3 Ways to Optimize Your Patient Funnel - The Top

Jan 09, 2023

A patient funnel is a term that describes the journey your patients take from first learning about you and your services/products to actually making a purchase.  A sales ‘funnel’ is universal in that it can be applied to any business in any industry and dates back to 1898 when E. St. Elmo Lewis first described the stages of a customer purchase in such a way.1   Your marketing and sales funnels for attracting new patients and converting them to paying patients may be highly effective – or a source of great frustration for you – depending upon the time and resources you are investing and the results you are experiencing.  Coincidentally, a highly effective patient funnel doesn’t have to be costly. 

At the very top, widest portion of your patient funnel are potential patients who may or may not even know they could benefit from what you have to offer.  In the middle of your patient funnel are potential patients who are curious about what you have to offer but are early in their exploration or may have inquired in the past but became silent for one reason or another.  Finally, the bottom of your funnel has patients who are intentionally seeking what you have to offer and are ready to make a purchasing decision.  This is important to understand because your strategic actions for optimizing results at each level are different.  Yet, actions for each level should synergistically work together to create an excellent customer experience.

While sometimes overlooked, there are actually two primary kinds of funnels at play for any robust practice.  These two kinds are external and internal.  Your external funnels are for new patients and your internal funnels are for those that are established patients.  As opposed to external funnels that add to your patient base, internal funnels help you build patient loyalty and maximize the customer lifetime value of each patient (value of current and future purchases of your services/products). 

When it comes to optimizing your external patient funnels, let’s look at what the most common problems are with each segment and identify effective optimizing actions to improve your results and ROI.

Today, I share solutions for the first segment of your patient funnel.

Top of Funnel (You Want More Patients):

If you are having issues with the top of your funnel, you may be the best kept secret in town.  You are open and ready for new patients and perhaps advertising like crazy but you aren’t seeing results.

Common Problems:

  • Spending too much time and money on advertising without having the infrastructure to nurture interested leads and move them through your funnel to a sale.
  • Your message isn’t resonating with the ideal patients you want to work with (or worse, attracting the wrong type of patient). Typically, this involves messaging about how wonderful you are instead of focusing on the patient, what their primary pain points are and how you are uniquely equipped to solve their problem.
  • You are marketing on a platform that isn’t where your ideal patients are hanging out.
  • You are relying too much on direct marketing creating a lot of leads but they are not the ideal leads searching for what you have to offer.
  • You are using paid or organic marketing methods but have no way to capture potential patient contact information so you can more directly communicate with them, provide value to them and track their progress through your patient funnel.

Optimizing Actions:

  • Clearly identify your ideal patient and research what their primary pain points are, where they hang out and what services/products they are seeking.
  • Create your messaging, ads and content marketing around their primary concerns. Provide value and answer their most common questions.  Share your expertise through various methods such as blogs, videos, webinars, podcasts, newsletters, local events and the media. Be sure you are consistently present on the social media platform they hang out most often. 
  • Always have a call to action (CTA). Too often people are interested but aren’t clear about the next step to move forward working with you.  Be sure your CTA provides you with a way to capture their contact information (name, phone, e-mail) so you can continue the conversation and support and track them as they continue to move through your patient funnel. 
  • Have a system for attracting potential ideal patients, nurturing them and converting them to a paying patient. It takes all three areas to have a highly functioning patient funnel.  Once this is done, it is important to have a system in place for your internal funnels for your current and past established patients.

Watch for Part 2 of this series next week! 

In the meantime, if you have any questions or would like to schedule an Opportunity Audit with me, reach out at [email protected] 

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