Whether your clinic is big or small, marketing is essential for the health of your dental practice.
In this article, we'll have a look at how much dentists typically spend on marketing, and best dental marketing tips, including:
So, without further ado, let's dive in!
Table of contents
Why do dental practices need marketing?
Marketing is a crucial element for any dental practice to attract clients. The first step for a dentist is to make their presence known. After all, potential patients can't choose a dentist they're unaware of. This could involve various methods, from signage to a user-friendly website to distributing flyers — whatever method effectively reaches your audience.
Next, you need to highlight the qualities and services that make your clinic uniquely yours. For instance, maybe you have chairs equipped for people with limited mobility or offer specialized care for people suffering from heightened anxiety around dentistry. These are the details that potential clients are interested in knowing.
Building trust is another vital aspect. Many people have apprehensions about dental visits, so they're looking for a dentist they can feel comfortable with, and the image you project with your website and social media is all part of that.
In summary, as a dental clinic, you use marketing to:
- Let your community know you're there
- Tell potential patients about your unique services
- Build rapport and trust with interested parties
Marketing ideas and how to market a dental office
So, how do dentists market their dental offices? What strategies do dentists employ for marketing? There are a few tactics you might explore, ranging from traditional methods to modern digital approaches.
Starting with the digital arena, having a website is standard, and should be up to date with SEO best practices — so that when someone who lives near your clinic searches “dentist near me” on Google your practice shows up.
Additionally, social media plays a big role – dentists might share images of their office or satisfied patients (always with permission, of course) to engage with their audience on platforms like Facebook or Instagram.
On the flip side, there are more traditional methods. Some dentists still advertise in newspapers or distribute flyers — a nod to those who prefer to live offline.
Referral programs are also popular. This is when a patient refers a friend to their dentist and receives a benefit, like a discount.
Community involvement is another key aspect. Dentists might sponsor local sports teams or offer free dental check-up days to make their presence known in the community.
So summing it up, dentists might allocate their marketing budget to:
- Digital marketing, including websites, SEO, and social media.
- Traditional advertising, such as newspaper ads and flyers.
- Referral programs.
- Community engagement and sponsorships.
How much do dentists spend on marketing?
Dentists can spend anywhere from the more affordable dental marketing costing as little as $50 to $15,000+ on marketing, give or take as much as you want on either end. It depends entirely on the kind of marketing you do, how much you want to make and other factors as well.
In the following sections, we're going to take a closer look at how much dentists spend on marketing, including:
- A breakdown of costs according to marketing method
- Tips for new practices
- Tried and true marketing strategies
- Tips for boosting growth
- And average marketing expenses
Average Monthly Cost
Google Ads (PPC)
$1,000 - $15,000
Depends on local competition, services promoted, and specific goals.
SEO for Dental Websites
Few hundred dollars - $1,000+
Cost varies based on practice size, location, and market competition.
Social Media Marketing
DIY: $500 - $1,000; Outsourced: $1,000 - $5,000+
Includes visual design and copywriting for content creation.
$50 - $500
Monthly fees depend on the technology and functionality of the chatbot.
Online Review Management
$200 - $300
Critical for reputation management and patient acquisition.
DIY: $9 - $1,000; Professional: $500 - $1,000
Cost-effective solution for personalized communication and promotion.
Allocation is typically 19% - 33% of the total marketing budget.
Includes direct mail, print ads, and other non-digital methods.
Obviously, costs will vary depending on the size of your practice, where you live, the scale of your marketing operations, and many more factors. You can see that things like email marketing and chatbots are some of the most affordable dental marketing strategies, whereas purchasing ads can be more expensive.
New dental practices
For new dental practices just getting started, there are often a lot of costs upfront, as you have to put in an initial investment to get things off the ground. In general, it's said that a new practice should use about 20% of what they think their income will be for their marketing budget. This amount could be increased to 30% if they predict a particularly busy year, or is the clinic is located in a metropolis.
Get started by investing in a great website that optimizes search engine marketing, and consider paying for ads so that when people are searching for clinics online, they will see yours right away (although if your website is properly optimized for keywords like ‘dentist near me' you shouldn't need to pay for ads.
Established practices aiming for growth
If you have a dental practice that is already doing okay but you would like to grow your practice, you may want to consider using 5-10% of your income for marketing. This might go into tweaking your website to stay up to date with current practices and trends. It might also meaning investing more in SEO — if you do so, be patient as results may take anywhere from 6 – 12 months to appear.
Pay-per-click ads is also a fast way to get your patients in the door. make for marketing. They might need to change their online marketing or make their website better to stay up with other practices and new trends. Good ways to do this include putting money into SEO, which can take a bit, like 6-12 months, to really work but is worth it later. Also, using pay-per-click ads can get patients in the door quickly.
Practices that aren't growing much
For dental practices that aren't really growing or are getting smaller, they might need to spend more on marketing, maybe around 5-10% of what they want to earn. This could mean paying for new marketing tools, like a completely new website. If it's not clear by now, a polished, user-friendly website should be considered standard practice for every clinic.
What most practices spend
This survey thing from Wealthy Dentist shows that what practices spend on marketing is all over the place:
- 54% are spending more than $1,000 a month.
- 22% go over $5,000 a month.
- 6% don't spend anything at all. How much they spend each month usually depends on how much the practice makes in a year. For example, if a practice makes around $2,000,000 a year, they might spend somewhere between $8,500 to $11,500 each month on marketing. This includes different components like SEO, pay-per-click, social media, mail campaigns, and ads in print.
As you can see, what dental practices spend on marketing isn't the same for everyone. It really depends on a variety of factors, like what stage the practice is at, what's happening in the local market, who they're competing with, and what they want to achieve.
When it comes to you and your practice, you really have to think about your marketing plan, and what strategies you want to employ.to get and keep patients, while ensuring future growth.
Monthly marketing budget
Obviously, a dentist's monthly marketing budget will differ from their peers, but in the table below you can see a rough estimate of what you may expect.
Annual Practice Revenue
Monthly Marketing Budget
$8,500 to $11,500
$6,000 to $9,000
$4,000 to $6,000
$3,500 to $5,000
Less than $500,000
$2,000 to $2,500
How much money should you spend on dental marketing?
1. Start back from your goal
To plan your marketing budget, start by figuring out what you want to earn back. For instance, if you're offering Zoom teeth whitening at $500 per treatment, and you aim to attract 10 new patients a month, that's a potential income of $5,000 monthly.
Now, a good rule of thumb is that the money you make from marketing should be about 8 to 10 times what you spend on it. So, if you're aiming for $5,000 in new income each month, your marketing budget should be around $500 to $625. This is calculated by dividing your total expected revenue by the return on investment (ROI) – $5,000 divided by 10 (for 10x ROI) equals $500, and $5,000 divided by 8 (for 8x ROI) equals $625.
If you find this confusing, think of it like this: your marketing budget should be about 10% to 12.5% of the income you want to generate.
Let’s break it down further with an easy example. Say you want 10 new Zoom teeth whitening patients each month, which equals 120 patients a year. With each patient bringing in $500, that totals to $60,000 a year. Applying the 10% to 12.5% guideline, your annual marketing budget should be between $6,000 and $7,500, or $500 to $625 per month.
Or, let's say you want to make an extra $140,000 a year, and do so you'd need 140 more patients, which means a little more than 10 additional patients each month. It can cost between $100 to $300 to get each new patient.
Typically it costs $100 to $300 to acquire a new patient. If you want 10 extra new patients per month, be prepared to spend an additional $1000 to $3000 to acquire them.
2. How much of your revenue should go into marketing?
Another way to look at it is to use a slice of your expected earnings for marketing. Like, if you’re hoping to pull in 120 new patients a year, and each brings in $2,500, that adds up to $300,000. So, set aside about 10% to 12.5% of that for marketing.
3. Are you ready for new patients?
Make sure your clinic can handle all the new patients your marketing will bring in. If your team’s not prepped or if you don't have properly organized scheduling, your office won't run smoothly, and clients will be driven away by the lack of order, no matter how much you spend on ads.
4. Be flexible and patient
When it comes to marketing, if's often about playing the long game. You might not see a huge return in the first year, but rather, a buildup, gradually over time. Adjust your strategy as you go along to reflect the the trends of the industry, and make sure you have a marketing team to help keep you up to date and on track to meet patient acquisition objectives.
5. Have realistic goals
While you might dream of big returns, keep your expectations in check. A lot depends on how good your marketing tactics are and whether your clinic can manage more patients.
6. Stay flexible with your budget
Your marketing budget shouldn’t be set in stone. As your clinic grows and you hire new staff and upgrade your equipment, be ready to shift your spending to keep up with your goals.
So, there you have it! Just a few tips on figuring out how much you can expect to invest into marketing for your dental clinic.
In the video below, you can get some extra tips for marketing your dental practice, including the importance of optimizing your visibility, clickability, and conversions.
While there's no one-size-fits-all answer to how much dentists spend on marketing — established practices typically allocate between 4% to 10% of their annual revenue to marketing, with some variation depending on the size and stage of the practice.
Marketing practices include a mix of digital and traditional marketing methods, such as website design, SEO, content marketing, PPC ads, and community engagement strategies. Ultimately you will have to invest in marketing to get, maintain and grow your client base.
Dentistryiq: How much should your dental practice spend on digital advertising? Consulted 15th January 2024.