How to Analyze Lead Sources to Prepare Your Orthodontic Marketing Budget

May 5, 2023
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Start Building a Data-Driven Orthodontic Marketing Budget to Optimize Lead Generation

In a competitive landscape filled with numerous channels, orthodontic practice marketing has evolved to become a much more strategic process. Today, acquiring new patients requires more time, money, and energy than previous, more traditional strategies.

But if done well, your orthodontic marketing efforts can have a significant payoff. Reaching potential patients can lead to increased case acceptance rates (which should be 75% or more), a maximized ROI, and extraordinary practice growth.

To achieve your growth goals, you need to know exactly where your leads are—so you can't pursue the process blindly. By leveraging data-driven insights, you can market with precision and make the most of your resources.

For these reasons, the channels that drive patients to your practice play a critical role in your spending. To help you better manage the process, here's a breakdown of how to analyze lead sources to prepare your marketing budget.

Know Where Your Budget Stands

Before your analysis, it's essential to establish what your ideal marketing budget should be. Then, you can note where it fits in with the rest of your spending. To maintain or grow your patient base, knowing how much to allocate for marketing is a crucial part of the process. We suggest the following formulas to determine your marketing spend:

Established practices: Net Production * 4%

Practices looking to grow or expand: Net Production * 6%

For example, if you're a new practice, your main goal would be attracting new patients and establishing a strong community presence. After your first year, suppose your total net production is $3,000,000. Using Gaidge's calculation, that would leave room to allocate $180,000 for marketing spend. Then, after defining your budget, you could allocate your resources to reach the right audience confidently.

In general, it's helpful to look for areas where you can curb spending by 1-2% to reinvest in your marketing strategy. To do so, you can monitor your spending with Gaidge. In the Executive Membership, the Overhead Expense Tracker™ allows you to view what you spend by category. With this insight, you can see where spending in other areas—like clinical supplies or energy costs—can be trimmed.

Once you've calculated your marketing budget, you can lock it into the Overhead Expense Tracker and begin organizing your lead sources.

Identify Your Lead Sources

By definition, lead sources are the channels through which patients first discover your business. It's helpful to think of these channels as a roadmap that leads you to your potential customers. In your analysis, you may notice some channels to golden opportunities, while others may lead to a dead end.

But before you start, it's helpful to divide your lead sources into four main categories that branch into smaller subcategories:

1. Community Outreach

  • Local gyms
  • Radio
  • Billboards
  • Magazines
  • Sponsorships

2. Patient Experience

  • Giveaways and printing
  • Contests
  • Patient events
  • Office décor
  • Rewards program

3. Digital Marketing

  • Website development
  • Search engine optimization (SEO), or visibility in organic search results
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
  • Social media advertising
  • Marketing software

4. Dentist Referrals

  • Gifts
  • Lunches
  • Events

Having a broad, categorized overview of your spending is more organized. Tracking your lead sources also allows you to see where spending is needed most. Likewise, it offers valuable, transparent insight into what's proven effective and which types of lead sources need more work.

Start Your Analysis

Once you've categorized your lead sources and created a marketing budget, you can use Gaidge's Overhead Expense Tracker™ to monitor each activity's spending. Then, you can note which areas needs more funding and where to cut costs. This is where you begin the process of lead prioritization.

Based on their performance metrics, you can redistribute your marketing budget to focus on your most effective categories. Also, if warranted, you can address those that are struggling.

As you review your data, you'll begin to see "hot" and "cold" categories indicating where you should place your focus. For instance, if your rewards program yields a high percentage of leads, it's important to continue funding your Patient Experience category. With steady funding, you can maintain those leads.

For your less successful lead sources, investigating the reasons behind their underperformance may lead to breakthroughs. Perhaps you notice a lower conversion rate stemming from social media marketing, even though many of your patients use social media. In this case, you could consider spending more on your Digital Marketing category to revise your ad creatives or targeting parameters.

Still, it's vital to keep your prioritized (or proven) lead sources in mind as you draft your marketing budget. Those sources are the most likely to get your leads through the sales pipeline, start treatment, and close more deals.

Calculate Your ROI & Finalize Your Marketing Budget

Further in your analysis, it's essential to reference your return on investment (ROI) for valuable insights into your marketing channels. In transparent percentages, your practice's ROI shows you which channels have been successful, and which have fallen short.

Your ROI is your combined budget and resources, with the following formula:

ROI = Profit / Spend * 100

By leveraging ROI insights, you can optimize your marketing efforts, allocate resources wisely, and make informed decisions to drive practice growth.

Lock In Your Goals

As you analyze your lead sources, you can set and monitor your goals with the Practice Projections™ feature. Based on your lead source analysis, you can determine an achievable increase in new patients for the upcoming year.

For instance, maybe you want to increase the number of new patients by 10%. If so, you can enter your desired increase into Practice Projections™ and measure your goal based on performance from the previous year. This allows you to visualize important benchmarks and see how metrics like Net Production, Net Collection, New Patients Added, and Total Exams affect your Starts.

Additionally, you can use the editing and locking features in Practice Projections™ to explore different scenarios and adjust your goals accordingly. For example, if increasing case acceptance rates improves new patient acquisition, you can lock that goal and modify other metrics as needed.

Track your Progress

After building and budgeting your marketing strategy, you need a way to track your practice's progress. With the Overhead Expense Tracker™, you have access to an up-to-the-minute, accurate breakdown of your finances. It displays a visual of your spending against your budget with progress bars. Then, you'll know if you're staying within budget or if any areas need attention.

Additionally, throughout the year, you can regularly monitor your progress towards your new patient goal using Practice Projections™. By comparing actual performance against projections, you can note discrepancies and make necessary adjustments early on to stay on track.

Experience a Data-Driven Approach to Lead Generation with Gaidge

Marketing is a critical component of your business, but it shouldn't be done blindly and without data. Understanding your lead sources and allocating your resources wisely will maximize your ROI, improve patient acquisition, and contribute to your overall success.

Gaidge offers a comprehensive solution to help you harness the power of data and make informed decisions for your practice's future. With Gaidge, you can stay organized, monitor your progress, and adapt your strategy based on real-time insights. Its seamless integration with your practice management software ensures accurate tracking of crucial metrics, helping you make the best possible moves for your business.

Don't leave your practice's growth to chance. Experience the benefits of a data-driven approach to lead generation and marketing budgeting. With Gaidge, you can elevate your practice to new heights, improve the patient experience, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with making truly informed decisions.

Callie Norton

Freedman, M. (2023, February 21). How to Track and Manage Lead Sources. Business News Daily.

Lead Prioritization. (2023, February 28). OpenCraft.

Norton, C. (2022, December 6). 3-Step Marketing Plan for Orthodontic Practices. Gaidge.

The 10 Best Growth Metrics for Orthodontic Practices. (2019, July 9). Gaidge.