If you’re a physio or therapist of any kind that’s using or considering using ClickFunnels then for the love of God, please stop. As an agency that works with clinics day in day out, we keep an eye on what others are producing in our niche. Some of it is incredibly good, some of it poor and some, the ClickFunnel stuff, just horrendous and irresponsible. Recently there’s been a huge increase in both clinicians using them to drive new patient appointments and also companies that sell marketing services to clinicians getting in on the ClickFunnel action.
First, if you’re a clinic, don’t be swayed by the marketing nonsense and don’t consider using funnels as part of your marketing efforts either. If you have no interest in anything beyond making short-term money (maybe) and you’re not concerned about the industry, the patient, your brand, clinic longevity, having a shred of respectability or being ethical then read on and I’ll get into why!
What is a ClickFunnel?
ClickFunnels was invented by Russel Brunson. It is a platform allowing businesses with little tech or marketing knowledge to “generate” leads and drive sales by creating lead magnets (“interesting” pieces of content, free vouchers etc etc). I’ll take you through a process you’re probably familiar with, after all, if you’re on socials you’ve seen this a lot over the past 6 months:
We made that graphic. My guess is you didn’t actually look at it. That’s certainly one problem with funnels, they tend to become invisible very very quickly which is why, if you’re thinking of clicking away from a funnel page you’ll likely get some obnoxious pop-up. Let’s say for a moment the crazy numbers have swayed you. You decide to sign up for the freebie.
Cue being bombarded with 300 emails pushing you into the next action eg:
You go on the course (sometimes paid) to listen to some more generic stuff about how wonderful the product is with generic examples usually of clinics that used it and claim success. What you don’t know is that they would have been successful anyway because all they did was email their database and got a few new patients in.
Of course, it’s not called “emailing your database” in the magical world of funnels, it’s called something like “retentive patient acquisition” which makes it sound super clever and difficult. Using a new ‘funnel’ strategy to bring in patients that would have come in anyway isn’t exactly proof that they work.
As an aside, it’s a bit like the physio who gets you standing on one leg holding a tennis ball and a dumbbell in the other stretched out front and makes you bend your knee by 20% to activate some muscle lost to evolution. It may make things sound good but it actually achieves very little.
Back to the topic at hand. So now you’ve bought the t-shirt and you’re all in. Next up the big whopper.
(If you wait a week or two you can halve those costs because no doubt there’s a super-duper special offer on its way)
Throughout all this, you get emails, SMSs, more emails, discount offers and more emails. Forever.
I’ve shortened this funnel a little but you get the idea. The key is to think critically about what you’re seeing. Funnels have been around a long time yet very few successful clinics use them. Please ask yourself why? I won’t name and shame the ‘experts’ out there using them, you probably already know them (and if you’re in one of their funnels then you’ve seen it, at least until you’ve put their emails into spam) but last week alone I spoke to two clinics that spent upwards of £6k and came to us to help them because the only thing they got was a smaller bank balance.
Therapist and Funnels
So let’s get back to funnels and patients. Here’s a typical click funnel campaign I’ve been seeing from clinicians recently:
So what’s the problem?
Funnels aren’t designed with Healthcare in mind, To be perfectly honest they shouldn’t be used by any serious modern-day business. However, when it comes to healthcare it isn’t (nor should it ever be) about time-limited offers, vouchers, get-fixed quick schemes, promises you can’t keep or solutions you can’t provide.
And funnels are all about the sell, the offer, ’Get this voucher before it’s gone’. In reality, they never are gone, because you can guarantee in a week, another email will be sent, this time worded slightly differently, but still pushing this “limited time offer”. The image above was taken earlier this week. By Friday I checked and strangely enough, there are still 10 spots available. What does this prove? Either it hasn’t worked and no spots were sold or the 10 spots claim was nonsense in the first place. Either way, it’s not great.
From my limited time working with The Physio Matters Podcast, Therapy Live and being exposed to great clinics and great therapists, I’ve learned there are some golden rules:
- DO NOT sell therapy to someone that doesn’t need it.
- DO NOT make unscientific claims
- DO NOT window dress therapy into something it’s not and can’t do
- DO NOT lie to make more money out of a patient
- DO NOT use technology that has no scientific basis for efficacy (the CBD Laser I recently saw is a great example of this 😂).
The problem with funnels is you have to do a number of the above for them to work.
And here’s the other thing. Let’s say you manage to get 2,000 people downloading your voucher or whatever offer you’ve given them. What then? Well, you have to continually email them with new offers, increasingly exorbitant claims, or even lower prices because if you don’t the funnel isn’t going to work. Not forgetting the fact that 6 weeks later the problem may well have gone or they may have been seen by someone else and now you’re just annoying the crap out of them.
Okay so let’s assume the emails have worked. You’ve got 50 people into the clinic who have some issue or another. They’ve paid the £20 or whatever minimal crazy charge you’ve offered. We all know the game right? “Sgonna cost you gov”. The funnel only works if you now retain them. You can’t work at £20 an hour going forward so you have to get them to come back. And here come the “Pack of 10 sessions” offer.
Whatever happened to make yourself visible in the market, prove your expertise, build a good reputation and patients will come? Sure, marketing is great, it’s how I make a living but good marketing doesn’t have to be unethical, it doesn’t have to sink to the lowest common denominator. My biggest issue when speaking with potential clients is that they’ve been burned in the past. Usually by unscrupulous agencies who promise the earth take all their money and get them nowhere with complex marketing strategies and often funnels.
Marketing does not have to be complex to work.
Can good ethical therapists use funnels? Of course – but it’s difficult to maintain high standards when your marketing is only focussed on the sale, the upsell and retention. Is there a clinic somewhere that’s become successful through them? I’m sure someone’s mum’s brother’s girlfriend knows one, but no, once again, the most successful clinics don’t use funnels.
Here are a few other things to bear in mind:
Therapists have a hard enough time generating revenue and convincing patients of their pricing model at the best of times. Why undercut your service? By slashing prices and running these short-term schemes you’re hurting everyone else around you as well.
Bob & His Theragun
One of the biggest problems for clinics and the reduction in patient numbers I see at the moment is hypothetical Bob who’s done a 3 day PT course running around with a Theragun taking patients by claiming he can cure back pain and calling himself a (insert a non legally protected title here).
They’re often found using funnels, don’t start acting like them! Focus on your professionalism and qualifications and WHY you’re charging more and why people should come to see you. Don’t fight them using their techniques.
Who remembers Groupon? One of the reasons service providers like physios stopped using Groupon is because you get the wrong type of patient, they’re looking for the cheapest price, they’ll use it and run off to the next person offering the cheapest price. They’re also patients who aren’t serious about their rehab. Every decent clinic we work with wants people who have not just money to invest but time. They want patients that take their rehab seriously, not those that see it as a quick short term cheap solution and who’ll choose whichever therapist has the cheapest offer on at the time.
So you get people who have downloaded/applied for a voucher. Now what? One thing that doesn’t happen is they magically turn into a patient. You need to email them, call them, text them, this all takes time. How much is your time worth to you? We know of one physio that was spending 9 hours a week chasing up patient vouchers. 9 hours!
There are No Quick Wins
It’s in the title. Nothing is magical, there aren’t quick wins that are worth the hassle. Why put all this effort into getting rich quick (or not very rich at £29 an appointment) schemes when you could be using the money for long-term growth?
So Much Distraction!
Not sure why this is at number 5 because it’s an important one, especially for website-based visitor funnels. If you have a toothache and visit a dentist’s website what are you visiting for? Presumably to book an appointment. So why push people (or even give them the opportunity) to not make that booking? Why offer a download with 10 steps for DIYing your back pain? Your website should be built to convert. The absolute worst thing you can do is offer people options that stop them from booking an appointment with you. “Yes but if they leave then I’ll never see them again, so I have to get their email”.
Not true. As a clinic owner you can stick a Facebook Pixel on your website and start up a remarketing campaign offering your services to the right patients; the ones who have the money and are prepared to invest that and their time into improving and fixing their problem, and not those looking for DIY that wouldn’t have booked your services in the first place.
What About your Brand?
It hurts your brand. People associate funnels with diet schemes and other stupid unethical products. Simply put, you will lose authority. People distrust or undervalue products or services that are too cheap. Your brand should be about quality, high levels of service and evidence-based rehab. Plus your local competition will hate you and realise you’re struggling. Not a good look.
I get that times are tough. And I don’t want to single people out or criticise anyone too much. Making money in rehab isn’t easy. You don’t become a physio to become a millionaire. You do it because deep down you’re kind and want to help people and putting it politely, the only person ClickFunnels help is Russel.
So yes, I understand that sitting there with no patients could lead you to try anything and everything, but this isn’t the right solution. Again, look at the clinics you aspire to. Focus on what they did to get themselves where they are.
If anyone reading this is struggling; a newly qualified physio, sports therapist or even a small clinic, then get in touch with us. We’ll give you some free advice and maybe even run services for free for you if you’re really stuck. That doesn’t apply to Ten Physio FYI before you lot get in touch 😂 but seriously, if you’re having a tough time, give us a shout and if you’re a clinic interested in learning more about us and how we work then —> Start Here
I promise we won’t stick you in a funnel and email you until you drop. FYI that’s how you market. Make yourself visible, talk sense, be honest and give people the opportunity to contact you if they feel they need your services. If you can help then they will buy from you.
I was always told at school to write a conclusion cementing the above into a concise final statement so the audience gets a gist of what you’re wanting to say. So:
Don’t use funnels. It’s stupid.