Submitted by allison on Fri, 02/03/2017 - 15:30

How to decide on a marketing budget and measure its impact

There is a golden rule for all dental practices starting a marketing program: don’t start without a plan.

No matter how big or small your budget is, develop a plan so that you understand:

  • What you are getting for your spend?
  • How does the plan map to your unique business goals?
  • What does success look like (how do you know it is working or complete)?
  • How do you measure performance and learn from your investment?

It can fit on 1-2 pages - but must provide the evaluation criteria so you know if you've met your goals, how well you met them, and what you learned throughout the process

Start small

Pick a few goals initially to test your program. The larger the program, the larger your goal-set, the trickier it is to evaluate if your investment is working. Build your confidence in the process with something small and manageable.

Decide which goals to start with

Think about the process and the immediate results you would like to see. Here are a few examples:

  1. If you increase phone calls to your reception, make sure they are staffed and prepared to inspire and delight each caller, and move them along the journey to feeling confident in trusting their dental health with your team.
  2. If you increase traffic to your website, make sure the website is personal, up to date, friendly, professional, efficient and differentiates you from the other dentists nearby. Your website should uniquely showcase your practice, and make it easy for visitors to follow clear calls to action (CTAs) to engage with your team, and ultimately choose your practice for their dental needs. There is a science to this - pretty pictures are nice to look at but don’t drive desired behaviours.
  3. If you increase your activity on social channels (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc), make sure it links to well-constructed, valuable content on your website, that is so good it is worthy of sharing. It is also important to understand the culture of each social channel in perspective of the target audience you are trying to reach. Improperly formatted social posts don’t perform as well as properly structured and formatted posts.

Decide how much to spend

The ADA expects the number of dentists per capita to continue increasing over the next 15 years. Marketing is essential If you don’t want to lose prospective patients to your competition.

There are no shortage of statistics on the subject that suggest spending from 2 per cent to 30 per cent of your annual revenue on marketing. A reasonable approach would be to decide how competitive your market is, and then factor in the growth goals for your practice. If you're not totally sure what this investment would contribute, we shared the low-down on marketing strategies for your practice in an earlier blog.

 Service existing clients  Moderate growth  Aggressive growth
 1-3%  4-7%  8-15%



Decide how to measure

With a great website in place, get the return on that investment by driving traffic to it in a number of traditional and online strategies. If you don’t have the expertise, find someone who can help you. Analytics should be part of the website, but can also be built into all marketing campaigns. Use unique tracking methods for print and digital campaigns to understand what works and what doesn’t.

Technology and digital tools are changing so fast, it isn’t reasonable to be able to have this capability in your office. A partner should understand your business and goals and tailor your digital presence to deliver.