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Wednesday, Jun. 3, 2009 at 9:27 am

How Many Potential Buyers Are Visiting Your Website?

By Bryan Eisenberg
June 3rd, 2009

Yesterday, Jeff Sexton blogged about the importance of watching your cost per visitor (CPV) and revenue per visitor (RPV) trends. One of the best ways to get a handle on optimizing these key performance indicators is to get a better sense of your traffic mix.

Instead of looking at your traffic by what marketing efforts are bring the most amount of visitors and converting best, look at your visitor mix as a starting point.

There are 3 types of visitors who can come to your website:

1. Buyers – you know who they are because they converted to a sale or lead.

2. Potential Buyers – these are visitors who are in the market for what you offer, but for any number of possible reasons, don’t buy. They may be at earlier stages in the buying process, doing research to sell it internally, not adequately persuaded, driven away by bad usability, etc. The upshot is, there are countless number of changes/improvements you can test and make to bump these visitors from potential into actual buyers.

3. Disqualified Traffic – these are visitors who wouldn’t buy no matter what (maybe they arrived to your website by accident – they typed shingles and were looking for the medical condition not what you put on roofs, or maybe they don’t have the type of budget your product or service needs, etc.).

On a typical website, 3% of visitors are Buyers and the other 97% is distributed among the Potential Buyers and Disqualified traffic. You should be asking yourself these 2 key questions:

1. Of your non-buyers what percent are potential buyers? And how can you increase those?

2. What marketing efforts are bringing ample amounts of traffic, but with poor quality traffic – i.e., what’s driving a disproportionate amount of disqualified traffic?

Your web analyst should be able to tell you the answers to these questions.

The opportunity to increase sales is in:

  • understanding that 97% of non-buying traffic better,
  • bringing in less Disqualified traffic and more Potential Buyers, and
  • More effectively turning those Potential Buyers into Buyers.

For example, if you look at the top converting retail websites, one of the key reasons they have such high conversion rates (way above 3%) is their intense focus on bringing back repeat customers. Note: You should subscribe to each of their newsletters to see some of what they are doing!

What you should do next:

  1. Find your expert (if you have them) and coordinate their efforts to get it done.
  2. Educate your team and then coordinate their efforts to get it done.
  3. This is what we do, if you would like you can talk to us.
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Comments (146)

  1. I totally agree. I am into the affiliate business, and I have a lot of “Potential Buyers”, who will return, when (and if) they have decided to buy. So you just have to make sure, they take the right decision.

  2. How would your web analyst be able to tell you what percentage of your non-buyers are potential buyers?

  3. There are several criteria that we use including reviewing keyword/search visits but ultimately it is in reviewing visitor activity and clearly defining criteria for each.

  4. Interested to know what those criteria are, seems to me like you could have an interested user landing on a product page and bouncing due to some on site issue or just because they dont want to buy at that time. Maybe in that case they have a good time on site? It just seems a little grey to me

  5. Having the right tools for this is critical. Generally speaking, web analytics tools aren’t going to give you this type of insight into your visitors. Without it, however, finding where the real issues are becomes much more of a guessing game.

    If you can see a marketing effort isn’t bringing buyers, it is pretty clear what to do–kill it. If a marketing effort is bringing potential buyers that aren’t buying, the issue is with the content failing to persuade them. The gray area in all of this is the people behind each visitor. Even those that have the potential to buy still have different motivations, personalities, and objections.

    If the objective is more leads or more sales, FutureNow’s OnTarget is the only solution that has the right ingredients: the Persuasion Architecture methodology that provides the framework for persuading; the critical tools that uncover who visitors are and why they aren’t being persuaded; and the human expertise to analyze and convert that into the specific direction needed to fix it. Not to shamelessly promote it, but check it out!

  6. How do you monitor all these visitors? I use analytics and it helps a lot. I just started reading your blog and my question could sound dumb now.

  7. Has anybody experimented with “pop away” boxes. You know those annoying boxes when you leave a website that throw a popup in front of you and make you fill out a question before leaving? Seems like a horrible annoyance to me, but I wonder if it provides those merchants using it special insight into why customers are leaving? Is it worth it?

  8. This is a great article.

    It made me realize that sure if I have 100 visitors coming to my site using the word tea (we sell chai tea) and out of 100, 95 leave the site without looking at another page, that should be a reason for me to not use that particular keyword, even though it brings a lot of traffic.

    TRaffic is easy to get, converting traffic is where the money is ;)

    Property Man: I would suggest using a survey tool by http://www.4qsurvey.com/ its less invasive and I’ve been able to gather a lot of feedback from visitors. I will not use a PopUp.

  9. I completely agree.The most important thing in online business is the Potential Buyers.IF you are not getting any than all of your efforts are in VAIN.All your Internet Marketing Efforts should be focused on getting Potential Buyers than other Stuff.

  10. [...] a search engine and they were looking for roof repairs and not skin conditions. This is obviously a disqualified visitor. Did they try to purchase fromm your website and something went wrong? Did they have problems [...]

  11. [...] How Many Potential Buyers Are Visiting Your Website? [...]

  12. [...] Bryan Eisenberg, “How Many Potential Buyers Are Visiting Your Website? Grokdotcom, June 3, 200… Share and [...]

  13. [...] Eisenberg recently wrote a post entitled “How many potential buyers are visiting your website?”  In his post, he suggests that once you filter out the 3% of visitors who convert, the [...]

  14. According to my stats, about %40 of my purchases are from returning users – a pretty important thing to notice in your conversion rates.

  15. The percentage of disqualified visitor is always negligible and yes increasing traffic also increases potential buyers if not buyers.

  16. Organic traffic is the key.Spending on advertising and not getting much potential buyers is a loss.Well the number of potential buyers does not represent the true story of your success.It is the number of conversions which matters.

  17. great article, which explain traffic troubles but i would say always Organic traffic right way to get more visitors.

  18. If you have some quality traffic and some good exposure for your products i think that you casn improve your RPV a lot.

    You must not forget that the people who read you and get on your site are always looking for something, (excepting those that got there by accident) so the key is to sell them what they want and what their searching for.

  19. The most difficult part isn’t knowing how to do all this, it’s actually *doing* the work to get those customers, brainwave entrainment

  20. That´s the most important question to do! I have seen often people optimizing their sites for a very generic keywords, with little relevance for their business. The majority of people are interested only by the volume of searches generated, but forget the conversions. Therefore, we see sites with good traffic, but with low conversions and high bounce rates.

  21. Joseph, that’s a lucky case.. you can change things anytime using a good strategy, but investing to start all over again will mean disaster!

  22. Agree with Joseph.. Time again running SEO for people they come to me with generic keywords when the budget and sites focus should not be goig for that. Its up to us to educate though isnt it, and often use the personal data we have to target correctly.

    I use all medium from Twitter to standard Organic SEO for visitors all about the blend for me.

    Jay ‘Little House’

  23. Getting accurate figures are the most important part in the entire process. Ensuring that you are being able to record what is happening with the traffic is the only way you can start towards improving the overall results. Find an expert, that really is the best way and for the cost return when it is done right you can’t go wrong.

  24. For me, it’s all about conversions and focusing on what is working & then trying to replicate what works with new phrases.

  25. I notice that many of the web businesses that do do well have improved their overall rankings and getting to the top of those search lists is the most important part, once you are there the focus has to be on conversion and improvement. I guess without the help of the experts with your promotion it is a bit of a catch 22 to provide the good service if nobody can find you!

  26. I think the best way to improve RPV is to make some constant changes in Your website. But don`t crazy with it, one at a time. Test it, look at the numbers, tweak it, repeat. Observe webpage from top converting retail websites. Man, those webpage are results of years of tweaking. I learn alot from them. Their newsletters are great when you want learn fast from the best.

  27. Getting targeted traffic has to be the most important aspect. If you visitors that are interested in your products then all you need to do is concerntrate on converting them. And like doradztwo said you have to change and tweek things to see what gets the best results.

    Everything taks time online if you want to get it right.

  28. I agree bringing in targeted traffic gives a higher percentage of conversion. Social traffic are pretty useless. In my case, my stats indicated that the hits I got from the longer tails are the ones that are have the higher rate of conversion.

  29. I think you need to plan each website out with all the long tail keywords in place, create a page on each long tail keyword. This creates huge amounts of content which is loved by search engines. If this is all set up correctly then as soon as you start building quality links the traffic will come quickly.

  30. I believe it is a tech and new technology to be tracked.

  31. Best traffic/buyers are coming from google , so for me optimizing your website for google is first step for one website.

  32. Thanks Bryan. I’ve learned quite a bit from maintaining subscriptions with the retailers I find most effective. Seeing the methods they use to coax repeat business has been extremely useful for me in increasing my buyer conversions.

  33. I totally agree with ensuring you get quality traffic to your site, provides better conversions. I always work with long tail, better conversion stats. Local business maps are great for getting instant exposure, if you know how to use them :)

  34. Excellent article.
    this is a good question that you have asked.
    I have seen a lot of people optimized their sites with little relevance for their business.
    Thanks for the sharing

  35. How to check who are buyer or non buyer.

  36. Foolish article

  37. Interesting post. It depends how you track your sales. Do you have a last click method or are you tracking email and phone sales as well. The all effect the cost per sale method.

  38. I do not see why this is a foolish article. I mean without targeted traffic hitting your website you may as well not have a site

  39. There are several criteria that we use including the review of keyword search and visits, but is ultimately in the review of visitor activity and a clear definition of criteria for each.

  40. This is a great article, it speaks the truth about traffic

  41. I have like no buyers on my website – so I wonder if that’s a case of potential buyers not buying or all of my traffic is composed of non-buyers. What do you think?

  42. Well yeah this is great article, not foolish at all. Targeted traffic is extremely important for your website if you want success.

  43. You need to make your marketing strategy according your target audience. You should always try to get the potential user.

  44. Come on LEO LEO LEO :)

  45. Good content and well-presented web page can invite potential buyers on your site.

  46. The percentage of visitors disqualified always yes, and slightly increase the purchasing capacity, if not purchased.

  47. This is a great article.

  48. Always test and measure. Watch the google trifecta video. amazing stuff.

  49. The ROI is 0.1% in my site, really low…

  50. Nobody visits my site. I’m trying to learn how to get people there first. However I have found this article very interesting and I’ve learnt a lot from it.

  51. Well, because each bussiness should be treated different than other, the main thing you have to do to your website is o good tracking tool. You have to see what your visitor wants, where he comes in and where he comes out. Check the keywords, and check how relevant and how convincing is your web page to visitor. And then make changes, results will be in rising the RPV.

  52. I use google analytics content to see from which pages the visitors left and how many visitors check contact page to know they visit by random or really want to buy something

  53. I use analytics from google for my website and I am happy with the way they provide the stats. Then I make the calculation to see how many purchase.

  54. This is a great thing to know, thanks for the help.

  55. Well, studying how an user interact with your website, is the most important think when you are selling things online. People are different and understanding them needs is the key of succes. traking tools tolds a lot about them

  56. The most difficult thing i think is to be able to identify who is a potential buyer. The analysis should always begin with examining the keywords that bring the traffic. Also checking demographics helps.

  57. Thats looks like an interesting idea. I think using different phone numbers and email address also helps track those who have come via your website

  58. Thanks for the great tips!

  59. I noticed that I had a boatload of traffic come back to my site this new year, who previousley must have bookmarked my site during December.

  60. The big question is how do you drive more traffic to your site. Thats the biggest struggle.

  61. It is hard work to turn potential buyers to buyers because 3% of visitors are buyers.

  62. There are several criteria that we use including the review of keyword search and visits, but is ultimately in the review of visitor activity and a clear definition of criteria for each.

  63. it is necessary to analyse the traffic for a website.Not all traffic are qualifed and few around 3% are only qualified.

  64. For a website, the first target to get traffic on its website . once it achievd the goal, it time to analyse the potential visitors on the website where they promote the porducts or the information solutions.

  65. traffic is very important for a website and moreover qualified traffic is also considered to be one of the factor.

  66. thanks for the hard work

  67. For me, it’s all about conversions and focusing on what is working & then trying to replicate what works with new phrases.

  68. CPV & RPV are the show card of your business in a website.It can be improved by attracting targeted traffics.

  69. Its very nice article related to potential visitors to your site, I found it very helpful for me. Thanks for sharing it.

  70. it is very informative shared. Traffic is very important for a website and after that qualified visitors count.

  71. hi mate this is interesting article will make sure I check your posts more often! Really interesting articles.If anybody has an interesting articles you can share with me.Any way Ill be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.thanks for sharing good info.regards,

  72. While this isn’t usually a big issue for investment properties, try to remove all items that are unusual or attract attention to themselves.

  73. well all we know traffic on a website is very important factor. After then, qualified visitors counts apart from the disqualified visitors. It is very important aspect to return the qualified visitors for the website

  74. It is of course very important to bring potential customers to its site to
    just traffic alone will not bring

  75. Getting the traffic on the websitr is very hard job. After then convert the visitors into qualified is the next step.

  76. One way to ensure that you sell your home and you do it fast is to use an auctioneer. They will advertise and hold the auction for you and they will nearly guarantee that your home will sell.

  77. Maketing is one of the effective way by which you can boost your traffic online and you can also get your potential customers. Great info

  78. There are lots of site marketing for online business. Its better which site is genuine and trustworthy and needs to be investigated.

  79. It is very crucial to get traffic on a website so that it can be active. And after then, qualified visitors comes next step to get sell or shared the information.

  80. I always think about how many buyers are actually visiting my site. 3. Disqualified Traffic – these are visitors who wouldn’t buy no matter what (maybe they arrived to your website by accident – they typed shingles and were looking for the medical condition not what you put on roofs, or maybe they don’t have the type of budget your product or service needs, etc.). All the best, Mike

  81. I’m quite surprise that only 3% of the visitors are buyers. I guess that is some kind of average but it should vary for different online business. In this case publishers should focus on how to get Potential Buyers teased so they can return back by the time they are ready to buy. A wish list, Request More Information form or Newsletter Subscription should bring them back.

  82. I am currently facing the issue of traffic not converting…good to read your tips, especially observing the big commerce sites, how they bring back the repeat customers..thanks

  83. On an average,, potential buyers would be 5%. I am guessing. Is there anyway we could improve this ?

  84. The use of analytic to improve the conversion of your site is going to be more and more important. Thanks for highlighting it in this article.

  85. Very interesting article, thanks for sharing it with us! CR and Marketing are essential nowadays and it’s visible that everyone posting here knows about it! :) Keep up the good work!

  86. How would your mesh analyst factor yielding to construe you what ratio of your non-buyers are pow buyers?

  87. its getting the traffic that is most difficult

  88. taken to recognize what those criteria are, seems to me be entertained you could trust an curious user entrance on a deed page further bouncing convenient to some on section come forth or just in that they dont desire to recognize at that case. possibly prestige that case they affirm a apropos juncture on corner? corporeal congruous seems a evident grey to me

  89. Having the seemly tools thanks to this is dangersome. usually speaking, fretwork analytics kit aren’t energy to apportion you this grain of vision recreation your visitors. strayed it, however, finding seat the certain issues are becomes strikingly fresh of a guessing game.

    If you guilt inspect a marketing exercise isn’t bringing buyers, sound is shapely sunshiny what to do–kill sound. If a marketing undertaking is bringing fury buyers that aren’t buying, the occur is dissemble the joy omission to ordain them. The old area direction entire of this is the people overdue each visitor. horizontal those that conceive the draft to settle low-key consider peculiar motivations, personalities, also objections.

    If the unbiased is supplementary leads or additional sales, FutureNow’s OnTarget is the discrete meaning that has the fitting ingredients: the deduction plan making that provides the material as persuading; the perilous tools that originate who visitors are also why they aren’t in that persuaded; and the human skill to get across again abbey that passion the unique rule needful to see to factual. Not to shamelessly survive it, but engage unaffected out!

  90. It shows the importance of good keyword research. You need to look at the intent of the search. Are they looking for information? Are they looking to buy? Is there confusion over the term? Shingles is a good example of this. Shutters is another example. Get you keywords sorted for better conversions.

  91. Well, because each bussiness should be treated different than other, the main thing you have to do to your website is o good tracking tool. You have to see what your visitor wants, where he comes in and where he comes out. Check the keywords, and check how relevant and how convincing is your web page to visitor. And then make changes, results will be in rising the RPV.

  92. This article brings up some interesting points. I had never really thought about people who came across my site when looking for something different.

    I think I will definitely keep a close eye on my stats.

  93. the content I have seen so far and will definitely return to read more later

  94. Very interesting. Reminds me of my old “Porter” books. Same thing – new words. But I am not sure that it might develop the core competence of a website to define mainly the buyer or viewer.

  95. The percentage of disqualified visitor is always negligible and yes increasing traffic also increases potential buyers if not buyers.

  96. Jeez, I don’t know. I am still learning how internet marketing works.

  97. Need marketing efforts in RIGHT area to eye catching for potential buyers. If you plan good strategy will definitely work for you.

    Hotels Rome

  98. Very interesting. Reminds me of my old “Porter” books. Same thing – new words. But I am not sure that it might develop the core competence of a website to define mainly the buyer or viewer.

  99. well…

    On an average,, potential buyers would be 5%. I am guessing. Is there anyway we could improve this ?

  100. Great article. Traffic comes first on my list, but unless it is targetted traffic then there is no point having any.

    Most sites run at about 1% to 20% conversion, sometimes having a great looking site will help.

  101. Well, studying how an user interact with your website, is the most important think when you are selling things online. People are different and understanding them needs is the key of succes. traking tools tolds a lot about them

  102. Each bussiness should be treated different than other, the main thing you have to do to your website is o good tracking tool.

  103. Maketing is one of the effective way by which you can boost your traffic online and you can also get your potential customers.

  104. It’s not by website, it’s by you. You make your website with rich content or interesting with your visitor, they will find you by many ways such as advertising or search engine. It’s how business going on.

  105. Great informative article. Actually all of your articles are quite research types. Anyone follows the tips, surely get much help in net world.
    New York

  106. 97% is an awful lot of non-buyers. I guess it is the truth though…a 3% conversion rate is a target market in some large companies.

  107. Potential buyer will contact you again and again

  108. I think the best way to improve RPV is to make some constant changes in Your website. But don`t crazy with it, one at a time. Test it, look at the numbers, tweak it, repeat. Observe webpage from top converting retail websites. Man, those webpage are results of years of tweaking. I learn alot from them. Their newsletters are great when you want learn fast from the best.

  109. bringing visitors should be the end result of any strategy…………by hook or crook
    fromipad

  110. For the novice webmaster good advice and algorithms. But I would like to read about something new, because in this article are nothing new. I’d like to read any personal secrets:)

  111. Well, studying how an user interact with your website, is the most important think when you are selling things online.

  112. Excellent pointers there. The Google Adwords Keyword Tool is certainly a great tool to start crunching those numbers and I read that in general you can expect a 1% conversion rate. Finding those buying keywords obviously makes a significant difference.

  113. Well yes, you have to find your niche and the keywords for your niche. Then, just build your site around those keywords. Nothing beats SE traffic!

  114. hmm, yeah there are general statistics for about 1% of conversions, but from my experience it is not always so strict rule, it can be some much more on a good site

  115. ocial traffic are pretty useless. In my case, my stats indicated that the hits I got from the longer tails are the ones that are have the higher rate of conversion.

  116. I couldnt agree more, I use google analytics to track and monitor my traffic for potential buyers!

  117. I guess that is some kind of average but it should vary for different online business. A wish list, Request More Information form or Newsletter Subscription should bring them back. I’m quite surprise that only 3% of the visitors are buyers. In this case publishers should focus on how to get Potential Buyers teased so they can return back by the time they are ready to buy.

  118. Good article. Online marketing is one of the effective way by which you can boost your traffic online and you can also get your potential customers.

  119. not to many… I have a website for freelancers… i have many coders, but only few buyers.
    how can i attract them?

  120. nice articel this help me soooo thank uuuuu

  121. Getting traffic in the first place is one thing, but what you want to do as a blogger is have them coming back over and over again. The best way to do this is to create special offers or exciting events.

  122. I would say, gain potential buyers with organic traffic and bid on ‘exact match’ keywords that are searched by the buyers in PPC.

  123. Great article, I will subscribe to the recommended newsletters.

  124. What if your intention was to simpy pass on a message and entice an audience to read something important. I don’t want to sell anything – I just want to convey a message. How should I go about this?

  125. @Doug: Conveying a message is still persuasion. You’re persuading the prospect to give you their time, read your message, and retain it. So, most of the techniques we discuss on this blog should still be valid. The question back to you is: How do you measure success? How can you measure whether your message is getting across?

  126. People trust organic listing much more, but I thin today you have to offer something the make people stay on your site. We have an active blog and forum which encourages visitors.

  127. need an update for 2010, this is old news. Give us an update to this article

  128. Great article on analyzing your traffic. one question: how google analytic tells about who is potential buyer and who is not?

  129. @Flight Simulator Games: Google Analytics (or any analytics product) will NOT tell you who is qualified and who is disqualified. An analyst is needed to help figure that sort of thing out. Each business is unique, and therefore each definition/criteria for disqualified traffic needs to be customized to the business.

  130. the best way to find is to see your sells and in this way you will see how many buyer do you have. Of course that you can ask them where did they heard about your site(maybe using a php form).

  131. use the awastat from your cPanel and you will see there all the visitors and from where they came.

  132. I think there are other ways that cPanel. google webmaster tools is one fine example.

  133. But what if a website has a lot of traffic but a little sales? What can a webmaster do?

  134. The thing is how do you get customers coming back by emailing them without annoying them. To me all email i get about buying something i just delete cuz all they do is take up space

  135. @Civil War Weapons…. start a program of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) to optimize the site for conversion. check out this post for one idea about how to begin.

  136. What tools are you using to monitor your site visitors? Google Analytics? Or do you have a custom solution or other analytics program.

  137. It is very crucial to get traffic on a website so that it can be active. And after then, qualified visitors comes next step to get sell or shared the information.

  138. If you can make use of the ‘disqualified’ traffic then this can be key, for example, adsense and amazon affiliate links convert (in my estimaiton) about 0.025% of this traffic on my blog, which whilst low means I still get some value from the traffic.

  139. I’m trying to optimize my website so the people can find it on search engines and someone told me to post comments on blogs. does this help? i see a lot of people does. aren’t there better ways to promote? or get potential customers to your site?

  140. @Zahnarzt – good question, and thank you for being so direct. ;-) There are many SEO practitioners out there who teach or preach practices such as posting comments or participating in link exchanges (or content creation/articles on your site). This advice is based on search engines’ current algorithms for ranking search results, which do account for such things. The problem as we see it is not so much that you do these things, but how you do these things. There is one word that describes the way some SEO “experts” employ these practices: exploitation. And the search engines are onto them. The team at Google, for example, is constantly working on tweaking their algorithm to account for bogus SEO practices. After all, they are just trying to deliver the most relevant search results to their users, and practices that fly in the face of relevancy call their own credibility into question.

  141. very useful reply, Marijayne, but what i understood from you answer is that not all the comments are good, so this means commenting can be a waste of time, although i’ve heard that commenting is still one of the best free ways to get good backlinks

  142. f you can make use of the ‘disqualified’ traffic then this can be key, for example, adsense and amazon affiliate links convert (in my estimaiton) about 0.025% of this traffic on my blog, which whilst low means I still get some value from the traffic.

  143. I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it. I have bookmarked your site to check out the new stuff you post.

  144. Quick conversion is so vital with the small window that buyers present.

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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