Marketing Plan Tips
Developing a marketing plan is an important step for anyone writing a business plan. This is just one element of that overall project, but it will jump start the process of getting important questions answered. The first step in writing a marketing plan is to determine your company's unique selling proposition, or USP. To do so, you'll need to be able to answer the following questions in a paragraph or two:
- What purpose does your company and its products/services serve? What need is it filling?
- What makes your company and its product/services unique, or different from any other business?
- How does this uniqueness benefit the consumer?
Don't forget when writing this portion of your marketing plan that you'll need to list both the tangible and the intangible benefits to the consumer. As an example, an intangible benefit of using a copywriter would be that it saves the client time and energy, but a tangible is that they get copy that sells. Both are equally important, and cannot be left out.
To determining your company's pricing strategy, you'll first need to know how much you'll be charging your clients, which means creating a break even analysis. In other words, what amount of profit will you require to keep the business running smoothly, and how many sales will you need to make to do that? For a review of a real-world scenario using a copywriting services company, check out this break even analysis for how-to.
Sales and Distribution
There are three aspects to the sales and distribution strategy portion of a marketing plan that require discussing, but not all three will apply to all businesses. They are:
- How will your customer receive the product? This includes explaining such things as shipping, brick and mortar vs. online distribution, delivery terms, packaging, labeling, minimum inventory levels and costs associated with distribution.
- Explain how a customer will receive your product in their hands from start to finish. This includes explaining policies and procedures related to shipping times, order processing, billing, payment methods and terms (such as credit), return policies, warranties, support, feedback mechanisms and complaints.
- How will you sell your product? Will there be salespeople who require training and support, or will the entire sales process be performed through sales copy? Either way the process needs to be explained in full.
Advertising and Promotions
There are many different ways to get your business name in front of the right customers. This is the part of the marketing plan which describes how you are going to do that. Make sure to include plans for:
- Advertising, such as ads, the Internet or radio;
- Marketing materials, like business cards, websites and brochures;
- Publicity, such as testimonials, press releases and/or
- Promotions, like coupons and demonstrations.
Don't forget to include in this last section not only what you plan on doing, but a timeline as well as estimated costs for the advertising and promotions.