Setting your marketing budget is something that should ideally depend entirely on your goals.
Marketing usually requires spending, and budgeting for that will help keep your clinic from focusing too little or too much on the wrong activities. While it’s vital to invest appropriately in marketing by setting aside the right amount of money for the right things, having the wrong budget for your clinic’s needs won’t help you reach your marketing goals.
Here’s what you need to know about preparing your marketing budget.
Focus on goals
Your marketing goals are the most important aspect of your marketing budget. Take stock of what you need to accomplish for the month, quarter, year, or specific marketing campaign. Devise some benchmarks to get on track and stay on target throughout your marketing.
Don’t just assume you need a specific type of marketing (“We need to be on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn!”) without understanding why or having a goal. This is especially true if you’re budgeting and setting aside money for something.
Marketing budget strategies
With your goals in focus, it’s time to decide how you’ll make your new budget. There are several different ways to break down a marketing budget, and the ones shown here are only a partial list to get you thinking along strategic lines:
- Specific tasks: If you have a list of specific marketing activities you’ve planned for the year, you can set aside marketing funds for these items. For example: A Google AdWords campaign to promote your website can be tailored to the precise amount you want to spend.
- History: Looking at what you’ve spent in the past, you can decide to keep to that budget if it worked well for you or, if not, make adjustments as necessary. Harness the power of statistical analysis and determine your ROI on your marketing efforts.
- Starting budget: If you haven’t budgeted for marketing before, it may be tempting to start with a random number as your first budget. You can do that, of course. But be prepared to make changes as needed and add more specific numbers as results materialize. For instance, maybe you decide to start by spending $100 on marketing per month. It’s a random number, but it’s something you can change later if you need to. (Note that the 2017 Chiropractic Economics Annual Salary and Expense Survey reported the average solo DC spends approximately $750 on advertising.)
- Percentages: Some businesses set aside a percentage of their revenue for marketing, too. While revenue and marketing investment aren’t always directly connected in percentage terms, it could make sense to increase your marketing as your business grows and you’re able to afford it. Keep in mind, though, that declining revenue could also be a reason to increase marketing. The percentage you spend on marketing doesn’t need to stay fixed. Some experts advise that new practices should budget up to 20 percent of their revenue on marketing as they build market share, and then scale back as the practice establishes a steady patient base.
Whatever steps you take initially to launch your marketing budget, you want to carefully track your spending. You want to see that your investments line up with real results for your clinic. Some efforts will likely resonate better than others with your target demographic, and it is key to identify what messaging strategies are working—and which ones aren’t.
Align with business goals
You might not always think of your practice as a business, but if you want to effectively serve your patients, you’ll have to operate your clinic with a solid grasp of good business fundamentals. This includes good budgeting practices.
Keep your budget aligned with your business goals. It will save you a great deal of frustration and heartache if you learn early on how to focus on tangible goals and results for your clinic. If your budget isn’t working, there’s no need to stick to it. Try a budget for a set period of time and be flexible about revisiting your spending strategy if there’s clearly something wrong.
Baicoianu M. “6 Ways to Set Your Marketing Budget.” brandUNIQ. http://branduniq.com/2012/6-ways-to-set-your-marketing-budget. Published Sept. 2012 Accessed June 2018.