Ask ‘How?’, not ‘How much?’

If you’re running a dental practice, you’re running a business. And one of the fundamental concepts in business is maximising your return on investment (ROI). So when deciding on your practice marketing budget, it’s one of the first things you’ll want to consider.

Whether you have a small surgery or a large group of practices, you’re probably interested in attracting more patients, but won’t want to spend more than necessary. ROI is a delicate balance. Spend too little and there might not be a great response. Spend too much and the resulting new business might not cover your costs. Ultimately, therefore, the question isn’t really how much to spend, but how to spend it.

Wondering what to order?

Marketing, like ordering in a restaurant, can be done with a coordinated package (prix fixe menu) or à la carte. Sometimes you already have several successful components in place, like a website and social media, and simply want to add a one-off campaign to promote a special offer. Picking off the menu in those situations can be a cost-effective and profitable strategy with, if done in a researched and targeted manner, an excellent ROI.

However, when you’re planning your marketing as a whole, ordering à la carte can result in a disjointed approach that doesn’t do much to drive patient acquisition. Generally, a much better return can be achieved by adopting a more comprehensive and coordinated strategy, whereby several components are designed to work in harmony. In this way, a good ‘prix fixe menu’ will attract attention, promote your brand, drive patient acquisition and increase retention.

Don’t put all of your apples in one basket

Let’s say you’re planting an orchard. You could spend all your money on trees, hoping enough of them will bear fruit. Or you could instead purchase a limited number of a proven variety and invest the rest of your budget on fertiliser, irrigation, harvesting equipment and storage and distribution facilities. In the first scenario, you might get lucky with your trees but then what? With a diversified and coordinated plan, each component drives the next, resulting in an upward spiral of increased business and revenue.

What would this look like in marketing terms? It starts with your brand, which sets the tone for everything else. Then a fully-functioning and interactive website, social media that educates, entertains and engages and, linking them all together, targeted digital campaigns that encourage patients to take action. A good marketing agency will offer complete packages that do all of it for you.

The bottom line

In terms of spending, ‘comprehensive’ doesn’t have to cost the earth. In fact, agencies with very high pricing may be hedging their bets, trying to make their money up front because they’re not confident of keeping their clients.

Look instead for a talented group, with a full range of coordinated services, offering reasonably-priced à la carte and prix fixe menus and boasting excellent results for their clients. They’ll understand that your success is theirs too. And, if you hadn’t already guessed, we have a pretty great one in mind!

Want to learn more about how we can help you maximise your marketing budget? Contact us today!

 

(NB: This post was originally published as an article in The Probe, December 2016 issue.)