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How to Strategically Budget for Marketing as a Dental Practice


October 27, 2023




Determining the right marketing budget is crucial yet tricky for dental practices aiming to attract new patients and grow. Invest too little, and you limit your ability to connect with potential patients.

Overspend and you waste precious resources. This comprehensive guide examines how to strategically budget across key marketing channels and tactics specific to your practice's goals and finances.

Step 1: Calculate Your Baseline Marketing Budget

First, establish your overall annual marketing budget range. Industry experts often recommend allotting 5-10% of your projected annual gross revenue. For a practice generating $500K per year, that would equate to a $25K-$50K budget.

This metric ties spending to the current patient base and revenue size. As your practice expands, your budget scales up proportionately to keep attracting more patients.

Step 2: Factor In Your Business Goals

 Factor In Your Business Goals

Your specific growth objectives should also influence budgeting levels. More aggressive goals require bigger budgets. Setting realistic targets helps guide appropriate spending. Goals for a thriving practice may include:

  • Increase new patients by 10%
  • Increase new patients by 10%
  • Boost production/revenue by 8%
  • Gain 20+ online reviews
  • Get 50+ social media followers

If goals require major gains, aim at the higher end of the 5-10% revenue range. Modest goals allow for more conservative budgets. Measuring marketing ROI helps optimize spending amounts over time.

Step 3: Allocate Spending Across High-ROI Activities

With your total budget range defined, portion out amounts across marketing activities proven to provide the strongest ROI for dental practices:

  • 30% Digital Ads - PPC, social, display/retargeting ads
  • 15% Website - Design, development, SEO optimization
  • 15% Reviews - Generation, management tools
  • 10% Social Media - Ad spend, content creation
  • 10% Print/Direct Mail Marketing
  • 5% Signage, events, etc.

Digital ads, website upgrades, and review building offer major impact and warrant larger budget allocations. Adapt percentages based on which specific channels perform best for your practice.

Step 4: Dig Into Your Digital Ad Spend

For many dental practices, digital ads generate the highest returns and deserve the largest share of the budget. Break ad spending down by:

  • Google/YouTube Ads - Critical for search visibility. Budget for ad variations and ongoing optimization.
  • Facebook/Instagram Ads - Great for targeting local demographics. Factor in creative requirements.
  • Retargeting Ads - Remarket to website visitors across the web. Account for minimum spending.

Step 5: Calculate Website Investment Needs

A high-converting website is foundational to your marketing success and justifies a significant budget. Consider costs for:

  • Design Overhaul - Budget for a mobile-friendly redesign and optimized copy.
  • SEO Enhancements - Ongoing improvements to boost organic search visibility.
  • Hosting & Maintenance - Cover hosting fees, security, backups, and plugins.
  • New Functionality - Adding appointment scheduling, forms, etc.
  • Content Creation - Hiring a copywriter for blog posts, and articles.

Step 6: Earmark for Reviews

Earmark for Reviews

Reviews build credibility and require budget allocations for:

  • Review Generation - Incentives, third-party review gathering services.
  • Review Generation - Incentives, third-party review gathering services.
  • Management Tools - Software to request, monitor, and respond to reviews.
  • Reputation Repair - Services to remove or suppress negative reviews.

Step 7: Leverage Low-Cost Tactics

Boost marketing without breaking the bank by:

  • Creating in-house social media content
  • DIY email outreach for reviews
  • Writing blog content internally
  • Using free social media scheduling tools
  • Building email lists to nurture leads
  • Tapping staff for referrals
  • Joining local business Facebook groups

Step 8: Track and Adjust Spend Based on Performance

Consistently measure marketing performance using KPIs like:

  • Traffic and leads generated by channel
  • Website/phone conversions
  • Cost per lead/patient acquired
  • New patients per tactic
  • Revenue growth and ROI

Use this data to guide budget allocations toward top-performing initiatives. Optimize programs, cut inefficient spending, and double down on what works best.

Following this 8-step approach will empower your dental practice to fund marketing success. Define your budget based on goals, finances, and highest-ROI activities. Transfer funds away from laggards, and towards winning channels and campaigns. With the right budget powering your strategy, your marketing will attract droves of new patients!


Allocating a sufficient budget for effective marketing is imperative, yet deciding ideal spending levels poses an ongoing challenge for dental practices. By first establishing an overall budget tied to revenue and goals, and then portioning funds toward proven high-ROI initiatives, dental offices can fund success.

Remember to track performance closely using KPIs, so budget distributions can be optimized based on real data. Adjust allocations away from poor performers, and towards marketing activities demonstrating the greatest impact and returns.

By partnering with mConsent, your practice can attain the right mix of digital advertising, website enhancements, reviews, and more, to control your marketing destiny and drive new patient growth.

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