How much should your medical practice spend on marketing?

posted by Zack Spear
Read time 5 minutes

You probably know that marketing your medical practice is critical. Sure, everyone needs medical care, but good marketing drives them to your practice rather than to the practice down the street. As you know, your practice won’t grow without an influx of new patients; marketing will help to build a relationship between you and prospective patients.

An effective marketing program that educates patients about the services you provide is essential, but how much should your medical practice spend on marketing? Keep reading to learn more about making your marketing budget.

What Determines Your Budget?

Before you decide how much you want to spend on your marketing budget, you’re going to need to set some goals for your practice. How much growth do you hope to see over the course of the next year? If you’re shooting to double your patient load, you’re going to need to invest heavily in marketing.  Are you expanding your services? Bringing new physicians on board? Your marketing budget will need to be large enough to advertise this.

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Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all marketing budget that will work for every practice. It depends on a variety of factors, including your location, the size of your practice, your area of expertise, and your ideal patient. Recommendations range anywhere from 2% to 15% of your annual revenue, but there’s a lot of wiggle room within that. Established practices might get away with spending only 2%, while brand new practices might need to sink as much as 15% into their marketing budget.

What is Patient Acquisition Cost (PAC)?

The patient acquisition cost, or the PAC, is a simple equation that divides the amount of money that you spend on marketing by the number of patients acquired in any given month. If, for instance, you spend $1000 on marketing, and you get 50 new patients, your PAC is $20.

The best range for your PAC is dependent on your practice’s location. If, for instance, you’re in a small town, keeping your PAC under $14 is not just possible, but encouraged. In a large city, like New York City or Los Angeles? It’s going to be a whole lot higher.

It’s vital that you pay close attention to your PAC; if you find that your PAC is higher than it should be, you might want to rethink your marketing strategy.

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What’s Your Return on Investment (ROI)?

giphyYour return on investment, or ROI, is simply your profitability ratio. To calculate your gain, you take the net gain on the investment and divide it by the cost of the advertising method.  Confused? Here’s an example.

You spend $200 on a Google Ad, which brings in 4 patients; historically, your average profit per patient is $100. Your ROI is $200.  This is a profitable form of advertising, and you should consider putting more of your budget into this method.

However, if you spend $400 on a Facebook ad and get just one patient, your ROI indicates that you should avoid funneling more money toward this particular strategy.

Another consideration is the lifetime value of each new patient to your practice. Digital marketing allows us to track a patient’s specific journey; when you’re able to connect your new patients to specific marketing campaigns, you’re better able to figure the return of investment on that particular campaign. You’ll have a better understanding than ever what works for your patients and what doesn’t.

The Takeaway

Your medical practice’s marketing is a key part of its growth, so you want to be sure that you invest in it. That said, there’s no definitive amount that you should be spending. It’s important to keep track of whether the strategies you’re employing are actually working for you — how much are you spending per patient, and what’s your ROI? Finding the budget that’s best for your practice is a must for any successful practice.

Other Resources

Does the Medical Industry Really Need to Market Themselves?

Why Remarketing Should Be Part of Your Strategy

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