By QUINTIN L. GUNN SR.
This is a question I get asked many times as a Practice Development and Medical Marketing Consultant.
The short answer is at least 20 percent of your monthly income.
But if you don't have 20 percent of your monthly income to start with, my response is always shaped in the form of questions. These questions are vital to establish a baseline for new patient acquisition and revenue creation. Additionally, having the answers to these questions will help you know how much to ask for in the shape of an SBA via a Small Business Loan...
How much revenue are you trying to gain?
What is your budget to drive that income?
Do you have a strong enough sales team to help you reach those goals?
Can any of the current staff or in-house equipment be used to take you to the future?
What timeline are you expecting to reach the income goals you are expecting?
These are all legitimate questions because they go to the heart of our approach when creating a medical marketing plan. No Doctor or Practice Manager should start out on a long journey of prosperity without counting the cost and knowing the time it will take to reach those financial goals. Otherwise, your boat is out to sea without a compass or rudder to steer your direction and course.
If you're starting from scratch, expect to spend more to catch up to the pack. If your goal is to exceed the pack, then expect to spend more to move ahead. We have found this aggressive approach can lead to certain success or it can lead to certain disappointment if you hire the wrong marketing company.
Hire a solid marketing team who can shape and share your vision as well as your goals. The chosen marketing company has to be flexible enough to diversify and can use many of the latest tools. Additionally, they should stay up on the latest innovations in technology while using demonstrated marketing techniques and strategies.
Planning your course is the big picture. Plotting your course is the steps you will take to get there.
Setting up your marketing accounts is free, but an effective marketing strategy run by an experienced marketing organization isn't cheap, nor it should be, because of the time it takes to set up those pages correctly. And yes, it does take time if it is to be done correctly.
So plotting your course before you start your journey, is essential. This allows you to prepare for the lumps and bumps, zigs and zags that most certainly will occur. After twenty years in medical marketing and advertising, it is clear to me practice groups and solo practitioners will surely encounter difficulty as you push toward your financial goals.
Having a defined goal and a budget is essential. You get out of your budget, what you put in your budget. If your budget is small, expect small results, if your budget is big expect, big results.
Hire or keep employees who can sell and execute, as well as willing to put their own sweat equity into your journey. Anyone who says to you it's not my job, that person is not likely on your team.
Starting from scratch means you've taken the time to study your competition, your market, and your ability to perform at the highest level, with the top equipment and products.
You should have a baseline of opportunity every month of no less than fifty leads per month. A good marketing team will be able to help you create those leads through Social Media AdWords and Retargeting as well as Google AdWords and Retargeting, Blog Ads, Chat etc..
Because there are many tools to use, finding what works best will take some time which is why you need to budget for one full year of marketing. In most cases you should expect to see some return by the first quarter of your marketing endeavour.
Google Adwords are designed for quick impact and allow you to jump to the front of the line.
Facebook is designed for engagement, brand building, consumer outreach and most importantly viral marketing. It takes time...
You should have patience because all great things take time and anything that is going to last has to have a brick and mortar foundation.
If you don't plan well, you'll run out of both time and cash.
There will be moments of discouragement and certain setbacks, but consider it all as a learning opportunity. There can be no success in your field without mistakes or problems. Otherwise, how can you learn? Not even Superman started flying out the gate.
If you are reengineering a Practice. Recap your history and identify what worked and what didn't. What products and services were popular or not.
- What tools do you have to measure outcomes and results of marketing as well as sales results?
- Do you set goals for your team and departments - Each department is its own profit center!
- Take an inventory of your services
- What types of products do you offer on your menu?
- Is your location and marketing demographics able to draw the type of clients you want?
- Upsells or secondary sales after the initial treatments
- What's your average dollar per transaction and how do you improve it, what products and services pair well together?
- Do you have passive income opportunities that your missing, skincare line or supplements that of a high grade and can be private labeled just for your brand?
Private Labeling is what we call passive income. This is revenue which is created that you don't have to touch other than watching the dollars go into your account!
Finally, the team you started with and have now, can they be trained to transition to a more fee for service model ?
Your assignment after reading this article is to select a competent marketing individual or organization that has shown demonstrated results or who has a solid reputation for the industry or speciality you expect to work or specialize.
What you don't want is a marketing company or consultant who says yes to everything without giving you the facts and or downside of things you propose or want.
Marketing companies are easy to find until you run out of cash. So talk to others and really listen. Select a person or company who is both ethical, focused, and knows the necessary elements to achieve success.
What I have found is sometimes the bird in the hand is worth more than the bird in the bush. It's an old saying but applies when clients migrate from one marketing company after another.
Marketing is based on results over time. If you don't have the budget to market and the willingness to be patient for your seeds to germinate than its best not to get involved.
Constantly changing marketing companies takes away marketing momentum and reduces the progress you may have already made, not to mention additional setup fees to start with someone new.
In this case, you will have to do what you have to do, until you get where you're trying to go!
So the answer to the question: How Much Should You Spend On Your Marketing Budget? The answer can only be determined by your goals and the time you set to get there!
Quintin L. Gunn Sr. is a Practice Development Consultant with Social Media Solutions for Doctors. Visit www.SocialMediaSolutionsforDoctors.com