[IMGCAP(1)]"How much time should I spend on marketing?"

I hear this question all the time from clients. The answer is usually a function of how much success you want to realize. To grow a practice at an average pace of 6 to 7 percent a year, the answer is usually two to three marketing activities a week. And to drive an above average rate of more than 10 percent growth usually requires four to five marketing activities per week. And, for the purpose of measurement, a qualifying marketing activity usually consists of a client development meeting, referral source meeting, prospect meeting, or a trade group or other organized function.

If we estimated the average activity took two hours, this would loosely translate into four to six hours per week for average growth and eight to 10 hours per week for above-average growth. However, that’s not enough to be successful. As much as you need to have a consistent and high level of marketing activity, you need to make sure the quality of your time investment is good too. That’s because spending significant time with the wrong people won’t produce the desired result.

So, your activity in the client bucket needs to be with clients that have the ability to refer you the kinds of clients you want. In the referral bucket, it means that you need to have meaningful interactions with referral sources that already work with clients in your “sweet spot.” And the prospective clients you are meeting with need to meet your definition of an ideal client. Finally, the trade groups and networking activity needs to be among a population of ideal clients and referral sources. Otherwise, you will simply be spinning your wheels – and wasting your valuable time.

But what matters more, quantity or quality? While they are both important for success–a high quantity of high quality activities will drive the greatest results – I would suggest that quality is more important in most cases. I’d rather have you doing fewer high-quality marketing activities than a higher number of activities of questionable quality. That’s often because if you feel like you are wasting your time (with low-quality activities) you’re more likely to consider all marketing a waste of time, and you might quit marketing altogether.

Ultimately, practice growth will come to those who consistently engage in two to five high-quality marketing activities per week. A great way to make sure this happens is to dedicate some time every week to scan your calendar and look several weeks out. Because if you wait until Monday of the week you’re already in to check, the chances are good that you will be unable to fill openings you have, thus engaging in fewer activities than you had originally planned.