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A Business Plan Layout Can Be This Easy
By Steven D. Schlagel
Congratulations! You have decided to begin a home-based business! Developing an effective and intelligent marketing plan outline is critical to the success of your venture. There are many different plan formats that have proven success.
Begin by writing plan that you can realistically live with. The types of plans run the gamut from “short and sweet” documents to massive (and expensive) reports, but they all serve the same purpose: to outline strategies for promoting your product or service, resonating with your target consumer, and building the credibility of your business.
Marketing plans don’t have to be complex, because they’re not for public viewing. When you think about writing plan, keep it simple, you can always expand and add more details as they come up. Below are some of the key components of an effective marketing plan.
Take Stock Of Your Main Goal
Start by identifying the main challenges you are currently facing at your existing job or business. For many owners, these include generating leads or maybe clearly communicating how their product or service can benefit prospective customers. Next, you’ll need to determine what sets your apart from the rest. What makes your better than the rest? Why should customers choose you over your competitors?
A key part of this analysis is studying the competition in your area that are offering similar products or services. Take note of their pricing, marketing campaigns, locations, selections, and support plans. Are they excelling in areas where you might need some development?
Get To Know Your Target Customer
To resonate with your target customers, you have to first determine who they are. Are you selling to people or businesses? Will your customers be limited to a certain geographical area, or will they be spread out nationally or even globally? You might consider hiring a professional market research firm to help you determine the motivations, spending patterns, and expectations of your prospective buyers. Depending on the location and breadth of your target market, you may need to identify a primary
audience (the biggest segment of your market) and a secondary audience (consumers outside of your main target market).
Write Down Your Objectives
This is where you’ll outline the specific results you want to see. While it’s good to have an optimistic attitude, you should be realistic in this area. Set both short-term and long-term goals that can be easily measured. There is much satisfaction with a goal accomplished! A common marketing plan outline may include the percentage of profits per year, the projected share of total industry revenue, and your targeted sales per year.
Detail Your Marketing Strategies
Begin to flesh out your specific plan of attack for reaching your target market and how to generate leads. Common marketing activities may include postcard mailings or newspaper advertisements. Possibly radio and TV spots, as well. You’ll also need to specify what media outlets you’ll use to convey your messages, a calendar detailing the insertion and duration of placements, and the estimated cost of each of your projected marketing campaigns.
Set A Realistic Budget
The success of your marketing plan is contingent on sticking to a sensible budget. When allocating funds for various projects, consider how much you’ll spend on production (photography, graphic design, mailing materials, etc.), printing (envelopes, letterheads, brochures, etc.), and media placements. Every budget also needs a miscellaneous “catch-all” for ancillary costs that will be incurred throughout your campaigns.
You Can Do It
Spending the time to craft a thorough a marketing plan example can save you significantly in the long run. By carefully choosing the strategies you’ll execute throughout the year, you’ll be less likely to miss out on timely opportunities and will avoid splurging on impulsive expenses that may not be worth the investment.
Above all, remember that marketing plans are intended to be working documents. Writing the plan is only half the battle. To make it work for you, you’ll need to actually implement the strategies, measure the results, and make any necessary changes to the plan to be used for next year’s version.
Discover the simple steps to creating your own marketing plan outline and find expert help starting a business, right here.