How Much Should a Dental Practice Spend on Marketing? 

How Much Should a Dental Practice Spend on Marketing?  When we initially meet with clients to discuss dental marketing, the first item on our agenda is how to learn how we can provide value to their dental practice. Our shared goal is simple: to use marketing to get “cheeks into seats.” Of course, marketing that […]

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How Much Should a Dental Practice Spend on Marketing? 

When we initially meet with clients to discuss dental marketing, the first item on our agenda is how to learn how we can provide value to their dental practice. Our shared goal is simple: to use marketing to get “cheeks into seats.” Of course, marketing that really works requires time, expertise, and investment. We always try to demystify dental marketing costs for our clients so they understand exactly how much value they are receiving in return for their investment. How does a practice set a dental marketing budget? What can the owner expect to spend? Those are questions we strive to clarify for our clients.

We recently sat down with Christin Trujillo, a financial consultant for healthcare practices from Maven Financial Partners, to break down some frequently asked questions about setting a dental marketing budget. 

Note: Before spending any money with a dental marketing agency, make sure you have a clear understanding of how they’ll help you get the most out of your budget. An effective agency will prioritize your marketing ROI by: 

  • Reporting the numbers. Dental marketing agencies should use data, marketing analytics, and KPIs to inform their strategy. And, they’ll share those numbers with you regularly to help you understand the effectiveness of each marketing initiative. 
  • Focus on results, not activity. You need patients, not just Facebook likes. Make sure your marketing spend is focused on getting patients in your door.
  • Customized marketing plans. Every dental practice is different. Your marketing strategy should not be a one-size-fits-all. Find an agency who is invested in getting to know your clientele, location, services, personality, and vision. 

Christin, how should a practice owner set a dental marketing budget? 

For the average dental practice, we recommend spending 5-6% of your collections on marketing. Keep in mind: when it comes to marketing, in order to make money, you have to spend money. And, it’s important that you do so strategically. 

Here’s an example of a dental marketing budget. If your collections are $100K per month, your marketing budget would likely fit between $5K-6K per month. (That can include all marketing- from agency fees, ad spends, and more.) Adjust accordingly if your practice is larger or smaller. So, if your practice does $300K per month (or if you want your practice to do $300K per month), you’ll likely be spending $15-18K/month on marketing. It’s all relative to your goals!  

Of course, if you’re overwhelmed by the numbers, that’s why your practice should have a budget. No matter where your collections are, your budget can help you make an informed decision about your marketing spend. There are affordable marketing strategies available to all practices.

Is that the same for new or start up dental practices? 

If you’re a new practice, this logic doesn’t necessarily work. How can you anticipate 5-6% of collections before you even produce or collect anything? It’s harder to specify a percentage of revenue to spend on marketing until a practice normalizes their revenue after several months of operations. More often than not, these percentages will be much higher in the first year as the practice ramps up business and their general patient base. 

Additionally, practices need to consider that they will have several up-front costs to plan for like branding (design of logo, colors, fonts, images), website, and direct marketing efforts for grand opening. That’s in addition to any ad spend, SEO, or other marketing strategies. 

At Maven, we make ongoing marketing and budget assessments as practices establish consistent revenue. 

Your job is to help dental practices reach their full potential. What kind of marketing do you recommend they invest in? 

It always depends on their goals and their vision. Some are looking to grow or to be able to hire a new provider. Others want to sustain business. Some practice owners are working toward retirement. It’s important that your marketing goals are aligned with your overall practice goals. And that they’re aligned to the type of practice you are. An orthodontist’s marketing strategy is and should be different than a dentist’s who does implants, etc…

But, here are some things we think most dental practices should prioritize:

Great Branding:

Costs anywhere from $2K-10K+

Getting the right name, logo, messaging, photography, and branding can be critical to the success of any practice. 

A Functional, Updated, Well-Designed Website:

$3K-12K initial costs + ongoing maintenance costs

People rely on the internet when researching a new practice, treatment, provider, or doctor. Having a website that showcases your brand and educates patients allows potential new patients to explore your practice prior to making an initial phone call. 

Strong Digital Presence:

$1k-4K per month

Most people find a local dentist online. You need a marketing agency who can make sure patients can find you on Google and elsewhere on the internet. 

Lead Generation:

Varying one-off costs of $2k-15K+ ongoing per month

This strategy can look different for different practices. It may include spending money on online ads campaigns, search engine optimization, implementing referral programs, or creating blogs and social media content. A general dentist looking for a few extra NPs per month and an implant center looking for All-on-x cases have different needs. A good agency will make suggestions for what strategies will work best for your practice. 

Is there anything else dentists should keep in mind for their marketing budgets? 

It’s important to regularly review your marketing strategy and measure the return on your investment. I always recommend practices to meet with their marketing team at least quarterly to review performance, assess strategy, and make adjustments as needed and required.  

When there is competition at every corner, the digital landscape is constantly evolving. Patients are finding new ways to engage with practices, so it’s critical to keep your content regular and fresh.  I recommend that practices plan for at least one-two photography and videography sessions each year so they have plenty of content for their website, social media posts, ads, and blogs. 

Get the Most from your Dental Marketing Budget with Pain Free Dental Marketing

Pain Free Dental Marketing is committed to helping clients put customized, effective marketing strategies in place. We believe the proof is in the numbers. We obsess over the data and analytics, making sure to communicate results to our clients. Contact us to learn more. 

And, if you’re curious about your own marketing budget, visit the Maven website to request a Complimentary Marketing Budget and Financial Assessment with Christin Trujillo.

Article written by Christin Trujillo of Maven Financial Partners.

Christin Trujillo, Financial Consultant

Email: [email protected]