Dental Marketing ROI: How to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck

Justifying Your Dental Marketing Spend: Lab fees, dental supplies, licenses, and permits—a dental practice’s overhead can add up quickly. With so many operating expenses, how do you even begin to think about budgeting for marketing? The truth is, all of these costs are exactly why you need to think about marketing your practice. Good management […]

Justifying Your Dental Marketing Spend:

Lab fees, dental supplies, licenses, and permits—a dental practice’s overhead can add up quickly. With so many operating expenses, how do you even begin to think about budgeting for marketing? The truth is, all of these costs are exactly why you need to think about marketing your practice. Good management of your marketing spend can lead to a high dental marketing ROI (return on investment).

A high dental marketing ROI (like seeing significant patient growth as a result of your marketing efforts) is the goal of every practice. Your marketing spend, which includes the costs of your marketing campaigns, should lead to practice growth. However, that doesn’t mean it always does. Later, we’ll talk about some ways to make the most of your marketing spend. We’ll cover:

  • How much your dental practice should spend on marketing
  • How to know if you’re getting a good return on your dental marketing investment
  • Tracking and measure your marketing efforts
  • Whether or not you should run ads or PPC campaigns for your dental practice
  • Affordable and low cost tactics for your marketing tactics

But first, let’s define ROI. 

Woman's hands counting money

What is Dental Marketing ROI? 

Dental marketing ROI is what you get in return for spending money on marketing. It’s how you assess if your marketing investment is bringing you value. Value can come in many forms, such as an increase in profits, greater brand awareness, or the generation of high-quality patient leads. Calculating your dental marketing ROI is essential to understanding which of your campaigns are effective. It can also be a way to make sure you’re spending your money wisely. The goal is to keep your ROI higher than your marketing expenses.

Below are some frequently asked questions about dental marketing ROI.

How much should my dental practice spend on marketing? 

The Academy of Dental CPAs (ADCPA) recommends spending 5-6% of your collections on marketing. New dental businesses might spend more on marketing to cover the costs of branding and building a website. Christin Trujillo, financial consultant from Maven Financial Partners, agrees. “Keep in mind,” she says, “When it comes to marketing, in order to make money you have to spend money.”

Regardless of if your practice is new or established, your budget will go to things like content marketing, paid advertising, marketing videos, or pamphlets and brochures. How much you spend on one particular campaign versus another will require that you track and measure your marketing activities.

Don’t know what to prioritize in your marketing budget? Check out our recommendations here. Later, we’ll look at some of the dental marketing KPIs (key performance indicators) you should be looking at to gauge your dental marketing ROI. 

How do I know if I’m getting a good dental marketing ROI (return on your marketing investment)? 

When you have to add more chairs to your waiting room from all the new patients booking appointments after your first Instagram post. (Kidding!) In all seriousness, we wish it were that simple. But measuring the return on your marketing investment is a bit more complex than that. At Pain-Free Dental Marketing, we look at all of the marketing strategies our clients are using. We analyze if their patients are increasing, yes, but we also consider things like greater brand awareness.

You can calculate the average value of a patient to your practice using a tool like Dental Intel. This will allow you to track the amount of new patients your practice has gained and determine the ROI based on that figure. To measure brand awareness, we recommend using Google Analytics to see if your website traffic has increased. Google My Business Insights also lets you track the number of views your practice’s listing has received and how they are finding your listing.

You might need to tweak your dental marketing strategy if these metrics are not indicating good results. It is important to constantly look at variables in your campaigns to pinpoint what the difference maker is, positive or negative. Keep in mind that on average, it takes seven touch points with a brand before a patient decides to buy something. Take a holistic approach to the data to fully understand what is increasing your dental marketing ROI. To learn how to calculate your dental marketing ROI, click here.

How do I track and measure my marketing efforts?  

It all boils down to the cold, hard data. After you’ve set some specific and quantifiable marketing goals, you need to analyze their progress. You can track and measure your marketing efforts by looking at marketing analytics and marketing KPIs. Marketing analytics are the statistics behind your marketing initiatives, from social media to email newsletters and SEO ranking. They include statistics such as volume of traffic on your Google My Business listing, website visits, new visitors, and phone calls. These metrics help you determine which pieces of the marketing are getting traction.

Finger pointing to a chart

KPIs are measures that track how well your dental marketing campaigns are performing. They help you to manage and achieve your practice’s marketing goals. There are many KPIs that you can track, but the key is that they need to be clear, actionable, and specific. We recommend measuring the amount of first time callers, consultations scheduled, and the volume of new patients. You can also track production and collection, and leads for people who reached out from your dental website or called but who have not yet booked an appointment. Once you know this information, you can save time and money by building a better marketing campaign and going where your audience hangs out.

Learn more about tracking analytics and KPIs here

Should I run paid Google ads or PPC? 

Pay-per-click ads are those sneaky ads that show up whenever you’re browsing a website, social media, or a search engine. The ones that seem to know that you were just online shopping for mouth mirrors and dental probes. They’re all over the internet.

Google ads are a kind of PPC, but specific to Google’s search engine. The way it works: advertisers bid on a search keyword, and the winner gets to show their ad to patients searching for that keyword. When people click on the ad, the advertiser pays the search engine for the click. The amount the advertiser pays is the amount offered in the bid.

Overall, PPC ads can be incredibly useful for dentists. You can quickly spread the word about your practice without having a high SEO ranking, which often takes time to build. If you don’t mind paying we recommend it as a way to get some new patients fast. It’s a great dental marketing ROI because you can build brand awareness. But this also means you have to build your landing pages and give your website a facelift so that your practice delivers and solves the patient’s problem. Your website should also be clean, skimmable, and user-friendly. When visitors see your personality they will be more interested in your practice.

For tips on using the right strategy for PPC ads to be worth it, check out our guide.

What are some affordable or low-cost marketing tactics for my small dental practice? 

So you’re just getting started, and you’re nervous about forking out a portion of your income for marketing expenses. We get it. There are several ways you can drive traffic to your small dental practice organically. Social media marketing has the lowest barrier to entry. But that doesn’t mean you want to post on your dental business’s social media account as you would on your account. Develop a content strategy. What will you post each day of the week? How often will you post? 

Stock photos— especially high-quality ones from sites like Shutterstock, Pexels, or Unsplash—can be useful. To show your personality and company culture, however, post pictures of you and your team, and some of your patients, with permission. Encourage your audience to engage. Promote your brand’s unique selling point. You’ve probably seen dentists create Facebook pages, but your best bet is to get creative. And like we recommend in our guide to low-cost dental marketing after you’ve established your presence on Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube, join platforms like Linkedin and Pinterest.

If you are interested in tailoring these dental marketing strategies and tactics to your dental practice, get in touch with us today.