Considerations When Creating Your 2023 Dental Practice Marketing Budget

Wow, that year went by quickly. It’s hard to believe that 2023 is here. A new year means it’s time to start setting your marketing priorities and building out your marketing budget. But what are those with an ear-to-the-ground saying about developing a dental practice marketing budget for 2023?

Growth-driven dentists should maintain or boost marketing budgets in 2023.

In a recent article in Dentistry Today Xaña Winans, CEO and founder of Golden Proportions Marketing, suggested pressure on household budgets may result in reduced demand for elective procedures.

Yet her advice is to maintain marketing budgets and double down on ensuring patients come in for routine and restorative care. She says this will put you at an advantage – particularly if your competitors ignore this approach and instead reduce their marketing dollars.

Where are marketers investing in 2023?

Neil Patel, best-selling author and head of NP Digital, surveyed 8,032 marketers to see where they are spending their money and why. His data backs what Winans is advocating.

Here is a high-level look at some of Patel’s findings along with our take on the relevance to dental practices.

68% of marketers surveyed plan to increase their SEO budget.

Why: Patel says search engine optimization provides higher ROI than paid advertising, but does take longer to see results.

Our take: Smart thinking. More patients are searching for dentists online. The higher you rank on page 1 of search results, the more likely you are to be on their call list.

83% are increasing their content production budget.

Why: To create user content that can generate leads in multiple formats (video, print, etc.). Customers are using several channels. Marketers are following suit.

Additionally, many of those surveyed are investing in AI writing tools to help with content creation. You’re busy enough taking care of your patients, let platforms such as AISEO, Rytr, Jasper, or ChatGPT do the writing for you. AI is expected to play a larger role in marketing in general, allowing teams to create more content, faster.

Our take: Providing high-quality content that answers patient questions helps establish your domain authority. Which means you’ll rank higher in organic search. Content creation can be time-intensive but will pay off if strategically managed and well-written. Investing in AI writing tools can help reduce the workload, but AI can require serious editing and be quite simplistic.

56% will spend more on email marketing, while 38% will hold firm.

Why: Patel says increased expenditures likely account for the costs to manage growing databases, ensure privacy compliance and cover investments in email automation platforms. Those maintaining current spending are focusing on existing customers.

Our take: If inflation does lead patients to put off high-value elective procedures, it will be important to maximize checkup, hygiene, and restorative care visits. Email campaigns and automated reminders will be valuable for engaging existing customers. It can also be a valuable way to follow up with new prospects engaging with your website.

84% are increasing their community building budget.

Why: Marketers said they want to “feel in control of their destiny instead of being beholden to algorithms they can’t control.”

Our take: We strongly agree, especially for community-based dental practices. After years of being cooped up due to Covid-19, family-focused community events are returning in full force. As a dentist, sponsorships are a great opportunity to promote your local practice and show you’re engaged in the community you serve. It’s especially valuable if your dental practice’s brand and office space convey that same sense of fun and amusement.

59% will buy more Google ads, and 47% are boosting Bing.

Why: Marketers felt these channels provide high ROI compared to others.

Our take: This is a proven strategy to rank at the top of a localized search (eg. Best dentist near (your community). However, costs can add up. Keep a close eye on revenue that can be directly attributed to your ad-spend using the Google ads goal tracking features or other systems like HubSpot that tie ad-spend to revenue.

Social spending is a toss-up.

Why: There were mixed findings in the survey. Respondents said their social spending will be static or drop on most social channels. Many marketers are reducing their social spend in response to Apple’s new privacy policy. The notable B2C exception is Tik Tok, where 84% plan to increase their presence.

Our take: Social is still a great way to reach patients (especially moms of pediatric patients), so take this one with a grain of salt. Target your social channels based on your customer demographics. If you can create quirky, engaging posts, TikTok may be worth exploring.

If you put focus on social media, video content has become increasingly popular in recent years, and is expected to continue to be an important marketing tool.

Look beyond the market experts and at your competition.

What are other dental practices in your area doing to market themselves? Understanding your competition can help you allocate your budget in a way that sets you apart. As we said before, some businesses pull back on marketing and reduce their spend during uneasy economic times, but that can make them fade into the background. This could be your chance to come out ahead.

To recap, social is hitting some road bumps but is still a wealth of opportunity. Email marketing and search engine optimization are expected to continue to be important for reaching and engaging with customers. Artificial intelligence is expected to play a larger role in marketing, allowing businesses to streamline their marketing efforts. Focusing on content marketing and providing valuable, informative content can help build trust and credibility with potential customers and is likely to remain a popular marketing strategy. And getting back out into the community, meeting people face to face and creating real connections, is going to lead the way as Covid continues to become less of a concern.

If you’re unsure, talk to a dental marketing specialist.

Putting together a marketing budget can be challenging, especially in an uncertain economy (to learn more, read: How to recession-proof your practice). The consensus among marketers is to invest rather than cut back. To ensure you get it right, work with an experienced dental marketing professional. Establish priorities and set S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Sensitive).

We hope 2023 is good for you and your practice.

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