Determining the amount to spend on a dental marketing budget can be overwhelming. But, the difficult part is knowing how to divide it. Should you spend more on Google advertising than offering discounts? Will you earn a return on investment if you allocate more money to your website or to social media advertisements? Just like anything in business, there is no one-size-fits-all. However, there are a few guidelines you can follow to ensure you are spending your advertising budget wisely.
What Size Should a Dental Marketing Budget Be?
Before deciding how to spend your budget, you need to determine how big your budget will be. This will change depending on how established your practice is. If you are a new start-up or only a few years old, we recommend selecting a specific dollar amount instead of a percentage of collections. This is because most new practices’ collections change drastically from month to month. For an established practice, use a percentage of collections. A conservative amount would be 5% of collections while a liberal amount would be 15% of collections. Once you have chosen your marketing budget you can begin distributing it.
Why Spend a Marketing Budget On More Than One Item?
Sometimes dentists ask us, why can’t I just spend my entire marketing budget on online advertising? However, at Lucent Spot Marketing, our expert dental marketers do not recommend this. It takes potential patients an average of 3 to 5 encounters with your brand for a patient to respond. For example, an encounter can be an advertisement in a magazine, a Facebook photo, or a direct mailer to their home. If your practice only uses one of these tactics, your ability to reach potential patients in many different avenues decreases. Thus, it is best to use multiple channels of communication.
1. Referrals and Reviews
Your best patients are your practice’s most effective advocates! Loyal patients are more likely to refer your practice to their friends and family if you ask them. There are a number of marketing activities for this. For example, you can hang canvas signs in the waiting room and ops, hand out referral cards, and host contests. You can also give rewards to patients that refer new patients who book an appointment with your office. In addition to referrals, ask patients for reviews. Encourage them to review on the platform they are most comfortable with, for example, Yelp, Google, or Facebook. This will build-up your practice’s credibility to encourage new patients to visit.
2. Internal Marketing
This incorporates all the activities inside of your practice. Did you know that when your schedulers answer the phone it is a form of marketing? It is! From the outer appearance of your office to the friendliness of the staff to the efficiency of the office, all are marketing techniques that can encourage existing patients to refer people to your office. Set up efficient and replicable systems to perform daily tasks like sanitizing the equipment and billing to make your office run smoothly. The main idea here is that even if a staff member is out sick, your office can still maintain the same quality of service to patients. And yes, appointment time is factored into the quality of service!
Lastly, and most importantly, do not forget about your online presence! Your website is usually one of the first points of contact for potential patients. Your website should capture the essence of your practice. For example, if your practice is extremely modern, your website should reflect that. But, your website cannot just look good, it must be functional for patients, but more importantly, Google. Meaning, Google must be able to understand what your website is about and be able to appear in patient search results. For this, you need to invest in search engine optimization (SEO). For example, each webpage must contain a specific amount of words along with a commonly searched keyword. Additionally, the words must be simplistic enough for patients to read quickly without looking up the meaning.
Other areas that you can spend your marketing budget include Google AdWords, social media advertising, print advertising, and magazine advertisements. The best advertising mix depends on the area of your practice, short-term and long-term goals, and patient base. For more information about dividing and designing your marketing budget, feel free to contact our dental marketing experts at Lucent Spot Marketing.