How much is a good amount to spend on dental practice marketing? A lot depends on how busy you want to be, the return on investment you receive from marketing, and your budget.
Our average dental practice spends slightly less than 1.5% of total collections on marketing, which includes advertising and business promotion. To put this in perspective, if a practice collects $1,000,000 and spends 1.5% of that on marketing, the practice will spend $15,000 annually to promote the practice.
Practices that are under-performing typically need to spend more than 1.5% of total collections on marketing in order to grow. We typically see practices allocating 3 – 5% of average collections to put into their marketing budgets, and they put money toward services such as search-engine-optimized websites, online advertising, direct mail, meetings with referring practices, and community activities.
But it takes more than just putting money into marketing; you have to have return on your investment. Discuss realistic goals with your marketing professional and develop realistic timelines for each type of marketing. It takes time; however with close monitoring you can make adjustments to your overall approach to optimize results.
Finally, you have to have enough cash flow to support your marketing efforts. If cash flow is tight, can you adjust your budget to make more room? Also, can you phase in your marketing program over time? You often have more upfront costs with website construction that will not be there after the first month or two, and that will free up funds for other projects.
Marketing plays a bigger role in dental practices today than it did many years ago. As you put together your marketing plan, consider how busy you want to be, outline how you will monitor results, and determine an appropriate budget.