Along with providing ecommerce software, Volusion Inc., now offers search engine optimization, (SEO), and search engine marketing, (SEM), services to store owners using their shopping cart software.
Volusion offers these online marketing services as their “Fast Traffic” and their “Search Engine Marketing“, plans. Each offer several levels of traffic and additional services staged at varying price points. The price range goes from about a hundred bucks a month to six-thousand plus per month — plus setup fees.
Volusion’s “Fast Traffic” plans appear to be little more than managed Google Adwords accounts. In effect, you are paying Volusion to handle setting up the advertising campaign(s) and configure ads to run against lists of keywords up to your monthly spend.
On Volusion’s website, in the Services > Marketing area, you’ll find some brief info about “Fast Traffic” plans. Most is just marketing hype, but they do post a small table showing the pricing plans. I used that data, (and a calculator), and interpreted it the way I’d like… So it answers the questions; “How much does it cost?” and “What do you get for your money?”
Google Adwords is “Pay Per Click”, (PPC), meaning you pay each time a person clicks one of your ads. Each and every time… regardless of whether they buy something or not. The actual cost of PPC advertising is not “cost per click”, but cost per conversion, (a conversion is when you “convert” a shopper into a buyer).
Info in the top four (blue) rows is from Volusion, the rest is calculated or estimated from that data.
You can read the data any way you like, but in effect you can draw simple conclusions like; “If I spend $1729.35 per year on this plan, and can convert 4%, (of the 1000 clicks which equals 40 “sales”), it will be at a cost of $43.23 per conversion“.
|Clicks Per Year||750||1000||2500||5000|
|Clicks Per Month||60+||80+||200+||400+|
|Price Per Month||$99.95||$139.95||$345.95||$675.95|
|Setup Fee (one time)||$49.95||$49.95||$99.95||$99.95|
|Total Cost (First Year)||$1249.35||$1729.35||$4251.35||$8211.35|
|Cost Per Click (CPC)||$1.66
| Clicks Per Month (Normalized)
||=> 62.5||=> 83.333||=> 208.333||=> 416.666|
|Cost Per Conversion (at 1%)||$166.58
|Cost Per Conversion (at 2%)||$83.29
|Cost Per Conversion (at 4%)||$41.64
|Cost Per Conversion (at 8%)||$21.22
|Cost Per Conversion (at 10%)||$16.65
You can also read from that data that if you only convert 2%, (of the 1000 clicks which equals 20 “sales”), it will be at a cost of $86.46 per conversion“.
If you’re not selling something that makes you more than $40-$80 in profit, and are paying these rates, you may lose money on each sale.
Is it worth $40 – $80 to gain a new customer?
Your cost per conversion may be more of a “one time customer acquisition cost“, if you are selling something where the buyer will likely become a repeat customers. Or, if you have incentive or referral programs in place, a new customer may become a source of other new customers. Each business needs to decide the value of a new customer.
The problem with buying the “Fast Traffic” PPC advertising packaged as Volusion sells it is, you are contracting to buy a fixed number of clicks at a fixed price (from Volusion)… There is only (1) way to lower cost per conversion — to increase conversions.
If you were managing the Adwords campaign yourself, you could bid on lower priced keywords / key phrases, or otherwise drive down your CPC or get more clicks for the same amount of money — or less.
Based on the fixed costs of the table, (above), lets say you could find suitable keywords for $0.15, (fifteen cents per click), you could either drive more than ten times the traffic to the site, or lower the CPC and cost per conversion by 90%, (at a $0.15 CPC with 4% converting, the approximate cost per conversion would be $4.00).
While some online store owners claim as high as +15% conversion rates, numbers like that are rare. New ecommerce sites with unrefined search data may only see 1% to 2% conversion rates in their first few months. After fine tuning the ad campaigns, keywords and maximum bids, a 3% to 4% conversion rate is very attainable. Higher conversion rates take serious market and keyword research, well honed ad writing skills, highly targeted landing page design skills, and most importantly, you need to have the right product (or service) at the right price and a user friendly checkout to complete the sales process.