How to write a marketing plan for your small business
One of the most demanding tasks can be writing a marketing plan, for your small business. However, if you break it down into sections, it becomes a much more manageable task. The marketing plan, for your small business, is also known as the Market Analysis section. This should include a detailed description of your market, your niche, and the demand for your product or service (supported by documentation). This section should also include the percentage of market share you envision, and why.
It is important to keep in mind that in order to complete this section of your small business plan, you'll need to compile marketing research data to support your conclusions. It can be easy to get off track among the minutiae of marketing research, so marketing experts recommend that you stay focused on the aspects of marketing that are known as the three C's. These are:
- The customer-When writing this section, you will need to have the appropriate information about your customers. This includes: who they are, what age groups they are likely to comprise, what they like and dislike, where they live, where they shop and what kind of market exists, for your product or service.
- The competition- You will also need information about your competition. It is crucial to be able to show that despite the competition that already exists in your marketplace there's a place for your small business. It is important to keep in mind, that when you are examining your competition, you should include not just your direct competition (businesses that are already providing the same product or service your small business will provide), but take a look at substitutes your potential customers might use in place of your company or its competitors.
- The company-The next step is to figure out how and where your small business fits in the market. You will need to have a clear understanding of what your competitive advantage is, and how will you make the market understand the unique value your small business has to offer.
- Besides the above listed components, you will also need to include additional information in your business marketing plan. This should include;
- Whether the demand for your products or services is growing, and if so, by how much and the projections for future market growth.
- Whether your competition is expected to grow in the years ahead, and by how much.
- What is your plan to offer new products, or improvements to your products in the near future that will help you capture additional portions of your market, or strengthen your competitive advantage.
- Any ideas you might have, or external influences, that could increase the demand for your products or services in the future.
- Finally, when you have detailed out your marketing plan, you will need to begin working on your marketing and sales strategies. These are specific steps that will help you market your product or service, to result in sales. The best marketing plan in the world is no good if it does not take you to your ultimate goal, which is maximizing the profitability of whatever it is you sell.
Because of the information you have complied, you will be able to clearly determine, what marketing method will reach your customer. You can then implement your strategy whether it is: direct mail, online advertising, print or other media, or a combination of all of them.
Taking the time to write out a business marketing plan, can seem cumbersome and overwhelming, however, if you take the time to do it right, it can give you a clear direction to market, and save you considerable time and money, in the long run.