If you look closely at your online marketing funnel from traffic –> leads –> customers, then you’ll inevitably see 3 holes where money is flowing out of the funnel.

For some business owners the holes are large and obvious, but for others it’s not so clear until you take a closer look at each stage in the marketing funnel.

In this article, I’ll define each of the following “lost opportunities” and provide tips to plug up your holes:

  1. Lost Traffic
  2. Lost Leads
  3. Lost Customers


1. Lost Traffic

Every day visitors find their way to your website and typically a very large percentage of them leave without ever contacting you.  For example, an eCommerce website may sell 1 product for every 100 visitors.  Or a professional service website may receive 5 phone calls for every 100 visitors.

That means 95 – 99% of your website traffic is LOST!  They visit your site and leave without contacting you and probably never to return again.

But it doesn’t have to be that way…

The first step to plugging up this hole is to realize that most of your website visitors are NOT ready to buy whatever it is that you’re selling today.

So if they are not ready to buy today, then what can you do to make sure you’re on their mind when they do become ready to buy?

Well any decent sales person knows you need to follow up, but for some reason we forget this when we’re thinking about our website traffic.

The only way to follow up is to first collect either an email address or a physical address that you can mail to.  So the trick is to creatively think of ways to bribe your visitors to give you their address.

Here are some techniques you could use and I’m sure you’ve seen most of these:

  1. free consumer’s guide to XYZ or relevant report
  2. free demo
  3. discount coupons
  4. subscribe for future deals/coupons
  5. free online tool or calculator


I’m sure you get the idea.  Then once you have your bribe prominently placed on your website so all of your visitors can see it, you’ll start to collect addresses from visitors who would have otherwise just left.

Then you can follow up to nurture the prospect until she’s ready to make a purchase.


2. Lost Leads

Now let’s talk about leads in your sales pipeline.  You’ve done all the work to get the lead to your website, to complete a contact form (or maybe you bribed them using the technique above), and start the sales process, but some leads will just not buy right away.

Many businesses give up at this point and say it’s just part of doing business.  You win some, you lose some…

But again, it doesn’t have to be that way.  You can plug up this hole and convert many of these “lost leads” into paying customers by using the same solution as before – follow up.

However, in this case your follow up should be tailored to your lead’s specific needs and concerns.  At this stage in the sales process, you need to address any objections and support your claim that your product or service is the best solution.

Here are some ideas to email or mail to your leads to help nurture the relationship:

  • testimonials from satisfied customers (videos are best, but text is better than nothing)
  • news and press mentions to provide credibility
  • success stories / case studies
  • charitable activities to show your involvement with the community
  • business growth or expansion
  • service/product updates


The actual content will vary from business to business.  The important point is to follow up with lost leads and never expect them to come back when they are ready to buy.  Leads will forget you and will purchase from another business unless you’re staying in touch!


3. Lost Customers

This may be shocking to hear, but not everyone who purchases from you is a customer.

A customer is someone who makes repeated purchases.  Not a “one hit wonder.”

That was news to me when I first heard it from Dan Kennedy, but it’s obvious as soon as you think about it.

In every business, you’ll see lifelong customers who continue to use the same products or services and you’ll see one time buyers who come and go.

So this brings us to the 3rd hole in our funnel – the “lost customers.”

And again, the answer to plugging this hole is follow up.  But in this case we’re not trying to sell anymore.  We’re trying to:

  • Encourage use of our product or service so the customer gets fast results
  • Prevent buyers remorse by reaffirming their smart decision to buy
  • Exceed normally low expectations
  • Stay top of mind so the customer comes back the next time she needs our product or service


Here are some ideas to help you design your customer follow up sequence:

  • call all new customers to say “thank you”
  • send a small gift like cookies and welcome the customer to your “family”
  • send a monthly customer newsletter
  • give a surprise bonus or coupon


The goal is to overwhelm your customers to create zealots.  Not only will they become customers for life, but they’ll refer all of their friends and family to your business.

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful so you can plug up all those holes in your online marketing funnel.  If you have any questions about how to implement these strategies, then post them below.