To get potential customers to stand up and take notice of your business, you need to think outside the box. You have to zig when the competition zags. And you don’t need to run a Super Bowl ad to be successful. Some small businesses hire marketing agencies to get them off the ground. Others use the PR approach or have a video made and then pray it will go viral and get millions of views. However, all you truly need to be a few bold, creative initiatives to make your breakthrough in the market. Whether you’re operating a nail boutique, an antique shop, or a law firm, the essential facts are the same. Be unique. Be distinctive. Be a “purple cow” that stands out from the rest of the herd and gets the public’s attention. With that in mind, here are five ways to get your business noticed. Fine-tune them to fit your business model. Try turning one or more of these strategies, like trade show attendance or trading card printing and packaging into an advertising approach to make people aware of your business and what you have to offer. Go to Trade Shows Whether you’re selling a physical product or promoting a service, trade shows are superb ways to tell people what you do in your business. Trade shows allow you to expose your brand to hundreds of consumers every day in engaging ways, such as interactive booths. For example, you can do hands-on product demonstrations or fly a drone over the booth that flashes your booth number and brand name. Make sure to show some swag so that curious consumers will visit your display and leave the show with pleasant memories of you and your team. Effective swag items include products that make your brand visible while they’re being used as a form of marketing after the show. For instance, people make use of coffee cups, thumb drives, and t-shirts for a long time afterward, and these items endorse your brand each time they’re used. Although running a trade show booth requires a lot of work, trade shows produce a high return on investment (ROI) so they’re worth the effort. Use Trading Cards as Advertising Tools Trading cards can help your company’s product or service stand out from the crowd. They provide the ideal medium for presenting information about your business in small chunks. Most people avoid taking the time to read brochures, so conveying the facts in small doses is a more profitable way to give details about your business. Trading cards can also be a hit at trade shows. In our high-tech world where machines get names like “XRA-807” or “TS-453D,” presenting photos of your product or service with a quick rundown of its top features and advantages can be an easy way to get potential customers familiar with your brand and what it can offer. Hold a Contest Contests are excellent ways to get your business noticed. Everyone likes to win prizes. So, if you create a contest with an attractive prize, it will draw attention to your brand. The best contests require those who enter to promote your brand by sharing your information. They can do so by promoting it on social media, displaying skills or benefits connected with your brand, or using the branded products for others to observe. One requirement for contests is to make sure that trying to win doesn’t discourage people from sharing. For example, in a random drawing, entrants might be inclined to keep information about the contest secret because it would limit the pool of contestants, thus improving their odds of winning. Organize an Event Holding an event is a fun and novel way to get the attention of potential customers. Similar to trade shows, events require time and investment, but the returns are excellent. Factors to consider in arranging your event are as follows: a sizeable space an interesting theme food, beverages, and team members to help marketing approaches for the event an MC or a headliner for the event a reason to attend the event, such as fund-raising for charity. Whatever type of event you arrange if it’s well done it will be memorable and may even get press coverage. Create a Summer Guide Camping, swimming, hiking, and softball — it would be simple to produce a summer guide if your product or service involved any of these activities. But it’s OK if your business has no connection with summer. You just need to be a bit more creative in your approach if it doesn’t. For example, if it’s in the least bit appropriate for your business, you can create a summer book list. Or write a guide on apps that customers might need to get ready for a summer vacation. And remember that in today’s world dominated by e-businesses and online shopping, there’s no limit on what you can do in terms of worldwide summer promotions — any summer activity or holiday from around the globe will work as a theme. Some examples include Independence Day (USA); Midsummer (Sweden); Canada Day (Canada); and Bastille Day (France). If your business is not related to summer, you can still come up with fun, festive ways to showcase your products or service with a summer-themed promotion.