No, it’s not C-A-N-C-E-R as you might expect This dirty word is B-U-D-G-E-T.

Budget is a concept that makes doctors and practice owners and managers scowl. No one really likes to face the cold, hard realities of setting a budget, but if you run a business, it’s a fact of life.

No business can run effectively without an operating budget and part of that budget needs to account for marketing. You need to define how much money you can spend, and how best to allocate it. The time to design your budget is in Q4 in preparation for Q1 of the year coming up. It won’t do you much good if you procrastinate well into the new year. The goal is to get a fresh start on January 1st with a well-planned budget in place so that everyone on the team knows their roles, deliverables, and revenue goals.

Creating an intelligent budget is the most important thing you can do for your business. It’s important to set a budget and then to figure out how to spend it, as well as how to measure results to know what part of your budget is working and what part needs some adjustment.

Ask yourself these questions before creating a marketing budget for your practice.

What do we need most right now? Do you need more new patients, better paying patients, or more brand awareness? Your goals will help determine where your money should go.

What are we currently spending? What are you spending on your website, on Google ads, social media, Facebook ads, public relations and advertising? You need to understand what you are currently spending on marketing to plan.

What can we afford to spend? Once you understand your needs and what you are currently spending, figure out how much you can spend on other tactics. Consider how much revenue one new patient is worth to your practice and what are the most profitable services or products you offer? There is always a risk of not getting the ROI you are looking for from marketing alone. Start small and test the waters. As you find tactics that work well, devote more of your budget there to drive growth.

Having a budget is critically important because it gives you a place to start. All marketing strategies should be carefully measured and tracked. You are testing each strategy to determine if it works for your practice. Just by putting pen to paper, so to speak, does not make your budget engraved in stone. Leave yourself some wiggle room to change course along the way when necessary.

If you have a medical marketing question or are ready to expand your brand, reach out to us. anne@wendylewisco.com