Every business, whether you provide services or products, will always need to have a marketing plan in order to keep loyal customers, and entice new ones to make a purchase with your business. Advertising, promotional and marketing initiatives come in many different styles, forms and budgets. Also, you must consider that there could be several times within the year that you need to increase your marketing initiatives based on sales trends and your competitors marketing tactics. Competition will always exist within your industry and you need to plan to properly position your brand ahead of your competitors.
As we now enter the middle of summer, it is important to begin planning your marketing initiatives for the fall season. If you’ve already established your marketing plans for the entire year, it is now a good time to start reviewing the successes and failures from the first half of the year. As a business, you must keep track of all of your marketing and advertising initiatives; as well as schedule and budget accordingly for all marketing expenses. The best way to do this is by considering these following items:
1. What is your budget?
a. Does your budget have room for contingency, or if things become more expensive than originally planned?
2. Where are your dollars going?
a. Print media, online (website; ads), broadcasting, e-newsletters, mail-outs, etc?*
3. When is the best time to plan your marketing initiatives?
a. Will you offer specials/promotions/bonuses during community events, holidays, store anniversaries, etc?
4. What is the reason for your budget/What is the marketing goal?
a. Are you focusing on in-store promotions/sales?
b. Are you hoping to drive new customers to your business?
c. Are you offering rewards or incentives to your pre-existing customers?
d. Are you just creating awareness of for your business?
5. What sort of promotions will you offer?
a. Discounts (10 % off; Buy 1 get 1 free; Reduced prices, etc)?
b. Contests (prizes vary by budget)?
c. Point-of-Sale items (free gifts, purchase x and get y, etc)?
d. Rewards (bring in a friend and receive…, etc)?
* It is also crucial to keep track of your past marketing campaigns to ensure that you are satisfied with the return on investment. A great way to keep track of this is by asking your customers: “Where did you hear about us?”
The Marketing Plan
Once you have completed the idea building stage, the next step is to draft your marketing plan, which is a visual representation that will give you an at-a-glance overview of your daily, weekly and monthly tasks.
There are many options to plan and schedule your marketing campaigns, but the most important thing is always to have it written down so you can visualize your activities. Here is an example using a spreadsheet program that utilizes colour coding, weekly breakdowns of activities.
Chronology ensures that if promotions are booked near each other, you are able to see everything on a week-by-week and day-by-day basis. You don’t necessarily have to concentrate all of your marketing budget to promote such events exemplified above, as you may want to drive traffic to your business during slower times within the year (like scheduling a location-targeted pay-per-click campaign).
Have fun with your marketing plan! It will make your life that much more organized.
Need Help In Developing A Marketing Plan?
NetGain is a full-service graphic and web design agency located in Simcoe County We offer a wide range of services and tools to help you promote your business; from graphic design and print media, to web and social marketing. Don’t hesitate to contact us today for more information.