How do I know how much to put towards my marketing budget?

We all know the best road to success is careful planning and strategy, yet the tendency of most dentists is to leave their marketing budget to guesswork, or more often, spur of the moment needs. The reason for this is most dentists don't know how much is ideal for their particular practice. Happily, there is a proven method to setting a proper budget.

The first thing to do is identify your growth goals. We have found that most dentists fit within 3 specific growth models.

  1. Rapid growth – This is generally for new practices, recently purchased practices, or practices that experience high turnover. The goal is to bring in a lot of patients quickly.
  2. Sustained Growth – The majority of practices fit within this category. Growth is important, but not too fast. It's really about steady controlled growth.
  3. Patient Retention – Maybe you are in the enviable position of not needing new patients and you simply want to retain the patients you have.

A dental practice should be spending somewhere between 2-7% of their annual gross income on marketing. Depending on which model you fall within, your percentage will be different. Rapid growth is generally more expensive because it necessitates a lot of awareness marketing. Therefore you should take between 5-7% of your gross income. Sustained growth requires more moderated efforts and falls between 4-5%. Patient retention is more about enhancing current patient experience and usually requires between 2-3%.

Once you understand your annual budget, we recommend dividing that number by 12 and putting aside 1/12 of the total each month. If you get in the habit of doing this you will always have some marketing funds available to ensure continued success. Our experience says that the most successful dentists are those that are consistent in their marketing efforts.

To learn more, speak with one of our consultants at: 1-866-375-5511, or visit:

Author: Doug Sligting
Published: 04/15/2009
Contact Us