August 17, 2022

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

Lisa Bowen

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 are 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, 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 top of the funnel is stage one, the awareness stage. It starts before someone even knows they need your services. In this phase, your goal is to introduce potential patients to your brand. 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. This is where prospective patients may be looking for answers to their healthcare questions by searching online, talking with friends or family, or using social media to get recommendations. They are likely trying to find a provider to help them solve a pain point or a health issue they’re experiencing.

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
Stages three and four — the middle of the funnel — are the opinion and consideration stages. This is where patients are researching their options to determine if your healthcare organization is the best fit for them. At this point, your prospects likely have the information they need, and they’re ready to make a decision.

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 & Advocacy
Getting your patients to make an appointment is a great place to be. Now, how do you make sure they return? This is where stages six and seven, the loyalty and advocacy stages, come in. You’ll sometimes see these referred to as the nurture and retention stages of the funnel. You want your patients to become loyal advocates of your hospital, health system, or clinic. To get patients to that stage, you’ll need to focus on building loyalty after they’ve received care from you.

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
Healthcare marketing is all about trust and building relationships. That’s why sending the right message at the right time, using the best tactic, is critical – especially when you have limited budget dollars and you need to produce results.

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 boutique, full-service, advertising, branding and content marketing agency and certified B Corp, with offices in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska, specializing in nonprofit marketing, healthcare marketing, financial services marketing, social impact marketing, and purpose-driven businesses.