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Leah Crites26-Mar-213 min read

How Much Should a Dental Practice Spend on Marketing?

Marketing your practice is one of the most effective ways to seek out new patients continuously. New patients mean new revenue, so spending some time and effort doing so is a great way to boost sales, increase your patient base, and get your name out there. However, marketing can be a complex task, especially if you’re unsure how to go about it. Well, the first step is to figure out a budget for it, and in this article, we’ll help you do so.

Infographic of dental marketing strategy, marketing channels and budget

What Does Marketing Consist Of?

Marketing as a whole pertains to how you advertise your business strategically to capture ideal patients’ attention. Investing in top-quality marketing, from Google Ads to email campaigns, means you can get the right messaging out to the people you want to reach. Finding a strategy that works best for you and your business will likely involve a mix of the following things:

  • Market research
  • A well-defined target audience
  • Positioning
  • Competitive analysis
  • Budget
  • Metrics

Each component is important in and of itself, but together they can create a flawless plan to help you draw in new business to your practice. If you’re unsure how to pull these things together, consider hiring a marketing expert specializing in the dental industry to help you out. 

All Paths Lead to This

Dental professional working on their website

So now you have a basic idea of what goes into a successful marketing strategy. How much should you expect to pay for it? Well, first and foremost, you should consider the best marketing tactics for dental practices. In the current climate, marketing your dental practice is primarily a virtual journey. Focusing on your online assets can help you successfully manage and grow your practice. 

Think of your website as your virtual lobby. You’ve invested a lot of time and money to make your office feel comfortable and welcoming for patients, and you should do the same for your website. Dental websites should be built to attract and convert new patients, and with a little know-how and TLC, that’s totally achievable. 

Most marketing channels will divert patients back to your website, so ensuring it’s easy to navigate and informative will play a big part in getting them to make the final leap to give your office a call. Some of these channels include:

  • Search engine optimization (Local SEO)
  • Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) with Google Ads
  • Content marketing (blog posts)
  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Referral partnerships
  • Direct mail
  • Print media
  • Web design

Now, Let’s Talk Budget

Budgeting for marketing doesn’t have to be as complicated as you might think. To come up with a budget that will work for you and what you want to achieve, you should work backwards.

For example, think about how many new patients you’d like a month and how much in revenue they are worth to you. In 2016, a new patient was worth $4,220.25 to a dental practice. For the sake of example, let’s make it easy and say a new patient is worth $4,000, and you’re hoping to achieve at least 10 new patients a month. 

Generally speaking, the revenues you earn from marketing should be around 8 to 10 times what you spend. So, if looking to bring in an additional $40,000 a month from your successful marketing efforts, you should expect to spend ($40,000/10x ROI = $4,000 to $40,000/8x ROI = $5,000) around $4,000 to $5,000 a month. 

If you’re not a fan of backwards math, you can also apply this approach: your budget should be between 10% and 12.5% of the revenues you hope to generate. 

How to Get the Ball Rolling

One of the best ways to start up a strategic marketing plan is to ensure everything runs smoothly internally. A streamlined software that makes it effortless to communicate with patients will make the inevitable boom in volume much easier to manage. Integrated patient forms, virtual waiting rooms, practice announcements, and missed appointment lists are integral to smooth internal operations, so be sure the software you’re using is up to the challenge.

RecallMax offers all of these features and more. If you’re unsure of your current software and if it can support you through an expertly-designed marketing campaign, schedule a health check for your practice today!


Leah Crites

Leah started her career in the dental industry in 2002, managing one of North America’s largest dental practices. From there she moved on to run her own practice management consultancy firm, which focused on system development, implementation and performance analysis. Over the course of her career, and backed with over two decades of invaluable experience, Leah has become an expert in optimizing practices to deliver long-term growth. Now, as Vice President of Client Success at RecallMax™, Leah utilizes her passion to develop advanced education programs and provide consultative advice to dental practices across Canada and the USA. Leah is a Founding Advisory Board Member at Women in DSO, established in 2019 to empower and develop women leaders in the DSO and dental industry.