How to Set a Dental Marketing Budget

When we initially meet with clients, creating a budget is one of our top priorities. And for most of our dental (or med spa or small business) clients, marketing is a piece of that budget we need to consider. In this article, we walk you through how to create a dental marketing budget, what to expect from those funds, and what types of marketing to spend on.

A version of this post was originally published for Pain Free Dental Marketing. 

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 financial consultant to help balance and break down your 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.

Types of marketing for dental practices:  

Marketing is always dependent on your businesses goals and visions. Some are looking to grow or 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+

We recommend clients research multiple marketing and branding agencies.  Not all marketing agencies are good at the same things, and many specialize in certain types of marketing or advertising. It’s important that you select your marketing partners based on your personal goals and needsGetting 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:

$1-4K 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 $2-5K ongoing per month

This strategy can look different for different practices. It may include spending money on online ads campaigns, SEO optimization, implementing referral programs, or creating blogs and social media content. A good agency will make suggestions for what strategies will work best for your practice.

Tips 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. We recommend practices 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.  We recommend that practices plan for at least 1-2 photography and videography sessions each year so they have plenty of content for their website, social media posts, ads, and blogs.

Set a budget with Maven Financial Partners

Maven serves dental clients with unmatched industry expertise. With more than 20 years combined experience in the dental space, we provide dentists an acute understanding of financial performance. Together, we set provider goals, streamline finances, and designate the KPIs that will elevate every aspect of your dental practice. Maven provides financial awareness to help dentists make crystal clear decisions about the next steps for their practice.

If you’re curious about your own budget, contact us to request a Complimentary Financial Assessment.

If you’re interested in dental marketing services, contact our friends at Pain Free Dental Marketing.