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Do you know what a marketing funnel is? Do you know how important these tools are to your success, or how to track your patients as they travel through the funnel? Not sure what they’re all about, or even why you might need one? Let’s clear things up a bit.

A sales funnel is nothing more than the process through which someone moves as they go from not being a patient to being a patient. Of course, that’s a dramatic oversimplification of the process.

With an actual sales funnel, you begin with your patient most likely being unaware of your practice, but aware that they have a pain point or problem that needs to be addressed. Through marketing (usually content marketing), you provide them with information and begin to position your practice as the solution to that pain point/challenge.

As they move through the funnel, your marketing changes from being purely informational to a blend of informational and promotional to almost purely promotional near the bottom. Finally, you end with the person taking the action you want and calling or emailing to set up an appointment.

Why do you need a sales funnel in the first place, though? Actually, there are several reasons for that. One is that you can no longer rely on your potential patients finding your practice through “traditional” methods. They’re not flipping through the phone book, for instance. They’re looking online, and this is where your sales funnel should be the strongest.

Your sales funnel should also work to establish a connection with potential patients, to build authority, and, ultimately, to establish trust with you as a leading expert who has the answer to whatever problem it might be that your potential patient is facing.

What are the components of a sales funnel? There’s really no single answer that applies to every individual campaign, but some of the more common things would include a lead generation tool – this might be an online ad, a social media ad or post, or even a postcard via snail mail. A landing page is another common inclusion – a page on your site dedicated specifically for those clicking a link from an ad. A thank you page for those taking a qualifying action (signing up for your newsletter, downloading a free report or ebook, etc.). This usually leads into an email communication process and sometimes communicating via physical mail, as well.

Ultimately, a sales funnel helps to move potential patients from the position of not knowing your practice exists, to learning more about their problem, to realizing your practice not only exists but can also help with the challenge, to, ultimately, becoming a new patient.

You can and should have more than one sales funnel in place at any given time, as well. This ensures that you’re able to reach the maximum number of potential new patients and build your success more easily. With all that being said, you do need to ensure that your funnels are constructed correctly in order to truly foster practice growth.