Avoid Common Mistakes and Take These Smart Steps When Creating Your Marketing Budget
A mindboggling low number of dental practices know their marketing budget. Those who do are ahead of the competition by simply treating their dental practices as they should, as a business. Having a marketing budget and managing it properly is essential to both growing your practice and maintaining growth. Even if you are unsure where to market, how to market, or who to ask for help, following these 3 essential budget practices will assure you are on target.
Consistency is the key to running a successful dental marketing program as integral to your business as administration, supply inventory, staff training, and paying the electric bill. It is essential. It is not optional.
- Step one is making sure you definitely understand that marketing is a critical component of your dental practice.
- Step two is to utilize the 3 best budget practices for dental marketing.
Essential Budget Practice #1: Control Your Own Budget
Your CPA might be able to tell you a responsible figure to allocate to marketing, but they are not going to be able to advise you as to what to spend it on. Neither are fellow dentists, marketing companies not specializing in service-oriented and medical fields, your friend at the gym or even your social media savvy teenager.
Yes, you can employ similar people to execute your plan for you, but at the end of the day, it is important as the business owner to jump in, understand your business numbers, establish goals and directly determine your own budget.
Here is a good frame of reference to consider when planning out your yearly budget with your team. Your marketing budget should be between 5% of your revenues for last year and your goal revenues for the current year.
- If your revenues are over $1.5 million and growing steadily, it is safe to decrease your budget by .25% each year (but that’s only if you see a growth in business that year!).
Only you and your team will have a pulse on your business year to year, and only you should dictate the direction of your marketing budget as your dental practice grows into the future.
Essential Budget Practice #2: Pace Your Budget
We get it, marketing technology is ever-changing by nature and what was cutting edge last year is old hat this year, but you need to fund the marketing element of your business as consistently as you fund (yes, again!) the light bill, the supply closet, and so on. Do not wait for business to slow down before thinking it’s time for a social media campaign or Google ad! Just as much, do not let off the gas simply because your business has picked up. This is not a guessing game. This is a utility. If your dental practice is like a car then marketing fuels the car, and you don’t go very far without it.
Essential Budget Practice #3: Fund Your Budget
You might be thinking “Great, I get it (good!), but what do I do with my consistent, long-term marketing budget funding?” and that’s where it really becomes like driving a car. Think of this as like driving a stick shift. No need to lurch all over the road. Allocating your budget in the best directions is critical.
Traditional and digital marketing campaigns, from thanking referrals to Google AdWords campaigns, all need the same consistent nurturing as your overall marketing budget. There is no need to be a perfectionist and if you try a new platform for a year and decide you don’t like it, you are not married to it.
However, everyone on your team should know the general areas where you allocate marketing funds and should keep an eye on their reach. While you might have a staffer and specialized marketing agency dedicated to your marketing program, everyone can like, follow, and get in on the fun of spreading the word that your dental practice is the one worth the waiting room!
Do not jeopardize the success of the rest of your practice by failing to consider the importance of your marketing budget. Referrals, both in the immediate and distant future, are the ultimate compliment to a solid marketing plan fueled by a proper budget. These come from both your good practice and consumer awareness. Ultimately, if you consciously recognize the importance of having a budget for the marketing efforts of your practice, you are statistically ahead of the game. Allocating it, monitoring it, and implementing controls to simply digest returns on investment will provide the clearest correlation between your marketing efforts, increased sales, and your growing client base.