Our team here at Digital Empathy gets asked that all the time. In this post, I’m going to lay out the fundamentals of a sales funnel. Why? It is the foundation of any realistic growth strategy for a business, and it applies directly to your veterinary practice.
The Buyer’s Journey
First, we need to define another concept – “The Buyer’s Journey.” The Buyer’s Journey is the path that prospective clients take to find their veterinarian. Buyer’s Journeys change over time – years ago, they largely involved asking friends, local events, yellow pages, etc. Now, the modern Buyer’s Journey looks something like this:
- Conduct a search of available veterinarians around me (usually on Google)
- Discover more about the vet on their website
- Compare options and decide
Constructing an intelligent sales funnel is all about understanding where your prospects are, how they act, and what influences them to action. That’s why it’s so important to first understand how the modern Buyer’s Journey functions in your target market. So, what’s a sales funnel? I suppose it’s time to define that!
The Sales Funnel
A Sales Funnel is the process that you lead prospective clients through to “convert the sale.” It typically involves a tightly integrated system of targeted ads and a special kind of website. The purpose of your sales funnel is to get as many people through the “bottom of the funnel” as possible. Here’s how it works:
There are four components of your sales funnel: the top, middle, bottom, and remarketing.
The Top of the Funnel
The top of the funnel is where prospective clients engage with you for the first time – usually on Google or Facebook. The top of the funnel’s job is to get as many prospects into your funnel as possible. This is usually accomplished with strong organic Google rankings (SEO), Google Ads (AdWords), and Facebook Ads.
The Middle of the Funnel
The middle of the funnel is where prospective clients discover more about you, and try to get answers for their questions. This usually takes place on your website. And usually, the conscious question they’re asking is: who are you, what do you do, where do you do it? But they’re also asking an unconscious question: Can I trust you? Trust is the foundation for any relationship. You know this already (because of your existing clients), but this relationship-based thinking needs to be applied to your website.
The Bottom of the Funnel
The bottom of the funnel is an action that results in a scheduled appointment – either through a phone call or a request on the website. This is largely determined by two things – motivation and opportunity. Basically, it requires you convincing them that they should see you, and making it very easy to act.
Now, this part’s important (but almost never applied)… when someone falls out of the funnel before the bottom, “re-targeting” uses targeted ads to put them back through where they fell out. Why?
When people “fall out” of your funnel, it’s usually not because they aren’t interested. It’s because it just wasn’t the right time in their Buyer’s Journey. They got distracted, didn’t want to commit right then, had other things to do, or one of many other reasons. So you stay in front of them – ads for your veterinary practice will begin showing up on their favorite websites. They’ll be gently reminded that they need a vet, and encouraged to engage with you again – where your funnel is at work.
When each of these components work together, it’s a truly beautiful thing. Sadly, almost no veterinary practices have intelligent funnels in place. The field of digital marketing is immature, and thus filled with amateurish companies who chase profits without vision. But we’re working hard to change that!