Dental accountants frequently become a dentist’s de facto business consultant. The dentist lays bare the practice finances and the dental accountant tells the dentist what to tweak to improve the practice’s financial health. The problem is, if the dental accountant doesn’t have a good grasp on how marketing works- specifically online advertising and search engine marketing– then the dental accountant can do more harm than good.

Since our company’s inception in 2010, we have worked with many practices that have close relationships with their dental accountants. These are the key concepts that the most successful practices understand and share with their dental consultants.

bookkeeper typing on a calculator, checking the numbers

Marketing Budgets Should Be Established By Competition and Opportunity – Not a Fixed Percentage

When we start working with a dental practice and they meet with their accountant, their accountant is sometimes alarmed at first by the amount the practice is spending on marketing and advertising. They are used to working in a paradigm where marketing always represents 10% of the practice’s gross revenue or some other set value. Many dental accountants work with practices that have $0 allotted for a marketing budget.

What’s worse is that some of these accountants are fine with that as long as the practice’s revenue meets its liabilities and the books balance. That’s not a recipe for fulfilling the dentist’s dreams. We need practice growth!

If you allocate a fixed amount of money toward a marketing and advertising budget and decide that the only rule for success is for the campaign not to exceed that spending amount, the marketing will fail to generate a good return on the investment. Instead, a dental digital marketing budget should be reverse engineered based on:

  1. The practice’s goals for practice growth
  2. Its rate of case acceptance on treatment presented
  3. The amount of opportunity available in the market
  4. The amount of competition in the market
  5. The rate of conversion on the practice’s website

When you calculate the investment required to fuel that practice growth, you create a plan that is more likely to be successful than a plan based on limited resources. An arbitrary percentage does not factor in the challenge that could doom a meager investment. It’d be better to pocket that revenue as profit.

In 2021, Dental Marketing Is About Repeat Exposure

Dental accountants should expect that successful dental practices achieve good new patient numbers by being ever-present in the digital world. If a patient finds the practice on Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, television and everywhere else that the patient turns, the practice is almost guaranteed to get the phone call when the patient decides it is time to do something about their dental problem.

These practices will have a variety of digital marketing expenses as they fund campaigns on various platforms. As long as the campaign is generating leads and the team is closing the dentistry, these investments will generate a great return.

dental professional and patient shaking hands over dental x-rays

Marketing is More Successful When the Team Can Sell

Dental accountants can’t be faulted for seeing the numbers as they are. If the practice is spending 10X on marketing and only generating 8X in production dollars, then something is broken. It’s easy to assume the marketing campaign is the problem and to advise a reduction in spending.

The problem is that a 2X reduction in marketing spend could mean a 4X drop in production dollars. A wise accountant will identify the imbalance and tell the dentist to look at the entire process involved in turning a patient inquiry into treatment dollars.

Yes, the marketing campaign is the start of the process. If the campaign is not generating patient inquiries, you’ve found the problem. However, if patient inquiries are coming in but the schedule is not filling up, you have to look at the team’s ability to sell dentistry. 

The most successful practices have a team that is skilled at identifying patient needs and selling the best treatment plan for solving all of those needs. Payroll is a huge line item in the budget. If the team’s only understood responsibility is checking patients in and assisting the doctor, then that leaves the dentist to do the selling.

A good dental accountant can help dentists see the problem and advise some next steps such as replacing underperforming team members or hiring a consultant who understands good treatment plan presentation.

Marketing Should Drive The Practice’s Financials

If a dental practice isn’t growing, it may not have the proper marketing plan. With a proper plan in place, excellent execution on the marketing and advertising campaigns, and good follow-through in handling patient inquiries once they arrive at the office, a dental practice should have amazing financial success.

Dental accountants can help their clients work backward from the bottom line to find that a practice is struggling because the marketing is not driving practice growth. If the phone is not ringing, new patient revenue will falter.

Pro Impressions Marketing helps dentists build hugely profitable dental practices by building new patient revenue opportunities. Call us now at (970) 672-1212 to learn more about our dental marketing services including website design, PPC, SEO, and social media management.