Digital Marketing Budgeting Guide for Dentists

August 12, 2023 by†AACD Executive Office

Sponsored by Rosemont Media

How much should I budget to market my dental practice online?

The biggest key when developing a comprehensive digital dental marketing strategy is to know where to start and build on the success of your digital marketing one strategy at a time. Rather than focus on the rule of thumb and an overall marketing budget of around 10% of gross revenue, let's focus on the order and importance of building a robust plan. Keep in mind that this article is geared specifically for the cosmetic dentistry, orthodontic, and dental implants practice targeting high-end patient acquisition.

1. Website Design

An aesthetically pleasing dental website design is the foundation of any good digital marketing strategy. The development of your website paired with a potent SEO strategy is the 1st priority in the building of any new or redesigned website. Going with a digital marketing agency that specializes in custom website development and SEO is a good choice rather than trying to build SEO in as an afterthought. A practice should plan to budget for a new website every five to seven years. The typical cost of a new or redesigned website will usually range from around $7,000-$21,000. The cost will be dictated by the scope of the project: how many procedures are offered, custom landing pages, the number of before-and-after photos, custom features, and ultimately how much time will be spent on the project. A well thought-out website will have better conversion. On average, most practices budget around $14,000.

Custom Dental Website Example†

2. SEO and Content

SEO (a.k.a. search engine optimization) is just as important as the building of the website itself. For this strategy, you want to partner with a company that specializes in the initial and ongoing SEO efforts. Typically, after the on-page SEO elements are established, content marketing (or in other words: the ongoing efforts of adding content on a continuous basis) is the cornerstone of any good SEO strategy. Working with an agency that also specializes in dental SEO is key. Having a seasoned dental writing team is idealóthe last thing you want to have to do is educate your SEO team on dentistry! In regards to a budget for SEO and Content, if you are a new practice and have to establish a new digital footprint, I would recommend an initial budget of $10,000-$16,000 for new website content. The typical cost for one page of content with 750-1000 words usually ranges from about $400-$1,200.

For your ongoing SEO and content marketing needs, this is where your goal is to turn your website into a resource for patients researching specific procedures in your local marketplace. By turning your website into a patient education resource you are also positioning your practice as an authority on the procedures offered. Our clients will typically tailor their content expansions on the most profitable cash-pay procedures, like porcelain veneers and dental implants for example. The other benefit of building website content over time is that your website becomes more of an asset than a liability, and grows in value as well. Think of it as consistently contributing to a 401k retirement plan. Most of our clients typically budget $1,000-$2,000 a month or $12,000-$24,000 annually.

3. Linking and Local Citation Listings

This is another extremely important part of your overall SEO strategy. After you have established a good website and content, it's time to link it in as many relevant places as possible. Search engine business listings like Google Business Profile are a great place to start, but that is just the beginning. You also want to make sure your Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) are consistent across the web. Your practice should also budget for a location management tool like YEXT that will keep your NAP consistent and blast your practice information out to hundreds of online directories. In addition to these types of online yellow page listings, you should also make sure you have profile listings on any professional organizations, such as the AACD & Alumnus. The budget for this does not include Press Releases or hiring a PR firm, but those are great additional linking avenues to pursue down the road after you have exhausted all of your local linking opportunities. The range for linking will vary for newer practices vs. established dental practices. A good budget for annual linking campaigns will range from $1,500-$7,500.

4. PPC Pay Per Click

PPC dental ads on Google are a guaranteed way to drive targeted traffic and should be part of a good diversified digital marketing strategy. If you have a new practice and a new website this is a great way to get exposure and gain visibility while your SEO takes some time to get ramped up. Again you should always seek out an agency with specialization in running dental-specific ad campaigns. I always recommend starting with just one campaign for one procedure and building upon its success. Tracking the origin of phone calls and email-form submissions is key here. For your Google ads budget, let's break it up into two costs: 1. Campaign Management and 2. Ad Costs. For the management fee, our agency charges an hourly fee based on how much time it takes to set up and monitor on a monthly basis, while other agencies may charge a percentage of spend. If you are being charged a percentage of ad spend, try to stay at 10% or below and make sure it is broken out from the ad spend and not lumped in. Ad management costs monthly will range from $300-$1,500 and monthly ad cost per procedure will range from $750-$3,000. The ad costs are market-driven, so market density will play a big role.

5. Tracking

Your overall digital marketing success will be predicated upon one simple stat: how many total leads have converted into actual patients. However, we do have the ability to pinpoint the origin of the converted lead with advanced call and form tracking. This is a must if you are engaged in any type of paid ads. The cost range for call and form tracking will range from $750-$3,000 annually.

6. Email Marketing

Email marketing in my opinion is one of the most cost-effective and underutilized digital marketing strategiesóand yes, I am ranking it above social media in order of most importance. If you build a good subscriber list, it can be paired with a potent custom audience campaign on social media. That is mostly why I am ranking it above social media marketing. A good average budget will range monthly from $100-$2,000; again, that is depending on complexity of email design, email marketing platform cost, and frequency.

7. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing for your dental practice should be mostly brought in-house. The practice should handle the daily or weekly practice posts. This approach is much more authentic and should be something embraced by the team members. Social media is not for every practice, so only do it if it feels comfortable. An agency, however, can help with creating a practice content calendar and mostly focus on ad creation and management. Donít feel that your practice has to be a slave to daily or even weekly posts. You can rely solely on a good branding ad campaign for good exposure to complement your premium custom website, potent SEO with content marketing, paid ads, and email marketing. Then track and repeat what is working! Letís break up a social media budget into two categories: Monthly management and consulting $250-$1500, and monthly ad cost $750-$2000.

For more information or assistance in building a robust digital marketing plan for your practice, contact Rosemont Media.

Article authored by Keith C. Humes, CEO Rosemont Media, LLC

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