May 7, 2024

Filling Your Funnel: The Right Tactics for Every Stage of the Healthcare Marketing Funnel

Lyn Wineman

In a previous post, we discussed the importance of developing strong patient personas to effectively reach your audiences. Today, we’re going to take that a step further and talk about using those personas to fill your marketing funnel with new patient prospects.

Each of the leads in your funnel is in a different stage. Moving patients from one stage to the next relies on using the information you have from your audience personas to select the right tactics and the right messaging at the right time. Below, we’ll discuss each stage in the funnel and what tactics are most effective in reaching them.


At the very start of the journey is stage one, the awareness stage. This is where things kick off even before folks realize they might need your services. Here, your goal is to make your brand known to potential patients. This is also sometimes called the attention phase because you’re literally trying to get their attention and let them know you exist.


Stage two is the familiarity stage. Here, prospective patients are on the hunt for solutions to their healthcare queries. They’re scouring the internet, chatting with friends and family, and turning to social media for recommendations. Their aim? Finding a provider who can address their pain points or health concerns with care and expertise

In the awareness and familiarity stages, you should use a broad-stroke approach to reach potential patients. Focus on creating general brand messaging that builds awareness of your practice. Consider methods like:

  • Television
  • Digital video
  • Radio
  • Streaming audio
  • Billboards

Opinion & Consideration

Next up are stages three and four—right in the heart of the funnel—the opinion and consideration stages. This is where patients really dig in, researching their options to figure out if your healthcare organization is the perfect match for them. By now, they’ve probably gathered enough info and are ready to make a choice.

In these stages, you can begin to use more targeted content to reach patients. Consider tactics like:

  • Paid social media advertising
  • Digital display advertising
  • Focused search engine optimization (SEO) or search engine marketing (SEM) strategies


Stage five, near the bottom of the funnel, is the commitment stage. At this point, prospective patients have learned about you, your providers, and your services, and they’re exploring what it takes to become a patient. For example, they might need to know if you’re in their insurance network or if your office is near their work or home. Many patients may also be trying to determine if you’re the right healthcare provider to take care of all of their needs rather than just this one health issue they’re experiencing. Ultimately, once these questions are answered and they schedule an appointment, they are now a patient.

Once they’ve committed to an appointment, you can utilize content that really engages patients and wins them over. Consider methods like:

  • Digital retargeting ads
  • Blog posts
  • How-to guides

You may also consider offering free consultations or low/no-cost screenings.

Loyalty and Advocacy

Securing appointments with your patients marks a significant milestone. Yet, ensuring their return is equally pivotal. This is where stages six and seven, known as the loyalty and advocacy stages, come into play. Often termed the nurture and retention stages of the funnel, these phases aim to cultivate loyal advocates for your hospital, health system, or clinic. To guide patients toward this stage, it’s important to prioritize building loyalty following their care experience.

To keep them coming back and turn them into advocates who will refer other patients to you, offer them a steady flow of communications that provide value and enhance your relationship. Consider tactics like:

  • Email marketing
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) strategy

Using the Right Tactics at Each Stage

In healthcare marketing, trust and relationships are everything. That’s why it’s crucial to send the right message at the right time and utilize the best tactics—especially when resources are limited and results are needed.

Want more information? Visit our healthcare marketing hub to find a variety of case studies, helpful blog posts, and Agency for Change podcast episodes featuring other healthcare business leaders.

KidGlov is a full-service advertising, branding, and content marketing agency with B Corp and National Women’s Business Enterprise certifications. It is located in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska, and specializes in nonprofit marketinghealthcare marketingfinancial services marketingsocial impact marketing, and purpose-driven businesses.