One of the most important aspects of any business is advertising. You can have the most fabulous product in the world, but if people don’t know it exists they certainly won’t buy it. While corporations from previous eras had to rely on newsprint and flyers to promote their wares, modern technology has made communicating with potential customers as varied as the amount of merchandise and services that are available.

The Internet has bloomed into a network that offers a variety of options for e-commerce. Many merchants are using websites to not only promote their products, but as a hub for active communication with customers. Those who’ve yet to tap into the digital world are losing out on potential business. Whether you own a restaurant, a gift shop or a massage parlor, creating an online presence will give you added flexibility when it comes to serving your customers well.

Below are a few tips to help you get the most out of advertising both on and offline.

1. Be unique and customize your messages. While you may be eager to get a new website rolling, it’s important to consider your options and the message you want to project to your audience. There are so many online companies that tote a large customer base and the competition is fierce.

You should be doing something significant to attract the right audience who could become your customers. Your marketing messages should be unique to your brand. Don’t forget to preserve a little mystery to keep your audience hooked and eager to know how your message ends.

You have to choose a design scheme that will stand out, or else you’ll just fade into the haze of the Internet. By using better combination of colors, fonts, vibrant images and personable language in your marketing content or sales messages, you can really capture the attention of someone who visits your site. This same strategy should apply to your physical branding as well.

2. Start looking beyond the obvious. Whatever industry you are targeting, don’t just choose ad messages or marketing content people already know. If you sell shoes, it doesn’t mean you should feature just shoes in your ad campaign. Think of a creative way people use shoes and craft messages around stories people can identify with.

Nike has consistently created ads that go viral because they don’t just show their audience the Nike products, but they focus on stories people identify with they use the kinds of products they sell. To reach your audience, it just takes a marketing or advertising department to think entirely differently.

3. It pays to outsource (if you can). Not everyone is the most savvy when it comes to technology, but you don’t necessarily have to be. Whether you’re interested in creating a web presence or getting your business more well known in the real world, there are a variety of companies that can help you get started. An e-commerce site will organize everything from your shopping cart to the basic interface. With a bit of basic information about your products and audience, they can really create something special.

4. Social media is still hot for traffic purposes. Even if you have a main landing page for your business, it could still benefit from the traffic social media can generate. While word of mouth is important, generating a personality online can also get you acclaim and a more loyal following. Social sites like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and image centric sites like Pinterest are excellent for advertising. Market research sites like InfoTrack can help you find important information you can use before start your advertising or marketing campaign.

5. Keeping tradition alive. While it’s certainly worthwhile to get in tune with the online community, you should never let your real-world presence languish either. If you have a physical location in the form of a store or restaurant, you should be sure to invest in marketing locally. The customers that live near your area of business are more likely to return than those online or who live out of town.

Reaching out to your community is important so that people will recognize you as having a warm personality and down-to-earth nature. A lot of businesses gain a poor reputation for being cold and sterile once they grow larger. You don’t have to sacrifice success for keeping a good image, but you should always stay true to yourself and be as honest as possible with your customers.

With a bit of patience and creativity, your business is sure to flourish. Never give up on your dreams of entrepreneurship. Even if the competition seems steep, there are ways to play the game and come out on top.