06 April 2022
3 minute read
Peter J. Polack, MD, FACS, is a cornea, refractive surgery, and external disease specialist at Ocala Eye, a large multi-subspecialty practice in North Central Florida and founder of Emedikon Marketing Systems. He has written and podcasted about EMR and technology in healthcare and is also co-author of The Ultimate Ophthalmic Marketing Guide.
Disclosures: Polack reports that he is the founder of Emedikon Marketing Systems.
For those of you who don’t know, a marketing funnel is a process a prospect goes through on their buying journey. It comes with a sales pipeline, but that topic will be explained in a later article.
For now, you just need to understand that there’s a shift from marketing to sales for revenue to be made (unless, of course, you’re smart enough to make your surgery sales through a basket of online purchase).
Peter J. Polack
The marketing funnel process must be defined before it can be assembled. This article presents a repeatable framework for defining the marketing funnels your practice uses for your marketing operations team.
A process mapping framework has three steps. Each stage uses a map that progressively builds details on each previous version. The reason for this iterative approach is that the participants in the process (your staff and your managers) often have different ideas about what really happens during a prospect’s buying journey. At first, the first step is to describe the main steps required by a prospect that ends with booking a procedure. The second step is to align everyone around a single version of the truth about the prospect’s end-to-end buying experience. The third step is to produce a plan from which the marketing funnel assets are created by your marketing agency or department. Go further.
Step 1: Discovery
A good discovery takes three buying steps apart. The stages are Top of the Funnel (TOFU), Middle of the Funnel (MOFU), and Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU). TOFU is the awareness stage; they start looking for a cure or a condition. MOFU is the engagement stage; they decide which practice or which surgeon should be on their shortlist. BOFU is the conversion step; they are 75% or more ready to buy and contact the firm directly.
Discovery maps prospects’ milestones as they transition between these three levels of sales readiness. For the purposes of this article, I will continue to explore the BOFU or prospects inbound funnel in which they contact the firm.
Example of an “as is” discovery map.
Source: Peter J. Polack, MD, FACS
The Discovery Map is a simple, hand-drawn timeline of your “as is” application process. The starting point on the left side is a sad face representing the prospect’s unmet need or desire. The end point is a happy face on the right side showing a successful result. You and your team will write down every action taken, starting with “potential office calls”.
What happens once the phone rings? So what’s going on? For example, the front desk answers and transfers the caller to the coordinator’s voicemail, the coordinator calls the prospect back, an appointment is scheduled, etc. One caveat, though: it’s important to make an honest assessment of what is actually happening, as opposed to what your staff believe is happening. This may require several “secret client” calls just to be sure.
Step 2: Design
Design is where the improved process, or “coming soon” map, is captured in much greater detail. Think of new steps or interactions with the prospect that could positively influence their decision to choose you. For example, you probably aren’t sending an automatic “indoctrination sequence” email follow-up to every caller at this time. So your design card will include this email nurturing activity as an extra step on the timeline. Anything you think you need to do to move the caller from “I’m interested” to “I’d like an assessment/exam appointment” should be a milestone on the “futures” map. The design stage is your wish list for improving your current, and possibly underperforming, funnel.
Step 3: Develop
Develop is a real blueprint detailing every marketing asset and workflow step that will be followed in your revised marketing funnel. For example, the phone rings and the operator captures caller information. This triggers automatic and manual steps with different marketing assets as the flow progresses, from a sequence of welcome emails to a follow-up phone decision tree, virtual tour qualification meeting to an in-office assessment. Assets can include emails, links to videos, patient guides, self-assessment, affordability calculators, and more.
Example of a design stage card for the LASIK survey.
Source: Peter J. Polack, MD, FACS
In summary, the only way to ensure that your investment produces the desired result is to map your “as is” state, use it to refine your “future” state, and then, and only then, commission marketing services to create the funnel. himself. The development map is the one that identifies the costs of activating the funnel you just designed. It shouldn’t be the first map you draw. Just as a builder needs an architect’s blueprint, the development map is the blueprint for building every operational marketing process. In context, the design stage resembles the rendering or mock-up that an architect shows to the owner. It is important because it aligns the vision of the project before the money is spent. Then, in the development stage, the actual funnel is specified. By articulating each type of work product and marketing asset, this can serve to avoid unnecessary expense.