and welcome to this site! :-)
There really is no way to say. It depends completely on the market, the audience, the quality of the offering, and the marketing. Many software-as-a-service type companies see conversion rates between 1% and 5%, but depending on the aforementioned, anything from 0% to 25% can be commonplace.
The next question would be conversion to ... what? It is generally easier to convert to something free (say registration for download of a paper) than to something paid (a monthly subscription fx). For conversions from website visitor to a paid service conversion rates below 1% are not uncommon.
This can often be improved greatly by consistent tweaking and optimizing of the funnel. Take a look at Dave McClure's Startup Metrics for Pirates.
Here some conversion rate examples from clients that use the funnel tool in reedge.com - Free download to program (by direct referrals) 60%
- Free download of great whitepaper (only email needed) 12%
- Free sign-up for saas trial 12%-15%
- Actual sign-up 2%-5% to paid service
- ecommerce shop should be able to do 1%-3%
Deb, as Jesper pointed out, the answer is: it depends. Your market is a huge factor in identifying an average conversion rate.
Another thing to point out is the quality of your traffic. Where and how are you getting your traffic? If your traffic is very targeted, your conversion rate will be much higher than if it's not.
To give you an example, let's say you're selling green widgets that protect people online. And let's say you decide to pay for keywords on Google to drive traffic to your website. If you decide to use "internet security" as your keyword, you may get as much as 165,000 hits per month. But that's a very broad keyword (and also expensive). As a result, you'll get people that are only looking for free products, red widgets, yellow and blue widgets, entire security suites, etc. So your conversion rate will be very low. But, if instead you choose something like "green widget security", you may only get 500 hits per month, but your traffic will be very targeted, and your conversion rate will be much higher.
Something else that will increase your conversion rate is designing appropriate landing pages for your traffic. Don't send everyone to your homepage because your conversion rate will be very low. Create a landing page for each traffic source.
We're selling 4 different products and conversion rate ranges from 1% to 8%. I'd be happy if we had a million downloads a month and a 1% conversion rate rather than 3000 downloads and 8%. so as several posters have mentioned the best answer is....it depends :)
It depends, but here are some numbers to get you started.
If you have an ad on Google Search the standard conversion rate is in the ball park of 0.5%. In other words, one out of 200 people searching the item you advertise will actually click on the ad. It really depends of search terms, and I have seen results as good as 10% (very rare), or below 0.1%.
Now once they go to your site, what are the chances of converting them (and converting them can mean getting them to buy your products, but if you're selling a $50,000 B2B service, converting them could be having them sign up for a webinar). Now it's really a question of how good is your site, your product, etc.
You need to just start doing it and create a baseline. The more people who understand your product/service will influence the conversion rate since you'll get many hits on your site by people who have no use for it = lower percentage. Early on, many companies will drive as many prospspect to their site as possible. Hopefully they learn to target their marketing efforts (especially if you are spending time and money on them). The number of prospects decreases and so may sales at first. Then you get better at closing sales and the percentage goes up.
I was with a software company that sent a direct mail to a validated list (we paid for it) of companies in our industry. This was during the Y2K era, so many companies had a need to upgrade their software. About 20% responded by returning our postcard. Follow-up phone calls brought that up to almost 30%. Cost per lead is rising. Of those that responded directly or required a follow-up call, we closed 10%. Since we did data conversions for free (developers had to be involved) and offered one year of toll-free support, this campaign took a while to pay for itself. Fortunately, the customers were pretty "sticky" and purchased service agreements, paper consumables, and in some cases hand-held data collectors.
You're going to have to look at the nature of you business, the amount you spend on marketing, and at what level is it profitable, before you can determine what is good.