Lesson 4: Knuckling down on your sales and marketing plan
In today’s lesson, you’ll be diving even further into your sales and marketing plan and looking at advertising.
You’ve already established what makes your products and services unique and you’ve identified specific demographic information about your ideal customer. This lesson will focus on how to effectively target your ideal customers and how to get your products and services in front of them.
By the end of this lesson, you’ll have an even clearer picture of who your audience is, what marketing channels and budgets are best for your business and how to keep your customers coming back for more.
We’ll check in with Kelly to see how she pushes her marketing message out to her customers.
Knuckling down on your sales and marketing methods are essential when writing a business plan: this is how your audience finds you and buys your product or service.
Begin this part of your business plan by providing a brief description of the competition and how you rate against them. How can you improve on what they offer?
Advertising to your target audience
Next, you’ll need to define who your audience is and how they’ll come to know about your products or service. Do they hang out on social media, like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or LinkedIn? Or are they more used to local, traditional marketing like free local papers or high foot traffic areas?
Once you’ve figured where your audience is likely to hang out, you can outline what strategies you have for promoting and advertising your products or services in the next 12 months.
Make a list of the marketing channels you’ll use to achieve your advertising strategy and be sure to include your budget. How much can you set aside for advertising? And where are you most likely to see a return on your efforts? Paid ads on Facebook? Half or full paid spreads in an industry magazine half or? Or even a direct mail out?
For more structured help around this check out our MYOB Academy Get social with your business on Facebook free course.
If you plan on using social media, it might be worth calculating your engagement rate, along with any benchmarks from your industry and competitors. You may need to hire someone to do this, or account for their time and material needed. For example, are you using stock photography or are you photographing your products yourself? Or if you're a hairdresser are you doing before and after shots?
Who’s doing what?
In this section of your plan, be sure to include who makes up the sales and marketing team for your business. What sales techniques will they use? What tools and materials will they need to help sell your products. Get specific about what sales and targets they’ll meet and when.
Sales and distribution plan
A distribution plan looks at how customers will buy from you. Is it going to be in a physical location? Or online?
When outlining your distribution methods and plans for growth, you need to have an idea of what year-on-year forecasts look like. How will your product or service be sold or distributed? And what are your sales predictions as a result?
A useful question to ask yourself is: are sales seasonal or are they evergreen? If they’re seasonal, what do you intend to do for off-season periods?
Take Kelly, for example.
Her bakery is evergreen, meaning she’s open all year round, but she has peak periods of holiday seasons like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter and other special events.
Kelly will need to focus on pushing her message of personalised cookies to create a steady customer stream all year round. Like Kelly, you’ll also want to zero in on what your main marketing message is.
One idea she had is to make a Graduation Campaign, making personalised cookies for school and university graduates, targeting parents around exam time. The end of the school year is also a perfect time to market to parents as they’re buying presents for teachers.
Keep ‘em coming back for more
Business success relies heavily on the relationship you’re able to build with your customers. What techniques will you use to keep them coming back?
Include a pie chart or graphic in this part of your business plan that explains your customer retention and repeat purchase cycles and how that will contribute to business growth.
- What activities can your business do to increase the number of repeat customers and their profitability?
- Does your business have a referral or loyalty program?
- Do you have a post-purchase follow up in place?
- Will you use surveys to track customer satisfaction?
- What ways can you continue delivering outstanding service?
- Is there a way you continue educating and adding value to your customers?
Activity 1: Spend 20 minutes working through these questions
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What would make them a customer for life with your business?
In the next lesson
We'll take you through the steps to nutting out your operations plan. By the end of the next lesson, you’ll be able to articulate your key operational processes and the milestones you plan to reach.