"TIFFERS" (The INNER Forum members) get a HUGE 60% off of ANY S.T.F ad. You can become a TIFFER" here!
The following are some of the Frequently Asked Questions on advertising opportunities within the "Straight Talker's Forum".
1. Q. What kinds of ads do you offer?
A. SOLO ads and CLASSIFIED ads. SOLOS come in four versions:
4. Personalized AND Optimized.
Classifieds are located at the top, middle and bottom of the newsletter. You can see a sample of the newsletter here.
2. Q. What's the difference between the "basic" and the other versions and why should I buy those?
A. "Personalized" simply means adding the prospect's name into your header and ad. Studies show that responses increase dramatically when people are addressed by their names.
"Optimized" means that we're going to check and "cosmetically" adjust your ad, (only if need be) so that it stands the best chance of making it through to your prospects, by satisfying the anti spam filters.
What I mean by "cosmetically" is ... we're NOT going to make any dramatic changes to your ad ... afterall it's YOUR ad copy! We're just going to adjust certain "trigger" words that you may have, which may have lessened your ad's chances of making it into your prospects' inboxes.
After that, we email you the "Optimized" version for your final approval before we run the ad. Read this article to learn more about why you might want to optimize your ad.
I ran a solo a few weeks ago for RAD, & had (for me) great success. 270 clicks, 80 odd subscribers. My question....what's your opinion on running subsequent solos? Good idea? Should I keep the same ad? Change it? Change the subject? Any ideas welcomed.
I did the reccomend thing, (there's only 8 field not 10 too!...Kind of a pain in the a... as you have to go in twice) Looking forward to my ebook.
3. Q. Are there any limitations as far as ads are concerned?
A. There are no space limitations on SOLO ads ... They can be as long as you want. However I've found that shorter is better. You want to say just enough to get folks to respond but not so much that they get bored or can't be bothered to read your ad all together! :o)
Classified ads have a space limit of 8 ACTUAL TEXT LINES (of up to 65 characters or spaces) which will INCLUDE a headline and URL and/or email address. Empty lines between paragraphs do not count towards that limit.
4. Q. Are there any restrictions?
A. All Service and Opportunity ads are accepted ... except those that are hateful, illegal or adult in nature.
5. Q. What is a SOLO ad?
A. SOLO ADS (sometimes called "Exclusive" ads) are ads that are sent out by themselves to our entire database in a "standalone" email. This means that YOUR offer does not compete with other information OR other ads. (As is the case with classified ads) This fact alone makes SOLO ads the most effective form of email advertising ... period.
6. Are these the same as "SAFE LIST" Solos?
A. No, no and an emphatic NO! My Solos are "Ezine Solos". In my seven years plus of full time online marketing experience, I have used probably every type or kind of email advertising there is. There are a few "methods" which call themselves Solo advertising. One of these that comes to mind is the "Safelist" types.
While these are Solo ads in the technical sense in that your ad is sent out ALONE or "SOLO" to each prospect on the "safelist", people on that "list" have a "vested advertising interest" in being a "member" of that safelist.
On the other hand, the traditional "classic" Solo ad is sent out to "ezine/newsletter subscribers" who do not have such a "vested advertising interest". These are the folks who tend to OPT IN to a list because they're interested in the INFORMATION that being on that list may offer. Eg: Ezine/newsletter articles etc. Their response to offers are dramatically better than a safelist's response.
Let me try to make this clearer and simpler. The person that joins a "safelist" is typically a marketer or advertiser just like you. Therefore he does NOT make the best prospect simply because he is SELLING something just like you. No disrespect to Safelist owner/publishers, but I have found "safelist" responses to be poor at best and mediocre at worst.
Another thing that is not widely known about safelist advertising is that typically many of the same names make up the database of a "safelist vendor". In other words you may see that you can advertise to "X" thousands of people for just "X" dollars. However that "X" number is in many instances the same people duplicated because typically the same people join many safelists.
Another point to consider. While I would be the first to agree that price is not necessarily an indication of value, common sense would dictate that any advertising that you can get to an enormous amount of people for a few bucks, must be viewed with some skepticism. :)
Please understand that I'm not bashing "safelist" advertising here. (Many of my friends and colleagues are safelist vendors! :)
I just want to make CLEAR the distinction between Ezine Solo advertising and Safelist Solo advertising. Having said that I think like every other source of advertising, SafeLists have their benefits. This is evidenced by the fact that they have been around for longer than I can remember. IMHO if you have a product or service that is targeted strictly towards MARKETERS, then it may well be viable.
7. Q. I know Solo advertising works but I've had some REALLY poor results from various sources in the past, what kind of results should I expect from yours?
A. Well, I'm known as a "Straight Talker" (hence the name of my ezine! :) so I'm gonna be "straight" with you. It is virtually impossible for anyone to predict the kind of results they will or "should" get from ANY database. This is because there are many factors which can affect your results. Some are:
- Proper targeting
- Effective headlines
- Effective ad copy
- Getting through today's overzealous spam filters
Unfortunately even if you get those things right you could still fall victim to a phenomenon I call "subscriber padding". This is where unscrupulous publishers inflate their subscriber database numbers in order to make their service seem more attractive. So when you think that your Solo is going out to X number of people it's actually going out to a lot less.
8. Q. Is there any way for me to verify or know that my ad IS going out to the actual amount of people stated in your database?
A. I can totally appreciate where you're coming from. As an advertising purchaser myself, I have the same concerns as I too have been burned in the past.
However I guess you'll just have to take my word for it! :o) I don't know of any way that you can know unless I turn my database over to you! You may know my E-zine has been in business since 2000. It has taken a lot of effort to have a REAL subscriber base of 16,000+. Besides my credibility is worth too much to me to risk over advertising revenue, by misleading people.
A 2.5% CTR in THIS day and age of spam filters etc? Amazing! Count me in as a repeat advertiser! Bill West.
If you've been with me for any length of time, you'll also know that offering advertising in my newsletter is relatively new, so I certainly don't depend on it as a revenue source. As such it would NOT make sense to risk my reputation for that kind of return! :o)
In addition ... IF there is any money to be made selling advertising, it's from repeat business. That means SATISFIED advertisers who buy ads over and over again. If I were to mislead my advertisers they certainly wouldn't purchase again!
9. Q. How often are SOLO ADS mailed out and how soon does my SOLO go out ... after my order is placed?
A. SOLO ADS are only sent out TWICE a week on Mondays and Wednesdays to my entire database of subscribers. This is to ensure that my advertisers get the maximum response to their ads. Orders for any Ad are taken on a "First PAID, first served" basis, so the next available slot which would depend on "when" you order and how many ads are "ahead" of you.
10. Q. Do I get a confirmation when my AD actually runs?
A. Yes, as soon as I finish the mailing I send you a confirmation email.
11. Q. Who are these potential recipients? In other words ... Are they already webmasters/business owners or just *regular* folk just now looking to start their own businesses?
A. Business opportunity seekers, relative beginners. People who are looking to start their own home based business are the majority. The best price range of products that sell well so far falls in the $20 - $80 range. Anything over that is out of reach for most.
Ok, Colin ... yours is the MOST responsive list I've ever advertised to. I'd lke to think that it's my ad, but I suspect that it's your subscribers! :-) Nigel Harris.
12. Q. How and where do you get your subscribers from? Are these people from FFA pages or garnered through contests etc?
A. My subscribers are STRICTLY "opt in". I get my subs the "hard way" (smile) in that they are not "bought", "bartered" for, gotten through "swaps" etc. Nor are they enticed to sign up for the "wrong reasons" such as through contests or because they're offered monetary incentives to do so. They sign up at various websites of mine, ezine directories and ezine announcement sites ... or they may have responded to articles that I've written. Because of this they are much more responsive than subs acquired in the other ways mentioned.
13. Q. Do I come up with the subject heading for my SOLO AD that your subscribers will see in their email subject field or will do you do that? If I do ... do you put anything along with my header or is it going to be my header EXCLUSIVELY in their subject field?
A. You come up with your own header. One of the most important things in email advertising is your heading and that's especially true of SOLO ADS! I certainly wouldn't want to lessen your chances of success by putting a generic header to your ad. Your heading will be exclusively shown except if you purchase a personalized ad of course!
If it was a "Personalized Solo" and your ad header was ...
Make money reading emails!
Then it would look like this ...
(Subscriber's name here), make money reading emails!
Keep in mind however your heading should be
restricted to up to 64 characters or spaces.
14. Q. Does the "amount" of recipients that you advertise my SOLO to make up different ezines or one list? If so do the email ads look like they're coming from those ezines or from your company?
A. One list.
15. Q. Does my AD go out to all your subscribers at the same time or is it staggered over a period of time in batches? If so what period of time is it spread over and how many per batch?
A. All at the same time ... probably over a period of an hour or two.
16. Q. Why do you allow so much space for classifieds when most other ezines have a space limitation of only THREE lines?
A. Hey, I want to give you the BEST chance of success ... that way you'll continue buying from me! :-) Besides, you will have noticed that those ezines have TONS of classifieds in them. I guess they have to keep them short so as to fit as many as possible into the ezine!
Buying a classified in ezines like that is quite frankly, a waste of time. I have experienced rediculous numbers like FIVE responses to a classified ad that I've placed in ezines with as much as 250,000 subscribers! Talk about a "LOST AD"!
Dear Mr Moses,
As someone relatively new to advertising online, I've always heard that SOLO ADS are the most effective. Since yours seem to be among the most affordable for comparable sized lists, I decided to take a chance. I have to tell you that based on the amount of responses that I've gotten to my opportunity, I now believe the hype about solos! I'll be ordering again soon. T James Sinclair.
Therefore my CURRENT policy is to accept only THREE classifieds in any one issue of S.T.F so that all three ads WILL be seen. The only reason I see this policy changing is if the waiting period for a classified to run is becoming too long as to be unacceptable.
17. Q. What's the procedure for buying and submitting my ad?
A. It's very simple! We take all major credit cards through "PayPal", so just send payment for the particular type of ad that you're purchasing by clicking the corresponding payment button at the end of this page.
After that email me your ad copy to firstname.lastname@example.org with one of the following subject headers in your email subject heading and I'll get back to you with a payment confirmation, and the date that your ad will run!
- "Basic SOLO AD purchase"
- "Personalized SOLO AD purchase"
- "Optimized SOLO AD purchase"
- "Personalized AND Optimized SOLO AD purchase"
- "TOP SPONSOR classified ad purchase"
- "MIDDLE or FEATURED classified ad purchase"
- "BOTTOM slot classified ad purchase"
My goodness! Where do you get your subscribers from?! Even your classified ads within your newsletter pull well! I guess that's because there's only three per issue as opposed to every other newsletter that I'm subscribed to. By the way ... thank you for your excellent customer service. There's nothing that builds credibility like great customer service! So many times I've written marketers with inquiries and NOTHING, no response. The way you dealt with me is a refreshing change!
18. Q. Don't have a PayPal account yet?
A. NO PROBLEM! To sign up for a free account with them, you can do so through this link.
19. Q. Don't want to sign up for a PayPal account? STILL NO PROBLEM! :)
Paypal allows you to use a Credit Card and even Debit Card (depending on your location) for purchases without a Paypal account. Its the same as using one at any location, PayPal handles the transaction instead of one of the other processing companies. Just use the PayPal button below whether you want to use your PayPal account or your Credit or Debit card!
20. Q. What are your ad rates?
A. Affordable rates (subject to change based on demand) at ...
- $97.00 for a "Basic SOLO AD"
- $107.00 for a "Personalized SOLO AD"
- $117.00 for an "Optimized SOLO AD"
- $127.00 for a "Personalized AND Optimized SOLO"
- $25.00 for a "SPOTLIGHT" classified ad.
- $20.00 for a "MIDDLE SPONSOR" classified ad.
- $15.00 for a "BOTTOM SPONSOR" classified ad.
Since these rates can change without notice, please check for current rates EVERY TIME you intend to purchase an ad by re-visiting this page.
21. What is your "wait time" for my Solo to run?
We're typically booked up at least two to three weeks in advance. However depending on if I recently had one of my "Seasonal Solo Sales" (which I hold for my "The Inner Forum" members) we can be booked for up to a month and a half in advance because of the popularity of these sales!
On the other hand some clients have been lucky and gotten runs dates that are within a couple days of ordering because of the timing of their order. In any event, it is best to write me directly to ask about the CURRENT wait time. I advise people to buy ASAP to lock in your run date since I run Solos on a "First PAID, first run" basis.
22. Q. Do you have a "refund policy"?
A. Unfortunately because of the very nature of advertising, we do NOT offer refunds. This is also the policy of 99.9999% of all ezines out there.
When I say "because of the very nature of advertising" I mean a successful ad is dependant on so many factors beyond my control. Some of which are:
- Proper targeting
- Effective headlines
- Effective ad copy
- Effective website sales copy
- Good product
- Proper product pricing ... etc, etc, etc!
These are all out of our control and strictly within YOURS, so unfortunately that's the reason we can't guarantee an ad's success. As a matter of fact, I'd advise you to be very wary of advertisers that make claims or "guarantees" that you will get a particular response from their list.
Your purchase of an advert constitutes your understanding and agreement to our strict "No Refund" policy.
23. Q. Can I get my ads sent in Html?
A. We have "rich text" capability but we prefer to sent out our ads in plain text. Our experience has shown that this format is less likely to be filtered. So I guess the short answer is no ... sorry.
Hi Colin ...
Here's the results of my campaign so far (responses are still coming in as we speak!) 430 responses and 38 sales! That's a CTR of 4.3% and a CR of EIGHT POINT THREE PERCENT!
Now I know that the sales are not necessarily the measuring stick to use in evaluating a good list cause of the variables that we all know are involved with advertising. The fact that I was selling a really cheap product no doubt had something to do with the incredible closing ratio that I'm experiencing. However having said that this was for a product to do with getting discount GROCERIES! In other words completely untargeted because your list is made up of business opp seekers!
So why did I buy the ad in the first place you ask? :-) Well, quite frankly like so many other marketers I'd run out of effective lists to advertise to and I figured EVERYONE wants cheap groceries! I'm an affiliate for a bunch of products and am always scouring the net for good places to buy SOLOS from. Thank goodness I found yours. The fact that you were listed in the "Yahoo" of all Ezine directories (The Directory Of Ezines - D.O.E) gave some credibiity but what really convinced me was you FAQ'S on your newsletter's website.
It covers all the concerns that I have had when searching for credible lists to advertise to. As a matter of fact some of your questions are the very ones that I have asked other advertisers in the past!
Another thing. You offering to edit ads so that they make it through those darn filters now is awesome! I have never come across anyone else who offers that as a service. In my opinion that is CRUCIAL in these days where the size of a publishers list doesn't matter if a large percentage of their subs are never seeing your ad because it gets filtered before it even gets to their inboxes! I could go on and on (and I have! :-) but hey I'm excited! After all I've made a profit so far of $100 on a FIVE dollar product! George Petersen.
Ok, I just HAD to add THAT testimonial! Wow! I guess everyone DOES want cheap groceries! :-) Having said that I sure that George's sales CR is unique expecially since his ad was not targeted, however apparently his CTR (the ratio of people who visit) is not unique. (BTW this was when we had about 10,000 subs) So? What are you waiting for? Order yours now by using the buttons lower down this page! :-)
PLEASE NOTE: If using PayPal, when you get to the last screen which says "Payment Sent" ... you are NOT DONE. MAKE SURE you click the "continue" link in the lower right corner - do NOT just close the window! (it is the second "continue" you will see).