How to Write a Business Plan: Marketing and Sales

In the marketing section, the business owner has the opportunity to describe their thoughts and ideas about how the firm is going to connect with their target market.  Popular forms of marketing may include social media, website, and traditional advertising opportunities.  In most instances, small business owners are going to exploit each one of the marketing channels in order to reach their target market on multiple platforms.

Marketing Objectives and Keys to Success:

In the marketing objectives and keys to success section, I like to use a visual representation showing the company’s marketing objectives, as well as, identifying specific actions that the business owner needs to take in order to be successful.

Business Plan Writing Tip:

When writing this section, I always utilize a visual representation.  This helps me convey, succinctly, my thoughts and ideas related to marketing and the objectives that need to be attained through the actions.

Sample:

 

Analysis:

In the marketing objectives section, popular objectives for a business may include market penetration, brand building, or educating customers in relations to their products or services.  As for keys to success, my preference is to focus on general actions that a company needs to take in order to achieve their objectives.  For example, if a restaurant selects the appropriate marketing channels, then the firm will achieve brand awareness.

Traditional Marketing:

Traditional marketing channels may include mailers, signage, and networking.  Depending on your industry and even your personality type, one or all of the traditional market opportunities may be exploited.

Business Plan Writing Tip:

Make sure to list and discuss all your thoughts and ideas as to the different types of traditional marketing you may implement at some point in time.  Just because you may not do mailers immediately, still address this in the business plan and, in general terms, discuss your thoughts and ideas in relations to the topic.

Sample:

Traditional Marketing

Our first traditional marketing channel will include a professionally designed sign for the front of the building.  This sign will include our restaurant name, logo, and slogan.  Further, prominent colors will include black, gold, and white.  The objective of the signage is to let potential customers know our location and services offered.

Analysis:

In most parts of the business plan, I have a strong preference for being vague and using general descriptions.  This is because entrepreneurs are, and should be, paranoid about competitors finding out their strategies.  However, for advertising, once a marketing campaign hits, competitors are definitely going to know the strategic thoughts and ideas behind the marketing action.  From this simple fact, in the business plan, go ahead and be detailed with your traditional in other types of marketing thoughts and ideas.

Internet Marketing:

Internet marketing is any type of marketing using the internet.  Common Internet marketing actions may include developing a website, blogs, Google, or Bing paid advertising, and yelp postings.

Business Plan Writing Tip:

When writing about your Internet advertising, trying to touch on all aspects of Internet advertising that you wish to implement.  For example, if you are going to have a website, make sure to talk about it, if you are going to register with Yelp, or other business directories, then make sure to include this information in the business plan as well.  By using this strategy, a business owner can show a broad understanding of potential internet marketing channels.

Sample:

Internet Marketing

The importance of a professionally designed website cannot be understated.  To exploit this opportunity, XYZ will create and maintain a website and Yelp listing.  The objective for the strategy is to effectively communicate our car wash’s theme and highlight the benefits of using our services.

Analysis:

I identified two specific Internet advertising channels that will be exploited.  The channels are a business directory, which is Yelp, and the website.  Further, the objectives of Internet advertising were discussed.

Social Media Marketing:

One of the hottest and most popular forms of advertising currently is social media.  Social media advertising channels may include Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  Because of social media’s popularity, new channels are continually entering the market and trending with potential customers.  From this, a business owner should not only explore and discuss using current social media channels but also review strategies to exploit new social media opportunities as well.

Business Plan Writing Tip:

A business owner may choose to discuss each social media advertising channel separately or go broad and outline strategic actions that may be employed in all social media channels.

Sample:

Social Media Marketing

ABC Construction’s social media advertising will include Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.  Using a three-channel approach to social media will ensure our message reaches a broad audience, which will include our target market.  In addition, several potential customers will receive an advertising message on multiple social media outlets.  This should exceed the needed repetition of our message to a broad audience as well as our target market.  The marketing message will focus on construction services offered, and benefits conveyed through our services.

Analysis:

In the example above, our fictitious business owner first introduced the different social media outlets the firm will employ.  Once this was complete, the business owner explained, briefly, the strategy behind the social media actions.  The final sentence touched on possible advertising content.