How Many Clicks Does It Take To Make A Sale?

The open and click rate conversation is an ongoing topic. Companies want higher open rates, more clicks, and of course, more sales from their emails. A lot of businesses think clicks = sales. This isn't necessarily true.


Let's follow along a typical customer journey to see how many clicks it takes to get a sale.


For any marketing strategy, I suggest starting with the end goal in mind, (a sale) and then work our way back from there. Does a subscriber buy your product or service from your emails? No. They buy your product or service from your website. The email is just the gateway to your point of sale. There are many clicks that happen before and between the email and a sale that most companies don't pay attention to.


1. The Sales Goal - Let's first, talk about the end.


The sale, (goal), is the most important part of the customer cycle for most businesses. In the example of an eCommerce store, the sale happens as part of the checkout process. If you are using a service like Shopify, Magento, or any other eCommerce platform, they have this flow pretty well set up by default.

For the customer, this is a nervous moment. They have a few things going through their head...

  • Should I really buy this?

  • Did I add my address correctly?

  • Is this a trustworthy website?

  • Are they going to bombard me with marketing messages after this?

Because of the above thoughts, simplicity and clarity are key. In this area, fewer clicks = more sales.


If you decide to change the default settings of your eCommerce store or plan to totally customize your own, I highly recommend the following:


  • Don't ask for more information than you need to complete the sale. (eg. Don't ask for a phone number. This can be a major turnoff for potential customers)

  • If you are going to send them marketing emails after they purchase, tell them upfront and give them the option to opt-out too.

  • Make the checkout process on one page if possible. When the visitor can see the light at the end of the tunnel and understands the process they need to go through to buy from you, they are more likely to purchase.

  • If you REALLY need to have multiple pages for the checkout process, have a summary page so the buyer can go over and confirm their doubts mentioned above.

  • Make sure the Calls to Action (CTA) are visible. And I don't mean to have a flashing button, but the least amount of scrolling, moving, and clicking, the better. Remember, a lot of people shop on phones, so design for all platforms.

  • This may be a no-brainer but, make sure your branding, (colors and styles) match all the way through. Customers don't feel comfortable when they are directed to other pages to purchase or if the page style totally changes when inputting their credit card.


2. The Landing Page - Choosing a product or service


Going back to the idea of fewer clicks = more sales, when sending leads to your website, the closer you get them to the product they want to buy, the higher chances you'll have to make a sale. If you send leads to a general products page, or even worse, your home page, you're complicating the process and will probably lose the customer.


The landing page needs to be an extension of the email. Remember, the email is the gateway to the sale that happens on your website.


Make sure the branding and message are consistent. This sounds like a no-brainer but let's dig a bit deeper to explain.


The Message - Let's say your email is promoting winter clothes for men. Your email talks about the look, warmth, and softness of the clothes. If you send the subscriber to your home page, they now have to look for the products you were talking about.


Take the time to link specific products from your email to the product landing page. If you show variations of your product in the email, send the subscriber to that variation too!


3. The Email - Getting the right clicks


What is the purpose of your email?


Is it to get clicks or sales?


Clicks on your emails are super important. One of the most important reasons is because it tells the subscriber's ISP (their email platform) that they like your emails. The more engagement on an email, the more likely your next email will land in their inbox vs. their junk or promotional folder.


But do clicks translate to sales?


A common problem I see with companies is that they focus too much on the click vs. the message and sale. There are countless blogs about CTA colors, shapes, and sizes, positioning, wording, and so many other "tricks" to get the click.


You could say; "it's a numbers game!" But the second you say this, you are losing focus on the goal, (a sale). Using CTA tricks can definitely get you more clicks but if the clicks don't align with your message, you'll exhaust your subscriber's patience and will lose their trust for the next email.

Imagine if I went to a bar and asked every person I met if they wanted to come home with me? It's just a numbers game, right? At some point, someone will say, 'yes.' But is this the right person I want to bring home? What's my goal? Do I want a long term relationship or to become a, F*%K boy?


In the Five Automations Every Business Needs, I go over the importance of building a genuine relationship with your subscribers. Many businesses get away with the "numbers game", but it's not a long term strategy.


Setting a clear goal for your email with a clear & transparent message will help you add the right number of links to your emails to attract the right people to click.


Don't just try to get clicks, try to help your subscribers solve a problem. When you focus your clicks on helping your subscribers, everyone wins.


4. The Confirmation Email - Focus on the ONLY click that matters.


If you have a single opt-in method, consider using a double opt-in instead.


Opt-in confirmation emails are used to verify two things:

  1. Your subscriber actually signed up to your emails and,

  2. For you to verify they used a real email address.

Confirmation emails should be simple text emails with a clear call to action to confirm the signup. Talking about your company, products, and customer reviews can be saved for later.


Now, let's talk about getting people to subscribe.


5. The Opt-in Form - Double or Single?


Most businesses have a pop-up form that appears after 5 - 10 seconds of a visitor being on the website. These pop-up forms offer a discount, free shipping, or a lead magnet.



They may be annoying but, guess what? They work.


According to Sumo.com after analyzing over 2 Billion pop-ups, they share some really cool data to prove pop-ups are far from dead. Overall, less is more on this step too. I'll let Sumo explain in detail why and how to make your pop-ups work, click here to read their study.


As mentioned earlier, if you have a single opt-in form, consider changing this to a double.


Not only do you verify your subscriber, but it sets the stage for clicks. Having your subscribers click on an email shows the ISP they like and want to engage with your messages.


A lot of businesses say they don't want to use a double opt-in form because they lose subscribers. Here are two tips to avoid losing signups with a double opt-in form:


  1. Signup to your own form using different email providers. You don't have to try all of them but at least try to signup using a Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo email address. Why do this? You want to make sure the email is delivered and delivered fast, (within seconds). If it isn't, talk to your email marketing service provider. One of the main reasons a subscriber fails to signup with a double opt-in process is because the confirmation email takes too long to land in their inbox.

  2. Use the signup confirmation page to increase email confirmations. Do you know that page you see after signing up? It normally says something like... "We sent you an email to confirm your subscription." This is a great start... but many will say something like, "Oh, I'll do that later... I want to keep browsing for now." To add urgency to the confirmation you can say something like, "Confirm Your Subscription before the link expires..." Even though your confirmation link doesn't expire, it adds the needed urgency to complete the signup.

This last tip requires your confirmation email to be sent right away! So make sure to test your emails first.


As always, don't just take my word for anything here. I like to write these blogs to share my experience and to give my readers something to start with. But always, always, always, test these strategies against what you already have or against a variation you think would work better. The problem that most marketers run into is that they don't test enough and they don't add their own spin to the strategy. If we all execute the same strategies, marketing get's boring and saturated.


So how many clicks does it take to get a sale?


Sorry to say this... but the answer to this question is... It depends. The goal of this blog was to highlight the steps and areas to focus on. Go through your own process and look for confusing or off-sync steps. In most cases, fewer clicks = more sales. Emails are the only step of your process where more clicks are a good thing but remember, more clicks on an email is good to help engagement and to help deliver your next email but, they don't translate to direct sales. Marketing is all about telling stories. Does your story align from start to end?