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Owning and running a business isn’t quite as simple as it used to be a few years ago. Long gone are the days of running a newspaper or magazine ad in the classified section for a few months in order to get your business booming and customers flooding through the door.

Advertising a business now requires a great deal of creativity and ‘blue sky’ thinking to make sure you stand out amongst the competition. In order to advertise effectively you must forget the notion of ‘reaching the masses’ and focus on reaching the individual instead.

Here are five innovative ways to ensure your business beats the competition this year:    

Seasons Greetings

Show your customers and potential new customers some love by sending them some eCards for mobile devices. E-Cards are the new way to celebrate a holiday, say thank you or simply say hello. It would be difficult to find a more personable way to advertise your business, and if you’re going to be celebrating these events with your customers anyway, then why not kill two birds with one stone?

Attractive, well-designed eCards are excellent forms of advertising as they are relatively low cost, immediate and personalized.  

Host an event

Hosting an event is a fantastic way to promote your business whilst gaining the respect of your peers by positioning yourselves as the ‘experts’ in any given niche. An event allows you the opportunity to mingle with customers whilst ‘selling’ your business or services in a non-threatening or overtly ‘salesy’ environment.

The event doesn’t have to be a huge, global gathering. Just start off small and local and build on your success.

Get Social

If you haven’t already taken advantage of social media to advertise your business, then you are in danger of being left behind by your competition. Social networks enable you to speak directly to anyone interested in your niche and engage them with interesting, humorous or educational content.

However, don’t think that your business should have a presence on each and every social platform out there; each site attracts a slightly different ‘type’ of person, and the key to successful social networking is to pick the one or two that suit your business best and work hard to perfect your messaging.

Speak publicly

Most of us hate public speaking, but now might be the time you have to face your fears and do it anyway! You could be missing a huge marketing opportunity if not.

It’s likely there are already events being held in your region that are looking for subject matter experts in your particular industry to present to interested delegates. They may just like what they hear enough to send some well-earned business your way.

Freebies

Everybody loves a freebie and will usually go to unusual lengths in order to bag themselves a prize. Consider giving away branded products with every order you receive or as part of a larger marketing campaign.

Alternatively you could offer a free prize to anyone who likes and shares your message via social media, which is a fantastic way to spread your message to new people in addition to creating a little excitement amongst your existing customers.