You actually already have a sales funnel. Fundamentally, there are two kinds. The first is a sales funnel that is unconsciously constructed and relies on luck. With this kind of sales funnel, a veterinary practice is usually confused as to why they just can’t seem to grow, even though they’re focusing on providing quality medicine. The second is a sales funnel that is strategically built and maximizes its chance for success. The likelihood of your practice’s growth is directly correlated to how intelligent and effective your sales funnel is. Simply put… a good sales funnel makes it easy to grow. In this article, we will teach you how to build the most cost effective, profitable and sustainable sales funnel possible.
First, let’s define what a sales funnel means. It’s the path that prospective clients take to get to your business. Typically, the funnel is divided into three parts: Awareness, interaction and conversion. The best sales funnels feed people back through it where they fell out, but more on that in a bit.
Step 1 – Awareness
At each step in the funnel, you are trying to get as many people to move down to the next step as possible. In order to get as many people into the awareness stage, you need to find cost-effective ways to be visible to your prospective clients. Fundamentally, there are two ways of doing this: passively and actively. We’ll discuss below.
First we’ll discuss the passive variety. By passive, we mean that you’re relying on the prospective client to initiate the search for a similar business themselves. Typically, you do this through placement on the search engines. This can be done either organically (the strength and relevance of your website), or through paid placement (usually referred to as “PPC”). Ideally, you want to appear as many places, and as prominently on the page, as possible. For a few tips on easy ways to improve your SEO, see our article here.
Now let’s discuss the active variety. By active, we mean that you are proactively getting in front of your prospective clients without them explicitly searching for a veterinarian. The best way of doing this is through Facebook ads. When you’re creating these ads, it will be more effective if you make use of Facebook’s “Interests” field, and type in pets, dogs and cats (or birds, lizards and snakes if you’re an exotic vet). Be sure only to target an audience that is close to your hospital, say within 10 miles. It’s also a great idea to build your brand awareness through sponsored posts, which are blog posts you’ve written that offer free education to Facebook users.
Step 2 – Interaction
Once you have effectively made someone aware that you exist, the usual next step is for them to discover your website and interact with your story. This is primarily where initial trust is built, so it’s very important that your website is user-friendly, features modern design, and tells your story in an engaging, genuine and enjoyable way.
The best way we can teach you how to do this is by showing you a website that does this very well. Pembroke Animal Hospital is AAHA’s practice of the year, and their website is tremendously successful at getting people to interact with their story, stay longer on their pages, and move down to the next step in the funnel – conversion. Take 5 minutes and look through their website here: pemah.com.
Step 3 – Conversion
After trust has been built, if the prospective client is in need of their services, you’ll have a good shot at converting the visit into an action taken – meaning a phone call or appointment request. In order to do this effectively, these “calls to action” should be prominently displayed throughout your website, and should require as little effort as possible to complete. Remember, our brains are designed to conserve energy whenever possible, so the easier you make an action, the more likely we’ll do it. Take a look at Pembroke’s request appointment page to see how they effectively do that here.
Alright, you can see the main structure of the funnel now. But what happens when someone falls out and doesn’t reach the next step down? This is where the most successful practices are separated from the mediocre. An intelligent sales funnel will actively encourage prospective clients to re-join the funnel where they left, so that you can try again. This is called re-targeting, and it is the most cost-effective form of marketing that has ever existed anywhere.
The way you do this is by having your webmaster insert a snippet of code on your website, called a “pixel.” When a user visits your website, the pixel tells their web browser to store that activity from the visit. And if that person doesn’t reach the desired next step, you now know where to feed them back in. You’ll want to serve them ads encouraging re-entry to the funnel through Google’s Display Network or through Facebook Ads. That way, as they travel across the web, they will keep seeing your advertisements. The interesting thing is, the likelihood of conversion increases the more times your ad is served to them. For example, there is a higher chance they convert when seeing the ad for the fifth time compared to the third time.
Obviously, which ad you serve them will depend on where they fell out. If someone fell out before spending much time on your website, you won’t want to ask them to go to a conversion page, because they don’t know enough about you yet. And if someone fell out as they were filling out an appointment request form, you don’t want to send them back to the home page, because they are likely already interested enough to initiate an appointment request.
This is really only meant as an introduction – there is quite a bit to learn about each step, and an enormous amount of success to be had to those who undertake this task intelligently and methodically. We’ll have more posts on each step in the funnel in the future, but please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.