There are 3 core areas in your website sales funnel where you’re losing sales.
- Lost Traffic
- Lost Leads
- Lost Customers
On one hand these lost sales are a big problem that needs to be “fixed” quickly. I say “fixed” because you can never completely eliminate these holes in the sales funnel. There’s no way to convert 100% of every website visitor.
On the other hand you have three opportunities to quickly improve your profitability. If you can plug up these 3 holes then you’ll dramatically improve your online marketing return on investment (ROI).
In this article, I’ll go through each hole in the sales funnel and give examples of how you can reduce how much money you’re losing every day as a result of these holes.
1. Lost Traffic
If you’re tracking your overall website conversion rate (i.e. # sales divided by # visitors), then you’ll see that 95 – 99% of your traffic is NOT making a purchase.
You’ll find this in every market because the vast majority of people at any given time are not ready to purchase at the exact moment they visit your website. They may be ready tomorrow, next week, next month, or even next year, but they are not ready right now.
The answer is fairly simple and every good salesman knows the routine.
You need to relentlessly follow up.
And the only way to follow up is if you find a way to get the website visitor’s email address, physical address and/or phone number.
There are many tactics to capture website visitor contact info and here are a few examples:
- free report or guide in exchange for an email address
- free teleseminar or webinar (great way to get phone numbers)
- free physical CD (great way to get mailing addresses)
In each example above you’re offering something valuable for free in exchange for your visitors’ contact info.
Now instead of 95 – 99% of your visitors leaving and never returning, you can get contact info from 10 – 20% of people who aren’t ready to buy right now, but will be in the near future.
Then with persistent follow up you may be able to double the number of sales you generate from the same amount of traffic!
Now some of you may be thinking you could use Remarketing or Retargeting and that’s true, but Remarketing doesn’t allow you to consistently send a direct message at a specific time like email, snail mail or a phone call. If you’re not familiar with Remarketing, then check out, “How to Bring Your Website Visitors Back Using Google Remarketing.”
2. Lost Leads
Next let’s talk about lost leads. For the sake of this article, we’ll define a lead as anyone who expressed interest in purchasing but has not yet completed the order.
If you’re using a multi-step checkout then your best leads are all the visitors who completed the first step but abandoned at some point before getting to the order confirmation page.
It’s amazing how many businesses ignore these lost leads. They chalk it up to the nature of doing business online and speculate why the customer didn’t buy rather than simply following up to close the sale.
There are millions of reasons why people don’t complete online purchases. Some people get distracted, some lose internet connection, some can’t find their credit card, and others think of a question that isn’t answered during checkout so they leave.
The reason for leaving is less important than setting up a system to follow up so you can recoup the lost sales.
Here are a few ways to follow up with your “hot” leads and convert them into customers:
- use live chat to prompt a discussion when the lead tries to exit the page. Then transition to a phone call as needed.
- email your lost lead one day after abandoning with a link to the checkout page to complete the order. Test including a discount coupon with a deadline to try to increase conversion rates.
- call your lost lead and ask if there were any technical issues that prevented the order from going through. Position the call as a support vs. sales call to gather information and then try to close the sale
Try several different strategies to see what works best for your customers. You may find that a combination of several tactics works best to prevent lost leads.
3. Lost Customers
You may be wondering, “what is a lost customer?”
So let’s first define a customer as someone who makes repeated purchases with your business. That means everyone who buys just one time is not really your customer. That’s the equivalent to a “one hit wonder” in the music business.
If you’re churning through one hit wonders then you really need to rethink your business model to figure out how to get more repeat customers.
This brings us to the “lost customer.” A lost customer is a buyer who has not returned to make another purchase after a certain amount of time.
The amount of time is different in every business so you first need to figure out when the average customer should return to make another purchase. Then if any customer fails to return you need a system to bring the lost customer back into your sales funnel.
There are tactics you can use immediately after a purchase is made to significantly reduce the number of lost customers in your business. Here are a few that have worked well for us:
- call all new customers to personally say “thank you”
- send a small gift like cookies and welcome the customer to your “family”
- send a monthly customer newsletter to stay top of mind so they remember to come back
- give a surprise bonus or coupon throughout the year as an incentive to do business with you again
The goal of these tactics is to create zealots so your customers stick with you for life. Not only will they continue to do business with you, but they’ll also refer all their friends and family because of your remarkable customer service.
I hope I’ve helped you identify some areas where you can dramatically improve your business. Even if you just plug one of these holes you could double your revenue without any additional investment into advertising!