Medical Practice Marketing Spend
How Much Should A Medical Practice Spend on Marketing? Common Question $500? $1500? $3000 Per Month Per Provider?
There are many questions you should ask yourself before working on a marketing budget for your medical practice.
You have a great medical practice, fantastic staff, and an ideal location. In a perfect world, you wouldn’t have to do a thing to have people lined up around the block for your services. Unless you are literally the only doctor in town with no other towns around you, chances are you will need to spend some money on marketing. So how much should a medical practice spend on marketing? That depends on a variety of factors that you need to take time to think about.
Questions you should ask yourself before working on a marketing budget
1. How much is each new patient worth to you?
2. What is immediate value of initial treatment?
3. What is the life-time value of each patient?
4. What is your PAC? (Patient Acquisition Cost)
Most common question: How much do doctors spend on advertising?
The actual advertising budget for each clinic and practice is different. Some clinics/doctors are very aggressive and spend $1000 per day (or more) and some spend $1000 a month on advertising. We also have few clinics/doctors who do not spend any money on online advertising, they doctors rely on referrals and very strong SEO rankings. Also you have to understand that every practice area is different. For example for Medspa and plastic surgeons, it is next to impossible to be successful without proper online advertising budget. The typical range is $3000 to $15000 per month, with average budget of $6677 per practice in USA. Urgent cares in USA: The typical range is $1000 to $7000 per month, spend on average spend $2600 per month per location. However these are “average” locations with medium competition. Primary care doctors spend $600 to $1300 per month, with an average monthly budget of $890 per month. Pediatric practices: The typical range is $600 to $1600 per month, spend on average spend $900 per month per location. Sexual health practices: The typical range is $3000 to $8500 per month, spend on average spend $4200 per month per location.
4 Examples and Medical Marketing Spend
Small Single Location 2 Provider Primary Care $500 to $900 per month. 2 Location 12 Provider Urgent Care $3500 to $6900 per month. See 6 Specific Examples
Example 1 – Primary Care / Walk in Clinic
Location suburbs, Mid-West USA. Size is 5 exam rooms, 3 providers – capacity is 66 patients per day but they are seeing 30 patients per day. Goal is to go back to 40 – 44 patients per day. Competition is Medium. History – Medical practice has been in business for 18 years. In the past there was no need to consider digital marketing as yellow pages were the sole source of advertising the and there were no Urgent Care centers around. However the things have changed a lot in the last 5 years.
Using Gold service from PatientGain.com, Monthly Marketing Spend GOLD Service, PLUS $600 per month on online advertising.
Example 2 – Medical Weight Loss Practice
Location suburbs, California USA. Size is 4 exam rooms, 3 providers – capacity is 20 patients per day but they are seeing 5 patients per day. Goal is to go to 20 patients per day. Competition is high. History – Medical practice has been in business for 2 years. In addition to medical weight loss, the owner who is an MD also offers treatments for Botox, facial fillers, acne treatment, dermaplaning, PRP injections for hair restoration. However, since he overlaps with medspa services, she has intense competition.
Using Gold service from PatientGain.com, Monthly marketing spend GOLD Service, PLUS $1900 per month on online advertising. 70% Google, 30% Facebook and Instagram
Example 3 – Medical Spa – Full range of services
Location major city, Florida USA. 1 location Size is 13 exam rooms, 8 providers – capacity is 50+ patients per day. Goal is to operate at 80 percentage capacity and keep the providers busy. Competition is extremely high. History – Medical practice has been in business for 8 years. They offer treatments for Coolsculpting, microneedling, Juvederm, Sculptra Aesthetic, Radiesse, Belotero, Microdermabrasion and PRP injections for hair restoration.
Using Gold service from PatientGain.com, Monthly marketing Spend PLATINUM Service, PLUS $9500 per month on online Advertising. 70% Google, 30% Facebook and Instagram.
Example 4 – Urgent Care Centers 8 locations
Location major city, west coast USA. 8 locations Size is 43 exam rooms, 34 providers – capacity is hundreds of patients patients per day. Goal is to operate at 90 percentage capacity and keep the providers busy. Competition is extremely high. History – Oldest location is 18 years old newest location is 6 months old. They offer treatments for all urgent care services.
Using Gold service from PatientGain.com, Monthly marketing Spend GOLD Service, PLUS $1900 per month on online advertising, per location. 90% Google, 10% Facebook and Instagram.
Question #1. What are you currently doing to market your practice, and how much are you spending on it?
You may not have an official marketing budget or plan, but you are probably already spending money on things that promote your practice. Are you paying for a website? Business cards? Pens with your phone number and address on the side? Those are all marketing costs and should be counted towards your budget. If you are already spending money on marketing, it is helpful to get a full account of where your money is going on an organized chart.
Question #2. What are the results of your current efforts?
While it may be anecdotal, try to find out how people are coming to your practice. Word of mouth? A friend gave them a pen? Did they see a billboard on the highway? Try to evaluate what is working and what is not. If you spend thousands of dollar on pins and haven’t seen one come back in months, it may not be a good investment.
Question #3. How much is a new patient worth to your practice and how much money does it take to get a new patient?
If you haven’t already, determine the average value of a patient to your practice. Some will likely be one-time visits, while others might be lifetime patients. Determine how much money per patient is usually spent. With this number, you’ll be able to hone on how much you want to spend to acquire new patients. Return on investment, or ROI, is significant to consider in a marketing budget. You don’t want to spend $100 per patient when patients only bring in $50.
Question #4. What are your goals?
This is a question that doctors may not have fully considered. Are you happy where you are in terms of patient count? Are you looking to maintain your current numbers or do you want to expand your business? These goals will flavor your overall marketing plan.
Strategy One – A Marketing Budget Base On Medical Practice Revenue
Having your marketing budget based on a percentage of your revenue is a very straightforward way to determine a marketing budget. What that percentage should be, however, can be challenging to discern. There is a wide range of suggested percentages from various experts with the general spread being 1% to 12% of your total gross revenue. Some doctors who have good word of mouth and very little competition in their market tend to spend less.
If you are an established practice and want to maintain current patient count, you should consider spending at least 3% of your gross revenues on your marketing efforts. You may want to increase this to 5% if you feel like patient count is sluggish or starting to stagnate. Consider adding an additional 5% to your budget if you want to grow your business. Evaluate this amount regularly to see if it is producing the results you want.
If you are a new practice, it may be hard to determine an amount since you have no historical data to look at for your decision making. If you are new in the area, consider making your marketing budget around 10% of your projected revenue until you get established. Once you’ve developed good SEO for your website and word of mouth, you may be able to dial it back and still maintain good patient count to your practice. Depending on the competition, specialty, or services that bring higher than usual revenue, you could adjust that 10% up or down up to 5%.
Strategy Two – A Marketing Budget Base On Growth Goals
If you aren’t a fan of fractions and percentages, there is another way to approach a marketing budget. Determine the revenue growth you’d like to see and base your budget to achieve that goal. To effectively use this approach, you need to roughly know what your ROI (return on investment) is on acquiring patients. You also need to consider your practice’s location, field, and specialty. These factors could limit a growth potential no matter how much money you decide to spend.
Once you’ve figured out your ROI per patient, it is just a simple matter of determining a budget. Generally, you want to see at least a return of 3 to 5 times on your advertising money on patients. So, for every $100 you spend you should hope to see it return $300 to $500 to you in business. With that in mind, if you wanted to grow your business by $20,000 in a year, you will want to increase your budget by $3,000 to $5,000.
You should always evaluate your marketing efforts to ensure no factors have affected your ROI or patient value. Monitoring your efforts closely will ensure your marketing plan is running smoothly and effectively.
Regardless of the method you chose, evaluate and make adjustments as needed.
When you are trying to determine your marketing budget and end up with a number that’s entirely too high or too low, chances are your calculations are off. Double-check your figures before finalizing a decision, so you aren’t surprised by a high cost or disappointed with a low patient count. Also, be prepared to change course if your marketing budget is not producing the results you want. With that said, don’t micromanage your budget, making adjustments on a daily or hourly basis. Noticeable differences are generally not immediately apparent when you make changes to your marketing budget. Also, if you are continually changing your marketing budget and goals, you do not give it a chance to gain traction to start producing results for you. A great approach is to:
- Daily – Check numbers if you aren’t busy.
- Weekly – Evaluate this week to the previous week.
- Monthly – Check this month to the month last year, keeping in mind many factors like weather or new competition.
- Quarterly – Make any changes moving forward
- Yearly – Evaluate overall efforts for the year.
Which approach should I use to determine my marketing budget?
Fortunately, there is no wrong answer. Both methods are very effective if you have the right information available to determine the amount you should spend. Some businesses switch between methods depending on their annual goals. If you are just starting, the plan based on percentages may be the easiest to employ. Once you are established and have useful data on your marketing ROI and patient value, you can consider whether a goal-based budget would work for your practice.
There are differences between a medical marketing and medical advertising
Medical Marketing VS Medical Advertising
Many healthcare professionals confuse Healthcare Advertising with Healthcare Marketing. Healthcare Marketing is much broader and Healthcare Advertising is a subset of your Healthcare Marketing strategy.
Advertising is just ONE of the many “things”, “programs” or “techniques” launched to achieve a successful Marketing Program. So Medical advertising is one, but very important part of Medical Marketing for a practice. For example if you are a pediatric physician with focus on urgent care for children, and your goal is to acquire more patients, you may want to “market” your practice in 20 mile radius for potential parents of patients who may seek Pediatric Urgent Care. For this effort you would typically have many things to do :
Step 1: Sign for the building
Step 2: Business cards
Step 3: Doctor’s bio printed and promoted to local primary care physicians
Step 4: Providing free “meet-and-greet” for parents of potential pediatric patients
Step 5: Collaboration with local schools for “low-cost” physicals for school athletes
Step 6: Mail drop in 5 mile radius using USPS mail and flyers for parents of potential pediatric patients
Step 7: Networking with other local businesses close to your own location
Step 8: Using social media campaigns
Step 9: Making the lobby of the clinic a pleasing place for parents of potential pediatric patients and for children
Step 10: Referral program to market using existing for parents of potential pediatric patients
Step 11: Launching your online strategy to market your practice
Step 12: Offline advertising offline for your healthcare practice
Step 13: Online Advertising for your healthcare practice