How Much Traffic Do You Need for Affiliate Marketing?

In a lot of respects, asking how much traffic you need for anything on the internet is a red herring. It’s likely to distract you from the real question you should be asking (how much money you can earn!) but let’s have a look at why traffic isn’t the right question to be asking.

There’s an almost unlimited amount of traffic available on the internet. Certainly more than any site anyone is likely to create would be able to cope with.

So it’s not the amount of traffic it’s the type of traffic.

internet trafficIf you opened a shop on a busy high street, you wouldn’t expect everyone walking past to come into your shop. Either because not everyone is interested in what you’re selling or – even if thet are interested – they’re not going to buy your product because they don’t need to do that at the moment.

The same goes for the internet.

If I’m searching for blue widgets and you only sell red widgets, you can’t sell me what I want to buy. But if you sell blue widgets then – subject  to quite a few other factors – I might click through to your site and I might buy something. Or I might not.

Internet traffic comes in lots of shapes and forms. These are my names for them but that doesn’t matter, the groups and distinctions are OK.

  • Robots – these crawl all over the web, increase the bandwidth used by your site but (because they’re not human) they won’t buy anything
  • Sneaky traffic – if you’ve ever had a new browser window pop-up or pop-under when you visit a site (adult sites seem particularly good at doing this) then that’s what I’d call sneaky traffic. The visitor to your site didn’t ask to come to you and they probably either closed the window as soon as they saw it open or didn’t ever look at the page. So they count as traffic but only really for vanity reasons.
  • Cold traffic – typically this will have clicked through to your site as a result of something like clickbait or a random link that says “click me” or something similar. In the old days, a lot of banner adverts were designed to appeal to as many people as possible so they’d get clicks and hope that their offer had a wide enough appeal to make more money than they spent.
  • Just looking traffic – not everyone buys. Car showrooms call them tire kickers but there are lots of other reasons people are just looking. They may already have the item and need some information on it. Or they could be bored and are just passing the time of day. Or they might be genuinely interested but not have the budget. Whatever the reason, they’re not going to buy. You might be able to convert some of these people into buyers longer term if you can give them a good reason to get on your email list.
  • Warm traffic – people who are in the market for what you’re selling – either now or soon-ish – but not completely ready to buy yet. They might need some conditioning via email to turn them into a buyer or they might respond to scarcity and turn into a buyer now. Or they might respond to some other incentive such as a free gift or a coupon code discount, etc.
  • Buyer traffic – this is what you’re really looking for. People who want the item you’re selling and are ready to buy now. They’re the ones most likely to generate an affiliate commission for you.

It should be obvious that the further down that list, the less traffic there is but the more valuable it gets.

Robots obviously generate zero commissions. Sneaky and cold traffic almost the same. Just looking might convert to buyers once in a blue moon. But buyer traffic gives your best chance of earning money.

Of course, not everyone who clicks through to your site will buy from you. Just as not everyone who walks into a shop will make a purchase. Depending on the shop of course – almost no-one walks out of a fast food restaurant without purchasing something.

Your aim with your traffic is to make it as laser focused as possible.

The more your traffic “fits” with the offer on your site, the better.

Conversion rates vary enormously for all sorts of reasons.

  • Higher priced items will probably convert less but should earn you a higher commission. For instance, a Rolex watch is a lot pricier than a Casio watch so you’d get more commission per sale for the Rolex but probably less sales. But if you did a site that was specifically targeting Rolex customers rather than generic watch buyers, you should convert more of them to sales.
  • Some items are more price competitive than others. The internet makes it easy to price shop – there are add-ons for browsers that will encourage people to click for lower prices as well as “deal” sites like Groupon that send out regular offers. Price wars are best avoided – the only place you can go is down if you’re competing on price for easily compared items.
  • Some items are a more complicated “sell”. People can understand some things better than others. Describing the taste or the feel of something on the internet is a lot more difficult than selling something we can all figure out. You may need to go into a lot of detail for certain products – I don’t need much “selling” on a box of paperclips but I do need more information if I’m buying scissors (size, sharpness, handedness, etc) and a lot more information if I’m buying a phone or a computer.

The more information people need to know about the items you’re selling, the bigger your pages will have to be to convince them to buy from you, not the umpteen competitor sites they’ve found.

All of which will determine the amount of traffic your site generates and the conversion rate once they get there.

So you need to keep an eye on overall traffic – how much you’re getting that’s real people from parts of the world where they’re likely to buy the things you’re selling.

And you need to keep an eye on the conversion rate – how many people buy. Whether it’s 1% or 10% or any other figure.

Plus you’ll need to keep in mind that there may well be seasonal variations in sales as well as other variations. A supermarket here in the UK reduces prices on certain things in the middle of the month because a lot of people get paid monthly – you won’t know that kind of trend until you’ve been selling for a while and have got the figures in sufficient quantity.

If you’d like more training on making money as an affiliate marketer, click this link.