How Much Traffic Do You Need To Make Your First Sale Online?

A question I am frequently asked when my students put up their first website goes something like this…

“How many visitors do I need to get before I make my first sale online?”

“sales conversion” or the percentage of people who visit the site who will make a purchase.

Now this is a damn tough question to answer because there are so many variables that come into play that can be affecting this number.

One of these variables is your sales process:

  • Do you have a good sales letter?
  • Do you have a good offer?
  • Is your offer competitive?

Your Conversion Depends on Your Traffic Source

The second variable that has a big impact is the source of your traffic. Different traffic sources have different conversion ratios, so you should expect different results from different traffic.

For example, affiliate traffic is a quality source of traffic.

If you are getting traffic through an affiliate who is endorsing you and encouraging readers to buy your products and that affiliate has a strong relationship with their list and their readers, then you can expect a very high conversion ratio.

In fact, the highest conversion ratios I have ever seen have come from affiliate marketing.

The second highest quality as far as conversion rate goes will come from Google organic traffic.

That doesn’t include Adwords, because that is paid traffic. But in my experience, a visitor from an organic search in Google will convert exponentially higher than a visitor from a paid ad.

My point is that numerous different traffic sources will affect your conversion ratio, so you need to take that factor into consideration.

So if you go out and do some advertising and buy a whole bunch of unqualified junk traffic, you will likely see your conversion plummet.

If you are finding you make 1 sale for every 20 visitors from affiliates, you may well see that it takes 500 visitors from junk traffic before you make a sale.

Social media is a good example of this, as a lot of marketers have tried and failed to get good conversions from social media traffic.

So at the end of the day, there is no one right answer to this question because so many variables impact it.

So What Should Your Conversion Rate Be?

What I want to do is answer this question based on the assumption that the following facts are true:

  • You have a good sales process
  • You’ve done your market research and you know you have demand
  • You have a good sales letter or sales video
  • Your website is functional and working well
  • You have a targeted traffic source (you are using Adwords or you are ranked well organically)

Assuming those factors are true, I’ll tell you the number I generally tell people to shoot for when they are starting a new website.

But before I throw those numbers out there, I want to make a “disclaimer” that these are average numbers that I’ve gleaned through experience with working with numerous different businesses over the last 15 years on the Internet.

This is by no means a strict rule, rather it is a benchmark for you to measure a new website against.

As your website develops and you get more traffic, you’ll be able to set your own benchmarks to measure against within your niche.

What I mean by that is that once you have a thousand visitors to your website, those stats become your control group. That is what I do with my sites – once I have a thousand visitors, I use the number of sales I’ve gotten to create my benchmark.

For example, if I get 15 sales from my first thousand visitors, I calculate:

15/1,000 = 1.5% conversion rate

Now I want to start…

  • Adjusting
  • Tweaking
  • Fine-tuning

…my website and my traffic sources to try to increase that benchmark.

What I do is make a change and then leave it for a period and wait for another thousand visitors to come to the site and see if conversion increases.

You can get more advanced and do split testing, but I’ll save that for another video.

What I want to do is give you a baseline that you can use with your new website.

The best way to break down the baseline is by price point. This is because lower priced products typically range within a certain conversion ratio and as the price point rises, the conversion drops slightly.

This isn’t true for all niches, but on average I’ve found that this is the way it works.

So let’s take a look at benchmark conversion ratios by price point:

  • Up to $100 = 2% – 3% (2 – 3 sales for every 100 visitors)
  • $100 – $250 = 0.5% – 1.5%

If your site is under these rates, then you need to make sure you have the basics right because something isn’t working.

If you’re way over these rates, give yourself a pat on the back!

If you’re really close to the rates, then you’re doing well but there is room for improvement over time with some fine tuning.

Of course, as I said, traffic sources play a large role in this. I’ve seen $1,000 products converting at 7% because all of the traffic was strong referral traffic. But if you sent regular, unqualified traffic to the same site you could easily see virtually no conversion at all.

For products over about $250, conversion becomes more difficult and a direct sales process doesn’t generally work well. At that price point you need to establish a sales funnel and nurture your lead to conversion.

This is something that can apply to lower price points as well. You can get traffic into your funnel and start building a relationship. The stronger your relationship with your audience, the higher your price point gets.

But that’s a discussion for another day!

What I want to give you today is just a benchmark so you know what you should expect with a new website.

Are these numbers absolute? No way!

But they are a good reference point to start from so you know if things are going well.

So remember, once you have 500 – 1,000 visitors, use your conversion rate to establish your control and compare it to the numbers I’ve given you.

Then, continue to fine-tune to increase conversion.

make-your-first-sale-online-300x300I’ve given you averages, but everyone can be better than average!

It just takes a little bit of hard work and testing.

Good luck, hope you learned something!

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  1. I have always wondered when someone was going to ask that question and you seemed brave enough to answer it. if you are a newbie how much cash should you have to build all this organic traffic and the site to which the traffic will be taken?

  2. Nice. I’m nowhere near that percentage yet, but I’m not too far along in my internet marketing journey. Still learning lots of stuff on how to tweak my sites for more traffic and conversion. You give great information about the goals I should aim for. Thanks.

  3. Tough question indeed but I think Derek gave a very decent answer for newbies to start with. There are lots to learn from you and we all look forward to more really useful insights that you are willing to share with all. Have a great holiday!

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