So, you've done your research, your SWOT analysis, you know your strengths, you have identified your weaknesses (and attempted to reduce their impact on your business) Your all too important opportunities have been identified and your threats nullified to the best of your ability.
You have a planned business strategy, you know your target market, your product/service is sourced and ready for the market, your pricing is competitive and you are sure you have something to offer that is original and attractive to your market.
Now you need to figure out how you are actually going to successfully market it. The final step in your business plan has to be the marketing aspect, without it you will fail to hit your sales targets and probably go out of business very quickly.
Your marketing plan needs to include your objectives, budgets and timelines.
Clear and realistic objectives need to be set that are measurable along with a timeline that specifies very precise deadlines. This will help you to focus on your crucial priorities that will help you to move forward in achieving your objectives.
Your sales forecasts and targets are key aspects of your marketing plan, when you expect to break even, when you will be able to achieve positive cash flow, the numbers of enquiries, subsequent sales, re order rates, etc.
An effective marketing plan will include specific details of your daily marketing activities as well as interactions with your customers in the form of a calendar, so that you can analyse and prepare for seasonal changes in buying habits as well as marketing opportunities such as exhibitions, trade fairs, Christmas etc. So many businesses fail to plan effectively for these predictable and regular fluctuations in buying habits.
You will be producing a schedule that will highlight important times of the year for your business marketing activities to coincide with so that you can take advantage of these peaks. The troughs in between the peaks are when you might decide to try to stimulate interest in your company by producing special offers, making calls to previous customers or cold calling prospects as well as trying out new promotional ideas.
Then there is advertising, how much money do you intend to invest in advertising, what advertising opportunities have you identified, what are your competitors using, do you have a scheme in place to track your advertising and to calculate its return on your investment? Have you an advertising specialist you can rely on for accurate advice, have you looked into social media marketing possibilities?
With the internet and digital media there are so many different new ways to get the word out about your company and what it offers, there are subtle ways and there are far less subtle 'in your face' methods, all of which have to be individually considered and tried or rejected based on their individual merit and suitability for your target market. All of these factors combine together eventually into an integrated well researched marketing plan that you will need to regularly update to stay up to date, and most of all, remain in business.
Here is a link to a video that goes into some detail on the subject: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjrguLMxIf0
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