How to Create an Online Sales Funnel


Learn to effectively generate leads using your website.

By Chris Cilluffa

While many business and sales-minded practice owners regularly deal in marketing and sales, many overlook a vital sales tool: the online sales funnel. In our clinics and the clinics we serve, online sales funnels have proven to be essential for success for four main reasons:

  1. Successfully marketing to physicians is getting more difficult as they are increasingly directed to refer within their hospital, group, or practice.
  2. Consumers are less likely to connect with your marketing efforts in the physical world due to COVID-19 social changes.
  3. Consumers are increasingly making health care decisions based on what they learn online. This allows you to attract new patients.
  4. It is one of the easiest ways to re-activate your past patients.

While some practice owners opt to have a marketing company run their funnel program, creative marketers who want to invest in managing their own funnels can do so with a dedicated process. The sales funnel diagram illustrates the process. This isn’t necessarily the order in which to build the funnel, but it makes it easier to think through the process.


1. Identify the specific issue (diagnosis or body part) that you will focus on.

Most consumers still don’t think of physical therapy first when they have pain. We are optimistic that this is changing, but we aren’t there yet. Compare our status with chiropractors, who are still the first type of health care professional people think of when they have back pain. One of the challenges of our profession is that we can help so many different types of problems that it is hard to achieve “first-choice” status for any one specific complaint.

As a result, we can’t solely market “physical therapy,” we have to focus on a specific area. Choose one area that you do a great job treating. You want past patients to be able to comment favorably on your posts on social media. For the purposes of this article, I will use ankle injuries as an example of the specific issue.

2. Define two different Lead Magnets.

A Lead Magnet is something that will interest people enough to make them take a low level of action (such as providing their email address).

In this example, one lead magnet could be a free workshop for ankle injuries. Another could be a PDF that shows the most common types of ankle injuries along with a few treatment methods that could be used in physical therapy for each type of injury.

3. Create two email campaigns in an email platform.

One email campaign will be for the workshop registrants, the other will be for the PDF registrants. There are many email programs you can use, ranging in complexity from Campaign Monitor to Infusionsoft.

Your email campaign should answer the questions your registrant is likely to have as well as provide additional guidance to demonstrate your expertise and value. It is OK in these email campaigns to introduce the other lead magnet to them. For example, if they registered for the workshop, the workshop email campaign can include at least one email that includes the ankle injury PDF. The more relevant value that you can provide through these email campaigns, the more connection you will gain with the registrant and the greater chance you will have of guiding them to become a patient of your clinic.

These campaigns will be sent respectively to the registrants of each lead magnet.

4. Send another email campaign to your existing list.

This campaign could start with an introductory email with a subject line that indicates that it is about ankle pain. Set the rest of the emails in this campaign to only go out to those registrants that open the first email. Avoid sending many emails to your list on topics that they are not interested in.

This email campaign can be an introduction to either lead magnet. Within these email campaigns, there should be opportunities for the recipient to schedule an appointment at your clinic. Ideally this should be possible through an online form. Today, most people prefer to schedule online than by having to talk to someone on the phone.

5. Create ads for each of the Lead Magnets

Consider starting with Facebook. Most of your patients are on Facebook every day and it is considered one of the easiest places to reach them.

For each lead magnet, consider starting with one video ad and two to three graphic ads. The video ad should be approximately 15 seconds for Facebook to show it to the maximum number of people. This is something that may change over time.

When creating your ads on Facebook, you will have to select the objective of the ad campaign. If you haven’t run many ads for your clinic before on Facebook, you will want to choose an objective that will build your audience such as “Brand Awareness” or “Reach.” After running these ads for a month or two, you can transition to a campaign objective that drives more registrations, such as “Lead Generation.”

Facebook has great resources to help you master the process of running ads. Their Blueprint training is a great place to dig in deeper to how to achieve excellent results.1

6. Create two spreadsheets on which you can log each registrant and corresponding registrant data.

You may want to consider automating the process whereby the registrants are added to the spreadsheets and to the email campaigns. There is software that can help with this. An example is Automate.

7. Create dedicated landing pages to which you can direct the registrants.

Ideally there should be one landing page for each lead magnet. You may also wish to build a landing page that allows the registrant to schedule a consultation with you.

8. Consider automating the entire registrant process.

Facebook allows you to set the ads up so that the registrant completes a lead form right on Facebook. This is only available in the lead generation campaign objective type. This information can then automatically be uploaded to your tracking spreadsheet as well as to the email platform so that the email campaigns are sent out automatically.

9. Although it is nice to have this all processed automatically, at some point human touch is essential.

You should have someone in your office trained to call and text the registrants to connect with them and to ensure their questions are answered. This person should also be skilled at developing rapport, showing empathy, and be able to schedule them for an appointment at your clinic in order to get the help that they need.

Some states have stricter laws about calling and texting people, so always be aware of the regulations in your state.


While building your own online sales funnel can be an involved process, the benefits over time can be great. And remember, if you don’t have time to implement this important process, look for strategic partners who can help build it for you so you don’t lose out on potential business. 

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1Blueprint Training. Facebook.

Chris Cilluffa

Chris Cilluffa is the Online Marketing Manager for STAR Management Company. He can be reached at

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