How Much Should a Dental Practice Spend on Marketing?

How Much Should a Dental Practice Spend on Marketing?

Dental practices across the UK are continually seeking the right balance between investment and return on investment (ROI). Now that we’re in 2024, the question on every dentist’s mind is, “How much should I spend on marketing?”. Hopefully, this article will factor in new trends and consumer behaviour changes, to help dental professionals better understand modern marketing strategies and allocate their budget wisely.

Understanding the Importance of Dental Marketing

No doubt, online presence is pivotal for any business, and dental practices are no exception. A robust marketing strategy is essential for attracting new patients, retaining existing ones, and staying competitive in a crowded marketplace. Effective marketing not only increases visibility but also establishes trust and credibility, crucial factors in the healthcare sector.

Key Marketing Trends

Before delving into budget considerations, it’s essential to be aware of the prevailing trends shaping dental marketing. By aligning strategies with these trends, practices can maximise their impact and achieve better results.

1. Digital Presence:
The digital realm continues to dominate marketing landscapes. A strong online presence is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Websites, social media platforms, and online reviews significantly influence a potential patient’s decision-making process.

2. Video Marketing:
Video content has emerged as a powerful tool for engagement. Whether it’s informative videos about dental procedures, virtual office tours, or patient testimonials, incorporating video into the marketing strategy can enhance the user experience and build a stronger connection with the audience.

3. Local SEO:
Local search engine optimisation (SEO) is crucial for dental practices. With prospective patients relying heavily on online searches to find local services, optimising online content for local searches ensures higher visibility in search engine results.

4. Patient Reviews:
Positive patient reviews are digital gold for dental practices. Encouraging satisfied patients to leave reviews on platforms like Google My Business and Yelp not only builds credibility but also improves search rankings.

Industry Benchmarks: How Much Are Others Spending?

Understanding industry benchmarks is crucial for determining an appropriate marketing budget. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, examining what other dental practices are spending can provide valuable insights.

1. Percentage of Revenue:
Many experts recommend allocating 5–10% of the practice’s annual revenue to marketing. However, this can vary based on the practice’s size, goals, and the competitiveness of the local market.

2. Competitive Landscape:
Practices operating in highly competitive markets may need to allocate a larger budget to stand out. Assessing the local competition and their marketing efforts can help practices gauge what is necessary to stay competitive.

3. Digital vs. Traditional:
The shift towards digital marketing is undeniable, but some traditional methods, like internal marketing and Open Day events, still hold value. Balancing digital and traditional channels based on the target audience is key to a well-rounded strategy.

Developing a Budget for Dental Marketing

Now that we have an understanding of trends and benchmarks, let’s delve into the steps involved in developing a practical budget for dental marketing in 2024.

1. Set clear goals:
Before allocating any budget, it’s essential to define clear and measurable goals. Whether the focus is on attracting new patients, increasing website traffic, or improving online reviews, having specific objectives provides direction for the marketing strategy.

2. Know Your Audience:
Understanding the target audience is fundamental. Different demographics may respond differently to various marketing channels. Conducting market research can help identify the most effective channels for reaching and engaging with the target audience.

3. Allocate Budget to Digital Channels:
Given the digital dominance in marketing, a significant portion of the budget should be allocated to digital channels. This includes website development and maintenance, search engine optimisation, social media advertising, and online reputation management.

4. Invest in Content Marketing:
Content remains king in the digital era of Brand exposure. Creating valuable and relevant content establishes expertise, engages the audience, and improves search rankings. Allocate resources to content creation, including blog posts, articles, and educational materials.

5. Consider Paid Advertising:
While organic traffic is crucial, paid advertising can provide an immediate boost. Platforms like Google Ads and social media advertising allow practices to target specific demographics and increase visibility.

6. Monitor and Adjust:
The digital landscape is dynamic, and marketing strategies should be flexible. Regularly monitor the performance of various channels, track key performance indicators (KPIs), and be prepared to adjust the budget based on what works best.

Case Study: Successful Marketing Strategies

To illustrate the impact of strategic marketing, let’s explore a case study of a dental practice that successfully navigated the challenges of 2023 and adapted its marketing strategies for 2024.

Case Study: Smiles4Life Dental Clinic

Smiles4Life Dental Clinic, a mid-sized practice in a competitive urban area, faced challenges in attracting new patients and standing out among numerous local competitors.

Strategies Implemented:

1. The clinic revamped its website, focusing on user experience and mobile responsiveness. They optimised content for local SEO, ensuring that the practice appeared prominently in local search results.

2. Smiles4Life invested in social media advertising, running targeted campaigns on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Engaging content, including educational videos and patient testimonials, increased social media visibility and engagement.

3. To encourage existing patients to refer friends and family, the clinic introduced referral programmes and loyalty incentives. This not only boosted patient retention but also attracted new patients through word-of-mouth.

4. Recognising the need for immediate results, the clinic invested in Google Ads. This paid advertising strategy ensured that the clinic appeared at the top of relevant search results, driving immediate traffic to the website.

By the end of 2023, Smiles4Life Dental Clinic had experienced a significant increase in new patient appointments. The clinic’s online reputation improved, with positive reviews becoming a driving force for new patient acquisition. The marketing strategies implemented not only increased visibility but also established the clinic as a trusted and patient-centric practice in the community.

Future Trends to Consider

Looking ahead, dental practices must stay ahead of emerging trends to maintain a competitive edge in their marketing efforts. Several trends are expected to shape dental marketing in the coming years.

1. Telehealth and Virtual Consultations:
The adoption of telehealth in dentistry is on the rise. Practices that incorporate virtual consultations and online appointment scheduling are likely to appeal to tech-savvy patients.

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Marketing:
AI tools are becoming more sophisticated, offering personalised marketing experiences. Implementing AI-driven strategies can enhance patient targeting, engagement, and overall marketing efficiency.

3. Community Engagement:
Building strong ties with the local community remains a timeless marketing strategy. Participating in local events, sponsoring community initiatives, and engaging with local influencers can foster a positive image and attract local patients.

4. Emphasis on Patient Education:
With patients becoming more proactive in their healthcare decisions, practices that prioritise patient education through informative content will likely see increased trust and patient loyalty.


2024 has already presented new challenges for dental practices, so there’s even more emphasis on strategic allocation and adaptability. Understanding the ever-evolving changes in Dentistry, keeping a close ear to the ground on trends, and implementing targeted strategies can position dental practices for greater success. While there isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer to how much a dental practice should spend on marketing, a thoughtful and data-driven approach ensures that every £ invested contributes to the practice’s growth and success in the digital age.