Marketing is the key to building your business. If you are not where you want to be as far as your numbers go, don't worry, it may be that you need to boost your marketing efforts. You know that and so does every other business owner. The question is which ones work best? And, how do you cut through all of the clutter to reach your target audience?

We have found that the following marketing ideas have helped us build our business while giving us the best bang for our hard earned marketing dollars. One BIG key is consistency. Don't do something once and expect an avalanche of new leads. Make a plan of attack on when and where you will market your services.

1. Build your referral program. You know that the best advertising is word of mouth. Do you have a plan to encourage your clients to refer you to people often? If not, then you are missing a golden opportunity. Now I understand that people are probably recommending you without you doing anything in return but if you have a reward system in place your customers will appreciate it and some will even go the extra mile because of it. Most smart big companies do it for their customers not because they need to or have to but because they know that if they do so it will reap even more referrals!

2. Keep marketing to your current clients. You may have read this in other articles I have written but this is the key to building your bottom line. Why keep always looking for new fish when you have a readymade clientele wanting to buy more from you if only you lead them? Plus it is the most cost effect advertising you can do. You can do this through emails, flyers sent to their homes or direct mailings. Getting our current customers to buy more from us has been the single biggest factor for our increase in revenue!

3. Create your own pay per click campaign. It is easy to do. You can set it up within thirty minutes. Facebook and Google are the ones I recommend. Once you set a budget you are able to adjust up or down depending on what kind of visibility you are receiving. Keep in mind that when you set it up you want to be as localized as possible. For example, our school is in Southern Connecticut but we will not get people to come from way up north. So we do not want to market in those areas and have people click on ads. You can be and should be very specific on where those ads show up.

4. Set up a series of post cards that you can send out to a specific list. Now that you know which of your classes need a boost you can target your message to that need. You can purchase these lists from various companies such as, InfoUSA. You can craft a message for preschoolers, preteens and teens. You can offer them a free trial for any class during a one week period. Always include the words, "space is limited" and give an expiration date that the offer will expire on.

5. Advertise in the local yellow pages online. There are many different types. You can decide what works best for you. Some are pay per click and others are a contract for x number of months, usually a year for a certain price. Forget the hard book yellow pages. I don't care what the ad rep tells you the books are only used now as a door stop! My preference is pay per click. This way you can turn it on and off as you see fit.

6. Place an ad in a local business directory website. Find out if your area has a website that is geared for moms. Once you find it you may consider placing an ad on it. Most sites have banner or button ads or maybe you can pay to do an email blast to their list with a special offer included in the ad we have one called "Suzy Says". I recommend that you connect with other local businesses that are looking to connect with families to find out if they are using a local resource like this that works. If not you may want to consider creating a joint venture with other businesses where you can all cross market to each other's clients

7. Get out of your building and meet people. This is where those business cards with a call to action message will come in handy. The reality is that people would much rather do business with people they know. Network and build your circle of friends, acquaintances and supporters! On the card write "Bring in this card for a free week of trial lessons."