying it based on — it’s a piece of software that when you said something out, when you send a link out to somebody, then you can actually take them and put them into another list. So, if I have just a ge — if I like have whole list of people that those who, you know they come — let’s say, a hundred thousand list. And I wanted to send an offer to you about Youtube, then what I can do is I can create a list about Youtube, send it to those people who might, who might subscribe so that I can send it to them. If they click on that link, they’ll get transferred to another list within my business but it is just —

Mike: How nice.

Anthony: — about that product. So, I haven’t — I literally — somebody showed it to me yesterday, I’ve been so busy, I haven’t gotten the chance to go and buy it. But to me, that’s — that’s pretty cool. Then you could then, you may — you may have built it through one product but internally within your business, you could segment it. Talking about that, that’s pretty cool.

Mike: What do you recommend? Do you recommend AWeber to get response? What are you using? Anthony: I use AWeber.
Mike: AWebber.

Anthony: I just — I just have it a really long time and I just find it deliverability. I’ve tried a lot of different um, you know, autoresponders out there and they’re okay but AWeber is what I always preferred. That’s my sort of autoresponder of choice, shall we say.

Mike: Now, I’d like to — to transition now to your Operation Solo WSO.
Anthony: Yeah.
Mike: Can you tell us a little bit about what that is and what people would be getting if they decide to purchase that?

Anthony: Yeah. Basically, I got today — I’ve signed in to do this coaching. It was in my mind once I’ve sort of finished with Alex. I then actually phoned up – did a, did a product with Daegan Smith actually as well. It’s sort of come from the relationship with him. And did some training with him. And I’ve decided I wanted to run sort of a course and do something and I was chatting to a gentleman by the name of Igor Kheifets. And Igor is a very big solo ad seller. I’ve known him Igor for a few years now and just through the business basically. And we got chatting and he said, “Yeah. I do fancy doing something together”. So, that’s what we did. We did sort of put

together a Mind Map and just like that. We sort of did a conversation, presentation, chats, etcetera; which like everything he and I seemed to do together, completely overran. It was supposed to be 30 minutes that you see, it went on for about 90.

Mike: Yeah. I mean, I went through — you sent it over to me before the interview and I, I opened it up t. And you and I were supposed to do this interview — it’s on Monday. I think it’s Wednesday now.

Anthony: Yeah.

Mike: And I looked at it and I was just like Anthony, I need a little more time. I can’t just kinda look this over. I need to actually go through and watch this whole thing. So yeah, it’s definitely — I got a lot of content to it.

Anthony: Oh. Yeah, just basically, it was step-by-step showing people the kind of thing they need to do. It’s a good sort of overview of the business and what to expect and how to sort of get started, etcetera.

Mike: What do you think — if from your perspective, what do you think makes it different from all the other programs out there, teaching people how to do solo ads?

Anthony: I think the main thing is that — from a training point-of-view, if you sort of take the content to one side from the actual training point-of-view, despite — this is the really strange thing, okay? How long it took me to get anywhere online. My job offline for 20 years is, was business development, coaching, training, showing people how to develop businesses and how to build their businesses offline. I worked for sort of three sort of big companies here in the UK. And that’s the real strange thing about it. There I was online. It was almost like I removed my business brain and I sort of chase shiny objects that —

Mike: It happens sometimes. People when they get online, they turn into a different personality. Like, in normal life you would never go up to someone and ask them for anything. And then, you get online and people are like how many emails have you had from people? Begging you to teach them this or asking them to give you something for free. Or send this out for me, blah, blah, blah. When in normal life, they wouldn’t do it. So, it’s definitely different.

Anthony: Yeah. No, it’s strange. From the training point-of-view — I mean, that’s what I’ve done. You know I’m not an expert factory worker or car breaker or you know, something like that and I was expecting everybody to be doing their job. My background is in training. So, I know how to set things up. I know how to sort of convey things to people and how to sort of to lay that out from the point-of-view. So basically, they’d be in-trained by a professional because that’s what I consider myself as – what I’ve done. But similarly, I’m coaching something that I have done myself, in my business. And when I got Igor on board, that was great because Igor — Igor and I, we’re always very, very um you know, sort of at the very similar level. But I sold the business and he’s obviously sort of carried on. And he still rips me about selling the business. He’s still, “I can’t believe you sell the business”. So um but you know, it was the right thing for me to do at that time. So, these two people today that I’m coaching that who know — you know, we’ve done it. We’ve been there, we’ve done it, we’ve got teachers so to speak. Um, so that’s the beauty of it. We’ve both done the business and the coaching side of things. That’s what I’ve done for a long time.

Mike: So if someone buys it, I mean, is it pretty much — what we’ve discussed today is how to set up a solo ad selling business. So pretty much, what I got out of it is I learned, when I watched I learned a lot about just the little things and some of the step that we talked about today. The things that for you might — for you Anthony, might be a given, it might be obvious but you went over it in a way that makes it for someone like myself who doesn’t have the experience, I was able to actually understand it a lot more. So, that’s one thing that I really got out of that. But before we kind of wrap it up here today. Is there anything that you wanted to mention or to cover that we might not have touched on?

Anthony: Um, I think we’ve covered on — I think we’ve covered sort of most things. What — the final thing I would sort of say to people is build the list. Always concentrate on the building of the list. The solo ads sales, that kinda thing, basically they’re a by- product of having a list. And I know we’ve done, so people watching this before get sick of hearing this expression “The money is on the list”. But you know, it is. A lot of people I speak to you know, tried things like Google and Affiliate Sites and this kinda thing and I’ve never sort of got anywhere. Or they were doing really well and all of a sudden you know, Google released some sort of black and white animal and you know, wham. It’s gone. The whole lots gone for all of them. And they weren’t building a list. They were just sending it to other people’s products. But the beauty of things this is once — whether you decide to do solo ads or not, this is just a general list building, you know, tip. It’s once you have somebody’s email address and you got that backed up in your hard drive, they can’t be taken away from you. So that really is key to people who have got that. And I would say, you know, within the solo ads business, that is the key. It’s always building a list. Always look and think how will this affect the list? How will this affect the growing of it? How will it help sort of speed it up? Etcetera. And this is to say, the money will come. So, I will say, you know, this is something Alex has sort of said to me a lot of times, it’s don’t chase the money, let the money chase you. Now, I’m putting yourself in the way

of money. And it’s absolutely right. So if you build a funnel and you start driving traffic through it, you get it converting, the money is just the — again, it’s just the by-product of having that funnel. And then, the back-end, the solo ads, the clicks are coming. It’s just something else you can do with your list. But always, this is to say my main advice is always think about building a list. Make that your No. 1 priority without a shot of a doubt.

Mike: Awesome, Anthony. Thank you so much for coming on today and sharing your wisdom and your story with us. We’ll obviously have links to Operation Solo in the show notes on mikefrommaine.com. If people wanna get in touch with you or to perhaps buy a solo from you or swap with your whatever, where can they reach you at?

Anthony: Ah well, in terms of the solo ads, it’s sort of building a new business, it’s anthonytilley.com/solomailings and you’ll see there — you’ll sort of see the page there and get in contact with us that way.

Mike: Awesome. Thanks again.

Anthony: Alright, no problem. Take care.

Mike: I hope you enjoyed the interview with Anthony. If you’re interested in starting your own solo ads business and starting from the ground up and get into a point where you’re making $300 a day, you can check out his Operation Solo. It’s mikefrommaine.com/operationsolo. As always, thank you for watching and I will see you all tomorrow.

  • February 21, 2013
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