9. Marketing And Promotion – Getting Your Message Across
This is another very important section, because you need to convey how you will be making contact with customers and persuading them to use your company. This explains your route to market. You can have the best product in the world, but if no-one is aware that you are there you will not make any sales. This part of the plan is all about the methods you will use to spread the word to the right people about what it is that you are offering.
The purpose of marketing is to get the company information in front of your customers and leave them with the desire to take action to find out more. How best to do this will vary depending on the nature of your business and who your customers are. Some of the main marketing methods are set out below, so just select the ones that are appropriate for your business and work on those.
Networking and Word Of Mouth
It is well known that word of mouth recommendation is one of the most effective ways to get a sale and by happy coincidence it is also one of the cheapest. However, it is far less straightforward to bring about than just buying an advert. You can’t plan a word of mouth campaign, but you can do a lot of things that should result in some word of mouth recommendations.
In this section you could outline how you plan to join various networking groups to build relationships with other business people. You may wish to offer your services at a discounted rate to members of these groups in order to encourage them to spread the good word about your business.
The nature of your business will dictate how important a part of your marketing and sales a website is. However, it is now not an optional extra but an essential requirement to have a website. If your site is already up and running then you only need provide the address, but if you have still to create it, you must give details of what the domain name will be, whether you have already registered this, what features the website will have and who is going to design it and update it. Explain whether your website is going to include a blog. This can be an important way to get feedback from customers and help generate more interest in your site. Explain who will maintain this blog.
Social media is becoming more and more important. If handled well, it can be a successful way to increase awareness and sales. You will need to give an idea of which social media sites you plan to use, how you intend to use them, what you hope to achieve and who is going to maintain the activity required.
Branding And Printed Material
You should budget for the design of a corporate identity and logo if you do not have one already. You will need this in place before you launch your business and it will have to be carried through onto any printed material such as brochures, leaflets and business cards.
Give details of what printed material you will produce, including quantities, formats and costs. Then explain what you intend to do with them, such as mailing to contacts, door to door distribution, etc.
Newspaper and Trade Journals
Paid advertising is easy to arrange, but you need to plan carefully where and when you will place any adverts. The costs can quickly mount up so you need to be sure why you are advertising where you are and who you are trying to contact. You should outline what publications you will advertise in, when you will place the ads, what size and what cost they will be.
You could also plan to get free editorial coverage too by presenting a news story about your business with an angle that will be of interest to the publication. When you launch you new business would be the easiest time to get such a feature. Specify which publications you will approach about this.
Consider whether there are other directories or listings that you need to have a presence in. The internet now offers a huge range of opportunities. Not least are pay per click adverts through Google (Google Adwords), which can be tailored to fit your budget and targeted at very specific key words and phrases.
If you plan to do this you should give an overview of how much you plan to spend and perhaps which search terms you would be targeting.
If you, one of your team or another agency are going to be undertaking direct sales you should give details here. This will include who is to do it, what system they are going to use to contact people, who they will be contacting and what the costs will be.